A Girl & Her Food
                   

20.5.16

Grilled Beer Can Turkey


As Chicago’s weather seems to be cooperating, grilling season is FINALLY upon us…  And that means its time to head outdoors, and enjoy the warmer temperatures with a cold brewski and some cooked protein. One of my favorite things to enjoy in the summer is a juicy beer can chicken.  But seeing as I missed Thanksgiving this year, I thought it would be fun to feast on a beer can turkey with crispy skin and juicy succulent meat.  As turkey is usually found dry on so many tables, this is a sure fire way to keep things tasty and moist.  It is hands down my favorite way to enjoy this bird, and there is no reason to wait until November to eat turkey again!  Try it! 





 ingredients

1     1 12-14 pound turkey, cavity cleaned, rinsed and patted dry    
       2 1 pint Half Acre Daisy Cutter
1     1 cup water



For the Rub:

1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lemon

preparation


Preheat the grill to 350 degrees. Prepare the chicken by applying your spice rub, making sure to season the meat under the skin of the turkey. Season the cavity and skin with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and lemon juice  Place the turkey on the open beer can so that the beer can is inside the cavity of the turkey. Make sure the beer can is open and half full, I recommend drinking the first half, or it will explode. You can also cut the top of the can completely off, using a can opener, which will allow for extreme succulence. Place the turkey upright on the grill over the grill pan and over indirect heat. Grill the turkey, covered for about  1 1/2 hour - 2 hours.  Enjoy! 



https://ooh.li/5d1f5fd

https://ooh.li/5d1f5fd




10.5.16

Sorrel Pesto


For Mother's Day at my Aunt's house, we decided to make a sorrel pesto, with sorrel which was freshly picked from her herb garden. This was my first experience with sorrel, and I fell in love with the flavor.  I decided afterward, to pick a little extra to take home into my kitchen, so I could make it again. Sorrel's bitter flavor comes from oxalic acid, which is also contained in spinach, rather than essential oils like most other herbs.  It's best use is in salads, pestos and sauces.  Before cooking with sorrel, always pull off the stem and thick vein. 








      

Sorrel Pesto 

ingredients

1 1/2 cups fresh sorrel leaves, washed and stems trimmed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Bragg's Nurtional Yeast for Vegan option
1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt


preparation 

In a food processor process sorrel, Parmesan, nuts, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until coarsely ground. With food processor running, add oil in a slow and steady stream until mixture is emulsified. Pesto may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Enjoy! 

Yusho Ramen Battle La Sirena Clandestina VS Sink/Swim on Sunday, 5/22


For reservations, call 773-904-8558

11.2.16

Harissa-Spiced Cassoulet by Chef Gavin Kaysen




After traveling A LOT recently, I desperately wanted to get back into my kitchen to cook a comforting dinner. For inspiration, on my flight back from Cayman Cookout, I read the January issue of Food & Wine. One of the articles, “Hot Dish Challenge”, featured Chef Gavin Kaysen and his Harissa-Spiced Cassoulet.  The pictures looked mouth watering and I knew it was something I wanted to try. Harissa is a spice from North Africa made of cumin, coriander, caraway and other spices, and is incredibly earthy and comforting.   I thought it was a brilliant way to add some creativity into this classic dish.

For those of you who don’t know Chef Gavin, I highly recommend you get on board.  I was lucky enough to meet him at a James Beard Foundation's TasteAmerica event in Minneapolis a few months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  Not only is he extremely talented, he is one of the most humble, funny and sweetest Chef that I have EVER met.


The recipe calls for thick-cut bacon, merguez sausages and rustic bread, so naturally  I headed to Publican Quality Meats to pick up those ingredients for Kaysen’s Cassoulet.




Harissa-Spiced Cassoulet 


ACTIVE: 1 HR 30 MIN TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
SERVINGS: 10 TO 12
TIME(OTHER): 3 HR PLUS OVERNIGHT SOAKING

Ingredients

1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced, plus 2 large carrots, cut into 2 1/2-inch lengths
14 ounces dried cannellini beans (2 cups), soaked overnight and drained
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Twelve 2-ounce merguez sausages
        (I purchased mine at Publican Quality Meats)
2 large sweet potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
3 turnips (3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
4 ounces rustic peasant bread, crusts removed, bread cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Plain yogurt, for serving


Preparation

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered. Add the onion, celery and diced carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning 
to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the beans, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer the beans until al dente, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add a generous pinch of salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain the beans, bacon and vegetables and transfer to a bowl; reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. In a small skillet, toast the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant and the mustard seeds begin to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer 
to a spice grinder and let cool. Add the smoked paprika and crushed red pepper and grind the harissa blend into a powder.

