Month: May 2012

Awesome Summer Dessert – Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!

A little more than a week ago Artizone, an online artisanal food shopping and delivery service here in Chicago (and Dallas) hosted a quiz on Twitter where you could win a small bag of food from them, sourced from local shops like Gepperth’s Meat Market and Green Grocer Chicago.  It wasn’t a very difficult quiz (there was no math involved), mostly questions about items on their website.  Somehow, along with a couple other participants, I won a small gift bag which they delivered to me.  I received some organic mushrooms, popcorn, microgreens, oregano, apples, and stalks of rhubarb.  While I’ve eaten rhubarb before I’d never worked with it, but I knew where to go to find some inspiration: my mom’s recipe books.  Sure enough, there was a recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie. (more…)

Night at the Field Museum! Wine Enthusiast Toast of the Town on June 8

Taking a break at last year’s Toast of the Town in the Field Museum

Recently, I received a postcard from Wine Enthusiast alerting me to their upcoming event at the Field Museum: Toast of the Town.  They sponsor the event in three cities: New York, Chicago and Washington, DC.  Chicago’s the second stop on the tour and while we don’t get as many wineries/distributors as New York we have way more restaurants attending.  DC brings up the rear in both categories.  Since Cheryl and I went to last year’s event at the Field Museum the arrival of Wine Enthusiast’s piece of direct mail caused a bit of excitement.  We like tasting events (see my earlier post on Binny’s Whisky Tasting) so I am happy to say we’re going back to this event! (more…)

Get Ready for Summer Salads! Potato Salad with Eggs and Dill

Lately I’ve been talking about refreshing your grilling skills as we get closer to Memorial Day and the official start of summer.  Very important of course, but one area you shouldn’t neglect in your preparation are salads.  I was inspired to make the first potato salad of the summer since we had absolutely gorgeous Chicago weather this week.  Oh and there was also a 50 lb bag of potatoes in our basement. (more…)

Mixed Berry Custard Tart – Simple Ratios

On Mother’s Day we went over to our friends Erik and Jen’s for some grilling.  It was a beautiful, sunny day in Chicago and we offered to bring some dessert.  No idea why since I’m not much of a baker.  Well not much of cake baker at least.  If I had to rank my dessert making skills I’d say I make pies the best with cakes way down on the list.  Tarts are somewhere in the middle since they’re pie-like but require some extra ingredients.  That said, I really can’t believe how simple it was to make this delicious tart.  Minimal ingredients and minimal time. (more…)

Sopa de Tomate! Tomato Soup Recipe Learned in Barcelona

A couple of weekends ago Cheryl and I traveled back to Washington DC to see some friends and ended up having Sunday Brunch at Taberna del Alabardero.  Normally brunch is brunch but this particular Sunday they were hosting a Feria del Abril event.  Dancers, food, drink.  Lots and lots of them.  One small bite offered was a little glass of gazpacho.  It reminded me of a tomato soup Cheryl and I learned how to make in Barcelona while we were on our honeymoon.  I didn’t think I’d have a chance to make it so soon but Chicago cooperated and one day last week the temperature was up over 80°F.  Perfect opportunity to make this quick and easy summertime soup. (more…)

Southport and Irving Café-Bistro-Bar – Oh that Pork Chop!

For the past few months I’ve been keeping my eye on the northwest corner of Irving Park and Southport.  Each day as I’d drive through the intersection from the east (ha! there I’ve worked another compass point into this post) my eyes would glance over to look for signs the new restaurant under construction was ready for customers.  It was steadily progressing when one day, I received a message via Twitter, from Southport and Irving (4002 – 4004 North Southport Avenue) inviting me to a grand opening event, would I like to attend?  Um, yes please! (more…)

Braised Chicken Legs with Kalamata Olives

Way back in time when I became more serious about cooking for myself I used to read a lot of Food and Wine magazines.  This is a variation of one of the first “step-up dinners” I made where I graduated from using one of those jar sauces to cook chicken in.  Those, of course, were a step-up from Shake N Bake chicken.  I don’t remember all of the original ingredients in the F&W recipe and over the years I’ve tweaked this plenty.  Make it a few times and you’ll find it’s a very easy one to customize for yourself. (more…)