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eG Foodblog: mhadam - Food for Thought, Thoughts on Food

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Lunchtime --

John (in case you didn't pick up yet - my husband works at the same company as I) and I split the piz and sandwich.

Sandwich was turkey, luxdamer Swiss cheese, and smoked Gouda with cucumbers on polish rye. As I'm still out of mayo, I used butter. (Maybe I'll make mayo tomorrow).


I microwaved the piz, as work doesn't have a toaster oven. As a result of the microwave, the whole thing was very soft. I'm glad I toasted the rye otherwise this morning since lunch would have been like baby food.


You could taste the piz was made with leftover potatoes rather than potato flour. :wub: That just made my day, as it tasted so homemade.

The filling was ground beef seasoned with nutmeg and allspice. There was some finely chopped onion as well.



As I mentioned a few days ago, the pizy are boiled after forming -- it's the pan-frying that gives them the crispy exterior.

I tried taking a picture of the Ikea showroom, I mean our cafe, but there were too many people down there to do so subtlety. I will try before we leave today.

Next set of pictures, assuming I don't munch at work, will be late this evening once I'm home from class. There will be snacks on the drive to class, but I left the bag in the car: Quaker Fruit Bites (I believe iced strawberry) and Safeway (generic Dominick's line) sodas. I have the apple/pear and John will enjoy the Strawberry/Watermelon.


Plan for tomorrow: breakfast at home, lunch from home, a stop at Trader Joe's in Glen Ellyn for groceries, dinner out at Francesca's in West Dundee - -it's a great Italian restaurant. Website address: Francesca's

Saturday game plan: early breakfast -- this is where I will be more traditional. What would you like to see? Eggs in some style: frittata, scrambled, omelet? Pancakes? Waffles? Biscuits? You name it and I'll try to make it, then we have our emissions test, after which it's to the Green Market, Whole Foods, taking my mom grocery shopping (insert Polish delis here) and a comfort dinner.

I will be on for another 30 minutes so feel free to ask questions. Oh -- do you want to see pictures of my food storage area (ie the place where I keep my jars and staples). I don't want to bore you, so I thought I'd ask.

Edited by mhadam (log)

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Explanation of what's in the tea drawer:


Starting in the back left corner:

Blue box -- jasmine tea that was a gift from a former coworker

Open box -- that is Puerh peach tea. My mom bought it for me at Wally's delicatessen

Rooibos -- another tea mommy bought me. It's an african black tea. Nice and strong.

Zurawina and Malina -- a polish tea :shock: it's cranberry and raspberry. Very tart! To sweeten it I add raspberry syrup. Not only does the tea become drinkable, the flavor composition isn't threw off.

Sylwetka Lux -- it's a weight loss fennel/anise tea mommy bought me. She thinks I'm too "happy in the middle" and by drinking a box of tea a week, I'll lose weight. :blink: Technically I will but it's b/c of other reasons. It's a nice tea though

Center row from the back:

That's a metal tin on it's side -- it has Swiss Miss cocoa packets

Jar with white lid -- Chamomile picked from the garden

Clear Plastic Container on it's side: green tea leaves

Long silver cansister: Dean and Deluca handmade green tea/jasmine flowers. Very pretty. Haven't had one in a while .....

Small jar with black lid (it's an old cavier jar) -- pion. Pion is wormwood. Great for tummy aches. Just a pinch in a cup of water and your all set. Again, another good way to lose weight *cough cough*

The silver packets are the earl grey. My father thought we didn't have enough so he insisted my mother buy me a case of 100 packets. It's a good earl grey from Poland. No idea what it's called as I threw away the box.

Right row from the back:

Pink container -- it's pink grapefruit tea from Tazo

Small green box -- it's an assam

and the large orange cansister -- whole bunch of loose black and green teas.

close up of the tea drawer


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Hey, I noticed you've put cukes on a few of your sandwiches. I love cucumbers on many sandwiches as well. I've mentioned it in another thread, but a truly great combo is:

lightly toasted rye



lots of very thinly sliced cucumbers


Thanks for the great blogging.

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Hey, I noticed you've put cukes on a few of your sandwiches.  I love cucumbers on many sandwiches as well.  I've mentioned it in another thread, but a truly great combo is:

lightly toasted rye



lots of very thinly sliced cucumbers


Thanks for the great blogging.

