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Heading North

My friends!  Let’s catch up.

First of all, the children I’m babysitting are debating whether the youngest just took something out of a trashcan and ate it.  My question is:  How bad is this?  And does it change anything if [*FACT*] the trashcan is in front of a 24-hour bowling alley?

Second, metallic green beetles have been dive-bombing our house non-stop.  One landed on my head this morning and made me jump high enough to qualify for the NBA draft.  Then I saw it was two bugs stuck together and I screamed  (which probably disqualifies me from the NBA draft, so I guess it’s a wash).

Scott thinks they’re pelting the house as part of a bizarre mating ritual.  He thinks we we should leave them alone.  But that’s crazy, you guys.  If I’ve learned anything from babysitting, it’s this: when sexytimes are happening on the roof, you go up there with water-gun and an air horn and you SHUT IT DOWN. 

Third, we have some big news.  We’re moving to Chicago!

We’re heading north after my brother gets married in August.  Scott got a great job there and I’m excited to find one too.  At some point we’ll pack and hire a mover, but I’m dreading that part because I have PTSD from the last time I did it.

When I moved from New York to Alabama, I hired movers who were a tenth the price of other movers.  Because I am an idiot, this didn’t ring any alarm bells in my head.  It just made me want to hug them.

They came to my apartment, loaded up my stuff, and said they’d see me in Alabama in a week.  But that didn’t happen.  What happened was they drove to Brooklyn, put my stuff in a warehouse, and opened the door so raccoons could come in and pee on it for two months.  TWO MONTHS, you guys.  MULTIPLE RACCOONS.

So instead of packing or researching neighborhoods in Chicago, I’ve been cooking Southern dishes.  This approach to moving may not end well, but the whole beginning part is amazing.

farmer's market tomatoesI worked my last farmer’s market last week, which means I can be a customer now and spend my 401(k) on local tomatoes. farmers market tomatoes But aren’t they beautiful?  They’re not gassed to look red like the ones at the grocery store.  I made them into a creamy tomato pie with a thick sour cream crust.

First I sliced the tomatoes up and salted them so they’d lose some of their moisture.

saltThen I layered them with an herby cheese mixture.

tomato pie on tableAnd then I baked them into something that tasted like a cross between a quiche and a savory vegetable pudding.  The glory of the pie is really in the creaminess of the filling paired with the flaky crumble of the crust.  The crust is a keeper on its own.  It’ll be my go-to from now on, unless I’m making a delicate dessert that needs something more refined.

Southern Tomato Pie

Have a good week, everyone–and hit me up if you know anything about Chicago or its suburbs.  We’re hoping to find a spot with a yard where it, er, never snows or gets cold and windy.  Know of anything?

Southern Tomato Pie {Download & Print Recipe}
Adapted from a recipe in Southern Living Magazine
A couple of notes on the recipe: First, the vinegar in the filling is key.  Along with the acid in the tomatoes it gives a kick to all the creaminess.  Second, the timing of your preparation is crucial in two simple ways: Don’t try to make any of this in advance.  You don’t want the tomatoes to salt too long and get mushy, and you don’t want to fill the crust and refrigerate it overnight before baking, lest the crust not rise properly.  You should, however, let the pie set for an hour or two after you take it out of the oven.  If you don’t and you cut into it, the filling will be too runny.  After it rests, you can reheat it and serve it hot or lukewarm.


for the crust:

2 1/4 c. self-rising flour

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, cut up into small pieces

3/4 c. sour cream

for the pie filling:

2 3/4 lbs. ripe, local tomatoes from a farmer’s market (industrial grocery store tomatoes will not be as good)

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 c. (6 oz.) shredded extra-sharp or sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 c. shredded Parmesan

A scant 1/2 c. mayonnaise (I left 1/2″ of space at the top of my measuring cup)

1 egg

2 green onions, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley (preferably Italian flat-leaf)

1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 tsp. sugar

a generous dash of Worcestershire sauce

a dash of hot sauce (I used Tabasco)

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 1/2 tsp. cornmeal


First, cut the tomatoes.

