How many times has this happened to you? You get home after work and remember you have nothing in the fridge. Or maybe you stop at a watering hole for happy hour and end up inviting half the bar over for a party, even though you haven’t been to the grocery for days. It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. So what do you do? You ad-lib baby. Ad-lib your ass off.
One of the few bummers about living out here in Seattle is that there are no Skyline Chili places. What the hell is a Skyline Chili you ask? Well, I’ll tell you, it’s a chain restaurant serving Cincinnati style chili. What the hell is Cincinnati style chili you wonder? It’s basically a greek style chili. In fact, the Skyline Chili restaurant chain was started by a greek immigrant, one Nicholas Lambrinides. Story goes that he opened a restaurant overlooking the Cincinnati skyline serving greek food. The chili was the hands down favorite and as they say, history was made.
What makes it so good? I really can’t put my finger on it. I’ve had other greek style chili and it’s pretty close to be honest. I think more than anything it’s a taste that sparks fond memories. Hitting a Skyline, getting a 3 way, 2 coneys and a large iced tea to wash away the stink of another Browns loss. Skyline coneys even became a sort of currency for us as well. “I’ll bet you 5 Skyline coneys the Bungles don’t even score Sunday” We’d meet later in the week and divvy up the wins. “Okay, I won 3 from Mike, and 6 from John, but I lost 8 last week to…” Lunches might go on for hours as the complicated math was figured out.
One of my favorite dishes in the world is Cioppino, Italian style fish stew. As with most dishes, there are probably as many recipes for Cioppino as there are people who love it. Not wanting to be left out, I offer up my take on the classic dish. As always, look at this as a starting point. Take away items you don’t like, add in ones that you do. Have fun!
We love fish, but after a while it all starts to taste the same. Smoked, grilled, grilled on cedar planks, steamed, it all gets boring after a while. Sure, you can make heavy sauces and such but that’s just masking the fish. I wanted something new that would allow me to have a new taste, but still know I was enjoying a good piece of fish. So last night I tried steaming some cod on pineapple, and the results were quite tasty. This is really drop dead simple to make. Give it a try, I really think you’ll like this one.
After our wonderful day in the mountains on Saturday, a trip to the coast was in order for Sunday so we decided to head up to La Conner. Sitting on the Swinomish channel, across from the Swinomish Reservation, La Conner is a typical coastal town, full of tourist type shops, antique stores and restaurants. During the summer months it can be hard to find a place to park in town, so go early. If you want to go during the Tulip Festival in the spring, my best advice is to book a room at one of the little inns in La Conner at least a year in advance. I’m not kidding. During the festival, this little town can quadruple the number of people it normally handles. Little tidbit of history on the town; When it was first settled in the 1860’s it’s name was Swinomish. A couple of years after settlement, a Mr Conner bought the trading post (and thus the town) and changed the name of the town to La Conner. Ah, Mr Conner must have been of French descent you say. Non! Turns out Mr Conners’ wife’s name was Louisa Ann Conner. Yup, he named it after her, and the La is just her initials. Feel informed and excited now, don’t you?
So you’ve taken the plunge, and you want to have a cocktail party. Cool! Much more relaxed than a formal dinner party, cocktail parties allow your guests to flow and mingle, or mingle and flow. Their choice really. You’ve got things rolling with good tunes, Quintetto X: Novo Esquema da Bossa for example. You’ve got some classic cocktails flowing. And the conversations are popping. All you need now are some classy canapés! I’ve got a few here to get you started. Keep in mind you really want the food to compliment the party theme. For example, if you are throwing a retro “Rat Pack” style cocktail party, you want the food to be hip and yet classy. Veggie tray with low fat ranch…..OUT! Hummus with warmed pita triangles and flat breads…Oh yeah.
Okay, now you’ve tried the meatloaf, and you’ve found that you have leftovers. It happens. You could just get a couple of pieces of bread, some catsup and call it done. Or you could go a little further and try something different. No need to worry or fret though, for we have the RECIPES!!! (and there was much rejoicing)