Monday, August 31, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 5

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


American Cuisine: The Hamburger
By Jason Hissong
31 August 09

       Our American cuisine is much like the people who inhabit our country, which only makes logical sense. There is no national cuisine because of regional variation. The immigrants that populated our nation brought with them their own food culture and thus, today, we have a national cuisine that lacks a singular identity. It’s a hodgepodge, anything goes, Frankensteinian creature.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Smoothie: Egg Cream


Forewarned is forearmed, so let me tell you up front that today's Beach City Cooking post has a pretty misleading title, when you take into account that only one of its four words actually describes this post. Egg creams contain neither egg nor cream, and today's post is smooth and satisfying, but could not legitimately be called a smoothie. So I'm throwing caution to the local ocean breeze, and presenting a dessert-y beverage today instead.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #1


Hi, and welcome to a new weekly feature here at Beach City Cooking: the weekly Bento round-up. Bento boxes have long been a staple of Japanese lunches and dinners, and sites like Lunch in a Box and Adventures in Bentomaking have helped to popularize this movement of Bento-style eating in the US. There are a ton of Bento blogs out there now, such as The Feisty Foodie's great Feisty Bento Blog. So while Beach City Cooking isn't a Bento blog, I do love the idea of making delicious lunches in the Bento mold for Jen to take to work every day, so this weekly update will provide a look at those very meals.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thrifty Thursdays: The California Breakfast


A classic diner plate of eggs at your local cafe costs anywhere from $4-$8, which may not be a lot of money, but if you make your eggs at home, you're going to be saving a massive percentage off the restaurant price. Even if we're not making filet mignon at home on Thrifty Thursdays here at Beach City Cooking just yet--and in that case we'd be talking about much larger actual dollar savings, of course--I think the spirit of this column really lies in that great feeling you get when you make something at home, and not only is it delicious and not only do you have the deep satisfaction of knowing exactly which ingredients were used in the dish, but you're also feeling great because you know that purchasing this food at a restaurant or a grocery store would cost more and be less satisfying to you.

Wednesday Brunch: Tortilla de Patatas


Today's Wednesday Brunch is a dish that normally wouldn't appeal to me, and is pretty out of the ordinary for me to even have made. The tortilla de patatas, to start, is nothing like the corn- or flour-based Mexican flatbread that comes to mind when you hear the word. I first came across this dish when browsing Wikipedia's list of egg dishes, which is full of fascinating articles about bizarre, foreign egg-based concoctions. All of which, for me, send the wheels turning and get me wondering what I should cook next.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fajitas: A Step-By-Step Pictorial


I like Tex-Mex, but I think I really have to be in the right mood for it. Last night I made fajitas for the first time ever, and the moment was just absolutely right, so they were extremely satisfying to eat. I remember really digging on the fajitas at the Lone Star Fajita Grill in Buffalo growing up, and I felt like the fajitas I made captured the essence of those fajitas pretty nicely. Plus, when you make fajitas at home, you get to assemble them as you eat them, and that's the kind of food interactivity I really enjoy--I just think there's something very satisfying about that first bite of a lettuce wrap or fajita you just made yourself. Also, that way, you get to decide the exact ratio of ingredients--like, say, the ratio of lettuce to chicken that you want in your fajitas.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 4

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


By Jason Hissong
24 August 09

       Every Thursday a farmer’s market sets up in the plaza across the street from my office building downtown. Every Thursday I find myself without cash, and just walking the booths with envy as I browse the inviting reds, greens, and yellows of the farmers’ offerings.

Smoothie Sunday: Cherry Chicle


Today's smoothie once again comes to us from Jamba Juice Power, Kirk Perron and Stan Dembecki's blended drink cookbook. If you recall, the smoothie-loving duo almost always give their creations an alliterative name, with varying results. In the case of today's beverage, Perron and Dembecki stuck with their self-imposed smoothie-naming constraints and deemed this drink Cherry Chicle. Alliteration aside, this is a delicious beverage that's perfect for one of those warmer August days.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Salad Lyonnaise

First off, I must apologize for the lack of (a) the promised new feature last Friday and (b) no new Smoothie Sunday this week. Plus, I like to sometimes post something in addition to Windy City Cooking on Mondays, and that didn't end up happening yesterday, either. I was out of town and just super-busy. I don't foresee this becoming a recurring problem, but if I think it's going to happen again, I'll try to give you all a heads-up in advance next time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 3

[Ed.'s note- every Monday, Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column about eating and preparing food in the Paris on the Prairie. Have at it, Jason! -Max]


The Pork Tenderloin
By Jason Hissong
17 August 09

Let me be perfectly clear: every time I eat a piece of meat I know it was once a live animal. This is an entry-point into a discussion that would take too long here, as it’s complex and multi-faceted. But, for me, every time I touch a piece of meat the thought crosses my mind at least once.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thrifty Thursdays: Homemade BBQ Sauce


I hate to keep things so sauce-centric for this particular feature, and I promise you next week we'll deal with some more solid food, but I did just whip up a batch of barbecue sauce, and it smells so delicious that I just had to write about it. For once, I'm going to post a recipe, because I don't remember where I originally found this recipe, so I offer my humblest apologies for that, and that means I can't just link to it as I normally would.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Brunch: Gaeran tost-u


It seems like we've got a little Korean food-themed week going on here at Beach City Cooking. I mean, between this entry and yesterday's Japchae, you could have yourself a couple of Korean-themed meals, and then you could make the Tagalongs for dessert. I'm not sure if Korea has its own version of Tagalongs, but if they don't, I think you could definitely eat Tagalongs after meals of Gaeran Tost-U and Japchae and still call it a day of Korean cuisine in perfectly good conscience. I mean, I won't tell.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home Plate: Japchae


Okay, for this Home Plate entry, where I make dishes I've had elsewhere in my own kitchen, I have to first share a great little anecdote from Wikipedia about Japchae, the Korean cellophane noodle dish--studded with carrots and bits of spinach and topped with sesame seeds--that today's post is all about.

