Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 23, 2011

National Pie Day

Today is National Pie Day!!! How do I know this? because, the websites, Yummly, Foodista, and Punchbowl all tell me it is so. I like Punchbowl the best because they provide you a history of the food the day is named for. They say that pie originated with the Romans, and the crust was once made out of reeds. It was not to be eaten rather just to hold the ingredients together. They also say that the first recipe for pie was one with a rye crust, and a filling of of honey and goat cheese. How they know this, I don’t know. What I do know is that I sometimes pour a bit of honey over goat cheese, add some marcona almonds and microwave for about 15 seconds. I serve it with Rosemary and olive oil crackers, and it is as good as it gets.

On The Menu

Further proof that everything old is new again.

Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 21, 2011

The Great Donut Debate

The longstanding debate over which is better, the cake, (think Dunkin’s), or the yeast, (think Krispy Kreme), may have finally ended, At least at Rock Island Food. It may be true that there is nothing as surprisingly light and airy as a perfectly cooked yeast donut. Glazed while warm, the sugar melts all over and it is gooey and delicious. The problem for me has been to consistently reach perfection while making them. Lets face it, the yeast donut is not a health food , so for me, if it is not perfect, it is not worth it. There are some things I just can not do that well, and the yeast donut may be one of those things.

The cake donut can also be a bite of perfection and again, if it is not, I won’t eat it. I don’t believe you will either, think of all the half eaten donuts in your office cafeteria.
However the cake donut is more forgiving, and I believe after much trial and error, I may have found “the recipe”. This particular recipe comes out the same every time I make it. We are in sync this recipe and me. We understand each other. It knows I want to fool with it and add to it to make new flavors and it let’s me. It is not temperamental like the yeast donut recipe. It has a more relaxed, devil-may-care attitude. When I make the dough it sits and looks at me as if to say “hey why not change things up, add something to me, let’s see how it works ” And nine times out of ten, it accepts what I add to it and makes a perfect little donut. We get along, this cake donut and me. And that is why the debate is over.

When cooking for the masses, one can not afford these high maintainance recipes like the yeast donut. You need something you can depend on like an old friend, one who accepts you for who you are and what you are capable of and loves you unconditionally. This is what I have found with the cake donut recipe. I won’t be sharing it any time soon, but I look forward to sharing the donuts.

On The Menu
A new friend I feel as if I have known forever.

Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 19, 2011

Yogi, Can You Spare A Dime?

Forty-nine dollars and fifty cents. FORTY-NINE dollars and FIFTY CENTS!!! That is how much four tickets to see Yogi Bear 3D cost last Monday at the Randolph movie theater. Yes, you heard me, Yogi Bear. Two adults, two children, forty-nine dollars and fifty cents. There are few things that leave me speechless, this was one of them. Throw in two kids snack boxes, for seven dollars a piece, a medium popcorn for seven dollars and twenty-five cents and a bottle of water for four dollars and seventy-five cents and the total came to seventy-five dollars and fifty cents. Paying four dollars and seventy-five cents for a bottle of water almost made me feel better about spending three dollars and ninety-nine cents for a case of twenty-four at the store.

Let’s start with the twenty-six dollars we spent on concessions. With the exception of the water itself, we just bought several versions of corn. My husband and I had the popped version, with whatever they add to it to make it yellow and salty, and my children had corn syrup and corn starch versions disguised as soda and skittles. I am actually angry and a little embarrassed to write that down.

The movie itself was horrible. I can’t imagine it cost much more than seventy-five dollars to make. There were no movie stars in it. The lead character was a computer generated bear. The lead human was played by a guy who I have seen on TV, but other than him, I didn’t recognize anyone else. It wasn’t funny; I laugh more when I am by myself in church thinking about things I am not supposed to be thinking about. A good deal of it was filmed in front of a green screen so it wasn’t the location, or the cinematography or the costumes or even the writing that can justify the cost. There wasn’t even a moral to the story. My kids probably would have turned it off if it were on TV. All in all it was a complete rip-off.

