Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Farmer's Market Meal #2

Here's what I purchased during today's trip to the Green City Market"

purple passion asparagus

German butterball potatoes
Summer Butter from Nordic Creamery (
bread from Bennison's Bakery (
pork andouille sausage and lamb chorizo sausage from Mint Creek Farm (

white wine trenette pasta from Pasta Puttana (

and here's what i made from it...

pasta and asparagus

This one was super simple and really healthy. First I steamed the asparagus and then just mixed it with the pasta and a little EVOO. The pasta was okay, but something was a little off with the taste.

truffle oil masted potatoes anyone?

I simply boiled the German butterball potatoes and then mashed them up with some mile and lots of truffle oil. I've decided that truffle oil rates right up there with sex in pleasure level. I do believed a few moans escaped me while eating these.
jambalaya with pork andouille
I just used a box of Zatarans jambalaya mix and added the pork andouille in. It was so delicious that my friend and I ate the whole pot in one sitting.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Farmer's Market Meal #1

Farmer's Market season is here! This year I am going to try my best to get to a market at least once a week and support local farmers and I'd like to try and post my findings and some recipies. This past Saturday I visited the Green City Market in Lincoln Park ( I actually went for two reasons: fresh veggies and Stephanie Izard ( Stephanie (of Top Chef fame) is going to be opening her restaurant, Girl and The Goat, in June. She is giving out goat buttons with numbers on them. Each button is a raffle ticket for a dinner for two during her friends and family night. I covet these buttons so of course I showed up at the market where she was giving away buttons. I also wanted to make her my BFF, but she was pretty busy so the friendship making will have to wait until another time. I got my button and that's all that matters.

So, besides a goat button I also picked up some Russian blue potatoes, shallots, and asparagus. Here's what I made with all of this farmer's market goodness.

Roasted Russian Blue Potatoes

Russian Blue Potatoes have a gorgeous purplish color that make for some great eating. I just did a simple roast. Chopped up the taters, drizzled some EVOO on them, sprinkled with salt and popped them in the over for about 20-25 min. When they were done I just added some pepper and a little thyme, but you could also use rosemary.

Pan Roasted Asparagus

I debated about baking the asparagus, but then I decided to just pan fry them and see what happened. Fist, I chopped a little shallot up and put it in a pan with some butter and EVOO. I let it cook for about a minute and then added the asparagus along with some garlic powder (I didn't have any real garlic on hand) and some salt and pepper. It took about 10 minutes to cook them up.

And to drink I just mixed a little left over Sav Blanc with some sparkling white grape juice.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Foodie's Guide to The Region

I recently spent a few days visiting my hometown in Northwest Indiana. I had some vacation time left to use up and figured I'd pop home to visit my family, or as I like to call it 'staying in my vacation home in NWI'. Being who I am I had to find some adventures and I was actually pleasantly surprised to find some really neat places to shop and eat. So here's my little 'travel guide' to a few things to do and eat (mostly eat) in and around Northwest Indiana.

Three Floyds Brewpub (Munster, Indiana) You will find Three Floyds beer at a lot of bars in the city, but I never really paid much attention until I tried their
Dreadnaught IPA. I had actually sworn off IPAs until I tasted this beauty It's fruity and hoppy, but not too bitter like some of the other lesser quality IPAs that I've tried before. I arranged for a family gathering at Three Floyds Brewpub because beer and food are two of my family's favorite interests. As a side note, I did get to ride in my Uncle's Corvette ('94, white with red interior - I felt like a total badass). I had two of their beers, one was called Gazebo something (I think) and was an experimental brew made with Japanese hops. It was light and slightly fruity, but not in the girly beer sort of way. The second was called Topless Wynch and was a Baltic Porter. Both beers were delicious. The food was pretty damn good as well. It's your basic pub fare, but elevated a notch or two. Everyone enjoyed their food, from burgers to mac n cheese with hunks of bacon. They do brewery tours on Saturday and I may just give that a try next time I'm home.

Lucrezia Cafe (Chesterton, IN) This place is an old standby and well loved among my friends and family. They have some amazing daily specials and a solid menu of Italian fare. I took my mom here for her Mother's day dinner. We both started with one of their martinis. I actually usually order wine when I'm here because they have a fantastic wine selection. However, I was curious to see what their cocktails were like. I had something called a Journalist that was made with gin, Cointreau, and vermouth. It was a decent cocktail but I did not like that it came with pieces of ice from when it was mixed.

For starters we had their roasted garlic to spread on our bread and the special of soft shell crab. My mom was apprehensive about the garlic, but fell in love with it as soon as she tried it. You really haven't lived until you've spread roasted garlic on your bread. Clearly, I don't recommend for date night. My mom and I both ordered off the specials menu and her prime rib with a paprika pesto sauce was excellent and perfectly cooked. I overcame a little bit of guilt and had this amazing veal with prosciutto in a lemon sauce. My meal paired very well with the glass of Saviougon Blanc I ordered. I only order veal once every few years and this was well worth my 'veal tickets'. It was light, tender and the sauce added a nice creamy citrus twist. We finished with a dessert of lemon tiramisu and then I introduced my mom to lemoncello - which she loved. Better make sure she doesn't pull a Danny De Vito at our next family function.

Molly Bea's Ingredients (Chesterton, IN) This was one of my favorite finds (actually, my sister is the one who found it). Molly Beas sells all those things that any foodie needs in their kitchen. Spices, beans, flours, teas - where was this place when I lived in NWI? They sell a lot of locally produced items and the owner is very helpful and welcoming. This place should be on every NWI foodies shopping list. The best part is that everything has a very reasonable price because she doesn't fool around with fancy packaging - just bulk items in plastic bags.

Tonya's Pastries (Chesterton, IN) This is another great little place that my sister took me to. It's a bakery/cafe that serves about 5 savory items on a menu that changes daily. I had some amazing cream of asparagus soup and a meat pie. My sister ordered a cheese, corn and bacon quiche that was superb. We both agree that the bacon/corn combination is fantastic (as me for my corn and bacon pasta recipe). Of course there is a selection of pastries for dessert.

There are also a few other places that I'd like to try next time I'm home. Some of these are new joints, but a few have been on my list for a while.

Miller Bakery Cafe (Gary, IN) This place has been around for years and always gets great reviews. People actually drive from Chicago to eat here.

Bartlett's Gourmet Grill and Tavern (Beverly Shores, IN) The lady at Molly Bea's actually tipped me off to this new place. It's owned by the same people who own Miller Bakery Cafe so it's got to be good.

Don Quijote (Valparaiso, IN) I know that you usually don't associate Spanish cuisine with Indiana, but this place is rumored to be fantastic and authentic.

Abstract Cafe (Portage, IN) This is another new place that my friends have been talking about. It looks way to fancy and delicious for Portage.

So maybe there is a bit more than corn in Indiana (or at least some corn and bacon quiche?). I'm not saying that I plan to move home, but it's nice to see good food and drink options out there. This way, next time i go to my 'vacation home' I know I'll have some dining options besides Arby's and Chinese take-out.

PS: Do you have a favorite spot in NWI that you think I should try?