Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don't Sleep on the Chardonnay!

So, I cooked. You know, I seem to amaze my damn self sometimes. Do you ever have those moments? I knew I had shrimp, garlic, butter, and wine - but what was a man to do? I bought a bunch of parsley and whipped together something I call a creamy scampi. Well, it's not really scampi because scampi calls for lemon - but oh well, it's my world and I break the rules, right? So, I called it Creamy Shrimp Scampi - DTW style!

I started with butter, olive oil, garlic (smashed and chopped), and shallots. You get a nice carmelization on those and I added in the wine. Typically folks use pinot, right? Well, all I had was chardonnay and I'm sticking with it from now on. The key is to let the wine reduce. If you don't, then don't bother w/fixing this meal. I seasoned this mixture with nothing more than salt (kosher of course) and fresh pepper. I added in the shrimp and some frozen peas. I don't know what it is with me and peas - but I love them...to death. Those little poppers are so tasty! I always have a bag in my freezer. Get the frozen kind - canned veggies are from the Devil. Anyway, add cream, fresh parm, chopped parsley, and linguine and you've got a meal. I topped mine w/more cheese and fresh cracked pepper.

This took all of 15 minutes from start to finish. Give it a try - and remember, let the Chardonnay reduce...don't sleep on that part!

here for pictures...or see them below.


Chopping Parsley

The white wine reducing!

Linguini - smoking hot!

A frozen lemonade drink - I know you see that bottle of Jose Cuervo!

The finished product

Happy Face Plate!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Soups De Jours...

As you guys get to know me, you'll learn - I like to break all the rules. Who says certain things can't go together...sure they can. Food is relative. What's salty to someone is under seasoned to someone else. So what it's summer and it's 90 degrees outside. I felt like soup and that's what I did.

I had my mind set on three soups - but I only finished two of them...I'm still stuck on the third. I made...

Split Pea Soup w/smoked turkey and cornbread croutons - the cornbread croutons are courtesy of Sunny Anderson. Although, I thought cheese needed to go into the equation some kinda darn way. So, I mixed in an asiago and parm blend. In the end...it proved to be really worth it.

Potato & Leek Soup - I must say, this was my first time making it - but I had had it many times. I figured it'd be easy enough, right? It was - and it was FREAKING FANTASTIC. So, I made it with yukon golds, maple smoked bacon, and in the end I threw in heavy cream and about a half cup or so of white wine. This soup could honestly win a competition. I put it through a blender (since I don't have an immersion blender just yet) but I didn't strain it. There's something rustic and lovely about lumps - right? Even in gravies - lumps rock! I topped this soup w/the cornbread croutons too - talk about two birds with one stone.

The third soup was going to be a chicken and brown rice stew with spinach. I thought about creaming it, but I just wasn't sure. I even made the stock myself - yup, I immersed a whole chicken in water, salt, pepper, celery, onions, peppers, bay, basil, thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Boy did it have the house smelling great. But you know after a full day of soup cooking and an 8 mile bike ride, well, a brotha was worn out. Oh, let's not forget church too.

In the cooking process for today I managed to broil a large fillet of salmon. (What do you call a large fillet? It's not a side - there's gotta be a technical name for it, right? Especially something as big as this thing was). I also figured what's a day of hard work with no reward? So, I rewarded myself by making some cute little fried biscuit sticks and glazing them in a honey & butter mixture.

Guess what?!?!?! I have pictures!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mi Tierra Mexican - Chicago, IL

They claim it to be Mexico in Chicago. I've been to Mexico. You can't drink the water, but you sure can enjoy the tortas and enchiladas. This joint is second to none. If you're in Chicago and want a fantastic voyage to one of the many, but also premier, Mexican eateries there are in the city, Mi Tierra is definitely the place to go.

Of course they start you off with homemade tortilla chips and two types of salsa, a classic rojo and a more spicy salsa verde. Both however are jam packed with flavor. I couldn't be in second class Mexico without having a pina colada - so I did. It rocked!

I ordered these jumbo shrimp that were stuffed with poblanos and cheese then wrapped in bacon, breaded and fried. Um, hello! Anything with bacon, cheese, and shrimp gets my vote. A friend that went with me had the whole fried catfish. It was topped with this butter garlic sauce. We got rice and beans to complete the meal.

Funny thing though - our plates came garnished with lemon and orange slices. Because I believe in making a happy face plate - I ate my orange. It was the BEST ORANGE EVER.

Mi Tierra Mexican Restaurant
2528 S. Kedzie Ave - Chicago

Enjoy the pics below!

We started with chips and salsa!

The outside of the restaurant!

My shrimp wrapped in bacon!

My friend's whole catfish!

My pina colada