Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

30 minute panzanella

I feel like I haven’t cooked anything in ages. We’re T-30 or so days until we move, and dinners have been a weird mashup of items long forgotten in the freezer paired with pantry staples because who wants to cart a freezer full of meat to a new apartment, or, more popular than ever – sandwiches. We had a few slices of sourdough leftover from last week, and I’ve been craving summer ingredients: fresh tomatoes, basil, avocado, etc… We whipped up this simple summer panzanella in less than 30 minutes, and it was exactly what I was after – fresh and delicious, tasted like summer. The bread still has a slight crunch and chew to it, the tomatoes are their perfect summertime selves, and the avocado is a no-brainer addition.

Let’s be true to my kitchen style – I’ve never made panzanella before because it’s….a….bread (carbs, devil!!)….salad, but found an easy recipe from Food 52 and slightly read the ingredients and instructions before attempting this myself. I think I added perhaps a bit too much balsamic (as noted with eyebrows raised by Main Squeeze when I was liberally dousing the tomato mixture with it), so I’ve adjusted the recipe to taste. BTW, it was still super delicious.

Panzanella

Simple Summer Panzanella

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups 1-inch cubes of bread (great way to use up older bread)
  • tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt or garlic salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • pounds tomatoes (any kind or flavor you prefer in the summer)
  • shallot, peeled and minced
  • tablespoons balsamic vinegar (you can also use any flavor you prefer, and might want to use white balsamic if you want your salad to be extra pretty)
  • 4 to 5 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped into smallish bits
  • 1/2 cup basil, chiffonade or chopped
  • Avocado, diced

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or coat with cooking spray.  Toss bread cubes with 3 tablespoons olive oil until evenly coated and arrange on the pan. Season lightly with garlic salt and pepper. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking, until crisp and browned. Congratulations, you’ve just made croutons. Remove from oven and toss into large prep bowl.

Croutons

Chop your tomatoes and combine with minced shallot, balsamic, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and mozzarella together in bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes to get extra juicy. Pour mixture over bread and let sit for at least 10-15 minutes (you can put it in the fridge) to allow bread to soak up the juices. Stir halfway through. Add diced avocado at the end and stir to mix.

Tomatoes for Panzanella

Top with salt or garlic salt and pepper and serve.

Bread Salad

Simple Panzanella

Panzanella

Enjoy!!!

 

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Candied Balsamic Tomato & Sweet Corn SaladCandied Balsamic Tomato & Sweet Corn Salad.

 

Tomato & Sweet Corn Salad

 

Candied Balsamic Tomato & Sweet Corn Salad

4 cups grape tomatoes (approx 1 Trader Joe’s container)
1 cup corn (fresh cut off the cob is best)
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves, torn
Cooking spray

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, coat with cooking spray.  Add tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or until tomatoes release juices.  Combine sugar, salt and pepper; sprinkle over tomatoes; cook 2 more minutes.  Drizzle with vinegar and cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Transfer tomato mixture to a serving bowl.  Add corn, onion and basil and toss gently. Can be served immediately warm or chilled. I added the corn in the serving bowl, but you could also add the corn earlier in the pan. The recipe makes approximately 3-4 servings.
Candied Tomato & Sweet Corn Salad
Tomato & Sweet Corn Salad
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We arrived starving. It was finally Friday night in one of those long, nose-to-the-grindstone workweeks, the kind exacerbated by perpetually gloomy, freezing weather (side note – what’s up with the wind lately?!) and an adherence to a strict diet, a reminder that your soon-to-be 35 year-old metabolism finally called it quits and broke up with you, leaving you with the bittersweet memories of better days where you didn’t have to spend all of your free time tediously tracking every last living calorie into MyFitnessPal, and hell to pay on the scale if you dare surpass your paltry 1200 cal threshold.

porkchop chicago

Photo courtesy of Dish Destination

Carbs and calories be damned, we were going to eat some bbq. And while we were going to blog about it, we were not going to track it…or at least I wasn’t. I don’t know what Chrissy did.

Like I said, I was starving, and we (Chrissy, my blog wife and author of the incomparable Hungary Buddha Eats the World and I) arrived per the wonderful world of super famous food blogger networking to interview the restaurateur behind Porkchop Chicago, and dig in to some meats.

