10.30.2008

Carbomb Cooks

A guest post from Carbomb, one of the raddest chicks in Chi

Jeff was once in a band with a guy called Russ, who we run into whenever we go to Handlebar. Not only does he work at Handlebar, but he also makes the delicious seitan they use in the food there (which meat eaters have often failed to realize isn't actually the real stuff) and sometimes plays in another awesome band, Mother of Tears. The last time we saw MoT at the Empty Bottle, we were talking to Russ about cooking with seitan and he said he could hook us up with a 5 lb brick of the delicious stuff next time we went by Handlebar.

So Saturday rolled around, I felt the itch for the Everything Green Salad and a Marg and Jeff was jonesing for some seitan chorizo nachos so we went by and at the end of our lunch were presented with a brick of fake meat! To the kitchen! (Word on the street is you can buy Russ' seitan at Whole Foods - we can't remember the brand name, but there's a dude with a moustache on the packaging).

Seitan Shepherd's Pie

Heat your oven to 400.

The insides:
Brown 1.5 lbs of your meat substitute with a little bit of olive oil until it's well thawed out in a deep saute pot. Take the meat out and get 2 chopped onions working in the same pot until they're tinged brown. Then toss in 3 well chopped carrots and let them soften up. I then added one small can of tomato paste, some corn, peas and freshly chopped parsley but you could put in whatever veggies you would like (I would've put in some 'shrooms if not for the mushy hater Jeff) and then season away - I think some cinnamon and nutmeg is nice and autumnal. Then add 1 cup of red wine and 1.5 cups of veggie stock, a small handful of flour to soak up some juices and return the faux meat to the mix. Let all that shit come to a boil, then reduce the heat, put the lid on and let the flavors party.

The top:
Peel, cube and get about 2 lbs of some nice Yukon Golds boiling in some water. Cook til soft, drain, and toss in whatever you like in your mashy potatoes. Salt, pepper, butter, sour cream, cream cheese - what ever kind of creamy you like.

Build the sucker:
Put the insides down in a 9x13 baking dish and level it out. Then scoop your potatoes on top of the whole shebang, and if you're feeling crazy, top it off with some shredded cheddar (I used a really good horseradish cheddar) and chopped scallions. Throw that in the oven until the top of the pie is crusty and golden, about 25 minutes. Drink a glass of the tasty wine you put in the mix.

Boom. Done. You've just made enough food to feed a family of 4 or you and your fella for about 5 days. Also freezes real nice so you can pull it out and toss it in the oven to re-heat for a quick dinner on a chilly autumn night.

Brussel Sprout Love

I feel like Homer Simpson when he sees a donut..."Mmmmm, Brussel Sprouts, gaaaagaaaa"

My talented cousin Ange's photography and my talented Aunt Shelia's recipe!

10.29.2008

Citrus-Sumac Pepitas

I tried to trick you into thinking this post was not related to pumpkins by using "Pepitas" instead of "pumpkin seeds" in the title. But yep, here's another post about pumpkins! I made these delish, tangy, seeds last night in an effort to cheer up Pirate Zehra. And I think it worked!


Here's the recipe, so that these little seeds can brighten your day too!

Citrus-Sumac Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
the raw seeds of 2-3 large pumpkins
2 lemons
olive oil
sumac (a tangy middle eastern spice, sold locally at Sultan's Market
salt & pepper
cumin

1. Immerse the seeds in a bowl of water to remove the pumpkin pulp, drain and pour out on a olive oil-coated cookie sheet
2. Squeeze the juice from 1 1/2 lemons over the seeds, saving the juice from 1/2 a lemon
3. Add salt & pepper
4. Cook for 25 minutes or until golden, at 350 degrees.
5. Take out the seeds and pour remaining juice over seeds, sprinkle with sumac and cumin and bake until golden, another 12-20 minutes.
6. Share with friends!

10.28.2008

Richard's "eggs" are actually just eggs!

Being the jetsetter that I am, I had to celebrate my birthday in Chicago as well as NYC. So some friends and I got together on Saturday for some drinks at one of my favorite places, Richard's Bar, at the intersection of Grand, Milwaukee and Halsted.

The bar is a dive for sure - unpretentious and cheap (cash only people!) and full of old dudes who love Frank Sinatra, which along with Louis Prima and Dean Martin, is always playing on the juke box. And aside from drinks, Richard's always has a sign up for hard boiled "eggs" for .75cents. I've always been curious about these "eggs" and on Saturday night, Tim took the plunge. He ordered an egg! And it looked good! Check it out! (please note the giant Goodfellas banner in the background of the photos)






And post egg, we all had cake. Yes, my friends are funny.

Birthday in NYC

I was lucky enough to be called to NYC for work last week and my first day of meetings was also my birthday. Because I get so emotional about my time living in NYC (wah, wah), here's a photo recap of my week. I think they can say things better than I ever could.



French Onion Soup Dumplings, I see you in my dreams



Tacos at San Loco

Tigercity played a show at Webster Hall



On 3rd Avenue

Our stash after a Duane Reade bender

10.27.2008

Spicy Lentil Barley Soup

Having grown up near Dallas, I developed a hot sauce habit as a young'un. I started off pretty mild, adding the ever-present salsa to any and everything. But the older I got, the hotter I needed my condiments. Soon I was onto Louisiana Hot Sauce, red pepper flakes, and sambal. Pizza too bland? Get the sauce. Baked potatoes need some kick? That's right, grab the hot sauce bottle. Salad too boring? Spice it up! (jk, I do not put hot sauce on salad...unless it's a taco salad. Then it totally works)

So tonight, when I decided to make some lentil soup to warm me up, the spice beckoned and I created "Spicy Lentil Barley". And it is delicious.

