The extreme June rains and the hottest month in US history in July have given us loads of big cucumbers in our CSA, Genesis Growers. This is a great thing for those who love cucumbers, and I do, but the challenge is that in week three of getting all of these cucumbers, can you continue to quick pickle them or add to the quart jar of tzatziki? I could not and after a few conversations on Twitter with Tony and Wendy, cucumber kimchi was suggested. Continue reading
We have had guests staying at our house for the past 6 weeks. Chicago is one of the greatest cities around in the summer, we have a guest room, and live a few blocks from the train. I thought these were the reasons for the Bed and Breakfast treatment, but what I found out was that the reasons could very well have been Mick Klug’s peaches.
For three straight weekends, I picked up the peaches at Green City Market with the intention of making ice cream and within two days, the peaches would be gone each time. I ate none of them. Finally, after we are guest-free, I got to enjoy these peaches and they are great. After growing up on rock hard Wisconsin grocery peaches, a fresh, ripe in season peach has become my favorite fruit. Continue reading
Nearly seven months after attending afternoon courses on patés and terrines and then dueling testas at Mado Restaurant in Chicago, I finally got up the guts to try it out. Rob Levitt, chef/owner at Mado, who serves one of my favorite Charcuterie programs anywhere, went through how to make country paté and ciccioli and then, on another Sunday afternoon, utilized the head of the pig to make coppa di testa and the porchetta di testa. After this long, I was afraid that those two Sunday afternoons were quickly devolving in a culinary donkey show, live food porn, but if I took the lessons learned and applied them, spectator would turn into student. Continue reading
Most of the time that you see pickles, you are seeing some combination of vinegar, salt, and sugar, but this is different. There is no vinegar. This is a brine covering fresh vegetables preserving the vegetables while the fermentation takes place. There is a natural lactic acid fermentation. Natural cultures existing on the pickles consume some of the sugars converting them to lactic acid, acetic acid, carbon dioxide, etc. Continue reading
If you visit Door County, Wisconsin during the Thanksgiving time, one drink that you will likely find floating around in miscellaneous bottles is Cherry Bounce. Cherry Bounce is typically a homemade cordial. Depending on where you are from, the liquor could be brandy, cognac, bourbon, etc., but in Wisconsin, Brandy is king. Combine the liquor with the great cherries grown in Door County and a little time, you will be in business.
The drink, when aged, is really smooth and the tart cherry flavor really gets you without being a giant cherry bomb. It was a really good pairing with goat cheese. I was surprised. It was terribly good with chocolate cake and separately with almond ice cream. I was not surprised. My favorite version of this was one that instead of using only brandy, I combined brandy and bourbon in equal parts. Continue reading
I remember fighting with my parents as a kid when they made me drink the milk with cereal dregs after consuming the unsweetened cereal that we had growing up. The sweetest that it got was honey nut Cheerios (and that was a treat), so imagine the smack that I’d get from 12 year old me if he ever found out that I made ice cream specifically designed to taste like cereal milk. Continue reading
In Chicago, we love Rick Bayless. Not that there is any lack of love for Rick anywhere, but if he tweeted asking for someone to shovel his walk, the line would wrap around the block. Additionally, with my wife sharing an Okie upbringing, Bayless resonates on another level in our family.
Summer is a great time to be cooking from Bayless’s cookbooks. Many ingredients are more available and some even from the farmer’s markets in town. One of the recipes, in particular, from Mexico: One Plate at a Time that I have been looking forward to trying is the recipe for Chorizo Mexicano. Continue reading
After a nice Saturday afternoon lunch at Big Jones, we were sideroading our way home and decided to stop for supplies a butcher shop that I frequented years ago while living in Lincoln Square. Despite the numerous changes to the neighborhood, not a whole lot has changed about this butcher, Lincoln Quality Meats. The non-sausage section was still too light and the calling card of the place was Ćevapčići. With the new Gene’s down the street that LQM has to work harder to bring customers, but with the Ćevapčići in their back pocket, people will come in for it. I did not, but I will ongoing and I will even try to pronounce (che-vap-chi-chi) it instead of pointing and grunting. Continue reading
With the end of the strawberry season approaching (or already gone), regular uses for strawberries like jam have been used. Now is the time to get creative. With that I thought of adding sour cream and balsamic vinegar to roasted strawberries and churn it into ice cream.
The pastel pink ice cream had a great fragrance. The strawberry is extraordinarily strong and the sour cream and balsamic vinegar create a subtle, tangy finish. Honestly, the sour cream and balsamic did not compete with the berries, but just kind of filled out some of the flavors. Continue reading
In an ongoing effort to move bacon from freezer to plate combined with a desire to not spend hours over the stove, I dug deep to determine a new bacon project that required very little effort. My first thought was to combine my two favorite things, but I had already made bacon sausage, so what about the third favorite thing, bourbon? Cognac is a common element in many rillettes, so why not use bacon as the meat element, bacon fat as the fat element, and bourbon in place of cognac?
Using a basic rillettes recipe and making some useful additions and substitutions, the bourbon bacon rillettes became a great Monday project that allowed maximum relaxation. The process was as simple as getting the scale out, weighing a few ingredients, waiting for the cooking process to finish, and emulsifying the meat and liquids. Continue reading