20 | November 27, 2019 | the mokena messenger LIFE & ARTS mokenamessengerdaily.com Mokena Munchies Ditch canned cranberry sauce for this Matt’s Old Mokena Once a Mokenian, always a Mokenian Beth Krooswyk Contributing Columnist If you’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce with fresh berries, then you are missing out. Not only does it taste so much better than the canned version, but it’s also fun because the cranberries pop while cooking. Hey, it’s the little things that excite me. This recipe comes from my sister-in-law Michelle’s sister Janet (did you follow that?). She recently posted a photo on Facebook of this concoction cooking on her stove with the comment, “One of my favorite things to make… fresh cranberry sauce.” When I noticed in the photo that she had included pomegranate seeds, I asked her for the recipe because I like making this side dish at this time of year. And, of course, I always love a new recipe. Janet’s fresh cranberry sauce Ingredients • 1½ cups brown sugar • 1½ cups water • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice • 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed • Seeds of 1 pomegranate • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 1 teaspoon nutmeg Directions Janet’s fresh cranberry sauce is ideal for holiday meals, plus it’s fun to make — the cranberries pop. Beth Krooswyk/22nd Century Media In addition to the pomegranate seeds to give it some crunch and sweetness, what I appreciate about Janet’s recipe is that it uses brown sugar instead of white sugar, and the spices of cinnamon and nutmeg instead of orange zest. When I made this sauce to put with “Roasted Crockpot Chicken,” all four of us Kroosers really enjoyed the flavor. Then I was curious if this was Janet’s own recipe. “Yep, I played around with it a couple of years ago and stuck with this one,” she said. I’m going to stick with this one from now on, too. And, by the way, Janet also said she loves when the cranberries pop. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat until cranberries start to pop and split open, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often, or until all cranberries are popped and sauce is a deep red color. Cool before serving (however, we ate it warm because we couldn’t wait to try it, and it was delicious). Matt galik Contributing Columnist Hundreds of people pass through our Village every day without giving it much thought. For them it’s just a way station along the way. But others make Mokena a destination, and at that, some even come from thousands of miles away. Such was the case for a young man named Edoardo Campi, who came all the way from Italy to visit Mokena in the summer of 1960, in what was his first taste of America. When visiting a new place, an integral part of the experience comes from who shows it to you. Campi’s hosts were none other than beloved local residents, the Ed Yunker family. “Edo,” as Campi was known by his friends, hailed from the northern Italian city of Milan, Italy’s second most populated after Rome. When he came to Mokena that summer 59 years ago, Campi was a handsome 17-year-old and a student at the Instituto Tecnico Industriale in his home city. Before he set foot on American soil, he already had five years of English instruction behind him in school, and excelled in the language. In a letter from Campi that was printed on the front page of the May 20, 1960, edition of Mokena’s Village newspaper, the News-Bulletin, he stated that spending a year in America would “fulfill my life’s dream” and help him brush up on his already sharp English skills. Reaching Mokena was a grueling 12-day globetrot. The young man took a train from Milan northwest to Rotterdam in Holland, where he joined a whopping 900 other Americabound European students and their date with the S.S. Seven Seas, which ferried them over the Atlantic to New York, from whence Campi took a bus to Chicago. The trip to the Windy City was a rocky one, as the bus was due to arrive at 5:45 a.m. on Aug. 22, but wound up not showing up until 12:30 p.m. the same day. Campi was the second passenger to leave the bus, and was gladly received on the spot by 16-yearold Ronald Yunker. Also making up the welcoming committee were Ronald’s mother, Laverne Yunker, and Donald D’Amico, assistant superintendent of Lincoln-Way High School. Unluckily for the travel weary Campi, the journey to Mokena still had one more hiccup, namely the breakdown of the Lincoln- Way station wagon. By and by, the group made it to the Village. The Yunker farm on La- Porte Road, today a priceless Mokena landmark, was Campi’s home for exactly one year. At his first dinner there, on the night of his arrival, he and the Yunkers enjoyed fried chicken, a quintessential American meal. While in our midst, Campi was a student at what is now Lincoln-Way Central in New Lenox. The author of these words is lucky enough to be a buddy to some Yunker family members, who put him in touch with Campi, with whom they still maintain a relationship to this day. Communicating via e-mail over thousands of transatlantic miles, Campi recounted his time spent in Mokena almost 60 years ago. “The USA was like a different planet,” Campi recalled. “To me it was a new world. At the time everybody was dreaming about the USA. Back then, the American way of life was a must to be copied in any country. I was a kid, and to me everything I was experiencing was exciting.” Before he left for home, the News-Bulletin managed to get an interview with Campi, who praised local cuisine, saying that “hot dogs, hamburgers and barbeques are the greatest American foods,” while also explaining his dislike for buttered bread, saying simply that back home it would be eaten dry. He also mentioned that he was surprised with Chicago, having expected it to be “shiny and large,” as the paper put it. He thought that every structure would be a modern marvel, like the Prudential Building, at the time the tallest building in the city. In 1960, the Yunker family opened their farm home to Campi, and he became an honorary resident of our Village. He’s known to come back from time to time. Once one is a Mokenian, one is always a Mokenian.
