Thursday, March 7, 2013
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Sunday, February 17, 2013
|Dear Bang Bang, marry me.|
1. Grant Achatz has expanded his empire with Next and Aviary, and I haven't been to either one because I'm the working mom of a toddler and don't have time for that Facebook reservation b.s. If I have to hire a personal assistant to make it happen, it's not going to happen.
2. Yes, now I sometimes cook in a slow cooker and have mastered freezer meals. But I don't drive a minivan, wear Crocs, or clip coupons from the Ladies Home Journal, so don't go jumping to conclusions, ok?
3. I took a job at Steppenwolf Theatre because it's an amazing, inspiring place run by great people who are making Chicago a smarter, better city with their courageous brand of visceral, passionate theater.... This has little to do with food except that it's now part of my job to regularly eat with my donors on that stretch of Halsted that holds the theater, as well as BOKA, Alinea, Balena, and the Rustic House. God bless the arts. They are my people.
4. After 15 years as a pescatarian, I returned to eating meat a year ago.This involved going off the rails for a few months at first (veal ragout on day 3, if memory serves) but I've got it under control now. I can't get used to bacon or pork sausage though, so I'll be the only person in all of blogdom not barraging you with pork, pork, pork, all day long, pork. Not even if it's on a doughnut with maple sugar sprinkles. Pass.
5. I started juicing this summer after having the absolute crap scared out of me by the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead... in an inspiring sort of way. Juicing is fantastic. Juicing is awesome. If I had a personal assistant who could run to Stanley's and then scrub down my chunky juicer parts later, I would do it daily. As such, this isn't the case, but we do what we can.
6. My sister in law and her new husband have gone vegan. They're coming to stay for a weekend. And now I'm trying not to be one of those people who bitches about having to feed vegans.
7. Can we talk about places like Burger Bar and Epic Burger? Sweet Jesus. Yes, we can. Also there is Bang Bang Pie Shop, which probably requires a three-part investigative treatment, as they're obviously doing God's work.
8. My good friend Don Sritong had to close his Just Grapes wine store on Washington after seven years (booooooo), but is currently working on a few new concepts with investors. At least one will be a wine bar. Don attacks every project he works on with a singular passion that makes most hardworking people look like deadbeat stoners, so I'm excited to see what materializes. Also? I'm jealous that he gets to fly around the country going on research trips to wine bars in the meantime. College counselors should really ask you to consider these factors when you weigh your future, non?
9. Another friend, Michael Taus, closed his restaurant Zealous after over 20 years. The last night of service was on sub-zero New Year's Eve, during which a group of his biggest fans gathered for a final dinner. I can't show you the pictures from that night because a certain Mrs. Taus raided the bar's tequila supply on our behalf after dinner. However, I'm totally excited to try Michael's newest brainchild Da Lobsta (DA LOBSTA!), and will be happy share those photos.
10. I've become a fan of the Vivino app to keep track of what's stashed in my wine closet. We'll talk.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
After cruising through about 40 predictable appetizer recipes on Epicurious, I landed on a familiar name: Stromboli. Hmmm...stromoboli, stromboli ... why do I know this? Naturally I Googled. Two things came up: 1) An unusually active volcanic island off the coast of Sicily and 2) a lot of cheap restaurants, mostly in Florida and NYC that specialize in an American invention that's basically a chubby pizza dough breadstick filled with cured meats and cheese. While I didn't recall ever having one, I sensed this had real Superbowl potential.
This is the kind of versatile food I love. They're great hot from the oven, but leave them in the fridge for a day or two and they just get better and better, even cold. And they work well as a meal or a heavy appetizer for a crowd. I bought the dough at the Whole Foods pizza counter (Pizza guy: Three pounds? Seriously? We sell it by the ball. Me: How much does a ball weigh? Guy: A pound and a half. Me: Ok then. So. That's two dough balls. Guy: Continues to eye me suspiciously.)
I tweaked the Epicurious recipe to use prosciutto more than salami, to cut down on the fat and grease factor.
1 lb pizza dough, thawed
1/4 grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 oz thinly sliced Genoa salami
3 oz prosciutto
3 oz sliced provolone or shredded mozzarella cheese (tried both, tough to tell the difference really)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Thursday, March 31, 2011
In GrubStreet NYC's post today on chef cribs - inspiration!:
"While The Wall Street Journal takes us into Max Brenner’s Manhattan townhouse, where he throws nonalcoholic breakfast parties capped off by chocolate fondue..."
Be still my heart, Mr. Brenner, I'm totally stealing that idea!...Except for the alcohol part. No need to make any pretense about virtue when there's a tub of molten chocolate on the table at my house. This orange-infused recipe sounds like a lovely contender for the job:
Bittersweet Chocolate-Orange Fondue
Bon Appétit | February 1997
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons (packed) grated orange peel
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
8 1-inch pieces pound cake
8 1-inch pieces angel food cake
8 fresh strawberries, hulled
2 kiwis, peeled, each cut into 4 rounds
1 small pear, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large banana, cut into 8 rounds
1 orange, peel and white pith removed, cut into sections
8 dried Calimyrna figs
8 dried apricot halves
Bring whipping cream and grated orange peel to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add chopped chocolate and 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier; whisk until mixture is smooth. Remove fondue from heat and blend in remaining 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier.
Transfer fondue to fondue pot. Place over candle or canned heat burner. Serve with cake pieces and fruit for dipping.