Sunday, January 9, 2011


My blog has moved to: - FOLLOW ME THERE!

I've been in the process of giving my blog a face lift for a while, and it's finally done (mostly). The best part is that my title 'Runner Foodie' will now match my blog URL address! It's the same blog with all of the same previous posts, but I will continue my posting there. Please check it out and leave nice comments :)


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Anniversary at Spiaggia

After 11 wonderful days in MN, Bryan and I drove home to Chicago on Sunday January 2nd, which also happened to be our one-year wedding anniversary! We had dinner reservations at Spiaggia that I had been excited for for months! Spiaggia is located at the top of Magnificent Mile, across the street from the Drake Hotel and looks out onto Lake Michigan. Tony Mantuano, the executive chef, was on Top Chef Masters and I can say after finally eating his food that he is a genius! They have hosted a load of famous chefs and celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts and President Obama. After I read about all of the online hype, I knew we had to go there for something BIG. And our anniversary was perfect. We were literally blown away at how good the food was!

They brought out a complimentary truffle plate for each of us, which was absolutely incredible. We had cocktails first and then wine with the main course. For the first two courses, we ordered a couple of small plates and then enjoyed our own entrees:
Wood-roasted pancetta wrapped rabbit loin and rabbit sausage with tomato, Taggiasca olives and fried sage.
Potato gnocchi with ricotta sauce and Savini black truffles.
Bryan: Wood-roasted prime ribeye, chanterelle mushrooms, pickled red pearl onions and wild watercress.
Me: Wood grilled veal chop with sweetbreads, cipollini onions, dried Pugliese cherry tomatoes and arugula .
They also brought out a complimentary platter of pastry desserts for us to enjoy. We didn't order dessert because we had our wedding cheesecake to return to (which by the way, freezes extremely well)!

All of the dishes were incredibly delicious. The gnocchi, in particular, was to die for. There were points where we were silent because we were so engrossed in how good the food was. Our whole experience was absolutely amazing. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants to have a fancy schmancy dinner at some point while living in Chicago!

Chicken Dumpling Soup

So, what do you do with the leftover chicken bones and pieces? Make soup of course! This is another recipe from my childhood that doesn't really have a recipe. Basically, you make your chicken broth with the chicken bones and leftover pieces and add a little salt and pepper. After that has boiled for a couple of hours, you debone the chicken and add the meat pieces to the broth and discard the bones. You can add a variety of vegetables, but I grew up adding chopped carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, turnips and rutabaga. Let those simmer for about an hour and season with some rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

Last up comes the dumplings, which are also made up, and are little pieces of chewey goodness. Start with 2 eggs and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and blend together with a spoon. Add a little milk and flour bit by bit until it is thick and just stays on the spoon. It is hard to know when it is exactly right, and it just takes some practice. It took me a lot of adding and mixing before it looked right to me. Then you can test one dumpling to see if it has the right consistency. Dip a spoonful of batter into the simmering soup and it will fall off the spoon and into the bottom of the pot. When it floats, it is done and you can ladle it out of the soup and cut it in half to test whether or not it is done. You might need to add more flour to thicken or more milk or egg to make it thinner. Once the batter is right, add the rest of it to the soup by spoonfuls. Once all the dumplings are floating, the soup is ready to serve!

Grilled Chicken

Sometimes you just need to have a simple meal. That's where this grilled chicken came into play for me. The beauty of it is that there is really no recipe to follow. I grew up eating grilled meats often and I just sort of knew how to do it. Basically, you want to season the chicken before putting it on the grill and I used some flour, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper and some liquid smoke (the secret ingredient according to my dad). It turned out very well too! We used organic free range chicken pieces from Trader Joe's, and it tasted great! Served with a side of mixed greens with dijon balsamic vinegarette and a dinner roll. So quick and easy!