Search Good Living

Monday, July 23, 2007

The French Market

You MUST come if you've never been.

Downtown Wheaton, Saturday's from 8:00 am-2:00 pm, just south of the train tracks on Main Street. People come from all over to partake of the Great Harvest Breads, to smell Ari's beautiful flowers, to buy jewlery and knock off purses, and my personal favorite, Suzette's Creperie stand. They have lemon blueberry bread pudding, croque monsieur sandwiches, hot and fresh pomme frites with habenero lime dipping sauce and every kind of freshly made crepe.

The beauty of the summer fruits and vegetables overwhelmed me this weekend, it's impossible NOT to be inspired by the cherries, lusciously ripe peaches and sweet corn from just down the road.

Make sure you go early enough to buy one of Hahn's Bakery's double fist-sized, mixed berry scones. They're gone by 9:30 am. Really.


Anyone remember this? Now, one year later, I decided I'd update the people (or person, or most probably, no one) who might wonder "Gee, did those 15 foot dogwoods ever grow back from the butchery inflicted on them?"
Yes. Yes they did, and they now almost cover the sight of our neighbors air conditioner once again.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Menu Ideas

Menu ideas for this month:

1) Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
Basmati pineapple rice
Sauteed asparagus with lemon
Trader Joe's Pot Stickers

2) Grilled BBQ Chicken (dry rub marinated then brushed with Sweet Famous Dave's sauce)
Grilled corn on the cob
Spinach salad with feta, strawberries, brioche croutons and poppy seed dressing (Or the spinach salad mix from Trader Joe's, add the strawberries)
Sweet potato oven fries (Frozen section, Trader Joe's)
Tiny cream cheese biscuits

That's it for this week, the biscuit recipe is awesome, one of my husband's favorite things. Super easy too:

Cream Cheese Biscuits
1 stick of butter, softened
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1 cup self-rising flour
4 TB. sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Gradually add flour and sugar at low speed until just blended.
Spoon the dough into ungreased mini muffin pans, filling them almost full.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until golden.
Serve hot with plenty of your favorite jams on the side.
Yields about 1 1/2 dozen

What to do, what to do...

I've got ripe tomatoes coming out my ears! Trying to decide what to do with them all is certainly a challenge. A lovely Insalata Caprese might come to mind, but unfortunately I have a husband who is interested in neither fresh tomatoes or fresh mozzarella. He'd end up eating a pile of basil.

So, I decided to make a big batch of salsa, perfect with El Milagro corn chips when company comes over, or even giving jars away as gifts. Here's my current favorite recipe:

Roasted Tomato Salsa

1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced

Juice from one lime, more to taste

6 tomatoes

3 jalapenos, halved lengthwise, seeded and stemmed

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, more to taste

1 TB. sugar, more to taste

In a small bowl, soak the onion in lime juice for 15 minutes. In a heavy, dry skillet over medium-high heat, roast the tomatoes 12 minutes, garlic for 3 minutes. Pulse in a food processor until slightly chunky. Transfer to a serving bowl and add onion, juice, cilantro, salt and sugar. Adjust taste. Refrigerate up to a week. Yields about 2 cups.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Favorite Moments of Summer 2007

The hot summer days are slipping away quickly, it's hard to believe summer is half over already! Here's yet another list of my favorite things experienced the past two months:

  • The sublime bruschetta at an italian restaurant named Biaggi's. The perfect balance between sweet tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. Similar to a Maggiano's...go if you're near one.

  • Experiencing the French Market downtown Wheaton every Saturday endless array of beautiful produce, freshly baked french pastries, breads (Great Harvest's monthly pizza bread is the current fav), jewelry, linens, flowers and more. Get your morning coffee and grab a pistachio chocolate chip roll from Suzette's booth, you can't go wrong.

  • Slipping into the pool after baking all afternoon in the sun. Thanks for being such a good napper for me Sam!

