Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Potato Pancakes at Frances' Deli

Occasionally, after a fly casting practice on the North Pond near Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive, I have walked a couple blocks north on Clark Street to Frances' Deli for a taste of their terrific potato pancakes and cheese blintzes. At home, I have been trying to make potato pancakes as good as the ones at Frances' without success until I discovered this recipe in the Bon Appetite Cookbook:

Potato-Apple Pancakes

"Apple and celery root bring subtle sweetness to these potato pancakes. Since potatoes will discolor soon after they are grated (from exposure to oxygen); onions are added to mix their juices and prevent the discoloration. The key to great potato-pancake texture is squeezing out as much moisture as possible from the grated potatoes. Wrap them in a dish towel and squeeze hard, then do it again. The drier the potatoes, the crispier the potato pancakes. When frying the pancakes, press down a bit; that will help them brown and fry. [Serve these as a side dish, or turn them into an elegant appetizer by topping them with creme fraiche, smoked salmon, and chives.] Makes about 16.

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 /2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled, quartered
1 2-inch cube peeled celery root (celeriac)
1 medium unpeeled Granny Smith apple, quartered, cored
1 large egg
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Vegetable oil (for frying)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place baking sheet in oven. Place colander in large bowl. Line colander with kitchen towel. Using processor fitted with grating disk, coarsely grate potatoes, onion, celery root, and apple together. Transfer potato mixture to towel. Gather towel tightly around potato mixture and squeeze out as much liquid as possible into bowl; discard liquid. Place potato mixture, egg, green onion, marjoram, salt, and pepper in same bowl; toss to combine. Mix in flour.

Pour enough vegetable oil into heavy large skillet to cover bottom, and heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop 1/4 cup pancake mixture into skillet for each pancake. Using bottom of metal spatula, flatten each mound to 3-inch round. Fry until cooked through and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, then transfer pancakes to baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining pancake mixture, leaving behind any liq­uid that collects in bottom of bowl."

My interpretation of Bon Appetite's recipe is pictured above along with some Mott's apple sauce, a dollop of sour cream, and a wedge of fresh Michigan melon wrapped in Prosciutto (Costco's, of course).


the latyoa of the bacon family

i love prosciutto, it's like bacon but so fancy. noone accuses prosciutto of being pedestrian. while carbonara is my favorite, it can be a bit heavy for summer, so i generally replace it with this recipe. it's from some martha stewart magazine but i adjusted/removed some things.

pasta with leeks and prosciutto

-8 oz spaghetti
-4 tbsp butter
-2 med leeks (about a pound), white and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise and cut into 2" strips, cleaned vigorously
-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
-2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (either from the deli or prepackaged) cut into thin strips or further cut into little flat squares of happiness for easier integration into the pasta

when i say cleaned vigorously i mean it, leeks are notoriously sandy. i like to fill my whole sink with cold water, toss the chopped leeks in there, swirl them around, then let the grit settle. then i remove them and let them drain on a paper towel. please buy me a salad spinner.

i like to break the pasta at least in 1/2 before boiling to make mixing all the ingredients easier. while the pasta is cooking, cook the leeks (seasoned with S&P) in 1 tbsp of the butter in a pan large enough to mix all the ingredients. when the pasta is done, drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the water. add pasta, lemon juice, and prosciutto to the leeks with the remaining 3 tbsp of butter, mixing well and seasoning with S&P. slowly add the hot pasta water back until a thin sauce coats the pasta. you won't need all the water.

this doesn't reheat well, the leeks get all boiled cabbage-y. also, if you heat the pasta too long when the prosciutto is in there it will turn into cooked ham. this doesn't taste bad or anything, but if you really want that prosciutto taste you may want to add it after you've set the sauce until you get your timing/heat level all figured out.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to the Basics- Stadium Grub

My brother Chaz's favorite stadium snack:
Nachos with Jalapenos from Soilder Field Saturday night.

Spotlight: Thomas Keller

Countdown for my trip to Napa continues! Here is an interview with Thomas Keller from He is the man behind Per Se, French Laundry, and Bouchon and talks about the joy of cooking. French Laundry is considered to some to be the best restaurant in the country. Just check out their long list of prestigious awards. It also happens to be in Yountville,CA, just a short drive from my mom's house.


Recipe of the Week: Chilled Asparagus Soup with timble of caviar, crab and avocado

I know what you are all thinking: Caviar? Waaaay outta my budget. Don't worry. This soup is great without it. The two times I have made this, it was a big hit and great dish to kick-off a dinner party.

Chilled asparagus soup with timbale of caviar, crab and avocado
Bon Appétit September 2000

A star starter from Hubert Keller at Fleur de Lys in San Francisco. A good mold for the timbale is a six-ounce tomato-paste can that has the top and bottom removed.

Servings: Makes 6 servings.

3 tablespoons butter
2 small leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thickly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed, spears coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
3 cups chopped spinach leaves (about 31/2 ounces)
6 tablespoons flaked fresh crabmeat
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
3/4 cup diced peeled pitted avocado
6 teaspoons good-quality black caviar (such as osetra)

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until asparagus is tender, about 8 minutes. Add spinach, cover and simmer until wilted, about 4 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Transfer soup to large bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool, then cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Mix crabmeat, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and shallot in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix avocado and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice in another small bowl; mash coarsely. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place tomato can or biscuit cutter in center of 1 soup bowl. Spoon in 1 tablespoon avocado mixture; smooth top. Spoon in 1 tablespoon crab mixture; press lightly to compact. Spoon in 1 tablespoon avocado mixture. Top with 1 teaspoon caviar. Carefully lift off can. Repeat in remaining soup bowls with remaining timbale ingredients. Ladle soup around each timbale. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Champagne Brunches

Ahh, champagne brunches. I miss these. When I lived in New York, sunny days were spent brunching at Cafe Felix, Balthazar, Country Cafe, Pastis and others with good friends. Saturday morning, I woke up and decided to recreate this New York tradition in my Chicago kitchen.

