Thursday, April 28, 2011

French Gourmet on the Go

It's probably no surprise that I love Whole Foods. Lately I would even dare to say obsessed. It's bad because it's obviously a wee bit more expensive, but it's probably a bonus because I tend to eat healthier when I shop there. It's a visual parade of products, colors and scents. What's not to like? On those days when it's not all that busy (that's a rarity) I can peruse the aisles for new goodies. It's here I discovered St. Dalfour's Gourmet on the Go tins.

I have to admit it was the adorable packaging that first got me. The compact tins come complete with it's own sporky utensil, salt, pepper and even a little sauce. There are no preservatives either which is a nice change of pace from most packaged foods. I think these would be ideal for travel but I enjoyed eating them at work...they just felt kind of fancy. Sadly I can't always find them at my Whole Foods, so if you see them stock up!

Flavors include:
  • Couscous - veggies & beans
  • Tuna & pasta
  • Whole Grains & beans
  • Salmon & veggies (comes with a really nice honey)
  • Pasta & veggies
  • Three beans & sweet corn

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cooking for Passover

Matzo Ball Soup - aka Jewish penicillin
Ooh, I do love cooking especially for the Jewish holidays. Passover is wrapping up now, but I had a great time preparing for the holiday. I won't give a historical account of the holiday (if you want a bit of an education click here), but basically you can't eat leavened bread. No bagels. No cereal. No pasta. Bascially think about what you can eat everyday and eliminate half of that. Little things you might not even think have flour products do. It's really surprising.
So, a few weeks ago I took a Passover cooking class at The Chopping Block in Lincoln Square. The menu was really inventive and included some new dishes that I'll be adding to my cooking roster including curried matzo ball soup, sephardic haroset (traditionally chopped apples, nuts and cinnamon) and a bitter herb quinoa pilaf. My brother-in-law is also a great cook and took on some of the cooking duties for our Passover Seder (the traditional holiday meal) and we had quite the feast! I made my grandmother's traditional matzo ball soup (she said it was very good so that's a compliment!), a braised brisket with paprika and raisins (it smelled wonderful but somehow I managed to cook it a bit too much on the outside?) and a Martha Stewart walnut cherry torte (this looked AND tasted impressive).
It was a truly wonderful meal and I had a happy belly and delicious food memories to boot!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are You Cheeky Enough to Chow?

Champagne tasting in Epernay, France
Sometimes an opportunity presents itself that seem to good to be true. It seems made for you (OK, specially  made for me, this is my food blog after all right?) It's exciting, your heart skips a beat and you pray silently "pick me". Well, there is a competition that was created by two Chicago entities (Mike and Chao and Cheeky Chicago) to select a guest food writer to travel to San Francisco (shockingly I have not been) and write a guest column to appear on their newly launching Cheeky for San Fran. Jeez I just submitted the application and you'd think I'd won something right? Nothing yet, but it's the prospect that is so enticing...

I had to write a 200 word essay on a food adventure I've had. If you've been reading my little blog here you know I've had many. I haven't much detailed my past work though at The International Kitchen and thought that would be a good foray into my food psyche for such a short blurb. Below is what I sent out...fingers crossed!

I used to have one of those amazing jobs one when you tell people about it upon meeting them they are floored. Sometimes I can't even believe it. I worked for The International Kitchen, a company specializing in culinary travel specifically with trips to Italy and France. It was indeed amazing and I had the opportunity to visit many cities and have experiences I probably never would have sought out on my own. We as Americans have all sorts of notions and apprehensions about food, especially with fare we don't deem edible here in the US.  Always an adventurous eater, I stuck with this idea and ran with it when I traveled, eating anything and everything that was put in front of me. Sure I had my apprehensions, but I figured if locals were eating it and enjoying it I probably would too. It was with fond memories I found myself sitting in a Paris cafĂ© just hours after my overseas flight. My stomach craved carbs, perhaps some warm French bread, yet I found myself face to er, head with a plate of tete de veau. The calf’s head was delicious and the best gastronomic introduction I can remember.