Now, when I say “proprietor of barbecue restaurants” what sort of mental picture do you conjure up? I, for one, think of someone perhaps Southern, someone who’s grown up on the stuff, with recipes passed down through the generations, guarded more closely than Bush’s secret family recipe for baked beans. I do not, however, think of a charming, pasta-loving Frenchman, with a soft spot for his former career in the mortgage and real estate industries, but that’s exactly who’s bringing you the incredible barbecue at Porkchop Chicago.

Jovanis Bouargoub moved to the U.S. and upon arriving, held almost every job possible in the restaurant industry. Having spent some time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Bouragoub knew his way around the kitchen, and when he came to Chicago, knew after first driving down Chicago’s Restaurant Row

Jovanis Bouragoub

Photo courtesy of Yelp

on Randolph, that he would open his own restaurant there one day. After talking to him, he made it sound as easy as “I wanted to, so I did.” This was a common theme throughout the interview, and this line of thinking gave rise to Porkchop, established in 2011, the Frenchman’s take on a deeply enshrined American food tradition.

This was Chrissy and I’s first tag-team interview, and I’ve gotta say, we’re obviously destined for great things in this arena. As you’ll remember, I was STARVING, but the time flew by with Jovanis – he’s one of those people who genuinely loves what he does, with a warm, infectious spirit that is synonymous with the connotations of a good barbecue meal.

We learned a lot about the restaurateur during our sit-down, with Bouragoub speaking in memorable bytes such as “The food should look good, smell good, and taste better,” and “I’d double park for Stan’s Donuts” (PREACH). Here a few other things that are good to know about the man behind the meats.

C&K: Coming from a French background, what attracted you to barbecue? Is there a certain type of barbecue you’re serving at Porkchop, and how did you decide on the type to serve?

Bouragoub: I loved eating barbecue when I got to the U.S. Barbecue seemed like a challenge, because there are so many different styles, but I didn’t want to do one style or another – I wanted to start with a base, and then come up with my own recipes. What we do here is unique to this restaurant, and because I’m French, I did feel like I had something to prove.

C&K: What are some of the new trends in cooking and bbq that you hope to capitalize on at Porkchop?

Bouragoub: We do things a little differently around here – we experiment frequently with menu items, and we’re not afraid to have a wide menu selection, as long as it all tastes good and is obviously high quality. This has led to certain things you’re not going to find in every barbecue joint, including fried ribs, rib tips, bbq short rib and smoked fish. A few years ago we were challenged by Absolut Vodka to use their Chicago vodka [with olive and rosemary flavors] in a recipe or dish. It actually led to our Chicago sauce.

C&K: Well, that all sounds delicious, but what is your FAVORITE thing on the menu?

At this point it became clear that, like a father with his children, he wasn’t going to play favorites with his menu items, but we did get the marketing director’s opinion – hers is the fried chicken and cornbread with honey butter.

C&K: Ok, so you love all the food here, we get it, but what’s the best thing to drink with barbecue?

Bouragoub: Whiskey. Without a doubt. Porkchop is a whiskey bar with great barbecue. It doesn’t have to be your favorite drink, but it just goes really well with the menu. [Porkchop also teamed up with Angel’s Envy to create their own signature batch of bourbon.]

Porkchop Food Truck

Photo Courtesy of Rachelle Smiles

C&K: We know you’ve taken your food to the streets with a food truck. What’s happening with the truck, and what are some of the highlights?

Bouragoub: We’ve had the truck now for three years, and it was one of the first trucks that was licensed to be able to cook on-board. We’ve taken it to The Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, we do weddings, graduations and private events. We have a lot of fun with it.

C&K: When you’re out of your restaurants, do you cook much for yourself at home?

Bouragoub: Sometimes. I think everyone should cook and know how to do the basics. For me, I love pasta, it’s something we grew up eating regularly, and can be difficult to get right. If you make a dish and can eat it even when you’re not hungry, then you know you’ve created something good. [More on the pasta at the end, keep reading!]

C&K: Besides your own, what are some of the other restaurants in Chicago you love?

Bouragoub: I love breakfast and brunch, especially French toast. Sometimes we’ll go to Marmalade [a considerable hike, considering he lives in Hyde Park], we like Yolk and pancake houses in general.

C&K: So you like the sweet stuff. What are your junk foods of choice?

