Monday, December 28, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 21

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all, and which this week turns legal drinking age. Enjoy! -Max)


Food Traditions: Christmas
by Jason Hissong
28 December 2009

I rest my head against the tiny window of the Boeing 737 that will take me from St. Louis to Chicago in 38 minutes. I'm anxious. I've never traveled on a plane during snow, or winter conditions, really. The captain dings the intercom on to inform us that we're going to be delayed because the plane needs to de-ice. It's a small comfort. I close my eyes and try to sleep, and as I try to sleep I can't stop thinking about our family's food traditions during the holidays. And, more importantly, how they're changing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Panama City Cooking: Patacones

[Editor's Note: Please give an extra-warm welcome to Juan Duque and his new monthly column, Panama City Cooking! -Max]

All done!

Panama City Cooking 01: Patacones
December 23rd, 2009
by Juan Duque

They say Panama is the heart of the universe, the crossroads of the Americas, and even the bridge of the world. You can definitely see that reflected in our food, since you’ll be able to find dishes with heavy influences from pretty much anywhere around the world. Our geographical position is a big part of why this has happened, with the Panama Canal being the main reason we’re basically a huge melting pot of cultures when it comes to food.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 20

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


by Jason Hissong
21 December 2009

'Tis the season.

I've had three culinary events this week which evolve previous topics I've written about. This is the nature of cooking, writing, and, life. As we march forward through time things shift, understandings change, ideas and meanings more lucid.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chicken Souvlaki


Growing up in Buffalo, NY, there were a lot of cool little Greek places in our neighborhood, and my go-to meal was usually chicken souvlaki. I loved picking up the chicken, tearing off a piece of pita, spooning on a little tzatziki, and going to town. There's just something fun about the process--it makes the resultant bite just that much more delicious. If Sisyphus got a bite of souvlaki every time he completed his Herculean task, he'd probably be way happier. (Because, you know, rolling a rock up and down a hill for eternity is definitely comparable to the hard work of assembling a good bite of souvlaki.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 19

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


Enemy Self
by Jason Hissong
14 December 2009

I'm sick.

I'm not physically ill. I haven't come down with H1N1 or that ubiquitous winter cough. I don't have any virus or disease, that I'm aware.

I'm sick of myself.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Apple-Parmesan Breakfast Pizza


Today's post is just a simple, basic breakfast pizza you can whip up with relative ease on a weekend morning. The only somewhat more complex ingredient is the homemade pastry dough, but even that's not too bad. You can find step-by-step instructions for making your own pastry dough in this post. This recipe is pretty simple, and involves fewer than ten ingredients, including those necessary to make the pastry dough, so it really relies on fresh, good quality apples and Parmesan. You can use whichever apples you like--I personally prefer Granny Smith for desserts. Oh, and if you don't have Parmesan on hand, a super-sharp Cheddar (Cabot's sharp Cheddars are my personal favorite) would make for a great substitute.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Whole Striped Bass Roasted in Salt


A couple of notes to kick off tonight's post: first, on behalf of Jason and myself, sorry about the lack of a Windy City Cooking edition this week. Jason will be back with another edition next Monday, so please stay tuned for that. Secondly, today's post contains pictures of whole dead fish, to be blunt, so if that wigs you out you're probably best off skipping this one. Tomorrow's post will be a nice breakfast pizza, no dead fish, I promise, so if you're skipping this one, I'll see you tomorrow and we can share a slice. Sound good? Okay, onto the aforementioned fish, which serves as the basis for our Whole Striped Bass Roasted in Salt.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Herring-Apple Salad


What do you usually make for lunch? According to Healthy, 88% of Americans eat tuna, with 83% of those tuna fans having it for lunch. How many eat herring? A measly .0017%! No, I'm kidding, I couldn't find that statistic. But tuna is great, and herring is pretty good, too. I'd say they're my two preferred canned seafoods. This recipe, from What's Cooking America, represents a nice change of pace from your typical canned tuna. It's probably the least time-intensive recipe on the site, but it's pretty delicious and the apple provides it a really nice crunch. It's great with crackers, or on little toast rounds, maybe some petit toasts if you've got those around.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 18

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


Giving Thanks: The Harvest
by Jason Hissong
30 November 2009

I'm sitting shotgun in our rented Jeep Wrangler. Jonathan's driving down I-70 towards Indianapolis, where we'll switch to I-65 which will deliver us back to Chicago. We're listening to the Garden State soundtrack as the miles tick by. It's calm, and collected, and it just seems appropriate as we travel home. We haven't spoken much on this trip. There's no need.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pecan Pie