Slice off the tops of the tomatoes and then cut them into 1/4″ slices.  Using your fingers, work out the seeds and discard them. Lay the tomatoes on a double layer of paper towels on the counter and sprinkle them with the kosher salt. (Note: if you only have regular salt, halve the amount to 1/2 tsp.)  Let the tomatoes sit for 30 minutes.  (They’ll release some moisture so your pie won’t be runny.)

In the meantime, make the crust.

Put the flour and the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. If you have a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour.  If, like me, you don’t, use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal, with bits of butter no larger than peas.  Put the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

When the dough is chilled, beat in the sour cream gently for about 25 seconds on low speed, preferably with a flat beater attachment, just until combined.  Don’t overmix–you want little pieces of butter in the dough because this will make it nice and flaky. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in cellophane, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the filling.

Put the cheddar cheese and the next 12 ingredients (everything up until the cornmeal) in a bowl and mix with a fork until evenly combined.

Prepare the pie.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Take the dough out of the refrigerator and put it on a well-floured surface.  Roll it into a thick dough several inches larger than your pie pan.  Carefully transfer the dough to your pie pan, lightly press it in, and trim the excess off the edges.

Pat the tomato slices dry with a paper towel.  Sprinkle the cornmeal onto the crust (it won’t make it gritty).  Using the back of a soup spoon, spread about 1/3 of the cheese mixture onto crust.  (It will be a thin coating, but just try to work it around so the whole bottom of the crust is covered.

Place half of the tomatoes on top of the cheese mixture, slightly overlapping.  Spread the remaining cheese mixture on top of the tomato layer and top with another layer of tomatoes. (Use them all up.).  If you don’t have enough salted tomatoes to do a full layer on top, cut a few more slices if you have them, work out most of the seeds, and place them on top even though they haven’t been salted in advance.  Otherwise just arrange the slices you have in a pretty way.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is a little bubbly and the crust is browned.  If the crust starts to get too brown, shield the edges (but not the center of the pie)with tin foil so that the crust doesn’t burn.

Let the pie sit on the counter so that the filling sets for at least an hour before serving.


thunder upside downI hate to tell the dogs this. . .

thunder upside down againBut I’m not sure this couch is coming to Chicago with us.

93 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cheri #

    My husband is in the running for a job in the Chicago area also. We were looking at South Milwaukee as it seems cute and less expensive. I’d check it out!
    Congratulations and Good Luck on the move!

    July 23, 2013
    • Cheri, I hope you wind up there, too! Best of luck to the husband with the job possibility. So exciting. I will definitely check out South Milwaukee. Thanks.

      July 24, 2013
      • Cheri #

        Thank you!

        July 25, 2013
  2. That’ll be three of my favorite bloggers living in the Midwest! How exciting! I staged a similar Southern cooking bonanza when I was getting ready to move from Virginia to California, and it felt nice to celebrate those dishes that make me feel like I’m home. Cheers!
    (Also, I know those bugs! They are crazy, and I’m scared of them. Good luck.)

    July 23, 2013
    • Dana, I can’t wait to get back to Virginia for a little bit before we finish the move. I think I’m going to spend a whole week in Charlottesville for my brother’s wedding. Do you miss it? Of course, now you get the freshest produce ever, so that’s got to count for something.

      So, tell me who these bloggers are so that I can start reading them if I don’t already!

      July 24, 2013
      • I do miss it! Not the weather or the traffic, but I miss the people and the familiarity of home. But I do get that super fresh produce, and our growing season is a bit longer here, so I can’t complain too much. I think I just miss the spirit of the place because my identity is more tied to it. I’ve actually never been to Charlottesville, though, and I want to visit there some time. (And drink wine. Did that go without saying?)

        I think you already read Shannon (a periodic table) and then the Outlaw Mama, who is based out of Chicago.

