Month: August 2012

Pesto: An Easy Summer Sauce

If your back porch basil plant looks anything like mine then it means you have a bush instead of a plant.  The plant seems to grow back two leaves for every one I use.  What to do with all this basil?  Make some pesto.  Pesto is a delicious summer sauce and your basil plant won’t mind you taking all those leaves for it.  It’ll be back to its bush size in no time.  Trust me! (more…)


The Chicago Air and Water Show – Beginning of the End of the Chicago Summer

In mid-August every year the roar of jets and buzz of planes over Chicago means one thing: Air and Water Show weekend!  This is a great Chicago summertime event and unlike that other big summer event, Lollapalooza, the Air and Water Show is free!  Just get over to the lake shore on the weekend and watch.  It’s the last big event of the Chicago summer before we hit Labor Day and the official end of the season and it’s one Chicagoans love gathering for. (more…)

Stuffed Cabbage – Comfort Food the Way Grandma Made It

I know I’m in the minority here but stuffed cabbage is my all time favorite comfort food.  I could eat it all day every day for a month and not get sick of it.  I kid you not.  Like the Porlos Testa and the Green Bean Salad this is my grandmother’s recipe which she probably learned from her Hungarian mother.  My mom picked it up from her and that’s who I learned it from.  Four generations at least!  I love love love this stuffed cabbage!  Of all the things I’ve written about so far this is the one which really carries me home to Grandma’s and my Mom’s kitchens.  I really can’t decide if the stuffed cabbage is my favorite part or the bits of cabbage which get stewed in the bottom of the pot.  Together they’re great. (more…)

Simple Homemade Dill Pickles Using Basic Brine

As you may have been reading, lately I’ve become a bit obsessed with curing food.  I’ve made bacon (and successfully done it a second time) and duck prosciutto which both turned out well.  From reading through Ruhlman’s Charcuterie I’ve found it amazing what salt can do.  Behold the power of salt!  Ok, next up in the salt lessons, simple brine.  Salt and water.  And yes, there’s a ratio for basic brine.  What can you do with brine?  Lots of things, but for starters since I’m easing my way into this whole curing thing I thought I’d make some simple dill pickles.  All you need is salt, water, cucumbers, some dill, and patience. (more…)

Couscous Salad (don’t worry, summer’s almost over)

Ok, back to summer salads!  This particular couscous salad is Cheryl’s favorite.  I’m not sure if there’s a special ingredient in it she really likes or if it’s the combination of everything, but whatever it is she gets very happy when I make it.  As with most of my summer creations, this couscous salad is very easy to make, can be made ahead, and is perfect for hot evenings when you don’t want to do much cooking. (more…)

Nhu Lan Bakery – Delicious Bánh Mi in Lincoln Square

With all of the summer recipes I’ve been posting I noticed it has been a while since I wrote something about a Chicago neighborhood eatery.  I think I may have said this before but being a real estate broker is great for exploring Chicago and uncovering little gems you normally wouldn’t know about.  And there are so many out there!  Up on Lawrence Avenue just west of Western in Lincoln Square sits a tiny little Vietnamese bakery called Nhu Lan, and they have some fantastic, out-of-this world delicious Bánh Mi sandwiches. (more…)