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Hot Doug’s Book Coming Soon

2 May

Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's photo from http://www.IDMPhotography.com

According to sources, it looks like the Mayor of Encased Meats himself, Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s, will add author to his growing list of accomplishments.

Within the publishing world, word has it that Sohn is penning a book: Hot Doug’s: The Book. The book is going to be a celebration of his and Chicago’s passion for sausages along with contributions from some of the more famous Hot Doug’s patrons such as Doug Seibold at Agate Midway. The book should be out in Spring 2013.

Terrific Tenderloin That’s Easy As Pie

19 Jan
Beef Tenderloin

Photo from MyRecipe.com

It’s no secret that since Teddy arrived on the scene, going out to eat doesn’t happen as often as it once did. But that’s okay. We love entertaining and cooking, so having people over for dinner parties has been a fun way to still see friends, enjoy delicious food, all while Teddy snoozes away in his bedroom.

Recently, inspired by a delicious Christmas dinner, I decided to reenact the star of the show, a beef tenderloin. Turns out beef tenderloin is a dinner party super star. It’s insanely easy to prepare and cook and everyone loves it. Here’s how I made mine and it was a huge crowd pleaser.

I bought a five pound trimmed tenderloin at Costco. Note: normally when I buy beef, I get Prime grade. It’s the top 2% of been produced and is graded on the marbling (fat). When you’re doing a tenderloin, since it’s a lean cut, you should stick with Choice grade. There’s just not enough fat in a tenderloin to justify paying the amount for Prime.

Take the meat out, pat it down and season with some salt and pepper. Then use some cooking twine to truss it so it cooks evenly. Once it’s trussed, stick cloves of garlic and sprigs of Rosemary between the meat and twine and drizzle with a few tablespoons of EVOO. Let it sit out at room temperature for a few hours before you cook it.

Once it’s time to cook this bad boy, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Then, in a roasting pan, sear the meat so it browns on all sides. It should take about 10 total minutes. This is really key as it locks in the juices and flavor.

After you’re done browning it, pop it into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes. You may have to cook for additional 5-10 minutes, depending on how well done you want it. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature (registers 120°F to 125°F for rare, 125°F to 130°F for medium rare).

Serve with potatoes, a green, some delicious bold red wine and you’ll be the toast of the dinner. Enjoy!

 

Tru was Truly Sublime

16 Aug
Tru Menu

Our menu from Tru, signed by Chef Anthony Miller

It’s important that I write this review now so I don’t forget a single moment from our dinner at Tru. To say it was amazing wouldn’t begin to do it justice. But let start at the beginning.

On August 11, Ian and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. We’ve been married as long as we were in college. It’s not a Things Remembered milestone, but one that we were eager to celebrate. As you know, going out to dinner with a one and a half year old is not an easy task. Ian and I are able to sneak away sometimes for a dinner out in the square, but for our anniversary, we wanted to go beyond our comfort zone and do something special.

My friend, Jeffrey Ward, had been over in July and was telling me about how amazing Tru’s new Chef Anthony Martin was and I was sold.

I booked us a hotel room at the Sofitel and made reservations for Tru. The reservation was at 8:45, which was much later than we normally eat, but again, we were breaking all the rules (how dangerously we live!). I will add, on a side note, that before our dinner, we did something that was so fun and another highlight of our evening. We put on the plush bathrobes, opened the bottle of Veuve Clicquot and watch Bridesmaids in bed. It was bliss! But I digress…

We dressed up for dinner, I put on serious heels and Ian was dapper in his jacket and slacks. When we arrived at the meal, we were greeted with a glass of complimentary Champagne. Perfect.

We were going to order the Grand Collection, but Chef surprised us and brought us the Chef Collection as his treat. Along with the wine accompaniments. All 15 courses.

The first show-stopper was the suspended foie gras. The food was of course amazing; the buttery foie gras with the reinvented texture and the candied pecans. But what truly brought the dish to life was the impeccable pairing from Tru’s wine director and Sommelier, Chad Ellegood.  Ellegood brought out the 2007 Bonny Doon Le Vol Des Anges Roussanne Arroyo Seco. It was delicate enough to partner the heaviness of the foie gras, but substantial enough to enhance the flavor.  When people disregard how wine can compliment a meal, I want them to experience what we did with this bite and sip. It was incredible.

