"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'
Today I would like to introduce you to a former Lutheran West classmate of mine, Megan Weimer. She is a girl I am excited to be reconnecting with now as an adult- one thing though, I just wish she lived closer! Since graduation she has been one busy traveler! She has lived in both Indiana and Iowa for college before moving onto Wisconsin for graduate school in nursing. Madison, WI ended up stealing her heart (or at least giving her a wonderful job!) because she hasn't moved home yet! Megan works in an environment that I admire so much- she is a Registered Nurse taking care of children with cancer. Wow. I know. It takes a very special person to be able to have the heart and the self control to remain in a place like that. And this just proves the kind of women she is. Megan is not only caring and incredibly kind but also quite silly. Just what those little children (and their parents) need the most during their difficult times.
Megan is an avid biker, and the lucky girl is getting ready for a wonderful trip aboard hers super soon! You know what, to be honest, I haven't ridden my bike since college- yikes. A part of me is a little afraid I have forgotten how to do it! Just kidding (kind of). But there is something so freeing about riding a bike. Megan has this wonderful quote that I want to share with you. I read it the other day and just loved it:
"I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammeled womanhood." -Susan B. Anthony, 1896
Cool, huh? Makes me want to get mine down off of the ceiling of my garage, dust it off and give it a go. So for today's Fridays, Feasting with Friends I would love for you to meet my adventurous friend, Megan.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
Soups or Mexican
How about your least favorite thing to cook?
I'm scared of fish, and I really don't enjoy baking. Yeast and I do not get along.
What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
I grew up in West Park, and I always want to go to Gene's Place when I'm in town. They have good comfort food, and the atmosphere never changes. I also try to get in some good corned beef when I'm in Cleveland. Sometime when I'm in town, I'd love to go to one of Michael Symon's restaurants.
In Madison, I love all of the local ethnic restaurants. Think of any cuisine you want, and you can find it here. I have never been to L'Etoile, but I certainly want to try it sometime.
Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
This is really dependent on the group, but probably jazz, classical, or classic rock.
What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
Thanksgiving dinner. I absolutely live for Thanksgiving!
What are you currently reading?
Lots of stuff for school, which is nothing but dull. For fun, the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and Little Bee by Christ Cleave. I have to have multiple books going at once.
What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
Garlic press or the finger protector for chopping (I've tried to amputate my fingers too many times!!!)
Do you have a signature go-to dish?
The most requested things are spinach dip, white chicken chili, frosted sugar cookies, guacamole, and enchiladas.
What do you miss most about the Cleveland area? And what do you love most about where you live now?
I miss my family the most, but I also miss the lake and the Metroparks.
I love Madison. There is always something to do, I have a great job, and I have the most amazing group of friends. My favorite thing about this town is that you can drive 20 minutes and be out in the country, away from everything. The thing I like least is all of the UW Badger and Green Bay Packer fans.
Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
Crock pot pepper steak, and, yes, I still cook it.
Top 3 Movies of all time?
Pretty Woman, Goonies, Indiana Jones
What was your happiest moment in life?
My life is pretty much great, so it's hard for me to peg down just one. Anytime I'm with the ones I love is my new happiest moment.
Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Trader Joe's, Woodman's, Copps, farmer's markets
What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
I cannot say no to chips and dip.
Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
Since leaving Cleveland 13 years ago, my life has been guided by serendipitous chance. I'm proud of myself for taking on the unknown, which has made my life so much richer.
Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
I'd like to roast a chicken and bake bread from scratch.
One word that best describes you is: content
I rarely follow recipes, so my dishes are never the same twice, but this dip is easy, fantastic, and always a hit.
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and pressed dry
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 can water chestnuts, finely chopped
Garlic powder, onion powder to taste
Combine all ingredients and chill. Serve in a pumpernickel bread bowl with bread pieces on the side for dipping. Also great with veggies, crackers, beer bread, etc. Sometimes I throw in some crushed red pepper or a few shakes of Tabasco for a little kick.