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…)


A Haggis for Burns Night

Haggis Neeps and TattiesLast year around this time Cheryl tasked me with making some haggis for a Burns Night, an annual celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns held on his birthday January 25.  Basically a good excuse to get together, drink whisky, and eat some haggis.  The problem last year was we came up with idea on January 23rd two days before the holiday.  Pretty difficult to source what you need for haggis in two days.  In the end I found some at Gepperth’s Market and we had our Burns Night.  This year however I was intent on making haggis from scratch and set a reminder to start the planning.  (more…)

Getting Colder Outside, Make a Hearty Vegetable Garbure!

Your first question is what the heck is a vegetable garbure?  Short answer: a ham and vegetable French peasantry stew.  Long answer: a French stew I found in Ruhlman’s Twenty which enabled me to use up the bacon rind I’ve been saving in the freezer from the last time I made bacon.  Doesn’t it always seem like the peasant dishes you find turn out to be intensely hearty and sustaining?  This is what makes them really good for fall and winter.  They’re typically dishes which use scraps and leftovers, are simmered for hours, and develop intense flavors.  Vegetable garbure is one of those peasant dishes I’m adding to the rotation whenever I cure some bacon. (more…)

Spanish Tortilla – Another Delicious Treasure from our Barcelona Adventure

A couple of weekends ago Cheryl and I were in San Francisco for a wedding and we were reminded of many good memories from our joyous day.  My thoughts usually end up thinking about our honeymoon and inevitably about what we ate.  I’ve previously posted about a cooking class Cheryl and I took while on our honeymoon in Barcelona (see Sopa de Tomate) and how much fun it was to bring back the recipes that would always remind us of that trip.  Last week green peppers were on sale so I decided to make a Spanish Tortilla, which was one of the recipes we came back with.  It’s something you can find in pretty much any café or tapas; they had especially large tortillas at the food stalls in La Boqueria, and is a great snack any time of the day.  Making a Spanish tortilla requires a little more extra work than an omelet but is totally worth it. (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…)

Pureed Potato and Leek Soup (and a Kitchen Essential!)

So after a weekend in New Orleans we needed something a little, um, well, less larger than life which could be heated up quickly for the many (many) gym nights we’re going to need this week.  The cupboards were looking a little bare, not quite Old Mother Hubbardish, but I did have a big bag of potatoes and a couple large leeks.  Soup time. (more…)

Our Burns Night Supper in Wrigleyville

The only way to dress this photo up is to put the whisky in!

It all started off simply enough, “Robert Burns Night is Wednesday.  Are you going to make some haggis?  I think you should.  Oh look, here’s a recipe.”  It was at this moment I realized I am in trouble for the rest of my life.  For the most part I am able to whip things up, experiment a little in the kitchen, give them to Cheryl and she’s very happy.  Clearly, she appreciates it as she’s now requesting obscure offal dishes from scratch…in two days.  Say it for me Scotty.  My complaint of “um, I really need some extra warning so I can order and round up the ingredients” was met with a look that can be described as a cross between “say what?” and “excuse me?”  How did the bar for a weeknight dinner just make a light year jump to that level?  We’ve gone from soups to haggis.  Nevertheless, I had been given a request and despite my grumbling I had to give it a go. (more…)