The halibut was another example of Chef Anthony’s ability to simply create a perfect dish. It didn’t have dry-ice or impeccable plating, but it was perfect. Poached in butter (when can you go wrong with that) it was hands-down the most perfectly cooked fish I’ve ever had.

And then the cheese cart. Any civilized meal should have a cheese cart. The one objection I had to this was that after Ian and I ate our cheese, at an admittedly quick pace!- one of the servers pointed out how fast we ate it. Not nice. But we were quick to forgive when the desserts came, one, by one, by one.  The natural cherries with black truffles and honeycrisp apple beignet were the things dreams are made of. If I could, I’d eat them, each, everyday for the rest of my life.

After our almost four hour Tru-athon was over, Ian and I made our way back to the hotel, full bellies and full hearts. In addition to the food, the experience was perfection. The service was the standard to which all other restaurants should aspire, and most importantly, it gave me and my husband a chance to really enjoy each other’s company.
Bravo to Tru, to Chef Anthony Martin and Chad Ellegood. The experience was absolutely amazing and it will go down as one of the greatest meals.

Zucchini Boat B”Z”T

10 Jul

Inspired by all the amazing produce at farmers markets, I decided to transform a normal BLT with zucchini in place of bread and lettuce. It’s super easy, delicious and even healthy. Here’s the recipe:

Zucchini B”Z”T (2 servings)

2 zucchinis, sliced in half and hollowed
12 strips of turkey bacon
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1TBS lowfat mayo

In the zucchini halves, fill withd tomatoes first, then add mayo and finally bacon.

Enjoy!

20110710-083328.jpg

Midwest Clambake

11 Jun
Painting of Clams by Mary E. Whelan

Painting of Clams by Mary E. Whelan

Who says you can’t have a true New England clambake in the Midwest? We did just that and it was a wonderful evening. With 12 dear friends in attendance, we sipped on Dark and Stormies, enjoyed couture deviled eggs and had a feast of clams, mussels and lobster out on the deck. Here are some photo highlights and recipes from the night.

 

The Dark and Stormy Bar

The Dark and Stormy Bar

Dark and Stormy:
This is a New England staple, and its namesake creates the portrait of a cold and rainy night on Martha’s Vineyard. To make this refreshing cocktail you only need a few things.

Ingredients:

  1. 3 ounces  of Black-strap run (Goslings is typical)
  2. 5 ounces of Ginger beer (not ginger ale)
  3. Ice
  4. ¼ Lime
  5. 1 sprig of Mint

Directions:

  • Mix the run and ginger beer together and pour over a tall glass full of ice
  • Add the lime and twist the sprig of mint into the cocktail
  • I recommend drinking out of a mason jar with a straw
  • Enjoy!
Clambake Cheese Platter

Clambake Cheese Platter

 

Catherine Merritt Clambake

Catherine Merritt Clambake

New England Clambake
This recipe is inspired by Ina Garten’s Kitchen Clambake recipe. I was unsure of how to cook everything and after reading her recipe, I realized it’s quite easy. So I added my own ingredients and such, but used her recipe as the model.

Ingredients: (for 8-12)

  1. 8 dozen clams
  2. 4 pound of mussels
  3. 4 1.5 lb lobsters
  4. 5 pounds of red potatoes
  5. 5 ears of corn cut into 2” slices
  6. 1 pound chorizo
  7. 3 sweet onions diced
  8. 4 leeks sliced thin (only white parts)
  9. 1 shallot diced
  10. 5 garlic cloves
  11. 4 cups of dry white wine
  12. 1 stick of butter
  13. Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Place pot on a burner at high heat
  • Add the stick of butter into a large pot for the bake
  • Once it melts, add the garlic, onions, shallotts and leeks, stir until well cooked (about 15 minutes)
  • Add in this order:  potatoes, corn, chorizo, clams, mussels lobsters
  • Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, reduce heat and cook on medium high for another 15 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done when the clams are open and the potatoes are tender
  • Serve on large platters and don’t forget graveyard bowls for the shells
  • Enjoy!
Clambake

Clambake

 

Lobsters

Lobsters

This Foodie Went To BlogHer Food ’11

23 May
Downtown Atlanta

Downtown Atlanta

Last week I had the pleasure of attending BlogHer Food 2011 in Atlanta. One of the great things about my job is that it affords me the opportunity to experience and learn new things all. the. time. It’s one of the many reasons I love it. Anyway- BlogHer Food was not my first blogger conference, but it was my first food blogger one and it was pretty interesting.

