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Hot Doug’s Book Coming Soon

2 May

Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's photo from

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

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!


Embarrassingly Easy Macaroni and Cheese

29 Sep

We are in full harvest/slow cooking mode at my house, and that usually calls for an accompanying starch of sorts for whatever is in the crock pot.

Lately, I’ve been on a chili kick, and nothing pleases me more than some elbow noodles to accompany it with (except shredded cheese, onions, sour cream and Franks Red Hot sauce!). Last night I had extra noodles and I knew my chili was going to be too spicy for my son, so I decided to make down-and-dirty homemade mac and cheese. It’s super easy and Teddy loved it. Here’s the basic overview:

Embarrassingly Easy Macaroni and Cheese


  • 1 box of Cooked macaroni or elbow noodles
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of cream cheese ( more or less depending on taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of shredded cheese (use whatever kind you like; last night I used sharp Cabot cheddar)
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt to taste


  1. Mix in the cream cheese first to the warm/hot noodles until fully immersed (note- this will cook down the noodles, so either microwave them for a minute or do this in a pot and turn the burner up to medium/medium-low)
  2. Then add the butter, shredded cheese and salt
  3. Stir until cheese is melted and serve
  4. ADDED STEP: to make it extra tasty, turn the oven up to 400, put the mixed mac and cheese in an oven-safe dish, top with some bread crumbs and cook for about 10 minutes for a toasty top).
  5. Enjoy!

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.



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.


  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


  • 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


  • 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!





Pork Belly and Coconut Risotto

12 Apr


Lemongrass chicken binh mis, Asian slaw and coconut and pork belly risotto

This weekend I cooked a Vietnamese inspired meal. On the menu was lemongrass and coconut chicken Binh Mis, coconut and pork belly risotto, Asian slaw and banana and mango spring rolls for dessert.

It was a delicious meal and despite how laborious it sounds, it was quite easy. Cook the chicken in the slow-cooker, dice up the slaw and stir up the risotto. I’ll share the ingredients for all items, but today we’ll start with the risotto. Like most things I make, this recipe isn’t a science, but rather a guestimation. I rarely ever follow recipes and this risotto is one I made up. Feel free to reach out with questions if you have any. Enjoy!

Pork Belly and Coconut Risotto


  • 2 cups abrozo rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup shredded (unsweetened coconut)
  • 1 diced white onion
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb sliced pork belly (cook like bacon and then dice up)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish

Risotto Directions:

  1. Place the diced onion in a deep stock pot and sautee with butter over medium-high heat
  2. Meanwhile- put the chicken stock in a pot and bring to a hot temperature
  3. Once the onion is well sautéed, add the rice and olive oil, stirring continuously until the rice is transparent
  4. Add white wine and continue stirring
  5. Add the coconut shreds and porkbelly
  6. When the liquid is dissolved, begin to add half a cup of chicken stock at a time, stirring constantly and adding more liquid as it is absorbed
  7. Halfway through the use of the chicken stock, add the coconut milk
  8. The texture of the risotto should not be crunchy (I know it sounds obvious, but just saying!). Keep adding broth until you get the right level of consistency. It should take about 40 minutes of stirring, adding liquid and rinse and repeat.
  9. When the risotto is done, garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve.
  10. Enjoy

Goat Cheese and Portabella Mushroom Enchiladas

14 Feb

In preparing for our trip to Mexico, I’ve been on a bit of an enchiladas kick. I love them because they’re very easy and once you get the basic principal of making them, you can have a lot of fun with fillings and flavors. It’s fun living in a city with one of the best Mexican chef’s- that would be you, Rick Bayless– but it’s also fun creating these delicious items in your own kitchen!

In the most recent cases, I’ve made cilantro, goat cheese and portabella mushroom enchiladas with a verde sauce. Here’s my recipe, but as always, it’s more of a guestimation than science.


Goat Cheese and Mushroom Enchiladas


  • 16 ounces of verde enchilada sauce
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 4-8 oz. goat cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded Chihuahua cheese
  • 2 boxes of baby portabellas (sliced)
  • Cilantro (one bunch)
    Cilantro cooking base (3 tbs)
  • Olive oil
  • Shallots (1 cup diced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Turn oven onto 350 degrees
  2. Sautee mushrooms and shallots with the cilantro base until they’re sautéed and most moisture is evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  3. Add in goat cheese and mix with mushrooms
  4. Microwave the tortillas for about 45 seconds
  5. In a lasagna-sized cooking dish, pour about a cups worth of enchilada sauce on the bottom
  6. Take a tortilla, fill it with the mushrooms mixture and roll it, placing seam side down in the pan
  7. Rinse and repeat with remaining tortillas and mushrooms
  8. Cover the enchiladas with another cup or two of sauce and then spread the Chihuahua cheese on top
  9. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is browning and bubbling