Pesto Presto

How does your basil grow this summer? Mine’s pretty much gone to seed and I’m not very good about watering it. Although I like to garden and I love the flowers and fresh produce, I don’t have much patience for the constant caretaking. I know, I’m a bad gardener.

plantkiller

Earlier this summer when it was raining every day, I took advantage of my basil bumper crop and whipped up a bunch of fresh basil pesto. Fast forward a month or so and it’s almost gone, but I had some kale that needed to be used. (Isn’t there always kale left over in the fridge?) I added more olive oil, four more cloves of garlic, some lime juice and the limpish kale and threw it all into the food processor. Voila! A new pesto was born. Continue reading

Roasted Beets with Lemon and Garlic

We had a half-naked lemon, left over from the bread-making frenzy on Friday night. She’s hiding her zesty side.

GotMyReservations Lemon and Depression Glass Juicer

We had some aging beets from the Farmers’ Market. Upon peeling, some of them turned out to have a little surprise of their own. Continue reading

Tomato Season Begins

My daughter knows me pretty darn well. When she went to Rome on vacation, she brought me a beautiful tea towel to be used for staging still life food and tableware photos.

GotMyReservations Roma Tomatoes

When I saw my first ripe Italian plum tomatoes on the vine, I knew just how to use her beautiful gift.

Now I have to figure out what to do with those heirloom purple cherry tomatoes that are almost ready!

GotMyReservations Coffee Thank You Sign Off

French Peasant Beets Recipe

Fresh beets from a friend’s garden. Organically grown. Just picked. Priceless.

GotMyReservations French Peasant Beets 2

We love fresh beets here at GMR, and I spent a little time looking for a recipe that included both the beets and some greens — we had a big bunch of kale that needed to be cooked. I found a recipe for French Peasant Beets and just a quick browse through the Food 52 site gives me a lot more food for thought. 🙂 Continue reading

The Sunday Review: Books for Foodies

18167006I grabbed Delicious!:A Novel from my bookstore soon after its release and was very eager to read the debut novel of one of my favorite food writers. It was good….but. The concept was interesting, with the main character working in food magazine publishing and then losing her job when the magazine closes(sounds eerily like Ruth Reichl, right?). They say an author should write what she knows, and Reichl has created a pastiche of a mystery with bunches of interesting characters and lots of food references. Even with all that going for it, I wasn’t blown away as I have been with Reichl’s memoirs. The writing felt stiff and the story line involving the hidden letters was convoluted, at best. We know that Reichl can spin a great tale, but she may have bitten off more that she can chew with this first novel. If you are a foodie, it’s still worth reading — just not a five out of five.

For more Ruth Reichl at her best in a memoir rather than a novel, you should try Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise. Exactly what the title says it is, Reichl’s stories of being a food critic for The New York Times are charming and funny.

For a little more salt in your foodie memoir, Anthony Bourdain is as flavorful as they get. I’ve read Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, and both are very good. I’ve blogged about Tony B three times over the years, and I’m as much of a fan of his current show on CNN (Parts Unknown) as I was of No Reservations.

I’ve been on a foodie book tear in the last few months — there will be more reviews coming soon!

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Restaurant Visit: Circa 57 in Arlington Heights

We have been eyeing Circa 57 since it opened. The problem is that Music Man and I are eyeing it through different lenses.

Circa 57 is a new restaurant in downtown Arlington Heights, Illinois, and includes the space at the corner of Vail and Campbell previously occupied by the Grand Station restaurant and Peoples Bank. It’s got a wonderful location!

I was intrigued by the possibilities of their food mission. Music Man wasn’t so sure — he wasn’t interested in ever going back to the food of 1957, thank you very much. I was relieved to actually see the menu. Even though it includes throwback style food, many of the offerings are updated for the more sophisticated tastes of today. Continue reading

Table for Two: Greek Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup

GotMyReservations Table for Two RecipesLeftover veggies and chicken in your fridge? Try Greek Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup for a healthy and satisfying dinner. When combined with a piece of bread and some fresh fruit, you’ve got an easy meal!

This recipe is a version of avgolemono, which in Greek means a soup or sauce made with chicken stock, egg yolks, and lemon juice. There are many different versions of this recipe online, but this soup must start with the three main ingredients, and rice and chunks of chicken are usually added.

The recipe I used made sixteen servings, so I cut it down to four servings for the empty nest using the built-in calculator on the allrecipes web site. Then I doubled the amount of veggies called for in the original recipe amount. By blending the vegetables and stock into a thick base before adding the meat and rice, you get a hearty soup chock full of veggies without sacrificing the original flavor concept of the soup. Continue reading

Travel Diary: Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant

Where do you go when you have a large group of friends who want to talk to each other and not disturb the other diners? Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant! How about when you want to have a cozy dinner with your special someone or with close friends? The answer is still the same. Cooper’s Hawk.

Cooper’s Hawk is a winery and restaurant chain that has locations in six states, including Illinois, where I live. Every time we go to Cooper’s Hawk, we say to each other, “Why don’t we come here more often?” The atmosphere is lovely, the decor is interesting with the wine barrel theme, and the food is fresh and creative — especially for a chain restaurant. There is a full bar if you are interested in something other than wine, as evidenced by my recent choice of the Dirty Nasty Martini.

GotMyReservations Coopers Hawk Dirty Martini

It’s not all about the wine!

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Spiral Baked Veggies with a Twist

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GotMyReservations Spiral Baked Veggies with a Twist

When I got a Paderno spiral slicer for Christmas, I knew exactly who was going to love this new gadget. My brother, the engineer who never met a machine he didn’t like.

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

Welcome back to Monday at Got My Reservations. Today I’m introducing my new series which I’m calling Table for Two: Recipes for the Empty Nest.

GotMyReservations Table for Two RecipesWhen I was in the hospital and rehab center for my knee replacement, I was given many menu items that I had rarely eaten over the last forty years of constant food constraints. I had French toast, chicken with noodles, and all kinds of desserts. It was the Boston Creme Pie that put me over the edge. I decided that I was done with dieting, as it obviously wasn’t working, and that I was ready to try a new way of eating. When I came home, I started looking at our favorite recipes and I tried to figure out how I could remake the recipes so that they only made enough for two to four servings. The Table for Two series was born. Continue reading

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