Networking at BlogHer Food 2011

Networking at BlogHer Food 2011

So from the perspective of someone who LOVES food and loves food blogs- I was in awe. I was surrounded by the authors of words I’ve been reading for years and it was a pleasure and honor to be among them. The conference was made up of a decent mix of well established bloggers and newbies to the world. At the very least, this allowed for good discussion at various vantage points.

The conference’s breakout sessions were modeled much in the way a blog post is- interesting perspective and insights with lots of space for comments. One of the most interesting sessions I attended was Recipe Writing: Copyright, Credit and Etiquette, paneled by Dianne Jacob, David Leite, and Liza Barry-Kessler.  The blurry lines of recipe copyright laws makes for a lot of confusion about adapted recipes versus inspired-by recipes or about stealing recipes outright. The rule of thumb I took from it was to source it, including a link, author and if the recipe is in a book, link to the book’s sale page on Amazon.  If you have any question about whether or not you should source a recipe- the answer is YES! Better safe than sorry.

While to content of the conference was engaging, though I didn’t always agree with it, being able to meet lots of new and old writers was a treat indeed. I got to chat with Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook and I’m hoping he comes out for an event in the fall (I told him he needs to meet and eat at Hot Doug’s!).  David Lebovitz was there and absolutely hilarious in all of his matter-of-fact glory.

Roast Beef Crostinis

Roast Beef Crostinis

The food at the conference was good; way better than normal hotel conference food. I loved that they had vegan and glutton free options. The real deliciousness came when we ventured into Buckhead to sample Top Chef All Stars’ Richard Blais’ Flip Burger. Outstanding! I had the butchers cut burger with blue cheese, caramelized onions and it was outstanding. The sides were equally amazing; we got to sample the fries, vodka infused onion rings, Brussel sprouts and fried pickles. Heaven.

I opted to stay at the Ellis Hotel instead of the Westin and their Terrace restaurant was equally delicious. It’s all locally sourced produce, meat and dairy and you can immediately taste how fresh everything is. I also loved the second floor terrace balcony. It’s a great way to watch the streets from an elevated perch.

All in all, it was a fun trip that definitely rejuvenated me to be better about this blog (though I still wish I had an extra hour every day I could use for it) and I think moving forward, I’m going to commit myself to telling the story better. Yes, we all love food. But I want to continue telling you WHY I love it and why it means what it does to me.

EVENT: Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine’s Artisan Producers Festival

21 Apr
Sample cheese, plus sweet and savory accompaniments and more at Pastoral's First Annual Artisan Producer Festival

Sample cheese, plus sweet and savory accompaniments and more at Pastoral's First Annual Artisan Producer Festival

It’s no secret that I love Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine and when I got information about this upcoming event, I wanted to share it out. Below is all the information- I am definitely going to try to stop by. Let me know if you’re going to attend as well!

PASTORAL ARTISAN CHEESE, BREAD & WINE HOSTS FIRST ANNUAL ARTISAN PRODUCER FESTIVAL ON SATURDAY, APRIL 30, IN CHICAGO

Free event to meet Pastoral’s featured culinary artisans, sample their products and celebrate small batch food, beer & wine from across America
WHAT
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine will host its First Annual Artisan Producer Festival, a free event to meet Pastoral’s featured culinary artisans from throughout the U.S., sample their products and celebrate small batch foods, beer and wine while enjoying live music on Saturday, April 30, 2011, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., at Pastoral’s Chicago French Market location, 131 North Clinton Street, in Chicago. Parking for only $6 will be available for all attendees at 165 North Clinton, the parking lot located just north of Chicago French Market.

