Category: Holidays

No Stress Turkey

Cooking the Thanksgiving turkey doesn’t have to be stressful. Back before I knew there was more than one way to cook a turkey, I pre-heated the oven to 325-degrees F., put a rack in my largest roasting pan, positioned the turkey on the rack, tented the turkey with foil, and then popped it-unstuffed- into the... Read more »

The Best Holiday

I love Thanksgiving. It’s an “everyone” holiday with a great menu and no “musts.” Getting everything cooked and served can be daunting for the hosts, but it doesn’t have to be. Thanksgiving dinner is typically a potluck, which works especially well for this holiday. According to the game plan, everyone brings something, and everyone tells... Read more »

Meringues: A Dessert for Both Passover and Easter

Light and airy, meringues are the perfect dessert for a holiday meal. And since they’re made with a simple mix of beaten egg whites and sugar and contain neither flour nor leavening, they’re appropriate for both Passover and Easter. Meringues are extremely versatile. They can be used to lighten the texture of a soufflé, mixed... Read more »

A Simple Recipe for the Holidays

With several get-togethers scheduled during the holidays, I was perusing some of my simplest-and most reliable- recipes. The following recipe for Raisin Brown Bread fits both criteria. Better yet, it’s delicious. Raisin Brown Bread Preheat oven to 325-degrees F 1 cup raisins 1 beaten egg 1 cup packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons cooking oil 1... Read more »

No Fuss Christmas Dinners

Mac and cheese isn’t really a great choice for Christmas dinner, despite lobbying by the kids. On the other hand, neither do you have to spend the day cooking or search for a restaurant that’s actually open.The following restaurants and markets make a festive Christmas dinner a snap. Cyrano’s Farm Kitchen (546 N. Wells Street... Read more »

Hanukkah Minus 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 »

A Menu for Christmas Morning

When I asked Greg Mosko, the pastry chef at North Pond (2610 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago 773.477.5845) for a suggestion for breakfast on Christmas morning, he opted for a buffet of Christmas breads, a game plan that makes it possible to assemble everything ahead of time. While “buffet” implies variety, the spread doesn’t have to... Read more »

The Feast of the Seven Fishes: A Christmas Eve Tradition

Many of the Italian restaurants in the Chicago area will be celebrating The Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve in observance of La Vigillia di Natale, a traditional fast day that ends with the birth of Jesus at midnight. Meat and dairy products are off limits, but even so, dinner menus are definitely... Read more »

Thanksgiving Leftovers Get A Make Over

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and that gigantic turkey you bought because the price was so amazing is now-officially- a leftover, nothing more than a bag of bones and a large container filled with oddly sized pieces of turkey. What happens now? If you’re Chef Chris Gawronski of The Gage (24 S. Michigan Ave., 312.372.4243),... Read more »

Chef Steve Chiappetti's Tips for a Hassle-Free Thanksgiving Dinner

Despite being on the cooking end of thousands of Thanksgiving dinners, Steve Chiappetti, chef partner at Marion Street Market, has lost none of his enthusiasm for the archetypical holiday dinner. “Thanksgiving dinner means turkey with all the trimmings,”Chiappetti says, “and I’m all in favor of observing the tradition.” So what are his “trimmings” of choice?... Read more »