I made a variation of Eggs Benedict. I added tomato, spinach and artichoke hearts to an English muffin with Canadian bacon and poached egg. Each bite was washed down with a sip of Veuve.

My mother gave me Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 and 2 for Christmas two years ago. Her Hollandaise recipe is full-proof and so easy "an 8 year old" can make it.

Hollandaise Sauce
3 egg yolks
2 tb lemon juice
4 oz butter
Salt and pepper

Step 1: Put in the electric blender the egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Step 2: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Blend it manually and VERY slowly
Step 3: Add the hot butter to the hollandaise sauce in the blender. Blend at full speed until the sauce get thick.
Step 4: Serve immediately.
Bon appetit!


Saturday, August 25, 2007


Hi Everyone! This is my first time posting on this blog, or any blog for that matter, but I am excited to join in on this sharing of gastronomical info.

Last night, Eric and I dined at Pescheria - a lively and warm restaurant in the cute Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Although right when we walked in, Eric said "It smells like a port-a-poddy in here," we quickly adjusted to the aroma (I think it was just a bit seafoody, not as bad as a port-a-let though) and had a lovely dinner. The menu focused on seafood prepared in Californian/Italian style. We started with a heirloom tomato and burrata salad and then had bocconcini di tonno al limone - little cubes of lemon marinated ahi tuna and yellow and red Chioggo beets. Both our starters were excellent - although the burrata was not homemade, it had a nicely creamy consistency and you can't go wrong with tomatoes this time of year. The tuna and beets were a unique combination but paired well together and some toasted pinenuts added a subtly nutty flavor. For our main course, we had scallops with roasted corn risotto and a lemon vinaigrette. I'm a sucker for risotto and this did not disappoint; additionally, the scallops were huge and perfectly cooked - quite a treat since we love, but rarely cook, scallops for ourselves. We also had a side of fagiolini - skinny greens beans that must have been sauteed in beef broth or something because they were flavorful and delish. We had a few glasses of Barbera with dinner and were very satisfied at the end of the night.

For those who live in SF and want to venture out to Noe Valley for an evening, I'd recommend this neighborhood spot. This restaurant is not to be confused with Pesce in Russian Hill; although both restaurants are similar, I think the quality and consistency of the food is better at Pescheria.

Here's the website - the outside of the restaurant is a bit misleading - it looks much cuter at night:

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Chopping Block Cooking School's got the idea.

Everybody Loves Bacon Dinner Party
Wednesday 08-22-2007, 7PM - 9:30PM
Instructor: Carolyn Maniaci
Cost: $50.00
Seats available: 8
The name says it all, we'll teach you a menu with bacon in every bite! Bacon and Cheese Fondue; Spinach Salad with Soy Ginger Vinaigrette and Bacon Tempura; Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Bacon Sweet Potato Gratin; Bacon and Strawberry Cobbler. 2 week cancellation policy.

Everything Tastes Better with Bacon- The Cookbook!

I thought I liked bacon...Sara Perry takes the cake!

Everything Tastes Better with Bacon: 70 Fabulous Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

Football and Tailgating: Two Old Friends

I'm pumped. I'm beyond pumped. My brother, Chaz, scored incredible seats for the Bears vs. 49ers game this Saturday night and, being the sweet older brother that he is, he invited me. Naturally, this made me think of tailgating.

Tailgating and football go hand-in-hand. No one will argue with you on that one. My tailgating experience has mostly been at Indy 500 and at A-Basin Moutain after long ski days. But we keep it simple. Just some burgers and brats. Nothing crazy. So, I did a little research this morning to find a recipe that I thought may be worth trying out at your next tailgater. This is what I found:

southwestern-style baby back ribs
The Tailgating Cookbook 2005

By Bob Sloan

I once considered making more authentic smoked ribs for a tailgate party and, in the planning, realized that not only would I need to be at the parking lot hours before everyone else, but my grill was not large enough to smoke enough ribs for everyone in my party. And to try to pass off just "a taste" of barbecued ribs is like trying to arm-tackle Priest Holmes. So it was a choice between shelling out for another grill or devising another method of cooking the ribs. Baking them first in a slow oven produced moist, flavorful meat I then had only to finish on the grill.

Makes 4 servings.

1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 racks baby back ribs, about 5 pounds
3 cups barbecue sauce

At home

In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, garlic, onion powder, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the ribs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Unwrap the ribs and place them on a baking sheet. Cover completely with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the foil and let the ribs cool. Refrigerate them, wrapped in plastic, until you are ready to pack, up to 24 hours.

Just before leaving, cut the racks into individual ribs and place them in a large, sealable plastic container. Add 1 cup of the barbecue sauce and stir so all the ribs are coated.

At the tailgate
Prepare coals for a medium fire. When the coals are hot, grill the ribs for 10 minutes, until they are lightly charred and heated through, turning them several times and applying several more moppings of sauce.

Serve the ribs hot, accompanied by more sauce.

carbonara for missy

4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 small diced onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or really really smashed and diced tiny
12 oz (3/4 of a 1lb package) spaghetti
4 tbsp fresh grated parmesan
8 strips of thickly cut bacon, cut into thin strips or diced

-beat eggs, add parm and heavy cream, season with salt and copious amounts of black pepper, set aside. this needs to be room temp when you add it to the pasta.
-cook bacon until nearly done in a skillet (large enough to add all the ingredients and mix vigorously at the end).
-heat water to boiling while bacon is cooking.
-add onion to skillet, begin to boil spaghetti. the spaghetti should finish cooking as the onion finishes cooking, so adjust your heat accordingly.
-add garlic to the bacon mixture a minute before completion.
-turn off heat under bacon mixture, drain spaghetti.
-add spaghetti to pan, mixing well with bacon mixture.
-add the egg mixture, yes it is raw. the heat from the pasta and pan will cook the egg. mix vigorously so the egg doesn't scramble, you will be left with a lovely sauce coating the pasta. serve warm.

this pasta reheats well as there is no roux to break during reheating.

let me take this opportunity to discourage people from ordering carbonara at restaurants that don't mention egg in the menu description. a lot of places like to serve fettuccine alfredo with bacon or pancetta and call it carbonara. this is a load of hooey. i assume they're concerned about accidentally serving raw egg, but i wish they would just leave it off if they're not going to make it right. technically even adding that 1/2 cup of cream is a no-no, but if you've never made it before the cream gives a little room for error at the end. anyway i've gone to plenty of places that even put peas in their "carbonara," which, c'mon folks, is fettuccine with ham and peas. which is a delicious dish in it's own right so they should stop making it feel inferior by calling it carbonara.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spotlight: Chez Panisse

I am getting very excited about my trip home next week to California, so I decided to post this clip featuring a cooking demonstration from the kitchen of the one and only Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. Long live Alice Waters! *Clip from


P.J. Clarkes - Need I say more??

