Kitchen essentials – Demi-glace

Still back home visiting but I crafted this entry before leaving when I realized the only “essential” I’ve mentioned is truffle salt.  If you’ve read any of Anthony Bourdain’s books you know he is a big proponent of demi-glace.  Traditionally it’s made with veal stock and sauce espagnole and reduced.  Making some can be a…

Roaming Home

This weekend Cheryl and I have traveled back east to Hyde Park, NY for a family visit.  So far so good!  I haven’t been back in a couple of years, since before we moved to Chicago, so I’ve been looking forward to it.  My Dad’s  got a big retirement birthday this month so it’s a…

Top Chef Episode 6 – Can we move the show to a Post Office?

Because these guys look like they’re just mailing it in.  I’ve been annoyed (really, we couldn’t tell!) with the challenges but more and more I’m thinking it doesn’t matter what the challenges are.  These guys can’t even master simple team ones where they all work together on putting out meals.  Isn’t that what they normally…

Quick Weeknight Dinner – Farro with Mushrooms and Peas

One ingredient I like to keep in the cupboard is farro.  It is one of the oldest grains in the world and was a staple of the Roman diet.  It’s a grain which has low gluten levels but is also a good source of fiber and protein, so it’s healthy for you too.  And versatile! …

My Favorite Christmas Cookie – Porlos Testa

Remember how I said my Grandmother’s stuffing was one of the first recipes of hers I got?  Well this is the very first one.  Porlos testa (TEE-sta).  Nothing says Christmas to me like these “cookies.”  I suppose they’re more like a pastry but growing up they were my favorite, and still are.  These were really…

Ora Sushi – Restaurant Review

Sushi.  I find that you’re either a sushi person or you’re not.  You can never convince someone to like sushi who isn’t down with eating raw fish.  And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  In fact I like it that way.  Because of this, sushi is never a “trendy” thing like cupcakes or…

Top Chef Episode 5 – Come on, let’s get going here

So far I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the season.  The challenges haven’t been all that exciting and the chefs aren’t dazzling very much.  Not to mention there’s barely any drama among them.  These guys are so blah the show can’t even edit in good drama to make it seem like there’s tension.  We really haven’t…

Strudel – The Old Fashioned Way!

Way back in October Cheryl and I attended a hands-on strudel making demonstration at Dank Haus (German-American cultural center here in Chicago).  When we lived in Washington DC Cheryl used to get strudel from Heidelberg Pastry Shop in Arlington (they’d also have grilled sausages on the weekends which were great after my men’s league soccer…