Disclaimer

I am not a dietitian, I am a Research and Development Chef with a Nutritional Concentration. This site is based on opinions I've formed through my research.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chef de la semaine-Chef Roger Herring

Chef Roger Herring




Chef Herring is the Chef/Owner of Socca, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant located in Lakeview.  Socca is named after a popular chickpea pancake.  The name presumably fabricated by Roger's time spent in Limoges, France.  Chef has a very impressive and diverse resume including catering for rock stars!  Check out his full bio here.

I met Roger at the Green City Market purchasing produce.  He frequents the markets weekly, making dining at his restaurant all the more tantalizing.  One order of soccas s'il vous plait!

Pit Stop-Beyond Juice

Beyond Juice
So I missed my train from Birmingham, MI to Chicago by 4 minutes today.  After my initial freak out, I  decided to make the most of my personal disaster by checking out the local Birmingham nutritional businesses.  Birmingham is a charming little town outside of Detroit with lots of shops, boutiques and such.  I found a local farmer's market, a bistro that supports local purveyors who encourage a growing trend toward healthier and environmentally responsible living by practicing sustainable, all natural, and/or organic farming practices (deep breath) and a cool smoothie place called Beyond Juice.  I picked up a lovely Sunrise smoothie (Strawberries, banana, papaya nectar, orange juice, honey vanilla, an deionized ice).  In addition to this plethora of fruits, I added a Regulator (Psyllium, flax seed, licorice root, apple pectin, and vitamins) and a goji berry booster. Plus I made some friends:
Ashley, Tommy, and Alyssa
Ryan, Ronny and Tommy

Gadget of the Week- MORTAR AND PESTLE

Full Contact Mortar & Pestle by Mint

I love my oyster shell counter top so much that I hate cluttering it up with things.  The problem is that I love and need THINGS!  Gadgets, utensils, blenders, toasters, spoon holders, fruit bowls... you name it.  To solve this conundrum, I pledge to only display cool looking things such as this stunning mortar and pestle by Mint.  It pulverizes like a champ and I am in luuuuurve with the design.  Click here to find it online.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Melon Bar




Now here's a bar I don't mind bellying up to.


Spiced Rye Berry Cereal with Brazil Nuts

1/4 cup rye berries
1 cup water
1 TBSP raisins
4 Brazil nuts, crushed
1 cardamom pod, seeds removed and ground
1 all spice berry, ground
1 tsp fresh mint, minced
honey TT
1/2 TBSP clarified butter
cream TT


Bring the rye berries to a boil, add the raisins, nuts and spices and cook on a high simmer for 30 minutes or until the rye berries are tender, yet chewy.  Stir in the mint, than add the honey.  Add the butter and give the mixture a swirl, finish with a little cream or milk. 

I enjoyed my cereal with Floriole Cafe's lemon lavender pound cake, drizzled in honey.  Bon appetit to me!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dogs of the Farmer's Market 8.28.10

Honey for my Sweets

This sunny honey cost some money baby, but Raw Prairie Honey from Bron’s Bee Company is worth the extra kisses.  I picked some up last week from the Heritage Prairie Market stand in Lincoln Park.  The flavor is soft and sweet and glistens when poured out of the bottle.  You can buy this product at Heritage Prairie Market's online store or at the Green City Market.  Pour it over some dessert bread or on top of a buttery biscuit, and feel the love...honey

Friday, August 27, 2010

Guess which product this is...

Click here to find out


Now click here for real food.  *Note this recipe includes only 4 simple ingredients. 




Cinnamon Blueberry Salad Dressing


As blueberries wave goodbye to us this season, consider this recipe one of their last hurrahs.  Any berries left in your fridge which are old and wrinkly, yet still have a little life left in them, can be utilized.  This dressing compliments many salads, but I prefer it served with either blue or goat cheese.  Throw in some nuts and dried cranberries, and you just built the "Yummy" factor into an otherwise "OK" salad.  Go crazy, use hazelnuts for a change, maybe even toss in some micro greens or curly garlic sprouts for an artistic presentation.  Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1 cup avocado oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
Salt TT
Pepper TT
1-2 TBSP of honey

Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree.  Strain the dressing through cheese cloth or a Chinoise.   Stir in the honey and you're on blueberry hill baby.

Investing in a chinoise or fine china cap is a no brainer, I use mine for everything.  Here is an inexpensive model I found on Amazon:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grilled Peaches with Marscarpone Cheese

2 TBSP clarified butter
3 firm but ripe peaches (Flamin' Fury Peaches are the best), pitted and halved
2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp freshly grated cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom seeds, freshly ground


Clean the grill very well and heat to medium-high temperature.

