An attorney writes about stuff she'd rather be doing: cooking, eating, wining, dining and traveling.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

60 Minute Chicken Stock

A rich, flavorful stock that tastes like roasted chicken in less than an hour? Thank you, The Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated! This recipe uses small pieces of chicken and a method that causes them to release the flavor in minimal time.

60 Minute Chicken Stock (adapted from The Best Recipe and my momma)
1 large onion, chopped
4 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, hacked into 2 inch pieces (use a cleaver, sharp chef's knife, or kitchen shears)
2 quarts boiling water
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven
Saute the onion for about 3 minutes, remove from pan
Saute the chicken pieces (in 2 batches) until no longer pink, about 6 minutes
Return all chicken and onion to pot
Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for 20 minutes (this will cause the chicken to "sweat" out its juices)
Add water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer on very low for 20 minutes

Remove the chicken pieces and pull off meat for soup or other use*
Strain stock to remove solids

Important: chill stock overnight in the fridge. This will cause the fat to rise to the top and solidify. In the morning. you can skim the fat for a less greasy, healthier stock.

* The chicken will lose a lot of its flavor due to the sweating process, and The Best Recipe recommends discarding the meat. However, I cannot bring myself to throw out that much chicken meat, and I have found that the meat is just fine for use in a chicken noodle soup, a chicken chili, or in other highly seasoned dishes calling for shredded chicken. I wouldn't eat it plain on a salad, but as long as the dish has some flavor, it's totally fine. If I ate enchiladas, I would probably put it in an enchilada dish.

To make into soup, sinply heat with sliced carrots and diced celery. Add some of the shredded chicken. Cook some egg noodles and voila! I do not recommend storing the noodles in the soup, as they will absorb most of the liquid. Cook and store separately!

Cook Like A Crazy Person

As tends to be the case in the legal world, there are stretches of time that are just INSANE busy. For me, that has been the case since June. Throw in 8 or 9 weddings, several out of town trips (both business and pleasure), and that explains why Mr. Foodie and I have been subsisting off frozen pizzas, take-out, sandwiches, and truth be told (earmuffs, Mom), wine-only 9pm dinners for the last several months.

We just had 5 weddings in the last 30 days, and I've been working 12 hour days. This being my first free weekend in what seems like eternity, I cooked, slept, and sipped red wine while in comfy pants. It was glorious.

I return to legal craziness tomorrow. Fortunately, I managed to stock the Foodie freezer with the following to get us through the next stretch:

2 quart-sized bags of chicken soup made with homemade stock
2 quart-sized bags of taco soup
2 quart-sized bags of vegetable soup with ditalini pasta
1 gallon-sized bag of chicken chile verde
2 dinner portions of meatballs
1 big bag of mini-meatballs for pizza or soup
2 meatloaves
1 spinach and feta pie
2 pans of cheese manicotti
1 pan of spinach and cheese lasagna

And, courtesy of Mr. Foodie, 2 quart-sized bags of his famous smoky beer 'n bacon man chili. Don't worry girls, you'll like it too.

It is somewhat of a relief to know that we will have REAL food to eat and that Mr. Foodie can have ready when I get home. Back to the grind...

2 quarts of Mr. Foodie's smoky beer 'n bacon man chili

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Locavore Whore

I cannot say this enough: I big fat hot pink sparkly puffy heart the Green City Market.

I have not eaten a single piece of fruit or vegetable from a commercial grocery store in months. Nor do I plan to.

There is something very satisfying about creating a simple meal from the freshest ingredients, with very little fuss or flair and having it taste so amazingly fresh. Strawberries that are red all the way through. Lettuce so delicate, but crisp. Tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes. Teeny tiny potatoes in 30 varieties. Carrots in a whole rainbow of colors.

Pasta Puttana is one of my favorite vendors. At $10 for a bag of pasta, I thought I'd buy it once, say "that was nice" and never buy it again. Wrong. Pasta Puttana (aka Pasta Whore) is one of my first stops every time. It's a one-woman shop, and she turns out the best, lightest, most delicious pasta you will ever have. I'm hooked.

Tonight's dinner featured the Pasta Puttana Cremini Mushroom Tagliatelle, and I used only purchases from the Green City Market, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of butter and a healthy dash of white wine (both in the pan and in my glass). Honestly, I didn't need anything else.

