IllinoisTimes - Food Fri, 15 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0500 en hourly 1 Stop the car! - In Florida in search of oranges Stop the car! - In Florida in search of oranges
We were two hours from Disney World, but I only had one thing on my mind: sweet, luscious oranges. Originally we’d planned to fly, but I managed to talk my family into driving so we could load up th...]]>
Cooking teaches problem-solving Cooking teaches problem-solving
 “I know a guy who has a bus and likes to cook.” This comment from an out-of-town friend initiated a chain of events that landed me in a high school cafeteria kitchen in charge of preparing a...]]>
Dough delights - A basic method to open many doors Dough delights - A basic method to open many doors
 Named for the little cabbages the baked puffs of dough resemble, pâte à chouxis incredibly versatile. Five basic ingredients come together quickly to form a dough that transforms in the oven o...]]>
Reaching too far? - My adventures in Chicago's top kitchen Reaching too far? - My adventures in Chicago's top kitchen
 The English poet and playwright Robert Browning wrote: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?” This phrase has been cycling around in my head these past...]]>
The joys of meatloaf - Use leftovers, make it ahead, put it in the oven. Then loaf. The joys of meatloaf - Use leftovers, make it ahead, put it in the oven. Then loaf.
 It often seems that some most delicious meals were developed out of frugality. Day-old bread is transformed into decadent and hearty French toast by simply soaking in a mixture of milk and egg b...]]>
Kitchen wisdom Kitchen wisdom
 My in-laws used to tell a story about how they always cut a small piece off the end of the ham before roasting it. When someone asked what purpose this served, Great-grandmother replied, “I do...]]>
Winter greens - Salad, to give your body a break Winter greens - Salad, to give your body a break
Generally one thinks of salad as summer fare. Indeed, when the garden is bursting with produce and the tables at the farmers market are laden with rainbow-hued veggies, it’s easy to include them on...]]>
New Year's Eve: Getting it right New Year's Eve: Getting it right
New Year's Eve is one of those holidays that I’ve always had a hard time getting right. My better judgment has steered me away from participating in activities that would require driving around on ...]]>
Mocktails Mocktails
 As a kid I never understood why grown-ups would talk about “getting through the holidays” like it was some sort of difficult trial. What could be difficult about a time filled with presents...]]>
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...]]>