As much as I loathe to admit it, I am a creature of habit. Over the past 18 months, a big part of my weekend routine is working a dough throughout Saturday then waking up removing the loaf from the fridge where the loaf finished the second rise, then going for a run and finally returning to bake the bread. The inspiration for most of the loaves and all of the technique have been Chad Robertson’s Tartine books. His first bread book, and even more specifically the first chapter of that book, providing weeks of tinkering – trying to figure out what worked for me. Continue reading
Cascara combines two of my favorite things – coffee and turning the parts of things which are usually tossed in the compost into something delicious. These tossable parts described are the dried coffee cherries which are a result of the process of turning harvested coffee beans into those beans that end up in your cabinet. You can steep them in hot water as a tea. Continue reading
After being disappointed by several new highly regarded, cheffy cookbooks over the winter, I decided to pull in the reins a little and look to some of the classic teaching cookbooks – I mean, I could not stop buying them altogether. In an earlier post, I referenced the Good Cook series as great resources, so I picked up a rare UK only edition on Game. Searching for old cookbooks reads a bit as I was record collecting and it is not entirely far off. There is a collection aspect to it. There is the thrill of the hunt, like record collecting. And like collecting classic records, the content is, in many cases, timeless when you hit on some great books. When I was searching for the Good Cook “Game” book, the Foods of the World series kept coming up in searches. Like the Good Cook series, it is a Time-Life series, but from earlier on - the late 1960s/early 1970s. When I looked into the books, it seemed the be encyclopaedic – 54 volumes with narrative and recipes. I found a used complete set online for a few bucks per book and picked it up in short order. Continue reading
Raindrops on roses. Bright copper kettles and warm, woolen mittens. Coffee and cured meats. These are a few of my favorite things. It is already February, but in November I was in a particularly Julie Andrewsish mood, so I decided it was time to combine coffee and cured meats.
One of my favorite cookbooks of all time is Tartine Bread. The book mixes an obsessively deep dive on a singular subject with exhaustive instructions which, if followed, will result in ridiculously good bread. With my starter, made for testing the book, over a year old, I was really happy to get Tartine Book 3.0 in December. Continue reading
Over the lifecycle of this blog, I have moved from cooking as well as tasting others cooking and reporting back to, more or less, only cooking. I have not stopped eating and appreciating. My cooking is hobby home cooking. Writing about what I am cooking is fun. While visiting restaurants is something I love to do, the cooking happening in most of these restaurants inspires what I try to cook at home and I do not feel like I have the chops to “review” it. I know whether I like it, but that has no bearing on whether it was good.
There was plenty to like in 2013. Continue reading
Recently, I had the great pleasure of dining at an event where Rene Redzepi, the famed chef of Noma in Copenhagen, not only made the rounds singing books (he is an exceptionally nice man and a proud father), but helped with dinner. The dinner was delicious with more than a few memorable dishes, but the one which sticks out the most, oddly, was a simple roll with homemade butter. Something about a warm, yeasted roll slathered with delicious, salty butter raised that simple small plate above some of the more complicated dishes. Continue reading
After making achaar-style green tomato pickles, I still had three pounds of green tomatoes that needed to be used and quickly. Sticking with the pickling theme, I thought kraut would be a good experiment. The flavor of these green pickles was really tart, so I thought adding Granny Smith apples, with similar tartness, but with additional sweetness. 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
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