• Appetizers,  Recipes,  Sandwiches,  Side Dishes

    Ravishing radishes

      Spring has not quite sprung here in Chicago, and the natives are restless. We’re all ready for it, and the husband is ready for the plants to go outside. My seedlings—now more like full-fledged plants—are spilling out of their containers, straining toward the windows and begging for fresh air. Despite less-than-balmy temps, I’m willing the warmth to arrive—and maybe some fresh seasonal recipes will help. I don’t ever cook with them, but these radishes caught my eye last weekend, and just seemed very springy: fresh, dewy, earthy. I suspected the fatty, creamy richness of avocado might complement the crunchy spice of the radishes, and after paging through my trusty…

  • Appetizers,  Beverages,  Dessert,  Holidays,  Recipes,  Sandwiches

    Gourmet game day

    The best thing about game-day parties is the excuse to stuff your face and guzzle beer with zero guilt. Don’t show up to your Super Bowl party empty-handed. Seriously, don’t be that guy/gal. I’ve even taken you half of the way there, with this handy-dandy Super Bowl recipe list: You can thank me in free game-day betting squares. Dips Jalapeno popper dip Greek 7-layer dip Loaded bake potato dip Hot spinach dip White queso dip Sliders and sammies Spicy whiskey BBQ sliders Out-of-this-world veggie burgers Cheeseburger sliders Fried pizza sandwiches Philly cheesesteak with garlic aioli Crock Pot faves Slow-cooker carnitas Crock Pot picante chicken Crock Pot chicken, rice and green…

  • Appetizers,  Recipes,  Sandwiches

    Acronym awesomeness: the CB&J

    When it comes to odd flavor combinations, this is nothing short of a revelation. Holding a tray of these out to my fellow party-goers on Christmas Eve, reactions ranged from “what the heck is cashew butter?” to “Blech. Figs. I hate figs.” Others just stared, smiling and nodding unconvincingly as I promised that, as weird as it sounded, these would be the best things to ever cross their taste buds. I set the tray down next to the usual suspects—Spinach dip, shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers—sure these melty beauties would go untouched. Fortunately, I was wrong. “What are these?” (right?) “Is that BACON I taste??” (no bacon, just cheese, fig…

  • Entrees,  Recipes,  Sandwiches

    Veggie burgers for the carnivore in your life

    No offense, Morningstar, but your veggie burgers don’t hold a candle to these babies. While I can’t say they’ll satisfy cravings for a big, juicy hunk of ground beef (but let’s be honest, what veggie burger will?), they’re a ridiculously addictive, filling and flavorful meal option that anyone—even the most meat-and-potato midwesterners in your life—will thoroughly enjoy. Chockfull of fiber and veggies, they’re healthy to boot. I first encountered these at Atwood Cafe in downtown Chicago—and since spent a few random afternoons reminiscing and searching Google for the recipe. Recently, when the food memory popped into my consciousness, a search yielded the recipe. FINALLY. They’re as delicious as I remember…

  • Sandwiches

    Happy one-year anniversary, Flavor Bible!

    I’ve told you all before how invaluable The Flavor Bible is to my cooking. But I haven’t yet gone into detail about why this book is such a must-have for novice cooks and culinary masters alike. Since tomorrow marks a full year of publication, success and praise for The Flavor Bible, I thought today would be an appropriate day to give you my full review. WHAT MAKES A GREAT DISH? The first two chapters of the book delve into the “Language of Food,” in other words, what makes food what it is: Taste + Mouthfeel + Aroma + “The X Factor.” We all know that taste and texture are big…

  • Recipes,  Sandwiches

    Challah Tuna Melt

    This is the great jewish deli tuna melt that I’ve never had. Let’s get right into the good stuff. Challah Tuna Melt You’ll need: challah bread one can of tuna 1/4 cup mayo 1/8 cup chopped celery 1 tablespoon chopped chives fresh ground pepper cheddar/american/colby jack cheese First, mix your tuna. Butter one side of each slice of challah. Place a generous heap of tuna on your challah along with one or two slices of cheese. Grill, covered, in a skillet on medium heat–about two minutes on each side.

  • Entrees,  Recipes,  Sandwiches

    Mystery ingredient revealed

    Time to reveal the mystery ingredient: Ta-da! It’s Eggplant! And this concoction is an eggplant parmesan panini. I haven’t had eggplant parmesan in a very long time. Perhaps because I tried to make fried eggplant a few years back and it was awful. I blame a bad eggplant. This beauty, on the other hand, can do no wrong. Aren’t eggplants funny? Dense and spongy, almost like a nerf ball. Cutting into them is so much fun. I digress. Anyway, I saw this one in the grocery store and thought, what the hell, Eggplant Experimentation Round II, here we go. Not sure what I did differently, but these fried eggplant slices…

  • Entrees,  Sandwiches

    Mystery Panini

    This mouth-watering panini has a secret. It’s harboring a cleverly disguised, rogue vegetable. Dave wouldn’t eat this sandwich if he knew what was nestled between it crispy exterior. Can you guess the sneaky ingredient? I’ll tell you after Dave takes his first bite.