Friday, September 10, 2010

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Beverly Reginelli

"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'

Beverly Reginelli
Beautiful Bev and her husband Bobby

For today's Fridays, Feasting with Friends I love that I get to introduce you all to my cousin Beverly Reginelli.  One of the best things about getting married is often the amazing new family you acquire because of it, and with Beverly it was no exception!  She is genuine in heart and spirit, and her kindness flows out of her as natural as the air she breathes. When Beverly smiles you see it in her eyes first- it brightens her entire face.  She is beauty, inside and out.

Last summer Beverly married a fantastic man, Bobbie.  Unfortunately we were out of town and couldn't make it to the festivities.  So sad!  But it was a simply gorgeous wedding, the dresses, flowers, and mostly, the people.  I can't get enough of the beautiful pictures and had to share a few of my favorites with you all today.  Beverly and Bobbie are such a great couple, and again through the joining of two hearts in wedded bliss I get to reap the benefits of watching my own family grow.  First I got Bev and now I get Bobbie too.  Pretty cool how things work.  I look forward to watching our families grow even more over time...  So for today's Friday's, Feasting with Friends I am delighted to introduce you to sweet Beverly.

What is your favorite thing to cook?
Does baking count?  Cheesecake! (And I did not steal this answer from Aunt Sandy! However, apparently my father likes her cheesecakes better!!!)

How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Usually red meat - because I am not very good at it.

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
Favorite would have to be Shinto in Strongsville (we actually went there for Valentine's Day last year right after we got engaged!) But as a kid - it used to be the Samurai in Beachwood which is now a Benihana - basically any hibachi restaurant! I LOVE all hibachi, the food is sooo good and always a very entertaining time with friends or family.

Dying to try - Greenhouse Tavern on West. 4th St. downtown. We heard it doesn't feel like you are in a restaurant in Cleveland (whatever that means?). And they have Jeni's ice cream from Columbus and I am dying to try that! We may go this Friday night before we see Kathy Griffin at the State Theater. Unless you have a better suggestion downtown!?

Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
I am NOT a music person, I listen to the radio a lot however I do cook Italian often for dinner parties and I have a classical Italian dinner music CD, Mangia! Italian Dinner Night, that I received from my aunt as a wedding present so that is definitely my go to CD! My husband and I listened to it this summer while attempting to make homemade spaghetti sauce from our garden harvest!

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
Sadly - pizza and salad! I could eat pizza everyday of the week if my husband would let me!

What are you currently reading?
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - I can't put it down! And Lady & Son's Savannah Country Cookbook by Paula Deen!

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
My citrus juicer (a gift from my grandma - the best cook I know!) It is a glass gar with an orange lid that gets out every last bit of juice from a lemon or lime without the seeds and then you can pour it! I have been using it lately to make fresh salsa!

Do you have a signature go-to dish?
 It would have to be a sausage, zucchini, & spinach lasagna with a red sauce. Or a homemade chicken pot pie, or a chicken broccoli braid. Basically I love recipes with the protein, veggie & starch all in one dish! Makes it easy to entertain without getting nervous that everything won't be done at the same time!

What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area? 
That's easy - my family!

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today? 
From my mom, I would have to say tacos! And now we have started taco night at our house on Tuesdays usually and we make them similar to Chipotle, with jasmine rice and black beans and my fresh salsa! One of our favorites! But from her mom, my grandma it would have to be stuffed cabbage or pigs in the blanket as she referred to them! For years I could never get them right but now I know hers were sweeter because she used a can of tomato soup in the sauce, so I can pretty much recreate them now, but of course they still don't taste like hers!

Top 3 Movies of all time?
This question will age me! Top Gun, Always (with Richard Drefuss & Holly Hunter) & Pretty Woman. And I need to add a fourth - The Wizard of Oz!

What was your happiest moment in life?
So far my wedding & honeymoon but I have a feeling it will be topped pretty soon!
Is this not the cutest picture you have ever seen?!

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Everywhere - Giant Eagle, Marcs, Wal-mart (the one by us actually has great produce), Heinens, & even the West Side Market. We change it up every week.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
Pumpkin roll! Specifically from Giant Eagle and it is in season right now - so far I have bought 3!

Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
My grandparents - they will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year!

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
Yes to have Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year!

One word that best describes you is: Family
Beverly with three of her sisters and her Dad

The recipe I choose is Surprise Rice Casserole. It is just a great combination of ingredients that go so well together but seem unusual. It is perfect as a side dish or to bring to a party! I have searched the Internet for this recipe and can't really find anything like it, so I don't know whom to give credit. But I can say the woman I got it from said she got it out of The Plain Dealer. Oh and did I mention it is very easy and simple!

Surprise Rice Casserole
1 cup uncooked brown rice (I used jasmine instead)
2 T butter
1 8oz. can of crushed pineapple undrained
1T brown sugar
½ t salt
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup slivered almonds

Cook rice as per directions, stir in butter until melted. Add pineapple, brown sugar & salt.
Spray casserole with cooking spray. Put rice in casserole & sprinkle with cheese and almonds. Cook 350° for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. (Serves 6)

**One great past time I always loved about Beverly is the Cooking Club she belongs to with some of her girlfriends.  I do something similar with my two girlfriends, Bonnie and Dawn (you have read about lots of our dinner nights on here.)   She was sweet enough to tell me more about her awesome club and if this doesn't inspire you to do the same with some of your friends I don't know what would!!  This makes for an incredibly fun Girl's Night In.  

It started in 2003 because one of the girls, a newlywed, wanted to learn to cook dinner for her new husband. It has always been about 6 girls at a time with a few that have left over the years and a few new members. We just decide a theme for the month and cook a recipe and bring that with us along with copies of the recipe to share. Email makes it easy to decide what to bring, usually the host cooks the main dish and then we pick sides and desserts as we go. We rotate houses each month and usually do it on a Sunday night. It is more about 6 girls getting together each month to chit chat and drink a glass of wine than about the food. But we do get great recipes and some are successes and some are failures. We have had so many different themes throughout the years from Indian, to favorite family recipe, to red foods (that one was for Valentine's Day!), to you name it! We also pick one month a year and invite the boyfriends/husbands and they LOVE that month! Through the years we have had about 4 weddings in the group and many children being born with currently 3 on the way! We have done different outings as well when we get bored with the themes. We have cooked dished for the new moms, or went to Cooking Thyme once, also Taste of Lakewood, and the Food Network Show at the IX Center. We also has a great outing recently at Crop Restaurant downtown and sat at the chef's table(which is around the open kitchen) on a Sunday night for their special Sunday supper menu and that ranks in the top - I would have to say! I have tried to keep a list going of the themes and whose house we were at but over the past 7 years I have a few gaps in my records!

 I think the funniest thing was about 5 years ago, well funny now that you look back on it. The theme was Mexican or Spanish something and one of the girl's was attempting to make fried ice cream at her moms house because she was living there while in her medical residency program. So she was heating up a pot of oil on the stove when it caught on fire!! She panicked and grabbed the pot and ran it under water in the sink!! Well it created a bigger fire and the curtains caught on fire and eventually the kitchen! No one was hurt except for minor blisters on her hand where she initially grabbed the pot. But the firemen came and her parents ended up remodeling the kitchen after that, a project that they planned to do someday anyways! So her mom knew how much she loved cooking club and told her to go that night anyways! She planned on keeping the story a secret because she was so embarrassed but blurted it out the second she came in the door! And spent the entire evening with her hand in a bowl of ice! She is now a surgeon and till this day we tease her about it!
~Ciao, Beverly

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