Mushroom Pasta
1 white onion, chopped
1 lb. mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, portabella, oyster, shitake, etc., chopped
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil, salt, pepper, white wine, butter
1 bag Pasta Puttana pasta (preferably cremini, but I've made this with other varieties)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic and cook for one minute
Add mushrooms and saute for about 2-3 minutes
When the mushrooms are slightly browned, add a big splash of white wine
Let the wine cook off and stir in 2 tbsp. or so of butter
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta per package directions, drain well and toss with mushrooms

Red and Gold Beet Salad
2 red beets
2 golden beets
Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper
Mixed greens

Heat oven to 400
Wash beets and wrap each beet individually in foil
Roast beets for about 45 minutes or until pierced easily with a knife
Allow beets to cool and then peel and dice
Toss beets with a bit of balsamic and olive oil and season with salt and pepper
Serve over mixed greens*

* Note: the greens I bought were very fresh and delicate and didn't need dressing. If you use commercially packaged greens, I would think you might want to make a bit more balsamic vinaigrette and toss the greens with the vinaigrette as well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Avocado Salad

Like the black beans side dish below, another very simple side that makes frequent appearances in the Foodie household. The avocado and a drizzle of olive oil provide a good dose of heart-healthy fats!

Avocado salad
1 Hass avocado, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 red onion, minced
A small amount of minced jalapeno, to taste
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Splash of red wine vinegar
Olive oil, salt and pepper

Combine avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro in a bowl
Add lime juice and red wine vinegar and toss
Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Black Beans

We have this particular side dish quite often. It's a great match for spicy foods, tacos, grilled meats or anything with Latin flavors.

Black Beans
1 can black beans, rinsed well and drained
1 can chicken stock
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. adobo sauce (or more to taste)*
Juice of 1/2 lime
Olive oil, salt and pepper

* From a can of chipotles in adobo sauce, or the San Marcos brand sells large bottles of chipotle sauce near the salsas. I use the chipotle sauce in this recipe.

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, about 2 minutes
Add black beans and about 1/2 cup of chicken stock
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, stirring well
Add cumin and bay leaf
Simmer, adding stock as needed, for about 30 minutes (you will use the whole can of stock)
Stir in chipotle sauce and lime juice
Add salt and pepper to taste (easy on the salt)

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm back, bitches: Szechuan Pork

So June and July have been CRAZY. Besides three weddings and a funeral (literally), we've also had myriad bachelor/bachelorette parties, bridal showers, baby showers, etc. Oh, and I billed nearly 400 hours between the two months. Needless to say, "cooking" at home was relegated to slapping a couple burgers on the grill or calling for takeout.

But I'm BACK. Five of my cases have settled or successfully gone through arbitration, and my pro bono client's appellate brief (and his fate) is now out of my hands and in the hands of the Seventh Circuit. I left work before 7:30 without having worked a 12 hour day for the first time in what feels like forever. It's 8:30 and I've been home from work for what feels like an eternity. I have a fridge full of veggies straight from Green City Market. It's glorious. And I cooked, dammit, I cooked.

Szechuan Pork
2 boneless pork chops, sliced
1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
6 purple carrots, peeled and cut into sticks (regular carrots work, but I had the fancy carrots from the farmer's market)
1 large handful combo wax and green beans, cleaned and trimmed
1 large handful oyster mushrooms
1/2 c. hoisin sauce
3 tbsp. Szechuan sauce (more to taste)
White rice, for serving

Heat oil in skillet
Add pork and let brown.
When pork is halfway cooked, add the carrots, broccoli and beans
When pork is cooked through, add the mushrooms, hoisin and Szechuan sauce, mix well, and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve over rice.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fruit Crostada

My mom turned me on to this very simple summer dessert that uses fresh fruit and not a whole lot else. It is fairly healthy, as far as desserts go, and you can use whatever you've got.

Fruit Crostada
1 refrigerated pie crust (the rolled kind, not in a pie plate)
2 cups of sliced or diced fruit - berries, peaches, plums, pears, apples or any combination
2 tbsp. of Minute tapioca (or cornstarch)
1 tbsp. + a sprinkling extra
1/2 tbsp. butter, cut into little pieces

Unroll the pie crust on a cookie sheet.
Toss fruit with the tapioca and a tablespoon of sugar
Spread fruit onto pie crust.
Fold edges up and over, leaving about a 3-4 inch opening in the middle.
Scatter the little pieces of butter over the top. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes.

