Food Blog

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Entries from February 2003

Shopping – Lincolnwood Produce

February 27th, 2003 · Comments Off

This post is out of order, it tells the story of shopping I did before the Pork Tenderloin with Burghul meal.

I stopped in at Lincolnwood Produce (Lincoln and Touhy in Lincolnwood) on the way home last week and picked up some stuff for a Veggie Millet pie. The store is a supermarket-sized independent grocery, full of great produce, meat and eastern European, latino, and asian food. The produce is good quality with a huge variety, the deli case is full of great cheeses and greek stuff like octopus salad. There’s 5 or 6 types of feta alone. The meat case has whole legs of lamb for reasonable prices and a growing seafood selection.

But the really great thing about a store like this is the stuff you never see anywhere else – everything from strange foreign candy and soda to bulgarian sheep’s milk cheese. The freezer case is full of whole fish and has things like quail and rabbit. The refrigerated section is chuck full of eastern European smoked meat and cheeses.

I used the basket only method of shopping (wheeling a cart around this store is dangerous on the wallet, and probably on the suspension of my jeep when hauling it all home) I spent just over $37 and here’s a rough list of everything I walked out with:

1 chinese okra

2 chinese eggplants

2 regular eggplants

a wrapped package of fresh okra

a wrapped package of portabello mushrooms

5 vine ripe tomatoes

2 large onions

a package of millet

a package of bulgur wheat

1 1/2 lb. of feta cheese

a 1 lb tin of bulgarian sheep’s milk cheese

Some cool bread that I’ll have to look up when I get home

1 lb of Kolozsvari Hungarian bacon

4 cans of gaunabana juice

a small can of sardines

a jar of anchovies

a can of squid

a can of fava beans

a can of garbanzo beans

a jar of ajvar

a tube of wasabi

mediterrenean sea salt

dried chiplotle peppers

vanilla soy milk

On a sad note, I’ve noticed that two of the best food places on Dempster in Skokie are closed. Greenwood Produce, which apparently had a fire, looked like it might reopen, but the building is demolished, and last week I noticed the E&M Fancy Foods (or E&M Meats), a great butcher, is gone. There still is another good independent store on Dempster – Village Market Place in Skokie (4034 Dempster), which is another place full of great produce a good meat department and tons of eastern European food stuff.

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Tags: Exotic Food Products

Food weblogs

February 27th, 2003 · Comments Off

I thought I’d point out a few of the food weblogs I’ve recently found and added to the list.

Out of Our Mouths “Anything and everything about food.”

Weight Botchers Out of Our Mouths Sister site

My Cookbook An English Group blog. “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” Especially useful is their temp, weight and volume converter application.

Tangmonkey, who has started the Foodblogger’s webring

Also I the bottom of my list, I’m listing non-food-related but food named blogs. I don’t intend to create the definitive list, but the best of these should be listed somewhere.

*POSTSCRIPT* just discovered foodgoat, on the Foodbloggers ring.

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Tags: Food News and Links

Roast Chicken

February 27th, 2003 · Comments Off

Deb over at Murrayhill5, is doing a great job reviewing some of the many great Food Blogs out there. See tells us she has time for this because she’s “in one of those ‘I don’t know what to eat don’t know what to cook’ funks.”

From reading some Food Blogs I can see the tendency to feel like your cooking for an audience when you post what you cook and eat. I certainly feel like I do sometimes. I don’t usually post the sort of simple meals I eat every day. When talking to some of my friends who don’t cook, I’m always surprised to hear that they’ve never attempted to make their own pasta sauce, or have never roasted a chicken. A nice juicy roast chicken, with its skin bristling with browned herbs, isn’t an instant meal, but it takes less time to prep then it does to write about.
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Tags: Meat Recipes

Pork Tenderloin with Burghul and Goat Cheese Mushroom Puree

February 23rd, 2003 · Comments Off

Pork Tenderloin with burghulFairly fancy looking, but easy. These are just pan grilled tenderloin medallions, seasoned with rosemary, and topped with a sauce of goat cheese and pureed mushrooms. The sides are burghul, or cracked wheat, which makes a good departure from rice, and some spinach and yellow squash, wilted in bacon fat.

1 pork tenderloin cut into medallions

rosemary

oregano

butter

2-3 ozs goat cheese

1 can of mushrooms

3 shallots

1 cup burghul

boullion cube (lamb or pork)

1 yellow squash, julienned

baby spinach

smoked bacon

I rinsed the burghul, like the instructions said, and threw it in a pot with half a stick of butter, and cooked it until it just had some color, then put in 2 cups of water and a chopped shallot. I happened to have a lamb boullion cube, which thrown in, was perfect. I covered and simmered it for 20 minutes. In the meantime I tossed the medallions in salt pepper, lots of dried rosemary, and some oregano. I pan grilled them, browning both sides, with the another chopped shallot, added a little water, and put the pan in a 400 F oven to finish.

