Month: March 2012

Meat on a Stick: Lamb Kebabs with Mint Yogurt Sauce

Lamb kebabs with green lentils and grilled green onions

It’s almost Opening Day here in Wrigleyville and the temperature has cooled off a bit from last week but that’s ok, it’s still grilling spring training weather.  By the time summer does roll around I’ll be in mid-season form.  These lamb kebabs are one of the first things I ever grilled for Cheryl, showing her I wasn’t just an inside cook, I’ve got an outside game too!  Kebabs, skewers, whatever you call them, these are perfect for summertime cookouts.  You can either snack on them as an appetizer or put them out as a main course.  This is also a great spring training exercise to reacquaint yourself with how your grill cooks and getting your timing down.  (more…)


Happy World Whisky Day! Whisky Tasting at Binny’s World of Whiskies

What's going on over there, I'm over here and need my glass filled with some Glenmorangie!

Happy World Whisky Day!  It just so happens last Thursday Cheryl and I headed south from Wrigleyville to Binny’s Beverage Depot (Lincoln Park) for an annual tasting event they host called World of Whiskies with over 50 different whisky and whiskey (you know the difference) distributors.  Since Cheryl and I both like single malt scotch (whisky) we decided to go.  Ticket price was $50 each if you had a Binny’s card, $60 if you didn’t, which for a tasting of this size is actually pretty cheap.  I recall there being a similar annual event in DC that cost upwards of $125, which we felt was way too much so never went.  Anyway, this Chicago event sold out pretty quickly and ran for three hours.  Plenty of time to get your money’s worth and for us plenty of time to sample some new whisky.  A list of what we tried is at the end. (more…)

What’s for Sunday Dinner: Caramelized Onion and Duck Tart

A couple of weeks ago I bought some frozen duck legs with the intention of making confit.  I don’t use the traditional method of cooking them in duck fat, I cheat a bit by slowly cooking the legs in olive oil.  It achieves basically the same result, some preserved duck legs you can pull out and use whenever you like, which made this little tart very easy to make. (more…)

Grilling Season in Chicago Already? Add Some Acid: Chimichurri

Can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted!  Very busy this past week, which has also seen some record-setting temperatures here in Chicago.  70s and 80s.  In March.  Now that’s my kind of Chicago winter.  Of course we’ll probably get some snow at Easter now.  Oh well, what can you do?  It’s pretty awesome in Chicago when the weather starts to get warm, the whole city embraces it and finds reasons to go outside and enjoy the sunshine (St. Patrick’s Day was last weekend so they didn’t have to search much). Bars and restaurants have flung open their doors and windows and set up their outside seating areas, and the scent of grilling meat has been emanating from backyards and decks throughout the neighborhood.  (more…)

What’s for Sunday Dinner: Braised Pork Ribs with Apple-Curry Sauce

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Chicago.  The sun was shining, temperature was in the mid-60s, and everyone was out soaking it all up.  It reminded me of something I read once about Calvados, the French apple brandy, being like a glass of summer sunshine.  That description has always stuck with me and I think it accurately describes good Calvados.  Who wouldn’t want a little sunshine in glass?  So for Sunday dinner I decided to make some pork ribs Normandy Style, where apples and a good amount of Calvados are used in the sauce/braising liquid.  Pork and apples.  Two great tastes that taste great together!  The only other combination that may be better is chocolate and peanut butter.  I knew there was a good recipe for this dish in my mother’s recipe books so I pulled it out.  But wait, what’s this in the title about curry? (more…)

Fettucine with Bay Scallops in a Saffron Cream Sauce

Fridays in Lent can be tough for Roman Catholics, especially when you have some leftover meatloaf and osso bucco in the fridge.  Bad for me, good for Cheryl who’s one of those rebellious Protestants.  Well it’s not really that tough, but we like to try to convince everyone it’s difficult.  It usually doesn’t work though as most everyone else thinks we’re nuts to begin with.  Anyway, every year Lent rolls around and the no meat on Friday thing kicks in making pizza or the parish fish fry the normal Friday night dinners for a lot of Catholics.  Now, I’m not the best practicing Catholic out there (not the worst either!) but I still give the old Vatican try when it comes to Lenten Fridays.  I actually don’t mind because it gives me a chance to work with foods I don’t normally have in the rotation, like seafood.  (more…)

Lunching in the Loop: 3 Places You Should Try!

Cheryl works down inside the Loop, as do many Chicagoans.  Occasionally I have to leave the friendly confines of Wrigleyville and travel there for meetings or showings.  In a couple of weeks I have to venture south for some continuing education classes (ah real estate license requirements!) and I find myself looking forward to having lunch with Cheryl.  The question, as always when lunching with her is: where to eat? (more…)