mokenamessengerdaily.com DINING OUT the mokena messenger | November 27, 2019 | 21 The Dish Relentless innovation drives Siam Marina but favorites persist Bill Jones, Managing Editor As Siam Marina coowner Tammy Pham hustles behind the bar alongside her husband and co-owner, Sam Chung, on a November evening during a Fall Harvest cocktail tasting, customers continually swing by to address her by name and thank her for their meals. “They all know me,” Pham says with a laugh. After five years in Tinley Park — following 20- plus in Calumet City with Siam Marina I and II, and since 2007 with Asparagus, a second restaurant the couple has run in Merrillville, Indiana — Pham, who serves as the restaurant’s executive chef, is about as familiar to Siam Marina’s regulars as is the Asian fusion restaurant’s prominent building along Oak Park Avenue. And while the familiarity says a lot about the loyalty the restaurant has earned with its diners in just half a decade in town, it is the unfamiliar that keeps many of them coming back. “My customers always want the new,” Pham said. That is why the duo hosts events like the monthly cocktail tastings and why it invites fresh jazz acts to entertain there twice a month. It is also why Siam Marina’s menu is starting to look like a phone book — albeit a phone book with an innovative drinks list, a seemingly endless offering of appetizers, 10 salad options, nine soups, and entrees that run the gamut from curries to seafood, red meat to poultry to noodles and rice. Then, Siam Marina “It’s really fun. I think it’s in my blood.” Tammy Pham — co-owner and executive chef at Siam Marina in Tinley Park, on coming up with new recipes Siam Marina 16846 Oak Park Ave. in Tinley Park Hours • 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday • 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday For more information ... Web: siammarina.com Phone: (708) 407- 8825 brings out a companion novella full of dessert options. It gets more interesting yet when Chung, working with an enormous display of liquor, is behind the bar — made from a 100-yearold cherry tree. Ever the innovator, Chung is more than happy to inquire about diners’ preferences and whip up special drinks on the spot. But part of the reason the menu itself has gotten so big is that despite the demand for “new,” regulars have their longstanding favorites, and it’s tough to let go of a good recipe. And customers will find several of the alltime standouts on Pham’s menu before ever getting past the appetizers. The asparagus crispy rolls ($10) feature fresh asparagus and bacon, dusted with Parmesan cheese, wrapped in rice spring rolls, and served with a ginger and sweet/sour dipping sauce. The playfully named Duo Cargot ($15) bakes escargot and shrimp together in little bowls, with a Thai basil sauce. They come served with small slices of garlic bread, which diners will want to use to sop up the sauce, which has a slight kick. The spicy lemongrass beef — featuring lemongrass-marinated beef, sesame seeds, herbs, onion, garlic and honey, served with hot sauce and cucumber, along with mixed greens — goes big on the presentation, piling the thin slices of beef high atop the greens, with the hot sauce rounding out the design of a long platter. On the portion of the menu dedicated to noodle and rice dishes, the pad ki mao — or drunken noodles — with chicken ($14) have long been a customer favorite. They feature stir-fried flat rice noodles, carrots, bean sprouts, pea pods, basil, bamboo and eggs, flavored with a touch of exotic wine. They alternately can be ordered with tofu ($14), shrimp ($16) or beef ($18). The menu plays with flavors from around the world but focuses on influences from Thailand and Vietnam — the latter Pham’s first home — in The spicy lemongrass beef at Tinley Park’s Siam Marina features lemongrassmarinated beef, sesame seeds, herbs, onion, garlic and honey, served with hot sauce and cucumber, along with mixed greens. Photos by Bill Jones/22nd Century Media The pad ki mao — or drunken noodles — with chicken ($14) have long been a customer favorite at Siam Marina. They feature stir-fried flat rice noodles, carrots, bean sprouts, pea pods, basil, bamboo and eggs, flavored with a touch of exotic wine. the French style. If the ever-growing menu is any indication, Pham’s riffs on those flavors are virtually limitless. And she has no plans to slow down. “It’s really fun,” she said. “I think it’s in my blood.”