Armed with our homemade pastry dough, there are a zillion possibilities in front of us (give or take). One recipe I really wanted to test out with this pastry dough was a pecan pie, something I'd never made before but always struck me as pretty involved. As it turns out, it's a little time-consuming to prepare, but not too complicated at all. So, let's check out how to make a classic pecan pie.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Homemade Pastry Dough


I'm not nearly as into baking as I am into cooking, but I do really like baking whenever I get around to it. I always forget just how different the satisfaction you get from baking something just terrific is from the enjoyment that results from cooking something delicious. There's something often more freeform about cooking--it seems like there's usually more room for improvisation, and trial and error. Baking usually seems like more of an exact science to me, as getting a pie out of the oven just in time for it to be cooked through, but not overcooked or undercooked, can be pretty tough if you're not either (a) checking it frequently enough, (b) an expert baker, or (c) both of the above. And if you over-mixed the flour, or mistook a measurement, well, baking's just not as forgiving as cooking. So perhaps if it turns out great, you can get a little more satisfaction out of it, but if it turns out terrible, you might be more disappointed. Either way, whenever I bake, I find it to be pretty worthwhile, whether that means a worthwhile learning experience because I just burned a whole tray of brownies, or, hopefully, a worthwhile eating experience, because those brownies didn't burn at all, and are just soft, gooey, and delicious.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 17

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


The Web Log
23 November 2009
by Jason Hissong

My good friend Joel used to run a blog about pop culture and other items he found of interest. His blog was full of links to other websites, because that's what the first blogs were. The word 'blog' itself is a contraction for "web log." So, in the tradition of early blogs, I present this entry in that style.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 16

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday--even when (still!) recovering from surgery!--Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


The Revisionist
by Jason Hissong
16 November 2009

       It starts with an idea. I hear a word, or see something on the television. Acorn squash. Risotto. Tomato bisque. I think: how? I think: what does that taste like? I think: what goes with that? I think: how do I cook that?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chicken with Lime Dressing, Avocado Mash and Red Bell Pepper & Almonds


Today's dish goes great with those homemade flour tortillas we made yesterday, and is a multicomponent meal that's not terribly time-consuming, but definitely does take some time and effort to prepare. This is a dish Jen taught me how to make--it's from the South Beach Diet cookbook (neither of us are on the South Beach Diet, but for some reason it's a legit good cookbook), but you can see the recipe online here--that I greatly enjoyed when we first made it together, and still am a big fan of today. I think it's the avocado mash that really makes the dish, but perhaps you'll be more partial to the charred RBP & almonds, or the chicken itself. I've made a couple of modifications to the recipe, but we'll get to those in a little bit. Onto the recipe.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homemade Flour Tortillas


Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I've wanted to make homemade tortillas for a long time. When I first got into cooking last year, my friend Antonio raved about director Robert Rodriguez's tortilla-making video which came as a special feature on one of his movies. I never saw the feature, but Antonio's excitement about the video was palpable, and that, along with my love for Mexican food (my favorite cuisine, actually), got me interested in trying to make my own tortillas. I finally got around to doing so last week, and the results were plate-sized chewy deliciousness.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 15

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday--even when recovering from surgery!--Chicago's Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


by Jason Hissong
9 November 2009

       This is going to be a bit of a different column. Essentially, it's an extended version of what I do at the end of my columns in the What I've Cooked, What Others Have Cooked for Me, Where I Ate feature. Why? Extraction. I now have four stitched up sockets where my wisdom teeth used to be thanks to Dr. Katabi and his staff at Armitage Oral Surgery.

       Because of said stitches I can't really use the back of my mouth to chew. So I've had to find ways to get all my requisite nutrients and protein/fats/carbs. It's a different way of thinking about food. A challenging way.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 14

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's only Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


by Jason Hissong
2 November 2009

       I get suckered in, too. They're so pretty- images of complete kitchens with all the gear. Racks of pots and pans. Blocks and blocks of knives. The advertisers are so charming in their made up world of perfection. I fall for it all the time. I think: if only I had the entire pot and pan set I would be a better cook.

