Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Do you ever see a cookbook and just have that feeling that it's going to be filled with sheer genius?  When I was at a book sale at the end of the summer, I saw Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef and knew that there would be something special inside.  I find Jamie Oliver inspiring.  He makes these wonderfully hearty, healthy dishes in a sustainable way.  He has inspired me to be more conscious about my food consumption and purchases.  When I got this cookbook I read it in a night.  He is incredible.  He has a tomato soup recipe that doesn't require milk or cream and is out of this world.  I just want to cook my way through this entire book.  I know that every recipe will be incredible.  This particular recipe is his minestrone.  It is so hearty and satisfying.  It has become a staple in my freezer and I make it for everyone!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beautiful Beets

A couple of posts back, I wrote about my Dad's incredible salad dressing.  I discussed what you should and shouldn't skimp on, and casually mentioned the joy of beets.  But I feel like I didn't do them justice.  You see, beets are brilliant.  They are healthy and they are filling.  They make salads worth eating.  They also make goat cheese taste better than I ever thought possible.  The craziest part about all of this is that until this summer, I was never even aware of how tasty beets are.  I don't have a genius recipe for you.  I just have a simple way of preparing them that I found in Mark Bittman's How to Eat Everything cookbook app.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mediterranean Chicken

I think it's very important to always have several dishes that you can whip together in a pinch.  This is a wonderful dish that will forever be in my repertoire.  It's tasty, healthy, and you can personalize each piece of chicken to the eater's taste.  You could serve this to guests or eat it when you're home alone one night.  I am all about taking the time to cook a wonderfully delicious meal, but this is truly the best of both worlds.  And it's filling.  Throw a pot of chicken stock and quinoa on the stove and you've got yourself a very filling and satisfying supper!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Bounty of the Squirrel

This summer I was accused of being a squirrel.  This is a true statement, indeed.  The way I made jam, canned tomatoes, and made pesto was most likely quite the spectacle.  It makes me happy that many of my favorite bloggers also participated in these endeavors, and now I'm quite happy to say that when I work late and I get home at night, I have my own personal stash of homemade pesto to turn to for a healthy, satisfying meal... although mine comes from the freezer not a tree.  Right.  Making pesto is easy, very cost effective, and tastes much better than store bought, I think.  You can buy basil in the store, but I am definitely partial to making this in season.  Farmers markets sell gigantic stems for $2.

Friday, November 4, 2011

CBN Tribute Party: Food Demonstration

The Chicago Blogger Network put on a wonderful event at Tribute on Wednesday.  It was my first CBN event and I had a lovely time.  My favorite part was a food demonstration that Chef Jared gave for some of the food bloggers!  He taught us how to make the most incredible dish: The Big Nasty.  Oh, yes.  The next time you are in the mood for some amazing down home cooking, order this!  It is a cheese biscuit with the most amazing fried chicken topped with homemade pork sausage gravy and the other side of the cheese biscuit.  Oof.

I met three wonderful women at this demonstration: Pilar, Lori, and Christina.  The photos I have posted aside from this first one, which is courtesy of Tyler from Darkroom Demons, are from Pilar.  Thank you!

This is Chef Jared!
And this is his head pastry chef showing us how to make some insane cheese biscuits!

This is homemade sage pork sausage gravy.  Lovely!
The assembly: the fried chicken is in place on the biscuit topped with the gorgeous gravy!
The final product. Beautiful!
The best part: Tasting!
This dish was paired with two incredible wines by Steve Cox at Tribute.  They were the 2006 Francine et Olivier, Savary Chablis from Burgundy and the 2011 Palmina Dolcetto from Santa Barbara.

This is my good friend Sara and my new friend Pilar!

This is Amy!
After this we went out to the party and met a bunch of bloggers.  I can't wait to get to know them all better!  We left with some really fun tote bags!  Thank you to Chicago Blogger network for the tote bags, sharpies, and putting on the event, and to those who supplied us with some really fun products: New Era Cap for the Chicago Blackhawks hat, Loopt for the bottle opener and sunglasses, Kind Bars for the snack bar, Pop Chips for the bag of chips, Freshii for the gift certificate, Tzar Ultra Lounge for the gift certificate, and Pink Papaya for the hand scrub and cream.  Thank you very much to Tribute for hosting the event, food, drinks, and the opportunity for everyone to receive 10% off if they show this photo while dining there!