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Archive for January 3rd, 2008

We rented a car and drove down to see Paul and T in Yorkville, Illinois, arriving around cocktail hour on Friday, December 28th. 9.5 hours! It was due to boarder complications (frankly, I think they take their time with each car on purpose, because they can!) and weather (at one point around Flint, we averaged about 30km/hr because of snow).

We shopped and shopped some more – outlet stores, more outlet stores and then there were the outlet stores. 1 pair of boots and 2 pairs of shoes later (2 for JT too!) we were almost done!! On Sunday we all ventured downtown to the Talbott Hotel a lovely boutique hotel down by the John Hancock Tower and Water Tower Place (where Oprah lives). We shopped at the infamous Filine’s Basement (which is on the second floor) and on Michigan Avenue. For lunch, Paul and T took us to the world famous Billygoat Tavern (made famous on Saturday night live – remember the cheezeburger skit?) We had burgers, yes, even me! Actually, I didn’t have much choice…the serving/cooking guy is just like the one in the skit, kinda pushy but friendly too! It was fun!

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See Photos of our trip here Chicago Trip December 2007.

In the evening, Paul and T generously took us to the Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock tower. It was magnificent! I had the Cured Tuna Carpaccio and Seared Scallops (which were HUGE!). It really was lovely! Thank you Paul and T!!!

OK, so here is the menu for New Year’s Eve 2007-8. It’s An Appetite for Europe, hitting countries at we’ll be visiting in May with Paul and T (in approximately the same order!).

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Course 1: Austria
Bunderfleisch mit Brot-Stöcken (air-dried beef with bread sticks)

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makes 4 per person

Ingredients:
16 bread sticks
8 slices of air dried beef, or proscuito sliced lengthwise in the centre
16 stems of baby arugula

Directions:
Wrap each bread stick with bunderflieisch, adding the arugula at the very top.
Serve on a platter.

Course 2: Hungary
Töltöt Paprika (stuffed peppers) makes 1/2 pepper per person

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cooked white rice
200g lean ground beef
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp hungarian paprika (hot or sweet)
1 tsp salt or to taste

Directions:

  1. Finely chop the onion and sauté until translucent, add finely chopped garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute. Add beef and sauté until cooked. Add the cooked rice and about 1/4 of the canned chopped tomatoes.
  2. Cut tops of peppers off, and clean out the insides. Stuff each pepper with about 1/2 of the meat filling.
  3. Put peppers into a shallow oven proof dish, cover with remaining canned tomatoes and bake until peppers are soft but still hold their shape (1/2 hr at 350F).

Course 3: Italy
Confit della cipolla e pizza di formaggio delle capre (onion confit pizza with goats cheese) (not my photo) makes 1 small pizza

Ingredients:
1 proofed bread dough, rolled very thinly
1/4 cup onion confit (slow roasted onions until golden and sweet)
1/4 cup goats cheese
4-5 leaves of arugula

Directions:

  1. Bake thinly rolled dough in a very hot oven 425F until golden on one side.
  2. Flip dough and cover with the onion confit.
  3. Crumble the goats cheese on top.
  4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until cheese is melting and dough is crispy.
  5. Rip the arugula on top and allow to wilt. Cut and serve hot.

Course 4: Italy (slightly unplanned as Paul and T had this at the Signature Room and wanted to know how to make them)
Parmesan Tuiles

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Ingredients:
About 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (the store bought kind works too, NOT lite)

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler to 450F.
  2. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a large cookie sheet.
  3. Spread the grated parmesan evenly about 2mm thick.
  4. for 8-10 minutes, broil until the cheese bubbles and turns slightly golden (if it’s not golden it will not crack). Watch this part it can burn easily.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Break appart to form bite-sized pieces.

Course 5: France
Beef Bourguignon (beef stew) Martha Stewart Recipe

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Course 7: Switzerland (out of order since we’ll be going to Switzerland for the day before we get into France!)
Swiss Chocolate truffles (no photo)

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