Friday, January 17, 2014

Mmmmmm... Maaaaaaarrrrrrrmalaaaaade...

Au Cheval: Roasted Bone Marrow and Beef Cheek Marmalade
There is something to be said about a great side.

My husband and I frequent a restaurant called Au Cheval in Chicago where they serve upgraded diner classics like scrambled eggs with foie gras, cheeseburgers with thick slices of pork belly, and-- my personal favorite-- roasted bone marrow with beef cheek marmalade.

I grew up in a household that ate bone marrow, so seeing it on the dining scene is no big deal to me. But there is something to be said about that beautiful beef cheek marmalade served alongside the marrow. IT IS SO GOOD! That marmalade is SO GOOD that I asked our server if they could put some in a jar so we could take it home with us (she laughed, shook her head and said no, and left me in my seat pouting).

Now I really can't have a post about the marmalade if I don't insert some rambling obsessed description touting its many glories, so here we go: the marmalade is served nice and warm and hits you first with the beautiful aroma of beef, onions, and seasonings that have been cooked and loved for a long time before making it to your plate. You absolutely have to take a nice big spoonful of the marmalade by itself (before, of course, combining it with the marrow and the toast) and let it sit and melt in your mouth. The flavors are deep, fatty, savory, sweet, rich, oniony, and caramelly. You are left with the need to close your eyes and really feel and savor the mouthful before it disappears, so delightfully, into your contented stomach. 

I think that description should do it... for now.  

Are you hungry for beef cheek marmalade yet? Because I know I am.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quit Yelping: The Ups and Downs of Using Mass Review Sites

I was having a conversation with one of my co-workers today:

"Have you heard of the restaurant, Jellyfish?" She asked.

"No," I responded, "If it hasn't cracked the Yelp top 25 in any category, I probably haven't heard of it or tried it."

She laughed and responded, "You need to broaden your horizons!," and then continued to talk about how she heard the place had a great ambiance, etc. and how she was looking forward to going there with her girlfriends for a girl's night...

I was a little taken aback by her response and started to think about my current restaurant habits and my growing dependency on Yelp. is a website that allows millions of users to rate their restaurant experiences and takes those ratings to rank restaurants in any given city. Nowadays, I often rely on Yelp to tell me where to go for dinner and, as I mentioned before, I tend to stick within the top 25 in any given restaurant category and rarely venture out of that range.

To me this makes sense. This is reasonable. If 500-something people gave a certain restaurant 4.5/5 stars, then that restaurant has to have good food right? So far I have not been disappointed. I've relied on Yelp numerous times and have gotten some pretty amazing restaurant experiences out of using the site.

But is this preventing me from tasting some really good food? I remember the days before Yelp when I used to just enter restaurants at random and order the same way. I remember going down streets around dinner time and entering the place that seemed the most crowded. I remember even giving very empty restaurants a chance, one time leading me to the best carne asada fries I've had in my life.

I probably won't quit Yelping anytime soon but it may not hurt to venture out again into the unknown and see where that takes me.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eats: Fettuccine Alfredo

As a girl who keeps her word, here is a personal picture of a recent food-made-fresh-at-home: Fettuccine Alfredo... with a twist-->I used egg noodles instead of fettuccine. Not much of a twist, but the overall effect was delicious!
The recipe comes from the "How to Cook Everything Essentials" app that I downloaded on my handy-dandy I-phone. The picture was taken with the phone as well.
I served the noodles as a quick dinner fix using my eggs my boyfriend brought back home from his family's farm. His parents raise free-range hens that produce beautiful eggs with a deep orange yolk. These eggs are also the reason the sauce for the noodles came out a lovely butter-yellow color. FANTASTIC! I hope you enjoy this fast and easy recipe as much as I did:
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 lb. Fettuccine Noodles (or flat egg noodles)
  • 1 cup feshly grated Parmesan cheese (or more to taste)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Meanwhile, bring the butter to room temperature (you can soften it in a microwave, but don't melt it). Put it in a warm bowl.

2. Cook the pasta until tender but not mushy (this should take about 10-15 minutes)

3. While the pasta cooks, whisk 2 eggs with 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 cup grated Parmesan in a warmed bowl. Sprinkle with pepper.

4. When the pasta is cooked, toss it with the cream mixture, adding a little of the cooking water if necessary to keep the mixtur moist. Drizzle with butter, toss well, and serve immediately.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ode to Epicurious & Coq Au Vin


Hello All!