Bouragoub: Listen, no one in America is safe from junk food. It’s everywhere, and I’ve got small kids, we eat it. But I’ll tell you what – donuts, especially Stan’s, the Nutella one. The first time I drove by Stan’s, I thought “what is this?” and I double parked to go inside and check it out. I got the Nutella donut, and I thought “this isn’t going to be good, this isn’t going to be the real deal,” but let me tell you something – do yourself a favor and just get two of them right away. One to eat now, and the other to eat…right after.

C&K: And finally, if you could eat dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would you pick and what you have?

Bouragoub: Pasta. With bread. With Obama. I mean, he’s the President of the United States, you can’t really beat that.

And there you have it, folks. A guy from France, creating what I dare say is Chicago-style barbecue.

So, how did the barbecue stack up? Well, I whole-heartedly admit that this is one of my new favorite bbq places in the city, and having been around for 5 years, it’s not exactly new on the scene. How have I missed this?!

We started with the fried pickles and mac & cheese with pulled pork. Beers in hand (sorry, I’m not a whiskey lady, or maybe even a “lady” in general #notalady), we dug in.

Fried Pickles

Mac & Cheese Porkchop Chicago

Oh, yeah. This was not going in MyFitnessPal. It was DELICIOUS. Truly the best thing I’d eaten all week, which wasn’t exactly hard to top, but the mac & cheese hit all the right notes – creamy and cheesy, delicious smoked meat, perfect to be sauced. Oh, and the sauces at Porkchop?  They’re all thick, which is just how I like my sauces. Chrissy and I both loved the aforementioned Chicago sauce – the one made with vodka. Figures. The fried pickle slices were just a tad too thick for my liking, but the ranch that came with them was quite excellent.

For the main event, we chose the fried chicken sandwich and bbq short rib. I wasn’t expecting what showed up on our table.

BBQ Short Rib - Porkchop

That is a prehistoric chunk of man meat right there, but since we’ve already established that we’re not the “lady” type of ladies, we tore into it, with true devour power. So insanely good. The meat had more chew than I was expecting for a short rib, but in a most-excellent way, and the fried chicken was about as perfect as you could imagine. Obviously we were no longer starving, and decided to skip dessert, which for C and I, is practically unheard of. A restaurant that leaves me too full for dessert is a true winner.

Basically, I can’t wait to go back, and with six locations and a food truck, it’s likely that I’ll be able to find a Porkchop to satisfy my need for amazing Chicago bbq just around the corner.

Porkchop’s flagship restaurant is located at 941 W Randolph | Chicago, Illinois, with locations in the Loop, South Loop, Hyde Park & Navy Pier, and their newest location in Glenwood. Porkchop Chicago | 312.733.9333

Hey, hey, remember when I told you earlier that Jovanis’s favorite thing to make is pasta? Well, he was nice enough to share his recipe for Cajun Fettuccine with Chrissy, who nailed it in her kitchen, AND I got to eat it with her last night, and I can assure you, it’s super scrumptious.

CAJUN FETTUCCINECajun Pasta

Visit Chrissy over at The Hungary Buddha for the Cajun Fettuccine recipe!

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Well, you got 23 days of blogging out of me for December, and that’s:

So, the holidaze were just that, and although I avoided the stomach flu this year, I was brought down by some other special plague, a truly horrid cold that left me zombie-like, but I naturally pushed through and burned the candle at both ends, clearly prolonging my misery. Today is the first day I feel like I’ve returned to the land of the living, and I was getting sick on the 23! That’s 8 days of awful. Is it possible that I would rather have the stomach flu?

Well, nothing like a little barf talk to ring in the New Year, and guaranteed not to make you barf (unless you eat nearly a CrockPot full of them…), are these 6 fabulous recipes for balls brought to you by some pretty awesome bloggers! I think we can all agree that meatballs are an easy go-to appetizer, and if you’re running short on time this evening, there’s always a CrockPot full of previously frozen balls in a vat of bbq sauce. You’re welcome.

Also, today I’m skipping the ingredients and sending you right on over to the bloggers for the recipes, so be sure to click the links.

Meatball 1: African Spiced Bison Meatballs with Cilantro Chutney and Tamarind Dip

Wow, Chrissy, that’s a mouthful. Coming to you from The Hungary Buddha Eats the World, is my Blog Wife, Chrissy (our anniversary is on January 20th), with a meatball recipe I’m sure never to recreate, unless it’s in her kitchen and I’ve polished off an entire bottle of wine. But seriously, they look awesome, and I think I tried the cilantro chutney once, although, yeah, I was likely drunk.

