Midwest summer

Here are some more from our trip to Milwaukee and Chicago…

Sparkly. We attended my friend Sandra’s wedding in Chicago. Here’s her cake, beautifully appropriate for the Fourth of July (and we even got to watch the fireworks from the boat on Lake Michigan where she had the reception!)

Tasty. My brother’s girlfriend Marnie cooked dinner for us. She is an amazing cook! Here are the brussel sprouts with Asiago (from one of her fave recipes on the excellent food blog, 101 Cookbooks.)

Creamy. More from Marnie: creamy bacony stuffed mushrooms.

. My friend Jen and her little boy made ice pops for the kids and me. They were made out of a nice, not-to-sweet peach fruit juice. Perfect for a hot afternoon!

Crispy. The great thing about being home for Fourth of July weekend is getting to have lots and lots of barbeque! Here are some of the excellent marinated bbq pork by my friend Mark’s wife, Jessica and my friend Mayette. Man, that crispy fatty part is the best.

Wisconsinite/Filipino. If you grow up in Wisconsin, you grow up on bratwurst. But being Filipino, at our house it was never served grilled on a bun. Instead we grilled them and ate it with rice and tomatoes, or pancit. Believe me, an excellent combination.

Trashy. On the way back from Chicago I was jonesing for some Castle, the tiny steamed burgers that are ultimately, to be honest! pretty mediocre. (See my post on Kopps to read about great burgers in Wisconsin.) Of course, (as I realized all through college) you only have to have them at 1 o’clock in the morning after a night out (a la Harold and Kumar) to find out how truly outstanding they really are!

Beefy. My mom received a bunch of steaks from my aunt, who lives in Ohio. She and my uncle donate money to their local 4H beef breeding program. Basically, the group raises a steer for beef, the meat then being divided among those supporting the program. (I believe this is how it works– correct me if I’m wrong!) I find this program interesting for a few reasons: it seems to put children in touch with animals and how they are raised for meat — super topical these days, especially as a backlash against industrial farming. Secondly, supporters of the program essentially get a local product, great for those who are interested in ‘eating local’. When I had some of this, even before I knew, I was like, “These steaks are awesome– where did you get them?” It doesn’t hurt either that my dad is awesome at the grill.