Friday, February 14, 2014

Oh the Joys of Jury Duty!

January 31st, 2014 counts probably the 10th time I've been picked for Jury Duty, but only the second time I've had to actually go to the courthouse for it.  Before moving to the Chicago area, I was always in school or in the process of moving when I had received summons.  No such luck in Chicago.  I was picked for service a few years ago and actually selected for jury duty.  At the time I hadn't lived in Chicago long and going downtown in the beginning of January is always a pain in the ass.  With the #chiberia polar vortex going on this year I was slightly concerned that the weather was going to be incredibly awful.  I just barely lucked out.  Today there is no snow and its actually about 20 degrees outside.  So not horrendous.

If you ever have to hit the Daley Center in the Chicago area, its not too far from Ogilvie transportation center.  This is great for me because I live about 25 miles northwest of the city.  Traffic and parking during the week are not a special treat in the city.  Especially when you're in the heart of the city.  :(

Last time I had jury duty I got picked to serve on a jury that lasted for about 3 whole days.  For one of the stupidest, boring cases I'd ever heard.  We're talking really, really boring.  In the 80's, I served on the jury in 2010 I believe (?), this woman rented a space from Public Storage.  There was a mix-up with her paperwork and even though she was paying her monthly bill, Public Storage auctioned off her space for defaulting.  This case had been tried and retried and was on its very last appeal.  Public Storage had already been decided to be at fault.  All we had to determine was the amount of damages the woman would get.

This took 3 days of testimony as to what was in her storage space and how expensive it was.  After much deliberation we awarded her $100,000.  The judge spoke with us about the case after it was over.  He told us the reason this was the last appeal was due to it being previously judged by a trio panel of judges.  They awarded her $750 million dollars in damages!!  That's completely insane!  He also told us that just before this appeal, Public Storage offered her $250,000 to settle and she refused.

This just goes to show you never know what will happen when you sue someone.  You could get a huge settlement, you could barely win enough to cover your almost 20 years worth of lawyer fees or you could lose.  That's the one thing I learned from jury duty.  Going to court is pretty much a crap shoot, especially when you have a jury deciding your fate.

For that reason alone I'm not sure that juries are the best way to determine a case.  I mean a judge can tell you the law, but that doesn't really mean all the jurors will understand or interpret it the same way.  Or god forbid you could get someone like me on your jury who pretty much lives in a food blogging cave in her kitchen.  I am not up on current events, never have been and never will be.

After waiting all day, we were finally dismissed an hour early!  But this is the kicker, not a single jury pool!  You'd think the courts would know if they'd possibly need a jury that day or not.  If I hadn't gotten to eat lunch at Macy's Walnut Room my entire day would have been a bust.

So what are your thoughts on Jury Duty?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Perfect Porterhouse: Portion Your Love

Let's be honest, for Valentine's Day the important part is spending time with your loved ones.  So, even though you may want to cook a fabulous meal rather than going out to eat you want it to be spectacular and impressive yet fairly simple.  With this goal in mind, we decided upon a porterhouse steak for a meal that will turn heads and fill stomachs with just a little hands on cooking.  We're not saying you have to follow the traditional theme, but a porterhouse is pretty much a heart shape already, so why not indulge your love?

The easiest part of creating your Valentine's Dinner is that you can get everything  you need at Sunset Foods.  If you're like us, then you'll be requesting that the butcher cut you a three inch porterhouse.  Of course, he'll cut you any size that you desire and even give you recommendations on how to cook or season it if you aren't certain.

The best part about Sunset Foods is that their staff goes out of their way to help you. They will help you pick out anything you need for a fabulous dinner.  The bonus part is that their meal of the week plan can help you with the work.  If you don't want to do all the work, then you can pick out parts or all of your dinner meal.  Their Valentine's Day menu includes asparagus and chocolate dipped strawberries.  That certainly seems as a great pairing with our porterhouse and garlic mash.