Mix the sugar, marscarpone cheese, yogurt and most of the cinnamon and cardamom (reserve a couple of sprinkles for the peaches).

Brush the peaches with the clarified butter and place flat side down.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip, sprinkle the inside of the peaches with a little bit of of the cinnamon and cardamom powder.  Cook the round side down for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Place the grilled peaches in a small dessert bowl or plate and spoon on a large dollop of the marscarpone mixture in the center....yumbo!    

Paul Friday and I selling Flamin' Fury Peaches

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What is this Stuff? Green Cardamom


This is my favorite spice! Cardamom is the second most expensive spice in the world and there's a reason...it's heavenly.  Just two or three little pods hold enough spice for most dishes.  The pods are filled with small, fragrant black seeds which I believe to be the pearls of the spice world. 

In addition to being a staple in Indian recipes, I like cardamom in sweet grain recipes such as rice pudding, cream of wheat, or oatmeal.  Just pop open the pods and grind up the seeds.  Cardamom is also really tasty in bake goods, savory dishes and can be chewed as a breath freshener.  I've heard it marries well with seafood but have yet to perform any experiments.  If you have, please post your thoughts in the comments section.

Easy-Peasy Avocado Toast

Ingredients:

1 Avocado, pitted & spooned out
4-6 slices of whole grain bread
salt TT

Toast the bread slices, spread the avocado onto the toast and sprinkle with salt.  Easy-peasy, right?

P.S. This is so tasty it's redic!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Get to know your grains! MILLET

Millet is highly nutritious, non-glutinous and like buckwheat and quinoa, is not an acid forming food so is soothing and easy to digest. In fact, it is considered to be one of the least allergenic and most digestible grains available and it is a warming grain so will help to heat the body in cold or rainy seasons and climates.

It is nearly 15% protein, contains high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins including niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, the essential amino acid methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E. It is particularly high in the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. 

Use millet in anything from oatmeal or yogurt, to salads or sandwiches.  It may even be ground and used like flour.  Eating a variety of foods includes eating a variety of whole grains, not just whole wheat.   
 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chef de la semaine-Chef Madelaine Bullwinkel

Chef Madelaine Bullwinkel

Chez Madelaine shops at local farmer's markets and operates a cooking school in Hinsdale, IL.  She takes education to the highest degree by taking her students on tours to Paris!  OMG, someone please get this as a birthday present for me!  Here is a link to her site: Chez Madelaine Cooking Classes

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gadget of the Week-Copper Ladle

Handmade Copper Ladle




Ok, so I'm not sure this ladle is considered an actual gadget per-se, but it is used in the kitchen and that's good enough for me.  I fell in love with this baby at the Gold Coast Art Fair today and had to bring her home.  Ben and Lael Metal Couture creates several kitchen utensils and drop dead, gorgeous copper bowls.  If only we hadn't already spent all of our allowance this week ) :

Steamed Yellow Pole Beans with Herbed Garlic Butter

4 cups pole beans
1 TBSP butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP lemon grass, choped
Salt TT
Pepper TT

Snap or clip off the end of the stem end of the bean.  Arrange them in a steamer for 15 minutes (I used this one), or microwave them with a TBSP of water in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 8-10 minutes.

Heat a saute pan to medium-high heat and melt butter.  Add the garlic and sweat for 1-2 minutes, reduce heat to low.  Throw in the lemon grass and swirl for a couple of minutes (a large portion of the woody end of the grass may be added and removed prior to serving).  Pour the herbed butter mixture over the beans.  Add salt and pepper and toss.  Boom your done.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Food for thought EGGS

Do you know where your eggs come from?  Are they "Free range?"  Check out this article on Eatocracy

Dogs of the Farmer's Market 8.21.10


Shelby
Meatball

Wild Mushroom Crepes with Saffron Hollandaise

Hollandaise:

3 tsp water
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 ounces warm clarified butter
salt TT
pepper TT
cayenne pepper (minuscule amount) continuously
1/3 tsp saffron stamens

Filling:

3 cups of wild mushrooms (I used oyster & chanterelles) chopped
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, grated
1 TBSP fresh sage, minced

Crepe Batter:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 TBSP unrefined sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 TBSP melted butter
dash of salt

Start the hollandaise by vigorously whisking the egg yolks and water together for two minutes.  Place over a double boiler and continuously whip until the mixture has thickened.  Be careful not to overcook the yolks.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice.  Slowly add the clarified butter a tsp at a time while constantly whisking.   When the emulsion starts add the rest of the butter.  Toss in the spices, then cover and hold over warm water.

Prepare the filling by sautéing the mushrooms until almost tender, add the sage and continue cooking until the mushrooms are done.  Shred the gruyere and set aside.

