farmers market

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[rustic house]

Last night to celebrate Vince’s birthday we went to the [relatively] new kid on the block, Rustic House. I was initially drawn to this Lincoln Park locale because of the fireplace [love] and it’s cozy, intimate interior. Once I did a little digging I fell in love with the menu… the executive chef frequents Green City Market [yeaa!] and they have really interesting dishes like hand-rolled gnocchi with hudson valley foie gras & crispy pork belly, but also feature traditional feel good comfort foods like chicken pot pie and braised lamb.

[the birthday boy & his present, which i stealthily concealed in a missoni for target shoebox. more on that traumatizing shopping experience to come.]

We had the gnocchi to start, it was a modest portion but delicious. For dinner Vince ordered the halibut ["sweet corn & lobster succotash/champagne beurre blanc"] and I got the veal cheek ragout ["pappardelle/pear tomato confit/saved pecorino"]. Vince’s was REALLY good, he got quite a sizable piece of fish and the sweet corn & lobster succotash combo was amazing. I wasn’t as crazy about mine, it was a wee bit salty for my liking, but I’m a sucker for fresh homemade pasta and enjoyed the pappardelle. Oh and we also got a side of roasted garlic mashed potatoes, they were tasty.

[onto dessert. decisions, decisions.]

[worth noting: you can order wine by the glass, carafe, or bottle. the carafe is the equivalent to a glass and a half, the perfect middle ground.]

[we went with the whatchamacallit]

Highlights of the night were the excellent service, great beer recommendations, warm’n cozy ambiance and tantalizing menu. Overall verdict: we loved Rustic House and will be back soon!

 

 

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I just love a crisp, early morning at the Green City Market. Farmers from all over the Midwest gather in Chicago to sell their vittles to city dwellers eager for a taste of the country. The smell of coffee and something like cinnamon waft through the air as a cool breeze whips against your cheeks, reddening them. You go from booth to booth picking up the bulbous onions, impossibly red tomatoes, aromatic herbs, feeling their weight, soaking in their raw beauty – all while speaking with each colorful vender and listening to their stories.

I got some really good stuff. Time for a little show and tell.

[a rosemary plant freshens up my windowsill]

[some shrooms still on the stalk]

i completely forgot what these were by the time i got home. thai eggplants! thank you google.

another one of these fellas. going to slice a handful, sprinkle them with sea salt & cracked black pepper and oven roast them for dinner tonight. interested to see if they taste like the eggplant i’m used to.

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Oh dear. I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. Here August has come and gone and not a peep from me… nadda one. I certainly had plenty to talk about, like the time I traveled home for my niece’s 4th birthday where I made these itty bitty cinnamon buns for breakfast:

[hi dad!]

And the fateful day we went to an ice cream shop I had been dying to try, Jeni’s in Chagrin Falls. I’m going to level with you all, it’s hard to go wrong as far as ice cream is concerned but when you throw nutty ingredients like cayenne pepper into the mix things could theoretically go either way. Right? Right! Well Jeni’s was… utterly fantastic. It surpassed all of my expectations. My mom’s favorite? Salty caramel & she even bought a pint to take home. I feel bad but I ate nearly the entire thing… I didn’t know ice cream could be that velvety smooth. What does Jeni put in there?! I need help.

I got {1} scoop of sweet corn & black raspberries and {1} scoop of goat cheese with red cherries. Life changing. In every way. At that moment I decided to be a better person, pay my electric bill on time and be nice to my grumpy doorman who I believe has a moral objection to smiling. It was that good.

You’ve got to love Jeni’s creative twist on ice cream flavors: burbon buttered pecan, queen city cayenne, wildberry lavender, the milkiest chocolate in the world:

So I hope you’ll let this one slide. We’ll be back soon with some new exciting finds from Wednesday’s Green City Market. ‘Til then if you’re eager to get your hands on some of Jeni’s ice cream she sells pints at several local grocers in Chicago including The Southport Grocery & Cafe and The Goddess & Grocer. Get some for dessert tonight.. or breakfast.. lunch… anytime you have a spoon nearby, really.

 

 

 

 

 

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Halloween, one of my favorite days of the year, is only four days away. This year I’m dressing up as Sloane Peterson from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, white pleather jacket and all [in case you need a visual, check this out]. In honor of Mr. Rooney ["ROOONEY!"], I decided to whip up some coconut macaroons, a.k.a. macarooneys. These crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside coconutty wonders were the perfect light bite to satisfy my sweet tooth. Although they look pretty fancy, don’t be deterred, they were a snap to make.

Edward Macarooneys

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • one 14-ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, cold water, corn syrup, and salt to a boil over medium-high het, stirring to dissovle the sugar.

In a medium bowl, combine the syrup with the bag of shredded coconut and let cool. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites and vanilla until foamy and thick; stir into the coconut mixture. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto each of 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden [about 15 minutes], switching the pans halfway through. Let cool completely on racks.

[Recipe courtesy of Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine]

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I’m so not a morning person. It’s a constant battle for me to get out of my comfy, warm bed in the wee hours… I’m always craving just five more minutes. I wish I could be more like my dad. He practically tap dances out of bed and bounds down to the kitchen for his breakfast [I wouldn't be surprised if he slid down the banister on the way]. We are polar opposites on the morning person spectrum. He is the lovable, slap-happy, on cloud-9 type, whereas I’m more of the grumbling, eyes glazed over, running into the doorway, living dead type.

That being said, I think there is hope for me. There are some mornings when I’m actually excited to leave my bed, and this was one of those mornings. Around 7 AM [!!] before my workday began, I resisted the urge to crawl back into bed and, instead, headed to the Green City Market.

The Green City Market [on the south end of Lincoln Park] is one of many perks of living in the city. I love being able to hop on a bus and ten short minutes later arrive at a bustling tented village teeming with families, farmers, chefs, and delicious offerings. Everywhere you look there is something tasty: baskets overflowing with delicious, crisp apples – quarts of bright, juicy tomatoes. There are stands where you can buy fresh maple crepes and cinnamon apple tartlets. You also never know who you may run into – a number of Chicago’s famous chefs [like Stephanie Izard of Girl and the Goat] love to stock up on seasonal goods for their restaurants at this very market.

Breakfast shown below, an apple-cheese danish from Bennison’s [plus a sprig of rosemary on top] with some cranberries.

Not quite a morning person yet, but I’m getting there.

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