Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mexico's Tonola Market

I learned to really love Mexican food when I lived in Guadalajara. I often ate out of street carts and in the markets because that was all that I could afford at the time. I never got sick eating food off the street. I avoided the downside of being a gringa by watching which carts and stands got the most local traffic…and followed their lead.

I also discovered photography and the markets of Tonola never fail to inspire me.
Year after year, I continue to go back and some of my favorite vendors are still there.
I like the fact that you can go to almost any place in the market and find something you’ve not seen before. There are so many local artisans and each take great pleasure in the amazing things that they create or grow.

I still have a lot to learn from Mexico, especially about cooking. This is why local cooking schools are so amazing. You will perhaps get a chef who grew up cooking beside his mother and will take you to local markets and teach you all about seasonal and local sources and then have a recipe for something that you can’t find in any cookbook or for that matter on the internet. In fact, it was probably one that was created by his great grandmother and the chefs in his family wouldn’t even dream of trying to perfect it because it is already perfect!

Go to the source and it will encourage you to become the best chef you can be.

It’s that simple!

Bon Appetit!

Egg Salad

I suddenly realized that it was spring and I had to have an egg salad sandwich. I like mine on plain, white bread with no garnishes added to muddle up the taste.

What’s the secret to a good homemade egg salad? Homemade mayonnaise. Try it – it is simple and so much better than the Mayo that you buy in the grocery store:

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup vegetable or olive oil

Use food processor or blender

Combine the egg yolks, mustard, cayenne and lemon juice in a food processor. Start to process, and as the machine runs, add the oil in a thin stream through the top spout. The mayonnaise will come together and thicken all of a sudden.

If the mixture is too thick, add a little warm water to thin. Add salt and pepper to taste. The mayonnaise will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.

In Minneapolis, there use to be a wonderful restaurant called Charlie’s. They had the best potato salad ever and no one could ever figure out the secret ingredient. Someone finally let it out: It was the homemade mayonnaise.

Bon Appetit!

Homemade Cheese Ravioli With Ricotta Cheese Filling

I have an Italian friend who cooks every Sunday for the following week. She has a large family (like most Italians do) and I tell you, they eat great all week. She is bound and determined to keep them out of the fast food habit.

Here is her homemade Italian Cheese Ravioli with Ricotta Cheese filling that she brought me over for lunch yesterday.

She is one that will not share recipes. She says that the recipes have been in her family for generations and that is where they will stay. Her absolute privilege! I’m just delighted she brings me lunch and I can write about it.

Was this good? You don’t even want to know because we’ll never have the recipe.

Bon Appetit!

S'mores Cookies

This is a fun variation on the chocolate chip cookie. I made these with my neighbor and her kids were CRAZY about them.

Make Nestles Toll House Cookies according to the recipe on the bag.

Top with a little bit of marshmallow sauce (see recipe below).

• 18 marshmallows

• 1/2 cup heavy cream

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Heat marshmallows and cream in top of double boiler over boiling water, folding and stirring until marshmallows are almost melted. Add vanilla and continue cooking and stirring until completely melted and well blended with cream. Serve hot. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Dip in DOVE dark chocolate (that you melted in the top of a double boiler…and try not to eat it).

Refrigerate to set the chocolate.

Bon Appetit!

The Weekend Breakfast

I like having Slim Fast for breakfast during the week. At 180 calories per serving, Slim Fast shakes give you about a third of your recommended daily intake for most essential vitamins and minerals.

After days of getting a “liquid only” meal for breakfast however, I need “real food.”

I also love peanut butter. Did you know that PB provides loads of protein along with vitamins B3 and E, magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, arginine, and high levels of the antioxidant p-coumaric acid?
When I am in a hurry, I’ll take 2 teaspoons and that will be my breakfast.

And yes…when I am really in a hurry, I use my fingers instead of the teaspoon.

Bon Appetit

Skinny Cow

At just 1.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 140 calories each, these low fat ice cream sandwiches are a good alternative to those high calories desserts when you are craving something sweet.

The Skinny Cow makes a whole line of desserts and all of them are yummy. I like the Vanilla with Caramel Ice Cream Cones and the Caramel Truffle Bars… which are only 100 calories.

