February 28, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup (FAST)

No not "Keep in Touch" like you used to sign in your yearbook, nor "HAGS" (Have a Great Summer). I'm talking about pre-cut and pre-seasoned Butternut Squash Soup Kit from Whole Foods. I found this in the same section of the store in a $5.00 clear container near the pre-sliced fruit (that are typically way overpriced since their price tags reflect their fruit, so other than watermelon, it's pretty much a rip off). Back to the point, head to that section & look for these kits or ask about them. They are awesome and very cost effective because you don't have to snoop around for all those tiny yet expensive ingredients and spices if you don't already have them in the kitchen. I love these and will continue to purchase them. This was the fastest soup I have ever made. I used my hang blender that Molly got me from my engagement party (best gift ever) and I was done with hardly any mess. I love it. Directions below. Pretty self explanatory. Perfect thing to make if in a tight time frame, or especially if you have vegetables already cut up that you'd like to blend together.

Pre-heat oven to 425
Spread out the chunks of squash & a little Olive Oil or Olive Oil Spray
Bake for 25 minutes or until soft 
Place into a bowl, along with 2 1/2 to 3 (depending on the thickness you like) cups of vegetable broth 
Blend for a few minutes, add in a pinch of salt, pinch of sugar (I use the calorie free non-artificial stuff from Whole Foods), and a few more pinches of cinnamon 


So easy!

February 27, 2011

Trattoria Number 1,234

I swear that there are over 1,000 "Trattoria's" in Chicago. We went to one of them last night with our close friends Christopher and Beth. They are an amazing couple that Doug and I have learned a great deal from (Doug works with Christopher now and has for years at his previous advertising agency). Beth is about to graduate as a doctor shortly, and is one of those people that has more unique and elaborate stories than anyone I know. Despite the fact that I'm not a huge fan of Italian food, when this couple asks you to go to dinner with them, (similar to Doug's "Aunt" Christie) you JUST GO. 

Trattoria No 10 is actually where we ended up on Saturday night. It's in the West Loop and is a restaurant which sits below street level, very old school Italian. Darker inside with mixed tile and floral carpeted floors. To be honest, I enjoyed the wine and the company more than the food...but don't get me wrong, the food wasn't that bad! I just am not a big pasta eater and getting very simply prepared fish at restaurants is only fun when you haven't been at a work trip all week choosing the seafood option at Italian restaurants.

I ordered some mahi with walnuts, butternut squash puree, and also some green beans. Prior to that, in addition to the Cabernet, I also split a prosciutto plate with Doug. Both were just "good" nothing was amongst the most amazing prosciutto or fish I'd ever had, but at least I had dark chocolate in my purse to hold me over before we went to Sepia for after drink drinks and dessert. 

Doug ordered a tomato based pasta dish with muscles, and Beth and Christopher ordered pork ravioli and a risotto dish. Both were good, but actually not what Beth had a craving for (thus our escape to the familiar and wonderful confines of the Sepia bar scene with our charming Aussie vest wearing bartender). 

{@ SEPIA, so therefore, the photo needed to be in Sepia tone, yes?}
I'd just say, that if you are craving Italian, just go to Rose Angelis on Wrightwood. You won't be let down. I included the photo of us when we were out, rather than any of our food. Nor did I want to include what we ordered at Sepia, since it would completely outshine everything we ordered at Trattoria.