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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Scenes from the Farmers Market

shopping the farmers market

At least once every year, I like to bring my camera with me on one of my early Saturday morning trips to the Oak Park Farmers Market to capture the abundance. Mid-July is a heady time at the farmers market. The tables are groaning with fruit from the Michigan orchards. Stone fruits of all kinds, from cherries to apricots to peaches and plum, … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

A Weekend in Ann Arbor

Where to eat in Ann Arbor

It had been just over twenty-four hours since we arrived in Ann Arbor and I simply could not eat or drink another thing. Clearly, I had failed as a professional eater. Bon Appétit has a feature called The Big Fat Weekend where one of the editors spends a weekend eating and drinking his or her way through a city and then writes an article filled … [Read more...]

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. … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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. … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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, … [Read more...]

Father’s Day Dinner: Lighter Chicken Parm

lighter chicken parmesan

Is it a bad sign that when I made my husband's favorite dish for dinner this week, he was terrified? Had I bought something expensive? Was the car totaled? There had to be some bad news. Why else would I make chicken parmigiana on a random weeknight? (The truth is, I was just in the mood for it myself. Also, I bought a handbag.) Yes, my … [Read more...]