       And it's not true. I'll be a better cook when I cook more, and better. The thing with gear is that there's so much of it that it's hard to know what's vitally necessary and what's advertisers' attempts at selling product. And it's difficult to discern.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #10


This week, three Bentos to share. The other two days were just repeats of earlier Bentos, so we'll skip those. For the time being, I'm still trying to make a new Bento nearly every weekday, and it can be a bit of a challenge some days, but mostly it's been going pretty smoothly, I think. Without further ado, let's take a look at those Bento boxes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tofu Bruschetta


While we were browsing the aisles at our local Trader Joe's this past Sunday, Jen excitedly suggested we pick up some tofu. I haven't actually made tofu in months, but we were eating it pretty frequently for a while there, and just kind of fell out of the habit. Jen tried tofu for the first time a little over a year ago at Thai Blue Ginger in Greenfield, Massachusetts, near Northampton, where we were living at the time. To her surprise (and mine!), she instantly became of fan of tofu after trying their vegetarian Pad Thai. Since then, we've eaten tofu at restaurants a little, but mostly at home--we've especially enjoyed tofu lettuce wraps and spring rolls, and we've found that the extra-firm is our preferred variety.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 13

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's risotto master Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


by Jason Hissong
26 October 2009

       Yesterday I spent a few hours over at my friend Andy's house. He doesn't cook much, and so we spent part of our afternoon in the kitchen with me showing him how to cook a couple of dishes. Our main dish? Risotto.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #9


Another week, another Bento round-up. This week, Jen had her biweekly Friday off, so I have four Bentos to share with you all. Without further ado, let's take a look at those Bentos.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pork Patty Melt


I'm a big fan of Serious Eats' hamburger-centric site A Hamburger Today, especially the posts on that site that really get down into the actual process of making a burger. One of their writers, burger genius J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, recently debuted a column called The Burger Lab, where he breaks down the components of various burgers and rebuilds them from scratch. Inspired by Mr. Lopez-Alt's ambitious creations, I wanted to try and make a pork-based burger that riffs off of Umami Burger's Triple-Pork burger, a chorizo-bacon-ground pork affair that I haven't tried, but did sound pretty delicious to me from their menu. So, with the burger-making tips I've picked up from AHT and other sites firmly in mind, I set out to make a Patty Melt using a homemade pork-based patty.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blackened Shrimp Salad


Some nights, you just want something simple that you can whip up in ten minutes or less. A good salad can be a cheap, easy solution to this problem. Or, if you feel like eating a big bowl of lettuce doesn't appeal to you, lettuce wraps can sometimes be a little more fun to eat. For this salad recipe, and for any other, really, you can turn the dish into lettuce wraps just by getting big leaves of lettuce, using those as lettuce wraps, mixing up the remaining salad ingredients as you see fit, and spooning those into the lettuce leaves as you go. Whether you make salad or lettuce wraps, either is a good dinner to veg out in front of the TV with. No pun intended, of course!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 12

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's cookbook fan Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


The Cook's Bookshelf
by Jason Hissong
19 October 2009

       My friend Kate is an amazing woman. Gorgeous. Intelligent. Funny. Well read. She sings and plays guitar. And, she's one hell of a cook. Every time I visit her home there is one item that draws me in over and over again: her food bookshelf. I envy her food bookshelf. It's full of cookbooks and books about food, old and new alike. I want most of the books Kate has on her shelf. They look good. They smell good. I'm sure the recipes in them taste incredible with proper execution. And while her shelf is far more extensive than mine I find myself dipping again and again into my own food bookshelf.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #8


We're on Week 8 of this Bento madness, and for the time being, I'm still feeling pretty psyched about filling the Bento containers with all kinds of early-morning deliciousness. When I first started making these Bento lunches, I was usually preparing them the night beforehand, which was a bad idea for a couple of reasons: (1) that led to me staying up extra-late, and (2) as long as I was staying up, I was being a little overly-ambitious with these lunches, which led to me staying up even later. At this point, though, I feel like I'm in a pretty decent groove with the Bento-making. I've been getting up at 6:45 to make them (and usually get some thing going for breakfast for Jen, too--as simple as cereal or, at worst, pancakes with batter made the night before to save time), and I'm usually left with plenty of time before Jen leaves for work at 7:30.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dumpling Wrappers & Potstickers


