It about the time of year, actually it is a little late, to start testing recipes for Thanksgiving. As I have noted in the past, our family’s holiday ritual is a gathering so large that it can at any given time, 50 people over 4 generations might be eating. Picking a dish which I will have fun preparing which is not already being prepared which most people will like is difficult. With that in mind, I grabbed a turkey to feed our family this week with a few takes on standard favorites of ours made with Thanksgiving ingredients. Continue reading »
There are so many beautiful books released this fall that I can not afford to buy even half of those I would like to have. The ones I have purchased are lovely, but sometimes the old ugly books, the ones released over thirty years ago remind us of that delicious food is not a recent trend and that snout to tail cooking was not invented in 2005. Continue reading »
Growing up, we always had a garden and, alongside the garden, we also had an enormous mass of concord grape vines. When we were there in early October, there were pounds and pounds of concords bending the vine, so how could I resist bringing home a bunch? One of my first thoughts was making raisins with the concords, but the problem I found was the enormous number of seeds. Continue reading »
After taking the legs off of a rabbit, I was left with the remaining carcass which, in my previous experiences accounts for loins and scrap. Given that I had some time to finish butchering the rabbit, I decided to take my time and cut through the sternum, split the chest and pull the ribs from the backbone by hand. A little while later, I had two small, rectangular flaps of rabbit, if someone was so inclined, could be made into micro-bacon. It was rabbit belly. Continue reading »
Consider this a practice, and I should know not to be afraid to make any cured meat, because the thought of making mortadella at home is frightening. Stuffing a beef bung full of emulsified meat and fat and then boiling the whole thing is intimidating to me, but I will get there. I just needed a little push and a little practice. Continue reading »
I love butcher shops.
Huge surprise. Right?
I do not mind the trendiness. Hell, when something is good, it is good. If others like it, so be it. Realizing it is a very old person’s way of thinking and gets in the way of the punk ethos of the tattooed chefs (cheves?), but I am not a chef, tattooed or otherwise. I just enjoy being able to get great meats in more places. Continue reading »
One of the key lessons of buying two whole cow’s heads in a two month span is each head has a tongue, so you have a few options at your disposal. First, you could leave it in its head of origin and cook it surrounded by its cranial neighbors. Or, you could embrace your inner “Game of Thrones” villain and remove the tongue for a separate application. Recently, I made beef sausages studded with tongue, but this time, I focused more on the tongue. Continue reading »
Most parents I know talk about their kids (at least a little – maybe a little too much at times, amirite?) and, when their kids are not around, they talk about their favorite moments which may be embarrassing or offbeat. I love being a parent – it is my favorite role – and I take pleasure in seeing my girls have their own kind of fun, but it is particularly special when we find a common bit of fun. Continue reading »
Every year around the fourth of July, we head North for a good bit of time and every year I bring a prize cut of meat along with. This year I brought a huge cow’s head hoping to make barbacoa the old way, in a pit. Once I got there, I dug a big pit, lined it with stones and started a huge fire in the hole. After the fire was down to embers, I lowered a chile-slathered, banana-leaf wrapped cow’s head into the hole and pushed a load of dirt around it. Eighteen hours later, I unearthed it and it was merely warm. I tried to cook it in on a grill then in an oven. In the end, I was not convinced the head was safe to eat, so I scrapped it. Continue reading »
Chef Mark Mendez runs the kitchen at his West Loop restaurant Vera. It is no secret that Vera is one of my favorite restaurants in town. Food is simple without being simple. Complex flavors and textures are everywhere, but nothing seems fussed over and no extra ingredients are strewn across the plate. His philosophy of keeping things simple and making sure everything included is high quality and necessary inspired most of my decisions in my kitchen design project and one of the first things cooked in the kitchen, these beef tongue and caper sausages, were inspired by a signature Mendez dish – the Beef Tongue Pincho. Continue reading »