Between Two Slices of Bread

I recently wrote about my love of the Food Network and specifically my love of the show The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  I recently watched an episode that was all about food that is served between two slices of bread.  I once again began to think about what my answer would be.  What is my all-time favorite sandwich?  I also, of course, asked Ryan the same question.

Ryan’s answer:  Choriqueso torta from Xoco.

My answer: Although every burger that I’ve had from Kuma’s is great, my all-time favorite is the classic Kuma Burger.  The Lair of the Minotaur is a close second but the fried egg of the Kuma Burger is more powerful than the brie on the Lair of the Minotaur burger.

So now, I want to know your answer.  What’s your favorite food served between two slices of bread?  What’s the best sandwich that you’ve ever had?  And where can I get one?

Something in a bowl

I am addicted to Food Network.  One of my favorite shows to watch is The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  This series asks several Food Network people what their favorite food is in different categories.

There are two reasons that explain why I like this show so much.  I love finding new places to seek out a great meal and I love talking about food.  After watching an episode of the show, I begin to think about the food that I would suggest.

A recent episode asked for the best thing that they had eaten that was served in a bowl.

Ryan’s answer:  Mussels from Hopleaf.  This is definitely up there for me, too.  I highly recommend the Belgian-style mussels.  These mussels are soooooooo good.

My answer:  It’s a tie between the seafood soup from Blackbird and seafood soup from Xoco!  Both of these soups are ridiculously delicious for entirely different reasons.

So now I want to know – what’s your answer?  What’s your favorite food that is served in a bowl?

Festival Time! Festival Food!

It’s summer in Chicago and that means it’s festival time. It seems like every weekend there are street closures for some neighborhood festival. Suddenly, Chicagoans find themselves sweating in line for a brat or a deep fried Twinkie. That’s all well and good but after you’ve been to one festival and heard one cover band, it seems as though you’ve already been to every festival for the summer. That’s why, instead of my goal to go to a street fest every weekend that I have had for many years, I pick and choose my fest adventures. I try to pick festivals that are based on a certain culture or one type of food. That’s why I love Ribfest in the NorthCenter neighborhood and German-American Fest in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.  And that’s why I love Pierogi Fest.

Now, you may notice that although Pierogi Fest is a festival based on one type of food (pierogi) it is not actually located in Chicago. However, a brief drive to Whiting, Indiana is made totally worthwhile after you have stood in line for some sweet cheese pierogi and a potato pancake.  Take the time to sample different types of pierogi from different vendors.  And if your lil’ sister is in town, be sure that she gets an egg roll (definitely tasty even though it doesn’t generally go with pierogi).

Plus, festivals are great for people watching.  Pierogi Fest has Mr. Pierogi.  Serisously.  And that, is awesome.

Mr. Pierogi and His Family

Cooking Collard Greens – or – Proof that I was a Southern Woman in a Past Life

I love greens. This is definitely a part of growing up because I was not a fan of many green foods when I was younger. When I moved to Chicago, I discovered the joy of well cooked collard greens. A friend that I used to work with had many of her coworkers over for a fantastic Southern dinner. She fried catfish. She made cornbread. And, she made collard greens. These collards had been simmering for a very long time in stock and bacon. Yum!!! I knew that something had changed between me and greens.
In our CSA delivery last week, we received a bundle of collard greens. I had plans of simmering them for hours and covering them in bacon. However, I kind of forgot about them and knew that had to use them today because they were starting to wilt. I had some bacon but it was frozen in the freezer. We were also completely out of olive oil. I was going to have to improvise.

Collard Greens for lunch:
Remove the stems.
Cut the pieces of collard greens into long strips and then cut those long strips in half.
Melt some butter in a pan.
Add the greens on a low-medium heat.
Add couple pinches of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper.
Stir frequently.
Add hot pepper flakes (just a pinch to start).
Stir again before adding a couple teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
If I had had some stock, I would’ve added that but instead I added in two cups of water.
Turn the heat up.
The greens are ready when the water has cooked away and the greens are very tender.

They are tender and a bit tangy and so incredibly good for you.

Yummy! Tart!

Although I do love pie, tarts always seem a bit fancier and a bit more summery. Perhaps because you can see the filling and the berries that you used and it has that lovely glaze on top.  And tarts can elegantly stand on their own instead of being stuck in a pie plate.