        July 24, 2013
  3. Wow! Congrats! As a CT transplant to rural SC, I’m a little jealous that you are returning to somewhere “normal” where they probably have a Whole Foods, a Costco and a Trader Joe’s all on the same block! Hope this move goes more smoothly than the last one – with no urinating racoons anywhere near your stuff! 🙂 Also, those tomatoes are gorgeous!!!

    July 23, 2013
    • Melissa, I really can’t wait for the grocery stores there. I have one place here that I love–it’s a locally-owned produce/health food shop, but everywhere else drives me bonkers. The grocery store closest to my house doesn’t have hazelnuts, pita bread, bittersweet chocolate, free-range eggs, or Dijon mustard (to be fair, they do have mustard now–I talked to the manager and he ordered it for me), and often they are out of yogurt or ricotta cheese or herbs for days on end. It’ll be nice to be somewhere where I can spend less time wandering the aisles to no avail!

      July 24, 2013
      • ibreatheimhungry #

        You are speaking my language Katherine! Most of the time I can’t get parsley, and if I can it’s curly, not flat leaf. Cilantro is a toss up, fresh basil never! If it’s not apples, oranges, bananas, potatoes, onions, or collards then it’s a toss up if I’ll even find it. And what they have is usually withered and pathetic looking. Not so much a problem in the summer with my garden, but in the winter it drives me nuts. Oh what I wouldn’t give for a Publix or any other decent grocery store less than an hour’s drive away. I’m happy for you, even though it means I’ll have to suffer alone in my Southern grocery misery now! 🙂

        July 24, 2013
  4. Yay, Chicago! My hometown, and I miss it like crazy 1. when the temps hit 90 here in SC and 2. when they get the first, second (third, fourth and fifth) snow of the year. Although it’s just as hot in Chi-town right now, but at least they’ve got the lake effect breeze! Good luck with the move.

    July 23, 2013
    • Liene, I’m actually kind of excited for the snow. (I’ll probably regret saying that.) It only flurried once this winter in Alabama, just for a few minutes, and it didn’t stick. I just need to get a pair of REALLY good boots and I’ll be okay up there (I hope?).

      July 24, 2013
  5. Alex Toma #

    Katherine – since I’m now between full-time jobs myself, I’ll be trying this delicious-looking/sounding recipe tout suite! Also, re: Chicago – you may remember that Patrick lived there for several years right out of U.Va., then again after his stint in D.C. Anyway, I’m sure he has the scoop on great places to live that aren’t ridiculously expensive. I have a couple quality and super-cool friends I’ll have you meet once you make the move (one’s a doctor, another works at a foundation). You’ll love them! Finally – if you and Scott come through D.C. (likely not, but there might be a chance), hit me up – would love to see you after all these years

    July 23, 2013
    • I forgot that Patrick lived there! But I can see how that city was probably a great fit for him after college. I’m excited to hear that you have friends in Chicago. Scott’s best friend JUST left there this week to move to Germany, and one of my best friends left there a few years ago to move West. Alas! So I would love to meet some new, Alex-approved people. 🙂 We may well come through DC eventually, in which case I’d love to see you, too!

      July 27, 2013
  6. I am glad that we can follow your adventures in Chicago!! Safe travels!!!

    July 23, 2013
    • I can’t wait to explore and write about it! Truly. Can’t wait.

      July 24, 2013

    1. 2.0 eats stuff out of the trash all the time and he’s fine.
    2. I work with gobs of teenagers. I’ve threatened them with water before, but why not an air horn? I’ve gotta stop at Home Depot before work tonight.
    3. When I moved from Toronto to Fredericton, I used a company called Two Small Men with Big Hearts. Totally untrue. More like: One Small Elderly Dude with A Leaky Truck (Who Then Leaves Everything You Own Strewn Across The Front Lawn of Your Apartment Building to Dry Whilst Figuring Out How to Lug Your Furniture Single-Handedly to a Third Floor Walk-Up). Don’t ever use that company. They are horrendous.
    4. Congrats on moving a little closer to me. See you soon!

