Welcome to One Little Corner of the World. I share with you new recipes, some family recipes, and the antics of my kids. Enjoy reading!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Strawbverry Festival

May 16 was our church’s Strawberry Festival. Every year the church puts together a beautiful day with two different bike rides, food, games for kids, crafts on sale, people to talk to, and of course – strawberries, strawberries, strawberries. It is a day I look forward to each year. Last year was the first year I worked the festival, and this year I didn’t work the day of the festival, but I worked the day before cleaning strawberries. It is a good feeling to help out.

I was a little worried about the weather, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. We got there early, and the kids ran around with their friends. One neat thing they did this year was release a bunch of balloons into the air. It was a pretty sight!

For the kids, there was face painting, two bounce houses, and some games. For the adults and kids, there was great food: strawberries, strawberry shortcake, ala mode, brats and hotdogs – the food was great.

I must say, that the strawberries this year were outstanding. They were sweet and juicy, and probably some of the best I have eaten. I can't wait to get some more since they are in season now.

Every year I look forward to the Strawberry festival. It is special, because it is the real first time we get to hang out outside with friends and family, and because we get to be with friends and family.

I took lots of pictures – mainly of the kids; my boys and some of their friends. The ladies are just a few of those who worked so hard to make the festival a success. Enjoy the pictures, and I will see you real soon with more recipes and stories!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Anthonino's Taverna

Friday night, a friend and I went to Anthonino’s, an Italian restaurant on the hill. It is one of the newer restaurants, having only been open since 2005. Located on Macklind Avenue, down the street from the corner of Macklind and Southwest, Anthonino's is located in an older building. Anthonino’s is an open inviting restaurant with a bar and seating for both the bar and restaurant. The staff is pleasant and helpful, and they try to answer any questions one might have. Since it was warm outside we chose to eat outside. With the large sidewalks, one didn’t feel interrupted by pedestrians who happened to walk by. We were, however greeted by Bob, the owners’ father. The family has been in the restaurant business for over twenty years, with their father having owned the chain, Athen’s Café.

We started out with Calamari and cheese garlic bread. The calamari was perfectly cooked – not chewy at all, and the cheese garlic bread was to die for. Being made out of chibatta bread added a wonderful touch, and no one can go wrong if bread is topped with provel cheese.

I then had the house salad topped with octopus – baby octopus. Since I have a frozen octopus in my freezer, I thought I would try some to see how it tastes. While it is a little more chewy than calamari, it is still very tender, and quite tasty too. I am looking forward to cooking my octopus. Included in the salad were tomatoes, peppers red onion, and a creamy house dressing.

If that wasn’t enough food, we then moved on to the entrees. I ordered Chicken Pesto Pasta, while my friend ordered the salmon pasta. Hers came with salmon, capers, red onions and an oil and garlic sauce. Very yummy and tasty. The Chicken Pesto Pasta had large pieces of chicken, cooked pancetta, gorgonzola cheese, and a light pesto sauce. Their pasta is ordered from Mangia, a restaurant on Grand Avenue that sells fresh pasta – it was by far, the best pasta I have eaten in a long time.

We ended the evening with an ice cream dessert called Galatoboureko, which was made at a restaurant I used to frequent a lot called Baldo’s. Located on Hampton Avenue, Baldo’s is an old world Italian restaurant that exudes its own charm. The food is fresh, the flavors very traditional, and it is still under the helm of the original owner. I learned something Friday night. Baldo makes gelato and sells it wholesale all over the city! I never knew that. This dessert is gelato covered in chocolate and topped with more chocolate. A perfect ending to a wonderful meal. We will definitely be back.

After dinner – we were stuffed – we walked around the Hill and found several things in shop windows that we would like to buy. All in all, it was a great evening! I can’t wait to go out to dinner again soon!

More posts coming soon! Have a great weekend!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gringo Meatballs and Baseball

Today I took my kids to the store – you know the drill, you end up buying way more than you want to, just because they keep asking for stuff. Anyway, they had food tastings today, which I usually pass – trying to watch what I eat, and the boys wanted to try spicy meatballs. They looked good, so I tried one too; and they were!