Now…the real trick is eating only one!

Bon Appetit!

Seven Times The Beta-Carotene Of Broccoli? Pass The Kale!

I woke up last weekend and it was snowing. I don’t mean a little - all day in fact. Far cry from the 65 degree weather we had the day before. Decided it was a good day to stay in and make soup. Here is one of my all time favorite and super easy soup recipes.
I did not have any cream to make it white but that was ok – it was really good without it and saved on the calories.

It’s also important from a flavor standpoint to make every step using the same pot. The blend of flavors is what makes this soup so good.

Did you notice that this soup includes Kale? I love Kale so much that I always put in double of what the recipe calls for.

Kale is rich in calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C, E, and K. Did you know that Kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli? Kale is also rich in Vitamin C and has the natural occurring phytochemicals sulforaphane and indoles which research suggests may protect against cancer. Kale is part of the cabbage family.

Similar to spinach, it can be used just like spinach in most recipes. Like spinach, kale cooks way down. About 1 pound of kale will cook down to about 2 1/2 to 3 cups.

For most recipes (like this soup), add smaller pieces of kale during the last few minutes of cooking. For larger pieces add during the last 10 to 15 minutes.

Zuppa Toscana:

1 pound ground Italian Turkey Sausage – spicy and casings removed (only 10 grams of fat)

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 medium onion, diced

4 pieces of bacon, fried and crumbled (sorry – can’t reduce the fat in this because bacon gives it so much flavor so don’t use turkey bacon – use the real thing)

2 tsp garlic

10 cups chicken broth

Heavy cream or half and half (optional – I did not use)

3 large red potatoes – sliced paper thin

¼ bunch kale


Dice Bacon and fry. Drain excess grease from the pan and set aside.

Take the casing off the sausage and sauté with crushed red pepper in the soup pot.

Drain excess fat and refrigerate while you prepare the other ingredients.

In the same pan, sauté onions and garlic for 15 minutes or until onions are soft. Add Bacon.

Mix in the homemade chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook until soft – usually about 10 minutes.

Add cream or half and half – just a little to change the color of the broth to white.

Stir in the sausage and the kale. Cook for a few more minutes.

Bon Appetit!

One Piece of Salmon: Three Meals And Counting

I got 3 meals out of a piece of salmon this week that I bought at my local market. I grilled the salmon on my indoor grill and it came out perfect…as always.

The price:? $1.66 per serving. Who said that a specialty market is expensive? You can usually get the best price per meal at your local market.

Some of my vegetables were getting ripe so I diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, green peppers, and red onions and put a dash of olive oil on them along with some black pepper and store them in my refrigerator. They were great as a salad serving them over a mix of field greens and also as a cold relish on the side. I was also thinking that this would be great in a Gazpacho so I’ll have to try that this summer.

I do this to get my daily dose of vegetables. I also include fresh pineapple, peaches, or mangos when I have them. These fresh combinations are great over grilled fish or chicken.

Grilled Salmon Salad – Leftover With Asian Sauce:

On day 3, I had the leftover salmon cold and made a quick and easy sauce to serve over it.

I always make it fresh and “eyeball” it for the individual serving. When I say “eyeball” I mean that I did not measure so you’ll have to wing it. Start trying to do this and you will quickly learn. I hardly ever measure anything anymore.

Mix: 2 parts Low Cal Mayo and 1 part Low Cal Sour cream. Add dashes of Soy sauce, fresh basil, sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, sugar, dry mustard and cayenne

Bon Appetit!

Grilling Season Can't Come Soon Enough

I grilled a chop the other night and basted it with a black bean sauce. This combination is really fantastic!

I like to grill onions and for that matter, any other vegetable. They just taste like you want to eat a lot of them when you grill them.
I also love potatoes on the grill. I grilled them on my little veggie board but sometimes I make up potato packages. Here is the recipe that is both so trouble-free and tasty.

Grilled Potato and Onion Packages

2/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 pounds white-skinned potatoes (about 4 large), peeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 large red onions, halved, sliced 1/2 inch thick

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

Combine oil, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper in large bowl. Whisk to blend well. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Prepare BBQ (medium-high heat). Add potatoes and onions to mustard oil. Toss to coat. Set six 18 x 9-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil on work surface. Spray foil with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Divide vegetables among foil sheets, placing in center of left half of each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold right half of foil over vegetables. Fold edges of packages together to seal tightly.

