How to Buy the Right Cut of Meat – Part 2

breaking down a side of beef

This is the continuation of a . 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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 in ...

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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 ...

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Cheddar Jalapeño Corn Pudding

cabot farmhouse legacy

My family cannot get enough sweet corn during the summer months. Once the sweet corn appears at the farmers market in late July, you can put me down for a dozen ears a week. Why buy fewer than twelve ears when corn is so inexpensive? I cook all dozen ears at the same time. Once the water is boiling, or the grill is hot, it is no extra work to cook ...

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How to Bake with Yeast

tips for baking with yeast

Once, a dozen years ago, when I was a young bride living in a hip Chicago neighborhood -- I wasn't always west of the Loop, you know -- I tried to make challah from scratch for Shabbat dinner. The dough never rose and, when baked, my loaf was so dense that I could have hit my husband over the head with it and knocked him out cold. Scarred by ...

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Farmers Market Find: Red Currants

what to do with red currants

Perhaps you have noticed red currants, glossy and ruby-red, at the farmers market lately. If so, consider yourself lucky. It can be hard to find these members of the Ribes family. Even if you noticed them, I bet you did not buy them. They were expensive, right? And you weren't sure what to do with them. Red currants are shockingly expensive, but I ...

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How to Host a Bagel Brunch

what to serve at brunch

This past weekend, I hosted a baby shower for a friend who, like me, is an East Coast transplant to Chicago. Because my friend and her husband are both from New York, we decided to make New York the theme of the shower. The menu? A classic bagel brunch, of course! A bagel brunch is a relaxed and easy party to throw because you purchase most of ...

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July Chicago Food Swap Recap

chicago food swap

The Chicago Food Swap returned to Wicker Park, and the funky confines of co-working loft Free Range Office, for its July swap. It was a small but lively gathering peopled mostly by returning swappers with a few new faces scattered here and there. Located on the second floor of a converted glove factory, Free Range Office is filled with light and ...

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Farmers Market Find: Fava Beans

how to use fresh fava beans

Some foods really make you work for it. Fava beans definitely fall into that category. Any food that you have to shell not once but twice very much runs the risk of being not worth the effort. Luckily, favas -- which the British call broad beans -- have a distinctive, nutty flavor and a buttery texture that endear them to sophisticated eaters ...

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Farmers Market Find: Gooseberries

gooseberry recipes

I freely admit that I am a sucker for the most unusual item at the market or on a menu. Sometimes my instinct to try that new-to-me food can backfire, such as the bitter and grassy corn shoots in my salad at the Zingerman's Roadhouse. (Some things are just not for eating, folks.) But nevertheless, I press on. So it was that I passed by all the ...

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Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic-Lime Reduction

best grilled vegetables

It's the lazy days of summer and I am feeling lazy too. I barely want to lift a finger, let alone make dinner. Luckily, it is also grilling season. That means that I can enlist my husband to make dinner. Thank heavens. Here is what we ate for dinner the past two nights. Saturday: grilled chicken sausage, grilled vegetables and tabbouleh. ...

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Picnic Fare: Garlic & Herb Roast Beef Sandwiches and No-Mayo Potato Salad

what to pack for a picnic

JR is on the swim team this summer. That means that, in addition to daily practice after camp, he has weekly meets that start around 5 pm and end, well, end several hours later if we're lucky. Zuzu does the swim team during the school year. Those meets start at 6 am and end, well, end several hours later -- if we're lucky. Our mistake, plainly, was ...

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June Chicago Food Swap Recap

food swaps

For a foodie event, there is hardly a more prestigious location than Sur La Table, the beloved kitchenwares emporium. So when Ali Banks, the resident chef at Chicago's swanky Sur La Table store on Michigan Avenue, reached out to me about hosting a food swap in her kitchen, I was falling over myself to say yes. While Michigan Avenue is inevitably ...

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Strawberry Balsamic Basil Ice Cream

strawberry basil ice cream

It's high strawberry season in the Midwest. Farmers market tables display row upon row of ruby-red berries capped with jolly green stems. At my house, we've already indulged in strawberry shortcake, strawberry rhubarb pie and I've put up nine jars of a strawberry-rhubarb- jalapeño jam. While I am certain that my husband would not have objected to ...

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Culinary Tour of Devon Avenue

chicago culinary tours

Does your city have ethnic neighborhoods filled with markets, shops and restaurants where recent and not-so-recent immigrants can recreate a little of their homeland here in the United States? Most cities do. All over America there are Chinatowns, Koreatowns, Greektowns, Little Saigons, Little Odessas and Little Italies. Some of these neighborhoods ...

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Mariano’s Makes Summertime Living Easier

summer pasta salads

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. #MyMarianos #Collective Bias Summertime and the living is easy. Nowhere is that more true than Chicago. Winter is brutal and spring inevitably a wet, cold disappointment, but summer in Chicago is glorious. The days are warm and sunny; every weekend boasts a different ...

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Summer Cooking: Spicy Caprese Pasta

summer pasta dishes

I'm hot. You're hot. She's hot. We're hot! Sounds like a bad wedding band, right? As fond as I am of party hits from the 80's, today I am actually just talking about the weather. It went from cold and rainy to sweltering and humid overnight in Chicago. Yesterday was the first day of the year where I had absolutely no interest in eating hot food. ...

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Elegant First Course: Cold Pea Soup with Mint

pea soup recipe

The appearance of shelling peas at the Oak Park Farmers Market on Saturday meant that I could make one of my all-time favorite recipes this weekend. A recipe that is only in play for a few weeks each year: cold pea soup with mint. Luckily, this recipe is also a favorite with my soup-loving husband, so when I put it on the menu for Father's Day, he ...

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Sautéed Turnip Greens with Green Garlic

how to use hakurei turnips

There is a saying in cooking, or maybe gardening, along the lines of: what grows together, goes together. As spring turns into summer, and farmers markets all over the country begin to overflow with fresh, local fruits and vegetables, it can be helpful to keep that axiom in mind. If you are not sure how to use your farmers market, or garden, ...

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Macy’s Picks America’s Grilling Guru

grilling guru contest

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Culinary Council. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.  Are you a Grilling Guru? I definitely am not. While I reign supreme in the kitchen, my husband is the Grill Master in our house.  And he does ...

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