The porterhouse is best cooked by searing the outside and then low and slow in the oven.  This ensures that you can quickly prepare your main course and not need to worry about it.  The only thing you have to do is wait for that delicious porterhouse to reach temperature in your oven.  All the while entertaining your loved ones with the smells of a steakhouse in your kitchen.  With a few sides, you have a full meal and you can even cook those ahead of time if you so desired.

While you're there, you can even get a flower arrangement to go along with your meal.  The florist is more than happy to help you select the perfect bouquet for your special someone.  We picked out a single red rose to highlight our juicy steak dinner.  Unexpectedly the happiest member of our clan is the cat, who much enjoys the ribbon that came on our flower.  He says Valentine's Day will be happy indeed.

How To Make the Perfect Porterhouse

A 2 1/2-3 inch thick porterhouse steak
Kosher salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Take your porterhouse out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes before you're ready to cook it.  Remove the porterhouse from packaging and pat it dry with paper towels on all sides.  Generously cover both sides with salt and pepper making sure to pat it on to the surface.  We're talking maybe 2 teaspoons of each per side.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  You'll be tempted to trim some of the fat off your porterhouse, but don't.  That's where all the amazing tenderness and flavor comes from.

You can sear your porterhouse one of two ways; by grill or on a pan.  In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat on high until its smoking.  Place your porterhouse in the hot pan and cook until seared on one side, about a minute.  Repeat with other side.  If your grill isn't frozen like mine was, heat your grill to high and oil the grates, sear for 5 minutes per side.

Move seared porterhouse to lined baking sheet and place in oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until thermometer reaches 110 degrees for a medium-rare porterhouse.  To take the temperature insert a thermometer into the side of the meat.  This will give you the most accurate temperature.

When porterhouse reaches 110 degrees, remove from oven and tent it with aluminum foil.  Allow to rest 10-15 minutes.  This will allow it to continue to cook and rise in temperature to 140 degrees.  When its rested, slice and serve.  Be prepared for it to melt in your mouth.

Garlic Mash Potatoes

2 lb potatoes
10 cloves garlic
5.3 oz. 2% milk fat plain Chobani Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons salted butter

Peel and cut potatoes into chunks.  Place in a medium pan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let simmer 15-20 or until tender.  Drain potatoes and return to pot.

In a small saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter.  Mince garlic and saute until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Add to potatoes with remaining butter and Greek yogurt.  Using an electric mixer, beat potatoes until light and fluffy.  Serve.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Stoup

I'm sure you already know that we love all forms of chicken pot pie at Rosie Discovers.  Although Susie isn't too fond of peas, but she picks them all out without too much complaint.  This recipe is kind of a mix between a soup and a stew or maybe a stoup?  It's got a ton of sauce, which is great because everyone over here fights over sauce.  If you're looking for an easy, tasty way to make chicken pot pie...this is definitely the recipe.

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Stoup

4 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 small onion, roughly chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, sliced
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
3/4-1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 can corn, drained
1/2 cup half and half
1 teaspoon cornstarch

In a slow cooker, toss together carrots, celery, onion and mushrooms with flour.  Place chicken on top.  Sprinkle with spices and pour wine and broth over top.  Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

20 minutes before time is up (make sure carrots are tender) start baking biscuits.  Add peas, corn and half and half mixed with cornstarch to crockpot.  Continue to cook on high until sauce thickens.

Serve in bowls with biscuits either in bottoms or on the side.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chicago Auto Show + Giveaway!!

Do you geek out over fancy cars?  Love seeing all the bells and whistles?  Have I got a treat for you!  Last Friday, I got to attend Media Day at the Chicago Auto Show!  Going to the Auto Show this year, which was my very first time, was a little bittersweet.  Earlier this year my Great Aunt Alice passed away, she had an extremely long interesting life.  One of the nifty things she did was work for Tucker when he was making cars in the Chicago area.  If you're not familiar, Tuckers were manufactured right here in the Chicago area during the late 1940's.  They were truly unique with a third center headlight that would help drivers see around corners along with other innovations. When my Aunt was working for Tucker she got picked up by an Italian race car driver everyday and driven to work in a Tucker!  There were only 51 Tuckers ever made and only 47 survive.