African Bison Meatballs

Go see Chrissy at the Hungary Buddha for the recipe for these African Spiced Bison Meatballs with Cilantro Chutney and Tamarind Dip.

Meatball 2: Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly Sauce

Veering toward a much easier path, we’ve got a quintessential stand-by, for those of you who want something just a touch classier than frozen meatballs in bbq sauce, though Meggan of Culinary Hill assures us you can use frozen meatballs for this one.

Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly Sauce

Visit Meggan for her classic Crockpot Meatballs in Grape Jelly Sauce.

Meatball 3: Spicy Asian BBQ Meatballs

Ooo, I love Asian flavors, and I love meatballs, so I’m 100% certain I’d love these super easy Spicy Asian Meatballs from The Plaid & Paisley Kitchen.

Spicy Asian Meatballs

Visit Chandra at The Plaid & Paisley Kitchen for the recipe for the Spicy Asian BBQ Meatballs

Meatball 4: Swedish Meatballs

I have to admit, growing up near Bishop Hill, Illinois, a small Swedish colony turned amazing tourist day trip, I’ve eaten my fair share of Swedish Meatballs…and I LOVE THEM. SO. MUCH. Sue over at A Palatable Pastime whipped up some from-scratch Swedish Meatballs, and they look absolutely amazing. This is one recipe I think I’m going to have to make.

Swedish Meatballs

Visit Sue at A Palatable Pastime for her amazing take on Swedish Meatballs

Meatball 5: Thai Style Pork Meatballs

Well, these meatballs look simply delicious. Combining Thai flavors into pork meatballs is Regina from Leelalicious.

Thai Style Pork Meatballs

Visit Regina for her recipe for Thai Style Pork Meatballs.

Meatball 6: Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Blue Cheese Dressing

Ha, a twist! You thought I was going to bring you just balls of beef and balls of pork, but you were wrong!! I’m sneaking in a chicken meatball, buffalo-style. I love buffalo anything, so these are just super exciting!

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Visit Jo at Jo Cooks for the full recipe for Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Meatballs.

To pin all of these fabulous meatball recipes for the future, use this image:

Meatballs 6 Ways

 

 

 

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I have to say, ever since visiting last March, I have quite the love affair with Prague going on. Prague is this beautiful, fairy-tale city, untouched by war, so all of the buildings and structures are original to the city. I happened to be visiting during Easter, when the Easter markets were in full swing, and I was taking full advantage of the cheap hot wine. Yes, by the way, Prague is very cheap to visit, so if you want to go to Europe and not spend a TON, visit Prague. Hey, my friend Becky lives there, and she’ll probably let you stay with her. Think of all the money you’ll save.

Today’s recipe is Vánočka, a braided brioche bread with raisins, typically served during Christmas in the Czech Republic. I haven’t actually tried this, nor have I made it, but I love Prague so much, that maybe I’ll whip this up for the C-Family during Christmas. I mean, how hard is it to braid 6 different raw bread dough ropes together? Psshhh, I got this, particularly when I have to wear a white apron and headscarf and not talk to anyone while I’m making it. And don’t mind me while I’m jumping up and down while the dough rises. All in a day’s work, according to Czech traditions, according to 196 Flavors, who is helping me bring this tradition to your house.

So let’s get down to business, and start making the brioche. Besides, jumping up and down will be the most activity I’ve done in a couple of weeks.

Vanocka

Read on »

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It may come as a shock to you, but Americans don’t have the lock on Christmas. Apparently, it’s celebrated all over the world, and the good people of Greece get into the spirit by eating lemon chicken soup, which I have to say, sounds incredibly delicious. I actually made a crockpot full of chicken soup today to feed my poor sickie boyfriend, who is currently looking a bit like an Ewok on the couch, or at the very least, a heavily bearded Obi Wan Kenobi. He favors brown, and blankets are no exception. Poor kid. He needs fluids. Where’s a moisture farmer when you need one?

Anyhoo, this lemony soup recipe comes from JJ at the very cool blog Urbane Nomad. JJ’s a fellow Chicago blogger, and is borrowing other culture’s Christmas traditions this year. Avgolemono is traditionally made in Greece on Christmas Eve, making it not just another soup recipe, but a Christmas soup recipe!!

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Avgolemono – Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons of Dill
  • 3 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Quarts of Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Orzo

For the full recipe and instructions, swing on by Urbane Nomad, and say hello to JJ! 

Green Chicken Soup Recipe

 

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