I should have known, with Gringo salsa as one of the ingredients. Gringo Salsa is made right here in Illinois; O’Fallon to be exact. We ended up buying meatballs to make them and I cooked them when I got home. While there is a bit of spice, the heat from the salsa is tempered by the honey. All in all a great dish! We have some leftover meatballs for another meal – great!

One reason I haven’t been posting as much is that not only is it the end of the school year, but there are tee ball and baseball games to go to during the week. It is enough to keep us really busy. These are pictures of my two little ball players.

Gringo Meatballs

1 jar of Gringo Medium Salsa
½ cup honey
1 tsp ginger
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 lbs. cooked meatballs – I used turkey meatballs (6 grams of fat vs 19 grams of fat)

Heat honey for 1 minute in microwave, add ginger, soy sauce and whisk together. Pour mixture into large mixing bowl, add gringo salsa, mix again. Pour mixture over meatballs in deep baking pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Italian meatballs are acceptable. Makes tasty hot wings, baked chicken, or pork. Use four pounds of meat at 350 for 2 ½ hours. (I didn't use the roaster method. I chose to put mine in a crock pot - the recipe card said you could crock it too, but didn't give directions. I just started out on low for one hour and then on high for another hour to hour and a half. Nothing could have been easier.

Thanks for stopping by! Come back again; I will have new recipes and stories for you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese! He likes it!! and a New Chicken Entree - Presto Pasta Too!

Ever since I got married, I have tried to make macaroni and cheese for my husband. Every time I make macaroni and cheese for my husband, he says that he would just prefer I make Kraft Mac and Cheese. The only other mac and cheese that I have made that he likes is a crock pot recipe that calls for a ton of Velveeta. It is good, but very heavy. A month or so ago, I found this recipe and on a whim, I decided to try it…..I sat on pins and needles waiting for Hubby to try it……he liked it. I couldn’t believe it. I found a recipe that he liked.

Since he likes this dish so much, I decided to enter it for this week's Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Patsy at Family Friends and Food. Check it out this Friday!

Mama Marini's Macaroni and Cheese from Cooks.com

1 lb. package (spiral ribbed macaroni)
1 lb. medium/sharp yellow cheddar cheese block, cut into small pieces - about 1/4 in. sq.
1 pkg. shredded Mozzarella
1 pkg. shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/4 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cups milk
dried bread crumbs - about 1 1/2 cups
salt & pepper

This would make a nice side dish to a baked ham or kielbasa for a large dinner, or be perfect as a main course alone with a light salad or vegetable.

Cook macaroni according to package - about 11 minutes, and preheat oven to 350F.

While macaroni is cooking, melt 1 stick butter in frying pan. Add melted butter to breadcrumbs in a 2 cup glass measuring cup or bowl. Stir and pack so that all crumbs are evenly coated and absorbed.

Melt the other 1/2 stick of butter in the same pan and add chopped onions. Cook and stir on medium/low heat until translucent and just beginning to brown.

Drain macaroni and return to cooking pot. Add shredded Mozzarella, salt and pepper and stir to coat pasta.

Add chopped cheddar to sautéed onions in pan, and top with the milk. Stir over medium heat until cheese starts to melt. Sprinkle a couple handfuls of the shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar and stir until chunks of cheese are pretty small, but not completely melted. Remove from heat.

If desired, add a little more salt and pepper to macaroni/Mozzarella mix. Pour sauce over and stir until well mixed.

Butter 1 or 2 large baking/casserole dishes. Pour macaroni and cheese mixture into pan (s) and smooth. Sprinkle buttered breadcrumbs around edges of pan, but not too far into the center.
In a diagonal design sprinkle lines of remaining shredded Monterey jack and cheddar over casserole. Bake in 350 oven for 35 minutes.

It turned out really well. The only ingredient I added was some Dijon mustard to add a little oomph of flavor. Very good, and amazingly very light!

The other dish I made tonight was a new baked chicken. At work we often trade recipes and try each other’s cooking. Tonight was one such night for me. one of the girls I work with told me about this chicken dish I made tonight. I don’t know what the name of it is, but I do know that it is very tasty and simple. The main ingredients are chicken and fried onion rings – yep the ones that go into the classic green bean casserole.