I know it's been a really long time. I've been cooking a lot lately and will get much better at uploading my own food pictures to the site. I've also started a new hobby: Jewelry Making! You can read more about my recent gems and various musings at BPB&LBB. I've been much better at uploading personal pics to that site.

Oh the gems of life!

Speaking of gems, I cannot get enough of Epicurious! For those of you unfamiliar with the site (as I was once upon a time, but no longer,) it has tons of fabulous, workable recipes (and I DO mean workable!) As someone who often looks ups recipes online, there is a constant worry that these online recipes will crash and burn in the kitchen. Not with Epicurious! I recently made their "Quick Coq Au Vin" recipe (with bone in Chicken Thighs, not Chicken Breasts) and it was DIVINE! SO GOOD! Coq au Vin, like most dishes involving wine or beer, is a dish that does best over a longer period of time. Epicurious managed to find a recipe that is not only fast and easy to make but does not sacrifice the flavors of this classic French dish. DO TRY IT! Let me know how it works out.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fried Beet Chips with Goat Cheese Dip

One of my favorite restaurants of all time has let me down this summer. They have consistently been out of their scrumptious Beet Chips with Goat Cheese Dip appetizers every time I have stopped by. This is unacceptable.

So what did I do? I took matters into my own hands and made my own Beet Chips with Goat Cheese Dip and I have to tell you--they are better.

*Note: The Goat Cheese Dip recipe can be made a little more special by adding your favorite herbs and seasonings. I like dried basil and dill.

Serves 4
  • 6-8 Bulk beets (the smaller version-easier to cut), scrubbed and peeled
  • Canola/Peanut oil.

Slice beets thin.

Fill pot with oil up to 3/4 of an inch. Put on high heat until oil "cracks" when you drip a drop of water into the pot. Then decrease to med-high heat.

Fry beets in small batches to ensure crispiness. ~10 minutes per batch/ until crispy.

Place on plates lined with paper towels to soak up the extra oil. Then transfer to a serving bowl.



Serves 4
  • 5-6 oz. fresh goat cheese
  • 2/3 cup low-fat sour cream

In a bowl/ food processor, beat/mix ingredients until well-combined.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Salmon With Lemon and Herb Butter

Ok. This blogger has been very bad about the food she has been eating. As a self-respecting foodie, I cannot forgive myself from eating nothing but frozen dinners these past few weeks. In an effort to redeem myself I made a mental promise to cook my lunch for this week. The result?

Salmon with Lemon and Herb Butter:

Serves 4
1.5 lb Salmon fillet
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 lemon
8 tbsp. of butter (softened)
2 tbsp. fresh finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp. fresh finely chopped dill

Preheat the oven to 425.

Rinse off and pat dry a 1.5 lb salmon fillet (I used Sockeye) and lay in a baking dish (I used a glass Pyrex baking dish). Salt and pepper the fillet on one side. Set aside.

Slice 9-10 extra thin wheels from the lemon and arrange on top of the salmon fillet. Squeeze the rest of the lemon over the salmon fillet.

In a bowl whisk the softened butter, parsley, dill, salt, and pepper together. Take an ice cream scooper and scoop balls of the herb butter on top of the fillet.

Place baking dish in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes or until fillet starts to flake with a fork and the fish is cooked.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's the Bee's Knees: Local Honey to Cure Allergies

Spring is awful.

I may be an awful person for saying that. After all, Spring brings the Easter Bunny, warmer weather, and an abundance of lovely flowers. But! Spring also brings my worst allergy symptoms. So when an acquaintance suggested a tasty food remedy to cure my ills, I was all ears.

He suggested local honey. I had never heard of this before. Apparently, taking a tablespoon of locally produced honey provides a daily dose of allergy relief in sweet time.

Being the cautious skeptic I am, I Googled this newfound information. Several articles confirmed, but with a grain of salt. Local honey contains pollens from local flowers. Ingesting this pollen is supposed to relieve allergies and reduce inflammation. However, the different articles were undecided as to whether honey actually relieves symptoms or produces a placebo-effect. The articles also warned that eating too much local honey could worsen symptoms in some individuals.

With all this in mind, I will give it a go, but Benadryl and my local health provider's phone number will be close by just in case.