Even though I'm not very car savvy, I wanted to attend the show so I could see some of the brand-new innovative cars coming out.  I did see some pretty interesting things, from a gorgeous $1.5 million dollar Bugatti Veyron to the Honda FCEV concept car.

I saw race car drivers talk about the new Global Rallycross VW beetles.

I saw a BMW that looked like it came out of a futuristic movie and one that looked like it was made out of recycled tweed suits.

I saw a couple Ford Raptors.  :)

I saw the original owners of the very first Ford Mustang.
I saw the Hyundai/Walking Dead Chop Shop winning car designs.

I rode the Jeep course.  (It's not as scary as it looks.)

Thanks to First Look For Charity I also got to attend the gala Friday night.  I had some amazing food, including a sushi based tuna tartare filled shell from Union Sushi and a coconut mojito made with organic Sugar Island Rum.

Now onto the giveaway part of this post!  When I attended the #FLFC14 Auto Show Gala food preview I won the instagram/vine video challenge.  Part of the prize was a pair of tickets to the Chicago Auto Show.  Since I spent all of Friday at the show, I think a lucky Rosie Discovers reader should get to check out all these awesome cars instead.  #FuelCAS

To enter, leave a comment below about what you most want to see at the show this year.  Contest is open to Chicago area readers 18+ (because I want you to be able to use them!).  Contest runs thru 8 pm Central Time Wednesday February 12, 2014.  You'll have 2 hours to respond to the winning email.  I promise to mail the tickets Thursday February 13th.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Movie Night with Mrs. T's Pierogies!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Millennial Central for Mrs. T’s Pierogies. I received a gift card to purchase get-together supplies to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
At my house all family get togethers revolve around food. I mean let's face it, why else would you want to spend time with family? Just kidding, but that's the best time to make recipes that you want but can't finish by yourself. This past weekend instead of getting together to watch the big game, we had movie night. Movie night is a great excuse to have a variety of finger foods including one of our favorites, Mrs. T's Pierogies!  Pierogi are practically the perfect food. You can have them with a variety of toppings and they even come filled with yummy things like cheese, veggies and meats.  I've even been known to make my own pierogi from scratch!

For this movie night though I went the route of convenience with Mrs. T's.  I love having these on hand for either a quick snack, meal or side dish. I prefer to pan fry mine and the 8 minutes it takes to make them is just about perfect. They're also a huge hit with friends and family. Everyone I know loves a good pierogi! Before moving to the Chicago area pierogi weren't really on my culinary radar. Louisville and Seattle aren't known for having a big polish community so I never even came across them in restaurants let alone stores. 

Pierogi make a great finger food. Think about it, they are just like a ravioli or a calzone. A perfectly encapsulated bit of food that makes it great for snacking. Even though I love pierogi, I couldn't just serve them alone. I also went with some chicken bites and mozzarella sticks with our usual assortment of chips.  I wanted to add in some extra protein dishes for those who eat meat.  The pierogis fit even better than my usual choices with my flexitarian diet.   They are not a solid hunk of meat for dinner which means that I can still be full. 

This means that I don't have to worry about eating them at all.  They're a healthy choice which means when I want that extra handful of chips I don't have to feel all the guilt.  I can munch on my Mrs. T's pierogies and feel like it's a treat.  They fit in really with our movie night as they're more portable since you can eat them with your hands, (I won't tell anyone!).  You can dip them in whatever sauce you like or eat them plain.  The choice is yours but you know it's a good one as you sit back and relax with a spectacular movie and you don't feel bloated or weighed down by carbs.  The party pierogi is the one you take one of and before you know it the rest are already gone. 
You can connect with Mrs. T's Pierogies on Facebook and Twitter!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Going to the Chicago Auto Show? Indulge and stay at the Hyatt McCormick Place!

