Sunday, December 25, 2011

christmas dinner

Last minute bone in prime rib beef roast. Cooked with just salt, pepper and olive oil. Wine reduction sauce as well as a creamy horseradish sauce. Side of pasta with egg sauce made of basil, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

up in smoke cheese

Get it here.
To say Nick liked this cheese is an understatement. It opened a whole cheese world for him.

Monday, December 5, 2011

janet snakehole

laurenne ross

One of my new favorite Alpine skiers. Her blog is pretty amazing with beautiful photographs. Laurenne had a bad crash Saturday in the downhill at Lake Louise. Hope she gets better soon. Watch this incredible video she made when the US team trained in Chile last month.

ANOTHER SILLY SKI FILM from Laurenne Ross on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

turkey day

2 Cornish game hens cooked Grande-Mere style.
Twice baked garlic and parmesan potatoes.
Butternut squash curry soup.
Stuffing w/ apricot and sausage.
Apple salad (home made mayo dressing).

Nick said I may be a chef (may be).

scratch sheet

Arancini are rice balls.
Agnolotti is roast beef ravioli.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Food Inspections

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Friday, November 11, 2011

existential horrors

"It's one way of coping with existential terror, maybe, is to take refuge in the adorable, in safe, silly things, and creature comforts"
Maria Bustillos

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

pharmacy rage

Me: pharmacies can be some pretty inefficient places
Joe: yes
Me: she had me wait while she tuned up her stapler
Joe: that's so weird
Me: almost jumped a counter

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

wild rice is code for...

M: grocery store
M: I think a gay guy was hitting on me
M: in the dried spuds section

J: damn
J: did you flirt back
M: I was confused

M: "why is he buying dried spuds..."
M: I was more focused on the difference between scalloped and au gratin

J: haha
M: and I asked what he was looking for and he said wild rice
M:I said it was down there (points to right)

J: is "wild rice" a code
M: not when it's one section over I guess
M: it's hard to meet someone over dried spuds I'm thinking

J: yes
M: the odds are against meaningful dialogue
M: I was trying to read the boxes

J: what was the difference?
M: I couldn't get past all the mumbo

J: thats a funny mental image
"au gratin" is French for "with cheese." Scalloped potatoes do not have cheese. If they do, they are misnamed and should be called Au Gratin. You can mix them, no problem

J: mystery solved
M: this is funny- I bought "Cheesy Scalloped"
M: so- more mystery
M: So, this guy goes- "there sure are a lot of potato varieties"

J: haha
J: that is funny
M: especially when you need rice

M: I didn't mention- I was wearing jean on jeans
M: jean jacket with jean pants
M: that was just inviting it

J: inviting trouble yes
M: Nick disapproves
M: But, see proof here-
M: it's not insane
M: Not Tom Selleck territory.
M: 1-- Dork Dad --6--Tom Selleck --7-- Sort of gay --9 -- Steve McQueen --10
M: That's the jean on jean scale

Sunday, October 9, 2011


"Her mouth tasted like milk, Polo mints and Dunhill International."

apple salad

My mom's apple salad. Just mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar, lemon, nuts and milk. I have no idea why anyone would want to crap this out with grapes and celery. In this one above I made the mayonnaise myself so, extra tart and lemony.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


My first job in Chicago was at the Limelight when it just opened in 1985. I had just started attending the Art Institute and I wasn't even 21 yet. Peter Gatien was there to hire people and there was this long line down the block. Everyone else in line looked pretty normal and I felt a bit out of place with what I was wearing. I had these blue and green plaid pants rolled up with boots and suspenders and my shirt was an old French paratrooper snow shirt (?) that had an 8" collar. I had the collar tucked down and pinned together with a seahorse. I wish I had a picture of that. Peter Gatien took one look at me and said I was hired.

I worked there a few months and it was rough with school. Breakfasts with crew or after parties that went from 5AM - 1PM. You feel like a zombie after a while. One of my teachers threw an eraser at my head when I fell asleep in her 9AM class. Later, when I knew her better and she knew who I was dating from school (and would later marry), she thought it was perfect. I was fired for walking out with a beer which basically everyone there did. We all took beers and went and smoked somewhere and talked and then took the train home. Somehow I was singled out that night. No great loss there.

you are my alligator

Saturday, September 24, 2011

fire island beach house

This was my favorite house on the stretch of beach we where near. You could look right through it.

Also, this boat was anchored offshore during the stay and I was fascinated by the compact functionality of it. The surf board rack alone kills. It had this perfect metal cabin with removable chairs. I'm not in the market for a clamming boat but if I was...

things I want to build

I really want one of these but $2K is steep.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

felt tk4130 2011

I would need to see these faux wood tires in person but otherwise this is a very nice track bike.

Monday, August 29, 2011


How I spent my vacation.
I built that wine shelving with some really basic tools. The color is 'Lady Bug Red' which was insanely perfect.
The wall colors I picked were: French blue, black chalk board paint, dirty soft umber and a creamy grey.
I had the best time with Eileen and George and their kids and friends and co-workers.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

new diet

This is a flank steak char broiled and served over a sunny side up egg on a tortilla.
The potatoes are lemon, olive oil and oregano.
Black beans with sweet onion and banana pepper.
Sour cream and salsa condiments.

This is all you get all day. It is enough.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

mireille mathieu

I don't know why I like songs that remind me of grocery stores in the 70's but I do.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Still practicing.
With a home oven you need to cook the dough a bit first and then add the Mozzarella.
I was a tad early here.