A true NYC staple feauturing all the essentials to a local, quality NYC establishmet: a loud crowded bar, the musky smell of business men, old beer, and greasy food, and people bumping into you in every which way. Can't hear much, can't move much, can't get out of the way of the waiters & waitresses- perfect.

After trying for 30 min's at peak time to get 2 stools at the bar, we decided to have a more civilized meal at a table. Our waitress was rude, but in the charming sort of way. I drank cheap red wine, and my guest drank a more appropriate drink (bass & guinnes - a dark & stormy?). Both drinks were shoved at us & we quickly were required to order. 2 burges, one massive mound of shoestring onion rings.

The burgers were perfect - greasy in that bar sort of way, but made with quality ingredients that made them juicy & flavorful. The onion rings were piled high, and left substantial traces of grease on everything. One Key Lime Pie to split.

It was amazing, as always.


4 poblano peppers
4 oz cream cheese
1 oz chihuahua cheese
thick cut bacon

-cut a 1/3 or 1/2 of the pepper away and discard. how much you cut away depends on the shape of the pepper, you want a little boat to put the cheese in. the cheese will steer the boat into the bacon and directly into your mouth. cheese is good like that.
-remove seeds and ribs if you are married to dash or live with jamie as they are wusses.
-mix cheeses, put 1/4 of mixture in each shell. i salt this as chihuahua isn't inherently salty but that's up to you. i am inherently salty.
-wrap with bacon, securing with toothpicks.
-broil until done, this took like 2 glasses of wine, i think. ask missy. try not to burn yourself or create a bacon grease skating rink in the kitchen. let them cool down a lot. they're actually good at room temp because the cheese won't get all blocky and congealy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Liz, this is for you

I just remade the mexican dinner we made for you and Drew, and this time we didn't overcook the flank steak, and i can't lie, my friend erin made KILLER stuffed poblanos wrapped in my favorite... BACON!! Promise, next time you come over we'll have it perfected. Miss you guys! Hope Clark's wedding was amazing. (Actually, to all Shaws!)

Loyal Sandwich Lover

I love sandwiches. I mean looooove sandwiches. Last night, I discovered a gem. A sandwich that is down-right cravable and a new fixture on my regular menu items.

I've really made my rounds this week to my restaurant staples and Shaw's Crab House is certainly one of them. This restaurant is special to me for many reasons but last night it was all about the sandwich. The bartender, Carlos, suggested that I try the imperial crab sandwich. Our conversation went a little something like this:

"What's on it?"
"Jumbo lump crab meat..."
"I like mayonnaise"
"Now we are talking"
"...on texas toast"

The name "imperial crab sandwich" does this thing no justice. I told the manager, Steve, to rename it as melt, which would imply cheese, which we all know that cheese is good. By now, you are picturing this crab meat mixed with mayo and celery, lemon juice and stone mustard stuffed in a toasted texas toast bun with melted cheese. You want it, don't you? Told you it was cravable.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The best meal I have ever had....

Was the imaginary meal my little girl made me last night in her play kitchen. It consisted of delicious plastic vegetables, cheeses and an invisible pie. She of course adorned her red and blue check apron while she slaved tirelessly over her "hot" fake stove. Still digesting. I did accompany this delicious meal with a non-imaginary beer though!!!!

Bistro Dine Like a Pro

When I think of a professional eating, I think of the Japanese man that can eat over 60 hot dogs in about 12 minutes. However, last night's dinner with my cousin, Kelsey, made me consider applying this title outside the realms of hot dogs and pies.

I like to think that everyone has two or three restaurants that they hold near and dear to their hearts. These restaurants are probably consistent in food and service. They probably know you. You probably go there for special occasions. You may even live across the street. Regardless, they are your go-to spot. One of my go-tos in Chicago is the French bistro Mon Ami Gabi.

I've been to Mon Ami Gabi more times than I can remember but something about my dinner last night made me feel like I bistro dined like a professional. Kelsey and I opted to sit at the bar instead of the leather banquettes that look over the patio and Lincoln Park. We had a wonderful bartender that took attentive (but not too attentive) care of us and sat next to two ladies that were easily recognizable as regulars. They knew every one's name and ordered all the specials.

Kelsey and I kicked off our meal with an order of a half dozen oysters and a glass of sancerre wine. The oysters were served with cocktail sauce with horseradish and clarified butter. Next, I ordered the frisee salad with a poached egg and bacon (the lady next to me ordered an extra poached egg on hers). Kelsey ordered the Salad Mason with a goat cheese and olive crouton and herb vinaigrette. We had wonderful conversation, all the time in the world and took our time between courses.

For round three, Kelsey ordered the gazpacho soup with avocado and crab and I ordered the traditional onion soup au gratin. Kelsey finished her gazpacho soup in under 3 minutes. No joke. She said it was the best gazpacho she had ever tasted. As for me, I don't think you can ever go wrong ordering anything with melted cheese on it, especially if it is gruyere.

2 and a 1/2 hours later, Kelsey and I were pleasantly full. The manager gave us a taste of a special house dessert and then we said our goodbyes to our bartender and the two ladies next to us.

