I am proudly left handed. I also enjoyed this podcast on my commute this evening. Thanks designsponge twitter feed. I can’t wait to see those ladies when they blow through Chicago. I’m also almost finished with Jane Eyre, but the book takes a serious turn to the SNOOZE when you’re about 85% done with it. Must. remain. on. task. I had corn ice cream today, it was good. I want to make it.

I’ve also been wanting to make breakfast bars for awhile. At the after school program where I am an instructor, we are gearing up for Family Night, which is the culmination of the semester. Since we’re making so many appetizers, we’ve been practicing a lot of small bites and using Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Hoeuvres Handbook. I am not a professional, but I have some training, and this book is worth three times its weight in gold. It is funny to note that the book uses a blend of professional/home cooking terms, but maybe only to me. ANYWAY, in the book there is a recipe for fruit nut clusters. I got done a little early tonight, so I came home and made these, inspired by Martha. Now, if only I could figure out an easy way to organize my laundry and press my underwear.

Regardless, here’s the recipe, TAKE ONE, I will try more soon.

Fruit and Nut Breakfast Bars (inspired by Martha Stewart)
1 cup pecans
1 cup almonds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup Black Strap Molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (try some, you’ll like it, you should buy it)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt ( I use Kosher)
Cinnamon, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
2 tablespoons Coconut fat (like Mycryo) or you can use butter.
1/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Chop fruit. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Place nuts and sesame seeds on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Bake for 5 minutes, or until aromatic. Don’t burn them, ok? Put them in a large bowl when you take them out of the oven.
3. Combine molasses, honey, vanilla bean paste, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut fat, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Pour mixture over nuts and fruit.
4. Add chocolate chips. to mixture.
5. Pour mixture onto a sheetpan lined with a silpat or parchment. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool and portion into breakfast bar portions.
It doesn’t look very good at the moment. I will let you know later. Right now they are resting in the fridge.

I’m having the urge to write really cheesy things like Fruit’n’Nut bars. I think it’s normal. Next round. Ok, I have to go to bed so I can maybe wake up and do yoga. I’m not kidding.

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Hey boo-boo

April 16 CANNOT COME QUICKLY ENOUGH. I’m just saying. It means no more 14 hour Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays! Also, a vacation to sunny Costa Rica. Seriously, CHICAGO. COME ON, LET WINTER GO ALREADY. I look at the weather in cities where pals live and it’s definitely hotter than 29 degrees.

It’s fun to make pretzel bites.
Even though I can’t eat them.

The fun thing about this recipe is that it uses a lot of different techniques, which are great “teaching moments” for my students.
That’s right. They are the best.

I guess I’ve had a case of the Mondays for the past few weeks. Cute pictures of my friends’ dog, Daphne help.

Also, hanging out with my cousin and his darling girlfriend Erin.
Look, we’re on a bus! Aren’t they the cutest? We ate mediocre Italian food and saw an above average movie, Cedar Rapids. I enjoyed it, but you can wait to see it on DVD. Or blue ray or streaming or however it is you consume your media. I sometimes feel like the protagonist.

I’m probably WAY behind on this, but I heard this band and it made me happy. St. Etienne. Who knew? Why didn’t you tell me? Part of the website is an never updated blog, which I happen to love reading. Seriously, what is the point when it goes from being a blog to being an artifact? I’d love to have a compilation of all the best neglected blogs. Especially ones on Xanga or Anglefire. Anybody remember THAT?!

My mom is staying at my house again this week (yay!) I really like having her around. My new issue of Saveur came, and I am still enjoying my Ipad. I think this week I will post a recipe. As I get nearer to the end of the school year, I get more excited about spending time in my own kitchen.

Also, Check this out, these are my school-mates. It’s a pop up restaurant they are doing! Khuin.

My friends are in a band, and they are touring right now. Seth is updating his awesome snack blog!

I’m just saying…

A croquette is a fritter. A crostini is an open faced sandwich. A banh-mi is a delicious Vietnamese sandwich. A mango chicken tea sandwich sounds gross. Trust the ability of teenagers to comprehend complex ideas.

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A sensible Midwestern woman.

This is my ultimate goal and deepest fear. Until it happens, I will blog in obscurity from my office at 63rd and Halsted in the heart of Englewood. Let’s discuss the finer points of: crappy salads from Whole Foods, counter organization, things I like forever, and things I currently dislike.

1. Crappy Salads From Whole Foods.
On Sunday I broke down and bought a salad at Whole Foods. I usually don’t buy prepared foods, not because I’m particularly industrious, but because I am particularly cheap.
It was a disappointment. I didn’t read the label and the salad unfortunately included some flaccid pasty late winter tomatoes. Never again. Kale and cranberries and tomatoes? Come on. Moral of the story: even when you are tired make your own snacks.

