07 October 2012

Golabki, Krasuski-style

Grandma Krasuski and my dad, Richard Krasuski, in Grandma's kitchen (c. 1957).

My grandma, Helen Krasuski, just turned 94 years old.  She lives in a nursing home now, and not by choice- believe me.  She lived in the house my grandpa, Joe Krasuski, and his brothers built in Brighton, Michigan until she was 92.  

The house that Grandpa built on Ore Lake in Brighton, Michigan.

When I was young, Grandma would cook like no one’s business.  She made everything- from pickles to many different kinds of pierogis to Czarnina (duck blood soup- I think my dad was the only one interested in that).  And the cookies she would bake at Christmas?  I could only dream about baking like that. 

09 September 2012

The Leanest Cuisine

I didn't forget about you.  I am just so busy this week...I have 29 adorable little five-year olds who need me!  You understand, don't you?

David came home last night after working the Bruce Springsteen concert, tired and hungry after a 15 hour day, and this is what he got for dinner.


A grown man...260 calories!  Who is responsible for this travesty?!  

That would be me, who ate a big bowl of pasta with tomato, broccoli, garlic, parmigiano-reggiano, and olive oil for dinner; surrounded by all of my teacher's editions, pencils, plan book, and two computers.  At 2:30 PM.  It was delicious.  I ate it all.  I didn't even think of making enough for David to eat when he got home.  Sorry, honey.

I am so busy.  And I am still looking for guest bloggers!  That's right, I am looking at you.  You can so do it.   

01 September 2012

The Recipe

Not a recipe!  This is a menu for a special dinner that Jacques Pepin cooked at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago in 1997.  Jacques wrote and hand-colored each menu, believe it or not.  David cooked with him that night, and Jacques signed a menu to him (see lower left).  It hangs in our dining room.

Recently, David and I were discussing the fact that people always want “The Recipe” for something, like it holds the big, fancy secret to why something tastes so delicious.  For example: someone once asked David for his recipe for roasted turkey.  Really?  Roasted turkey?  Well, let me check my recipe book....oh, yes...here it is.  Right between “hard-boiled eggs” and “buttered toast”. 

25 August 2012

Assorted late summer deliciousness

Steak dinner, chez Mom

Summer is almost done...go make some stuff and eat outside!

17 August 2012

In response to Take-out Chinese

Dear reader,

Please note, I was certainly NOT meaning to be offensive with my post, Take-out Chinese.  It has been brought to my attention that a few people, whose opinions are important to me, thought that my post was mean-spirited and that my intent was to make fun of Chinese culture.

This blog is written in the spirit of entertainment, and to tell the reader a bit about small moments in my life.  I really thought that I was making fun of David and I and how dorky we are!  I would never, ever publish something that I truly thought would offend anyone, nor did the thought even cross my mind that it could be seen as offensive.  I feel the same about the posts where I talked about Giada's head, or my chip-dip ear, or imitated a French accent.  As with those posts, I meant no ill will, bias, or racially motivated nastiness.

Please accept my apology if this blog post offended you in any way.  It was never my intent to malign anyone or any culture.  After much thought, I have decided to remove the post because it is apparently not being taken in the spirit I meant it to be.  And I really hope that Marcus and Jack never learn to read, or I am really in big trouble.

11 August 2012

Cherry Clafoutis

If you look closely, you can see the reflected image of me taking this picture on a cherry...kind of like the BVM (or was it Jesus?) on the piece of toast!

Cherry season usually ends by the first week of August, but I found the most gorgeous bunch of sweet cherries at the grocery last week, so I decided to make a clafoutis.  I adore clafoutis aux cerises, but I haven’t made one in years, since our Le Bouchon days.

03 August 2012

On eating alone

Salad in action

My husband is the chef, but at home, the cooking duties usually fall on me.  David does cook, too - but his summer schedule is such that if he is cooking dinner, I may have to wait until 10:00 pm to eat.  Ergo, I will cook dinner and like it, thank you very much.

25 July 2012

Cooking Show Lentil Salad

Lentil and brown rice salad from a cooking show.

I’ve never made anything from a cooking show.  Never.  Not that I have anything against cooking shows, but I just really don’t have any patience for most recipes.  Honestly, that is why I was never a great pastry chef: I had plenty of wonderful ideas, but I just didn’t have the patience to follow a recipe.  I just wing everything, which is either good or bad, depending upon your personal philosophy.  But a few weeks ago, when it was so stinking hot outside, I flipped on the telly in the middle of the day to see Giada.  I couldn't look away!  