Menu for the Week: 6/1

Monday: brats with corn on the cob and hot fries (again - it's summer!)
Tuesday: filet on the grill with some kind of veggie and a herb salad
Wednesday: brined, bone-in chicken breasts on the grill with grilled veggies
Thursday: Cuban marinated pork tenderloin with black beans and rice
Friday - Sunday: a multitude of bridal showers, so Mike will be enjoying lots of leftover Cuban pork and probably some burgers while I am gone.

Hot Fries

These are hot, but they aren't fries. We aren't really sure why our family started calling them hot fries, but they are what they are. This side dish is super simple, and it goes great with anything off the grill. I've made it two ways - in the microwave, and on the grill if I have more time.

1.5 pounds red potatoes, thinly sliced
1 Hungarian wax pepper, thinly sliced into rings
1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Combine all veggies in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and generously salt and pepper.
For microwave - heat on high in a covered dish for 6-8 minutes.
For grill - wrap in foil and place on the grill until everything is cooked through.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Menu - Week of 5/24

Sunday: Anniversary dinner at L2O
Monday: grilled Italian pork chops with grilled zucchini and yellow squash, salad and wine
Tuesday: brats with "hot fries" (sliced potatoes, onions and Hungarian wax peppers done in foil on the grill) and corn on the cob
Wednesday: seared tuna with avocado
Thursday: something made with this habenero chicken sausage I have to use
Friday: probably sushi

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Campanelle with Proscuitto, Peas and Asparagus

About 1/2 of a box of campanelle pasta or other small pasta like shells
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. minced shallots
1/4 c. sliced green onions, white and light green parts only
1/4 c. white wine
1/4 c. chicken broth
About 10 stalks of asparagus, briefly blanched and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 c. frozen peas, thawed
4 oz. proscuitto, cut into strips
1/4 c. of grana padano cheese or parmesan
Olive oil, pepper

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Heat butter in skillet over medium heat until melted. Add shallots and onion and cook until soft. Add wine to deglaze the pan. Add chicken broth, bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat a bit of oil in a skillet. Add proscuitto and saute until just a little crispy.

Combine pasta, proscuitto, peas, asparagus and sauce and toss well. Stir in cheese. Add a few grinds of black pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chilean Ribs

Yum yum yum. It's no secret that Mr. Foodie and I like it hot. Get your minds out of the gutter. We love spicy stuff - and I love how different cultures have different kinds of spicy.


There. I hate when I read a recipe, realize I have everything on hand to make it, get super jazzed up about how great it sounds...and then I get to the end of the recipe and find out I can't make it that night because it requires sitting overnight. You're welcome.

These ribs were phenomenal. The marinade would be fantastic on chops, bone-in chicken breasts, flank steak, or as here - country style ribs. The recipe is based loosely on a recipe I found on

1 3.5 oz can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/2 jalapeno, seeded
1/2 onion
4 cloves garlic
Generous pinch of dried oregano, or one tablespoon fresh
3/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil

Combine chipotles and sauce, jalapeno, onion, garlic and oregano in food processor and pulse to chop.

With food processor running, drizzle in vinegar, then oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reserve about 1/2-3/4 cup marinade for basting during grilling. Pour remaining marinade over your meat and refrigerate, covered, overnight.

Grill as usual, basting frequently. For country ribs, grill for a total of 20 minutes, flipping every 2-3 minutes and basting at each flip. Watch the grill - the marinade has a tendency to catch fire!

I served this with black beans and a mixed salad with avocado and red wine vinaigrette. We had white wine open, but I think a zinfandel or other juicy red would have been much better.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Mr. Foodie and I just got back from a weeklong vacay in London and Paris. A week was not enough. I wish we had two additional days in Paris. Three days in London was plenty for me - the food was awful and isn't the point of a vacation to eat and drink? I did have plenty of tasty ciders and beers in London though!

Paris was lovely. Like Italy, France has a very rich culinary history and culture. Some things we ate that were fabulous:

- Crepes filled with literally half a jar of Nutella and sliced bananas
- Baguettes
- Escargot and pieces of bread dipped in the garlicky butter "snail sauce"
- Duck confit (duck leg cured in its own fat, then fried and generally served with pommes frites or mashed potatoes with lots of butter and cream...drool)
- Pommes frites with garlic aioli
- Brick salad, which is essentially a huge salad topped with goat cheese encased in crepes. Yum.

