There’s the mad dash from the gate. The in-fighting over the shaded spots close to the Pavilion. The pop up tables, real crystal, and vases of flowers. Everything you’ve heard about Ravinia is true. It’s at times chaotic and dripping with wealth, but the North Shore folks in khaki pants and claustrophobic lawn quickly fade away once the music kicks in. You settle into your bottle of wine, gaze up at the trees, and all your worries melt away.
For just ten bucks, you can sit in the most beautiful back yard in the tri-county area and hear some of the best musicians in the world. This particular Sunday it happened to be Idina Menzel with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Admittedly sniffly, and suprisingly crass, that bitch can sing.
With being in San Francisco since Tuesday, most of my CSA box is still at home in the fridge. But I managed to make some bang up meals before I left.
Ravinia date with myself:
An on-the-fly Spinach Artichoke Dip used up all the spinach I had left over, plus cream cheese in anything is delicious. Simply sautee the spinach until wilty (add a little water to the pan so it doesn’t burn. Mix with a jar of drained artichoke hearts and equal parts cream cheese and sour cream. I took this beauty on my Ravinia picnic before attending the live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion and paired with grapes, crusty bread, homemade pickles and a bottle of red.
In an attempt to throw as many of my box ingredients as possible in the same dish, this delight (not being facetious) started off with sauteed onion, kohlrabi, garlic scape and kale with a bit of soy sauce and a bit of adobo seasoning. I added ramen noodles and shrimp that were sauteed separated in butter, and was pretty much the envy of my Facebook newsfeed for the evening.
I’m thinking that at some point it would be helpful to find actual recipes to complement the ingredients that I find in my box, but honestly, I’m short on time and seem to be doing just fine throwing a little of this and a little of that into a pan and seeing what comes out. Maybe that’s the beauty of having fresh produce around all the time… it tastes amazing no matter what you do with it.
If only baking was that easy… but what with it’s chemical reactions and such measuring cups and recipes come in quite handy for that…
Any recipe that includes cilantro, avocado, and salsa instantly makes it to the top of my list. This one from Weight Watchers is very nice if you don’t mind a little kick in your dip. I don’t mind.
Creamy Mexican Dip
1 C. plain, fat-free yogurt
1/2 C. salsa (I used salsa verde, but any kind will do)
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/3 C. cilantro
1/4 C. red onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Garnish with more cilantro and onion, and diced or sliced avocado.
Serve with tortilla chips, or as a sauce to use in place of sour cream. I used some of it as a topping for chicken tacos last week and it was delicious. You can also add some drained, canned black beans to make it a sturdier, more filling appetizer.
Your RSS feeds will likely be clogged with a bunch of bloggers’ resolutions today. Rather than bore you with the typical “lose weight, blog more” goals that I share with all my fellow Americans, I shall ease your hangover with a beautiful photo diary of what my New Year’s Eve looked like.
A classy beer tasting party.
The fabulously retro party basement that lies beneath my humble abode
Classic hors d’oeuvres including a fruit and cheese tray, deviled eggs, creamy Mexican dip, black forest ham crostini, homemade peanut brittle, and Dragon’s Milk Stout brownies (recipes to follow for the rest of the week)
Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Unibroue Maudite (amber Belgian-style ale), New Glarus Moon Man, Stone IPA, and a special New Glarus Raspberry Tart for the midnight toast.