I think that memorable dinners are a combination of company, food, service and ambiance. Last night's dinner was no exception. We ordered like pros. Conversed like sisters. And made plans to do it all over again.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Scrambled Eggs by Michel Roux

With my mild diet these days, some of my favorite meals have included eggs (From Costco of Course). My guide has been Eggs by Michel Roux (John Wiley & Sons), the Chef at Waterside Inn near Windsor, England. He has earned three Michelin Stars for the past 23 years. The book has lots of egg recipes (With pictures thank goodness) including those that depend on eggs such as pastas, desserts, and pastries. His scrambled eggs recipe is very tasty. Chef Roux states that chefs judge each other on their scrambled eggs. The only problem with making them this way is that you can never go back to Denny's.

"Allow two medium eggs per person for an appetizer or light snack, or three eggs per person for a main course.

Melt 3 tbsp butter in shallow, heavy pan set on a heat diffuser over low heat, or in a bain-marie. Break 4-6 eggs into a bowl and beat very lightly with a fork. Tip into the pan with the hot melted butter and stir.

Cook over low heat, stirring gently more or less constantly with a wooden spoon.

It will take 3 to 4 minutes for the eggs to become just set, but very creamy. (If you use a bain-marie, allow about 6 minutes.) If you prefer firmer dryer eggs, cook for another two minutes.

When the eggs are scrambled to your liking, add 2 tbsp light or heavy cream or a little bit of butter, and season with salt and pepper. Scrambled eggs are best served immediately. "

Note: My breakfast this morning after returning from Clark's wedding.



This weekend I hosted brunch for my book club and whipped up three quick recipes that were super easy and really, really tasty. I'd have taken pictures but my camera is dead and it was like, a monsoon here anyway, so it would have looked all grey and bleary and decidedly un-brunchy, so I'll just tell you about them instead and you can just imagine them. :)

First I made a recipe that I found in the Sun-Times actually for a knock off of those ridiculously delicious Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits, and they turned out perfect!! They're probably Red Lobster's only redeeming quality, and now I can make them at home so I'll never have to set foot in one again. They're really quick and easy, too. Take 2 1/2 cups of Bisquick, mix 4 Tablespoons of cold butter in it up with a fork until the butter's kinda pea-sized. Then mix in 1 and 3/4 cups whole milk, one heaping cup of grated cheddar, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. I just used my hands cause the Bisquick gets all sticky and it's pointless to try to use a fork. Don't over mix them. Then put golf-ball sized dollops on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. When they come out, melt 2 Tablespoons butter with 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and some parsley, and brush it on top of the biscuits. I made 10 of them, and the five of us ate all of them, they were so good.

Next, I made a sweet potato hash. The only downside to this was that the chopping took forever, but so it goes. It was also supposed to have twice as much bacon in it as it did, but since unattended bacon always disappears, Jamie ate half the bacon before I finished cooking the potatoes. Anyhoo. Cook up about 10 strips of bacon and set aside. Cook 1 diced red onion,
1 diced red bell pepper and 1 diced green bell pepper with a couple of cloves minced garlic in the bacon fat (you only need about half of it, so pour it off before you put the veggies in. Come to think of it, I poured it into a coke can so it didn't screw up my sink and then I set the can outside on the porch cause it was making all sorts of crazy noises and i kinda thought it was going to explode, and I just realized it's still sitting out there. I'll have to dispose of that when I get home. Oops!). I digress. When veggies are a little wilty, add 4 large, peeled and diced white potatoes, and 2 large peeeled and diced sweet potatoes. I imagine you could mix up that ratio however you like, but this worked out pretty well for me. Now cook, cook, cook till the potatoes are browned and mushy and everything is soft, hashy goodness. Mine took about 30 minutes or so in a big wok-like saute pan, stirring occasionally throughout so nothing burned. Salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

And for the requisite egg portion of the brunch I made baked eggs in their own little edible cups, an idea I got from 101 cookbooks. I made mine with a goat cheese, parsley and rosemary base, but you could get all sorts of creative with the filling. So what you do is quarter a pita pocket (i used whole wheat) and open it up and shove it into a small ramekin. It's okay if it breaks, you're just making a little cup to put the rest of the stuff in. Mix up goat cheese and herbs, put into the pita, then crack an egg or two over it all, salt and pepper, slide it into the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes, top with some creme fraiche, and voila! Tasty baked eggs. Almost no work at all.

And of course, top it all off with several mimosas. :)

They taste as good as they look!

I would like to personally say that Elizabeth's last recipe makes the best damn cookies known to mankind.

Recipe of the Week: Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

I am a peanut butter lover. I eat it plain, on ice cream, on apples, on chocolate, on sandwiches, on... just about anything. That is why the recipe of the week is for my favorite cookie, Peanut Butter Kiss.

No one has made this recipe more than my aunt, Kristi Brown, and her kids. They have a plate of these at their house at all times.

1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 egg
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine ingredients. Roll into balls, roll balls in sugar. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Top with chocolate Kiss immediately upon removal from oven.


Still talking about sliders

Last night, I made the slider's recipe that I posted last week from The Little Owl. The meat didn't taste as good as I thought it would and I am wondering if it is because of the actual meat that I purchased (pre-packaged from a large grocery store instead of from my butcher). Both Drew and I thought it tasted funky. BUT, what didn't taste funky were my two additions, pancetta crisps and caramelized red onions!

Instead of the arugula, I made pancetta crisps (10 minutes at 450 degrees on a cookie sheet) and caramelized onions (saute red onions in butter on low, low heat for an hour). This turned out to be a delicious idea.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Turkish Lasagna

One of my favorite things about living in a big city is that you never run out of new restaurants to try. Tonight we decided to head out to the Richmond district in San Francisco and walk around on Clement street until we found something that looked authentic and good. This area is known for the best Chinese, Vietnamese and Burmese food.