The next time I want to see a movie and have seventy-six disposable dollars and fifty cents , I will take ten of it to church, not only to make up for the fact that I don’t always pay attention, but because it will go to a good cause. I will then go to the supermarket and rent two movies from red box for one dollar a piece. From there I will happen over to Roxie’s, pick up two pounds of fresh Swordfish for six dollars and ninety-nine cents a pound , a bunch of fresh asparagus for two dollars and ninety-nine cents, and I will throw in another ten for lemons, capers, butter, and a half-gallon of ice cream. (You can’t beat Roxie’s.) I will go to the liquor store on the way home and splurge on a decent bottle of wine, for sixteen dollars and ninety-nine cents and buy the kids pineapple juice for two dollars and twenty-nine cents and soda water for one dollar and nineteen cents. All of that will only cost me fifty-nine dollars and forty-four cents. I will buy ten dollars worth of gas, put one dollar and fifty-six cents into my change jar, and have five dollars left over for pocket-money.

Imagine that. Two movies, dinner, drinks and dessert, gas in my car, and money leftover, all for less than going to the movie theater.

On The Menu

Making a wiser choice as to which movie I see in the theater and which I wait to rent from Red Box.

Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 18, 2011


“One of the very nicest things about life , is the way that we must regualry stop what we are doing , and focus our attention on to what we are eating” Luciano Pavarotti

Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 17, 2011

What Happened to Yogi Can You Spare a Dime?

I am not complaining…I am just saying that I just lost a post which took me some time to write. I am not sure what is going bon here…this has happened to me three times now. Is it the word press app? Is it that I am not used to the touchscreen keyboard? Am I completely inept? The last one may be true. Instead of giving up on this post I will go to the Apple store and take a class. I will find the post because I can not believe it would be that easy to lose, and if I don’t find it, I will rewrite it. For now, it is laRte and I am counting this post as a post because I am posting it

Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 16, 2011


You know how sometimes you see a car you have never seen before then suddenly there all over the road? Or a song you have not heard in ages and you then hear it three times  in a week?  That has been happening a lot to me lately with food. Last Tues morning it was cold when I woke up and I thought it would be a good day to make some chowder.   I even posted it on Rock Island’s  facebook page…”Today is a good day for Chowder.”  Then I went downstairs to make some coffee and what did I see?  A group of clam diggers.  Whenever I see these guys on one of these cold days I have a new appreciation for how hard they work.  I took a few pictures, as they dig in front of my island, and decided it was a sign to write about Chowder as well as make it.  I realized after a bit that to give a post about Chowder credence, it  would take more time then I had , so I wrote a bit and saved it to work on later, and wrote something else.  Later on that evening I was reading an article about what foods are associated with what states, and as if it were there to remind me to finish my Chowder post was a picture of a big bowl of Clam Chowder on the state of Massachusetts.

The next day was the second blizzard of the season.  My plan was to cook up a storm all day and work on my blog a bit as I knew it would be a snow day.  And as often happens with the best laid plans, they went by the wayside as we lost power for the entire day.  Not a bad thing as I got to hang out with the boys for nearly 10 hours with no video games or digital distractions.  The downside was that it was so cold in the house we were going to go to a hotel if the power did not come back by dark as we could not even light a fire as the chimney needs the fan to draw the smoke up.  Thankfully the power came back right in the nick of time.  We took hot showers, put on a movie, lit a fire, piled on the blankets and still could not get warm.  We all wanted something hot to eat, and I did not want to move from my blankets so we ordered Thai.  To try something new I went for the Tom Yum Noodle Soup.  It was a fantastic choice, hot and spicy and just what I needed to warm me up.  While I was eating it, i kept thinking how I wanted to try to recreate it.  There seemed to be a hundred flavors in there and I wanted to know what they all were.  The next evening I was reading and there on my ipad pops  up a post with a recipe for Tom Yum Noodle Soup.  How odd is that?

