One Evening in Chicago, by photographer Eric Hines. I love my city.
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One Evening in Chicago, by photographer Eric Hines. I love my city.
Friends! I’m super jazzed to announce that I’m helping out the lovely founders of Forth Chicago this year (writer and editor Julie Schumacher, photographer Kelly Allison, and creative director Lisa Guillot). Forth brings an intimate group of clever women together each quarter in a beautiful space, accompanied by tasty snacks & drinks, to discuss a topic or theme inspired by the season and see what bright ideas are born. The women who are a part of this community are entrepreneurs and small business owners, all quite talented and accomplished, but what I love about Forth is their stance on not wanting to be a networking event. Instead, Forth serves as a platform for fostering community between creative women; it’s a place to initiate dialogue around important issues they face in their careers. The three founders and I all firmly agree that inspiring conversation and celebrating community are noble unto themselves.
I’m sharing a bit about the places I frequent in Chicago, places I’ll go someday, my take on the best bites in Chicago and websites I love over on their blog - check it out. This is part of a 4xForth series we recently launched, where women in the Forth community will also be sharing their picks over the course of the year.
My talented older sister worked with my grandparents & the women on my dad’s side of the family to compile all the important family recipes into a cookbook. She gifted us all a hard copy and I reference it frequently when cooking at home. The time and effort she put into photographing the dishes while also capturing the correct recipe proportions is truly amazing - this part was difficult, I’m sure, as my nana and aunts are so talented in the kitchen that they usually cook just by taste. Danielle also filled the book with special family photos and a short note behind the significance of each recipe, both of which make this even more of a treasured keepsake for our family. Thank you Danielle for writing down what wasn’t in writing already to ensure the family recipes live on for generations to come.
And friends, now you too can make nana’s meatballs and papa’s famous chili! Digital & hardcover copies of the cookbook are available for purchase through the links below!
Where I come from, all good things start in the kitchen……And the other day I hit a major milestone that began just there. I (self) published a book!It’s a family cookbook believe it or not, a project that’s been literally years in the making. But it’s on the Apple ibook Store now, and to see an idea like this actually come fully to life, well, that feels pretty incredible to tell you the truth.You see, my grandparents’ food is home to me, as simple as that. And whenever I think of it, I always picture our kitchen during one family party or another, a 12-hour marathon of food and drink: the appetizers laid out and King Dad’s Steak roasting on Christmas Eve, candles lit, a growing din of stories rising, passed between siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins, and the Bears game on somewhere in the background. The women are circling the oven, drinking, laughing, cooking, dancing, singing made up lyrics to West Side Story tunes, dish towels slung over shoulders to dry. The men are around the table telling familiar stories again and opening another bottle and pouring everyone more wine. Nana is forever delivering hugs and kisses in the narrow alley between the oven and the island, licking the cooked bones clean and spilling the moment her apron is removed, every single time. Papa is busy demonstrating the best way to chop an onion, slice the sopressata, wrap a napkin just so around your drink, or add a dash, a pinch of this or that, and there you go!I started this project because I didn’t know how to cook and one day I realized all my favorite meals traced back to home… and no one had written all the recipes down! Suddenly it alarmed me that they could disappear; also that I was 25 and couldn’t bake chicken. A few years later, I’m happy to say we’ve made progress on both fronts.In the beginning, this was a project conceived with my Italian-Croatian grandparents on a hot August day in Bridgeport, but eventually made possible with some major help from all the incredible women / chefs in my family, not least of which being my Nana & Papa. More than anything I was just the documenter of their talents and experience. But a very special thanks is also owed to my dear friend Josh (www.joshmisthal.com) who so vividly brought this idea to life with design. Without him, lord knows, this book would be much less beautifully rendered.So from our kitchen to yours, as Nana would say, “Alright now, everybody dig in!”_____If you’re interested in checking out Nana’s spaghetti sauce or Papa’s chili, you can find The Pavela Kitchen here…Apple ebook — http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id802468890Blurb ebook — http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/380328-the-pavela-kitchenHardcopy — http://www.blurb.com/b/4130765-the-pavela-kitchen (beware, self-publishing hard copies gets expensive, and this is at cost!)And if you’re interested in doing the same with your own family recipes, I really recommend the process (and Blurb was a great enabler). Happy cooking!_____
This Saturday was jam packed with good things: a birthday brunch for a dear friend followed by an afternoon excursion to Hyde Park. A quick visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. Strolled around the beautiful University of Chicago campus where we came across this lovely chapel. Spectacular food, service and experience at A10 for dinner. Closed out the evening rocking out to Gary Clark Jr. and the Kings of Leon at the United Center. Saturday for the win! (at Bond Chapel)
On Sunday I got to play sous chef and made dinner with my favorite chef. A leisurely trip to Whole Foods to gather ingredients followed by a few hours of prep & cooking sounded like my ideal kind of night. We ended the evening dancing around the kitchen to Bobby Darrin, Ray Charles and other greats (I requested, he obliged). Sunday night for the win!
We made a seared scallop & thinly sliced baby artichoke salad with a meyer lemon, avocado oil & shallot vinaigrette topped with delicate greens. Followed the salad up with homemade raviolis (I became a master pasta roller) with a Tuscan kale and trumpet royal mushroom pesto sauce. I was probably most excited about the ‘pad thai’ (or cilantro & peanut butter) ice cream we made, with a ginger caramel swirl & toasted peanuts on top. The complex flavor profile could have passed for Jenis ice cream.
I had so much fun playing in the kitchen and learning new techniques. This was my first homemade pasta & ice cream, but it definitely won’t be my last.
A shower, a celebration for baby Coe! My sister is in town from San Francisco this weekend and we can’t get enough of her cute baby bump. Pregnancy looks good on you Danielle, you’re glowing! Her mother-in-law and our nana both flew in for the festivities. I can’t wait to become an auntie in a few short months!