Monday, April 30, 2012

Turkey, Shiitake, and Asparagus Noodles

Turkey, Shiitake, and Asparagus Noodles

I normally keep things nice and light here on this site, but something has been on my mind lately. With about a gazillion food blogs existing in the blogosphere, I'm noticing that fewer and fewer bloggers are giving credit on where there recipes come from. I think everyone should read this article by David Lebovitz and then re-read it immediately. I do disagree on point three that changing just three things in a recipe makes it yours, but I am curious to know what other bloggers feel about this issue. Take this recipe for example: I used turkey instead of pork, added red pepper flakes, and added asparagus. I guess I could claim this as my own now, but I followed everything else almost exactly and I certainly didn't come up with the combination of ingredients that produced a healthy, filling, and tasty lunch for me last week. Personally, I will always state in a clear way with a link if this recipe is adapted from or inspired by another source. If I feel I have spent time in the kitchen, coming up with something new and testing it's results, I will say it is by me. Of course with millions of recipes out in the world, there are bound to be similarities and I will always write the directions for every recipe in my own voice, the way I made the food. I know this is an issue that comes up from time to time in the food blogging community, and as I said before, I am interested to hear what others think. Add your thoughts in the comments. 

Turkey, Shiitake, and Asparagus Noodles

Here are other articles dealing with recipe attribution:
Wild Yeast Blog
The KitchenMaid
La Phemme Phoodie
Will Write For Food

Turkey, Shiitake, and Asparagus Noodles
(Adapted from Appetite for China)

*Note: I made this in a large nonstick skillet so I greatly reduced the amount of oil called for in the original recipe. If you are cooking in stainless steel, you may need to increase the oil to up to one tablespoon

Makes 2-3 servings

8 ounces ground turkey, 93% lean
1 teaspoon canola oil
5 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps finely chopped
2 large shallots, finely chopped
8 asparagus stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces, tips whole
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons sake
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 ounces soba noodles
1 scallion, sliced for serving

Heat a large wok or skillet over nonstick heat. If you are not using a nonstick pan, add the oil to the pan and heat before adding the turkey. Cook the turkey for 6-8 minutes or until it is completely cooked through. Remove the turkey from the pan with a slotted spoon a set aside.

If you are using a nonstick skillet, add the oil to the pan. Add the mushrooms, shallots, asparagus, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables have softened and browned slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey back to the pan as well as the sake and soy sauce. Cook for about 3 minutes, tossing well to combine. If your pan is not nonstick, make sure to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan with your spatula.

While the turkey mixture is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and cook the soba noodles according to package instructions. Drain the noodles well. Divide the noodles amongst bowls, and top with the turkey mixture. Top each bowl with some of the green onion.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hot Doug's

A few weeks ago, when the #ChiTownChowDown crew were in town, we attempted to go Hot Doug's, the self-proclaimed encased meat emporium and sausage superstore. Unfortunately, the store was closed that day so we cooled our jets at Longman & Eagle instead. Several days, later, I attempted to go with my friend Cathy, but I was worried about being late to a meeting so I wasn't able to continue the journey. I thought I may never get the chance to go, but I set out on a food field trip and decided to commit to the journey. I'm not a hot dog connoisseur, but as I have said before, Chicagoans love their meat and how could I go a month in this city without trying a Chicago dog at one of the city's institutions?


It was a cold and blustery day which made waiting in line a little miserable, but once you are inside, you're greeted with warm and efficient service from Doug himself. For this first visit, I tried the Chicago dog (The Dog) with all the fixings. For $2 you get a steamed or grilled all beef dog (I chose grilled), a poppy seed bun, tomato, celery salt, white onions, pickle, sweet relish, mustard and hot peppers. It's tangy, salty, and a bit sweet.

The Dog

I also decided to try one of the specials. Brown Ale and Chipotle Buffalo Sausage with Bacon-Garlic Mayonnaise and Carragaline Farmhouse Cheese ($8). The sausage is a bit crumbly, but has a good, slightly gamey flavor that pairs well with the salty and garlicky mayonnaise and smoky cheese.

Brown Ale and Chipotle Buffalo Sausage with Bacon-Garlic Mayonnaise and Carragaline Farmhouse Cheese

On Fridays and Saturdays only, Hot Doug's offers duck fat fries ($3.50). I had high hopes for these, but unfortunately, they were a bit of a let down. I was looking for a more assertive duck flavor and these were also sadly under-seasoned.

