Baked Ziti

Cooking with Anatole, The Chicago Times

May 14, 2021

Today mon ami, we savor the taste from the botte d’Europe.  One of mama’s favorites we enjoy the conforts of Baked Ziti.

Mon ami, let us prepare the ingrédients and as always choose only the best!

  • 2 lb. Ziti
  • 2 lb. low moisture Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
  • 2 lb. Ricotta Cheese
  • 10 cups of your favorite homemade tomato sauce (or Anatole’s special recipe)

Anatole’s instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Bring your favorite pasta pot of water to a roaring boil and add a pinch of salt and tsp. of olive oil.
  • Add Ziti to boiling water and cook the recommended time or to taste and drain well.
  • Return Ziti to pasta pot and add 4 tbsp. of olive oil and 4 cups of tomato sauce; mix well.
  • Add 1 lb. of Ricotta Cheese to Ziti and mix well.
  • Use appropriate size baking pan or pot that will hold Ziti and added ingredients.
  • Coat bottom of pan or pot with a layer of tomato sauce.
  • Evenly spread half the Ziti into your baking pan or pot.
  • Evenly spread 2 cups of tomato sauce and a good layer of Mozzarella Cheese.
  • Add remaining Ziti to pan or pot and repeat the process above.
  • Then coat the top layer with Mozzarella Cheese along with a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Place pan in oven at 400 F for 15 min.  Then reduce heat to 350 F degrees and bake for 20 min.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 to 15 min.
  • Remember mon ami, you can add more desired ingrédients to your liking.

Anatole’s Critique:

Excellente saveur, yet lourd dans l’estomac, no?  No worry, Anatole always has room for more.  Bon appétit, mon ami!

INFLATION ON THE RISE: APRIL WHOLESALE PRICES SURGE 0.6% IN APRIL

Consolidated Press News File

May 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices rose 0.6 percent in April, shocking economists and providing more proof that inflation pressures are beginning to mount as the world emerges from a pandemic-induced recession.

The increase in the producer price index, which tracks inflationary pressures before they hit customers, was more than twice the 0.3 percent increase expected by economists.  The rise came after a significant 1% increase in March, according to the Labor Department.

Wholesale prices have increased by 6.2 percent in the last year, the highest increase since the data was first collected in 2010.

Food prices increased by 2.1 percent in April, the largest monthly rise since a similar increase in October last year.  The cost of airline services and food retailing services increased by 0.6 percent.  The rise in the total cost was responsible for two-thirds of the increase in wholesale prices.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, increased by 0.7 percent in April, indicating widespread price pressures as demand rises with the economy’s reopening.  Core wholesale inflation has increased by 4.1 percent in the last year.

Officials from the Federal Reserve, including Chairman Jerome Powell, argue that recent price rises are only temporary as the economy reopens and are not a warning of out-of-control inflation.

However, rising prices have jolted Wall Street, which has now dropped three days in a row and seen the largest one-day decline in the S&P 500 since February.

BILL MAHER COVID POSITIVE

by Bobby Fleet, The Chicago Times

May 13, 2021

LOS ANGELES – Bill Maher host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher tests positive for COVID-19 after a routine test.  The taping of this week’s show has been cancelled. 

In a brief statement from HBO producers, Maher is currently asymptomatic, and no staff or crew have tested positive.

This Friday’s show was to have guests Neil deGrasse and Dan Carlin.  Both will be rescheduled to appear at a later date.

Despite best efforts to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Maher tested positive after a routine weekly test that is conducted on staff involved in production.

Like many productions in Hollywood, Maher’s show returned to limited in-studio production with limited audiences late last summer. Yet, like other productions, there have been delays due to COVID-19 positivity among staff, cast, and crew.  HBO sources declined comment as to whether Maher went on a tirade similar to Tom Cruise’s December outburst in Italy on the set of Impossible Mission 7.

DICK KAY, LEGENDARY CHICAGO POLITICAL REPORTER, DEAD AT 84

by Vito Lucia, The Chicago Times

May 13, 2021

ST. CHARLES, IL – Legendary political reporter Dick Kay died Thursday at the age of 84.  According to his family, Kay was found unresponsive at his home and died peacefully at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva. 

Dick Kay was well known for his no-nonsense reporting and relentless quest for the truth in every story.  A 38-year veteran of WMAQ, Kay started on scene at the 1968 Democratic Convention and worked his way to political editor.  In 1984, Kay received the Peabody Award for investigating the Illinois legislature.  Even in retirement, Kay would continue doing what he loved.

Raised in Dellrose, Tennessee, Kay would drop out of school at age 14 to support his family and at 16 joined the Navy; where he served honorably and received his high school equivalency.  After leaving the service, Kay would graduate from Bradley University with a degree in speech education.  True to form, Kay would work his way through college delivering mail.

Although reporter to the core, Kay also represented his fellow broadcasters as Chicago president of SAG-AFTRA where he fought for the right to end “no-compete” limits on broadcasters.

Kay is survived by his wife, three sons, and grandchildren.  The family said a public memorial is planned for a future date.

