Kitchen essentials

New Kitchen Book – Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain

Charcuteria by Jeffery Weiss It’s not often you see me write about stuff other than food I’ve been cooking or sausages I’ve been making. That should tell you something about this particular acquisition. If you are into making sausages and curing meat you need to get yourself a copy of Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain, by Jeffrey Weiss. (more…)

Homemade Mustard – Condiment Making 101

Homemade Grainy MustardMustard. Chicago’s favored hot dog condiment and one which comes in many forms. There’s spicy, sweet, honey, stone ground, Dijon, country-style, Chinese, German, sharp and tangy…I could go on and on. If you take a look at the ingredients you’ll find, no matter which is your favorite, mustards are pretty much all made with the same stuff and there’s also not much in the way of preservatives. If there are minimal ingredients, then it should be pretty easy to make some at home right? This week I put that theory to the test. (more…)

Pollo alla Milanese Vestito (Breaded Chicken Cutlets)

Pollo alla Milanese vestitoSorry for more Italian but I’ve been on a roll lately and couldn’t resist making Pollo alla Milanese this week.  Cheryl’s been swamped at work and this is one of her favorites.  It’s also her birthday week so I thought this would be a nice weeknight dinner to prepare for her.  That and pollo alla Milanese is simple, simple, simple to make.  And what do we know about simple things in life?  They’re usually pretty damn tasty and this is no exception. (more…)

Some Tips on Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for the First Time

Thanksgiving Blues Sat Eve PostSo this is it!  This is the year you’re not dealing with all the hassle of traveling and will be making Thanksgiving dinner for yourself and a few friends.  Good for you!  Despite all the drama you’ve witnessed throughout your life surrounding Thanksgiving dinner it’s really not terribly difficult to prepare if you’re sensible.  If you decide there has to be 5 different types of potatoes and all on the table by noon then yes, there will be drama.  But for the most part you’ll be able to pull it all off without too much stress if you prep correctly.  This year will make it six Thanksgiving dinners I’ve made so here are some thoughts, ramblings, or tips on how I go about it. (more…)

Herb Butter – Kitchen Essential

Herb butterHerb butter.  Compound butter.  Hotel butter.  No matter what you call it, it’s one of the easiest items you can make and add to your kitchen essentials cupboard.  It’s also a good example of how a simple uncomplicated item can have tremendous effects on anything you cook.  Finish off your vegetables with it, plop a dollop on top of that grilled steak while it’s resting, add it to a sauce, spread some on the outside of your bread before making a panini; the uses for herb butter are endless and the results are endlessly delicious. (more…)

Homemade Gnocchi – It’s Taken a While but I Finally Did It

Homemade Gnocchi

Ah gnocchi.  When gnocchi is made right they are like light and airy pillows; when made wrong like heavy and dense globs of potato.  They are one of Cheryl’s favorite foods and always in the running if we’re at an Italian restaurant and gnocchi is on the menu.  Gnocchi are made with the simplest ingredients, potatoes and flour, but you have to get the ratio correct.  It’s a fine line between glob and pillow. (more…)