Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Resolved: A Roundup.

I'm not really a fan of new year's resolutions. But apparently everyone else in Chicago is, judging by the fact that tonight was the busiest I've ever seen my gym (which is the giant Crunch on North & Clyborn-- I could barely find a machine!), and by the fact that, according to my roommate, the line at Subway today was about 50 people longer than normal.

Anyway, I just think that rather than making a big deal out of setting some generic goals every January 1st (get fit, eat healthier, blah blah blah), I'd rather live all year according to a few simple principles. What are my principles? Live honestly, and make good decisions. Pretty simple, but I think it keeps me on track. Most of the time.

That said, I do have one thing I DO want to improve on in the future-- not just because it's the new year of course-- and that thing is taking more pictures. Specifically, more pictures of my food-and-drink related adventures, hence more illustration for the blog that even my colorful, ravishingly descriptive prose cannot provide. I know I need more to make this thing less wordy and more entertaining... so don't worry, it'll happen. Thanks for sticking with me.

And now, for a picture-free roundup of my tasty adventures that took place over what we'll call "the holiday hiatus". Maybe if mom reads this she'll send me the picture of number three... which I subsequently forgot to download off of her camera.

1. Lisa and Ted go to Cooking Class

Seeking to bump up our culinary bravado, Ted and I went to a cooking class at The Chopping Block's Merchandise Mart campus on December 18th. The class was called Totally Hands-On Tapas, and this is what we made:

Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs) in Fresh Tomato Sauce
Bacon Wrapped Scallops
Jicama, Avacado, and Grapefruit Salad
Chicken Croquetas with Garlic Aioli
Marinated Mushrooms, Peppers & Olives Salad

To make all of this, Ted and I were put in a group with another guy, and there were two other groups of four who all made the same menu. We were next to what appeared to be a twenty-something guy and girl... and their moms. What ensued was a pretty funny display of bickering and haggling over exactly how things should be done ("That's not how I do it!" "Mom, that's why we're in a CLASS"). Ted and I did our best to bite our tongues, although I'm afraid an errant snicker may have leaked out once or twice.

Anyway, I thought that the instruction was pretty good, and I certainly benefitted from the chopping and seasoning tips I learned. Ted, however, was painfully bored. Listlessly, he followed along, perfectly slicing every fruit and vegetable... since he pretty much already knew how to do everything our teacher was trying to teach us. When I asked him how he already knew how to do stuff, he'd just sigh something like "I mean, I saw it on The Barefoot Contessa...." and carry on. Well, next time, we'll have to do something more exciting. Like Iron Chef...

2. Ted and Lisa make Bolognese from Scratch

On Friday December 22nd, Ted and I made a lovely Bolognese sauce from scratch using:

Ground Turkey (a healthy, and VERY tasty alternative to ground beef)
Minced Garlic
Chopped Onion
Chopped Carrots
Fresh Basil
A Can of Crushed Tomatoes

We ate it over spagetti. DE-LISH!

3. Leftover Christmas Brunch Ham-and-Cheese Sandwiches

were a big hit at home on Dec. 26th... I asked my dad to make one for me in his special way. He took slices of our leftover Harrington Ham and layered them under cheddar cheese on wheat bread... delish with salt'n'vinegar chips.

4. Boston.

I do wish I'd taken pictures of this one. On Dec. 27th we took a family day trip to Boston, my adoptive home city. Go Red Sox, go Pats. We went to the Museum of Science to see an Imax (aww) and then went to dinner at a DELIGHTFUL little Italian restaurant called Assaggio in the North End, then to the famous and delectable Mike's Pastry (arguably the best cannoli in America) for dessert.

5. Vermont, Part Deux

On a quick day trip to visit the relatives on Dec. 28, the highlight was my Aunt Alison's meatballs. She makes them every year and they are still my favorite meatballs ever.

Sidenote: I also had amazing homemade food on Christmas Eve and Day, but I simply don't have time (or pictures) to gush about it. I guess I'm forced to make a "resolution"... to do those meals next year.

Happy 2007, Everyone!

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