Indian Spiced Whole Wheat Couscous

Indian Spice Whole Wheat Couscous

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I have shockingly little fresh food/ingredients in my kitchen right now. There’s the bag of brown basil and five overripe Roma tomatoes intended for marinara sauce, two moldy zucchini that just made their way into the trash, and a bag of shriveled up, dried out greens that will be tossed on my next trip outside. Well, what’s a girl to do other than go to the grocery store, which I certainly wasn’t about to do?

Rest assured I didn’t starve. I quickly devoured about a cup of leftover salad with chicken I bought for lunch yesterday in the midst of errands, and a few handfuls of my latest addiction – dark chocolate covered raisins from Trader Joe’s. But somehow I wasn’t satisfied – I needed warm food (this shouldn’t be surprising given the only sandwiches I enjoy are heated). So, I rummaged through the cabinets and managed to put together a nice healthy and filling side dish: Indian Spiced Whole Wheat Couscous. Read more of this >>

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Urban Belly Hits the Spot

Rice Cake: Chicken, Mango & Korean Chili Sauce

A friend recently told me she doesn’t experience food cravings, that she’s never understood it when people have said “I’m really in the mood for (insert food).” I just don’t get that. I’m would probably fall under the category of “emotional eater” in that I crave things based on my mood, hormones (yes, I’m talking about chocolate), and even the weather.

This is why it makes complete sense that last night, a wet and humid evening, I ventured with a different friend to Urban Belly, the hot new Chicago restaurant featuring Asian dumplings, noodles and rice dishes by Le Lan Chef Bill Kim. On a nasty evening like Friday, a steaming bowl of udon really hit the spot. Read more of this >>

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Lincoln Square’s German-American Festival

Bratwurst Sign  Pretzels

Brat with mustard  Bee-Sting Cake

There was a strange energy in Chicago this weekend, an overwhelming acceptance that it could easily have been the last weekend of summer. I’m hopeful we still have a few nice days coming, but there was a comaraderie of pretty much every person I had encountered to get outdoors and embrace the beauty of the weekend.

For me, I decided to join my friends Dan (the technical guru), Anna (the culinary school dropout) and Lori (the anti-blogger) at the German-American Festival in Lincoln Square. Sadly, this was the first ethnic fest I’ve ever attended in Chicago but was such a fun event that I plan on going to more of these neighborhood celebrations in the future. This one happened to be smaller than I’d expected, but it was still filled with lively music, tasty foods and people dressed in traditional German clothing. Read more of this >>

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Pretzel Bread: Sweet, Salty, Doughy Goodness

Pretzel Bread

Breads aren’t really my thing, but my brother-in-law has a strange obsession with the pretzel variety. So, to do something nice for him as the sweets I’ve made lately aren’t really his thing, I decided to give this bread a try.

The only problem: it was near impossible to find a recipe. There weren’t any in my cookbooks, although I have to admit I don’t have any books that are strictly bread-focused, and they’re hardly abundant on the Internet. There are probably thousands of pretzel recipes, but I was concerned about using them for the loafs, especially for my first try.  Finally, after many Google searches for both pretzel and bretzel bread/rolls/loafs, I finally found one on a site I’d never before used, Recipe Zarr. Read more of this >>

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The Peach Craze Continues with Sorbet

Peach-Mango SorbetGinger-Peach Sorbet

After months of internal debate, I finally caved and purchased the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment. I must say it has offered hours of entertainment these past few days and has resulted in two very tasty, and very different, flavors of peach sorbet: Peach-Mango and Ginger-Peach.

Peach-Mango was my first attempt and I was pleased with the results. I followed the ratio recommended in the brochure for mango sorbet, but substituted half the mango for peach. The result was a refreshingly sweet summer sorbet with the flavors of peach and mango nicely blended but yet each perceptible.

The next sorbet I tried was Ginger-Peach, which was far more adventurous. I didn’t have a solid recipe to follow so I created my own, something I love doing. In this case I wanted to make sure the ginger was prominent as the flavors so easily could have gotten lost in all the peach peachiness. The solution was to use three types of ginger: peeled and sliced fresh ginger steeped in the simple sugar, ground ginger mixed into the puree, and a garnish of preserved crystallized ginger. Let’s just say, it worked and resulted in a refreshingly sweet and spicy dessert. Read more of this >>

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