Yes!!! That was a staple growing up. I don't have any liverwurst though :sad: , we had it last week. Maybe I'll get some on Saturday.

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A cat that's 36 inches tall?  :blink:  :shock:  :unsure: Wow! What did you feed him when he was a kitten? Miracle-Gro? I don't know how tall my cats are, but MAYBE if they stood on their hind legs, they MIGHT be that tall. Cashew is very cute.  :wub:

Miracle-Gro :laugh::laugh::laugh:

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Great blog! It's been a while since I last visited Crystal Lake. Do you know some of these places: Genovese's, Bistro Wasabi, Texan Bar-B-Q, Gazebo Grill, D&J Bistro? Those were some of the places I ate at during my last business trip to the area a few years ago.

As for your cat, Cashew: WOOF! :hmmm:

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Just got home -- it's 1053 ct.

We are having Wendy's for dinner --




I'm enjoying a crispy spicy chicken sandwich and a baked potato. The chicken is breast meat that's breaded and fried. These are really good sandwiches.




As the fast food joint didn't provide sour cream or butter, I used my daisy sour cream and Land O'Lakes butter.



John is having chicken nuggets, and some small burgers.

A doublestack: ie two patties, cheese, pickles and ketchup


A Junior Bacon cheeseburger: ie patty, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato -- I think that's it.


The chicken nuggets were basic deepfried breast nuggets. Not bad, not great.

Tomorrow's an exciting day so I hope you stay tuned.

Night all

Edited by mhadam (log)

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So tired......I slept in till 6am!!! I should have been up at 430, so no breakfast today except for


Coffee from the Wild Bean cafe at the BP (formerly Amoco) gas station. We needed to feed the car anyway, and I thought caffenie was a smart move. I forgot the camera in the car -- sorry no pics of the inside. As they have a "make your own coffee bar" I took the 24oz cup and added

- 2 shots of hazelnut flavored coffee syrup

- 1 packet of equal sugar substitute (i prefer this in coffee as it melts better and quicker)

- 2 shots of half and half

- a few shakes of cinnamon

- 1/2 cup of Ethiopian coffee (light bodied)

- 1/2 cup of Costa Rican Tres Rios (dark roast, heavy flavor)

For John I made, again in a 24oz cup

- 2 shots of caramel flavored coffee syrup

- 2 packets of sugar (since he thinks equal is evil)

- 1/2 cup of French Roast (dark roast, heavy flavor)

- 1/2 cup of ..... I don't remember, but it was another light bodied coffee but not the Ethiopian

I almost forgot to grab something for lunch :angry: so i don't know what we will have.

The plan is to be out of work by 6pm, go to Trader Joe's and then dinner at Francesca's.

Edited by mhadam (log)

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I've enjoyed reading all the eG foodblogs, but this one has to be my favorite so far!

It's like Reality Foodblogging?

SB :wink:

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Don't worry about mess and clutter. Mess is good! Clutter is inevitably interesting! I like your cutting board shot after prep! I was contemplating a pile of moss and pine needles I picked out of some mushrooms last night, thinking I should take a photo. :blush: That is a heck of a lot of coffee! Did you drink it all? :cool:

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Don't worry about mess and clutter.  Mess is good!  Clutter is inevitably interesting!  I like your cutting board shot after prep!  I was contemplating a pile of moss and pine needles I picked out of some mushrooms last night, thinking I should take a photo.  :blush:  That is a heck of a lot of coffee!  Did you drink it all?  :cool:

Thank you everyone for the nice comments! I truly appreciate them.

When we were at the Morton Arboretum two, maybe three weeks ago I found some puffball mushrooms (the big white mushrooms that look like clouds). After much insisting, John let me pick them. I think I still might have some cell phone pics, if I do, I will post them.

Bleudauvergne – what type of mushrooms did you pick and where? I love to forge but there aren’t many places to around here though.

However, this is a come sight on the road, horses being transported:


Yes, I drank all the coffee and refilled it twice already. I'm getting hungry so I might need to forge for lunch. I’ll keep you posted.

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Lunchtime –


After much whining, I was able to convince husband that we must have lunch – if not for us than for the blog.

We went downstairs to Deli Time . Sorry no pictures, as it is a very small space with lots of people and I did not want it getting back to anyone that I was taking pictures. Corporate Nazis are scary and I prefer to not anger them.

In order for me to accurately describe what we are eating, I insisted we go “halvsies” with our sandwiches.