Place packages on the grill. Grill until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes. Remove packages from grill. Slit top of foil and fold back. Garnish potatoes with thyme sprigs.

Bon Appetit!

Farmer's Markets

I can’t wait until the Farmer’s Market opens – my local one in Lake Bluff and the one I discovered late last summer in Evanston.

I will be interviewing some of the local vendors and promise to give you some hints on incorporating the best local ingredients into your daily menus.

Bon Appetit

Great Oven BBQ Ribs

My mother made the best BBQ ribs and she cooked them indoors. This was always the meal that I requested for my birthday dinner.
I am fanatical about ribs cooked on the grill but when a dreadful spring rains sets in, this recipe is always a sentimental favorite.

The recipe even looks like it came from the 50’s doesn’t it?

2 cups sliced onions

2 cups ketchup

2 cups water

4 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

4 teaspoons dry mustard

4 pounds pork spareribs


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a large bowl, combine onions, ketchup, water, salt, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and mustard. Split ribs down the center between the bones.

3. Heat a large lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat. Add ribs and sear until browned.

4. Place ribs in a single layer in two baking pan or casserole dish. Pour half of the sauce over the ribs, reserve remainder.

5. Bake ribs in preheated oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Turn and baste meat every twenty minutes with remaining sauce, using all sauce by two hours. Continue turning and basting ribs using sauce in the pan during the last hour of baking.

Bon Appetit!

Cheese Crisps

This recipe is from the Tulsa Tribune and I have been making these since Tommy was really little. I love this recipe because it is so simple and good. Cheese Crisps are a perfect treat for ravenous kids and also a great first course for a Mexican dinner party.

The key to making them crispy is to place the tortilla in a fry pan and crisp it on both side then top with cheese and place under the broiler. Always in that order because the pre-crisping makes this recipe a real sensation.

As in Mexico, never eat a cheese crisp without Salsa Verde. I got use to topping mine with just a pinch of salt because that’s the way they ate them in the market in Guadalajara and at the restaurant next to the University.

Cheese Crisp:

12” Flour Tortillas

Shredded Mexican cheese – a mix of Cheddar and Jack Cheese

Place tortilla in a fry pan over medium heat and crisp on both sides. Place the tortilla on a cookie sheet and top with cheese. Place under the broiler and cook until the cheese melts and it is a little brown around the edges.

You can put other toppings on these little Pizzas but I like it just with cheese.

This particular Salsa Verde recipe is a recent one from the Chicago Tribune and was adapted from Danny Mena, Hecho en Dumbo, Manhattan. This sauce is also really excellent on fish tacos.

Salsa Verde:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 pounds tomatillos, papery husks removed, cut in half

8-12 Serrano chilies (depending on heat tolerance)

½ onion, peeled

1 garlic clove

6 whole sprigs cilantro, stems included

Lime Juice


In a wide skillet, heat oil until shimmering but not smoking

Add tomatillos, chilies, onion (cut side down) and garlic.

Cook over medium-high heat, turning often, until vegetables are browned, turning to black and seared on all sides.

Add cilantro and puree with blender until smooth, adding a little water if needed.

Season to taste with salt and lime juice.

The sauce should be tart and spicy but rounded in flavor.

Bon Appetit!

Google Walking Maps

Photo Source: Brother Terry took this of me with my two sisters Colleen and Krissy

I am a walker. I have been known on any given Saturday to put 20+ miles on my Nike’s.

Walking is such a great way to see a city not to mention the exercise benefits. Try it. I am surprised at how many new adventures I have found on foot everywhere, including Chicago.

I am also thrilled to see that Google now maps it all out for people who are on foot so grab your shoes and find something in your own city that you can walk to…and walk your friends back to.

And speaking of walking…both Avon ( and Susan Komen ( have major walks this summer for breast cancer.Walk for a good cause and raise money for breast cancer research. Each and every one of the breast cancer survivors will hug you for it!