Tonight, we stumbled upon a Turkish restaurant called Troya. We weren't too surprised to find that the menu was heavily influenced by Greek cuisine but it definitely has its own approach. They told us that Turkish food is really a fusion of Turkish, Armenia, Arabic, Greek and Persian cuisines. They also said it was Turkish tradition to marinate all meat for a minimum of 10 hours.

The best dish we had tonight was their Mousakka. The Greek version, traditionally consists of layers of ground (minced) lamb or red meat, sliced eggplant and tomatoes topped with a cheese sauce and baked. Turkish Mousakka, unlike the Greek version, is not layered. Instead, it is prepared with sautéed and fried eggplants, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat. This would be a great main course to serve after your try Missy's delicious looking Tzatziki recipe. Epicurious has a few recipes for this meal - check it out!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

French Silk Pie and Key Lime Magic

**Recipes from Julie Whiting from Indiana University**

I love chocolate. Chocolate covered raisins, almonds, espresso beans, just about anything that can have chocolate on it, I’ve eaten. I was looking to make a chocolate cake that would be a cool break from the hot summer sun. I originally found the recipe online, but I’ve tweaked it so much that I think of it as my own:

Mouth Watering French Silk Pie

Pastry Crust:
(I’ve made the crust before- it adds a lot of extra time- so I prefer using… GASP!... Pillsbury’s pastry dough- which works just as well (sometimes better) and is lickety spilt fast)
1 c. flour
½ t salt
1/3 c.+ 1 T. shortening
2-3 T COLD water (depending)

Mix the flour and salt- cut in the shortening using a pastry blender until the mixture is little balls (about the size of peas). Sprinkle the cold water on top- one tablespoon at a time- make sure all the floor is moistened.

Gather all the dough into a ball- then flatten it a little- wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm and cold, but still shapeable (about 45 minutes).

Heat oven to 475°F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown; cool.

See why I like the Pillsbury dough?

1 c. granulated sugar
¾ c. softened BUTTER
1 ½ t. vanilla
3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (melted)
¾ c. egg beaters (you don’t cook the pie, so egg beaters are much safer than raw eggs)

Melt the chocolate.
Beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and chocolate. Slowly add the egg product (beat on high)- make sure mixture is light and fluffy- about 3 minutes. Pour into the pie crust and refrigerate (2-4 hours).

Topping (my favorite part!):
1 c. chilled whipping cream
3 T granulated sugar
1 ½ t. vanilla
Chocolate shavings

In a chilled bowl, beat the whip cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Pour mixture over the cooled pie. Shave chocolate over the whipped topping.
Serve immediately.

Not everyone has my obsession with chocolate, so to be the people pleaser- I alternate with my key lime pie.This is the easiest thing you could ever make.

Key Lime Magic

The crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from 9 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers2 tablespoons sugar5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
The filling1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons key lime juice

The topping
Look to whipped topping from French Silk Pie (above) Depending on your time limit- the crust can be store bought (regular graham cracker crust)- otherwise:

Use your food processor to make graham cracker crumbs- add the sugar while still in the processor (one less thing to mix in). Then poor the butter over the crumbs and mix until all of it sticks together. Press into your 9 inch pie pan and bake for about 10 minutes at 350.

Whisk together the s.c.milk and yolks. Add in the key lime juice. Poor filling into crust. Bake at 350 for 15 more minutes. Cool pie 15 minutes. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.

Make whipped topping. Serve with pie. Eat.

Julie Whiting

Farmer's Markets- More than just fruits and veggies

Summer is slowly coming to an end and that means you need to take full advantage of your local farmer's market before it disappears. I managed to go to three farmer's markets in three states: CA, MI and IL. Suprisingly, I left each of these with things I was not expecting to find.
In Michigan, I walked away with scented oils and handmade lotions by a housewife from the town of Midland. You could tell this was her passion. She designed all the packaging, created all combinatons of scents and was very nice and knowledgeable.
In Napa, I bought some of the best Naan I have ever had. Naan in Napa?
Lastly, in Chicago there is a big ol' spice wagon. They sell spices in individual packets (every kind imaginable) but they also have thier own rubs and seasoning combinations that are fabulous, too.
So, save room in your bag for the random things you may not be expecting to find. To find a farmer's market near you, click on this link and choose your state:


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

If I was independently wealthy and lived in San Francisco...

I'd take this job at CHOW in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, I'm already a journalist, and it doesn't pay jack, so I'll stick with the Assoc. Art Director gig here in Chicago. But I think I know of a certain couple who's planning on moving to San Fran soon.... hmmmm.....

One Week Old

Everything is Better with Bacon is one week old!

Because I am a marketer by day, I am tracking the site with Google Analytics. In the last week, the blog has had over 296 visits in over 10 countries! Each visit on the blog averages 10.44 minutes. These are REALLY incredible numbers.

Thank you to everyone for checking out the site, contributing and forwarding to friends.

P.S. Congrats to Chuck Shaw. His pulled pork recipe received the most comments and emails last week! I think a lot of people ate pork this weekend, Dad!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ok, I watched it...

I have to say, I watched and enjoyed the finale of Hell's Kitchen tonight. I think I have a slight crush on
Gordon Ramsey. He has always bugged me, but then I read an article on him in some cooking magazine and loved him and his wife and 4 kids. Sorry no recipes to contribute right now. I am still rice cakes and salads for all meals.


I've made this recipe about 4 times and it is always a hit. This is a great recipe for 2 or more people to work on together. So, turn up some music and get prepin'

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 beets, boiled, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 large orange, peel and pith cut away, flesh cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 cup chopped red onion1
/4 cup chopped pitted green Greek olives
1 large shallot, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño chile, seeded, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 3/4 pounds ground lamb
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 large cracked-wheat hamburger buns, split horizontally
1 1/3 cups thinly sliced Bibb lettuce
For salsa: Whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Mix in next 4 ingredients. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper.Do ahead: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill. For burgers: Stir shallot, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin in large bowl to blend. Add lamb and mix gently to combine. Shape mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Arrange on small baking sheet. Do ahead: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.Spray grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill buns, cut side down, until golden, about 2 minutes; transfer to work surface. Place lettuce and large spoonful of salsa on each bun bottom. Grill burgers until slightly charred and cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Place 1 burger on each bun. Top each with mayonnaise and bun top. Serve with remaining salsa.
Bon Appétit, July 2006
Paul Gayler


Boat Grillin'

Hands down the best addition to the boat this season has been the $30 grill from Target that Andy and Carrie donated. We use this thing all the time and this weekend was no exception.

