Friday, January 16, 2009

Muffaletta... Heaven in Sandwich form leaves me nostalgic for Home

Last night at the restaurant where Christian and I work some patrons were having their large holiday party. Our Friend and Chef Kirk, did a New Orleans inspired theme with roast beef poboys, boudin balls, crawfish potato salad, and of course "mini muffs", as I like to call them. He even ordered the bread straight from the New Orleans source, who happened to throw in some Hubig's pies as a bonus (got to love that). Thank goodness that these midwesterners didn't eat all of their muffaletta sandwiches because at the end of the night I got to take two big wedges home for me. Thank you Kirk for giving me a taste of home it was truly transcendent.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wine Braised Short Ribs and Creamy Polenta

For Christmas this year Christian and I received a Martha Stewart Dutch Oven (red of course to match my coffee maker) and the Martha Stewart Cooking School Cookbook. Last night was another wintry mix of wind, snow, and all around yuckiness, so we took the opportunity to make a rich, intensive, soul warming dish. I have been wanting to make Wine braised short ribs for a while, so when I saw the recipe in Martha's book, I took the opportunity. It came out so wonderful, though does take a few hours. We paired it with a creamy polenta that we added parmesan and farmer's cheese to and finished with a nice glass of Cabernet. Truly divine.

Voila! So Delicious

P.S. that is truffle salt glistening on the top. Just an added delicious factor to make it so worth the time put in.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

One of The Most Inspiring Women I have Ever Met Needs our HELP!

When I was living in New Orleans, I had the privilege of working at a Non-Profit Daycare and Preschool named Abeona House. Abeona House was and is a fantastic establishment that was started by some local mothers after Hurricane Katrina who thought the area needed a childcare center that fit more of their and their friends needs. They run the school by "the educational philosophy inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. Like Abeona House, the Reggio approach was borne out of community response to disaster. After World War II, the Italian government granted cities funds to rebuild a sense of community. Most cities built community centers, but the families in the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy used the bricks from bombed out buildings and volunteers from all corners of the community to build a school.

In this model, several key points converge, mainly; Respect for all individuals, each child, parent and staff member,
Open communication between parents, teachers, and children in the discovery/learning process. Sparking of curiosity and development of critical thinking in children. An extended-family atmosphere so that parents feel welcome and children feel comfortable. Recording and reviewing the learning process through documentation and Freedom of expression through a multitude of media and representations, also known as “The Hundred Languages of Children”

You can read more about Reggio Emilia and all about Abeona House and it's wonderful staff at their website ,
However, I am blogging about this because, the woman who oversees Abeona House is Emmy O'Dwyer. Emmy is an effervescent, passionate, and smart teacher and mother. Had the timing been right I would have loved to work for her forever. She is truly an inspiration. Unfortunately, we know that times are not easy right now for anyone, but they are especially tough for Emmy, her husband, and their three young children, all under five and one has special needs. Above all of this Emmy has survived Huricane Katrina and it's aftermath, started a fantastic non-profit childcare center (and is the director of it), works an opposite schedule from her husband, and is caring for her brand new baby. I can attest that this woman is amazing and needs a vacation. In an effort to gain a moment of peace for herself and an experience of a lifetime for her family she has entered a contest called the get away from home giveaway.

Contestants must enter in stories about themselves and their lives in which people then read them and vote for who they would like to win a vacation getaway the most. Emmy would love to take her family to Roatan, Honduras. Her husband and she have family there and they were also married there. By clicking on this link you can read more about Emmy and her story. By clicking the read more and vote button at the top of the page you can then vote for Emmy and her family to hopefully win this vacation. I hope you all will do this in helping her to achieve he goal, did I mention that Emmy has personally been teaching all of the kids at her school some spanish and also sings to them in spanish. She is amazing and truly deserves this.