Who Needs Fireworks?

June 30, 2008

I really, really hope that I’m getting this to you in time. Please tell me you haven’t planned a Fourth of July menu yet. Or that, if you have, you’re at least open to being persuaded otherwise. Or that you have the sides all picked out and a bevy of desserts all lined up, but you just don’t know what will anchor the feast that will accompany your fireworks gawking, parade going, sun basking and cold beer sipping. Because have I got the recipe for you.

I try to avoid hyperbole on this site because I know you might grow tired of me and soon you’d just roll your eyes, oh-brothering your way on to the next food blog in your reader. So I try to contain myself most of the time, saving up my over-the-top oohs and ahhs for the really, really special recipes.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Welcome (Home) Wagon

June 27, 2008

Thank goodness. The vegetable party—as delicious as it was—is coming to an end. Kevin’s coming home today and bringing his sweet tooth (which didn’t seem to exist before this blog’s inception) with him. In honor of his return, I made him some cookies: snickerdoodles. They might sound a little run of the mill, but we had them out the other night (they came alongside a selection of (insanely delicious) ice creams) and we both loved them. Also, they’re the perfect homey, simple cookie to say “welcome home.” They’re also tender and comforting and even kind of caramely. The dough is delicious too. Not that I would know.

Now, I’ve got some studying to do before he gets there, so I hope you won’t mind a photo montage of sorts today. Click through to the jump for the play-by-play of this cookie bake (which was quite brief; gotta love a baked good that comes together in the time it take your oven to preheat):

(Click “more” for the photos & recipe.)

Read the rest of this entry »

If you haven’t noticed, it’s been a little vegetabley around here this week. That would be because Kevin is on a business trip in Vegas for the week, surrounded by the ding of slot machines, the whoosh of black jack cards being dealt and the sweltering desert heat. He is “working,” I suppose, but he’s also planning to watch the NBA draft in the sports book and being wined and dined in fine restaurants. I, on the other hand, am surrounded by a fortress of books and flashcards and my head hurts from the alarming number of rules I’ve crammed into it over the past few weeks of studying for the bar exam. But, at least I have my vegetables. And they include mushrooms, beets and all sorts of treats that Kevin wants no part of. All in all, I’m doing quite well all by my lonesome, thankyouverymuch.

I’ve decided to embrace the fact that my version of “When The Cat’s Away …” involves practice exams and fungus and lots of vitamins. And today’s recipe is a point in case. Today, I bring you peas and carrots. Now, before you click away to sexier, sweeter blog posts, let me at least plead my case. First, I get where you’re coming from. The thought of “peas and carrots” conjures visions of institutional cafeteria food at its worst: mushy, gray and convincing kids everywhere that hot lunch is a no-no.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Last weekend included an annual summer occasion: the inaugural summer burger. Not a turkey burger, not a salmon burger, not a black bean burger. No, a real-deal, honest to god, as-American-as-it-gets burger. It’s an occasion that I dream about, especially during the months when the grill is frozen shut, enrobed in its snow-covered tarp. It’s an occasion that can practically reduce me to tears upon the first juicy bite. It’s also an occasion that can lead me to suffer from a severe case of tunnel vision.

You see, it’s all about the patty (ground sirloin), the bun (soft and eggy), the cheese (sharp white cheddar), the slather (Dijon mustard) and the toppings (grilled red onion, a thick round of salt-and-peppered beefsteak tomato and a heap of sharp baby arugula). Left to my own devices, I would likely end up with a barren plate, anointed with a glorious burger but nary a side dish (save for a pickle, probably).

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Read the rest of this entry »

I have been waiting so, so long to share this recipe with you. It’s one of my favorite summer recipes and it appeared on our plates last summer, in its multi-hued glory, at least a couple times every month. It reminds me of days at the market where people are three deep at the bin of sweet corn, frantically pulling back the husks to peer at the kernels, blond silks flying this way and that. I spent all fall-winter-spring longing for days like that, and for this salad.

Admittedly, we are not quite there yet. We did a little tour of Farmer’s Markets last weekend—two in Lincoln Park on Saturday and our local Wicker Park market on Sunday—and the bounty included piles of tiny strawberries, with their perfect green stems; juicy heaps of cherries; crates of sugar snap peas sweet enough to eat for dessert; and the season’s last rhubarb and asparagus. There was no corn, no okra, no cherries tomatoes. But I just couldn’t. wait. any. longer.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Make it All Better

June 23, 2008

You know the crispy bits around the edges of a pan of brownies? The ones that have buckled from the heat of the oven? The ones that practically disintegrate in your mouth when you take a nibble? If you like those bits, you will adore these biscotti. They’re similar to the brownie bits in their crunch and deep chocolatey flavor, but they’re also studded with dark chocolate chips and slivered almonds.

I’ve dabbled with a variety of biscotti recipes: some stripped down and simple, some featuring dried fruit, some savory. But I’d never tried a chocolate recipe. I blame the double chocolate cookies of a couple weeks back for nudging me into trying this one.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Read the rest of this entry »

This is the kind of salad that is at all times on the brink of losing its status as a salad. It’s the kind of salad that has a 1:1 ratio of virtuous vegetables to decadent elements. It’s the kind of salad that allows you to couple each bite of lettuce or carrots or celery with crisp bacon or creamy avocado or pungent, smooth blue cheese. It’s the kind of salad you can order in a bar.

Which is fitting, because we ate this salad on our deck. And, lately, our deck is my favorite bar in Chicago. In the past couple weeks, we have had countless opportunities for cocktails up there at sunset, usually followed by a lingering dinner as the lights in the tall buildings downtown start to twinkle (if we can’t have stars, at least we have this), conversations meandering and laughter rising and falling.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Read the rest of this entry »