Here's the recipe. I say the hotter, the better.

1 large onion
bag of lentils
bag of barley
vegetable broth
cumin
coriander
pickled jalapenos
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
sour cream for garnish

1. Saute the onion until golden. Yumm


2. Add lentils, barley, broth, cumin, coriander, a pinch of cayenne, and salt & pepper


3. Boil until lentils and barley are soft. Add finely chopped pickled jalapenos to taste.


4. Finish with sour cream to cool some of the heat, jalapeno garnish and feta cheese. It's enough to make a Texan mama proud!


Two full and happy boys.

10.26.2008

ONE MORE PUMPKIN

Ok, so here is the last City Veggie post about pumpkins! Actually, technically that's a lie as I have a pumpkin seed post on the docket this week. But oh well! Here is a photo of Tim's "Witch On A Broom In Pumpkin Medium" pumpkin art. I think it's pretty genius.



West Coast Pumpkins!

Please welcome guest blogger, LA-based Smitty (the blogger formerly known as S-Blade). This is how they do it in Hollywood kids

Would you believe that at the same time you Chicago kiddies were carving your pumpkins, the west coast contingent was ALSO getting into the Halloween spirit?! What are the odds! But yes, we had our own pumpkin carving party on Sunday too!

The day started with a trip to West Hollywood to the famous pumpkin patch to the stars, Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch!


While there were no celebs to be found on this visit, we did find our own perfect pumpkins, and found out that there is to be no pumpkin throwing.


Likewise, no jumping, standing, or...smiling?


So many rules! Apparently, horseback riding...


...and sleepwalking are encouraged.


We were all very proud of what we brought home with us from the patch


And now on to the carving, and of course the beer drinking!


Happy Halloween!

10.19.2008

The Great Pumpkin Visits Chicago

Today was our Concord Place Fall Party! Friends came bearing pumpkins. Pumpkins from Jewel, Trader Joe's and yes, even Aldi! It was the perfect weather for a celebration of the best season - crisp, cool, and sunny - and we had veggie chili, mulled wine, apple cider, and roasted pumpkin seeds. Here's a little breakdown of the day so that you too can celebrate the greatest of seasons with a little daytime drinking, eating and competitive gourd carving. We started off with a major trip to Trader Joe's on Clybourn. Then I started the veggie chili...

Diced red and white onions and garlic

The addition of chopped zucchini and mushrooms

With corn and diced tomatoes

My arsenal of secret seasonings

The final product, after 3 cans of crushed tomatoes, black and kidney beans, lots of taste testing, and an hour of simmering. Delish!

Next up - the mulled wine. The recipe was simple - combine a giant lowbrow bottle of red wine(or a jug of Carlo & Rossi, college style), lemon slices, 4-5 cinnamon sticks, a few teaspoons of honey, and some nutmeg in a saucepan. Heat for about 15 minutes but do not boil. Serve warm!

Before

After

Now that your guests are full and drunk, time to bust out the sharp knives! And carve some pumpkins.

Kate digs in

Pumpkin insides

Friends getting serious about their pumpkin designs. Secretly competitive? I think so.

Lindsay tried to make her pumpkin into Robert DeNiro

Smash disapproves

Carmen and her amazing design!

This pumpkin has amazing eyebrows

All lit up! Photo by Carmen Hernandez

So today I learned that the Great Pumpkin obviously exists! And if you make mulled wine, your friends will come over and help you celebrate fall in style. Now I'm off to NYC for the week so happy fall Chicago and I'll see you when I get back!

10.16.2008

Links Schminks

Since Lindsay is currently holding my camera hostage, I thought I'd share some links with my City Veggies - here are upcoming events and other things I'm finding interesting right now. Oh la la!

•The Chicago Film Festival is upon us soon and the Tribune outlines some food related features at this year's festival.

Bucktown Apple Pie Contest - this Sunday @ Holstein Park. I'm more of a cherry or lemon meringue pie fan but if apples slowly baked in a buttery flaky crust is your thing, check out this pastry contest. Or better yet, if you stole Grandma's winning recipe, submit a pie! It's only $15! Proceeds benefit Friends of Holstein Park.

•Taste Vosges' new Jamaican-inspired Zion Collection, at an October 23rd tasting event held in their Lincoln Park store. The high-end chocolate store is known for pushing the boundaries and using exotic ingredients in their decedent chocolate creations - the few I've tasted have included ginger, wasabi, black sesame seeds, curry powder, ancho chiles, pumpkin seeds, and paprika.

•The last outdoor Green City Market, currently held in Lincoln Park, will be on October 29th. So go this weekend or next! After this, the market moves to an indoor location, and while it will no doubt still be an amazing market, nothing beats walking around outside to pick out fresh fruit, vegetables, cheeses, and more.

•Wanna be a guest on the Chicago restaurant review show, Check, Please!? Apply here!

•One of my favorite restaurants (due to my passion for fake meat) The Chicago Diner, has started taking reservations for their famed vegetarian Thanksgiving. The last time I went there, I saw Moby. Duh!

•And this has nothing to do with food or Chicago but has to be my favorite internet link of all time. Take a chance and Click Here.

10.15.2008

Lazy Day Brunch in 1-2-3!

Being that it's Wednesday night, I am already looking ahead to the weekend. I feel like I really need to sleep in late and have a lazy fall Saturday. And part of that is cooking a big brunch at home. My winning technique is to saute all the veggies that I have in my fridge - add some eggs (egg whites when feeling super-healthy) - toss in some cheese and beans - and throw it all on a plate. I call it Egg-cellent.

An amalgamation of a dish - eggs, hearts of palm, black beans, sauteed onions, fresh corn, crumbled goat cheese, and hot sauce

Just add a bloody mary