Monday, October 26, 2009

On the Menu This Week

I've mentioned about the seasons in Chicago, right? How there are more than four? It's sort of like Eskimos and snow for me...lots of kinds of seasons. Here they are, enumerated:

1. Summer (Memorial-Labor Day)
2. Back to School (Labor Day-September 30)
3. Fall (October 1-24)
4. Holiday (October 24-January 1)
5. Long Monkey Winter (January 2 -Spring Break)
6. Soggy Spring (Spring Break-May 14)
7. Spring (May 15-31)

We are squarely in Holiday right now with Halloween around the corner. We got jiggy with costume-making this year, and are festooned with pumpkins and Brach's Candy Corn, the only candy corn. Soon enough we roll into Thanksgiving and Christmas, with even more decorating, cooking and caroling. Holiday is AWESOME! I love Holiday as much as I loathe Long Monkey Winter. Chicago's cold, interminable drear of January, February and March remains a sticking point for me. I don't think I'll ever stop missing the sparkle of sun on snow in the mountains.

Anyway, the outside temperature is inversely proportional to the magnitude of hot peppers used in the Pinch kitchen. I'm not talking about full-on SPICY food, here - just a little sprinkle of cayenne here and an extra shake of chili flakes there does wonders for raising your body temp, keeping you toasty and just maybe fighting infection. It's like Green Eggs - just try it and you may like it.

I got cooking early this morning so that we could enjoy Italian Beef Sandwiches and Parsley Cashew Green Beans tonite. If you have a slow cooker, you can use it here. I don't - so I cook a tri-tip steak all day in a 200 degree oven, tucked inside a lidded French oven. It smells SO good all day. Get yourself a good jarred Giardinera for this - I like the hot, but you could cocktail the hot and mild.

Tomorrow will feature Adventures in Mole, Part 2, when Araceli (of Mole Verde fame) teaches me a red mole. I shopped for the chilis recently - pasilla, ancho and mulato - they're big and plump and I can't wait to try em.

Also on the menu this week is Rice Penne Pasta with Lemon and Artichoke Hearts, Salmon Sandwich with Dill Aioli, Chicken Pesto Salad with Jicama and Late Season Tomatoes, Orecchiette with Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe and an Asian-inspired night including Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Wonton Soup.

Oh, and I'm learning how to steep my own Yogi tea! Will include that recipe once I get it down. Happy Holiday!

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