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'
Is she cute or what?!
My friend Candy is one fun lady! She is silly (easily one of the best senses on humor out there!), a wonderful mom and wife and has an incredible taste in music. The two of us went to high school together, but ran in two different circles of friends. In a small school there was of course over lap, but it wasn't until we were all grown up we realized how much in common we actually had and why on earth weren't we closer growing up. Thank goodness for Facebook (it definitely has its perks, huh!) because through that we have had an opportunity to reconnect. During one of our chats I found out that her husband is Brandt Fundak, who if you don't know him, be sure to tune in on Sunday mornings from 10:00am-12:00pm to WRUW 91.1 for the Cream of Broccoli Radio Hour. He hosts our most favorite radioshow EVER and listen every single Sunday on our way home from church! It is probably the only time we actually listen to the radio in the house! He plays a collection of Indie Rock and Pop, old and new and even some great classics mixed in. WRUW archives past shows, so check him out and see what great music really is! When Candy told me about Brandt, I got so excited- she is married to a celebrity, lol!
Candy has this fantastic way with words and an art of telling stories. I just love to hear about all of the silly things her children say and do- they seriously crack me up. Her sons know how to have fun, and I know a lot is due to how well they were raised. She is a very "hands-on" mother, and it shows. Those boys are incredibly lucky to have her! So for today's Fridays, Feasting with Friends I'd like to introduce you to Candy Freed.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
Breakfast on Saturdays. Waffles, eggs, sausage, fruit, coffee. We all sit in our jammies and relax.
How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Microwave popcorn! I ALWAYS burn or undercook it. We even have a "popcorn" button on the microwave, but I mess it up all the time.
What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
I love Lola for an upscale dinner. Melt is my favorite for a cheaper one. I can't wait to go to Momocho and The B Spot.
Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
I'd ask my husband to make one. Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Los Campesinos, Wire, Morrissey, Mozart, TMBG, Beatles. A mix of classics and new stuff.
What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
My mom's Christmas brunch. She makes a tomato and spinach pie, monkey bread, sausage-apple loaf, fresh fruit, and cheesy potatoes "holiday style" with diced red and green peppers in it. YUM!
What are you currently reading?
"Expecting Adam" By Martha Beck, "Global Woman" by Barbara Ehrenreich and the Thomas The Tank Engine complete collection with my boys.
What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
An old-fashioned egg beater. I have my grandmother's. Nothing makes fluffy meringue like it!
Do you have a signature go-to dish?
People love my apple crumb pie. I won 2nd place with it in the Cuyahoga County Junior Fair when I was 10. I'm thinking of entering again this year...in the adult competition!
What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area?
Diversity. You can find people and foods of all ethnicities without leaving the county. Grit. People here are the real deal. Get-your-hands-dirty kind of people.
Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
My mom is a fabulous cook, so really almost everything. I remember having her lasagna or shepherd's pie a lot and I make both of those. And her (originally my grandma's) Thanksgiving stuffing with sausage and currents.
Top 3 Movies of all time?
It's a Wonderful Life. Easter Parade. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
What was your happiest moment in life?
Tough one. Probably getting married. I would say the birth of my two sons, but if I hadn't met my husband, then that wouldn't have happened. Maybe my happiest moment to come will be when my boys finally learn how to clean up after themselves and do chores!
Where do you do your grocery shopping?
If I have time, the West Side Market or Heinen's. I love the Miles Market also. When I'm in a hurry, Giant Eagle and Marc's.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
Cheese! Lots of it.
Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
I am very proud that (with LOTS of support and love from family and friends) I was able to complete my Master's Degree in Sociology this year, while being a wife and mom. But really, I'm most proud of my husband and family for their unending support and advice. I could never have done it without them.
Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
I want to finally use the pasta roller that my husband gave me years ago. I want to make fried green tomatoes. I want to try and make beef bourguignon. I want to get my kids to eat more veggies. Oh! And I want to win that pie contest at the fair!
One word that best describes you is:
My favorite (or one of them) recipe is this Lemon Chicken With Thyme recipe. I got it from a friend's mom when I was in high school. I went over to her house for dinner and we had this. It is so good and also healthy! It came from Cooking Light Magazine.
Lemon Chicken With Thyme
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 lb. total) (I cut them into strips, so I need a little extra flour to coat them.)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 med. onion
1 tbsp. butter
1 c. chicken broth
3 tbsp. lemon juice (I double the lemon juice, since I like it very 'lemony')
1/2 tsp. thyme
Lemon wedges, optional
2 tbsp. chopped parsley, optional
In a plastic or paper bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper and shake to mix. Add the chicken and shake to coat lightly. Remove the chicken and reserve the excess seasoned flour. In a large skillet, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, turn the chicken and brown well on the second side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Coarsely chop the onion. Add the butter to the skillet. When the butter melts, add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved seasoned flour and cook, stirring until the flour is completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the broth, 2 tablespoon of the lemon juice and the thyme and bring the mixture to a bowl, stirring constantly. Return the chicken to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the skillet. Cook until the chicken is tender and opaque throughout, about 15 minutes. Divide the chicken among 4 plates. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice into the sauce in the skillet and pour over the chicken. Serve with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of parsley, if desired.
Thank you so much Candy for taking the time to do this interview for me! It was great fun to read and your recipe sounds so easy (which I am very into these days!) and delicious! Oh, and I have two words for you Whirley Pop! It is a stovetop popcorn popper that pops the most perfect, most delicious popcorn in seriously 30 seconds! My mother in law turned me onto it and I have been hooked ever since (like you, I always burn it in the microwave!) Plus this way is so much cheaper and wayyyyyy healthier! Let's get the kids together soon, OK?!