At 1001 West Washington, Wishbone Restaurant served up a delicious Chicken Andouille Hash with egg and corn muffin. It was right on track for my early morning fuel to get me though all the vendors at the Randolph Street Market…and there were plenty.
Melissa Sands of Pure Vintage Chicago put me on her guest list. I was going to breeze through the market and go on to cover other events that day but rushing through was not a thing you wanted to do at this market.
OK – I read all the reviews. There were the few who called this market overpriced. Yikes – were they at the same place I was?
At $8 in advance and $10 at the gate, I found my first bargain within 10 minutes. On the quality of merchandise alone, this market gets my vote as the best antique market in Chicago.
All of the vendors here have a passion for what they sell and each one of them could talk your ear off on why they collect. I was also amazed that for the most part, items were priced to sell. This past weekend, photos by my favorite artist Vivian Maier were also at the market along with a compilation of every collectable imaginable.
The last weekend in September, October and November will get you anything your little heart desires – and while you’re at it, can you find me a pair of vintage cowboy boots in size 8?
I love this festival but have to tell you that the vendors are on their own clock. They were suppose to start at 12:00 Noon but only about half the vendors were up and running. Too much Roditis the night before? Hey, that’s a legitimate excuse in my book.
Greek food is some of my favorite in all of Chicago and most of the major restaurants were there including my favorite – The Parthenon.
Take your pick from some of the traditional dishes. All of them look seriously easy but Greek food is slow cooked with loads of herbs and spices and lot’s of wine.
Another thing I love about the Greeks…if they don’t have it now just wrap it up and they’ll have it for breakfast!
Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had leftover Gyros at 7 AM.
I’ve said it before - in my next life I am coming back Italian.
I love the true Italian bond and have made it my own: “La parole é sagra” or “the word is blood” because it is the word of every Italian I know that food and wine rules.
Italians do nothing better than cook and eat. I can do that. In fact, I can pretend to be Italian in this life but my blue eyes and blonde hair gives me away every time.
One thing I have noticed – in every Italian household I’ve been to it’s a sacred ritual to gather around the dinner table. Just how many people can crowd around an Italian table? There is always room for a few more chairs so said my dear friend Vinnie. Question is: How fast can you say grace and get into the eating and drinking?
What I really love most about Italians is that they are so sensual. There is always a sense of togetherness with every experience. They are as intimate with their wine as they are with their sauce, their family or their guests.
Is this Chicago’s best neighborhood festival? One of mine favorites because they inspired me to cook Italian this week even though Italian cooking is something I do better with eating out at than cooking in.
One thing for certain - I love the fact that there is always a place for me at the table.
This recipe has just one easy ingredient - parmesan cheese!
Bake parmesan cheese until it begins to turn color. Make sure you line your baking sheet with parchment paper and leave plenty of room between the piles. The cheese will melt and become lacy as they bake and spread out.
I want to experiment with different types of Parmesan to see which brand results in the best taste.
The parmesan crisps are so beautiful you can serve them as an hors d'oeuvre with dip or they go really well with soups or salads.
Preheat oven to 375 °F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick reusable baking liner. Drop level tablespoons of cheese 3 inches apart; spread to form 2-inch rounds. Leave plenty of room between rounds. Transfer to wire rack; cool two minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining cheese.
This recipe serves about 6 people but can be easily multiplied to serve as many people as desired.
Lemony Veal Scallopini
I love the fresh taste of lemon and this Italian favorite is an old standby recipe for when I have company and want to make something quick, easy and delicious.
I serve pasta as a side dish – usually just some simple linguini with a little olive oil and garlic.
I slice the mushrooms with my OXO Chef’s Mandoline Slicer (the most useful kitchen tool I own) so they are paper thin.
Funny thing – I haven’t made this recipe for years but one bite convinced me that old recipes are just as treasured as the new ones.
2 (4 ounce) veal cutlets
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour salt and pepper to taste 3 tablespoons butter, divided 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced 1/3 cup chicken broth lemon 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
Flatten cutlets to 1/8-in. thickness. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add veal; seal bag and shake to coat evenly.
In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter and oil. Add veal; cook over medium heat for about 1 minute on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.