In last week's Shrimp and Corn Burger post, I mentioned that if you're a real glutton for punishment, you can bake fresh rolls for your crustacean-based creation. Personally, though, if I have the time and energy for it, I always try to opt for the path of most resistance when cooking. If there's a pre-made ingredient in a recipe, like the wonton wrappers you could use for today's potstickers, I'll usually see if I can make that ingredient at home. This just provides a little extra experience with making a new and different ingredient for me, and usually allows me to whip up recipes more cheaply, too. Because a package of wonton wrappers is definitely more expensive than twice as many freshly made ones. So with this recipe, feel free to follow along and make your own wonton wrappers, or feel free to just buy some and join the pictorial below partway through. Either option will yield delicious results.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Homemade Ravioli

Pumpkin Ravioli

I'm not a big pasta fan. I tend to find pasta dishes pretty heavy, especially when they're in a rich sauce. After one or two bites, food fatigue begins to set in, and then it's a race to the finish line, if by race I mean a slow, dull crawl and by finish line I mean eating a third of the dish. However, I've always found ravioli really appealing, and feelings about pasta aside, I'm always trying to test out new dishes I haven't tried to make before, and I'd never made pasta from scratch before.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 11

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's risotto champion Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column whose title says it all. Enjoy! -Max)


The Most Important Meal
By Jason Hissong
12 October 2009

       The most important meal I ever cooked I cooked for a girl in college that told me it was too complicated for me to make. It was a simple chicken and pasta dish with a white sauce and a salad of some sort. I have forgotten the exact details. She enjoyed it, or told me she did, and at the time nothing mattered more.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #7


Jen's got her biweekly day off today, so this was a smaller week for Bentos--I only ended up making two different varieties this week, with each showing up twice in this week's lunches. Regardless, one of the lunches this week felt like a little bit of a Bento breakthrough, and we'll take a look at that in a sec. Without further ado, the Bentos.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shrimp and Corn Burgers

Shrimp and Corn Burger

Every so often, when I'm not sure what dish I'd like to make next, I open up the Image Browser program on my computer and start scrolling through all the photos I've taken of meals I've made over the last year and a half or so. This can be a fun activity, as it brings back fond memories of good foods eaten (and in some cases, memories of kitchen disasters that I can thankfully laugh about now), and provides good fuel for my imagination when I'm trying to decide what to make for dinner. So, when I was looking at old food photos the other day, I came across these burgers and was instantly reminded how delicious they were.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 10

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday (or, on occasion, Tuesday morning), Chicago's cheerful chum Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column about eating and preparing food in Chicagoland. Enjoy! -Max)

el entrance

Ingredient Stretching
By Jason Hissong
5 October 2009

       Last Sunday I made tomato bisque. It’s a super simple dish, really. I started with rendering some bacon in my big saucepot and then removing the bacon for later. I then drained some, but not all, of the bacon grease and left a little to sweat my aromatics- in this case a simple onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. To this I added my whole, peeled tomatoes and let simmer for half an hour. I then added my bacon, a cup of milk, and blended with my stick blender and added some shredded cheddar cheese. I cracked the black pepper after ladling into a bowl, and served with a buttered, farmhouse roll. Delicious, satisfying, and comforting on cold autumnal evenings in Chicago.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #6


Welcome back to another Bento Round-Up. From this past week, I have three different lunches to share, one of which I'll go into a little more detail than usual about, as it again uses the roasted garlic I made last week. We got a lot of mileage out of that one head of garlic (and even more bad breath, I'm sure). Without further ado, let's take a look at these Bentos.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Roasted Garlic Aioli and Studies


A few days ago, I mentioned that Jason, who writes the Windy City Cooking column, had sent me a copy of Tom Colicchio's book, Think Like a Chef. I'm about halfway through so far, and it's a pleasure to read. Colicchio's writing style is friendly and laid-back, and his instructions are easy to follow. Although I didn't use his recipe when I made roasted garlic the other night, I have been really enjoying the book. The most interesting section so far is called Studies, and in it Colicchio shows how he selects one vegetable and then thinks about all the different directions it could go in. With a single tomato comes a roasted tomato, which becomes a key part of a number of dishes that follow. The way in which he thinks about food is useful and worthwhile, and so for today's post, and a future post, I'm going to attempt to carry out the same kind of thinking, in this case applied to garlic. We already have roasted garlic, which was the subject of last night's Midnight Snack post, and today we're going to tackle aioli.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Midnight Snack: Roasted Garlic


Roasted garlic is one of those recipes I see on a restaurant menu and think, man, that sounds great, but I should probably just make it at home. After all, it's just garlic roasted in the oven. Unfortunately, I'll tell myself this, and then, almost every time, I promptly forget to actually make it. I mean, I love roasted garlic, but I've probably only made it 2-3 times in the last year, which is probably why all those vampires keep friending me on Facebook. But that's all going to change with this post. Hopefully!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Apple-Cheddar Pie


