And her Grinchy heart grew three sizes that year

These are cookies brought to us by my friend and very trusty baker Chris Andrews of Hyde Park.  She makes these little jewels that taste just as wonderful as they look.  Highlights here are the almond biscotti at 12 o'clock, ginger cookies with chocolate chips at 1 (who ever heard of that combo?  It's awesome), chocolate dipped nut cookies down at 6 o'clock, and back up at 11, my favorite, little tiny flowers, stuck together two at a time with a gorgeous chocolate ganache.
I’ll be honest with you.  Several weeks ago I was planning to write a snarky post about how much I didn’t like most people’s Christmas cookies. I mean, I really don’t.  Homemade cookies can suffer a lot of indignities in the form of being mixed too hard and cooked too long, to say nothing of... Read more »

Curses, John Kass! You broke my turkey tradition!

By now, reader, you’re eating leftovers, deciding whether to keep, or chuck, your turkey carcass, and savoring the afterglow of a glorious turkey accomplishment–or plotting anew, already, to do better next year. Another Thanksgiving come and gone. As for me, I am cursing John Kass. Among his many other roles and accomplishments, he styles himself... Read more »

Still crazy-awesome after all these years

Kay, I mentioned her last week.  You remember, the woman who keeps her community garden organized.  The source of the mystery collards. As we talked and walked through the beautiful garden adjacent to her high rise, she said a few things which lodged in my brain, dropped a few comments which led me to suspect... Read more »
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Presidential Debate? Forget it. I'm celebrating Wombat Day.

Presidential Debate?  Forget it.  I'm celebrating Wombat Day.
October 22 is International Wombat Day, probably a bigger holiday in other hemispheres, but worthy of a celebration nonetheless. We love wombats at our house, and when we discovered this holiday a year or so ago, we realized we had to observe it.  With, of course, the proper dinner. Wombat Pie. I discovered it under... Read more »

Harvest time

Harvest time
Despite a hundred mostly-green tomatoes that are being eaten one at a time by mice, our garden has been a joy this summer.  We got dozens of adorable little carrots, gorgeous lettuces and arugula, rhubarb, of course, by the several pounds, and lots of green peppers and poblanos.  The marigolds we grew from seeds to... Read more »

Pie Bakers? Bring it.

It’s the South Side Pie Challenge. Last fall I attended the Bucktown Apple Pie Contest and wrote about it here.  It was great, and wonderful, and delicious, but I was left with an unsettled, unsatisfied, if stuffed, feeling. That’s because I wanted a pie contest down in my neighborhood. And now it’s happening!    We have... Read more »
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Striking teachers, Solidarity campers, and stone soup

Striking teachers, Solidarity campers, and stone soup
This is the story of a lunch.  A fishes-and-loaves feast, or maybe a big pot of stone soup. A glorious sunshine day, cool in the shade, breezy.  The kind of day we Chicagoans live here for.  A vast expanse of green, grassy patches punctuated with stands of trees, a hill, playground equipment, a fountain. Calm,... Read more »

Recipes for a bike trip or the coming armageddon

Dehydrating food works well even if you don’t have a dehydrator.  And once you master it, you can literally be prepared for anything. But it helps if you have a snappy little book like mine:  High Trail Cookery by Linda Frederick Yaffe. It’s a gem, an absolute gem.  And I’m here today to give you... Read more »

Cook's County To Go: Spanakopitacular

Cook's County To Go:  Spanakopitacular
When we popped it onto the oven it looked a little like a queen termite. Clearly a culinary triumph, the only problem being the 12 minutes called for by the recipe was quite insufficient to cook this giant, rolled spanakopita.  12 minutes and it would be barely browned, much less cooked through. So that part... Read more »
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Cook's County To Go: Road Food, Road Friends

Cook's County To Go: Road Food, Road Friends
After our first day of escaping death on our bikes Elisabeth and I settled into a good routine.  We pedaled lackadaisically, gawked at the scenery, met some fascinating folks, and ate  well.   Here is the second half of our Highway 1 biking story. ___________________________ I forgot the fuel. I mean I didn’t forget it,... Read more »