    July 23, 2013
    • One of the major selling points on Chicago is that it’s closer to Movita and 2.0. I’m serious. Inch by inch we are going to creep across this map until we’re living in your guest bedroom and drinking your coffee in the morning.

      I am going to hire movers called Four Arseholes Who Hate You And All Your Stuff, because they’re bound to be good, right? Since the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that moving companies’ names are the opposite of the customer service they actually provide?

      July 24, 2013
  8. Congrats on the new job! That pie looks de-freakin’-licious! Good luck with that whole “not windy” thing up there…

    July 23, 2013
    • I think I’m going to get one of those face masks that covers your whole head except for your nose holes and mouth. I’ll look a little creepy, but at least my face won’t blow away, right?

      July 24, 2013
  9. Chicago! It is such a fun down, amazing. Where will Scott be working? If downtown, then look for neighborhoods off the Blue Line and off the Brown Line. I have friends who live near the Kedzie stop on the Brown Line and really like their neighborhood. I have friends who live way out near O’Hare on the Blue Line near the Irving Park station – it’s a bit far out, but a nice neighborhood of pretty homes, very walkable, with lots of small ethnic restaurants.

    Places to eat: HOT DOUG’S (for real, do not miss it, look it up on the internets and you will see that you MUST GO), Davis St. Fish Market in Evanston, Hopleaf in Andersonville (SO GOOD – Andersonville is full of great places to eat and shop, and my favorite coffee house, Kopi Cafe).

    You’ll have so much fun!

    July 23, 2013
    • Virginia, this is so helpful! He’ll be working in Oak Brook, which I guess is 40 min. from downtown on the METRA. We were thinking of Oak Park if we can afford it, because it seems to be half-way between Oak Brook and the city. But do you have other suggestions? We spend 20 minutes driving around Oak Park a few weeks ago but didn’t really have time to visit other towns except for Hinsdale (which we could never afford.) What is this Andersonville place? It sounds cool– would it be a good place to live?

      When I told my friend here that I was going to Chicago for a few days during Scott’s interviews, she started talking about Hot Doug’s and didn’t stop for what felt like an eternity. I wanted to go so badly but they weren’t open on Sunday or whatever day we were going to try to hit it. I can’t wait to go!

      July 24, 2013
      • Yay, I’m helpful! Andersonville is on the northeast side of Chicago, on north Clark St, not far from the lake. There are Metra stations in that vicinity, but it might be long haul for Scott. It’s a very cool neighborhood, though.

        I have friends who live in Oak Park and really love it. They both work in the city and find it an easy commute. River Forest, next to Oak Park, is also supposed to be very nice (my great-grandfather found it so nice that he’s a permanent underground resident), but maybe it’s expensive?

        It might be useful to look at the Metra map and do some Google Earth searches. There’s a Metra stop in Logan Square – parts of Logan Square are a little seedy-looking, but it’s a bustling part of the city. Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Ukrainian Village are all clustered together on the northwest side, and that’s a fun area. Last time I was in Chicago, Wicker Park and Bucktown had gotten really pricey (but there’s a Fluevog store, if you like crazy shoes!), but Ukrainian Village was still affordable. That’s a cool area.

        Man, I could talk about Chicago all day. I really miss it.

        July 24, 2013
        • This is great. Thanks. I’m not sure when I’m going up to explore–probably in 2 weeks or so. This will be very helpful when I do!

          July 27, 2013
  10. WOOHOO – what an exciting adventure! And the foooood in Chi Town is superb! Much like the look of your tomato pie! Thunder and Seymour will recover I think!

    July 23, 2013
    • My friend, I can’t wait to eat my way through that city. I got to go up for a few days last month when Scott was interviewing and I had the time of my life. I went to Publican Quality Meats and had a delicious Italian sandwich and a cup of green tomato gazpacho soup. Then I went to a place called Glazed and Infused and got a great doughnut. The next evening, we went to Cafe Spiagia (not the fancy fancy place but it’s more casual version next door) and had the best bucatini since Mario Batalli’s Lupa in NY. Whoot!