Drew and I had a couple friends on the boat Saturday night to check out a concert on the water and watch the fireworks. We grilled chicken kabobs, burgers and Italian sausages with peppers. Our friends brought this delicious couscous from Whole Foods that had cranberries and pecans in it.

Anybody else grill this weekend?

Friday, August 10, 2007


I'm invited to a beachy BBQ this sunday, so naturally, I have to bring something delicious. This has proved to be a total crowd pleaser. It's cool, it's herb-y, it's good for picky eaters, its downright delicious. I just serve mine with chunks of crusty bread, but it's awesome with pita bread (especially if you fry it up!). I use greek yogurt so I can skip the stupid straining step. Who's got time for that?

1 pound (1 pint) plain yogurt

1 hothouse cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar (I prefer Champagne, I think it tastes crisper)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)

1 tablespoon good olive oil (see Liz's post below!)

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Roughly grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.
Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


We did a piece on Minnies a few months back

It's a restaurant here in Chicago that's ALL slider sized sandwiches. Now, I haven't been myself, but I've heard they're quite delicious.

Photo by my fabulous staffer, Steve Serio. *Missy works for Crain's Communications in Chicago*


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Everyone's Talking About: Sliders

Did anyone else notice that sliders made the cover of BOTH Gourmet and Bon Appetit this month? Either those editors are friendly or someone got fired. Regardless, these gems are worth whipping up this weekend.
Above is a picture of the meatball sliders from The Little Owl in NYC. As a matter of fact, I will be going to The Little Owl next month with my partner in culinary crime, Simone, to taste these bad boys on their own turf.

Makes 6 servings

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
Arugula leaves (optional)
18 small soft rolls, split horizontally
Mix all meats, panko, 1/2 cup water, 6 tablespoons cheese, egg, egg yolk, 1/4 cup parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in large bowl. Form into eighteen 2-inch-meatballs.Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry meatballs until brown all over. Transfer to plate. Pour off drippings from skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add olive oil to skillet. Add onion, garlic, basil, and fennel seeds. Sauté until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add all tomatoes with juices. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.Puree sauce in processor until almost smooth. Return to same skillet. Add meatballs. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes longer.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.Place arugula leaves on bottom of each roll, if desired. Top each with 1 meatball. Drizzle meatballs with some of sauce and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and 2 tablespoons. cheese. Cover with tops of rolls.
*Sold in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.
Bon Appétit, September 2007
Joey Campanaro
The Little Owl, New York


Easy Summer Cobbler

Easy Summer Cobbler

6-8 yellow peaches (these are from Flora's tree at Flora Springs*)
2 yellow nectarines
1 cup flour
13 cup sugar
1 tsp backing soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
4 tbsp butter or half a stick

peal and slice fruit wisk together dry ingredients mix softened butter and sugar wisk egg with butter and sugar, slowly add 3/4 cub buttermilk or whole milk slowly add to dry ingredients soon over fruit and bake!

350 till golden brown
The batter is a Moose favorite :) *Flora Spings is a a family/Garvey owned winery in Napa Valley **Recipe from Lindsay, Sean and Moose Garvey**


Join In!

Mom- Great question! Many other people have asked how they can forward the blog to invite others to join in (which is sssoooo exciting!) So, I have added my email address to the top right hand corner of the blog. Email friends the address to the blog: People can email me directly and I will send them a blogger invite to get them started! You can also google the name of the blog and the link should pop up. Lastly, if you want to email me your friends' emails and names, I will reach out to them directly.

chocolate cookbook

Just played bridge and an extra woman came who was a friend of one of my guests and she is writing a book on Belgian chocolate. She was really interesting and worked on her book while we played bridge. I will find out more about her. How do I forward this blog so otheres may join? Love Momma

shrimp kebobs

Last night I had some friends for dinner and we charcoaled shrimp kebobs w/ mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, onions and a jalapeno on each one. I had marinated the shrimp in butter, lemon, olive oil, capers, red pepper flakes, garlic and some Lea and Perrins. We had rice with several of the above vegs minced in it and parsley also. A friend brought a fabulous salad from her garden of cucumbers, tomatoes and she added asiagom balsamic and oiolive oil. Iwas all beautiful and delicious. For dessert we had ice cream w/ dewberies from the ranch and my fudge sauce, The blog is fantastic Lizzie and am soooo proud of you. Love Momma

Invest in your olive oil

I remeber several years ago when my brother, Chaz, had me over to dinner at his old loft in Chicago. He just wouldn't shut up about how good this loaf of olive bread he bought was when dipped in a special olive oil he had. He cut some slices from the loaf, doctered up a little of the oil with some sea salt and such and we both dove in. I quickly understood what he was talking about.

Many great Chefs have gone on the record to say that using good (or great) olive oil is a must. Megga Chef and badass Mario Batali believes that olive oil is as precious as gold! Above are pictures from a great store in Chicago on Michigan Ave (inside the Nordstroms building) where I buy my olive oil. Do you have a store in your city that sells great olive oil?

In Ari Weinzwerg’s book, Old Ways Table, he suggest using, “Lighter oils for fish; modestly fruity oils for more delicate lettuces and vegetables; peppery, green oils for mozzarella (where the oil is actually the highlight), meat, and spicier dishes. This is no different than pairing wines to foods to make a good match.”

