After tasting the sunflower seed risotto made by Alex Talbot of Ideas in Food this summer here in Chicago, I said to my lovely wife, “I am going to go home and order a pressure cooker immediately.” In the heat of the moment, it sounded like a great idea, but like some of those, it was lost by the wayside. A pressure cooker did, if fact, make it onto my wish list and I received one over the holidays. Continue reading »
With the Super Bowl later today, I set out on yesterday’s long run in the snow with the goal of arriving home with a few ideas of dishes to make which would be creative, use what we had on hand, and fit the football party atmosphere. It was really helpful to set out with something specific to think about because once I walked outside, I knew that the run would be difficult. We had about 4-6 inches of fresh snow and, since I head out at 5 AM, not a single flake of it had been shoveled. Throughout the thirteen miles, I thought of all of the terrible emails sent notifying me of a chicken wing shortage or how spinach-artichoke dip can be made at home (and with only 3 cans). The one flavor I kept going back to was buffalo sauce. I love the sharp blast of vinegar-y heat and the way the butter keeps the that heat and acidity on your tongue for far longer than a salsa or hot sauce. Continue reading »
Admittedly, I am prone to snark – especially about food trends. I am working on it though. One trend about which I have been really curious, and a little snarky, has been ramen. In Chicago, there are a few shops that make passable ramen, but we lack a real ramen shop.This has not stopped trendsters on both sides from making iffy, to bad, ramen or eating and lauding some bad ramen.
Not having a great ramen shop in town has kept me from really understanding the obsession that some folks have regarding ramen. I have read about the obsession via Chang and others, but it was lost on me. After some internet back and forth with ramen-obsessed Justin Carlisle, chef at Umami Moto in Milwaukee, who gave me a good roadmap on how to get started, I dipped my toe in the ramen pool and came out with a full understanding of the obsession. I had made ramen, but wanted to eat it all, then make more and make it better. Continue reading »
I live in Chicago. Not the Chicago as seen in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or other 1980′s movies with bucolic yards and two car garages, but rather in the city. I walk two blocks to a train that gets me to work in the center of the city in ten minutes. It with this consideration that it was actually in the city, proper, where I came across cooking in both embers and hay for the first time. Continue reading »
After nearly thirty four years of eating Japanese foods in the context of sushi and mediocre izakaya food, I had a revelatory week of Japanese dining in Chicago and Las Vegas of all places. In Chicago, a friend invited me to attend the Kyoto dinner and I was not disappointed. I had flavors and textures that I had never experienced, but I had no context. Only three days later, I took a taxi from the Las Vegas strip to Raku. We were there to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday and I had made reservatios to dine solo while the boys enjoyed a night dining on the strip. Raku was the beginning of obtaining context. Continue reading »
I have never hid the fact that I am from Wisconsin. Having lived out of state for over a decade, I still consider myself 100% Sconnie. If someone asks me where I am from when I travel, the answer is Wisconsin. Being from Wisconsin means that come October, sausage becomes a staple. Let’s not kid ourselves, in Wisconsin Winter, Spring and Summer do not let sausage retreat from the limelight, but Fall is prime-time. There are many community Oktoberfests, but there are many tailgating opportunities, hunting parties, Columbus Day potlucks, Sweetest Day swap meets… The list goes on. In Fall, we make any excuse to grill up encased meats that we can. Continue reading »
I truly despise the phrase “everything is better with…” Most people attach bacon to the end of that phrase, but I have seen egg lately. These are probably the same people who would attach doughnut or cupcake as well. I am not a believer that there is one thing that makes everything better.
Let me rephrase, I don’t believe that there is one food makes all other foods better, even salt. However, recently my older daughter, Rosemary, who turned 3 yesterday, has grown to a point where she is capable of helping in the kitchen and, on top of being capable, she is very willing. Cooking with her makes everything better. Each morning, we get up and make oatmeal together – oatmeal, dried fruit, cinnamon, and some seeds and nuts. No oatmeal has tasted so good as the oatmeal that we make together. She recently assisted in making her own 3-tiered cake. Continue reading »
Turkey was never something that I would seek out outside of the Thanksgiving holiday, but after getting a Gunthorp bird last year, I have been eating turkey on the regular – specifically leg and thigh – whenever I find local turkey. The difference between the conventional turkey and one raised correctly is remarkable. Deciding if you like turkey based on conventional turkey is like deciding whether you like beer based on Milwaukee’s Best. At its worst, turkey is dry and flavorless, but this is not that.
Stuffing a leg of turkey full of greens and other animal legs was one of those “Ideas While Running”. While my favorite blog, “Ideas in Food” is slicker and far smarter than a hypothetical “Ideas While Running” blog would be, the flow of ideas while deep into a run is fast and free and would be at least interesting insight into the thought process if not a scary look at loss of filter. The filter is completely gone, which could prove to be good or bad, but there are certainly doors being turned into windows when my heart rate elevates for a long period of time. Continue reading »
For the past three Easters, we have switched up the traditional Easter egg fabrication process. From eggs dyed with red cabbage to beet pickled eggs, this year we settled on Rabbit Scotch eggs, but a discovery made while doing R&D for Easter was Cha Ye Dan, or Chinese tea eggs. These delicious snacks are boiled eggs that are then steeped in a brine of soy sauce, black tea, and spices. The egg shells are cracked with the back of a spoon and the dark brine colors the white egg in a spiderweb like pattern. Beautiful and delicious. Continue reading »
Football fan or not, it is likely that if you turned a TV on during the Thanksgiving holiday in the last two decades, you have heard about Turducken. John Madden took a cult culinary dish and turned it in the American folklore. The turducken is a major league ballotine of a stuffed, boned chicken stuffed inside of a boned duck which, in turn, is stuck inside of a boned turkey. Calvin Trillin discusses the historical trevails of the turducken tracing mainstream turducken production to 1985 at Herbert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice, Louisiana from whom you can order a turducken to be shipped. As you can imagine, these beasts are far too big to have as part of a family meal with fewer than a dozen adults unless you are into days and days of leftovers. Continue reading »