Duck Fat Fries

I'm definitely going to be visiting Hot Doug's again, but probably on a weekday to avoid long lines. There are so many creative options on the menu and I can't wait to try them all. 

What other people are saying about Hot Doug's:
Gastronomy Blog
Chicago Bites
Cameras and Cuisines

Hot Doug's
3324 North California
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 279-9550
*Cash only

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Kale, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Kale, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Since my first experience with spaghetti squash, I have been eager to try it again. This recipe is more of a complete meal and very easy to make. You just have to give yourself enough time because the roasting of the squash takes a while. I made a few changes to lighten things up, but it's still a substantial meal that will have you feeling full. There was quite a bit of the sausage mixture left after a few servings of this. The leftovers were great, re-heated and topped with a fried egg.

One year ago: Brunch at Vu
Two years ago: Brown Sugar Ice Cream
Three years ago: Asparagus with Blood Oranges

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Kale, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
(Adapted from Serious Eats)

*Note: If you can't find sun-dried tomatoes not packed in oil, use oil-packed tomatoes and replace the olive oil with oil from the tomato jar.

Makes 4 servings

1 small spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces spicy Italian chicken
10 ounces chopped kale
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 ounces julienned sun-dried tomatoes not in oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, depending on your taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the squash on the sheet, and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a paring knife is easily inserted in the center of the squash.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Scrape the sides of the squash using a fork to remove the spaghetti. Toss the squash with one tablespoon of olive oil. Season the squash with salt and pepper and set aside.

When the squash has about 30 minutes left to cook, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Add the sausage and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the sausage is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon

Add the kale and chicken broth to the pan and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes until the kale has wilted. Add the sausage back to the pan along with the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese to the skillet, tossing to combine. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Serve the sausage mixture on a bed of spaghetti squash, dotted with pieces of mozzarella cheese.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Purple Pig

After a long day of walking through Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile, and some other touristy areas, the #ChiTownChowDown group and I decided to rest our weary feet and fuel up at The Purple Pig. I've quickly discovered that Chicagoans looove their meat and The Purple Pig does pork very well.


We started with what could be my favorite thing I've eaten so far in this city. Pork fried almonds with rosemary and garlic ($5). You first notice the piney rosemary and sweet garlic and there is a great saltiness from the pork, further highlighted by chewy pork bits in the bowl. Such an addictive snack.

Pork Fried Almonds with Rosemary & Garlic

To get a bit of green, we had brussels sprouts ($6). These aren't the healthiest sprouts since they are fried to crispy perfection, but the lemon and thyme help them taste fresh.

Fried Brussel Sprouts with Thyme, Lemon & Chili Flakes

Our mini meal was a little pork heavy (duh, the place is called The Purple Pig) with the almonds and then the pig's tails braised in balsamic ($9). The sweet balsamic balanced the fattiness of the tails.

Pig’s Tails Braised in Balsamic

We continued our pork exploration with milk braised pork shoulder ($10). Since pork shoulder is a little leaner, it was the perfect balance with the milky sauce and incredibly tender.

Milk Braised Pork Shoulder

To change things up, we ordered the mussels with creme fraiche, pancetta and majoram ($11). They come in an adorable pig bowl with crusty bread. We got more bread to soak up the creamy broth and then they just kept bringing us plate after plate of bread. It was kind of hilarious.

Mussels with Pancetta, Crème Fraiche & Marjoram

I can't wait to visit The Purple Pig again to have a glass of rose on the patio and also so I can try the pigs ears with crispy kale and a fried egg. That dish has my name all over it.

The Purple Pig
500 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 464-1PIG (744)

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Fish En Papillote

Fish en Papillote

As I said last week, I am still navigating the produce here in Chicago. My weekly trips to the farmers market have been replaced by daily trips to that rocking Whole Foods around the corner. I now know how spoiled I was living in Southern California with the best produce at my fingertips at a moment's notice. I'm looking forward to the arrival of summer and the markets that will be popping up here. In the meantime, I am hoping to explore the Green City market this weekend which is year-round. I had a hankering for a light dish with bright spring produce. I'm no Rachael Ray, but this fish is a snap to prepare and even after a long day of work, you can be eating this within thirty minutes. The vegetables can be changed a million ways to reflect the seasons. My friend Raul likes it with asparagus and mushrooms, I like this bright green mixture. This can also be made with foil, but if you try that, don't use acidic vegetables like tomatoes. Either way, have fun with it!

