A butterflied pork tenderloin is stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, pear, shallots and sage, then grilled both indirectly and directly. Recipe below.
We’re experiencing the season’s first real bout of don’t-heat-up-the-kitchen weather here in Chicago. So this weekend, I fired up the grill. For my inaugural grilled meat meal of the year, I turned to a recipe inspired by one of our favorite vegetarians. You may remember the recent vegetarian pasta dish based on a side served by our friend Laura. Well, even though she doesn’t eat meat, she knows how to cook it.
Two elemental flavors come together beautifully in this recipe. With two cups of chopped mushrooms, the filling delivers a delicious, earthy taste. And a combination of indirect and direct grilling adds plenty of smokiness to the pork tenderloin. [click to continue…]
Inspired by Gobi (Cauliflower) Manchurian Dry, a popular Indo-Chinese appetizer we sampled at a Bengali restaurant, this lighter version skips the breading and deep frying, but not the flavor. Recipe below.
Okay, so this is the third consecutive post that starts by talking about a recent road trip. Last weekend found us in the Motor City. We saw some stellar art—at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, at the Detroit Institute of Arts and on the city streets. Detroit is home to a talented, lively graffiti art scene.
We also ate some amazing food—some of it definitively American, but most of it brought to the city by immigrants. We’re always happy to eat at Señor Lopez, on the edge of Mexican Town. The food is delicious, authentic, plentiful and cheap, and the service is unfailingly friendly. But what really captured our culinary hearts this visit was a pair of Bengali meals. [click to continue…]
Savory, crunchy and often spicy, pickled kimchi is the Korean national dish. It’s also the delicious heart of this weeknight-quick pancake. Recipe below.
Kimchi is a living thing—beautiful, colorful, naturally fermented cabbage, rich with garlic, red pepper, fiber and vitamins. When I opened the jar of kimchi to make this pancake, it began bubbling around the edges of the liquid in a very satisfying way.
We first thought of making this pancake a few weeks ago, when we were passing through Rochester, New York and had dinner at Young’s Korean Restaurant. And if you ever happen to be in that part of the world, get your GPS to take you there (and you’ll need it). Young’s is cozy and welcoming, but it is located kind of beyond a dreadful strip mall hell, in the confusing middle of an office park, in what looks like a warehouse on: Mushroom Boulevard. It is just wonderful. Everything we had that night was delicious, the banchan were crunchy and fresh and the humblest dish of all was this simple pancake. It was so unassuming, and yet so flavorful, that I just had to give it a try. [click to continue…]
Based on a lively side dish we had on a recent trip, this quick vegetarian pasta dish makes the most of in-season-now asparagus and gets a bright flavor boost from balsamic vinegar. Recipe below.
We were in St. Louis a few weeks ago, visiting our friends Rich and Laura. As usual, we ate lots of good food there. Scoops of Ozark black walnut ice cream at Crown Candy Kitchen. Heart healthy (and satisfying) egg white breakfast sandwiches at the bustling Nadoz Euro Bakery and Cafe. Local, seasonal-focused classic French cuisine at Franco, housed in the former Welsh Baby Carriage Factory across the street from Soulard Market.
But our favorite meal was prepared in our friends’ hardworking, beautiful open kitchen. Laura is a vegetarian whose diet skews mostly vegan, with detours into pescetarian. That doesn’t keep her from cooking meat for her omnivorous family and friends, though. [click to continue…]
Ripe mango and bananas, chopped walnuts and vanilla create a flavorful, not-too-sweet dessert bread. Substituting canola oil for butter lightens it up. Recipe below.
That’s right. The guy who never bakes has baked again. But a bread like this is so easy that it doesn’t feel like baking. There’s no sifting, no kneading, no waiting for dough to rise (and punching it down and waiting some more). You don’t even need to haul out the mixer for this bread—a wooden spoon will do just fine.
Of course despite the name, Mango Banana Bread is really more of a loaf cake than a bread. And therein lies some of the ease. You’re not producing a temperature-humidity-time-sensitive dough; you’re making a batter. At least for me, batters are much more forgiving. [click to continue…]
Black Pepper Beef is a weeknight-quick classic Chinese stir fry. Onion, fresh ginger, red bell pepper, celery, garlic and lots of black pepper offer plenty of flavor. And the Pepper Project helps Cambodian pepper farmers and communities. Recipe below.
One simple ingredient can often make all the difference when you’re cooking. And now that’s more true than ever. The ingredient in this case is black pepper—freshly ground, of course, instead of pre-ground and packed in a tin. Freshly ground peppercorns pop with flavor and fragrance, becoming a true flavor, not just background noise, and you can control the grind, from fine to coarsely cracked.
And in Cambodia, the Pepper Project is making a difference, with pepper. Run by the husband and wife team Tom Gordon and Cris Peterson, the Pepper Project is a not-for-profit enterprise devoted to introducing products of Cambodia to the United States. Through the sales of these products, primarily pepper, they support fair trade for farmers as well as organizations that protect street children, disabled children and victims of sex trafficking. [click to continue…]
Leeks, potatoes and frozen green peas quickly cook into a creamy, hearty soup that tastes like spring. See Kitchen Notes for a vegetarian version. Recipe below.
Spring in Chicago is being its usual capricious self. Warm, sunny days mix it up with cold, blustery, rain-filled stretches. The range of our outerwear this time of year says it all. Leather jackets, sport coats, shirt sleeves, raincoats and, sadly, even our down parkas all see action.
It’s the same story in the kitchen. Longer days and soft breezes have us longing for fresh asparagus and other tastes of spring. Sudden blasts of cold send us running for comfort food. This soup delivers both. The sweet, green flavor of peas is filled with promise; the thick, hearty, potato-rich base soothes even on an unseasonably chilly night. [click to continue…]
Herbed biscuits stand in for pie crust in this deconstructed chicken pot pie. Herbes de Provence, garlic and wine give the American classic a French accent. Recipe below.
I recently had lunch at Dine, the restaurant of the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro hotel. I wasn’t there because of my food writing credentials. Marion’s sister Lena works in the travel industry. The hotel had invited her to lunch; I was her plus one.
Historically, hotel restaurants have offered safe, if less than inspired meals to weary business travelers and wary tourists afraid to play restaurant roulette in a strange city. That’s beginning to change, though. Increasingly, hotels are bringing in new chefs and inviting them to play with their food. [click to continue…]
We go to the International Home + Housewares Show every year in search of new tools, technologies and ideas for the kitchen. And every year, we’re equally impressed by the color and fun. Like these spatulas spreading the ubiquitous “Keep Calm” message at the Lifetime Brands booth. Here, then, are some of the cool (and colorful) things we saw at this year’s show. Some are brand new, others just new to us. [click to continue…]