We had a great time, although three days in Paris was not enough to allow us to work on the language or to immerse ourselves into Parisian culture. Guess we'll just have to go back!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Seared Tuna with Avocado and Cilantro-Orange Broccoli Slaw

The tuna recipe is from Tyler Florence, one of my faves. The slaw is loosely adapted from a number of recipes I looked at.

Seared Tuna with Avocado and Cilantro Sauce
1 piece of sushi grade tuna (large enough for 2 people)
Leaves from about 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/3 c. soy sauce
Juice of two limes
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced

Whisk together cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Set aside.

Generously season the fish with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side. Pour half of the cilantro sauce over the fish.

Fan half of the avocado slices on each of two plates. Slice fish and lay slices on top of the avocado. Pour the remaining sauce over the top.

Cilantro-Orange Broccoli Slaw
1 package broccoli slaw mix
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 orange, peeled, segmented and cut into bite sized chunks
4 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil.

Toss ingredients together and serve.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Foodie Rant

Where the HELL is summer?

Seriously, how much longer is the cold and monotony going to go on? I miss grilling every night on our deck, orzo and fruit salads, bottles of rose wine and margaritas on weeknights and loooooooong Friday cocktail hours on the deck. I miss nightly tennis followed by burgers, brined chicken breasts or citrusy fish. I miss walking to DQ and eating blizzards on the patio. I miss alfresco dining - everywhere. I even miss the smell of the citronella candles. I cannot wait.

End rant.

London Broil

Momma Foodie used to make this quite often growing up. It's a great way to make a cheaper cut of beef tender, juicy and taste like a special dinner. It is also great for a weeknight dinner because you whisk together a few simple ingredients, marinate overnight, and when you get home from work it cooks so quickly. I served this with asparagus and a green salad. It's also good with couscous or a rice pilaf.

1 top round steak
1/3-1/2 c. soy sauce (I use the reduced sodium)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. ginger paste or fresh grated ginger

Whisk together the soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Pour the mixture into a gallon size zip-top bag.

Season the steak with lots of fresh ground pepper (NO SALT). Add to the bag, zip it up and place in the fridge overnight (or for at least 6 hours).

Remove the steak from the bag and discard the marinade. Preheat the grill or broiler and cook the steak 3-4 minutes on each side, or to your desired done-ness.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cornmeal Crusted Catfish

Let me preface this by saying that I despise catfish. I never know what to do with it, and I don't much care for the texture. I *thought* I was buying tilapia at CostCo, but I didn't read, just grabbed and we ended up with yucky catfish.

I figured Emeril would be a good authority for what to do with the fish. I read and combined a few of his recipes and came up with this. I think next time (if there is a next time that I mistakenly buy catfish) I will try searing and baking rather than pan-frying.

Cornmeal Crusted Catfish
2 catfish or other fish fillets
Cayenne pepper
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Sea salt
Juice of one lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3/4 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. flour

Sprinkle the fish fillets on both sides with the cayenne, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and sea salt. Place the fillets in a baking dish.

Add the lemon juice, garlic and parsley to the dish. Turn the fish several times to coat well. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.

Mix cornmeal and flour together on a plate. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal mixture, pressing it so it adheres to the fish.

Heat enough oil in a skillet to cover the bottom. Fry the fish for 3-4 minutes per side, turning once.

I served this with Zatarain's red beans and rice mix (I use the low sodium doctored with half an onion, chopped and a good amount of Tabasco) and a green salad with red wine vinaigrette.

Menu for the Week

We have a hectic week, and both of us are trying to get to the gym every night (I'm going to do the Chicago Triathalon this summer...gotta get crackin'). Thus, it will be healthy and simple stuff for us all week!

Tuesday: London broil, asparagus and salad
Wednesday: ground chicken sloppy joes and fruit salad
Thursday: Hungry Girl spicy chicken sandwiches
Friday: sushi night
Saturday: dinner at my dear friend Charissa's delightfully trashtastic pre-wedding party called a "stag" in Dwight, Illinois. I'm scurred.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tuna Tacos with Avocado and Orange

This was supposed to be tuna tacos with a tomato-orange salsa. However, I managed the purchase the single most disgusting tomato ever (it looked ok, but was all mealy and nasty inside). The tomato went into the trash, and cucumber and avocado went into the bowl instead.

