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Everything posted by outofthefrypan

  1. What else is on your short list, Alex? Have you been to Avec yet? It seems obvious with the communal seating and small plates that OVS was conceived as a Lettuce take on the already-successful Chicago version of this concept. Not to knock it for this reason--OVS sounds very well-executed and I can't wait to go there myself. Lunch seems like a steal.
  2. Thanks, chefdg and TerrellK for the great suggestions. Any reports on the condition of produce in the area? I'm wondering, for instance, if any of the "pick-your-own" places have anything much to pick.
  3. I'm heading down to Cape Coral near the end of February and would welcome any suggestions for grocery shopping. I've been going down to the area with my family for years, but they're "eat out" people. With my own two young children, I'd rather cook at home but don't have any experience shopping other than the Publix down the street. I see there's supposed to be a farmer's market in downtown Ft. Myers--can anyone tell me what day it operates or if it's worthwhile? How much of the produce was damaged by the hurricanes? I'd also like to buy some seafood. The closest seafood market seems to be Merrick Seafood at 1229 Se 47th Ter. What will be local and freshest other than shrimp? I saw something about commercial grouper fishing being halted temporarily. Also, any advice/recommendations re: the shimp shacks/fish markets down by the docks on the way to Ft. Myers Beach?
  4. This might be close: Every Sunday after church we would go to my grandma's and scarf some kind of pepperoni-stuffed bread from the Italian bakery--slathered in butter. Never had any inkling that there was any harm in eating as much of that as one wanted.
  5. I forgot to respond to reject my Good Cook club book-of-the-month, so now I have the new Gourmet (of the infamous yellow type). I can't believe how much I like this cookbook. So far I've made vanilla ice cream, ricotta hotcakes--both great. Just have to add here how often lately I've used the new Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way (already included in my previous count). That book has helped me get dinner on the table at the last minute about 5 times already. And everything's been something I will make again (!).
  6. Costco is good-bought Baking Illustrated there. There are also great deals to be had in used cookbooks listed on Amazon. I've had positive experiences with quick shippers. Shipping for these is a flat rate established by Amazon--$3.50 or something reasonable. Probably not to Canada, though. As for recent purchases: I've been having fun and success with The Bread Bible lately. Made a great sweet potato bread. And my Scharffen Berger unsweetened chocolate is on order to facilitate cooking fun with Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate.
  7. Interesting--I have been wondering lately if the baked goods have gotten better in the Chicago locations I patronize. I remember that several years ago the pastries went sharply downhill, dropping local bakers in favor of (I presume) centralized solutions. Lately I've seen improvements--offerings seem a little fresher, the varieties a little more appealing. Excepting the croissants, of course, which are still absolutely horrid.
  8. The Chicago Tribune just printed a front-page article on Mexican coke in Chicago neighborhoods. The cite is: Savoring the sweet taste of home ; In city's Mexican-American neighborhoods, residents prefer Coke made in their home country; [Chicago Final Edition] Kevin Pang, Tribune staff reporter. Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Ill.: Oct 8, 2004. pg. 1 Available on the Tribune web site for a fee.
  9. I'm never happy with the chickpea dishes I make--they usually taste too bland or too garlicky. Today, though, I made the chickpea ragout from the new Jacques Pepin book, Fast Food My Way . Really easy and tasty. I won't print the whole recipe here, of course, but it is a quick stew of canned chickpeas and tomatoes. I think the secret to the depth of flavor is two kinds of onions--yellow and green. I ate it with a wine-soaked sheep cheese and crusty bread on the side. Yum.
  10. Thank you, thank you! This is what I was looking for. I drive from Chicago to Detroit for Thanksgiving, so Ann Arbor is right on my way. My sister is in charge of the bird this year, so all I can do is suggest...
  11. 90. But if I could salvage How to Cook Everything (Bittman), Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Madison), and The Italian Country Table (Rosetto Kasper) from the ashes of a hypothetical fire I would probably be just fine. Oh, and hopefully I could save the new American Pie (Reinhart) as well--instructions for the best pizza that could ever possibly come out of my oven.
  12. Kelly Gibson of Chicago Slow Food e-mailed me that Caveny Farm heritage turkeys are still available. Order forms are available here. Danielle, can you post info on the turkey farmer S. of Chelsea, or would that overwhelm him?
  13. Thanks--this explains why I can't find it. I don't usually read BA, but I think I picked one up in a Dr.'s office or something. BTW, I have an e-mail in to Chicago Slow Food asking if Cavney Farm has any "extra" turkeys still available for Thanksgiving. The Chicago chapter is arranging pre-ordered Bourbon Reds to be picked up at one of the Green City winter markets at Lincoln Park Zoo. Will post if I hear there are any turkeys left. For info on the turkeys, geese, and ducks that were available for preordering from Cavney, see this link to Chicagocooks.com.