The lineup, which now includes more than 35 producers, features 14 cheese makers, including Illinois’ own Prairie Fruits Farm, Michigan’s Zingerman’s Creamery, Vermont’s renowned Jasper Hill Farm and Vermont Creamery as well as a host of other award-winning cheese makers from Wisconsin and around the country.

Additionally, there will be a variety of artisans who produce Pastoral’s distinctive sweet and savory accompaniments, including Michigan’s Seedling Farms, local favorites DAS Caramelini, Sweet Margy Confections and Bennison’s Bakery, Minnesota’s Ames Honey, Wisconsin’s Potter’s Organic Crackers and Quince & Apple Handmade Preserves, Chicago’s own Half Acre Beer Company and Goose Island Brewery, plus New York’s Salumeria Biellese and Sourpuss Pickles among others.

Pastoral created its Artisan Producer Festival as part of the company’s mission to make buying and eating great food and wine a fun, inviting and educational experience for its customers. Many of the products featured at Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival are sold in the Midwest exclusively at Pastoral. The event will also feature artisan producers featured at Pastoral’s neighboring Chicago French Market vendors.

WHEN
Saturday, April 30, 2011
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

WHERE
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine – Chicago French Market
131 North Clinton Street, Chicago, IL 60661
312-454-2200
pastoralartisan.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit pastoralartisan.com or call 312-454-2200.

Meet Allison Hooper, Vermont Butter & Cheese, among other culinary artisans at Pastoral's First Annual Artisan Producer Festival

Meet Allison Hooper, Vermont Butter & Cheese, among other culinary artisans at Pastoral's First Annual Artisan Producer Festival

LIST OF PARTICIPATING ARTISANS
34 Degrees Crackers; Ameline Mustards; Ames Honey; Bennison’s Bakery; Brunkow Cheese; Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm; DAS Caramelini; Elburn Market; Frisian Farms; Goose Island Brewery; Half Acre Beer Company; L. Mawby (Von Beaumont Distrib.); Milton Creamery; Potter’s Organic Crackers; Prairie Fruits Farm; Quince & Apple; Rich Chocolates & Candies; Rogue Creamery; Salumeria Biellese; Sartori Foods; Saxon Homestead Creamery; Seedling Farms; Seymour Dairy; Shady Lane Cellars (Eno Amano); Sourpuss Pickles; Spring Brook Farms; Sweet Grass Dairy; Sweet Margy’s Toffee; Uplands Dairy; Vanberg & Dewulf (Windy City Distrib.); The Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery; Whimsical Candy; Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Co-Op; Zingerman’s Creamery

PARTICIPATING CHICAGO FRENCH MARKET VENDORS
Abbey Brown Artisan Soaps; Chicago Organics; City Fresh Market; Delightful Pastries; Fumare Meats; Les Fleurs; Produce Express; RAW; Sweet Miss Giving’s; Vanille Patisserie; and MORE!

Also featuring Bill Kurtis, founder of Tallgrass Beef Company 

PASTORAL LOCATIONS AND HOURS
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine – Chicago French Market

131 North Clinton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60661
312-454-2200

Hours:
Monday – Friday
10:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Saturday
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday Closed

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine – Loop
53 East Lake Street
Chicago, Illinois 60601
312-658-1250

Hours:
Monday – Friday
10:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine – Lakeview
2945 North Broadway
Chicago, Illinois 60657
773-472-4781

Hours:
Monday – Friday
11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday
11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sunday
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Shop 24/7, 365 days per year at Pastoral’s online store: pastoralartisan.com

About Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine
Pastoral, a venture of Pastoral Enterprises, LLC, is a European-inspired, authentic neighborhood cheese shop, offering the highest quality fine and artisan cheeses from America and around the world, select small production wines and freshly baked breads along with a full complement of related items such as charcuterie, olives and other accompaniments. Pastoral also offers custom gift collections, gourmet sandwiches and salads, picnics and catering. The company was founded in 2004 in the East Lakeview area of Chicago and was named in 2007 as one of six Outstanding Specialty Food Retailers by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT). For more information or to shop online, visit pastoralartisan.com