Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Rice and Black Beans

vegetarian stuffed poblano peppers

I get very excited when I see poblano peppers for sale at the Oak Park Farmers Market. You may be familiar with poblano peppers from the Mexican restaurant favorite chiles rellenos, in which poblano peppers are stuffed with cheese, battered and then deep-fried. Usually topped with a spicy red sauce, chiles rellenos is a delicious, if guilt-inducing … [Read more...]

How to Make the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (It's the Chocolate, Stupid)

salted chocolate chip cookies

I recently visited The Chopping Block, Chicago"s premier recreational cooking school, to scout the location for the November 10 Chicago Food Swap. Next to the cooking school"s beautiful demonstration kitchens is a small retail shop that sells high-end cookware, hard-to-find ingredients and select cookbooks.  So naturally I picked up a few odds and … [Read more...]

Recap of the Chicago Food Swap at Peterson Garden Project

chicago food swap sponsor

The rain couldn"t keep the swappers down! Despite a steady downpour, which left most swappers packed inside like sardines and a few swappers huddling under leaky tents outside, the September swap at Peterson Garden Project was a rousing success. A chaotic, damp and loud success, but a success nonetheless. Two of the reasons for the success of the … [Read more...]

What To Do with Fresh Figs

black mission figs

Have you noticed fresh figs for sale at your grocery store lately? While dried figs are available all year long, fresh figs are truly a seasonal delight -- available only for a few months in the late summer and fall. While these beauties are here, I have been snapping them up and adding them to salads, flatbreads and cheese plates. I even tried my … [Read more...]

Plum Market Chicago Review

plum market

"I heard you carry Zingerman's here," said the tall young man to the woman behind the counter. "Yes," she replied, "We have their Bakehouse breads and  pastries brought in every day." I smiled knowingly. "Big Zingerman's fan?" I asked the young man. "I went to school at Michigan," he said as if no other explanation were necessary. "Me too," I said. … [Read more...]

Summer Grilling with Red Gold Tomatoes

how to make a turkey burger

Today's post is sponsored by Red Gold Tomatoes. Join Red Gold for a Summer Grillin' Party on Facebook through August 30th for a chance to win a Big Green Egg grill! Because I love canning, people often ask me if I can my own tomatoes. The answer is that I do not. Canning tomatoes makes sense if you grow your own tomatoes and end up with more … [Read more...]

Merguez with Yogurt Harissa Sauce

how to cook merguez

I have been cooking so much Middle Eastern food lately because of my obsession with the cookbook Jerusalem -- a obsession that half of American seems to share, by the way, according to this piece in the New York Times. But long before I knew my way around baharat and tabbouleh, I was a big fan of North African cuisine - a region that is just down … [Read more...]

Easiest Ever Fruit Crisp


Think you don't have time to make a delicious, old-fashioned dessert for your family tonight? Well, I think that you do. Forget about making an elaborate dough that needs to be chilled and rolled out. Forget about softening butter and getting out your stand mixer. The easiest dessert to make, by far, is a crisp: sliced, sweetened fruit dumped into … [Read more...]

Get Your Family’s Day Off to a Great Start with Quaker Oats

Quaker logo

The following is a sponsored post on behalf of Quaker and its line of healthy, delicious breakfast foods that provide fuel for active families. Are your kids keeping active this summer? Mine certainly are. JR was in a full-day camp -- his first! -- that included every sport imaginable from martial arts to volleyball. Zuzu spent two weeks at … [Read more...]

Desserts in Jars Garden Event Giveaway

Image courtesy of "Desserts in Jars"

It is surely no surprise to any of my readers that I love jars. Anyone who cans as much as I do naturally builds up quite a collection of glass jars in different shapes and sizes. I love to scour thrifts stores for inexpensive vintage jars which come in handy for food storage and for making my Chicago Food Swap items look extra cute. Everywhere I … [Read more...]

Strawberry-Mint Lemonade

strawberry lemonade

Zuzu heads off for two weeks of overnight camp tomorrow. This is her second year going and she is so excited to see her camp friends again and participate in all the fun, outdoor activities. But she is also a little sad about leaving her friends back at home. Not sad about leaving us, mind you! Sad about leaving her friends. One thing I have … [Read more...]

What I’m Making for the June Chicago Food Swap

lemon fennel salt

The Chicago Food Swap is having its next event on Sunday and it is going to be a doozy. I was able to find an amazing host, Gallery 1028, that has enough space to accommodate as many swappers as we could hope to have. For the first time, I did not have to cap attendance at 30 or 40 or 50 people because of space constraints. As a result, with less … [Read more...]