To learn more about olives and olive oil, check out


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Butchers In the Family

As we all know I stand to benefit tremendously from this blog activity...Love it! Now if we could only get Ms. Shaw to start cooking fish then we would really be talking. However, the only contribution I can attest to is that my grandfather, Elwood Berry, was a Butcher in Santa Fe. He was a good man worth knowing which is all the more reason why you should be buddies with your butcher.

Again with the TV/food

I am ALSO not Emeril's biggest fan, but I have to say, I was watching him the other day while I was running on the treadmill (watching cooking while running? I must be a glutton for punishment) and he was doing a French Bistro segment -- Moules Mariniere, Steak Au Poivre -- and there was nary a "bam!" in sight. Perhaps he's turning over a new leaf.

4 reasons why you should be buddies with your butcher

Do you know your butcher's name? You should.

Here are four reasons why you should introduce yourself to your meat department:

1) Butchers are good cooks

Believe it or not, the bulk to my short ribs recipe is from my man Chuck at Big Apple Finer Foods on Fullerton and Clark.

2) Butchers have got your back

Some fashionistas have Neiman's call when the new Marc Jacobs line hits the racks. I get a call from my butcher when they get tiger prawns in.

3) Butchers are passionate

Most butchers don't 'fall into' their line of work. These (typically) guys are usually avid outdoors men, decently traveled, have a history of the business in their family and are extremely knowledgeable about their meats and products.

4) Everyone loves feeling like a VIP

And I mean EVERYONE. People like to feel special and people like to be recognized. I know almost everyone in my grocery store and they always make me feel special and are always so helpful. There are perks to being a regular.

So, I encourage you all to start up a conversation with your butcher (I met mine by asking what the hell Osso Buco was...)

**Did you know that Wild West Outlaw Butch Cassidy was originally a butcher? That's how he got his name...**

Poached Pears with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

This is a really bad picture of something that is quite fabulous and easy to make, (yes, that's a paper plate...)
Last week, I was watching Thomas Keller (French Laundry, Per Se, need I say more?) do a guest spot on Emeril Live. Now, I am not a big Emeril guy but when I saw that he was guest- hosting a one hour 'braising' segment, I turned up the volume and kicked my feet up. He made braised pears that looked outta this world. The next day, I got my monthly issue of Bon Appetite magazine and there was a great recipe for Poached Pears so I decided to go for it.
Poached pears are easy and for pear lovers they are just heaven. I made some addition to this very simple recipe.
4 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean
I added:
Dark Myers Rum
Mexican Vanilla
What I would add next time:
Peal the pears and cut in halves. Remove core/seeds. Add all the ingredients in a large saute pan and bring to boil. Add pears and let them simmer for 15-20 minutes. Make sure to slice vanilla bean and remove seeds into liquid in addition to adding the whole bean. Take the pears out with a slotted spoon when tender. Reduce liquid into a syrup (about 20-25 minutes) on high heat. Spoon syrup over pears and serve with vanilla bean ice cream.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007


This weekend I was given a bag of pluots as a gift. They are so addicting and delicious. So here is a little educational blurb on a yummy summer fruit.

A pluot (plü-ot) is a tradename for a fruit developed in the late 20th century by Floyd Zaiger. It is a complex cross hybrid of plum and apricot, being ¾ plum and ¼ apricot in parentage.

The fruit's exterior fairly closely resembles a plum's. Pluots are noted for their sweetness (due to a very high sugar content) and for their intense flavor. They are also very, very juicy and their skin is less bitter than plum skin. Pluots are also rich in vitamin A. The season for California pluots extends from May through October, with the peak in July and August.

Mr. Zaiger is currently trying to develop a Peacotum, a peach, apricot, plum hybrid. It's like a smoothie in a fruit! I wonder how it would taste with bacon?

The Pressure is On!

Lizzy, I love this. Hopefully this will give me more ideas and put the pressure on me to cook more. Last night did a copycat of Aunt Lalah's salad.... Field Greens (aka weeds), strawberries, pecans, gorgonzola and balsalmic vinegrette dressing. On the side I made made a salad of Pearled Barley, black beens, corn, red onions, lime and cilantro. Very fresh and yummy. tonight I made stuffed pepper tuna sandwiches. Instead of bread, I cored raw yellow peppers and stuffed them with Tuna Salad and then had eveyone eat them like sandwiches. I served it on Spinach leaves with goat cheese. Yes, I am on a diet so my contributions will be a snooze. Hello to all.

Because I'm obsessed with TV and food

... naturally, I'm also obsessed with Top Chef. (Even this season, where most of the contestants are kinda a snooze. Howie? Stop sweating in all your food! Ick!) Usually, they cook so fast and so frantically it's impossible to do anything but watch, but in last week's episode "Freezer Burn" I picked up a great tip about freezing your dishes/leftovers. Tre and C.J. won because they Individually Quick Froze everything, i.e., they froze the sauce separate from the pasta separate from the chicken, so nothing absorbed the liquid from the other.

A few months ago I went up to Michigan to do a massive cooking-and-freezing bonanza for my grandma, who's 97 and therefore not all that active in the kitchen anymore. While everything turned out great and warmed up well, I totally could have IQF'd everything and had it even better.

That's all for now.

p.s. I heart Moose.

p.p.s. Hi everyone!

I don't cook, but I OWN dining out

Not sure about the bacon theme of the blog, but count me in! Dining tonight at either Morandi's or Fig & Olive (in NYC)- will share the notable experience later in the week.


Monday, August 6, 2007

NASCAR Pulled Pork with Garlic Cheese Jalapeno Grits

Everyone seemed to enjoy this dinner at our family gathering in Northern Michigan after an active day on the beach, wake boarding, golfing, or spending the day visiting Mackinac Island. In other words, everyone was hungry and appreciated the generous family style presentation. The menu was billed as a NASCAR Special of Oven Baked Pulled Pork with two BBQ sauces on the side, Garlic Cheese Jalapeno Grits, and Arugula Salad with Mango and Creamy Chive Vinaigrette. The meal was enhanced by the fresh baby arugula and chives from Bill's Farm Market in Harbor Springs and an outstanding Shoulder Roast from Tannery Creek Meat Market in Petoskey.

