Shiitake jerky round one

so shitake jerky is like 8.50 plus shipping for two ounces so I’m trying to make my own

These guys turned out nicely chewy but not as flavorful as I’d like.   
Marinating in Tamari and chipotle with a hint of smoke and Worcestershire 

  Drying in 200 degree oven 

The flavored needs built up…more garlic and more salt (since it was low sodium Tamari)

They are still good 🙂


Farmers Market Finds

  after a break of a couple weeks we hit one of our local farmers markets today and the first thing I found was tiny pea sized eggplants (that I thought I took a picture of but since I can’t find it, I guess it was a fail.
 I didn’t buy them because I was confused if they truly were eggplant but this is some of what I found online:


Eggplant varieties
It appears that there are several varieties of tiny eggplant…. Pea sized and green to red in color and usually very bitter (so probably a good thing I didn’t buy).

But my favorite avocado…the reeds are still in season
And they had western hole.  


 There is still plenty of corn, tomatoes and eggplant to be had.

  Corn from Underwood family farms


I grabbed some baby butter and baby romaine lettuces from Maggie’s farm

There was also fresh ginger and jujube

(I did buy some baby jicama that you see next to the jujube)… I’ve yet to try the jujube.

I also did a restock of the cheese supply from Spring hill jersey cheese
And caught up with the owner of our fav fresh salsa stand Salsa Poblanos as mentioned on chowhound. See the chowhound nod to salsa poblanos 

Okay….i think that was it this week.

El queso grande


The big cheese! Visit their website.

We have gone here many a Friday for a few reasons…

1)  “….where everyone knows your name…” It’s comfortable and the managers and servers mostly know us and know that we have special dietary issues:-)

2) we know exactly what menu items Jim can modify and what sauces he can and cannot eat, etc

3) the margaritas are good and inexpensive

The food is good…it’s somewhere in between authentic Mexican food and white bread Mexican food.

Last night we returned after a break (thanks to Kenvention shenanigans)

Staring off with the margaritas:

(Yep…he’s taking a pic of his marg)
I always start with a Top shelf which is a Cadillac with premium silver tequila (I’m blanking on the label) no salt

Second round is Grand Don which is a Cadillac with Don Julio reposado 

Last night Jim opted for meat..,carnitas

And I did shrimp enchilada

Through like 9 years, we’ve sampled all or most of the menu items and now are down to just the regulars that we know we like or that aren’t too huge to consume ( I always clean my plate…that’s ingrained from childhood)

Looking at our last trip, got the tres enchiladas (supposed to be one chicken with a sour cream sauce, one cheese with rancheros sauce, and one pork with verde but I modify and ditch the chicken and get an additional pork) and Jim got carnitas again!  Do the pics look the same?

Wow!  They are identical almost…that’s consistency….which is why we go back—we know what to expect:-)

Gluten free personal pizzas

So I found relatively inexpensive pizza crusts that were gluten free at Sprouts yesterday and tried them out tonight …. They were not bad!

Threw together avocado and bean and tomato salad on the side.


These were 3.99!  Usually like 8-10 dollars for one! Find them at Sprouts

A couple sweet pepper rings, kalamatas and jack cheese from  Spring hill that I pick up at the farmers market

Plus the side salad 

So good to be home and back to avocados on the menu daily!

If you have been paying attention you see bean and cheese combos in the meal almost every day I cook at home….dairy and beans/legumes help make a complete set of proteins.

Villagio in rosemont, ill..last Wednesday during kenvention

im almost caught up.  Nik took a group to dinner on Wednesday to Villagio…. It’s in a mall at the factory outlets And I had low expectations but they really performed!

We ate at the outside patio so the lighting was iffy.

The company was great too–Jim, Nik, Lamanda, lane, Donette, Lisa, Marie, Andy, Jef, and maybe that’s everyone !

The elevator ride was a whole other story…

So for starters…

 They called this a new fashion…it had flecks of basil… 

   Flatbread and bruschetta


  Carpaccio with the most incredible mozzarella


  My braised lamb shank which was fall off the bone yummy

Oh my gosh….I was bad at capturing pics that night

We also had a great meatball appetizer, calamari, Marie had a nice tiramisu for desert and everyone had really good entrees!

Spinach with eggs

Well…it worked but not as planned..


That’s the end result above…

I started with an idea from Bon appetite or somewhere with spinach and eggs and cheese

So today I bought spinach

Looked okay but envisioned tomato…but I felt not enough spinach so I added zucchini

Then simmered covered

Prepped cheese

Preheated over for bread

So everything simmered down to much and I had little  

So I threw in lettuce and let it wilt

Then added the cannellini

Added in eggs and covered again

Served it up with the cheese on top

Next time I’ll try with mostly spinach…just a lot more!

Bastardized puttanesca 


Still haven’t been to the store but I saw basic puttanesca stuff in the cabinet so I added more.

  Frying with the anchovies are some sweet peppers
Garden grown tomatoes joined in with sun dried tomatoes…a trio of olives-black kalamata and green.

Added white beans and liquid for their starch and aminoes…

Topped off with some micro planed hard Italian cheese and capers.  And it’s done!

And it’s vegetarian and gluten free!

(It would have been perfect with a ten dollar loaf of gluten free Italian bread but…no!)

A post Kenvention dinner

so straight home from the airport after being gone 6 days/5 nights….

What for dinner?

I have cannellini beans, cabbage, smoked jack cheese, home grown tomatoes, celery, shishito peppers and out came some cabbage salads not quite coleslaw…and roasted shishitos 

Dinner is served.   The most healthy thing I’ve had since Tuesday.   

Lunch at Hugo’s Frog Bar and Chop House at Rivers Casino

so behind with Kenvention Shenanigans at the forefront of the week.  This spot has become a new luncheon tradition during our time in Chicago.  Hugo Frogs is a traditional old school vibe steakhouse located in Rivers Casino.

We finally made it there Friday joined by our friend Jenny Jenkins..

Since it was breakfast at lunch time…I opted for the Bloody Mary and Jim had a fruity nonsense.

Jenny and Jim went for seared scallops and a side of fries for Jenny while Jim was prohibited…:-(

While I opted for the Alaskan King Crab Sliders and a giant piles of house made fries.

Next year I think we come back for a big fat steak!

Then we wound down the mean with a few pulls on the magic slots

Until next year….bye bye Rivers and Hog Frog.