He ordered the Tuna Melt on wheat toast with cheddar cheese:


The tuna is canned white tuna packed in water. There is mayo, salt, and pepper in the mixture. A there is no celery or onion, it is quite soft. At least the bread was toasted for some texture. You have the option of adding lettuce and/or tomato to the sandwich but John passed.


To prepare the sandwich, the bread is first toasted. Then the premade tuna mixture is spread on, thickly as you can see, onto one side of the bread and topped with two slices of cheese. The second slice of bread is laid ontop of the cheese and the thing is slid under the broiler for a few seconds.

I ordered the Hot Italian, which comes on a 10 inch :shock: toasted French Roll.


The meat base consists of salami, pastrami, and ham with provolone cheese.


The veg on top are: shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped black olives, diced onions, diced tomatoes, and diced green peppers.


The whole thing is sprinkled with oregano and doused with “lite Italian vinaigrette.” The whole thing is run under the broiler.

It is tasty but huge! There is no way I could eat the whole thing and have room for dinner.

Both sandwiches came with a measly quarter of a pickle. It was all right.

I'm having one of my large bottles of water to drink. I needed to lay off the caffeine as I was starting to get the shakes.

Edited by mhadam (log)

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I was just given a cookie that will be eaten sometime this weekend. Thought I'd post it now lest I forget

It's a Pumpkin cookie with Cinnamon icing. The cookie is quite soft and the icing is firm enough that it cracks when you apply pressure with your finger in a poking motion.


Here is a pic of our coffee station at work


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It's 607 ct and I haven't left work yet. Looks like Trader Joe's might not happen tonight as dinner is set for 8pm.

Sorry -- maybe tomorrow.

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Dinner was wonderful, as it always is at Francesca's. We are what you can consider regulars and are quite intimate with the staff. This relationship adds to the whole experience for us.

The first few photos are dark, so I apologize if the images aren't that clear. I also have a copy of the menu, so if you'd like more info on a dish I can provide that. I don't want to type out the menu if no one cares. (I tried taking pics of it and I can't get a clear and usable shot - or multiple shots.)

When you are seated, the busboys bring over warmed bread and fresh butter. The tables are preset with flavored (herbs) olive oil, salt and pepper. Of course the tables have water glasses, bread plates, napkins and silverware.

The bread is delivered to the restaurant every morning. It's perfectly crispy on the outside and so delicate and soft inside.


A note on the tables -- as with most italian restaurants, the tables have the thick white cloth with the thin paper overlay. I love how the busboys use the "combs" to sweep away crumbs.


Francesca's offers a standard set of appetizers and adds on 3-4 special apps.

The standards:

Calamari fritti, mussels in a spicy tomato sauce, spinach with garlic and oil, bruschette roman style, carpaccio, and risotto.

Tonight's additions were: bruschette prosciutto (prosciutto, moz, tomatoes and basil), risotto with manila clams, prosciutto and grana parm, a salami salad and a wild mushroom polenta.

We had the calamari which is accompanied with a spicy tomato sauce that is made in house. The sauce base is shellfish. I did squeeze some lemon over the calamari. It was fresh from the fryer so it was piping hot and so crispy. We've never had a problem with the squid being rubbery or chewy.




Eight standard salads are offered in the summer/winter:

String bean, Tomato and Onion

Pea Pods, tomato and cuke

Tomato, onion and blue cheese

Asparagus, blue cheese and tomato

Dinner salad

Caesar salad

Insalata alla Francesca -- romaine, radicchio, blue cheese, and fresh veg

Insalata Caprese -- what we had. 3 big beautiful thick slices of ripe tomatoes, thick slices of fresh moz, hug lettuce leaf basil leafs, olive oil and freshly ground pepper - tableside. We each had a plate.


(Francesca's does offer Napolean pizzas -- we've never ordered them but they are quite popular. Again, 4 standards and one special -- tonight's special was intriguing: sliced grilled eggplant, ricotta and tomato basil sauce)


John usually orders off the Pasta section while I choose an Entree.

Six pasta dishes were offered:

Linguine con Frutti di Mare: Linquine with fish - shrimp, scallops, manila clams, mussels, calamari in a spicy tomato sauce. I've had this before and it's wonderful.

Penne con Escarole -- with sausage, roasted cherry tomatoes, white beans, garlic, pine nuts in a light herb broth.