Preserved Lemons for Tasting Jerusalem

preserved lemons recipe

It's June and that means it is time for a new Tasting Jerusalem challenge! Created by two food writers, Beth from the blog OMG! Yummy and Sarene Wallace from 805 Living magazine, Tasting Jerusalem is a community dedicated to exploring the cuisine of the Middle East using the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi as a guide. Each … [Read more...]

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus

orzo salad

My mom returned from Paris a few weeks ago and reported that all the markets, and all the restaurant menus, were full of asparagus.  The French get so excited about asparagus season because they don't expect to see asparagus all year round. In France, you get asparagus in the spring and once they're gone, they're gone until next year. Au … [Read more...]

Lessons from Eat, Write, Retreat

eat write retreat

I spent last weekend in Philadelphia attending the Eat, Write, Retreat conference for food bloggers. Although I have attended several blogger conferences in the past few years, Eat, Write, Retreat was my first food-focused conference and I loved every minute of it. The conference was small and intimate; everyone attended the same sessions and … [Read more...]

Healthy Snacking: Banana Yogurt Muffins


Yesterday I was working on an article about healthy snacks for the back-to-school issue of a local parenting publication. It's odd to be writing about back-to-school when my kids still have two more weeks to go in this school year, but that is how editorial calendars work. The article was a natural fit for me: I am committed to finding healthy, … [Read more...]

Classic Strawberry Shortcake


  This past weekend was Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. It was a busier-than-usual weekend at my house. Saturday, my husband took our daughter to a NHL playoff game, which the Blackhawks won thankfully. My husband and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary on Sunday with a dinner out -- a review of that meal coming … [Read more...]

Chocolate Spice Cookies for Tasting Jerusalem

spice cookies

As some of you may remember, I am participating in a virtual cooking community called Tasting Jerusalem. Created by two food writers, Beth from the blog OMG! Yummy and Sarene Wallace from 805 Living magazine, Tasting Jerusalem is a community dedicated to exploring the cuisine of the Middle East using the cookbook Jerusalem as a guide. Each month, … [Read more...]

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Peppers

Middle Eastern-inspired stuffed peppers with lamb, rice and dried fruit.

I suppose there is no need to mention (again) that my husband is not as adventurous an eater as I am. As a result of to his aversion to seafood and his avoidance of pork, I have a fairly limited universe of meats to cook with at home. Chicken and turkey are fine; I can even get away with the very occasional duck dish. Beef works of course, but … [Read more...]

Causa Rellena for the Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge

Perfectly smooth potato from the OXO Adjustable Potato Ricer.

Later this month, I am going to Philadelphia to attend a conference for food bloggers entitled Eat, Write Retreat. I am looking forward to an intense weekend of speakers, demonstrations, great meals and making connections with others in my field. I know that I will learn invaluable techniques to improve my writing, my recipes and my … [Read more...]

Smoked Mozzarella Bread Pudding for Mother’s Day Brunch

A savory bread pudding makes a fabulous brunch dish or vegetarian dinner.

When everyone else is going out to eat is my favorite time to stay home. Who needs the crowds, the stressed-out waitstaff or the "special" menu, where special is just a euphemism for "overpriced?" That's why you won't see me eating out for Valentine's Day dinner or for Mother's Day Brunch. I'd rather try that nice restaurant just about any other … [Read more...]

Glazed Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

These glazed cinnamon oatmeal cookies will please kid and adult palates.

Back in March when I attended the Good Food Festival, I met some folks from Hazzard Free Farm, a Certified Naturally Grown farm near Rockford, Illinois. Hazzard Free Farm grows heirloom grains, like blue and red cornmeal, barley, wheat and oats, and sells them to many of Chicago's best restaurants. Recently, with help from a grant from Rick … [Read more...]

Michael Pollan at Elmhurst College


This past weekend I attended a lecture by best-selling author Michael Pollan at nearby Elmhurst College. Pollan, a science journalist, is best known for his writing about food and agriculture, including the books The Omnivore's Dilemma, which is about how our food is raised, and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, which is about nutrition. … [Read more...]

Eating our Curds and Whey

Homemade ricotta from the new cookbook Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo.

Many of my food and mom blogger friends are raving about the new cookbook Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo. Perillo is a professional food writer based in Brooklyn, author of the popular food blog In Jennie's Kitchen, and mom to two daughters. I don't know Jennie personally, and sadly, I missed my chance to meet her when she was in town … [Read more...]

All About Jars

This kind of jar is generally not recommended for canning but is attractive for storage.

After my last post about the many reasons why home food preservation is a worthwhile undertaking, a reader -- who is not a canner but is a food swapper -- asked me where to find glass canning jars. This is by no means the first time I have heard that question. Often, before I teach a private canning lesson, the student and I discuss supplies over … [Read more...]