Friday, April 16, 2010

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Bonnie Cork

One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”
~Laurie Colwin'Home Cooking'

Bonnie and her husband Jimmy.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing women in my life.  Not only do they lend support when needed, uplift my spirit but also show me such beautiful examples of way to live an abundant life. One of these incredible women is my dear friend Bonnie Cork.  Bonnie and I met while both attending Lutheran High School West almost 15 years ago.  During a huge transitional time in my life, I always felt so lucky to have had her by my side as a true friend.  Bonnie has this wonderful gift of being beautifully honest and in such a way that is gentle, loving and always apparent she wants the absolute best thing for you.  I admire this so much in her.  She is gracious, compassionate just a gorgeous person inside and out.
Bonnie and sweet Kleo

Bonnie works as an Audiologist and this past summer I was so proud to celebrate along side as she completed her Doctorate of Audiology.  She married the love of her life, Jimmy and they have the sweetest, most lovable, hugest dog I have ever seen- Kleo.  She is their only baby... for now.  I so look forward to the day I get to share being Mommies together. I know she will make an amazing one! So for today's segment of Friday's Feasting with Friends I am thrilled to introduce to you my friend, Bonnie Cork.  

What is your favorite thing to cook?
I would have to say that my favorite thing to cook is stir-fry.  It takes only a couple minutes to cut up any combination of vegetables and I can make it with or without chicken, steak or shrimp.  I seem to never make the same stir-fry as I often just grab any sauces or spices that sound good to me at the moment.  It is a great way to get a lot of nutrition and I never have to feel guilty for taking a second helping.

How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Chicken breast!  I do fine with little pieces of chicken, but struggle to know when a large chicken breast is done.  Hopefully the tip Amie gave me the other night can help me out.  Amie’s tip:  Placing the chicken in the pan and leave it alone until you are able to shake the pan and see the chicken move.  When it no longer sticks to the pan it is ready to be flipped and once the other side no longer sticks it is (almost!) done!

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
One of my favorite local restaurants is Kozmo’s Grille.  It is named after Kozmo Kramer from the show Seinfeld.  The food is always wonderful and the atmosphere is nice but still very casual.  They have a brick oven that turns out delicious pizza, a sirloin called the Newman, and the other night I had a fabulous salad made of salmon, spinach, and goat cheese.   I would love to go to the Stables Restaurant Hall of Fame Grille in Canton due to the history behind it and the unique structure of the building.  It is an old, large, round historic building that used to be an open air courtyard and originally was used to store grain and hay.  It is known for it’s unique atmosphere and great food.

Music and food go together so beautifully.  You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
Anything that is fun and upbeat.

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
I want a plate full of all my Thanksgiving Day favorites.  My mom’s cranberry pecan stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn, cranberry sauce and soft buttery rolls.

What are you currently reading?
Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget? 
I like to use my wavy cutter to make a tray of cheese and crackers look extra nice.

Do you have a signature go-to dish?
A couple years ago I wanted to make macaroni salad and a friend was nice enough to find me a recipe online.  It is not a particularly unique recipe, but people tend to love it and I am thrilled that my friends have started referring to it as Bonnie’s macaroni salad.

What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area?
I think Cleveland is a great city because there are so many wonderful things in close proximity and there is something for everyone.  You can spend the day at a museum or the zoo and then in the evening catch a show or go to a great restaurant or bar.  There are always so many events that one should never be bored in this city.

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
Yes, my mom used to combine sauerkraut, broiled kielbasa, and flour dumplings in a big pot for dinner.  I realize that this may seem like an odd childhood favorite, but you should know that I come from a polish family.  I always looked forward to this dish and knew that there would always be left overs.  This is the kind of dish that actually tastes even better the next day.  It took several attempts to get the dumplings just right, but I now have it perfected.  Unfortunately, my husband does not care for kielbasa or my dumplings, so I reserve this meal for a time when he is not home or I will make him some hot dogs and he can pull out some of the sauerkraut for on top.

Top 3 Movies of all time?
Shawshank Redemption, Overboard, and Goonies

What was your happiest moment in life?
There have been so many, but if I had to choose it would probably be the day that Jimmy asked me to marry him.  I can think of no higher compliment than somebody saying that would actually like to spend the rest of their life with you.  Plus he had it all planned out and did it so romantically.&

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
I do most of my grocery shopping at Walmart, but I also go to Marc’s and Giant Eagle

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
Crawling into bed with a bowl of potato chips and a good book.

Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
I am the most proud of the way my life has turned out.  A loving family, great friends, and wonderful husband surround me and I have a career I actually enjoy.  I may have it worse than some or better than others, but I have worked hard for what I have and am truly happy and content.

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
I am starting a garden this year and can not wait to grow and eat my own vegetables.

One word that best describes you is: nice

Crab Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5-15 minutes

2 large zucchini cut in half lengthwise
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage (I use imitation crabmeat and it tastes great)
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
½ cup coarsely chopped artichoke hearts (oil or water packed)
¼ cup plus 2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese, preferably freshly grated
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Creole or Cajun seasoning
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs seasoned dry bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Using a spoon scoop the seeds from the zucchini half, making four long, canoe-like boats.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the crabmeat, sour cream, artichoke hearts, the ¼ cup of Parmesan, mustard, Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix gently to combine, being careful not to break up any crabmeat lumps. Spoon the mixture evenly into the zucchini boats.  Transfer the zucchini into a shallow baking dish. In a small bowl combine the remaining 2 tbs of Parmesan and the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the crab mixture. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is heated through, about 15 minutes.

From the book Quick Fix Meals by Robin Miller

Bonnie, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview for me.  You did a great job! Oh man, I can't wait to make these zucchini boats. With the usual over abundance in the summer, I am sure this will become a staple! Yumm


  1. Bonnie Cork!
    Hi. this Amie's friend, Tera. Reading your interview made me feel like I need to try more with my stir fry. It is one of my favorite meals and I always use chicken. I never have used beef (I won't use seafood but I have never tried anything else besides chicken)... I LOVE stir fry. In fact, we had it last night. Here in MI where Ilive there is a restaurant called, Bd's Mongolian BBQ! and it is basically a GIANT wok, where you choose your meat, veggies, sauces and spices. I chose CHICKEN of course. What sauces do you use when you mke stir fry with beef? I always use teriaki with chicken, but what could you use with beef to bring out the flavor? also, what kind of beef should I use? Of corse I would want it in strips and thinly sliced beef. I enjoyed reading this.
    Tera Pepper

  2. Hi Tara! We are mutual stir fry lovers! :) Thanks so much for your comments!
    A sauce that I absolutely love with beef is Hoisin sauce because it is a nice thick sauce with a great flavor. I have heard it called chinese BBQ sauce. It is sweet and I also like that it is dark in color. I always feel like darker sauces look more appetizing for beef. I also like to throw in some Wurstershire (I am sure I spelled that wrong) sauce and think the two taste pretty good together.
    You can buy stir fry beef that is already cut in strips, or buy a thin steak and cut is up. I like using steak that is kind of middle of the road - not real fatty like from the rib but not real chewy either. A thin sirloin would be great. Good luck to ya!

  3. Thanks Bonnie! One day if I come to Cleveland and visit Amie, we should have a girls lunch of stir-fry! haha! HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY! I will def. try some Hoisin! HAPPY EATING!
    Tera Pepper

  4. That sounds fun! Please let me know if lunch is ever a possibility. Take care, Bonnie



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