20 July 2012

Summer of Hummus

Fresh hummus, veggies, and pita

For me, hummus is this summer’s mojito: last year, I drank mojitos like they were going out of style.  As it turns out, I was right: you don’t hear much about mojitos anymore, do you?  I rest my case.

13 July 2012

Where there's smoke...

Caught in the act.

I married a smoker.  
I know, I know...but really, I had no idea. 
Well, OK...maybe I just chose to live in a state of denial.  What was I thinking?

Looking back, I realize that all the signs were right there: the smoky smell, the sneaking off to the backyard, the glazed over eyes, the after-dinner need to take a solitary drive to Lowe’s, the lighters...how could I have been so blind?  I knew the truth deep down, but I guess I just wasn’t ready to accept it.

06 July 2012

Panini, Monte Carlo-style

Panini chez moi, with turkey, tomato, mozzarella, and basil

About ten years ago, David and I took an incredible trip to Nice, France.  After a few days of enjoying the sun, sea, and cuisine (including David’s dream of eating bouillabaisse next to the Mediterranean, gorgeous fruits and vegetables, lots of crepes Grand Marnier, rosé, and socca*), we got antsy for a change from the typical French offerings.  After enjoying some awesome pizza at a little Niçoise café, we got the grand idea that we wanted to go to Italy for a day trip.

27 June 2012

Culinary Literature: It's summer, and the reading's delicious

Wouldn't you just love to?

In the spring, I anticipated an extraordinarily luxurious summer break...over thirteen weeks of uninterrupted relaxation in the sun.  I envisioned those 94 lazy days to be full of cooking, gardening, painting, golfing, and running.  I would probably squeeze in a shower now and then, build a fire in the pit on chilly nights and toast marshmallows, go camping with David and the dogs in Wisconsin, and drink an occasional mojito in the garden.  I also planned to read...a lot.  I compiled long list of dreamy culinary memoirs and food books that I wanted to read over vacation, and I could hardly wait to begin!

21 June 2012

Thursday Night Out

This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
                                                - Douglas Adams, Writer (English)
Sidewalk café on Marion Street in Oak Park

Oak Park is a pretty cosmopolitan little village (most recently voted "Best Chicago Suburb" by Chicago Reader!) that offers loads of cool festivals, cultural offerings, wonderful restaurants, etc. for our proudly diverse population to enjoy.  What is terrific about being a part of all that (besides the secret handshake and the knowing wink and smile we Oak Parkers give one another as we pass on the street) is the sense of harmony and unity one gets when participating in these community events.  We refer to that feeling as "Oak Park-y", which describes a verrry special and unique wholeness, understood and appreciated only by Oak Parkers.

16 June 2012

Vegetable Gardens

My dad and his prized cabbages in the Krasuski family garden, c. 1974

I often wonder why people don’t plant vegetables when given the opportunity.  For me, one of life’s greatest pleasures is to cultivate a garden. Growing food is seriously the coolest thing!  I know that this is currently in vogue - blah local, blah organic, blah -  reasons both important and correct, true; but being a stubborn pessimist concerning contemporary ‘trends’, I barely pay attention to these.  Growing some of my own food connects me to my roots (no pun intended).

12 June 2012

Buttery Memories

Nothing beats brioche.

I love a good brioche.  When I was in Paris, my hostess Mme Bastié used to buy this packaged brioche (brioche tranchée nature) from Monoprix (the supermarché extraordinaire) for my breakfast.  It was bright yellow, buttery and eggy, and so soft that I could squish very generous amounts into my mouth at once.  I ate it every morning spread thickly with this unbelievably tasty, crunchy, sea-salted butter. 

09 June 2012

At the Farmer's Market

Who can resist?

Every Saturday, May through October, Oak Park hosts a grand Farmer's Market.  I usually go a handful of times a year, until our garden is ready; after that, I am so disgusted by the prices at the Market that I never want to see a fresh potato again ($3.00 for three teeny, tiny beets that aren't even organic?  Crazy!) But the funny thing is, the locals can't get enough- they are glassy-eyed and practically drooling as they line up, juggling babies, fresh doughnuts, and fistfuls of dollars to spend outrageous amounts of money on anything grown in Michigan.  Ah, well.  The stuff is usually quite good, anyway.

03 June 2012

La Cave

St. Marcelin ripening in my basement.

David is making St. Marcelin, an oozy, delicious, creamy cow's milk cheese from France.  Although since the milk, the cheesemaker, and the cheese are in Illinois, it is probably more correct to say "in the style of St. Marcelin".