Then I went on to the sauce – browning the can of mushrooms in some butter, with a chopped shallot and 3-4 diced cherry tomatoes. I pureed this mixture, but not going past the point where it didn’t have a little texture left. It went back into 2 T of melted butter and 2-3 ozs of goat cheese. I had some french feta left from another meal, so I threw in 2 T or so. I think that gave the right amount of saltiness. I whisked this all up until it was melted and mixed well. The pork came out to rest for a minute, and some of the liquid from the grill pan got whisked in and reduced in the sauce

I few strips of my favorite kolozsvari bacon went into a pan and had its fat rendered out. The bacon was removed and I poured some of the fat from the pan, saving it. I didn’t want to fry the spinach, just wilt it. The squash went in first, then I did two or three small batches of spinach, just throwing them into a pan wet with the hot fat, tossing it, and removing them after 10 seconds or so, adding a bit of the reserved grease for each batch.

The pork went onto the burghul, topped with the sauce, and sided with the greens and squash which got sprinkled with a bit of the diced bacon. I really liked the burghul, and will use this a lot from now on. The squash was a nice touch to tone down the wilted spinach, which may have been a touch too bitter from picking up too much of the smoky fat.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Food blogging

February 21st, 2003 · Comments Off

I had the pleasure of meeting the charming Missus Schmalzer and her husband Peter, of Eat, Drink and Be Married at the bar in Charlie Trotter’s last night.

We discussed blogs, restaurants, travel and food. When it was time for their seating, I was going to hide under their table for scraps, but I figured that wouldn’t be appropriate.

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Tags: Food News and Links

Kitchen stuff

February 18th, 2003 · Comments Off

Before I write a big essay on what you need in a well-equipt kitchen, I’ll point to some other opinions.

Anchulis posts her 3 most underrated kitchen tools – chopsticks, a citrus reamer, and her toilet. I completely agree with her. Shylo, in the comments to the Anchulis post, mentions counterspace – the third most important part of a kitchen after the sink and heat producing unit.

Butterpig lists a top ten equipment list, with which I’m in complete agreement. Basically that’s the essay I would have written, except I would make the addition of a cleaver or santuko type knife, and a non-stick pan. The knives are a preference, and you could probably do fine with just a chef’s knife, but for perfect omlettes and fragile fish fillets, you just can’t get by without a good quality nonstick.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools

Venison, CWD and other losers

February 18th, 2003 · Comments Off

Sour Bob lists stupid things stupid people say to restaurant servers. “Your chef forgot to cook this carpaccio. It’s completely raw!” or “Is this venison from Wisconsin? Because Wisconsin venison has chronic wasting disease and that can kill you.” “We don’t make a practice of serving lethal meat, sir.” KIPlog public service announcement: Restaurants aren’t allowed to serve wild deer. Also the disease causing prions (abnormally-shaped protiens) are not found in muscle meat and this disease has never been found to infect humans. Source: Chronic Wasting Disease: Frequently Asked Questions.

In other food humor, I’ve added Cooking for Losers to my list of food blogs. This site includes fabulous recipes like the potato chip sando – “Eat, and enjoy the sando while pretending that the crunching chip sounds are crunching lettuce sounds, thus deluding yourself into believing that you have a healthy diet.” and the Diet Egg Nog – “…it’s diet because with the raw egg there’s a slim chance that you’ll get salmonella and lose like 30 pounds.” Even though this site has been featured on metafilter, I should give credit to Sour Bob, who told me about it while on the way to a Tiki bar.

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Tags: Food News and Links

Ancho Mango Pork Chops

February 14th, 2003 · Comments Off

If it looks like I’m eating a lot of pork lately, it’s because it’s cheap.

I bought a great big package of pork loin chops for around 5 bucks and got around 8-9 big chops. Mangos are also cheap at the moment, being in season, and I had a few ancho peppers left over from the chili. I though I’d combine the sweetness of the mango with the earthy, and almost raisiny flavor of the chili peppers to glaze the chops. When I do this again, I’ll perfect it by brining the chops first, and use more anchos and maybe one or two hotter peppers like a jalapeno or thai chili to add just an undertone of heat.
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Tags: Meat Recipes

Pork loins and photography

February 6th, 2003 · Comments Off

Pork LoinPaul, over at playing with my food comments about Deb’s fine photography. Deb’s planning to shoot every new dish she creates, which I admit is an endeavour for me. After cooking I want to eat, and setting up the food and shooting sometimes is an excercise in restraint.

Not all food turns out looking good enough for photography either. For instance, last night’s meal consisted of several braised pork loins. After they brined overnight (see this if you don’t now why), I dusted them with raz el hanout, and some extra ginger, browned them in an iron skillet, then added some water, a splash of sherry and a bit (half cup or so) of my new favorite soda, Sobe’s Mr Green. I just wanted a touch of this soda’s sweetness and ginseng to come through. What did i get after an hour and a half of braising it all in a 350 degree oven? Beautifully done, tender, very tasty green meat. The name Green in Mr. Green is there for a reason (yellow 5 and blue 1).

Otherwise, it was delicious.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

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