Now comes Thursday.  We go to Roxie’s and they have the most gorgeous piece of haddock in the case…we buy it, go home and cooked it with a lemon butter sauce and broccoli.  It was delicious.  Such a  delicate flavor , a real treat.  The next morning as I am catching up on the news , I read an article that North Atlantic Haddock fish stocks have begun to bounce back and will be taken off the endangered list.

It gets weirder.  Friday night the boys and I went to pick up my husband at the airport.  If everything went according to plan and we got home in time, I was going to make a nice Italian meal.  Traffic was hellacious, the airport was a nightmare and we were in the car for two and a half hours by the time we picked him up!! We settled on an old standby near our house on the way home because everyone was tired and hungry.  If we were home I would have made pasta and eggplant and enjoyed it with my homemade marinara.  Years ago, I bought Rao’s first cookbook and that is how I have made marinara since.  Rao’s is a small restaurant in Harlem, with a long history of connections to political bigwigs, the mafia, and celebrities.  There are Christmas lights all year-long at Rao’s, and almost every night the owner sings and the whole place is like one big dinner party.  You can’t get in, because the tables are all reserved and the regulars have reservations for life.  If you get one of these tables, say a table for four on a Monday then you go every Monday with three others.  If you can’t make it you can give it to a friend for the night.  But that table is yours for life.  I love Rao’s, I love the whole idea of a place that you can’t get into.   It is one of my goals to get in there for dinner.  Saturday morning. I was flipping through the New York Times, and yes, there was an article on Rao’s!!

So what is going on?   I decided to take this as a sign.  A sign that I am the one who is supposed to be writing about these things.  Even though I lose my focus sometimes, and it is difficult to make the time to do it, this is what I am supposed to be doing.  This is all part of the plan, I just didn’t know it until now

On the Menu
Knowing What I Need To Do

Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 16, 2011


I have fffffff

Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 14, 2011

Seriously, Think About This.

“Twas a bold man who first tried an Oyster”. Thomas Swift

Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 14, 2011

What’s Blogging You Ellen?

Since beginning this postaday 2011 challenge, everyday, the good folks at WordPress have been emailing topic ideas in case I find myself facing the white screen of death…writers block. Today’s suggestion: What made you decide to start a blog? Well, WordPress, you challenged me to post everyday for a year , remember? You challenged and I accepted. That is the truth and it would be easy enough to stop here and say goodnight. However, the question has been nagging me all day. Why on earth did I decide to start this, and why do I find it so important to do?

In my head I am thinking , seriously, a blog…but then I go back and read my first entry, and there I find my reason. I need to do this in order to find my focus for all the other things I want to do. I need to commit myself fully to this blog. It seems a bit strange to think that writing every day can make any difference in my life, but in my heart I know better. When you write your thoughts and feelings down you acknowledge their existence. When you publicize them , let’s say in a blog for anyone to see, you give them life. And when that happens, you owe them something. Or maybe you owe yourself something.

Every day, I hammer into my boys…”Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” This goes for sports, friendships, games, homework, finding something you have lost, solving problems, you name it. I tell them all the time that they can not give up because if they do, nothing happens. But, if they keep at it, there are all sorts of wonderful things that may happen. Things may work out exactly how you had planned, or maybe not. Maybe something unexpected will happen, something different, something better, something you needed to learn, but if you keep at it, something will happen.

So what is it that is making me blog? I need to find the way to make this so important it becomes an everyday part of me. I need to acknowledge that I need to it, I need to give it life. When this blog has life, then the other pieces will fall into place. This blog may provide me what I need , which seems to be a bit of structure, a bit of focus.

So yes, I accepted this challenge because if I didn’t nothing would happen, but now that I did, their is a whole world of opportunity open for me. It is mine and my blog’s right there for the taking. It has been only two weeks, fourteen days, fifty weeks and 351 days to go.

So far, I have learned to use WordPress, my iPad, the camera connection kit, Hootsuite, Twitter and facebook analytics. That is more then I expected.

On the Menu


Posted by: Rock Island Food | January 12, 2011


“There is no such thing as a pretty good omlette.”
French Proverb

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