new orleans potato salad

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one of my favorite comfort foods is potato salad. but i couldn’t get it quite “right” in the past, so i did a little epicurious research & found a recipe from the famous new orleans restaurant, dooky chase potato salad , & i knew i couldn’t lose. every time i use a recipe from that city, it turns out awesome.

the secret weapon? chopped baby dill pickles! hardly any salt is needed because of this. the recipe does not include onions so i added chopped scallions. because i got some baby butter potatoes from the logan square farmers market, it turned out fantastic! it’s perfect by itself or paired with your favorite burger. i did some chimichuri sauce, folded it into the burger meat & presto!

a most excellent pot salad recipe from a landmark restaurant! now i have to go to amazon & buy this cookbook! Unknown

indoparty

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a friend wanted to try a babi-gulang style indonesian spice rub on a 5 lb pork shoulder. he used fresh galangal root, ginger, turmeric & other spices. i was in charge of sides & so i went to the farmer’s market & asparagus is still very much in season. it’s always best to work with seasonal & local for optional flavor.

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i did an insane soup with asparagus last week & the flavor was so strong & asparagusy. (i know that’s not a word) it was successfully thickened with a sweet potato. i did not expect that to taste good but it did. of course i use black garlic in everything now.

i wanted the flavors all to match so i decided on asian asparagus. i threw in radish greens from my garden. i got some radishes from container garden.

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i chopped them up with other local veggies-carrots, romaine, mizuma, cucumber, heirloom gold tomatoes & used an asian peanut butter i made a week ago for chicken satay sausage & turned it into this peanut dressing, which was a standout.

local fingerling potatoes surrounding the roast provided the starch, even though traditionally rice would have been the choice.

summer is here & weekend cooking parties will officially be in full swing at my house. come on over!

black garlic hummus !!!

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we have an awesome outdoor market called green city market that i LOVE to hang out & shop at first thing in the morning-7am-before the massive crowds show up. i can only hit a few stalls per visit because it’s SO overwhelming. yesterday i saw little virgin bloody marys that had a piece of black stuff on a pick. i pulled one out & quietly sipped. i was being watched by the vendors. i sniffed the black thing, so interesting, & chomped down. i heard a chorus of angels in my head. it was my first taste of black garlic ! and i HAD to have more. it’s not cheap-around $3/bulb, but i bought 2 & a jar of the puree, which sells out fast. i have never tasted anything like it. it completely blew my head off.

i couldn’t wait to run home & make the most obvious dish with it-hummus. i used a basic recipe & increased the garlic from 2 cloves to an entire bulb of the black garlic. i wanted tons of that incredible flavor which is nothing like regular garlic. i can’t even describe what it reminds me of because it’s totally in a league of it’s own.

the hawks playoff game against the kings would be on in the evening & black garlic hummus was the PERFECT game nosh. it turned out totally amazing! seriously the very best hummus i have ever had! i used plentils-little lentil chips instead of pita. it worked perfectly.

i will never be the same again.

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thomas keller’s insane avocado louie recipe

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served at the oscars last night.
that is just insane. i mainly had to post this so i can try to remember to make it when i’m feeling very creative. what is super cool about him is that he shares it all! i use his simple roast chicken recipe in many of my recipes.

he encourages you to pickle your own, which is very intriguing.
who’s in?

Avocado Louie
½ avocado, pitted
5 hearts of palms, cut into rings
4 petite radishes, chopped
5 celery stalks, shaved
3 cucumber parisiennes (pickled cucumbers)
3 pickled mushrooms (Keller used pickled hon shimeju)
2 asparagus tips
1 sugar snap pea
2 romanesco cauliflower
1 cherry tomato (Keller used Sweet 100)
2 pearl onions, sliced
1 tbsp. lemon vinaigrette
1 tbsp. green goddess puree
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Fleur de sel, to taste

1. If you can, do your own pickling. Add cucumber parisiennes, hon shimeji mushrooms in a large bowl or jar with 1 part champagne vinegar, 1 part water, 1 part sugar. Let sit.

2. In a pot of boiling water, blanch hearts of palm, green asparagus, snap pea and romanesco cauliflower until tender.

3. Cut avocado in half. Trim the base so there is a flat surface. Trim the top and cut off any blemishes on the flesh. Brush the outside with lemon vinaigrette.

4. Spoon green goddess puree (recipe below) onto plate and place avocado on top. Add the rest of the ingredients—have fun with it! Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Season with fleur de sel.

Green Goddess Puree

1 ¾ cups mayonnaise
¾ cup crème fraiche
⅓ cup roasted garlic, pureed
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
2⅔ cups herb puree (below)
Salt, to taste

Incorporate all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and combine well. Adjust to desired consistency and season to taste.

Herb Puree
3 cups pickled parsley
2 cups baby spinach
1 cups pickled tarragon
1 cups dill

1. In a pot of salted, boiling water, add all ingredients and stir well. Allow the herbs to cook until tender: they should disintegrate when pressed.