Oven Baked Pulled Pork

The 7 to 9 pound Pork Shoulder Roast was baked fat side down for four to five hours at 325 degrees covered in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil and placed in a roasting pan. Before wrapping in the foil, the roast was rubbed with three crushed garlic cloves and generously sprinkled with Lawry's Seasoning Salt and cracked pepper and then a large Vidalia onion was sliced and placed on the top. A baking dish filled with water was also placed in the oven to provide a moist baking environment.

You can tell if the pork is ready to fall apart and pull into shreds when you are able to easily remove the bone from the cooked roast. There were about two cups of hot pork fat in the foil wrapped roast that had to be removed. After the pork was pulled apart, it was kept warm on the stove top and a little water was added for moisture. The pork was left unseasoned by sauce because two styles of BBQ sauce (North Carolina and Memphis Style) were served with the pork, so everyone could select one or both with their meat. I think the crock pot and BBQ versions of cooking the Pork Shoulder Roast sound great too, but this method was sure successful in producing succulent, tender and moist pulled pork. Fresh buns and a crusty country bread along with dill and bread and butter pickle chips were also served with the pork in case anyone wanted to make sandwiches.

Easy North Carolina Barbecue Sauce (From
1 stick butter
1 c. cider vinegar
1 lg. sour pickle, minced
1 tbsp. onion, minced
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. molasses
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan. Heat over low heat just long enough to melt butter, stirring frequently; add salt and pepper to taste.

Another BBQ Sauce was served that was a store bought tomato based sauce (I used "Sweet Baby Ray's") with molasses, sauteed finely chopped Vidalia Onions, and vinegar added. Both sauces were served from the stove along with the pulled pork that was warming on the stove top.

Garlic Cheese Jalapeno Grits

Saute one-half of a small finely chopped Vidalia onion on the stove top with a half stick of butter until translucent. Add three or four minced garlic cloves along the way and set the mixture aside to be added to the grits.

Cook the grits according to the recipe on the box. I used two cups of grits to serve twenty people and they were gone at the end of the meal. Generally you combine water and salt; bring to a boil. Stir in grits; cook until done, following package directions.

After the grits are ready, stir in the butter and sauteed onions and garlic. Add twelve ounces of sharp Cheddar cheese cut into small cubes so they melt into the grits. I added one chopped up roasted fresh jalapeno pepper and that was plenty. (More Pickled Jalapeno Peppers and Gardiner were served separately for those heat freaks). Four fresh eggs were then beaten and folded into the grits.

Pour the grits mixture into a lightly buttered 2 1/2 to 3 quart baking dish; sprinkle with some Paprika and Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour .

Arugula and Mango Salad with Creamy Chive Vinaigrette (This Bon Appetit, August 2007 recipe called for Peaches and I substituted a fresh Mango and no one seemed to mind)


2 large ripe peaches
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice,
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
12 cups (loosely packed) arugula (about 6 ounces)


Wash peaches, rubbing to remove fuzz. Cut in half; remove pits. Thinly slice peaches. Place peach slices in large bowl. Add 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice; toss. Whisk 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice and olive oil in small bowl. Whisk in cream, then chives. Season with salt and pepper. Add arugula to bowl with peaches. Add dressing and toss. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired, and serve.
Bon Appétit, August



Hi Lizzie - I am so excited about this blog! I wanted to post a different kind of cheese that I think would work well with your recipe of the week. I had it last night on a fig bruscetta and it was really flavorful and textural. Here is a blurb from epicurious on it.

Crescenza cheese
A rich, creamy, fresh cheese, also known as Crescenza Stracchino , that's widely made in Italy's regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. Its texture and flavor are similiar to that of a mild CREAM CHEESE, and it becomes very soft and spreadable at room temperature. Crescenza is made from uncooked cow's milk and is sometimes blended with herbs. It doesn't age well and, although not widely imported, can be found in some specialty cheese shops.


...Moose Garvey, blog mascot. *Pic from Lindsay and Sean Garvey*


Hey all-

I have decided to (try to) build a casual spot where everyone can unleash their inner chef with no fuss.

This idea came to me several weeks ago when I realized that I:
1) Had a lot of extra time on my hands
2) Knew I had a long list of friends and family that loved food and/or to cook
3) My cooking obsession was going from mild to spicy!

I really hope you will visit, participate and have fun.

Thanks for checking out my pet project. xoxoxo Lizzie

Recipe of the Week- Beet Bruschetta

Each week I will feature a new recipe that's tasty and seasonal. They will come from Websites, cooking shows, magazines and from you! So send me one that you think deserves the title.

It's time to unveil our first ever recipe of the week (drum roll please)...

Beet Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Pistachio Nuts!

I am really proud of this recipe because I made it up myself after a trip to the farmer's market with Lydia in Napa several weeks ago. This is a really colorful hors dourve that impresses guests and is very flavorful and textural. It doesn't require a lot of ingredients but the prep work between the nuts and the beets can be a drag. I would suggest purchasing nuts that already have the shell removed to cut prep time. They are more expensive but worth it.

1 French baguette
1 bunch of golden and red beets
10oz of goat cheese
Handful of pistachio nuts
Olive Oil

Remove stems from beets and boil in water for 45 minutes to an hour depending on size and tenderness. Cut the baguette into small rounds. Brush each with olive oil. Cut fresh garlic clove and rub on each round. Drain beets once they are done and set aside. Heat oven and toast rounds. Slip off the skins of beets under running water (beets dye skin so don't freak. Soap and water usually does the trick.) Slice beets and then cut into a fine dice. Make sure to keep the red and yellow beets in their own batches so they don't bleed. Remove toasted rounds from oven and spread goat cheese on top of each. Mix beets and add to top of rounds and drizzle with olive oil. Take handful of nuts and put in zip lock bag. Put another bag around the first one. Pound it with a hammer/meat tenderizer/baking pin. Add nuts on top of beets and ta-da!