We have a ton of fruits and berries in the house from Green City Market and from our CSA. I knew it was time for a tart. Luckily, the June issue of Martha Stewart Living had an entire section of tart recipes. Although they all look very tasty, it seems as though most tart recipes are just variations on the standard: buttery crust, pudding-like filling, fruit.

So, even though the temperature was going to go into the 90s again, I got everything together and prepped myself for a really really hot kitchen.  (It would be awesome if the next place that we lived in had central air.  That would be awesome.  Really really awesome.)

The finished tart really is one of the prettiest things that I’ve ever baked:

A Disaster Involving Kale

So, when I think of kale I tend to think of soup. It is now way to warm to be making soup but we had some kale in our CSA that desperately needed to be cooked before it had completely wilted.  I decided to cook it up for my lunch.  I found a recipe that involved heating up some olive oil, adding some seasonings (garlic, salt, pepper and I added a touch of red pepper flakes) and then adding in the kale.  Well, my oil was way to hot.  And I mean way way way too hot.  As soon as the kale hit the oil it flash fried.  Let me tell you, fried kale is not good.  It’s as gross as you are imagining it to be.  There were a few pieces that were salvageable but mostly it was a lost cause.

But, I learned something.  I learned something very important.  If there is a veggie that instantly makes me think of one food (kale and potato soup), it is probably best to use it for that food.

Lesson learned.

All I Want is a Hard Boiled Egg

I loved hard boiled eggs. And I love egg salad sandwiches. Although, I only love egg salad sandwiches that I have made myself. I feel the same way about tuna salad sandwiches. Unless I have made it or unless my mom has made it, I probably won’t like it because it won’t taste “right.” Actually, the only person that has managed to make a tuna salad sandwich that I like is Ben. So, kudos to Ben. But, this blog is about hard boiled eggs.

It is summer and that means that I want nothing more than a sandwich and maybe a salad. Today, I wanted an egg salad sandwich. But I have yet to really master the hard boiled egg. My hard boiled eggs are frequently over cooked so they have that ugly green circle around the yolk. Although it will still taste like egg salad, I wanted a perfect egg salad. So, I did some research. And my research led me to believe that everyone does this differently. This site gave me different information from this site.  This page gave different information from this page.   OK.

I was going to have to improvise a bit.  I decided to take some of the information from all of the sites that I found to try to make some great eggs.

1) Cover eggs with plenty of water.

2) Bring water to a boil.

3) Cover pot and lower heat of water to low.

4) Cook for additional 12 minutes.

5) Remove from heat and transfer to cold water.

6) Peel and eat.

I then prepped my eggs for my sandwich.  I like mayo, yellow mustard, a touch of dijon mustard and a pinch of paprika.


Now I want to know, do you have any tricks to get the perfect hard boiled egg?

Sea Salt and Chocolate

This cookie from Serious Eats had been on my list for awhile.  When I saw this recipe, I instantly thought that it would be delicious.  First, it is adapted from a Jacques Torres recipe.  Second, it combines sea salt and chocolate.  Since this week’s weather has been fairly cool, I decided that it was time to turn on the oven and make some more cookies.

There is one very important thing to keep in mind if you try this recipe.  This is not the recipe to use if you want cookies that same day.  The recipe requires you to keep it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  I’m not sure exactly what the purpose of that is but I do know that when this dough was very difficult to manage when I was adding the chocolate chips.  It was a very thick, dense dough.  I’m not sure if the 24 hour chill changes the texture at all but I didn’t really notice a difference.

This is the first recipe that I’ve tried that I would probably not use again.  The final taste is really delicious.  Really delicious.  The sea salt on the top is an especially delicious addition.  They are nice and soft in the middle with a light crisp on the edge.  However, trying to get the dough to cooperate was pretty ridiculous.  You  know the texture of the cookie dough blobs in cookie dough ice cream?  That’s what the dough felt like when I was trying to get the dough onto the cookie sheets.  But…..they are delicious.

P.S.  This cookie made a grand entrance at a 4th of July cookout today and they were a big hit.  So, I might not give up on this recipe just yet.  I will probably play around with it a bit to see if I can get the dough to cooperate a bit easier.