"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's featured guest on Friday's Feasting with Friends is a fellow Cleveland Area Blogger and new friend, Mary Johnson. Mary writes the wonderfully fun Mommy blog iNeed a Playdate: After Enlightenment, the Laundry. Amongst musings about her family, she does products reviews, awesome giveaways, and hosts a few Blog Hops for all of you other bloggers out there. iNeed a Playdate holds something for just about anyone, so please be sure to give her a visit and then add her to your Reader! Mary also presented me with that pretty great blogging award over there on the right hand side, The Who to Hang With Award. I am showing it off proudly. Thanks iNeed a Playdate!! (Oh, and Mary.... I need that lobster recipe!)
So without further ado, I bring you Mary Johnson!
What is your favorite thing to cook?
It is a toss up between Lobster Tails Thermidor (because it sounds hard but it is not) and quesadillias
How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Fried chicken - I can never tell when it is fully cooked and I am afraid to over cook it so I end up baking it to be sure... so, now, I am an expert at baked fried chicken lol
What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
Melt (of course, I live in Lakewood) and Two Dads Dinner and Wine Bar and... oh wait do you really only want one?!?
The place I would really love to try and haven't gotten a chance to is the Clifton Martini & Wine Bar
Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
I would go with David Gray, Jack Johnson, The Script, Sara Bareilles, Van Morrison, Sheryl Crow and maybe some Train
What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
STEAK! STEAK! and STEAK!
What are you currently reading?
The Songs of the Seraphim by Anne Rice and Good Omens (for the umpteenth time)
What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
Tongs. Absolutely tongs. So handy for everything including reaching the top shelf where the Husband likes to put my coffee cup lol
Do you have a signature go-to dish?
Lobster Tails Thermidor (I can make it in 30 minuets!)
What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area?
The skyline, the lake, all the great places to take the kids from museums to parks. The people. The restaurants. All the different cultures. I love Cleveland!
Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
Yes, yes I do... canned Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches! Yummy. I sometimes class it up a bit by adding sprouts and/or tomatoes to the sandwich.
Top 3 Movies of all time?
Shakespeare in Love
Across the Universe
What was your happiest moment in life?
Every time I see one of the kids or the Husband smile an honest smile. The smile that you catch from the corner of your eye and were not expecting it. Just a pure, honest, "I am glad to be with you" smile.
Where do you do your grocery shopping?
West Side Market for as much as I can especially... Bacha's Produce (veggies), Calabrese Produce (fruit), Pinzone Meats and Meister Foods (cheese). What I can't get there I go to the big box place a block from my house.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
Tiramisu. Nothing tastes better the a good tiramisu. Unless it is a good key lime pie ;)
Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
Right now... my little hobby aka iNeed a Playdate. It use to be some of the showings I had in my early twenties when I aspired to be a photographer but now... I am content with my day job and writing is creative.
Besides... These crazy mommy bloggers want to feature me and stuff and do interviews so I must be doing something right.
Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
I am trying to be healthy again and in doing so I am trying to get the Husband to be healthy, too. He is a great cook and he has been helping out with the cooking and grocery shopping since our youngest was born. He has also helped me kept the scales from going down lol. So my resolution is to make us all healthy cooks.
One word that best describes you is: Goddess
And a favorite recipe:
Roasted Veggie Soup... a colleague and friend told me how to do make this but I added my own take to it.
Roasted Vegetable Soup
Take a variety of veggies that are in season, for me, that means: sweet potatoes, leeks, an apple and acorn squash puree them with your favorite stock and add bacon to it for an extra dimension of yumminess.
1. Cut the acorn squash in half, core and cube the apple and cut the ends off the leeks (after cleaning).
2. Toss the cut veggies and the whole sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet or if you were me, I would use my pampered chef stone brownie pan but... you use what you like ;)
3. Drizzle EVOO all over everything and salt and pepper it all to taste.
4. Roast the veggies at 350 for as long as it takes - usually till the skin pulls away from the potatoes.
5. While they are roasting, fry up some bacon - say a half pound of apple smoked bacon and let cool on a paper towel. I use the pot that the pureed veggies will eventually go into since the flavor and, well, grease from the bacon tastes so good.
6. Once the veggies have roasted and cooled a little (enough that you can handle them) peel off the skins of the squash and potatoes and cut them up.
7. Slowly add veggies and stock to the blender and blend in small batches till smooth.
8. Once all blended, crumble the bacon and add it to the soup.
Thank you again for featuring me on your blog and I loovvvee to read it!