      July 24, 2013
  11. that pie sounds divine… I think I might break my no cooking hiatus to make it tomorrow – if I can find tomatoes that tase of anything 🙂
    Congratulations on the new city… whenever I move to a new place I spend hours on google earth checking out the dog walking possibilities before I settle on a neighbourhood to look for somewhere to live!

    July 23, 2013
    • It’s funny you say that because we did the same thing the other day! Well, it was Scott who did it. He sent me a link to a website with dog parks and other dog places listed. I love our vet so much here. I can’t imagine we’ll ever find one we like more, but such is life!

      July 24, 2013
  12. a #

    If you want advice on where to live, you must have the work location in mind. The shorter his commute, the less irritable Scott will be. Unless he likes traveling at 5 mph. There are so many wonderful neighborhoods in Chicago, but they may come with a high crime rate or no parking. So, drawbacks. You should probably start shopping for an area you like. Isn’t he a physicist or something? Is he going to Fermilab or Argonne? In the case of Argonne, Burr Ridge is expensive, but nice, Woodridge is less expensive and decent, Downer’s Grove reminds me of a comedian I saw with my parents when I was about 12, but is also nice. And I can’t remember what else is around there, but they’re all fairly decent suburbs. Fermilab, I think, is northern suburbs, and I don’t know too much about those. And if it’s not those, then further information is required!

    But I echo the above – the food in Chicago is awesome.

    July 23, 2013
    • A, Scott loves Argonne and has been a couple times for work and to visit his physicist buds there, but he’s actually taking a job leading the innovation efforts of a manufacturing company in Oak Brook! It’ll be different but a really good fit, I think. We’re hoping to find a town in between Oak Brook and downtown, so that if I get a job downtown the commute isn’t too bad…

      July 24, 2013
      • a #

        I saw above that you were considering Oak Park – it’s generally pretty nice, but can be expensive. River Forest is also nice, but even pricier. Forest Park is probably more reasonable, and they have an active bar scene. The best part about these three is that you can take both the Metra (commuter train) and the Blue/Green Lines El train into the city.

        Elmhurst, which is north of Oak Brook, is also nice. They have decent train service. In fact, here’s a map! LaGrange, Riverside, Brookfield – also nice. There are probably only a couple areas that you want to avoid, and they are generally neighborhoods within suburbs. Also, Stickney (which my friends used to call Stinkney), because it has a landfill.

        Oh, and if you’d like to buy a two-bedroom 4th floor condo on the Des Plaines River in Des Plaines, my sisters and I happen to be selling one. 🙂 It’s only 2 blocks to the train (but a 30-45 minute drive to Oak Brook).

        July 24, 2013
        • Someone else told me that Forest Park might be a good, more economical spot than Oak Park, and that it’s a little edgier? Sounds neat. Thanks, I’ll check it out.

          July 27, 2013
  13. Anne #

    Chicago is an awesome city, you are going to love it. (Full disclosure: I am from Chicago.) Finding a place with a yard might be tricky though. Maybe Lincoln Square/Ravenswood area. Definitely take into account where Scott needs to commute, traffic is horrible. I no longer live there or I would offer to show you around, but feel free to email me with questions. I left 3 years ago for Washington and now live in Michigan, so I am familiar with the stress of a cross country move!

    July 23, 2013
    • Anne, I’m totally going to take you up on this and email you questions when they come up. I think I’m going to go up there in a couple weeks and hunt around for housing. Scott’s going to be working in Oak Brook, so we’re hoping to find a place in between there and downtown. I haven’t researched it much yet, but I need to!

      July 24, 2013
  14. Ah, you’ll miss the South. At random times. During a deep Shy-Town snowstorm especially 🙂

    July 23, 2013
    • I bet I will. I’m going to miss the crickets chirping at night, I can tell you that right now. And our enormous back yard. And the fact there’s no traffic in this town. And all the new friends I made! Sigh.

      July 24, 2013
  15. Pat Schwerman #

    Hate to see you guy go , but I guess I could chop down your tree and deliver it to Chicago. Course the shipping charges, and room charge might make that a little too much. But . . . let me know! Good luck in Chicago – I hear it gets really cold up there.