I'm no stranger to events at McCormick Place after this past summer.  I've been lucky enough to stay at the Hyatt attached to McCormick Place.  It's truly a gorgeous hotel!  When I attend First Look for Charity's Auto Show Gala, February 7th, I'll be staying over at the Hyatt.  After my last stay, I know I may even enjoy my night there more than the Auto Show.  It'll be hard to decide which is better.
If you're planning on attending the auto show this year and are also looking for something special to treat your hubby or boyfriend to for Valentine's Day, I highly recommend the Hyatt.  They've got a special package this year which includes tickets to the Chicago Auto Show, typically $12 each.  The Auto Show Package rates start at $169 including 1 ticket ($12 value), so the overall savings when booked together starts at $22 and only keeps going up the more tickets you include.  The cost for regular room and 4 auto show tickets would be $227, but this package with 4 tickets is $187, a $40 savings.

Their Romance Package is pretty impressive too!  Available for Valentine's Day weekend (2/13 -2/16) which overlaps with the auto show.  It includes:

  • Full Breakfast for 2 (Shor Restaurant or In Room Dining)
  • Welcome Amenity with Bottle of Lindaurer Sparkling Wine and Mini Chocolate Fondue with Fresh Berries, Shortbreads and Cookies
  • VIP Turn Down Service
  • 1 PM Late Check Out

You get all this for $160!
The Hyatt McCormick Place finished $110 million remodel June 2013 and I just can't say enough great things about it!  The staff is amazing, did you hear about my disaster with opening booze for bloggers this past summer?  The concierge didn't bat an eye when I ran downstairs with 3 bottles of expensive vodka that I couldn't get open at 10 pm one night.
The rooms are luxury.  Especially if you are as geared up on tech as I am.  Any and all charging outlets that you could possibly desire.  The view is stellar on a clear day you can see all the way to Navy Pier.  Or if it's not you might just end up inside of a cloud which is a different kind of beauty that may be more magical.  Have you ever been inside a rain cloud before?

The parking is hassle free.  Staying at the hotel and you only need your key card.  There is no stress finding a space.  It may be further away from the rest of downtown but if you are coming for the Auto Show then you won't find a better hotel.  The convenience of taking the elevator downstairs and eating your complimentary breakfast is undeniable.  After that you can mosey on over to McCormick Place to take a gander at all the fancy cars.  No need to stress about finding transportation.
The rooms are spacious.  There is enough closet space that you might be able to sneak that new motorcycle into your closet.  We certainly stored our lawnmower in there with ease.  That's another story entirely, but the amenities cannot be beat.  If you're looking for a hotel, then you might as well treat yourself to the Hyatt at McCormick Place.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

First Look For Charity Chicago Auto Show Gala Food Preview

About a week ago I was lucky enough to head to McGrath Acura in Chicago to nosh on some of the treats that are going to be available at the First Look For Charity's Chicago Auto Show Gala on February 7th.  Haven't heard of First Look for Charity?  It's a fantastic organization that raises money every year for a slew of local charities including:

100 Club of Chicago, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet, Clearbrook, The Cradle Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Franciscan Community Benefit Services, Franciscan St. James Health, Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, Illinois Spina Bifida Association, JDRF, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, March of Dimes, Misericordia, Special Olympics Illinois, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, the Jesse White Tumbling Team.

The First Look for Charity Gala is going to have some pretty amazing food choices including gluten-free this year.  From pulled pork to sweet treats and even organic alcohol choices, you'll find all that and more at the Auto Show Gala this year.

Here's a few sneak peaks of some of this amazing food:

As far as I know you can still purchase tickets to the First Look For Charity's Chicago Auto Show Gala on their website.  Tickets are $250, but they are for a great cause.  You'll also get to see American Idol's Lee DeWyze perform at the Gala.

I'll be there this year!  If you make it, tweet me and I'll make sure we instagram a photo!