Add mushrooms to skillet; cook and stir for23 minutes or until tender. Top the veal.
Stir broth into skillet, stirring up any browned bits. Add parsley, a little lemon and the remaining butter; cook and stir 2 minutes longer or until slightly thickened.
Pour over veal and mushrooms.
Photo La Cucina Italiana
This is a really good appetizer. I’ve also had this dish as Bresaola all'olio e limone with emulsified oil with lemon juice poured over the Bresaola with white pepper. I am going to experiment a little and try adding different citrus,vegetables and cheeses.
Bresaola is made from lean beef which is very lightly salted, marinated in wine and Italian herbs, and then dry-cured.
Bresaola all’olio aromatic
1 sprig fresh rosemary 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 garlic clove, gently smashed and peeled 1/2 pound thinly sliced bresaola 2 lemons, very thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed and discarded
Remove leaves from rosemary sprig. Chop together parsley and 5 rosemary leaves; reserve remaining rosemary leaves.
In a small bowl, stir together chopped herbs, oil and garlic. Let stand 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, arrange bresaola and lemon slices on serving plates, alternating the meat and citrus. Remove garlic from oil then spoon oil mixture over bresaola and lemon. Garnish with reserved rosemary leaves.
I was not prepared to love this variation of the classic Margarita as much as I did. It’ s so refreshing with the addition of the cucumber and the jalapeno gives it an extra kick.
I will also try this drink again by infusing the jalapeno into the tequila. This bar gave me the thought so stay tuned. Bon Appetit!
Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita
2 slices fresh jalapeño chili (cut lengthwise into slices that are 1/4 inch wide, seeds removed)
3 slices peeled hothouse cucumber (slices are 1/2 inch wide and roughly 1-1/4 inches long – seeds removed if any are present)
3/4 ounce agave nectar
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1.75 ounces Tequila Blanco
Garnish: unpeeled slice of cucumber
Place jalapeño, cucumber and agave nectar in cocktail shaker. Muddle breaking up the chili and cucumber.
Mix in the lime juice, tequila and ice. Shake vigorously.
I can so get into this summer state of mind…flip flops and Fridays off.
It’s easy to forget life in the fast lane when you realize that there is more to life than working.
What’s your summer excuse? You have one…don’t you? Any excuse accepted. After all, it’s summer and it’s so darn hot I just feel like kicking back and being spoon-fed.
Bon Appetit! I love amazing barbecue: slow-cooked, moist and full of powerful flavors.
Every Sunday there is a BBQ in my neighborhood and everyone I know is set to out- cook one another…and often do. One significant thing…there are never any leftovers. Not a one. Speaks favorably for the highly-competitive Pit Master’s in my block.
My only day home this week, I found myself charcoal grilling all day.
To tell you the truth, I never really learned to BBQ so this was a real experiment.
I do know that I like charcoal better than gas but today I discovered that the addition of wood chips creates a magic all its own.
A good recipe really helps like the Alabama chicken below.
One thing I am certain of: Someone will out cook me next week. Until then, the bragging rights to the art of the BBQ this week are all mine.
Alabama BBQ Chicken
For this Alabama barbecued chicken recipe, I abandoned the tomato-based BBQ sauce for a mayonnaise sauce with horseradish.It is perhaps the best chicken I have ever made.
Just to make sure that I wasn’t imagining things, I had the leftovers tonight. Yes, it is the best and one of the easiest chicken recipes I’ve ever cooked.
I started the BBQ and was 15 minutes into cooking it when a major thunderstorm came rumbling through. Thank goodness Dave, my conductor on the AM train who gave me this recipe, told me to close the vents. It saved the chicken.
What I really loved about the essence of this chicken was the cayenne rubbed into the chicken before cooking (gives it a little kick) and the horseradish in the BBQ sauce. It definitely created so many great flavors that left me planning when I was going to fix the recipe again.
This recipe speeds up the smoking process by halfing the chicken and placing the charcoals and hickory chips to the side so you are cooking it on indirect heat.
White BBQ Sauce 3/4cup Mayonnaise 2tablespoons cider vinegar 2teaspoonssugar 1/2teaspoonprepared horseradish 1/2teaspoon salt 1/2teaspoonground black pepper 1/4teaspooncayenne pepper
Chicken 1teaspoon salt 1teaspoonground black pepper 1/2teaspooncayenne pepper 2 whole chickens (3 1/2- to 4-pound), patted dry and split 2cupshickory wood chips Vegetable oil for grill grate
For the sauce: Mix all ingredients until smooth, about 1 minute. Refrigerate sauce in airtight container for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
For the chicken: Mix salt, black pepper, and cayenne in small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over chicken.
Soak wood chips in bowl of water to cover for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (about 90 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Place 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan in center of grill. Pour half of coals into pile on each side of grill, leaving pan in center. Scatter wood chips evenly over coals and set cooking grate in place. Cover, with lid vents positioned over center of grill and opened halfway. Let grill heat for 5 minutes.
Dip wad of paper towels in oil and oil grate, holding paper towels with long-handled tongs. Place chicken skin side down on center of grill. Cover (with half-opened lid vents over chicken).
Grill chickens until skin is well browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Flip chickens skin side up and grill, covered, until breast meat registers 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Amazing but the timing on this chicken is near perfect. Transfer chickens to cutting board, brush with 2 tablespoons sauce, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes.
Remove foil and brush chicken with 1 tablespoon sauce. Serve
Mix the pork, garlic, ginger, green onion, cilantro, fish sauce, caramel sauce, lime zest and jalapeno. Form the mixture into 4 patties.
Grill over medium heat until cooked, about 4-6 minutes per side.
Vietnamese Caramel BBQ Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons fish sauce 1 lime (juice) 1 birds eye chili, sliced 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 shallot, finely diced 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon water
Melt the sugar into the water over medium heat and simmer until it turns a deep golden brown.
Mix the water, fish sauce and lime juice and carefully add the water, heating until the caramel dissolves.
Add the chili, garlic and shallots and simmer to reduce by half, about 3-5 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch into the water, mix it into the sauce and simmer until it thickens, about a minute.
Build your burger:
4 buns 1/2 cup quick pickled carrots and daikon radish(I use Chinese vinegar and sugar to quick pickle. I even threw in the jalapenos) Caramel Sauce 12 thin sliced cucumber 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced Cilantro to taste 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Place burger on bun and top with all the goodies. I leave out the mayo.
Another ultimate leftover barbecued rib breakfast– an open-faced sandwich with a sunny-side up fried egg. This was delicious and I would definitely make it for an easy breakfast if I didn’t have a lot of time to cook. This takes all of five minutes to put together.
Open-Faced Barbecue Sandwich with Fried Egg
1 large farm egg
1 hamburger bun, split 2 cups pork 1/4 cup favorite barbecue sauce 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped handful arugula or favorite relish/chow chow 3 teaspoons hickory-smoked pork fat reserved from smoking Boston butt Kosher salt, to taste
In a cast iron pan, heat 1 teaspoon pork fat over medium-heat. Fry only the inner-side of each hamburger bun until golden brown. Remove to a plate.
In the same pan, heat 1 teaspoon pork fat and fry the egg over medium-ish high heat until crispy and the egg white is no longer runny (you’re going for a crispy fried egg and runny yolk– none of that slow-cooked egg stuff here). Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Remove to a plate.
In the same pan, heat the remaining teaspoon pork fat and fry the pork over medium-ish high heat until warmed thoroughly. Add in the cider vinegar, rosemary, and barbecue sauce and continue to cook until the sauce is slightly caramelized, but not burnt. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with fresh thyme.
This is the recipe for anyone who loves the taste of beef and blue cheese like I do. Use just a teeny bit of sauce – great with the dual mustards –on the cabbage and slather on an mega-dose of blue cheese.
I know it looks complicated but it is definitely worth the extra effort.
1 tablespoon table salt (iodized salt) 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3 cups wood chips, soaked for 15 minutes 6 soft hamburger buns
For the Sauce:
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 1 1/4 cups ketchup 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee 1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Coleslaw:
1/2 small head green cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 small head purple cabbage, finely shredded 3 large carrots, peeled and grated 1 cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon celery salt 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) crumbled blue cheese 1/2 cup parsley, coarsely chopped Prepare the Beef: In a small bowl, make a rub by combining the salt, pepper and cayenne. Slice the roast into 4 equal sized pieces and remove any excess fat or gristle.Rub the meat on all sides with the salt mixture then wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap. Place the meat on a plate and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Smoke the Beef: Unwrap the beef and place them in a single layer in a large disposable aluminum roasting pan. Neatly wrap the soaked wood chips in a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke a few holes in it to allow smoke to escape. Open the bottom vent of the grill and light 50 coals in a chimney starter. When the coals are covered in a fine gray ash pour them in a single pile on only one side of the grill. Place the foil packet directly on top of the hot coals and place the lid on the grill. Set the cooking grate in place and adjust the vents on the lid of the grill until they are halfway open. When the wood chips begin to smoke heavily (after about 5 minutes) place the roasting pan on the side of the grill opposite the coals. Place the lid back on the grill with the vent holes directly over the beef and allow to smoke/roast for about 2 hours, until aromatic and deep red in color.
Braise/Roast the Beef: Preheat the oven to 300° F and adjust rack to the lower-middle position. Remove the roasting pan from the grill and turn each piece of beef over. Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the oven and bake until the meat is fork tender, about 2-3 hours. Remove the beef from the pan, tent it loosely with foil and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes. While the meat is resting, pour off the pan drippings into a gravy separator. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the separated fat and strain the remaining juices, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid.
Meanwhile, make the Blue Cheese Coleslaw: In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, both mustards, vinegar, celery salt, Kosher salt and pepper. Pour enough of the mayonnaise dressing over the shredded cabbages and grated carrots to moisten them. Add in the crumbled blue cheese and chopped parsley and toss well to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to combine.
Make the Barbecue Sauce: Combine the onion and reserved fat in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion has softened, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly until well combined and aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients and reserved juices and simmer until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Allow the sauce to cool slightly before straining the sauce if you prefer a velvety texture.
Assemble the Sandwiches: Split and lightly toast each hamburger bun. Using 2 forks, pull the beef apart into shreds, discarding any excess fat or gristle. In a saucepan set over low heat, toss the beef with enough barbecue sauce to moisten the meat well. When heated through, place the sauced beef on top of the bottom half of each bun. Top the beef with some of the blue cheese coleslaw, add the top half of the bun and serve immediately.
I love Strawberries and this recipe reminded me just how good Strawberry Margarita’s are.
I don’t drink them often because I’m a plain Margarita with extra salt kind of girl.
This recipe is a summer favorite of many of my female friends who sometimes love Strawberry Margaritas more than they love dinner.
I skipped the glaze on this recipe because I was low on powdered sugar and also left the strawberry preserves out of the cake recipe. It was really good and a perfect treat for all of your grown up friends.
Strawberry Margarita CupcakesAdapted from The Picky Apple
3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarita mix
2 T lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
5 T strawberry preserves
1/3 cup tequila
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add margarita mix, lime juice, lime zest, strawberry preserves and tequila and mix on low speed to incorporate. (Mix may appear slightly curdled at this point but don't worry, it will come back together with the flour.) Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 the milk, and repeat mixing after each addition until just incorporated, ending with the flour mixture.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners and bake approximately 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool approximately 10 minutes and remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
1/2 cup margarita mix
2 T tequila
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Red food coloring
Add powdered sugar to a small bowl, whisk in margarita mix and tequila to make a thick liquid glaze. Add a few drops of red food coloring to desired color. Poke 4-5 holes in each cooled cupcake with a wooden skewer. Spoon glaze over cupcakes, about a tablespoon at a time, giving the glaze a chance to absorb before adding more. You don't want to saturate the cupcakes so you may have some extra glaze left over.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
4-6 cups powdered sugar
3 T margarita mix
2 T strawberry preserves
Red food coloring
Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add margarita mix and strawberry preserves and beat until well incorporated. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time until frosting is desired consistency. Add a few drops red food coloring to tint frosting to desired color. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes as desired. Top with sliced strawberries for garnish if desired.
Speaking of Margaritas, my best adaptation this week was from Casa De Isaacs in Highland Park who does Patron, Grand Marnier and a 2 day blend of their own Margarita mix.
One of these at the Highwood Farmers Market and I was ready for bed a short time later. It was so delicious but more important so authentic.