This past weekend, Jen and I rewatched Waitress. Have you seen Waitress? It's a really great movie. I'm normally not much of a movie rewatcher, but this is one flick I gladly agreed to see again, because in addition to it just being a sweet, fun film, it also provides lots and lots of fodder for my food-loving imagination. The protagonist of the movie, Jenna (played by Keri Russell), is a pie baker for a small diner, and the movie is full of vividly realized pie-making antics. So, you can imagine that after watching it, I really, really wanted to bake something, especially a pie. I've only baked one pie before--a pear-Gruyère affair based on a recipe that was inspired by a pie mentioned in the now-cancelled TV series Pushing Daisies--and that turned out pretty well, but it was a lot of work.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 9

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's close confidant Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column about eating and preparing food in the City of the Century. Enjoy! -Max)


Sometimes Food is Not About Food
By Jason Hissong
28 September 2009

       It’s Thursday at 3:00 p.m. Two more hours and I have the evening’s reprieve from a crazy, stressful workweek. Tomorrow is a new day, and eight more hours of stress, but that’s tomorrow.

       It’s 5:00 p.m. and I close the computer. I change in the bathroom and lock my work clothes away and go see Jonathan. It’s time to leave the office and commence our evening. We hit the Red Line after stopping by the cash box, and we run into a friend during the commute. We get off a stop before we need to to enjoy the evening’s blue sky, one of the last we might see in this dying summer.

       We walk north on Clark Street. While there are worthwhile places on Clark Street we’re heading to Wrigleyville. It’s fine in its proper perspective, when taken at face value. And we both know that our purpose isn’t Wrigleyville, but a place for dinner in Wrigleyvile and it just so happens our primary concern this evening is very close to the restaurant.

Mike D's Polenta with Broccoli Rabe and Italian Sausage


A couple days after I posted that polenta recipe a week or so ago, I received an email from my good friend Mike D. Mike's a great guy. He and his wife Kat just had their first child today, and they're going to be great parents. Mike's just one of those people who's an inherently good person you're proud to call a friend, always eager and genuinely interested in hearing about what's going on in your life--he's just a person who truly cares.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pancake Madness


Pancakes are probably my favorite breakfast food, and one of my favorite comfort foods, as well. They're not something to eat every day, sure, but when you do have them, and when you do have a good version, they're satisfying and delicious. I've experimented with a number of different pancake batter recipes, but the one I've found works best is Mark Bittman's recipe from How to Cook Everything. However, as great as that recipe is, I still like testing out other recipes, as well, so when I was reminiscing about the wonderful chocolate chip pancakes at the Night and Day Cafe on Coronado Island a few days ago, I decided to try and find a good recipe for diner-style pancakes. I'm not sure exactly what would qualify a pancake as being diner-style, but I suspect it has something to do with slightly thinner, less puffed-up, and less dense pancakes that cook up nicely and evenly on a griddle. After some extensive Googling, the best-looking recipe actually seemed to come from a website for the fictional Big Knob Diner in some young adult book called Casual Hex. Like I said, extensive Googling!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #5


This week, a shorter Bento recap, for a few reasons. First, one of this week's entries was such a hit that Jen requested to have it a second time this week. So that was good. As well, Jen had a lunch out with co-workers, and her biweekly Friday off. So this week, I only have a measly two Bentos to show you guys! That's a pretty weak week, but rest assured some more posts will be coming at you through the weekend--including some untraditional breakfast variatons--so be sure to keep your browser tuned into the BCC channel.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 8

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday (but this week, Tuesday), Chicago's amigo Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column about eating and preparing food in the City of Neighborhoods. Enjoy! -Max)


Uncommon Ground
By Jason Hissong
22 September 2009

       There are, without question, places of a special quality here in the Windy City. I had the great privilege of having dinner with a close friend on Thursday at one such place. At one point during dinner she asked what, of all the places I’ve been to in Chicago, is my favorite place to eat? After finishing my bite of sweet potato French fries I looked at her and said, “We’re there.”