2. Counter Organization.
Do you keep you ingredients out on the counter, or are you of the “ingredients should not be seen or heard” school?
I like to keep my fixings on the counter. When I’m not being a lazy bum, I do like to cook. I enjoy having things with in easy reach. Current kitchen design trends would indicate that I’m on the stylish side of this argument, but open shelving will look dated someday too. I don’t think my opinion will change, but I also don’t hang out with a lot of children. I can see how small curious hands would change my stance. I keep fancy (you fancy, huh) olive oil, normal olive oil, honey, black pepper grinder, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar concentrate ( multiple purpose, could peel paint I think), shallot, and a little bowl of kosher salt for easy sprinkling. I keep it on a mirrored tile from Ikea, so my oils and vinegars feel slightly 1980s-Vegas-chic.

3. The other day my boss asked me if I enjoyed anything. I didn’t know how to take this, so I compiled a list of things I like, if only to remind myself.
Roses lip salve, cotton underwear, skyline, urban detritus, kids, cream cheese, pizza, tacos, fruit, Worcestershire sauce, Bare feet, Clean sheets, Corn fields, Midwestern spring, Crunch ( how American of me), Recently discovered : iced peppermint tea, Recently discovered: naps, Exfoliating, CTA bus tracker, Forest, Bloody marys on airplanes, Butter, Calendars, Birthdays, Coffee; particularly from a thermos, Grocery shopping while hungry, Oxford cloth, the library, bicycles, etc.

4. To counterbalance, here are some things I am annoyed by or tired of:
Vintage globes in decorating, white subway tile everywhere, celebrity gossip, winter, the words “local sustainable products” on a menu, plaid, the smell of pee on the Jackson tunnel on the CTA, annoying pandora stations, sad news, missing my family, sweating while being cold, and relative ennui while being extraordinarily busy.

PS. Have you had a Seelbach? You only need one, but it’s GOOD!


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It seems dumb to blather on about anything that’s not really important. Thoughts and prayers are with Japan.

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The Port of Indianapolis

I’m on a lot of antibiotics right now, so my dreams have been insane. Let me tell you about The Port of Indianapolis… if the Canal had Succeeded. In this alternate reality, Indianapolis is connected to the St. Lawrence Seaway by a series of canals, making it the most important business center in the Midwest, and the true crossroads of America. Thanks drugs!

In other news, I was feeling better by Friday, so I was able to make (but not drink) some drinks for an event at my friend Annie’s store. If you haven’t been, it’s pretty darn great. Check the blog out… and her online store is going live soon.


My friend Roy (uber-talented pastry chef & blog writer) made tea themed cookies, so I made tea themed drinks. I made two drinks, a riff on the Lady Grey and a riff on a Dark and Stormy.

Lady Grey
1 ounce Earl Grey infused Gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
Shaken over ice, garnished with Lemon

*some Lady Grey recipes call for Earl Grey syrup. I didn’t want it to be cloying, so I just infused the gin.

Jasmine Storm
1 ounce Jasmine Tea infused Rum
1 ounce Lime Juice
Dash Pineapple Juice
Shaken, poured over ice
Topped with Ginger Beer
Dark Rum Float on top, garnished with a lime.

It seems that there are a lot of “Sweet Tea” liquors on the market. While I don’t have a problem with these, most that I have tasted are overly sweet. For both infused spirits used in these recipes, I simply brewed the tea in the bottle with the alcohol in sunlight. I only brewed it for about 2 hours to avoid an overly tannic flavor. The resulting infusions were refreshing, especially the Jasmine Infused Rum.

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grass green

I know in August, I’ll be thinking of snow and cozy nights in, but right now, all I want to do is ride my bike. Instead, I made some soup and spent Saturday chatting with one of my oldest and bests.

It was supposed to be a Portuguese fish stew, but ended up being more of a spicy soup. I couldn’t find linguiƧa, and someone drank the white wine I was planning on using, so I substituted some dry vermouth that’s been rolling around in the fridge for awhile. We ate it pretty quickly, and then I was tired (cava) so I didn’t take any pictures. But, I’ll tell you how to make it anyways. I know my technique isn’t always sophisticated, and a lot of stuff is just chopped up and cooked, but I’ll try to wax more poetic once in awhile. For instance, in this soup, I added one star anise pod (fruit?) to the broth. It made all the difference. I don’t like when people call food sexy, and I’m not about to do so. However, the perfume that the star anise added to the soup made all the difference, like a chipped tooth or smudged eyeliner left over from the night before. That’s stupid writing, but you know what I’m going for? It almost smelled weird, but then the weird turned back to good. Sort of like on LOST where the world is in a precarious balance? The star anise added another layer that made everything much more interesting. I don’t want to talk about the star anise “elevating the dish.” because I’m tired of people talking about “elevating dishes.” Am I going through an existential crisis in regards to food in our culture? Yes, probably, more on that later. Cohesion, harmony, agreement.