This was really, really yummy and was a little glimpse of summer in the dead of a terrible Chicago winter. Mr. Foodie really liked it, which was very surprising given his distaste for fruit. Next time I make this, I hope to be out on my deck with a Summer Shandy or Pacifico in hand!

Tuna Tacos with Avocado and Orange
2 tuna fillets
Salt and pepper
1 medium Haas avocado, diced
1 large navel orange (see prep instructions below)
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, finely minced (remove the seeds if you don't like heat)
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. orange zest
Juice of two limes

Preheat a broiler or grill.
Season the tuna on both sides with salt and pepper.
Broil or grill approximately 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from heat.

Cut off both ends of the orange. Use a knife to cut away the peel and pith.
Follow the membranes and segment the orange, discarding the pith and tough membranes.
Cut the orange segments into bite sized pieces and put in a medium bowl.

Add diced avocado, diced cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno, green onion and orange zest to the bowl.
Flake the tuna into the bowl.
Pour lime juice over the fish and toss all ingredients well to coat. Adjust salt if needed.

Serve with corn or flour tortillas.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spinach-stuffed Turkey Meatloaf

This is really, really tasty. It's also low-fat. I didn't have ground turkey, so I used the ground chicken I had on hand. Make sure to let the meat sit in the fridge for at least an hour after you press it into the pan so you can roll it easily.

Meat mixture:
3 slices bread, crust removed
1/2 c. milk
1 lb. ground chicken
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 egg white
1 tsp. oregano
Fresh ground pepper

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
Tear bread into 1 inch pieces. Put in a bowl, pour in the milk and mash the bread with a fork until all the milk is absorbed.
In another bowl, mix the chicken, mustard, egg white, oregano and pepper.
Add in the bread mixture and mix well, until creamy.
Press the meat mixture onto the baking sheet so that it covers 1/2 the baking sheet
Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour (up to three hours)

1 10 oz. package of frozen spinach
3 green onions, chopped (green part only)
1 egg white
Fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup

Thaw and drain spinach. Press out all the water.
Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add the spinach and onion and cook until mixture is somewhat dry and the onions begin to wilt, about 5-6 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Mix in egg white and season with lots of pepper.

Preheat oven to 350.
Remove baking sheet from fridge.
Spread the spinach mixture over the meat, leaving 1 inch border all the way around.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Place baking sheet horizontally.
Starting at the end closest to you, use the foil to lift the meat and roll jelly roll style, pushing forward a little bit at a time.

Bake at 350 for about an hour, until a thermometer registers 160. Serve with tomato sauce.


The past two weeks have been CRAZY. I have been running non-stop, trying to do 8 different things at the same time, overloaded at work, trying to get our new car fixed after an accident, and managing birthdays, parties with friends, family time and of course, trying not to neglect my dear Mr. Foodie.

Today was the first day I have cooked in what feels like forever. We've been eating soup out of the freezer for the last two weeks (not that there is anything wrong with that - that's what it is there for - but our stock is depleted).

After a major Costco trip on Saturday, we have approximately 9 or 10 different kinds of cheese, a freezer full of meat, and lots and lots of produce!

Today I made:
A lightened (both fat/calorie-wise and texture-wise) baked potato soup
A low-fat glazed lemon loaf
A roasted veggie and smoked mozzarella quiche
Spinach stuffed turkey meatloar

This week's (attempted menu):
Sunday: Spinach-stuffed meatloaf with roasted carrots
Monday: Seared tuna tacos with tomato-orange salsa
Tuesday: Veggie and smoked mozzarella quiche with a mixed green salad
Wednesday: General Tsao's tofu with veggies and brown rice
Thursday: BBQ chicken pita pizzas with smoked mozz
Friday: Most likely dinner out

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fusilli with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

This was really good and fast. I grilled two chicken breasts seasoned with lemon pepper, oregano and garlic powder and sliced them over the top.

3/4 box of fusilli, cavatappi or rotini pasta (good with whole wheat pasta)
2 c. arugula
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 4 oz. log of goat cheese with herbs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Reserve about a cup of the cooking liquid in case the sauce needs thinning later.

Put the drained pasta back in the pot and mix in the arugula.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet. When it is hot, add the tomatoes. Saute the tomatoes until the skins start to crack. Season with salt and pepper and mix into pasta.

Crumble goat cheese into the pasta and mix well until the cheese melts. Thin the sauce with a bit of the cooking liquid if it is too thick.