Fish en Papillote

Fish En Papillote
(By Esi)

Makes 4+ servings

Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
8 large asparagus spears, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces on a bias
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 pound firm fish (flounder, cod, halibut, salmon, etc)
1 lemon cut in to wedges for serving
Israeli couscous for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cut two large squares of parchment paper.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the garlic and shallot. Cook for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the asparagus, sugar snap peas, and cherry tomatoes and stir until well combined, 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Place some of the vegetables in an even layer over each sheet of parchment. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper and place the fish on top of the vegetables. Top the fish with the remaining vegetables and seal the packet tightly. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until the fish is cooked through, but still tender.

Serve the fish in the packet if serving a large group, or remove the fish from the packet to serve. Sprinkle the lemon over the fish and vegetables and serve with couscous if desired.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles

Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles

Before I left LA, I had to do one last lunch at a Los Angeles institution. The last time I attempted Roscoe's was seven years ago when I was a pescatarian and also was more concerned with meeting up with my friends for Sunday Funday than devouring a plate of fried and floury goodness. Once again, I must reiterate "my how things have changed". On my last full day in LA, my friend Ben insisted that this is what we would have for our last lunch. With the previous obstacles no longer in my way, who was I to object?

Scoe at Roscoes

We each ordered the 'Scoes ($10.70). The dish is comprised of 1/4 chicken (dark meat for both of us) with 2 buttermilk waffles. I'm fairly certain the maple syrup was Aunt Jemima or some other generic brand, but I was too busy devouring the waffles and chicken to care too much. The waffles are kind of doughy and pair perfectly with the moist chicken. It's still such an odd combination to me, but one that I am strangely attracted to (as evidenced by my recent order at Longman & Eagle). Plus, hey, if it's good enough for Obama, it's good enough for me.

One year ago: Roasted Chicken
Two years ago: Whole Wheat Pasta with Fiddleheads and Ramps
Three years ago: Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg Salad

Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n Waffles
5006 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 934-4405 or (323) 936-3730

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Soba Noodle Soup with Smoked Trout and Spinach

Soba Noodle Soup with Spinach and Smoked Trout

Since my first few meals in Chicago were so meat-heavy (Longman & Eagle, Purple Pig, Courtney's meat-intense barbeque), I've been looking for lighter fare lately. I haven't quite scoped out the farmers market scene here yet, but I stocked up with what looked best at the ridiculously large Whole Foods nearby. I'm telling you, this Whole Foods is humongous. It has TWO bars, a DJ playing, a diner, and the biggest salad bar I have ever seen among other things. It is so funny to see people walking around grocery shopping with glasses of wine in their hands. This soup comes together quickly and is filling, but not heavy. As much as I poo poo mushrooms on this site, they really make an excellent broth and this simple broth has great umami flavor. Even though this recipe is so simple, it felt great to be back in the kitchen after weeks of eating out and I am looking forward to cooking up more recipes soon.

Soup ingredients
Just a few ingredients

Season the broth with soy sauce
Season the broth with soy sauce

Boil the noodles
Meanwhile cook the noodles

Toss the noodles with sesame oil
Toss the drained noodles with sesame oil

Noodles in the bowl
Divide the noodles amongst bowls

Steep the broth, spinach, trout, and onions
Steep the broth, spinach, trout, and onions

Soba Noodle Soup with Spinach and Smoked Trout
Serve with an egg if desired (I desired)

One year ago: Thin Mint Brownies
Two years ago: Lemon Scented Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds, and Feta
Three years ago: Bacon and Tomato Tart

Soba Noodle Soup with Smoked Trout and Spinach
(Adapted from The New York Times)

Makes 4 servings

*Note: the original recipe called for seasoning the broth with salt or soy sauce to taste. Since I cooked my noodles in salted water, I was very careful about how much to add, especially since you will have extra saltiness from the smoked trout

6 cups vegetable, chicken, or kombu stock
Soy sauce or salt to taste
6 ounces soba noodles
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
6 ounces baby spinach
8 ounces smoked trout fillets, skinned and cut into 4 portions
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 hardboiled eggs, cut in half (optional)

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Season with soy sauce and/or salt to taste.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot full of water to a boil. Add salt to the water and add the soba noodles. Cook for 5 minutes or until the noodles are al dente. Drain the water and toss the noodles with the sesame oil. Divide the noodles amongst 4 bowls.

