October 2014 Chicago Food Swap Recap

chicago food swap

The Chicago Food Swap had its October event this past weekend. It was our second event in our new home, the Peterson Garden Project's Fearless Food Kitchen. As is so often the case, the offerings reflected the best of the season, from the tail end of backyard garden produce to Halloween-themed treats. The October swap was smaller than the … [Read more...]

Door to Door Organics Review and Giveaway


Today's post is sponsored by Door to Door Organics, a new grocery delivery service in Chicago, in my capacity as a Brand Ambassador. As many of you know, I am very busy these days working on the manuscript for my first book. The manuscript is due in March but that is not as far away as you think! Working hard on a fast-approaching cookbook … [Read more...]

Fall at the Farmers Market

winter squash

Although the leaves are changing and the temperature is dropping, it is still farmers market season. The Oak Park Farmers Market where I shop every Saturday has two weeks left before closing for the year. In more temperate climates, the farmers markets may continue through November. Of course, those of you who live in very temperate climates will … [Read more...]

Cooking Demo with Rick Bayless 10/20

mace's culinary council event with rick bay less

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Chicago is a city rich in celebrity chefs, but perhaps none is as well known as Rick Bayless. Restauranteur, author, television star, Rick Bayless has been educating American audiences … [Read more...]

Oktoberfest Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

oktoberfest recipes

For some, October means Oktoberfest, the outdoor festival celebrating Bavarian culture, cuisine, and, of course, beer. Not being a big beer drinker myself -- although I did enjoy a pint of Bell's Amber every now and again in my Ann Arbor days -- thinking about Oktoberfest makes me think about food. I do not know much about Bavarian cuisine, but … [Read more...]

Chive and Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

how to make biscuits

Sometimes what I have made for dinner doesn't feel like it is quite enough. Maybe I made a big pot of delicious soup but something seems to be missing. Maybe we are having an omelet and green salad - one of my favorite desperation dinners -- but I'm still craving carbs. That is when I turn to biscuits. Homemade bread may take hours of preparation, … [Read more...]

Chicken Escabeche & Black Bean Tostadas with La Morena

authentic mexican tostadas

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, La Morena. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias Chicago knows its Latin food. With a large and thriving Mexican population and some of the country's best Mexican restaurants -- need I mention Rick Bayless? -- Chicagoans understand that the … [Read more...]

How to Make Kreplach

how to make kreplach

If you think the matzo ball is the ultimate Jewish soup dumpling, let me quickly disabuse you of that notion. As much as I love a fluffy matzo ball, my heart truly belongs to kreplach, the meat-filled pasta known affectionately as Jewish tortellini and served during the High Holidays. Never heard of kreplach? You are not alone. While matzo ball … [Read more...]

September Chicago Food Swap Recap

Chicago food swap

Sunday marked the return of the Chicago Food Swap after a two-month break. The September swap was the first event in the Chicago Food Swap's new, permanent home, the Fearless Food Kitchen in the Broadway Armory field house. This roomy, light-filled teaching kitchen, operated by the community gardening nonprofit Peterson Garden Project, makes a … [Read more...]

Where to Eat at Pike Place Market

where to eat at pike place market

As I mentioned in my last post, I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference last weekend in Seattle. One of the best things about the conference was, of course, its location. Food lovers flock to Seattle for its abundant local ingredients, its world-renowned chefs and for the sprawling, chaotic Pike Place Market. The Pike Place Market … [Read more...]

How to Buy the Right Cut of Meat – Part 2

breaking down a side of beef

This is the continuation of a post from Monday. While I was at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle last week, I attended an informative session put on by the consumer education organization Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. I am sharing what I learned at that session with you in the hope that you can approach the meat counter with … [Read more...]

How to Buy the Right Cut of Meat – Part 1

how to save money on meat

I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) in Seattle this past weekend. It was a whirlwind of friends, food and great sessions. Later this week, I hope to post some of the pretty pictures I took at the revered Pike Place Market and tell you all about the unique and delicious food I sampled there. (Piroshkies! Crumpets!) But … [Read more...]

Kids Sweet Kitchen Contest from Madhava Natural Sweeteners

madhava natural sweeteners

Today's post is sponsored by Madhava Natural Sweeteners, a legacy natural foods brand. Since beginning as a honey company in 1973, 
Madhava’s efforts have blossomed and they’ve created delicious new products using all-natural sweeteners, including Organic Coffee and Pancake Syrups, Organic Bake Mixes, Organic AgaveFIVE Sweetener and AgaveFIVE Drink … [Read more...]