    July 23, 2013
    • Pat, this was the sweetest comment. Going to your Christmas tree farm for our tree every year we’ve been here has been a magical experience. I don’t think we’ll ever have one quite so lovely again. Scott will definitely not be able to wear a seersucker suit while chopping down our tree in Chicago. In fact, he may be so bundled up from the cold that I won’t recognize him and I’ll wind up getting in the car with another family by accident. I will think of you and miss you then!

      July 24, 2013
  16. Lovely tomatoes. Very good luck moving to Chicago. Moving sucks. Period. Think of Tom Waits song “Chicago” — “If we all go, we won’t have to say good-bye.”

    July 23, 2013
    • I just listened to it, thanks–I like Tom Waits but hadn’t heard that one.

      July 24, 2013
  17. enjoy chicago, my fav big city, i was born there. love the beetles and babysitting and tomato pie too. great post. best of luck in your new city, beth

    July 23, 2013
    • Thanks, Beth! I can’t wait to explore it. I’ve only been there for a few days total before, so it’s all new to me.

      July 24, 2013
  18. jenny_o #

    Hope you have better results from your movers this time. You sound like a very positive person and that will take you far. Good luck! What a wonderful picture of Thunder 🙂

    July 23, 2013
    • Thanks, Jenny! I love that picture of Thunder, too.

      July 24, 2013
  19. Doesn’t baking relief a bit of the stress? I wish you luck finding a better mover.. and you will love Chicago! I’ve never been there, lol, but everyone says it’s amazing! congratulations!

    July 24, 2013
    • Goodness, it DOES relax me so much. I think the repetition and doing something with my hands really brings me down to Earth. I know you know what I mean!

      July 24, 2013
  20. The raccoons made me laugh out loud (though I’m guessing it was far from funny at the time). The pie looks fab. Good luck finding a new home in the (un)Windy City.

    July 24, 2013
    • Gosh, Linda, it was the worst. Just the worst. My bed was sopping wet even though they charged me extra to wrap it in plastic!

      July 24, 2013
      • I can see why you’re kind of in denial this time round – hope it goes well!

        July 25, 2013
  21. Patty AD #

    Born & raised & still living in SE Wisconsin, in Racine. Yay for you being closer! You might find living just over the border, in Kenosha, a more cost friendly way to actually get a place with a yard – a lot of folks do that. It would be a heck of a commute to Oak Brook every day, though. However, NE Illinois real estate is pretty expensive, so the trade-off might be worth it. Aurora is a really nice community to check out as well – my best friend lives there with her family.

    July 24, 2013
    • Patty, I can’t believe I’ll be living so close to Wisconsin! I didn’t think about that until I read your comment. I’ll get to become a cheddar snob! :). Thanks for the housing tips. I’ll start looking at maps.

      July 25, 2013
      • Patty AD #

        And you can get some of the good stuff right in the grocery store! It’s awesome. Kenosha has a Metra line that will take you into the city, but not to Oak Brook. Their $7 weekend pass is a sweet deal. Commuting from anywhere in the Chicago area will likely be a challenge, so be sure you find a place that makes you all the most happy & comfortable.

        July 25, 2013
  22. Congrats on the move!!!

    July 24, 2013
    • Thanks, mdog! Should be an adventure, which is kind of the point, right?

      July 27, 2013
      • That’s right!! Chicago is a pretty neat place. I’m only about an hour and a half via the train from it. Very pretty city, especially at Christmas time. I love moving, packing things up, throwing things away you don’t need. If I were closer I’d come help! ~ Gina

        July 27, 2013
        • I was having a debate with my brother and his fiancee and Scott about whether unpacking at the end of a move is fun. It’s my FAVORITE–getting to decide how a clean new place will be set up is so fun! All three of them thought it was stressful and preferred packing. WHAT?!