Monday, September 21, 2009

Homemade Cookies and Cream Ice Cream


When it comes to less healthy eating, my preference is typically dessert as opposed to junk food. I mean, don't get me wrong--greasy, unhealthy foods can be really appealing at times. Sometimes a slice of pizza sounds great. But one thing I've learned about myself recently is that the savory foods that aren't good for me usually don't make me feel very well, and that's a decent-sized incentive for me to usually do my best to avoid them. Even better, on the flip side, I usually feel actively good and well when I eat something good for me, which is, again, an incentive for me to try to eat right. This definitely isn't to say I never eat unhealthy savory foods, but just that these days, I usually save the less healthy foods for dessert. Today's post concerns a homemade dessert that's easy to make and yields delicious results.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #4


This week, four lunches, and not one of them a repeat from previous weeks. That feels like a real accomplishment. I've only been doing these weekly Bento round-ups for four weeks, but thinking up something interesting and challenging to make for dinner (and sometimes breakfast) near-daily can be pretty difficult itself, so lunch, in the past, has just been the meal that I've typically just thrown something together for: a sandwich here, a salad there, nothing terribly exciting or requiring much forethought.

Thursday, September 17, 2009



There are certain foods out there that you know you like, but eat very infrequently, even though the ingredients to make them are right in your kitchen or easy to get, and even though, in some cases, the food in question is available pre-made at the grocery store. Polenta, for me, fits all of these criteria. I eat it very infrequently, and prior to this week, I'd never attempted to make it at home. A recipe I found online at Whisk: A Food Blog inspired me to make my own polenta at home, albeit a more basic version than the fresh corn and aged cheddar variety at the link. In lieu of cheddar, I used the more traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano, and I skipped the corn entirely. I'm guessing those additions would have been terrific, but it's always important to me that I try to get the fundamentals of a dish down first before altering it dramatically or experimenting with it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Unagi Haiku


Hey there, good morning
Welcome back to BCC
Let's discuss sushi

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Green Scene

Asparagus with Lemon, Sage, and Sea Salt

So I have this friend--let's call him Antonio (because, you know, that's his name)--who really, really hates vegetables. Antonio's a really good guy, so please don't hold this against him. But he does loathe legumes. He abhors argula, has contempt for cukes, and despises daikon. He know, he makes them feel bad and victimized...maybe that one's a stretch worthy of an industrial strength rubberband, but you get the idea. While he'll eat the occasional carrot, pretty much every other vegetable holds a place in neither his heart nor his diet. Especially the green stuff. With that in mind, let's take a look at some delicious veggie-centric dishes that might hopefully cause Antonio to reconsider his anti-veggie stance.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 7

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's superlative chum Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column about eating and preparing food in the City in a Garden. Enjoy! -Max)


Food Traditions: French Toast and Football
By Jason Hissong
13 September 2009

       Culinary traditions are one of my favorite aspects of food and thinking about food and today I celebrate one of my favorites: French toast and bacon while watching football.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Midnight Snack: S'mores & Broiled Peaches


Welcome to a new feature here at Beach City Cooking: Midnight Snack. Think of this feature as a tribute to those of you who are up late, hungry, and browsing food blogs. This frequent feature will help you treat yourself to an occasional midnight snack, some of which will be healthier, some of which will be decidedly more dessert-y. Either way, the goal is to provide you, the reader, with a delicious late-night treat designed to stave off hunger when you have a late night of work or much-needed relaxation in front of you.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #3


For this week's Bento round-up, it's another short week--three entries this time--due not to repetition, but rather to Monday's Labor Day holiday and today's biweekly day off, which Jen's work gives her. These three lunches were all very different, though, and while the Bento Box guacamole took only ten or so minutes to prepare, the other dishes required a little more work than that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bento Box Guacamole


After making those delicious Bacon and Egg tacos a few days ago, I was craving one crucial classic Mexican ingredient not present in that recipe. I'm referring, perhaps unsurprisingly, to the avocado, that fantastic fruit to which so many of the posts on this blog pay tribute. The very best part of working with avocado in the kitchen lies in its convenience, something I'll be demonstrating in today's blog post.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday Brunch: Bacon and Egg Tacos with Red Chile and Honey


I received Mark Miller's taco recipe tome, appropriately named Tacos, as a present from Jen's mom and brother just before we moved out here, and just recently, I finally got around to trying out a recipe from the book for the first time. I know some people prefer their cookbooks sans pictures, but personally, I love photo-heavy cookbooks. The first thing I did when I got this book--and the first thing I usually do when I get a new cookbook--was leaf through the whole book, looking at the pictures only, not even glancing at the recipe titles yet. That, I save for the second read-through.