The Markets Of Argyle Street

Called new Chinatown or Little Saigon, the Uptown area around Argyle and Broadway serves up a blend of both ethnic Chinese and Southeast Asian culture. And when you add in the French colonial influence, it even richer.

I have found so many wonderful ethnic grocery stores on Argyle. You could spend an entire day here and still not discover all of their contributions to the local food scene.

Although the manager was not happy that I wanted to photograph her market, the merchandise was inexpensive and just what you wanted to take home to cook up a great Vietnamese meal.

Yes, she finally got over it and now considers me one of her best customers.

If I had my choice of shopping in an ethnic market or shopping at a chain grocery store, I would unquestionably pick the ethnic market. Outside of the important need to support your local market, the biggest draw for me is that I can get about the same number of ingredients for HALF the price…and we LOVE half price!

Bon Appetit

Bringing Home The Bacon

                                                                              Photo Source: The Hunters

Pictures of wild pigs being shot by the conquering male? Yes, I like pork but I like to think of my son Tommy appreciating the wildlife instead of shooting it.

I know, don’t tell me… It's a guy thing!

A Spring Salad

I made a fantastic salad today by mixing together the following ingredients:

Mixed Spring Field Greens

Candied Pecans or Walnuts




Dried Cranberries

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

This salad was SO GOOD it reminded me why I eat healthy…most of the time.

Let your imagination run wild on this one because there are so many fresh ingredients that you can include in the mix.

If it’s this good now, think of what it will taste like when all of the fruits and vegetables come into season. Ever so anxious for that to happen!

Bon Appetit!


I wanted to make Limonada yesterday because it was 60 degrees and I had an oversized case of spring fever.

I love this recipe from Frontera Kitchens because it is the original way that limeade was made back in the 60’s… and is still made in Mexico today.


Makes 5 or 6 servings

1 1/3 cups fresh lime juice

1 quart water (use sparkling water for a festive touch)

1/2 to 1/3 cup sugar

In a large pitcher, mix together the lime juice, water and smaller amount of sugar.

Taste and add more sugar if you think the limonada needs it. Serve over ice.

Bon Appetit!

And There's the Perky One...Growing Shamrocks And Other Perfectly Irish Things To Do…

Shamrocks are so easy to grow. My PX: When they start looking a little droopy give them a large dose of water. I keep them in the AM light and worship their eye-catching little white flowers.

They make me out-and-out perky every morning when I am making my breakfast and see their 3-pronged heads peaking out my window. They love the sun and so do I. I guess that is why we are so well-matched. It also happens to be the only flower I can grow.

Shamrocks are bulbs, and like all bulbs they need a episode of dormancy every once in a while. They will need a few rest periods every year to remain providing their best growth.

When your shamrock plant starts looking a little dreadful, stop watering it and set the pot somewhere that it will remain cool and dry for about two or three months, except the purple varieties which only need about a month of rest.

After they have their 'vacation' you can continue watering and give them a shot of all purpose house plant food (10-10-10), and in a very short time you will see new growth.

At the end of the sleeping cycle you might want to remove the Shamrock bulbs from the pot, separate them and replant just under the surface of the soil in good, slightly sandy houseplant soil.

The Green Martini

While it may look different than the classic martini cocktail, it tastes virtually the same… except it is green.

My neighbor had one for St Patty’s Day...the day after!

This drink also shows up as a great choice to celebrate the rite of spring!


Vermouth (dry)

Cracked ice


Green food dye

Spoon or stirring stick

1. Fill the martini shaker with cracked ice.

2. Pour two parts vodka into the shaker.

3. Add a drop – only a drop- of dry vermouth.

4. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously until well mixed.

5. Pour the martini into an awaiting martini glass.

6. Add a drop of green food coloring to the drink.

7. Stir the martini until the color becomes a nice emerald green and serve to the guests.

Bon Appetit!

St Pat’s Day – Corned Beef And A Tilted Kilt

We went to The Tilted Kilt at 17 N Wabash Ave on St. Pat’s Day to celebrate the fact that we are all ever so Irish.

For once in my life, I decided that I was not going to go crazy on this holiday - imagine that - and ordered a Harp Beer.