For the batter, mix flour, sugar and eggs for one minute.  Whisk in the remaining ingredients.

Pour about 1-2 TBSP the batter into a crepiere or pan over high heat.  Roll the batter quickly around the pan to make an even, thin layer of batter.  Once the edges start to curl and turn brown, flip.  Add the filling and fold the crepe over twice.  Spoon hollandaise over the crepe and voila!  The best savory crepes that have EVER graced your lips.

Check out these beauties! MUSHROOMS

Wild Chanterelle and Crimini Mushrooms
Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms

I found these gorgeous oyster, wild chanterelle, crimini and shiitake mushrooms at Wednesday's Green City Market.  I couldn't resist the shimmering oysters and was extremely intrigued by the wild chanterelles, check back tomorrow to see what I do with these exquisite fungi.






Thursday, August 19, 2010

Insalata d'Italia

1 head of living lettuce   
1/3 cup pine nuts, roasted
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced 
1/4 cup olive oil
shaved Parmesan

Wash and dry the lettuce, basil and tomatoes.

Dry roast the pine nuts until slightly browned and add to the salad.  

Reduce the balsamic vinegar to 1/3 the original amount and drizzle over the salad along with the olive oil.  Top with shaved Parmesan.

Now take a bite, close your eyes, and picture your self sitting at a small, wobbly, wooden table in Fiorenza.  The sweet sounds of a street musician crooning Santa Lucia on the violin fills your ears, the delicate perfume of summer tomatoes and aromatic basil surrounds you....your insalata d'Italia is complete.  Serve immediately. 



Dogs of the Farmer's Market 8.18.10


Wilkie & Kenzie
Lulu  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Get to know your grains! SPELT

Spelt is a low gluten, high fiber, ancient wheat grain.  It contains more nutrients compared to many of its more inbred cousins in the wheat family.   Add spelt berries to morning oatmeal and reap the benefits of an excellent source of vitamin B2, a very good source of manganse, and a good source of niacin, thiamin, and copper.  Spelt can also be ground and used in bakery items. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

What is this Stuff? LOVAGE


Lovage is an vibrant herb that has a flavor similar to celery.  In fact, it's actually a cousin.  Not only is it high in Vitamin C, but it also works very well as a salt substitute.  Use a small amount anywhere celery would be appreciated.  I added this refreshing herb to my latest veloute sauce and it was dish.  I found some great recipes here.  Lovage has a couple of aliases such as "éleri bâtard (french for false celery)" and smallage.  There are two warnings attached to this herb;  A little goes a long way, and it might make you fall in love as it has a history of being added to love potions....use it very, very carefully.

Sweet Lavender Gruel with Rye Berries

Lavender syrup:

1/4 cup water
1 TBSP Lavender
1-2 TBSP Palm Sugar

Gruel:

2-3 cups water
3/4 cup Rye Berries
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
6 blackberries
6 raspberries
1 TBSP sweet cream butter
Milk TT

Bring the water to a boil, add the rye berries and simmer for 30 minutes.

In the interim, prepare the syrup.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and add lavender, steep for 20 minutes add the sugar and continue to simmer.  (Make extra and use it in yogurt for a nice treat!)

Add the nuts to the rye berries and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.  Toss in the berries and give them a good swirl, finish with butter, lavender syrup and milk.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gadget of the Week- THE CHOPPER


Let's put it this way, my knife skills have progressed ten fold and I STILL use this wondrous tool.  It's great for salsa and pretty much any recipe which calls for small diced veggies.  Buy it online here: Progressive International GPC-4000 Fruit and Vegetable Chopper

What is this Stuff? LEMON-CRESS

Lemon-Cress comes from the Basil family and has a pleasantly mild lemony aroma and taste.

I used it to flavor green beans.  The fresh lemony taste and aroma tossed with a little butter, really complimented the beans well.  
This is a nice herb to toss in with your morning smoothie or added to fish dishes. My next venture with lemon-cress will be pesto sauce!


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Apricot Lavender Pie

Pie Crust

1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour   
3 TBSP unrefined sugar
1/3 cup ice water

Filling

1/2 cup ground almonds
16 apricots, sliced in quarters, pits removed
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup unrefined sugar or jaggery
2 TBSP clarified butter or ghee
1 TBSP fresh lavender, diced

Crust:

Combine flour and sugar into a bowl. Cut butter into tablespoon pieces; add it to the flour and sugar mixture and blend with a hand mixer or your hands.  Slowly add the ice water and lightly knead the dough.  Divide into two parts. Flatten each part into a disk, and chill for about 30 minutes before rolling.