After much thought, I've decided to start a blog - all about food and fun things related to food! All things culinary have been a passion of mine for years, and writing about all the wonderful things I experience in this strange world, seemed appropriate!
Where to start? Well, first let me say I'm not the best writer in the world, so excuse my grammar errors or just plain rambling! I tend to write how I think and/or speak, which of course is complete nonsense, in the literary world. But blogs are a bit like zines, no?
IN THE CUPBOARD
I'm super excited about a new line of wine glasses that Riedel, the fancy-schmancy wine glass company has recently unveiled. Here's a photo of their champagne glass, in the series, they call "O-Riedel", which is a stemless collection.
The only stemless champagne glasses I've ever come across have been at one of my favorite Chicago nightclubs Sonotechque. The glass they use to serve champagne there, is almost a test-tube shape, and capable of holding much more champagne than your run-of-the-mill flute. And if you know anything about Riedel, their new line is pretty affordable. The champagne tumbler retails for about $20 for a set of 2. Seems preposterous, huh? Check out their website:
IN THE FRIDGE
Secondly, I bought some delicious looking baby yams at Stanley's Produce yesterday and wanted to post a little recipe for cooking these delicious little buggers. To be honest, I've never cooked a baby yam before, but I know this: most "baby" vegetable varieties are sweeter and yams cook much like any other tuber. So, using my incredible brain power, I came up with a little recipe.
Did you know?:
Sweet potatoes and yams are NOT the same! They look similar and have similar flavors, but are distantly related.
Yams have a high potassium content but are low in starch, compared to other tubers.
They are native to Africa and Asia.
Yams can be cooked a variety of ways - fried, boiled, steamed (in a microwave) or baked. Yams are also used in pastry recipes, in pies, breads and even cakes!
Sweet Roasted Baby Yams
1 package baby yams (about a dozen), washed and peeled
2 TBS brown sugar
4 TBS salted butter
1 TBS pure maple syrup (from Vermont, of course)
2 TBS orange juice
Salt and pepper
325 degree oven
Cut the yams into bite size chunks. Load them into a baking pan that has been sprayed a quick coating of cooking spray. Set aside. Cut up butter into small chunks and also set aside. Pour orange juice and maple syrup all over the yams. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Dot with chunks of butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oner for about 35 minutes or until a fork easily pierces any larger chunks.
IDEAS: Substitute orange juice with chicken or vegetable stock, for a less sweet version, or just use water. Watch these suckers closely, you don't want them to stick or burn! The sugars will caramelize and more liquid may be added as to not get a gross burnt sugar taste. For an even sweeter version, add mini marshmallows on top during the last 10 minutes of baking. YUMMERS!
IN THE BAKERY
So an old pal of mine Mickey, left the world of marketing a few years back, and went to pastry school. He bought this fabulous bakery in Wicker Park called Alliance Bakery and has done extremely well. Alliance has won all sorts of awards for their wedding cakes and have some outstanding pastries. I stopped in the other day to pick up a couple of cupcakes for my girl Edie and my gay Scott, whose birthday was the same day. They had these ginormous vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, decorated for Halloween. Poor Scott never got his cupcake cos Jay and I devoured it on the way home from said friends birthday party. It was the most delicious cupcake I've had in years! Moist cake, perfect buttercream. If you get a chance, stop by Alliance and devour one too. Heaven!
1736 West Division Street (at Wood)
Me and those delicious cupcakes!!!
IN THE RESTAURANT
Jay (my fiance) and I went out to dinner last night at one of my most favorite Chicago restaurants, Smoke Daddy. It's a small barbecue joint in Wicker Park that has live music most every night and a kick-ass selection of beers. The walls are decorated with old blues and jazz photos giving the place an old southern atmosphere. The menu here is fairly small but everything is delicious. They smoke all their meats with apple, cheery and hickory wood, right on sight! They serve ribs, burgers, sandwiches and salads, as well as jars of their homemade BBQ sauce. My old standby, which I ordered this night, is their BBQ pork sandwich (with a side of mac and cheese). Jay had a sandwich, but with 1/2 BBQ beef brisket and 1/2 BBQ pork and sweet potato fries. I absolutely love their standard BBQ sauce! It's sweet, tangy and the perfect color and consistency. But they also have 2 other kinds of sauces to douse your meat with, along with the other standard condiments on the table. For the sandwiches, they serve the perfect amount of BBQ pork on a ciabatta style roll, not too much sauce so it's not incredibly messy. The huge portion of mac n cheese comes served in a crockpot with toasted bread crumbs on top. Surprisingly, some bites had some bite to it, I think from tiny bits of jalapeno. Of course, the star of any meal at Smoke Daddy are their sweet potato fries. Fried to order, their cut slim with just a tiny amount of salt. Absolutely delicious! Of course nothing goes better with BBQ than ice old beer, which Jay imbibed in the Wednesday special, $1.75 Miller High Life bottles (see below for rant about beer). Dessert was a disappointment. I really wanted to try their banana pudding, but the waitress informed me it was served with brown sugar on top, which is a travesty in my book, so we went for the chocolate chip cookie skillet. This dessert is a chocolate chip cookie that has been baked in a mini cast iron skillet served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnished with some chocolate syrup. Thank goodness it was served with ice cream, because the cookie tasted awful! It tasted as if the chips had either gone bad or were of poor quality. Other than the cookie debacle, an outstanding meal! If you choose to go, the best option is their sampler platter. You get an assortment of ribs and a couple sides. It's enough to feed two! Check out the link below for menu, hours of operation and their live music schedule.
1804 West Division (at Wood)
IN THE PUB
Now, Jay and I aren't big beer drinkers. In fact when I do drink beer, I'm extremely picky about the beer I choose to consume. Being the foodie I am, most people are led to believe that I'm big on micro-brews or lambics and totally shun commercial brands of beer. Not entirely true! One of my most favorite beers in the world is an ice cold bottle of Miller High Life, aka The Champagne of Beers. Here the thing: it must be ice cold and it must be a bottle and it must be consumed quickly. There may be nothing better on a hot summer day than drinking an ice cold bottle of Miller High Life, but nothing is worse than drinking the same beer when it's luke warm. Gross. So, cheap beer doesn't always constitute poor taste or quality! (Typically, the only beer I like to drink and will order is draught Hoegaarden or a comparable White Ale, like Hitachino, from Japan of all places).
So ends my first post! I hope you learned something and will try something new! Check in often and EAT THIS!!!!!