Monday, August 10, 2009



Growing up, my favorite girl scout cookie--and the favorite of many others, I suspect--was the Thin Mint, that crispy, peppermint-infused treat that always appeared to be packaged with a free magic trick: eat one cookie, watch the rest disappear before you know it. I always had a soft spot for the peanut butter & chocolate Tagalong, though, and this interest was rekindled recently by a purchase of Edy's ice cream. Edy's, which is usually $6 a container, was on sale for 1/2 its typical asking price, so we picked up a pretty cool variety with vanilla ice cream and crushed-up Tagalongs, kind of a take off of traditional cookies'n'cream ice cream. The chocolate and peanut butter-y bits jived unsurprisingly well with the smooth vanilla ice cream. I say "unsurprisingly" because how could chocolate, peanut butter, and ice cream do anything but great things together?

Windy City Cooking: Week 2


[Ed.'s note- every Monday, Jason Hissong writes Windy City Cooking, a column about eating and preparing food in The City That Works. Have at it, Jason! -Max]

Loving to Cook
By Jason Hissong
9 August 2009

        People often ask me where I learned to cook. Or how I learned to cook. And the answer I usually give is this: I needed to feed myself. I didn’t go to school to learn how to cook. I didn’t grow up in a household that has an established ancestry of amazing cooking. I learned to cook because I needed to eat.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Smoothie: Sinh To Bo


The subject of this week's smoothie post is one near and dear to my tastebuds: Sinh To Bo, essentially an avocado milkshake. Do a search of this still-very-new site and you're guaranteed to see a number of mentions of that most buttery of fruits, the avocado, already. Sinh To Bo combines two things I love: avocado and smoothies, which makes it perfect for this second edition of Smoothie Sunday. As I said in the previous post, I'll oftentimes branch out into more unusual beverages for this column, and I think this drink most definitely fits that bill.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sushi Attempts


The first time I attempted to make sushi at home--given my lack of expertise--I picked up one of those exorbitantly-priced Annie Chun's sushi-making kits from the supermarket. I think it was $4 or $5, which isn't a lot of money in and of itself, but it is far too much to spend when you consider how much a big bag of sushi rice and a large package of nori costs. And that's "nori" as in the dried seaweed, not "Nouri" as in Michael Nouri, from TV's Damages.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thrifty Thursdays: Tahini Paste


Welcome back to Beach City Cooking for the introduction of another ongoing feature: Thrifty Thursdays. The idea behind this series of articles is simple: every Thursday, I will provide simple, straightforward instructions for saving a lot of money by making certain ingredients and meals in the comfort of your own home. In today's post, for example, save over 85% off the retail price by making your own Tahini at home. And with homemade tahini, as you'll see, you can easily execute certain dishes that cost far more than they will to make at home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Brunch: Nutella & Banana-Stuffed Challah French Toast

Nutella & Banana-Stuffed Challah French Toast

Welcome back to another edition of Wednesday Brunch. This week, French Toast and Challah: the perfect combination. I've been enjoying challah French toast from a young age, but have near-perfected my own version in recent months. French toast is a pretty fascinating idea for breakfast. At once, it's seemingly simple but unquestionably elegant, in both taste and concept. In terms of taste, good French toast is unparalleled, offering the contrasting textures of a semi-firm, bread-y outside and a soft, creamy interior.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries: A Step-by-Step Pictorial

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries, Part 15

Impress your date or significant other with this easy-to-make recipe for Chocolate-Covered Strawberries. Very little introduction is needed for this delicious dessert that looks just as good as it tastes.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Windy City Cooking: Week 1

(Ed.'s Note- Every Monday, Chicago's own Jason Hissong joins us for Windy City Cooking, where he talks about cooking and eating out in Chi-Town. Enjoy! -Max)


Windy City Cooking: Week 1
By Jason Hissong
25 July 2009

       Chicago. Windy City. Second City. The City of Big Shoulders. The City That Works.
        Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jason. Chicago has been my home for the last three years of my life. While living here I have discovered my love of cooking and dining and all things food. Food is one of my favorite subjects. It’s something we MUST have to live. It’s something that all of us consume at least once daily. Food is important. To individuals, to locations, and to societies. Food matters.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Smoothie Sunday: Orange Kiwi...Okay


Welcome back to Beach City Cooking for the first in a weekly weekend series: Smoothie Sunday. The idea behind this feature is pretty self-explanatory: every week, I will present a recipe and accompanying pictures for a smooth, blended fruit drink. Today's drink relies on the beloved combination of strawberry and kiwi, while future iterations of this series will venture out into less predictable realms.