Chicken with French Fried Onion Rings

6 boneless chicken breasts
4 eggs
1 large can French fried onion rings
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Clean chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Beat eggs and put in shallow dish. Crumble onions and put in another shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg and then dredge in onions. Put on sheet pan that has been sprayed. Bake in oven until cooked though. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve.

The kids ate all their chicken; they really liked it. My oldest was worried about the onions, but I was quick to point out to him that I had loved these onions as a child. He agreed and told me that he too loves them as a child – they both still love Kraft Mac and Cheese and chose to not eat my version. Hubby thought dinner was great. I am glad that dinner went so well; we are eating this again tomorrow after a T-ball game.

That is all for now – have a great evening! Be back soon with more tasty treats!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Potatoes, Lobster, and Shrimp

This has been a very busy week. The boys are on separate teams for T-ball and baseball. While they are both having fun, I am going in different directions every day. School is also winding down, but that makes me busier than ever, what with trying to get finals ready and make sure I cover the material I am supposed to.

Anyway, this post is late as we cooked this a couple of weeks ago. While I was shopping on the hill, a friend showed me taleggio cheese, a soft Italian cow’s milk cheese which I hadn’t tried before. She also told me about this potato recipe she got from her brother that sounded wonderful. I thought the combination of red potatoes and arugula sounded great so, I tried it. Not only was it an easy recipe, it was also extremely tasty

New potatoes with Taleggio and Arugula

2 pounds small new potatoes, wiped cleanSalt
3/4 pound arugula
2 Tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound Taleggio or other mild semi soft cheese, thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water, set a lid on top and bring to boil. Add salt, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes; drain.Preheat the broiler. In a large bowl, toss the arugula with the olive oil. Transfer to a large ovenproof platter. Cut the potatoes in half and arrange on the arugula in a single layer. Top with the Taleggio cheese and season with salt and pepper. Broil for about 1 minute, or until the cheese melts, and serve.

To go with the potatoes, I decided to make lobster rolls. I just bought this new grilling cookbook, Weber’s Way to Grill, suggested to me by one of my friends. It is filled with mouth watering recipes for the grill – they have great directions and awesome pictures to make it easier to understand. I already have a list of things I want to make this summer.

Lobster Rolls

3 large garlic cloves – lightly crushed
6 tbsp salted butter – I added salt to my unsalted butter
4 main lobster tails – about 6 oz each
Kosher salt
2 tbsp minced scallion, whit and light green parts
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Hot sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh chervil
4 hotdog buns sliced vertically from the top – I used ciabatta bread, my new favorite!
1 2/3 shredded hearts of romaine lettuce – I used arugula lettuce

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the garlic and butter until the butter melts. Set aside about 2 tablespoons for brushing on the buns

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Carefully cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise. Season the meat with a little salt and brush some of the garlic butter over the surface of each one. Brush the cooking grates clean, grill the tails, meat side down, over direct medium heat with the lid open, until the meat is opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the tails over, brush with more garlic butter, and continue to grill until the meat is slightly firm, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, tomato, scallion, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and hot sauce. Remove the lobster from the shells and cut into ½ inch pieces. Add the lobster meat to the mayonnaise mixture. For the best flavor, chill at least one hour. Mix the chervil just before serving.

Using the serrated knife, trim some of the crust from the sides of the buns. Brush the remaining garlic butter on the cut sides of the buns and toast over direct medium heat until golden brown on both sides – about 1 minute turning once.

Place 1/3 cup romaine on the bottom of each roll and then top with the lobster mixture. Enjoy!!

The last item for the night was a Chinese themed shrimp that we also decided to grill. I didn’t have a recipe; I just decided to wing it. What came of that was a brightly flavored easy grilled shrimp that will be made again in our house. I don’t have measurements – I just added until I thought I had enough.

Chinese Grilled Shrimp
1 lb shrimp, cleaned
Soy sauce
Powdered ginger
Chinese all spice
Sesame oil - dark
Sesame seeds
Chopped scallions – white and green part

Combine all ingredients and marinate for 30 minutes before grilling. Grill over direct medium heat until shrimp are cooked through – watch so they don’t overcook. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve! Have a great dinner.

See you soon with more recipes from my kitchen!!!