First off, it was really spectacular beer and I don’t even pretend to like beer. It was also the biggest glass of beer I had ever seen and when I finished it off I was pretty sure I was done for the day…this also being my least expensive St. Patty’s day on record!

The Tilted Kilt is kind of an “Irish Hooters” and like any other sports bar, had a dozen TV’s going with what else? March Madness.

The waitress, Christin, was so attentive and honestly, all of the staff in this place was really friendly.

The restaurant is in the loop on Wabash on the 2nd floor and had floor- to -ceiling windows overlooking the L. That was part of the charm. It’s Chicago and sitting in the sunshine on this perfectly beautiful St Patty’s Day (the temperature was 50+ instead of the usual 20) was a real step up.

I did not expect anything more than the typical bar food. That was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The corned beef sandwich was one of the best I have ever had. Piled high on marbled rye with bits of cabbage and sauce, I was equally impressed with their homemade chips. Have to say they were better than the ones at Harry Caray’s.

If you are in the mood for a Chicago view, a great bite to eat and a dose of March Madness, this is definitely your kind of place!

Bon Appetit!

Focassia Pizza

I discovered that pizza on a focaccia crust is a delightful change up from the usual thin crust and also has a very exciting flavor.

Brush the focassia crust with just a bit of Tomato Sauce and top with artichoke hearts and prosciutto. Then match with your favorite vegetable salad and even your Aunt Sophia will want to join you for lunch.

Pizza Tomato Sauce:

This tomato sauce is lightly herbed with oregano and basil, yet the basic tomato taste stands out.

Some pizza enthusiasts prefer a simpler sauce, but you'll like the colors and bouquet this sauce adds to your pizza. It makes about 2 quarts.

3 tbsp. - Butter

16 oz. - Tomato puree

3 tbsp. - Olive oil

1 tsp. - Salt

3 - Garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. - Black pepper

3 - Yellow onions, large , minced

1 tsp. - Whole oregano

2 qts. - Whole Italian tomatoes, canned or fresh, peeled and cooked

1 tsp. - Whole basil

In a Dutch oven or large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil and slowly sauté the garlic and onion.

Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and puree. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for two hours. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes with a potato masher.

Continue to mash, stir, and simmer partially covered until the sauce reaches the consistency of a rich soup.

If you find you have too many or too large tomato seeds left in the sauce, you may run the sauce through a sieve.

Set the sauce aside to cool or refrigerate before applying it to your pizza dough.

Focaccia Pizza Crust:

1 cup warm water

1 package yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

2-1/2 cup bread flour, or combination whole wheat flour

and all-purpose flour

Garlic Oil made from olive oil and fresh garlic

Fresh rosemary leaves

Place the water in a large, warmed bowl. Add the yeast and sugar, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and olive oil. Gradually add the flour(s); dough should be firm.

Place dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding flour as necessary. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let sit in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours.

Punch down dough. Knead for a minute, then let sit for 10 minutes. Grease cookie sheet.

Spread dough onto cookie sheet, forming a rectangle. Brush on the garlic oil. With the tips of your fingers, make dents in the surface of the dough, about one inch apart. Sprinkle on the rosemary leaves. Allow focaccia to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden.

Bon Appetit!

The Great Italian Sandwich – Cost: $2.08!

The cost of my lunch today was:

$.28 for the cheese

$1.25 for the Serrano Ham

$.55 for the bun

Again – who said it is expensive to eat at your local market?

What I love most is that I can buy 2 slices of cheese instead of having to buy the whole block.

Eating for one never got any easier…or cheaper!

Bon Appetit!

Maria Pinto

Although I could never afford her designs, I always chased them and loved how they looked on First Lady Michelle Obama.

Sign of the times? Hate to see her go but will track her artistic career and see where she lands.

Good luck Maria!

Al's Chicken Special

You already know about Al’s famous roast beef sandwich. Well, this is my favorite Fast Food pick of the week.
The $5.00 special included an enormous grilled chicken sandwich (light on the calories and fat), French fries (you just blew that theory…but GREAT fries) and a drink all for only $5.00…and on my budget, $5.00 could not be a better fit!

Al’s is located at 622 Davis Street in Evanston.

Bon Appetit!

