Month: June 2013

Summer Means Farmer’s Markets – Do you know where yours is, Chicago?

IMG_00000016When I lived in Washington DC there was a Farmer’s Market every Wednesday in the summer about a block from my apartment.  I had to actually walk through the market to get home from work which didn’t bother me one bit since I knew I’d have a great dinner that evening even if it was just some fresh homemade pasta.  Chicago has a great farm market which operates year round (Green City) but it’s not the same as a neighborhood one you can walk to (unless you live by Lincoln Park).  Luckily for us, there’s one every Saturday just a few blocks away in our North Center neighborhood.  So, last weekend we walked up to check it out. (more…)


The Best Raisin Bread Ever! Pan Tramvai!

The Best Raisin BreadI know, I know, not another bread recipe so soon.  But seriously, this has to be the best raisin bread you can make.  It is so chock full of raisins the dough can barely contain them.  How chock full?  Well the amount of raisins in the bread is equal to the amount of flour used.  This Pan Tramvai (or Pane all’Uva) isn’t going to last long in our house! (more…)

Another Summer Cocktail: It’s Sweet, It’s Bitter, It’s a Negroni!

NegroniSticking with the Italian theme of my previous post, the Negroni has to be near the top of the “simplest cocktails you can make” list.  It’s equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.  The Negroni is refreshing, easy to make, and packs quite the wallop.  More than two of these and you’re asking for trouble.  I find a Negroni prefect for sitting out on the patio on a warm summer evening with a bowl of salty peanuts waiting for Cheryl to come home from work.  Hey, she knows when cocktail hour starts around here! (more…)

Baking some Italian Bread: Pane di Como

Pane di ComoMy mom is always sending me recipes she’s tried.  I’ll suddenly get an envelope in the mail from her and inside will be a recipe clipped from a newspaper or magazine.  Every now and then though a larger package will arrive in which I’ll find a cookbook she saw or found.  This week, one of those packages arrived.  And lucky me, there was not one but two cookbooks in the package!  One was a D’Artagnan Glorious Game Cookbook but the one which really excited me was the other: The Italian Baker by Carol Field.  The very first bread recipe is Pane di Como, or Como Bread.  Since I hadn’t made any bread in a while this seemed like a good time to get back in the game! (more…)

How to make Aioli: A perfect condiment for grilled foods


With egg and without. And yes the radishes, rocket, and lettuce are fresh from the garden!

Aioli, when made from scratch is very unlike the flavored mayo you get at places passed off as aioli.  It’s much creamier, packs quite the garlicky punch, and can be used to enhance the flavors of almost anything from soups to grilled vegetables to meat to crostini.  Aioli is also very easy to make and should definitely be added to your arsenal of grilling condiments for the summer. (more…)