Loosely based on the recipes on the link’s page.

Let’s call it End of Winter Soup. It’s really easy, and you should make it tonight or tomorrow for dinner.

like a kid’s book. let’s spell s-h-a-l-l-o-t… my favorite aromatic?

1 bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 shallot, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup clam juice
1 cup dry vermouth OR white wine
1 pint chix stock
Olive Oil, as needed
15 ounce can of diced tomatoes (i know it’s winter. canned is better. and cheaper)
2 pounds baby potatoes, halved
1/2 pound Mexican chorizo split and loose.
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 whole star anise pod
3 bay leaves
1/2 pound frozen shrimp
1/2 pound thawed white fish, in chunks

1. Using a large stock pot, coat the bottom of it with olive oil.
2. Heat and saute your onions and garlic until fragrant and soft. Add your bay leaves.
3. Add the chorizo.
4.Add your potatoes. I like this idea because, typically this kind of stew is thickened with bread. Try to caramelize some of your potatoes, the crust will taste nice later… Don’t do it to all of them though, some of them should remain soft and almost buttery on the inside.
5. When enough of your potatoes are roasty, add your chopped bell pepper. Cook until you can smell the bell pepper.
6. Add your star anise.
7. Add your vermouth and clam juice.
8. Stir.
9. Add your tomato product. There should be some fond on the bottom of your pot from all of the high heat cooking you’ve been doing. The vermouth and tomato product are pretty high acid, so they will effectively deglaze the pan, which is what you are going for.
10. When the pan is deglazed, add the chicken stock.
11. Simmer until the flavors are married. I did it for about 2 hours. Remember to taste your stuff.
12. About 15 minutes before serving, add your thawed white fish. About 5 minutes before serving add your shrimp. You might need to turn the heat up a little bit to cook the fish.
13. S&P TT- might not need that much salt since some of the ingredients are pretty salty.

* You can make this without shellfish or fish. You could make it without meat, and use rocks instead. The possibilities are endless.

this is a picture, incase you forgot what these things look like.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the Mexican grocery has cheap spices which are good and fresh. As a side note, they also have really cheap flax seed, which is handy in gf baking.

Another thing, this afternoon I interviewed my friend Thomas about food in contemporary Norway (his Mom is Norwegian and he’s been there lots of times) I WANT TO MAKE THESE. Vant some vaffles? And candy. How do Norwegians feel about long winters?

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Like a monkey. I’m feeling a bit stressed. But, I’m inspired by Big Boi & Gucci Mane, and I keep thinking “Don’t block my shine shorty, I’m on my grind shorty.” Thanks for bearing with me over the course of the next few months while this blog temporarily morphs to more of an ad-hoc ranting forum.

There are 168 hours in a week. I’m in school 28 hours a week. I work at least 43 hours a week. I try to sleep 8 hours a night, so that’s 56 hours. Commuting to school and work and home for the week totals 15 hours. I probably spend between 5-10 hours on homework. All total, that means 152 hours of the week are occupied. Not that I’m complaining, being busy is good… but GEEZE. Spring Break cannot come quickly enough.

Once I’m done with culinary on MAY 12 (!!!) I’ll be continuing my studies with Chemistry and French this summer. While I’ll be working out my brain, it will be a little different than the physical labor associated with working the kitchen in Culinary school. One of my jobs will also end, so I will have a bit more free time, to do things like laundry and cook.

Speaking of cooking, ahem. Remember when Anthony Bourdain went to Azores? I do. When I’m on the train, I often think of jetting off to the The Archipelago. This weekend, GB is going to the Roger Brown House to work on some music with Roommate, so I’ll be all by my lonesome. I’m working though the weekend, but on Saturday night I’m planning on making some Portuguese Fish Stew. I have garlic, some frozen fish, potatoes, and some white wine that is probably past its drinking prime in the fridge. Portuguese Fish Stew Saturday here we come!

I also have some blueberries, so this recipe from Gluten Free Girl is looking pretty tasty.

Also, how do you exercise when you have 16 free hours a week? I could wake up at 4:30, but that’s not going to happen and I don’t like working out at night. Once it gets warmer, I’ll be riding my bicycle more frequently. However, I don’t exactly bike at break-neck speed… So, maybe I will take up cardiolates. Never mind, that would never work. Back to the trampoline.

This is a celebrity gossip blog for you, Leigh.

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