  14. I recently read somewhere that the Slow Food organization was passing off the marketing and distribution of "heritage" turkeys such as the Bourbon Red to a new for-profit company called Heritage Foods USA. The place I read this also provided contact information for farmers in the Midwest who were raising heritage breeds. I would like to try to buy a turkey direct from one of these farmers if possible (preferably the one in Ann Arbor???), but CANNOT for the life of me remember where I saw this listing. Searches of all my periodicals and the internet are turning up nothing. Was it a Slow Foods mailing? A Chicago paper? Can anyone help locate this piece or another source for farmer contact information? I served one of these turkeys a couple of years ago and it was worth the effort, but I'd like to avoid the crazy shipping cost this time around.
  15. I was reminded this past weekend what a Chicago gem Bruce Sherman's North Pond is. Though Sherman was one of F&W's best new chefs only a year or so ago, the restaurant gets relatively little in-town press these days. Judging from my meal and those of my tablemates, the quality continues to be stellar. Ingredients are seasonal and the combinations inspired. The foie gras and apricot appetizer (even better than mk's) is one of the best dishes I have ever had. And, despite his success, Sherman is still personally overseeing the dining room, working in the kitchen, and loading his own Green City Market vegetables into his station wagon. Of course, the location in Lincoln Park is singular. Any other North Pond opinions or experiences? I say go while Sherman still has so much great summer produce to work with.
  16. I drove by 312 Chicago today (LaSalle at Randolph, supposedly good Italian) and they had tables outside--don't recall seeing this before.
  17. I haven't had any Chicago burger that knocks my socks off. My favorite is really anyplace that makes a decent cheddar-char--I second The Wiener Circle. Also Gold Coast Dogs. I found the burger at the Printer's Row Hackney's underwhelming. My husband felt the same about Moody's on the North Side. For a non-fast food burger, Blackies is pretty good. Another old standby, I know. Just haven't found anyplace off the beaten path. What do people think of Kevin's near Comisky? It's next in line on my list. This thread touches on the Hamburger America documentary, which was recently shown at the MCA. The film features some truly unique burgers (and people) from across the country, and represents Chicago with the Billy Goat burger (which I don't think is anything great in and of itself).
  18. Another Green City Market report: I second Iguana's sentiments about the quality of today's GCM. Probably their best opening day ever in terms of number of vendors and selection. There were several new booths--unfortunately I realized too late I had forgotten my pen and paper to get all the specifics. On Clark St. facing the street, there was a new vendor (from about 70 miles downstate) of potted/picked organic herbs, plants, and soaps. Perhaps most interesting was a dairy vendor I had not encountered before. Traderspoint Creamery is Indiana Certified Organic and sells unhomogenized whole milk, whole milk plain yogurt, chocolate milk, and flavored yogurts. The yogurts are thin and pourable--perfect for smoothies, fruit topping, or just drinking. I bought one plain yogurt and one whole milk. After just pouring myself a glass for lunch, I'm not so sure I'll get used to the taste of the milk. Their cows are grassfed and it has a distinctly grassy taste. I also noticed more egg vendors this year than last. One stand was selling both chicken and duck eggs ($4 and $6 a dozen respectively). All the old favorites were back, including Klug's and the Wisconsin Homegrown cooperative. The guy at Klug's is great to talk to--he is always enthusiastic about sharing his farming techniques and knowledge of the different varietals he sells. This morning's haul included: Rhubarb (from Klug's--a Russian variety he claims no one else is raising in the vicinity--I thought it looked the best of anyone's, good red color and not too thick.) Green Asparagus and Morels: I'll simmer both in shallots and cream and pour over pasta. Green garlic from Nichols: Hey, I never know what to do with this stuff either. I think I'll make some garlic/oil pasta with some of it. Probably put it in some pizza sauce too. Potted herbs (we'll see how well they withstand the downtown wind on my balcony this year) Peppery Mesclun mix (at least that's what it looks like--my husband picked this one up) Milk and yogurt from Traderspoint This was my husband's first time at the market, and he proved to be a sucker for Wisconsin cheese curds, a crepe (can't say I minded sharing that), and those hothouse tomatoes Iguana mentioned. Not all things I would have purchased, but to each his own... All in all, we blew any semblance of a budget and had a great time. Klug's says two weeks until strawberries! I can't wait. I'm interested to hear if anyone was around for Chef Bruce Sherman's (North Pond) demonstration? I really enjoyed his last year.
  19. I'm a Green City Market person, though sometimes the pressure gets to me. What to buy...what to do with it before it rots. I always buy too much and end up with a bad case of vegetable- induced anxiety. Fruits are not so bad--you can always make a pie. Though I always circle the guy with the small table who has currents and gooseberries. They're so expensive I would need a surefooted plan before buying. And I have yet to develop one. My favorite stand is probably the one with the husband-wife team from WI who represent an organic farming consortium and sometimes sell fresh eggs under the table. They always have the best tomatoes and you have to get there early to get the optimum pick. I also see the chefs buying from them a lot. My big Green City dilemma is always: Should I get there early while I can find close parking, they still have free coffee and all the best produce is still out? Or go later for the chef demonstration and crepe lunch? I usually lean toward the former.
  20. Make a key lime pie from actual key limes...An hour later, skin eaten away by acid, counter covered with evil, tiny, juice-withholding lime halves...
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