The Come back kid…

I hope these last  months you have  enjoyed the bounty of the final summer treats and kicked into full gear the warm winter stews, hot cocoa, and yummy root vegetables.  As I hunker down into the heart of another Chicago winter and the new year upon us…it’s time for a little reflection and regrouping of this blog. Numerous things have caused a delay in posts, but I hope to get things up and running again.  Of course the focus will always be on healthy food.  I’ve seen some good things and bad things happen this past year as the vegetarian road was rerouted.  The constant tingling feeling in my fingers has disappeared, but an extra few lbs were added.   With the exception of a few meals, I can’t say that I actually enjoy eating meat.  Having that type of protein in my life seems more of a necessity thing right now.  When I look back to this past year of the actual meat I bought it was seafood, lamb, and pork.  A roast chicken seems to get me through a week here or there, but I am not gorging myself on it. So looking forward, I know that a plant based diet if more healthy then what I am currently doing…and that isn’t much.  In hopes of reviving this blog I’d like to add an emphasis on all things seafood that are sustainable and lamb.  Growing up lamb was a staple for the Armenian side of my family and my ‘body’ seems to agree with it, so I’m going with that.

The other part of this blog will also be dedicated to all the wonderful places in Chicago to dine.  My Godmother is coming here in a few short months and wants to go visit some of these great places.

After four long months, this new entry is broken up into two parts.  One is the Christmas eve dinner I made and the second part is a great place I recently visited.  I realize I am not a recipe developer, so occasional I will post a ‘revised’ recipe here, but until that time, I’ll add the link to the recipes and any ‘enhancements’ that were made to it.

I call this Kimbrella’s lamb.  Kim has been a friend of mine for many years and made this one year for Easter.  When she came to visit this year, I begged her to recreate it and I’ve been hook ever since.  The only addition I did to this recipe is made more slits in the lamb and stuffed the roast with a whole head of garlic.  Temperature wise it said to cook till 160 F, but that was way too done for me.  I would go with 140 F. Also, I bought a 2.5 lb de-boned roast, but followed the recipe the same. The other part of this dish which is a total keeper were the Greek potatoes. I finally think this recipe nails that wonderful lemon taste. (I used chicken stock)

Lamb recipe

Potato recipe

Since I am a fan of all things tea and had a few days off, I decided to visit another locale in Chicago to see how High Tea was done there.  The Drake Hotel is located at the very north end of Michigan Avenue. The hotel is beautiful and it was extra nice since all the holiday decorations were still up.  In life I’ve realized going solo sometimes to an event gets you to places where you never could go otherwise.  Front row of a show, learning a new custom because a local takes you under their belt.  Some of the best meals I’ve had were alone and left having made some incredible friendships. And high tea didn’t disappointment.  Inside the ‘tea room’ stood a giant fountain and I was lucky enough to score a seat right next to it.  The table next to me was enjoying a martini glass full of strawberries and sipping on a delectable glasses of Veuve. Next to them, the harpist was playing Christmas carols.  Ahhhh….bliss….

Tea was a Chinese black mixed with wild blackberries.  Four small sandwiches, a raisin scone, banana bread, and two desserts (mini key-lime pie and a creme filled pastry shaped like a swan).  Lemon curd, preserves, and double Devon cream accompanied the whole thing!  Service was top notch.  The afternoon was heaven and would recommend it should you be in town.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Come back kid…

  1. Linda

    Hi Melissa, I am so excited to see your blog back up and running. I’m looking forward to your visit, and more blogging, I miss you.
    Here’s to a “happy New year, out with the old and in with the new!”
    May this be your best year ever!
    Xoxo Secundo

  2. Mom

    So glad to see you back bloging about all things Cuchina. Sometimes I think the whole issue of temperature gets off base when our thermometers are not calibrated correctly. I think I will do an experiment with the 101 thermometers I own. I will let you know what I find out. But the question is, if they are not correctly calibrated how do you fix that??? Something to consider and start the New Year off with — thermometers that are accurate. And maybe a glass of champagne to celebrate that with.

  3. Melissa

    I think the oven temps are off and what our likeness of ‘done’ is different for everyone. USDA recommended 160 and they always play it safe to cover their butts, but more than likely the meat we have eaten in restaurants the temps are a lot lower. 160 was well done. Next time I am going to 140 and with carry over cooking, I think that will be just about right. Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks. xoxo

  4. Dolores Fasanella

    Hi Melissa,
    I was so excited to see your blog again. As you know, I often lived vicariously through you. Can’t wait to see you. Feel free to drag me around town!
    Love,
    Dee DEE

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