Carrot Tzimmes for Rosh Hashanah

rosh hashanah recipes

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year holiday begins at sundown on September 24. One of my favorite holidays to cook for, Rosh Hashanah is a joyous occasion and the holiday meals are festive. As I explained in my earlier posts, traditional Rosh Hashanah foods are often sweet - to express our wish for a sweet new year - or round to symbolize the circle … [Read more...]

Round Challah for Rosh Hashanah

braided round challah

As I mentioned earlier this week, the Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashanah, is right around the corner. The holiday, which lasts two days, begins at sundown on September 24. Rosh Hashanah is a festive occasion, as most New Year celebrations tend to be. Many Jews will mark the occasion with a holiday dinner for friends and family. I explained … [Read more...]

Rosh Hashanah Dinner: Chicken with Dried Fruit

what to make for rosh hashanah

As some of you know, I am in the midst of writing my first cookbook. The manuscript of the book, which will be about food swapping, is due in seven months. That sounds like a long time yet I have a lot to do in those seven months: research, writing, and, most important, creating and testing recipes. As a result, I have been posting here less than … [Read more...]

How Truvia is Sharing a Sweet Future

rainforest river

Today's post is sponsored by Truvia, a natural, great-tasting sweetener born from the leaves of the stevia plant, in partnership with the One2One Network. When my family visited Costa Rica last month, we were pleased to learn about the extensive social safety net in that country, which includes free education and health care for all Costa … [Read more...]

What to Do with Fresh Figs

chocolate dipped figs

Dip them in chocolate ganache, of course! Why? What do you do with fresh figs? It is definitely fig season and if you only know figs from the dried kind -- or even worse, Newtons -- you are in for a treat. Fresh figs are sweet, juicy and altogether luscious. Lending themselves to both sweet and savory preparations, fresh figs are the fruit you … [Read more...]

What to Do with Hatch Chiles

hatch green chiles

"Is it salsa time," asked the man in the produce section, gesturing toward my bulging bag of green Hatch chiles. "You know you can freeze them," I replied. "Really?" "Sure. You roast them, peel them and then freeze them in bags. That way you have them all year long." "Huh," said the man thinking this over. "Good to know." That exchange happened … [Read more...]

Costa Rica with Kids

costa rica with kids

My family just returned from an amazing week in Costa Rica. We stayed on the Papagayo Peninsula in the province of Guanacaste, which is located in northwestern corner of the country.  Costa Rica was the tropical paradise we had hoped it would be. The Pacific ocean beaches were stunning with fine sands, blue water and gentle surf. The landscape … [Read more...]

Two Tropical Drink Recipes

passion fruit liqueur

After spending one of the afternoons of our tropical, Costa Rican vacation in a wine-tasting class -- albeit a wine-tasting class in a open lobby overlooking the beach -- you might think we were done with improving ourselves. But no! As soon as my sister-in-law and I heard that our resort also offered a Mixology class, we immediately signed up … [Read more...]

Wine Tasting in Paradise

how to taste wine

My family is on vacation in Costa Rica this week with my mother and my brother and his family. I have traveled to some of the great cities of Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean and I can safely say that Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been. And the Costa Rican people that we have met have been, to a person, … [Read more...]

Coppervine Restaurant Review

scallops at Coppervine Chicago

Milk and cookies. Coffee and doughnuts. Foie gras and Sauternes. Some food and drink pairings are foregone conclusions. But beyond those classic combinations, most of us don't give food and drink pairings much thought. Do you know what wine to drink with tuna tartare? Or what beer to drink with a rare burger? Or what cocktail would pair perfectly … [Read more...]

Can-It-Forward Day August 16

Can It Forward Day

This Saturday August 16, Jarden Home Brands will host the first annual International Can-It-Forward Day with special guest, renowned chef and Bravo’s Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson! I ate at Chef Acheson's Atlanta restaurant Empire State South last year and it was one of the more memorable meals of my adult life. Being a southern guy, Hugh knows all … [Read more...]

Back to School with Door-to-Door Organics (and a Giveaway!)

healthy after school snacks

Today's post is sponsored by Door-to-Door Organics, an online grocer specializing in organic produce and natural groceries delivering throughout the Chicago area.  Today is when I break the seal on talking about back-to-school. Yes, it is time to start thinking about school supplies, packing lunches and, of course, after-school snacks. I … [Read more...]