  • Learning how to grill the perfect burger on Father's Day: Start with ground chuck. Season well with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a TB of ketchup, don't overmix or pack as you form the patties. Place patties on a medium-hot grill (about 425-450 degrees) and grill with lid open for four minutes. Flip once patties release easily, close lid and grill for four more minutes. Check temperature, once they reach 150 degrees they are perfectly medium, juicy and delicious. Serve on freshly baked, brushed with butter and grilled, Breadsmith buns.

  • Uncle Julio's Mexican Restaurant. In one word: GO. Go now. Get a Sauzo Hornitas margarita on the rocks with salt, the chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce and gorge yourself on their fresh and hot chips and salsa. It really is as good as it sounds. Located right by P.F. Chang's, just past Yorktown.

  • Iced vanilla lattes in morning and a long walk under tall trees through the north side of town

  • Grilled Great Harvest Popeye bread, brush it with olive oil first.

  • Spending time and making conversation in the shade with precious great grandparents. It is so wonderful to have them close by and a special blessing that Sam will know them!

  • Summer berries and produce in general. I am currently obsessed with white nectarines and blueberries

  • Corn. Corn corn corn corn corn. Corn on the cob, corn in salads with tomatoes and basil, corn all the time, anywhere. Corn.

  • Picnic suppers from Fox and Obel and weekend concerts at Millennium Park with city friends. The perfect setting for a great meal and good wine.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Remains of a Day

It was our last meal.

Our last official outing as a couple with no kids and I was determined to make the most of it. S and I headed into Chicago for breakfast at the much lauded Fox and Obel, we split orders of their challah orange french toast and the scrambled eggs with bacon and each had a caramel latte. Utter decadence--my nine month pregnant belly didn't have much room in it to store the food. Reading in the big windows overlooking Illinois Street was fun, we luxuriated in just taking our time knowing we had no agenda except to enjoy ourselves.

S was so good to me, letting me do all my favorite things: shopping along Michigan Avenue, reading books and skulking through the gossip weeklies at Borders, and finally, an early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders.

Its tiny write-up on Metromix nowhere NEAR does it justice. I have a friend in Delaware known to make the trip out here just for this meal. They have something called "Med Bread," their pizza dough covered in olive oil, herbs, spices and Parmesan cheese and baked so that it hangs two inches off the plate they serve it on. Then there's the small mountain of salad with their two homemade dressings served in small silver pitchers--creamy garlic and sweet poppy seed. I personally enjoy dipping the bread in the dressings, weird but delicious.

And the pizza. OH the pizza. It's like nothing you've ever experienced, more like pizza pot pie then anything else. You choose the crust (white or wheat, go with white), the sauce (veggie or meat, go with's much better), and whether you'd like big button mushrooms baked in it. (Go with your gut on that one.) 30 minutes later, the waiter comes out with a 1 lb. bowl topped with a layer of crust, flips it over on his oven mitt onto your plate and splits in two. Voila, pizza-pot-pie oozing all over with utter deliciousness.

Only I would take a picture of it, documenting it for posterity.

Bring cash, they don't take anything else, and go early. Really, really early.


Sunday, July 08, 2007


Eleven pairs of flip flops. In colors that range from hot pink, to brown leather to lime green. I officially declare a moratorium on buying flip flops. No more!

Creative Hilarity

We live in Mayberry. Not really, but almost. Our town pulls out all the stops for the annual 4th of July parade, and everybody turns out for it. Literally, 70,000 of us.

As much of the Chicago area has experienced by now, the cicadas have inundated us for the past couple of weeks. Their crunchy, brown little bodies litter our yards, their beady red eyes stare down at us from the heights of the trees, and the endless BUZZZZZZZ sound of them laughing, mating, and doing whatever cicadas DO is never ending.

That is why I thought this particular float was hilarious, gigantic speakers produced their trademark continual buzz, and 12 people danced in front in cicada costumes, with legs protruding from their bellies.

I love Mayberry.

Why I haven't been posting much...

Boy, life sure has changed. For the better, for the most part, but changed forever. Baby S is hilarious but very time consuming. I'll try to be better in coming days, it's important to still "feed" the fluffy parts of life too, right?