2. Remove the cooked herbs with a slotted spoon place in a colander lined with cheese cloth or paper towel. (Ring out excess liquid to avoid the puree becoming too salty.)
Place ingredients in a blender and blend on high (you might need to add a small amount of cold water to help it spin) to a smooth thick puree. Scrape the sides of the blender and pulse again. Let chill.

roasted chicken matzo ball soup with quinoa

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when i crave matzo ball soup, i make it myself because i can’t get it in the city anymore. seems all the jewish places have moved out of town. i usually can’t get it to taste as good but this time i did it different & it blew away any chicken soup i have ever had or made.

the process is tedious but well worth it.

roast an entire chicken thomas keller style. i coated the entire bird with

-coarse salt
-white pepper
-togarashi
-italian seasoning
-adobo
-valentina fruit seasoning or some kind of chili lime salt – important

let cool. separate the skin & bones from the meat. make stock. i did a double stock-a previous stock was used to simmer the new bird bones. this added more richness. i also used a pressure cooker which speeds it all up. tossed in 2 bunches of green onion tops, several garlic cloves & above spices.

while the stock is cooking, take a large skillet & fry 5 pieces of chopped bacon till crisp. remove bacon, drain some fat & set aside. chop one large onion & fry 10 minutes. add 3 chopped carrots & 2 chopped celery stalks. add salt, cover & cook 10 more minutes. add 6 chopped garlic cloves, the chicken meat & bacon. add all the spices used on the bird. cook covered on low until the stock is done-about an hour. the pressure cooker is my friend.

drain the stock & combine with skillet. it will be ready almost immediately.

cook the quinoa separate. matzo balls are also separate & very easy. whip 2 eggs with 2 T oil whipping them with electric mixer. stir in one pack matzo meal, chill 15 minutes. cook covered in simmering water 20 minutes. i have made them many times & it seems this is the best way. i used to cook it all together and the flavor is much better cooked separately. you DO want to use the bacon.

i topped it with togarashi. a little romano, but it’s really fine without it.

chicago is having it’s 4th polar vortex- minus 30 degrees w/wind chills. soup is not a luxury. it’s a necessity.

beef broth/french onion soup/polish pork & beans/cucumber apple avocado salad

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i was craving a childhood favorite, Soupe-a-lOignon-au-Fromage-French-Onion-Soup-and i wanted it to be really good, which means making the broth from scratch. i have never done this before so i set out to research a few recipes. being a vegetarian for many years, there are still a lot of meat things i’ve been intimidate by. after some research, i decided on emeril lagasse’s beef stock recipe. i used a combo of oxtail sawed by the butcher into half inch pieces, a few marrow bones & a shoulder. the recipe is simple but very time consuming. it took 6 hours & made a gallon & a half of incredible beef stock. enough to make 3 soups!

after chilling the stock, i removed all of the fat & saved it for cooking. check it out

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i got busy on the french onion soup first. i cooked all day long because chicago is in the deep freeze right now and i was unable to leave my home & it’s too cold due to poor insulation. using the stove was an easy fix. onion soup is very simple. it’s mostly onions, butter & stock topped with toasted french bread & gruyere cheese. to my utter delight, it turned out delish.

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the broth got me so excited i had visions of future bowls of pho & ramen….alas i had a pound of dried navy beans & cooked them in a big casserole for a few hours. i ended up making what i call the yummy dried tomato paste, navy beans, kielbasa, applewood smoked bacon, & one entire head of roasted garlic. turned out fantastic! i called it my polish pork & beans.

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in the meantime, i decided to make a salad with chopped cucumbers & apples with avocados in a home made anchovy dressing-anchovy paste mixed with olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper & garlic topped with some parmesan/gruyere cheese-DELISH!

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as freezing as it is outside-50 below zero with wind chill-this food will last a few days if i get stranded at home. i’m not sure i’m gonna teach today. it’s just as cold today. but i’m SO glad i got all the ingredients before the predicted cold came. it’s been 27 years since we’ve had this kind of weather. nothing to do but knit, cook, watch tv & wait until the weather gets warm enough to go into. several people have died from this & tons went to the hospital for frozen injuries like frostbite. i hope to god i don’t have to deal with this today. yoga is not that important in my book. wish me luck :-)

pecan brittle & world’s best strawberry butter cookies

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a friend gave me sweet pecans from his mother. so i made pecan brittle. i’ve never made candy before & was surprised how good it turned out despite substituting some of the corn syrup with molasses, which is probably a better idea anyhow.

i would have to say the hardest thing about making this is it that it is physically demanding. you have to constantly stir it & it gets like caramel, which takes strength to handle. i’m looking forward to doing this again with variations. i have tons of pecans left. hand made candy is the best xmas gift.

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i continued my baking roll & made worlds best butter cookies & topped a fraction of them with my home made strawberry preserves.

i swear there’s nothing sweeter than spending all day in the kitchen.

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