Chicago French Market - Round 2

Here are some of the new places I discovered this week when I had a little time on my hands and decided to quickly explore the NEW Chicago French Market:

Fumare Meats - I loved this place and the owners wife is their best sales ambassador. Fumare ('smoke' in Italian) brings traditionally cured and smoked meats from local producers. I am totally sold so look for a post in the weeks ahead.

P.S. Just what I need – another addiction? Admitting that the little bitty pork bites were downright delicious. Yep – I’m pretty sure I am hooked!

Espression by Lavazza – I had the Gelato…in fact, I had the gelato for breakfast. Did I love it?
Ask me if this isn’t my new favorite sweet treat at the market? I had it twice in the same week for breakfast. Now that’s an addiction!

Sweet Miss Givings – How could I resist a white chocolate and dried cranberry cookie…and they give back?

SMG was founded by Rev. Stan Sloan, an Episcopal priest and long-time CEO of Chicago House. 50% of all of the profits from the bakery and Chicago French Market retail location go to help formerly homeless and disability-affected men, women, and children.

Abbey Brown Soap Artisan – They are a Chicago based manufacturer and purveyor of fine olive oil soaps and related bath products.

Owner Deborah Kraemer still makes soap the old fashion way, infusing locally grown herbs and botanicals in natural vegetable oils with the purest of essential oils. I took home a sample and I must say the soap is really amazing.

The list of vendors in the Market continues to grow which includes my two favorites – Saigon Sisters and Necessity Baking Co.

And speaking of Saigon Sisters, Mama made Pho on Monday and after she gave me a quick lesson on how to spice it up, I had the perfect mix of broth, meat, noodles and spices. Mama really knows how to make Pho so make sure to check out which day she is going to cook it.

P.S. Maybe I can get her to adopt me…

Bon Appetit!

The L

Is the old infrastructure in Chicago starting to get a new face?

These murals give the L stations so much character which, at this point, they all really need...along with a lot of repairs.

I would love to see more of these all over the L system…each painted in the character of their neighborhood… like this one I found in Pilsen - My favorite!

The Shack

Eat & Drink…the little green “shack” at 212 W Randolph makes Asian specialties including stir fries which are fresh to order. You can tell them to make any dish with has less oil, less salt, more spicy, lots of veggies – any way you want it… and they have the most extensive menu.

Have they been shut down by the sanitation department? It’s entirely possible…likely perhaps but please don’t tell me why.

Order at the counter, pay attention to your request being repeated in Chinese to the staff, and you have your food in an instant.

Don't let the exterior deter you. The food from this place is good and believe it or not they are open on Sundays. Who is actually open in Chicago on a Sunday in the loop?

It’s really a takeout place because there are only a few dine in spots to fight over - 2 tables with 2 chairs each. I have actually never eaten in.

They make everything from Kung Pao Chicken to Orange Beef to the Egg Foo Young- and by the way, it’s like the Egg Foo Young I use to love from the Nankin Cafe in Minneapolis.

They also assemble a stir fried sweet and sour tofu which I know people swear by along with "hot dog fried rice"…which is claimed to be the most popular dish on the menu.

Bon Appetit!

A Concert In The Nagy Kitchen

                                                                           Photo Source: Haley Nagy
My co-worker Haley and her husband teamed up to made this bread together a few weeks back.

I think it’s great when a wife and husband, each with very demanding schedules, do their thing in the kitchen.

Haley told me that her husband made the dough and she baked it the next day so note the 14-20 hour rising time.

I am also certain that eating it together was all of the fun.

Bon Appetit!

No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting

¼ teaspoon instant yeast

1¼ teaspoons salt

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Bon Appetit!

Root Beer Float CupCakes

My dad use to make the best homemade root beer ever so there was no question which cupcake I was going to select for my Saturday night cheat.

It was filled with whipped cream, topped with a swirl of root beer butter cream and totally to die for!

Bon Appetit!

Key Lime Cottage

                                                       Photo Source: Key Lime Front

This is where I need to take my next vacation. Located in the popular Rainbow Bay in Eleuthera, it’s the perfect place for me to lime out…and if that is a state of mind - I Am So There!

Check it out: