Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October Shorts...

Farmer’s Markets

I love the magnificent fall veggies, the ever-so-filling breakfast tacos and the fleeting farewell to summer. That I can take.
Crazy however that I don’t get good Tomatoes again until next spring!
Bon Appetit!
Red and Yellow Breakfast Salsa
2 medium-sized tomatoes, 1 yellow and 1 red, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup diced red onion
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
Salt to taste

Combine tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, scallion, cilantro, red onion and lime juice in small bowl. Sprinkle with salt, and let salsa sit at least 15 minutes to blend. Taste, and adjust salt, if necessary.
Crumb Bakery – Green City Market

Every Saturday night, I put away some of my great finds from the Green City Market that morning. Needless to say, we have a lot of amazing Saturday night dinners.

Today? It was cold and rainy so I made a big pot of Zuppa Toscana and served bread purchased from Anne Kostroski. She turns ordinary loaves into exquisite works of art by using organic flours from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Kansas, Wisconsin cheeses, and the variety of produce found at Green City Market. In fact, her Lardo Taralli and seasonal focaccia are market favorites.

I hardly make bread anymore (except Jim Lahey’s No-Knead bread) when I can buy it this good at the market!

Bon Appetit!

Day of the Dead

This is one of my favorite holidays in Mexico and I celebrate it every year no matter what country I am in.

I gather all the things I kept from the people I love who have passed (in death or separation) and celebrate their life.

Where will you put your altar? Mine is in my kitchen because nearly all of the people I love truly respected both cooking and eating.

Isn’t it remarkable how your culinary style has been defined by the great chefs of your past?

Celebrate this month by creating the dishes they taught you to love to cook.

Bon Appetit!

Turkey Burgers

Isn’t it nice to know what goes into your burgers?

I love my kitchen aid grinder attachment and have made a delicious burger mix with turkey breast and chicken thighs and beef and pork.

In fact, there is such an huge difference in taste I swear you’ll never buy a package of ground meat again.

Bon Appetit!


When I think of BBQ, I’m dreaming of Alabama white sauce, Memphis dry rub, Texas bigger and better, Kansas City slow smoked meat dripping in sweet sauce and North Carolina… where pulled pork mopped with a spice and vinegar liquid and topped with slaw is often breakfast for the genuine BBQ fanatic.

OK – I’m officially hungry.

I don’t just BBQ in the summer. In fact, I’ve got my smoker and my fur coat ready to survive this winter no matter what... that is until I think of the BBQ chef in Texas who is standing outside grilling in her bikini.

Bon Appetit!
913 Chicago Avenue, Evanston
With paper-thin gyros and the best Greek French fries I’ve ever tasted, I understand why this neighborhood Greekrestaurant is always packed.
If you are into the social aspect of eating, eat here. People who dine here on a regular basis report that they are always treated“just like family.”
My bill: $10.00 including tip.
The huge steak fries are topped with white wine, lemon and an herb sauce. What really amazed me is when I took a bite they were so crispy.
What did I know about good fries? I am use to drenching mine in ketchup.
Bon Appetit!
La Fournette
1547 North Wells was an accidental find on my morning walk from the Green City Market.
From the Kouglof to the Streusel Brioche, this was such an inviting way to start my day.
After taking pastry classes, I’m totally convinced that not a soul does bakery better than the French.
Pastry in Paris? A serious thought for my next vacation.
Bon Appetit!
Few Spirits

While I was sipping my Divino at Testori (Vodka instead of Gin, june, dimmi, lemon and a few grapes floating around for focus) the staff were all raving about Few Spirits, a small batch distiller in Evanston.

We took the brewery tour ($10) on Saturday and fell in love with the distillers and the entire operation, thriving and soon to outgrow the little garage where they started 18 months ago.

During that time, they impressively won a Double Gold at the Spirits competition in New York and two silvers at the esteemed World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.

If you friend them on Facebook, you’ll likely find out when you can go down and volunteer to help out. A session just wrapped up earlier in the day with 8 volunteers showing up to bottle.

Few Spirits makes three types of gin. I’m not a gin drinker at all but owner Paul Hletko replaced some of the juniper with citrus and pepper flavors, and used a base spirit of whiskey. One sip of the American Gin and I was a fan. I actually thought that it’s light flavors would make a great martini which in the past I had only associated with vodka. They also make white, rye and bourbon whiskey.

The newest specialty? Grappa, an Italian brandy made from the pressed skins and seeds of grapes – in other words a winemaker’s leftovers.

Here are a few recipes from their vault and their growing list of restaurants are bound to mix some double magic too.

Bon Appetit!

The White Manhattan

2 oz FEW White Whiskey
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters

Garnish with maraschino cherry

Cosmo “Not”
Bartender Josh Rew
Watermark, Nashville, TN

1 1/2 oz Few White Whiskey
3/4 oz Pama liqueur (pomegranate)
3/4 oz Lavender syrup
1/4 oz Lemon juice

Shake, strain into martini glass

American Trade Winds

2 oz FEW American Gin
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Garnish with lemon twist

The Big Green Egg

OK – I’m convinced. Real Urban BBQ is using them to smoke some of their meat so I am now a full-blown aficionada.

That along with my friend Mark who talks a good BBQ every day on the train and has shown me enough photos to be convinced…especially with his turkey.

The Big Green Egg is the superstar among backyard chefs. I love the fact that the egg can hit temperatures over 600 degrees or you can hold it as low as 200.

If I had an extra $1000 , this would be it. Just think of the money you’ll save because you don’t have to buy that $10,000 pizza oven.

Bon Appetit!

Silver and Gold Treads

I found these beautiful threads. Don't they look like you can start weaving whatever dream you happen to have.

Last night, I dreamt that Julia Child took me to her kitchen to show me how to make a Big Mac.

Back to the box for another dream and P.S. …knock off all the ice cream before bedtime!

Bon Appetit!