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.