Hellos and Goodbyes

July 20, 2014 § 1 Comment

I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.  Had a great visit with the Concierge Mom herself, Suzanne Bolling, and said farewell to some of the best people from our little community.  The funny thing about friends who move away (or you might be the one to move) is that you can pick up right where you left off.  What comfort there is in these kinds of friendships.

I received the sweetest package on Saturday afternoon from Amazon…Dinner:  A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach.  This cookbook is also a story, or a survival guide.  It’s a story about family dinners.  Suzanne had recommended this book to me a while ago, also has had me following Jenny Rosenstrach’s blog.  Vince and I were sitting on our deck and he asked, “Are you reading a cookbook?”, and the answer was “Yes”.  Not only did I read it, but I created my dinners for the week list after being inspired by it.


So I went to the grocery store with a plan, came home to brown the pork shoulder, and threw it in the oven to braise while I was at the pool with the kids.   Vince kept a careful eye, of course.  It turned out great!

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Pork Shoulder Ragu

2 to 2 1/2-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small pat butter
1 large can whole tomatoes, with juice
1 cup red wine
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh oregano
Small handful of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon hot sauce, for smokiness (I used Trader Joe’s Hot Chili Sauce)
Pappardelle (I used Linguine for the kids and Vince, and quinoa pasta for me)
Freshly grated Parmesean


Preheat oven to 325°F. Liberally salt and pepper the pork roast. Add olive oil and butter to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high until butter melts, but does not burn. Add pork roast to pan and brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes in all.

Add the onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, wine, thyme, oregano, fennel, and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Cover, and put in oven. Braise for 3-4 hours, turning every hour or so. Add more liquid (water, wine, or tomato sauce) if needed. (The liquid should come to about 1/3 of the way up the pork.) Meat is done when it’s practically falling apart. Put on a cutting board and pull it apart with two forks, then add back to pot and stir.

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Cook 1 to 2 pounds pasta according to package directions. When it’s is ready, put into individual bowls and top with ragu and lots of Parm.

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Since I’m doing JJ Virgin’s detox- no gluten, no sugar, no dairy, no eggs, no corn, no soy, no peanuts…I got creative and piled fresh spinach in the bottom of my bowl, topped with the quinoa pasta, and then the ragu…with no parm on top.

While at the grocery store this morning I ran across the cheese that my Dad loves to use in his Classic Cheese Fondue.  It’s a little out of season for this heavy comfort food, but I snapped a photo and sent to him in a “text”.  I can still visualize his handwriting on the recipe Finlandia because it melts so smooth in the fondue.  Tomorrow is his birthday, so hope it’s a fun b-day surprise.


Saturday evening with friends.  Tried a new place (new to us)- Mom’s Old Recipe Mexican Restaurant on Milwaukee Ave.  It was fun, the food was great and I had to take lots of photos of what everyone ordered.

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Perfect night for a cocktail reception with our amazing clients on Thursday night.

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A lovely antipasto display with veggies, meats, cheeses, and olives at the center of the table, and the best passed hors d’oeuvres- chicken salad cones, ceviche and my all- time favorite “lamb chop lollie pops”- all of which made it easy to mingle, and left my tummy very satisfied.  There were  sliders, shrimp skewers, seared beef tenderloin cups, and mini quinoa crab cakes (kinda loved those too).  You must check out my dear friend, Lynda Ross, and her amazing Chicago catering company The Caterist.

Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends. ~Richard Bach





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§ One Response to Hellos and Goodbyes

  • theconciergemom says:

    So touched by this! I love that you are enjoying the cookbook so much already and wish I would benefit! 🙂

    Whenever I see you, it’s like no time has gone by- our friendship is forever and I am so grateful! Xoxo Suzanne

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