Category: Cooking

Crock-Pot Chili: Can A Bowl of Texas Red Be Full Of Beans?

It is hard to imagine that anyone who has owned a slow cooker for any length of time has not made some sort of chili in it. Most chili recipes call for a long, slow cooking time, so the protein and the vegetables and spices blend to maximum flavor. That makes it just about the... Read more »

Buying Local in Chicago: Q-and-A With Patty Erd of The Spice House

The Unwrap Chicago campaign, conducted by the non-profit group Local First Chicago, is aimed at persuading consumers to spend their holiday shopping dollars with locally owned small businesses. But why buy local? The Spice House in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood exemplifies some of the best reasons. There is the freshness of the products. The spices... Read more »

Homemade Cranberry Sauce: One of the World's Easiest Embellishments

Cranberry sauce is one of those things that most of us grew up eating out of a can. Because it was so darn easy, yes. But also, I think, because cranberry sauce was kind of an after-thought for holiday dinners, a little something sweet to cut the heaviness of all those savory dishes. But here’s... Read more »

Gluten-Free Cobbler: A Reprise

[Note: I am reposting this guest column about gluten-free peach cobbler — written by Diana Zinkl, a fellow Michigan State grad and D.C. expat — with a purpose. Diana has decided to start a “Gluten-Free Monday” feature on her blog, Notes From The Flyover States. This week’s post, which can be found by clicking here,... Read more »

Peach Cobbler... Simple or Sophisticated? (A Gluten-Free Guest Column!)

[Note: Diana Zinkl, a fellow Michigan State grad and D.C. expat, noted recently that she had success with a gluten-free version of a peach cobbler recipe she’d found on the Web. I reminded her that I’d posted a pretty neat, all-purpose fruit cobbler recipe in June, and Diana — who now lives in Colorado —... Read more »

The Cooler Kitchen: Back to Bacon, Honey

Breaking news from the Cooler on the Lake Shore home bacon-curing test labs: The honey-mustard experiment was a success! Take one pork belly, add a mixture of kosher salt, dark brown sugar, Dijon mustard, honey and chopped garlic. Place in a Ziploc bag, place the bag in the refrigerator for a week, turning once a... Read more »

This Fruit Salad May Change Your Idea Of Dessert

Sometimes you prepare a dish that you think will be good, and it turns out to be so awesome that you just want to make it over and over and over. I made a fruit salad for a picnic last night. I could eat this for dessert every day for the rest of my life.... Read more »

Spartan Jesse Lee Graff Wants To Get Chicago (BBQ) Sauced

Jesse Graff graduated from Michigan State University in 2005 with a degree in finance and moved to Chicago, where he worked for investment firms for several years. But Graff had an itch to explore going into business for himself — and a talent for making barbecue sauce that he had been honing since college. After... Read more »

Home-Cured Bacon: Easy. Delicious. Do This.

So I patiently waited the prescribed week for the slab of pork belly to cure in the refrigerator. I rinsed off the salt/spice solution last night and roasted it at 200 degrees for about an hour and a half. I chilled it overnight, sliced off four thick rashers, cooked it alongside scrambled eggs for breakfast... Read more »

Fun At The Farmers' Market: Yo, It's The Italian Scallion

Shopping at farmers’ market is a total kid-in-a-candy-store experience for me. It’s fortunate that there is only so much I can carry home, because otherwise I might need a second fridge. Here is a sampling from today’s haul at Chicago’s Green City Market… There are raspberries, blueberries, sweet cherries, apricots and peaches; sweet corn, red... Read more »