Linguine all Amatriciana: onion, pancetta in a tomato sauce with parm.

Ravioli di Zucca: pumpkin ravioli with a sage brown butter sauce, veal reductoin, fresh tomatoes and parm. I wanted to have this for dinner, but ordered something sooooo much yummier instead.

Penne con Asparagi -- sauteed with asapargus and pine nuts in a lemon cream sauce.

Orrecchiette Bavosa -- John ordered and loved this. Orecchiette pasta sauteed in a light tomato basil sauce with melted moz, olive oil and parm. The dish was quite tasty.


Entrees: six entrees were offered. The 1/2 roasted chicken is a constant as well as 2 fish dishes. Tonight there were 3, plus a special not on the menu -- those who knew to ask were treated royally :cool:

Pollo Arrosto all Romana -- the 1/2 roasted chicken, tonight served with garlic, shallots, rosemary, lemon and olive oil. On the side were roasted potatoes.

Pollo alla Disperata -- sauteed chicken breat with peppers, onion, wild mushrooms, garlic, white wine and olive oil

Vitello al Limone -- I love their veal and have had it many times. Tonight it was prepared with a light lemon white wine sauce with capers and spinach. The spinach is sauteed with wine, lemon and onions. It's bright green, very fresh and a great side dish.

Salmone con Vongole -- salmon with manila clams, escarole, garlic, white wine and capers

Pesce alla Livornese -- roasted tilapia with peas, white onion, oregano in a garlic white wine tomato broth over polenta.

What I was going to get -- Pesce mia Notte: swordfish with oven dried tomatoes, roasted artichokes, capers, lemon and a brown butter sauce.

However I had a craving and was delighted when, one of our favorite servers -- Drew, said that they had skate.

I love skate! It's so light, delicate and has a natural sweet taste (almost like a scallop). The skate was prepared in a lemon and white wine sauce with fresh tomatoes and capers. On the side was some of the spinach, that I mentioned above. The skate was roasted. The edges were crispy but the meat was so delicate and tender. A spoon could flake the meat up. I tried getting a closeup but couldn't get a nice enough shot.


To drink we ordered two glasses of a Sonoma 2003 Cab. The winery was Stephen Vincento. It was a nice dry red that cut the sauce of the skate perfectly. I had two glasses.

Jamie, the hostess, and Stash, the host, brought us two limonciello's to celebrate our anniversary. We were also treated to a delicious lemon tart. The sauce was a puree of tart raspberries. The white fluff was freshly whipped cream. The fruit garnish was marinated strawberries and fresh blueberries. I love the little candle they gave us.


John had an Oban scotch with dessert, while I finished my 2nd glass of wine. I usually order a Strega, but as I had wine leftover.....

That was dinner.

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I love skate! It's so light, delicate and has a natural sweet taste (almost like a scallop). The skate was prepared in a lemon and white wine sauce with fresh tomatoes and capers. On the side was some of the spinach, that I mentioned above. The skate was roasted. The edges were crispy but the meat was so delicate and tender. A spoon could flake the meat up. I tried getting a closeup but couldn't get a nice enough shot.


Oh, that's a plenty gorgeous shot--of a really gorgeous plating. I love how they fanned the skate out so that it emphasizes the grain of the meat. Looks absolutely delicious with all those capers.

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As no one responded to my breakfast question for tomorrow, I decided that I will make a frittata, hash browns, and a salad of some sort -- maybe fruit or tomato, not sure yet.

The coffee press is prepped, the veg for the frittata are cut, the table is set and I just finished wrapping John's gift -- after much struggling with Cashew and the tissue paper.

Mizducky -- thanks for the compliment on the photo. It is a beautiful plate isn't it? btw -- your cat story a few days ago was so cute and heart-warming. Thanks for sharing.

Well good night all. Till tomorrow.

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Thank you for sharing your dinner with us. It looked like quite a evening. That skate...droool I won't get that out of my head until I have some.

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Yea, that skate you had last night has got me in the mood to find me some and cook it up right away.

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We are home after a long day out.

I will post a recap of breakfast and the day later. I need a good sit right now

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I must admit I have never had skate before, but after seeing that photo I am going to need to get my hands on some.

I look forward to today's recap... after your break, of course!

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Hi, I am really enjoying reading your food adventures, also it opens up whole new worlds for me being based in the UK.

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