I've been making this same dish over and over. Small tweaks.
I broil back ribs with just salt and pepper.
Then I make a BBQ sauce from soy, brown sugar, apricot, pickled hot peppers and black bean concentrate.
I put this on the cooked pork and it goes back under the broiler for a few minutes. It burns quickly!.
The remaining sauce is tossed into some pork broth with some chili pepper and fish sauce. Onions and mushrooms are sauteed separate and added to the broth.
I buy fresh noodles from China Town.

garfield park

I'm sure everyone else shoots plants.

chicago slo mo

Summer Sped Up (A Chicago Timelapse) from Josh Kalven on Vimeo.

candy bars in descending order

Charleston Chew
York Peppermint Patty
Mr Goodbar
5th Avenue
Nestle Crunch
Milky Way
3 Musketeers
Oh Henry
Baby Ruth
Reeses Nutrageous
Clark Bar
1000 Grand
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Almond Joy
Hershey's with Almonds

Friday, July 22, 2011

i did this


A few dozen people asked if I offered this service. No, I am not a boat name painter and I would never do this again.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I've been watching these all afternoon. It's looks very complicated and I do not have the hands of a cheese maker.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

for my fridge

Pink Himalayan Salt Blocks

Of all the places to buy this I got it at The Field Museum Store online.

Update: Nothing in my fridge goes bad anymore and there are no smells. Buy one of these yesterday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

pork carnitas baguette

Inspiration from Xoco (Rick Bayless's new takeout Mexican place with wood fired oven):

Ahogada: Golden pork carnitas, black beans, tomato broth, spicy arbol chile sauce, pickled onions. (Dine-in Only) 9.50

My version (horrifying photo):

The name 'ahogada' refers to a really crusty bread served in a spicy vinegar broth. My version is a sweeter/soggier americanized take that is more closer to a Chicago style Italian beef with Mexican flavors and pork. The ahogada bread is traditionally a hard sour dough torta which is great, but I couldn't even find torta's local (well I could but, lazy) and went French bread.

Maybe this is more Asian? I wanted the correct sweet pork/sour vinegar to be more balanced. I took a pork shoulder from the butcher and parboiled it with chicken stock, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, sea salt, bay leaves, paprika, dry tamarind, black pepper and a red pepper vinegar slosh I keep around.

I sauteed the onions and banana peppers in the pork fat broth from the parboil with extra butter (this is the sweet). I also cooked some black beans in the same.
The final sandwich is French baguette with a smear of black beans topped with sour cream and onion/pepper mix on top. Add the chopped up pork shoulder after you cook off extra fat on a baking sheet. This is pretty caramel like on it's own with the pork fat. I took the stock from cooking the pork shoulder and skimmed the oil off and then added tomato paste, oregano, lime squeeze and cayenne pepper to create the broth. Add some fresh cilantro.

I worried mine would be too hot and was conservative on the heat but I think it makes more sense to create a 'hot' cooked down version of the tomato broth on the side to drizzle on your bites.

Conclusion: Nick loved it. This is a hard meal to fuckup.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

ai weiwei

Recent China detainee Artist Ai Weiwei.
Sign the petition for his release here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

neapolitan oven step by step

This is Donatella's in NY. The final result got kinda crapped out in my opinion.

From the oven master via nyt:

Her mentor will be Enzo Coccia, 48, a third-generation pizzaiolo who began working with his father at age 8 and now runs Pizzeria La Notizia on Via Michelangelo da Caravaggio in Naples. Mr. Coccia will soon travel to Manhattan to build the oven.

“Now, only a few families know artisanal oven-making,” Mr. Coccia said in a telephone interview, “brick by brick.” Pizza has been made this way, Mr. Coccia said, “for more than 250 years in Naples, in a way that is very specific to us. Everyone asks about the secret formula, but it’s mostly not about the ingredients. It is the construction of the oven, and a sensibility — a feeling, from years and years of making the dough and understanding the process.”

This will be buffalo-milk-mozzarella pizza, San-Marzano-tomatoes-grown-in-volcanic-soil pizza, pricey-high-protein-Italian-wheat-flour (grade 000) pizza. There is also water, yeast and sea salt: the dough is (lovingly!) hand-slapped, cut, pulled. Verboten: the churn-and-burn pizza — where the yeast rises quickly. The dough requires small amounts of yeast and a long fermentation time — some 10 hours — “which prevents bloating,” he said. “That is why we run out of dough. We can only prepare so much.”

Pizza must cook from 60 to 90 seconds only — “to achieve the proper softness and lighteness,” Mr. Coccia said. The center of the oven must be 869 Fahrenheit (465 centigrade) — “no higher, or it burns,” he said. But the oven must accommodate a different temperature for the center interior, “where the tomatoes are,” a feat that he said required indigenous volcanic-mud bricks.

He declined to answer most questions about how he will build the dome — the right thickness and the correct mixture of “sand from the beach that absorbs the heat,” he said. And he forbids photography of that part of the construction.

He did allow that the oven “coupola” — the dome — will be more compact than most, “since the heat needs to be concentrated,” Mr. Coccia said. There is the relatively small mouth of the oven — a third the diameter of a garden-variety oven — to keep the heat from dissipating. Only the most skilled pizza-makers can push pies (no more than four at a time) in and out of the constricted space.