          July 30, 2013
          • I’m with you, setting up the new place is fun, but I do love throwing stuff out too during packing. My rule is if I haven’t used it/thought about it/touched it since the last time I moved, it goes in the trash. When I moved to the place i’m in now, there was a box in a closet that i hadn’t touched since I moved into THAT place. I didn’t even open it, I put it right in the dumpster. Whatever was in it, I don’t miss it, haven’t needed anything in it!

            July 30, 2013
  23. Kath the Cook #

    O.M.G. that tomato tart is amazing! But where do you people live where you can’t get dijon mustard and herbs on the regular?

    Best wishes that the upcoming move does NOT involve extended periods of time with out furniture or raccoons ;).

    July 24, 2013
    • Kath, you’d think Dijon would be kind of a staple, right? But the grocery store near me has (no joke) about 100 kinds of bbq sauce and American-ish mustard, but not Dijon. When I asked the manager, he asked me to spell it. I was like, “you know, like Grey Poupon?” Nothing.

      There are other stores that have better selections, but they’re a little farther away, which is fine. Not FAR far, just like more traffic and whatnot.

      Thanks for the moving mojo! I can’t wait.

      July 27, 2013
  24. Congratulaaaations!! I’m gonna miss your east-coast tales but can’t wait to hear what you come up with in the mid-West. Grieving for EVERYONE, if the couch doesn’t make it! Sending love to you guys as you pack!!

    July 25, 2013
    • I wonder what the Chicago tales will be like…maybe it will degenerate into chronicles of snow and stew.

      July 27, 2013
  25. So much news! So much sex and pie! So much couch-envy!

    July 25, 2013
    • Scott assures me that the couch is DEFINITELY coming to Chicago. I guess that makes him a better pet parent than me (but makes me the better interior decorator.)

      July 27, 2013
  26. Nice blog!

    July 26, 2013
  27. Hi, I really like your style of writing. Using humour perks up reading about cooking and makes you want to come back more often. You may also enjoy another of my favourites that shares a similar sense of humour.

    July 26, 2013
  28. i, for one, quite enjoy your approach to moving: specifically because i get to benefit from it, gastronomically speaking. I’m super excited for you; not only will you be closer to me geographically (yay!), but it sounds like quite an adventure for the two of you, and i can’t wait to hear all about it. however, i will order you to eat ALL THE SOUTHERN FOOD before you depart. it’s a requirement.

    July 26, 2013
    • I am on my way to eating ALL THE SOUTHERN FOOD before we go!! I just learned pimiento cheese. It’s so good. I actually had Ritz crackers and pimiento cheese for breakfast yesterday and WHOOT! Breakfast of champions.

      July 27, 2013
  29. Anna W #

    So, hi, I’m a bit of a blog lurker most of the time, so I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented before. But anyway, I have been reading your blog since The Bloggess told me to, whenever that was 🙂
    Anyhow, I thought I should comment and let you know that I live very close to Oak Brook and have for the last 5 years, and before that I lived in the city (of Chicago) for about 7 years. So I can help you out! Do you guys prefer city or suburbs? Your idea of Oak Park is a good one as it is kind of a mix, however it is a bit expensive. However, I’m pretty sure that the Metra doe NOT go to Oak Brook. So, that might put a cramp in your style with that plan. There are some suburbs close to Oak Brook that would be a short drive for Scott, and have a metra station so that you could take it into the city if need be (what kind of job are you looking for?). A couple of them also have a cute “downtown” area so it doesn’t feel so suburban. For places like this, I’d look at Elmhurst and Downer’s Grove. Anyway, honestly, feel free to email me and I can help you out!!

    July 27, 2013
    • This is so helpful, Anna! Thank you so much. I’m definitely going to email you this week with questions. We’re talking to the relocation people at the new company today and I think I’m going to go up there and look at housing next week.

      July 30, 2013
      • Anna W #

        No problem! Just send me an email and I’ll try to help if I can 🙂

        July 30, 2013
  30. My younger sister (who is WAY better in the kitchen than I am) lives in Chicago! (We’re from Madison, WI, which is only 2.5 hours from there.)

