Smoked Ramps Parisienne Gnocchi

Parisienne gnocchiThere are many times when my vision for a dish’s flavor does not turn out the way I want it to. And since I’m a Virgo it generally will take only the slightest cooking imperfection for me to feel a dish has failed. This smoked ramps Parisienne gnocchi is exactly one of those ideas where my expectation bar gets set pretty high. It’s a great concept but would I be able to get the flavors I imagined? YES I DID! (more…)

Bearnaise Sauce for Grilling Season – Why? Why Not!

Bearnaise sauceGrilling season is here! Over the holiday weekend Cheryl and I bought a new grill and it was delivered just in time for use on Memorial Day. Nothing too fancy, some steak and asparagus. I wanted to do something different for the asparagus and had decided to make some hollandaise sauce when a thought popped into my head. Since we’re having steak, why not simply add some tarragon and transform the hollandaise into the steakhouse classic béarnaise sauce? Oh yeah. (more…)

Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette with Thyme Polenta Squares

Polenta with sun-dried tomato basil vinaigretteIt’s getting more and more difficult to wow Cheryl with my cooking, but this simple little side dish I prepared for some grilled chicken from earlier in the week really impressed her with intense, bright, crisp, flavors. I could have sworn I’ve made this sun-dried tomato and basil sauce before (in fact I know I have) but it seemed to take her by surprise. I believe her reaction was very close to ‘Holy crap this is so good! Where’d you get the idea for this?’ Hang on, I’ll tell you. (more…)

Duck and Farro Stew to Chase the Cold Away

Duck and farro stewLast weekend was cold and rainy. Typical spring Chicago weather, 80s in the week then down to the 50s as rain and a cold front moved through. I had just turned the thermostat over to AC so go ahead and blame me for jinxing it. Sunday dinner required something hot and warming to chase away the chill. Duck stew fit right in. (more…)

Rampy Shrimp Scampi – or To Be More Precise: Shrimp Prawn

Shrimp Scampi with rampsRamp season is winding down but I’ve still got a few bunches left. This week I’m taking an old restaurant classic and adding a seasonal twist, turning shrimp scampi into a rampy shrimp scampi. Yeah that’s right, shrimp sc-ramp-i. (more…)

Chicago Beer Cheese: Spring Ramps, German Cheese and Begyle Brewing Beer

Chicago Beer Cheese with ramps2We’re really getting into ramps season here in Chicago and lucky me, I have a very good source for them. It’s all about being creative when you have a limited supply of seasonal ingredients which is why I came up with a very Chicago-themed post this week. German cheese representing part of the city’s immigrant history, beer from our favorite local brewer Begyle Brewing, and of course the plant Chicago was allegedly named after, ramps (see last year’s ramps post for the story). Ladies and gentlemen I give you: Chicago Beer Cheese! (more…)

Homemade Guanciale – So Good!

Homemade GuancialeIf you’ve been following along the past few months you know I’ve been doing a lot of curing and sausage making with lots of different pork cuts. While this isn’t the first time I’ve made guanciale I think the batch which recently emerged from the basement is quite possibly the best I’ve ever made. (more…)