IllinoisTimes - Food Thu, 13 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0500 en hourly 1 Two new cookbooks to give and get this holiday season Two new cookbooks to give and get this holiday season
Cookbooks are some of the best gifts to give your food-minded friends and relatives for the holidays. Among this year’s new releases are two wildly different books that share a surprisingly common t...]]>
Edible gifts Edible gifts
 Several years back, my family agreed to stop buying holiday gifts for the adults. Money was always tight for somebody and none of us are big shoppers, so we decided just to buy gifts for the kid...]]>
Black garlic Black garlic
 In my last Illinois Times column I reviewed the recently published The Noma Guide to Fermentation. During the past month I have been working my way through several of its recipes. However, I’v...]]>
Holiday party platters Holiday party platters
 It’s not hard to create festive party platters and gorgeous cheeseboards that will impress your guests or make you the most popular person at the office potluck. This is how I prefer to entert...]]>
Foundations of flavor: The Noma Guide to Fermentation Foundations of flavor: The Noma Guide to Fermentation
 I first learned of the Danish restaurant Noma five years ago from an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.” Bourdain had visited the restaurant and spent time hanging out with its...]]>
How not to cut a squash How not to cut a squash
 This past summer I received a Facebook message from my old musician friend Eric. He wrote: “You will have to meet my girlfriend Cathy … she works for a company called NuWave doing infomercia...]]>
Soups for the freezer Soups for the freezer
 Now that cool fall temperatures have finally arrived, my soup pot will be in regular use. We eat soup several nights a week in my house, and I honestly wouldn’t be able to feed my family made-...]]>
Tahini’s benefits and uses Tahini’s benefits and uses
For a long time, an old jar of tahini has resided in a lonely corner in the back of the fridge. It was one of those ingredients that I had purchased for one purpose only – making homemade hummus, wh...]]>
Upside-down cake Upside-down cake
 With the onset of crisp autumn weather, I’ve been eager to retreat into my kitchen and bake. Displays of ripe autumn fruit, stacked high on tables at the market, make me want to run home and t...]]>
Cravings: How I Conquered Food Cravings: How I Conquered Food
When I was 20, I crossed the burning border / I came to find the good life / And brought my daughter here … We came for democracy and hope / Now all we have is hope … My daughter is a Dreamer …T...]]>
Hemp seed recipes Hemp seed recipes
 Last month Governor Rauner signed a bill that will allow Illinois farmers to begin growing and processing industrial hemp. This is exciting news for farmers like Chad Wallace of Oak Tree Organic...]]>
Kitchen confidential Kitchen confidential
 It is 7:30 on a Saturday evening and I’m at Vele, an upscale restaurant in downtown Springfield. It’s a busy night and the dining room is nearly full. I, however, am not among the diners. I�...]]>
Weeknight dinners Weeknight dinners
 “What should I make for dinner?”This seems to be a question that plagues working families everywhere. Not long ago, I was waiting to pick up my daughter when I overheard some other moms disc...]]>
Food as medicine Food as medicine
 I recently had to spend an unanticipated couple of days in Memorial Medical Center. Aside from the unpleasant and painful circumstances that precipitated my visit to the ER, my experience was ac...]]>
Pickles Pickles
 It’s been a good year for cucumbers. I planted six plants in a raised bed earlier this spring and for the past three weeks I’ve been picking anywhere from 10-20 pounds of the juicy, deliciou...]]>
Eggplant three ways Eggplant three ways
 I’ve always wondered how the large, pendulous purple orb, called an aubergine, melanzana or brinjal in other languages, came to be known as an “eggplant.” It turns out that the variety gro...]]>
Zucchini and summer squash Zucchini and summer squash
 If some zucchini randomly appeared on your porch this week, you weren’t being punked. August 8th was “Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day,” a silly holiday that has been e...]]>
Lamb 101 Lamb 101
 When I was growing up Sunday dinner at home was nothing special, just a bit fancier than the TV dinners in compartmented foil pans that we had on most weeknights.Sunday dinner at my wife’s gra...]]>
Sangria Sangria
Few beverages look more enticing at a summer soiree than a big pitcher of sangria. Ripe fruits suspended in a concoction of dry wine, seltzer, a bit of sugar and liqueur make up this traditional Spani...]]>
Cold noodles for hot days Cold noodles for hot days
 Despite our president’s suspicion that global warming is a hoax, all-time high temperatures are being recorded across the world, from Denver to Montreal to Scotland to Oman to Pakistan. Temper...]]>
Fresh blueberry pie Fresh blueberry pie
Memory is a funny thing. As easily as you can forget what you ate for lunch yesterday, a single whiff of an aroma from the past can transport you back in time. Every time I make a batch of my great-gr...]]>
The Midwest Supper Club Revival The Midwest Supper Club Revival
 I’ve had some pretty amazing dining experiences in my life, like the time I had a 14-course meal at Chicago’s top-rated Alinea. I don’t remember much about the first 13 courses,...]]>
Hot summer, cold soups Hot summer, cold soups
 As I write this, I’ve just come in from the garden, and it’s so hot outside that by 10 a.m. the morning sun was beating down, and even in the shade, sweat was freely running into my eyes. I�...]]>
When life gives you lemons, preserve them When life gives you lemons, preserve them
From every restaurant in which I’ve apprenticed, I’ve walked away with at least one “pearl” of kitchen wisdom that has helped me up my cooking game. Sometimes I learn a clever little trick to...]]>
Rosé all day Rosé all day
 Sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing. It wasn’t long ago that the selection of good dry rosé wines was limited in wine shops and practically nonexistent in grocery stores. Now, en...]]>
Our favorite Thai topper - Help for peanut sauce fans Our favorite Thai topper - Help for peanut sauce fans
 I have been very fond of the Magic Kitchen’s tiny fried eggrolls and accompanying peanut sauce as long as I have lived in Springfield. In fact, I am so much in love that I never share my order...]]>
Mostarda a must Mostarda a must
 Last Saturday at the farmers market, I was attempting to make my way back to my car and head home, arms sore and tired from toting around an overflowing market basket and a hot and stroppy five-...]]>
All the asparagus All the asparagus
 I dearly love asparagus – but I only allow myself to enjoy it in the spring and early summer, when local asparagus becomes available. After a winter of trying to come up with interesting and v...]]>
The best time of the food year - The opening of the farmers market The best time of the food year - The opening of the farmers market
 This Saturday is the opening day of the Old Capitol Farmers Market (OCFM). I’ve had the day circled in my calendar for weeks now – I feel like a little kid counting the days until her birthd...]]>
Irreverent paella Irreverent paella
I was traveling recently and needed to stop for a dinner break while en route. I found an attractive looking restaurant that specialized in “fusion” cuisine. I ordered a grilled chicken Banh Mi an...]]>