Add the spinach, trout, and most of the green onions to the stock. Let the mix sit for at least three minutes. Gently ladle the soup over the noodles. Garnish each bowl with the remaining green onions and serve with a hardboiled egg if desired.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Brunch at Longman & Eagle

Four of my LA blogging friends got to Chicago the same day as me for a weekend full of fun and food. They dubbed it #ChiTownChowDown and mapped out all of the places they wanted to visit in a short period. I was able to join them for a little bit and we sure did chow down. It felt a bit gluttonous, but it was a great way to introduce myself to the city's vibrant food scene.

Early on Tuesday, we attempted to go to Hot Doug's, but they were unfortunately closed for the day. The night before, the rest of the gang had feasted at Longman & Eagle and loved it so much, they decided they wanted to go back for more. This restaurant/hotel is so unassuming, you could miss it walking down the street (I almost did), but inside it's bustling and fun and dare I say, my new favorite place.

Longman & Eagle Brunch Menu

I started with a Beermosa ($6). It's just beer (in this case Hacker-Pschorr Weiss) and OJ, but really does taste like a regular mimosa.


While I was waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. I saw a diner eating from the Plougman's Platter ($13) and I knew I was going to try to find a way to have the same platter make it's way to our table. Luckily, everyone else was in agreement and we split the speck, farm greens, apricot spread, soft boiled egg topped with Boquerones (anchovies), and bread between the five of us.

Ploughman Platter

We also split the maple bacon doughnut ($3.50). The fluffy donut is topped with a not too sweet maple glaze and crunchy candied bacon. It hits that perfect combination of sweet and salty with a nice texture from the bacon.

Maple Bacon Doughnut

For the main event, I ordered fried chicken and waffles ($12). Juicy fried chicken is served on top of fluffy waffles and a sweet potato and pork belly hash with a side of maple syrup. It's just decadent enough, but not greasy. This was a popular dish of the day, and by the time my plate made it's way back to me, a lot of the waffle and hash were gone. Thanks friends!

Fried Chicken, Waffles, Sweet Potato & Pork Belly Hash, Maple Syrup

Andy ordered the Slagel Family farms burger with aged Widmer's cheddar and Neuske's bacon on a brioche bun ($12). The burger patty was thick and juicy and perfectly cooked, but unfortunately those attributes were overshadowed by a slightly stale and dry bun.

Slagel Family Farms Burger, Aged Widmer’s Cheddar, Neuske’s Bacon, Brioche Bun

One of the other popular dishes of the day was the Pork Belly Cubano ($11). The bread is stuffed with the aforementioned pork belly, ham, Fontina cheese, Dijonaise, and housemade zuchinni pickles. It comes with a generous serving of the restaurant's famous beef fat fries (or salad if you feel like something lighter).

Cubano with Beef Fat Fries

Fiona had the sunny side duck hash with duck confit, shallots, potatoes, and black truffle vinaigrette ($12). The dish has had great truffle flavor and the eggs with runny yolks were a treat as always, but the general consensus was that we wish there had been more duck.

Sunny Side Duck Egg Hash with Duck Confit, Nichols Farm Spring Onions, Yukon Gold Potato, Black Truffle Vinaigrette

The Peeky Toe Crab Benedict ($13) was full of real, meaty sweet crab. The eggs were a little underdone, but the crab outshined that small misstep.

Peeky Toe Crab Benedict with One Hour Eggs, Old Bay Infused Hollandaise

Despite the fact that we were stuffed beyond belief, HC insisted on ordering the French toast ($10) as dessert. It is a brioche toast topped with glazed apples, whipped maple syrup, and brown butter crumbles. It's sweet, but not shockingly so with a bit of tartness from the apples. Death by French toast was so worth it.

Spiced Brioche French Toast, Glazed Klug Farm Apples, Whipped Maple Syrup, Brown Butter Crumble

I tried to convince my friends that they should stay an extra night at the adjoining hotel, but alas, they had to catch their flights and head back to reality. Longman & Eagle does good, simple food in an interesting way and I cannot wait to visit again.

Longman & Eagle
2657 North Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 276-7110

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