    You guys should cook and eat together and make me jealous. 🙂

    July 29, 2013
    • p.s. Speaking of Madison, let me know if you’re ever headed up there and I’ll send you a (long) list of restaurants!

      July 29, 2013
      • I’d love to go there. I hear it’s beautiful!

        July 30, 2013
        • It’s beautiful in May and in October… but the food is good all year round. 🙂

          (And the Saturday farmer’s market is the best! I think that runs from Apr.-Sept.)

          July 30, 2013
    • I would definitely love to meet her!

      July 30, 2013
  31. Amy #

    Congrats on the move!!! I know you’ll be so much happier being in a big city again 🙂 Good luck with the movers 😉 I hope you’ll still have a yard for the pooches!!

    July 30, 2013
    • We are totally gunning for a yard up there. I hope hope hope we can find one that isn’t too expensive!

      July 30, 2013
  32. BranDGarrett #

    No no no!! You’re so close to where we live that I almost, possibly, one day maybe could actually meet Thunder & scratch her lovely little ears! Now you’ll be so far away it will never ever happen! Sigh, of course it wasn’t ever going to happen anyway but still, the thought was nice. 🙂 Have fun on your adventures in Chicago, even if they don’t have chicken festivals..

    July 30, 2013
    • Where do you live?!

      July 30, 2013
      • BranDGarrett #

        Ok so it’s not nearly as close as I originally thought.. We’re in Holly Springs, Ms which is about 3 hours from Huntsville but its still closer than Chicago. I thought we were only about 1.5 away since my kid keeps going on day field trips over there at the space center. Now I’m wondering how long do they actually get to spend there after all.. Interesting..

        July 30, 2013
        • HA. That’s hilarious. Well, if he has another one (er, in the next few weeks, I guess) you should chaperone it and I’ll meet you at the Space Center with Thunder and we can walk her around the Botanical Gardens!

          July 30, 2013
          • BranDGarrett #

            I doubt they would change the start of school just for me but it was a nice thought. Also, I have friends that live in Napierville which may be too far out for y’all but they love it. It’s definitely suburban with the big yards & all.

            July 30, 2013
          • I keep hearing really great things about Napierville. It’s a little farther than we were thinking, that’s true, but I’m going to check into what the commute to Oak Brook (Scott’s work) and Chicago would be like, because people seem to love it there.

            July 30, 2013
  33. Your Southern version of tomato pie sounds delightful! When we start getting tomatoes in our CSA box, I’m going to have to give it a try. Have you ever had the Northeastern version? I’m not sure it migrated as far south as the city 🙂 It’s like a version of thick-crust pizza with thick marinara sauce, but no cheese (or a sparse sprinkling of Parmesan), usually eaten cold or room temperature. Omnom!

    Good luck with your move and job search! I hope you have a better experience this time around.

    August 4, 2013
    • Boy does that Northeastern version look ridiculously good. I love foccacia and thick-crust pizza, so I kind of want to put my face into a slice of that version right now.

      August 14, 2013
  34. Not so sure what those cute dogs will think about the big city, but I’m predicting you’ll love it. I’ve stopped counting after living in 3 countries and 9 U.S. states plus seemingly endless work travel, but, needless-to-say, I’ve seen a lot of cities. Yet, Chicago is still among my favorites (right up there w/ Edinburgh and San Francisco). Sometimes I take the Chicago water taxi down the river on a clear summer day and think cities just can’t get any prettier.

    But I do suggest you check out those movers carefully. Having lived through similar in-transit nightmares, I can envision your goods being auctioned off somewhere on the south side …..

    August 5, 2013
  35. Cheri #

    Just discovered this awesome website re: movers!! We are going to use them to at least load our truck. It looks like each company has a lot of reviews so seems safe….

    August 14, 2013
    • Gah. I wish I had known about that website when I moved from NY two years ago and wound up crying myself to sleep every night because it seemed like the company was a sham and my stuff was going to be lost for good! Thanks for sending!

      August 14, 2013

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