The Return of the Dinner Party

A few years back, laid low by a never diagnosed malady, I watched a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’ marathon on the Food Chanel. The experience made me an HGTV junkie, a devotee who’s listened to hundreds of people yearning for a home or vacation spot offering “an open concept that’s great for entertaining.” I keep... Read more »

Velveting

Chinese cookbooks often suggest using a technique called “velveting” prior to stir-frying delicate ingredients like shelled shrimp, fish fillets and chicken. When I was first starting to cook Chinese food, I bought a copy of Irene Kuo’s “The Key to Chinese Cooking” (Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), and the book quickly became my “go-to.”  So it... Read more »

A Long Time Favorite

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to revisit my favorite recipe for Irish Soda Bread. Like all of the other Irish breads I’ve made, it’s leavened with baking soda and buttermilk rather than yeast. Yeast-raised breads typically require both kneading and time to rise. Soda breads, on the other hand, can... Read more »
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What Do The Irish Eat on St. Patrick's Day?

If you go to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day expecting an over-the-top, Guinness-fueled celebration coupled with a dinner of corned beef and cabbage, you’re likely to be disappointed.  St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, died on March 17th, and the anniversary of his death typically includes Mass and a traditional Irish dinner, a category that-for the... Read more »

Chinese New Year: Star Anise Chicken

Chinese New Year is like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Easter rolled into one glorious celebration. The Chinese use a lunar calendar, and the holiday always coincides with the second new moon after the winter solstice. This year, the celebration begins on February 5th and ends on February 19th.  According to Chinese legend, the holiday... Read more »

The Grain That Isn't a Grain

My inbox is crammed with information touting grains I couldn’t -until recently-pronounce or spell, let alone cook. The more I read, the more I’m convinced that given the available nutritional information, these “superfoods” shouldn’t be ignored. So listen up, and think “quinoa.” Quinoa is a good place to start, in part because it’s fast becoming... Read more »
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Asian Wraps

A cold winter night is a good time to browse the cookbooks languishing on your book shelves, the ones that might provide an antidote for the long nights and freezing temperatures that define winter in the Midwest. Nothing, after all, warms a house better than a kitchen perfumed with the scent of bread baking in... Read more »

Two New and Interesting Cookbooks

I have one sibling, and he has Type 2 diabetes, as do severable of my cousins. Some of my closest  friends also have Type 2 diabetes, enough to make the menu for most  gatherings a challenge. My situation isn’t unusual. Rates for Americans suffering from diabetes are rising, and so are the number of Americans... Read more »

Forget the Latkes

Forget the latkes. Deep- six the jelly-filled doughnuts (soofganiyot). It’s Hanukkah, and I’m serving cheese. Jews were celebrating Hanukkah long before the first potato was shipped from the New World to the Old, probably in the first half of the sixteenth century. As it turns out, potatoes weren’t an overnight success. Only when famine threatened... Read more »
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Blame the Ravioli

Maybe it was the roasted pear ravioli at Phil Stefani’s Tuscany restaurants that first grabbed my attention. The fruit was mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg and Parmigiano cheese for the filling and walnuts, cream, mascarpone and sun-dried tomatoes for the sauce. Or maybe it was a luscious Comice pear eaten when it was perfectly ripe. Whatever... Read more »