MAYOR LIGHTFOOT ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF VACCINE EXEMPTION WHEN CHICAGO ENTERS BRIDGE PHASE ON MAY 14

City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor

May 13, 2021

CHICAGO – Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot along with CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., and BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareño announced a full expansion of the Vaccine Exemption when Chicago enters the Bridge Phase of reopening tomorrow, May 14th, allowing businesses to expand capacity for vaccinated patrons. In addition to the increased capacity that comes with the Chicago Bridge Phase, businesses will have the option of not counting fully vaccinated individuals towards COVID-19 capacity limits for all industries. Restaurants and bars will also be able to seat parties larger than ten people if all patrons are fully vaccinated.  This next step is possible due to continued progress in the fight against the pandemic, the widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the City’s ongoing efforts to reopen safely and cautiously while encouraging all Chicagoans to get vaccinated as soon as possible so we can return to normal.  

“It’s been nearly five months since vaccines first arrived in our city and since their arrival, we’ve been able to turn a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel into a full-blown flood of hope,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “With more and more of our residents vaccinated, we will be able to reopen more and more of our city in a way that is not only safe, but will allow us to eventually return to a sense of normal. This vaccine exemption expansion announcement, as well as our city’s shift into the Bridge Phase, proves that we are continuing to make progress in our mission of overcoming this pandemic once and for all.”

Over the last two weeks, since the launch of “Open Chicago,” all of Chicago’s COVID-19 metrics continue to decline or remain stable, including the average daily case count (now under 400), test positivity (under 4%), and hospitalizations and deaths. Due to this continued progress, Chicago is able to enter our Bridge Phase along with the state tomorrow, May 14th. Chicago’s Bridge Phase largely aligns with the state’s plan and, following standard protocol, we will update our plan to align fully with the state in two weeks if our metrics continue to remain stable or decline. 

“We are pleased to report continued progress in our fight to end this pandemic and I want to applaud all the Chicagoans who have made this possible by getting vaccinated and following the public health guidance,” said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Arwady. “This further reopening is exciting but we need everyone to continue to follow the health and safety guidance if we want to fully reopen for summer.”

COVID-19 capacity restrictions will increase across industries under the Chicago Bridge Phase effective tomorrow. This represents a broad loosening of regulations, including allowing bars and restaurants to operate within their regular liquor license hours, opening standing areas for the first time at 25% capacity, increasing to 250 people indoors or 500 people outdoors at social events, and increasing to the lesser of 60% or 1,000 people at meetings, conferences, and conventions. Certain capacity limits will remain in place to keep patrons and employees safe, including the limit on table size to ten people for any place that serves food or alcohol. However, in order to give businesses the opportunity to increase capacity safely while encouraging vaccine uptake, businesses will have the ability to take advantage of the Vaccine Exemption.

There are three components of the Vaccine Exemption:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals do not count towards COVID-19 capacity limits across all industries.
  • Bars, restaurants, and other establishments that allow onsite consumption of food or alcohol can increase table or party size above the limit of ten if all patrons age 16+ at that table or within that party are fully vaccinated. 
  • Late Hour Liquor Licensees can operate without hour restrictions for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began if only fully vaccinated patrons are permitted to enter. While all bars and restaurants are allowed to stay open under standard hours in the Chicago Bridge Phase, this will allow Late Hour establishments to stay open until 4:00 am Monday through Saturday morning and 5:00 am on Sunday morning if all patrons are fully vaccinated.

Businesses who choose to take advantage of the Vaccine Exemption will be expected to verify that patrons are fully vaccinated and track which customers are exempt from capacity limits to ensure compliance. A full overview of the Vaccine Exemption can be found here. 

“The Chicago Bridge Phase is a huge milestone on our path towards reopening and one that would not be possible without ongoing buy-in from our incredible business community,” said Rosa Escareño, BACP Commissioner. “However, if we want to continue moving forward and hopefully get back to normal soon, we need all Chicagoans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

While this broad loosening of restrictions and the new Vaccine Exemption reflects our progress in the fight against the pandemic, we are not at the end of this crisis. As such, certain regulations will remain in place across industries, including the requirement to maintain six feet of social distancing between parties and to wear face coverings at all times except in limited circumstances, such as when patrons are actively eating or drinking. 

To help businesses understand the new Chicago Bridge Phase and the Vaccine Exemption, BACP will be holding webinars this Friday, May 14, at 2:00 pm and Monday, May 17, at 1:00 pm. Register and learn more at Chicago.gov/businesseducation. 

City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor

ALDERMAN, DALEY RELATIVE PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO TAX CHARGES

Consolidated Press News File

CHICAGO – Patrick Daley Thomas, nephew of former Mayor Daley, pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal tax charges in connection with the failed Washington Federal Bank for Savings scandal.

Thompson faces five counts of filing false tax returns and two counts of lying to federal agents.  He denied the charges after the indictment was filed April 29.  Charges stemming from Thompson’s interview with federal agents about $219,000 in loans between 2011-2014 from the now defunct Washington Federal Bank for Savings.

On orders of U. S. District Judge Franklin Valerrama, Thompson was ordered to hand over his passport while awaiting trial.