Wipe out the casserole and heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in it. Add the merguez and cook over moderate heat, until lightly browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Do not wipe out the casserole.

Add the sweet potatoes, turnips and large carrots to the casserole. Season with salt and black pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 minutes. Add the harissa spice blend and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the bean mixture and the reserved 2 cups of cooking liquid and bring just to a simmer. Arrange the merguez on top. Cover and bake the 
cassoulet for about 1 hour, until the beans are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the oven and uncover the cassoulet.


Preheat the broiler. In a bowl, toss the bread, parsley, lemon zest and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the bread over the cassoulet and broil until golden and crisp. Let the cassoulet stand for 10 minutes before serving. Pass yogurt at the table. Enjoy! 


6.2.16

Cayman Cookout: Chef Ludo Lefebvre's Chocolate Souffle Demo & Recipe










I LOVE chocolate soufflés, and that says a lot as I don't generally have a sweet tooth.   More and more, however, it seems that this classic dessert is dying.  I disapointedly never see it on menus, and that includes French restaurants. Am I going to have to travel to Paris just to indulge in this delicacy? I wish, but that's not realistic...

Baking is not really my thing.  In honesty, I HATE to bake!  Well, maybe hate is a bit strong, but it is just that I am not very good at it...  And frustrated.  But, 2016 is the year I promised myself to change that statement.  As one of my New Year's resolutions, I promised to bake more, and attempt at mastering the art and science known to be the soufflé.  

Ironically, during the Cayman Cookout, Chef Ludo Lefebvre demoed how to make his chocolate soufflé with bittersweet chocolate sauce.  Obviously, he immediately had my full attention. I thought while watching and listening to Ludo's demo intensively, I could take that knowledge back to the kitchen and make a soufflé easily. 

Oh... how wrong I was.  A soufflé is so temperamental, it felt like the only thing I did was look at it the wrong way.  It was quite the challenge for me. I failed so miserably 2 times, that I had to call my pastry chef and artist friend, Anna Posey, to give me a few words of advice and raise back up my confidence.  I'm not sure that it worked.  Maybe this week I should start my baking hobby with something easier like a sugar cookie.  Hope you have better luck!  As they say, nothing good in life comes easy...











Chocolate Soufflés with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce (adapted from Crave by Chef Ludo Lefebvre)

serves 4

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce:

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Whipped Cream:

1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream 
2 teaspoons granulated sugar 

Chocolate Soufflés:

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large egg whites
Powdered Sugar (for sifting) 


For the bittersweet sauce: 

Stir in the cream and chocolate in a heavy small saucepan over medium low heat until melted and smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside. 

For the whipped cream

Whisk the cream and sugar in a large bowl until soft peak form. Cover and refrigerate. 

For the chocolate soufflés: 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside of 2-4oz. ramekins or 1-9 oz. ramekin with butter and then coat with the 2 tablespoons sugar. I used my hands to coat the ramekins as Chef Ludo demoed coating in an upward moment (bottom of ramekin to the top). 

In double boiler over a medium heat melt the chocolate, until melted and smooth. 


While the chocolate is melting, beat the egg whites in an electric mixer, over medium speed until a  stiff peaks forms. Beat in the 1/2 cup sugar into the egg whites and beat until blended. Take the melted chocolate and beat it gentle into the egg white-sugar mixture. Give it a few folds to make sure the chocolate is incorporated, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Fill each ramekin with the mixture. Bake in the oven for 14 minutes. sift with powdered sugar. Serve immediately with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. 

3.2.16

California Dream Eater Day#1: San Diego #DreamEats #VisitSanDiego



Visit California exclusively invited me, A Girl & Her Food, for a five-day individually tailored road trip January 25-29 through San Diego, Temecula and Newport Beach to become fully immersed in “California Restaurant Month”.  I have never travelled to these cities and was truly excited to check them out!

First stop, SAN DIEGO!  

Visit California nailed my car rental... a Ford Mustang from Avis.  It was a beauty, and it was going to eventually take me up the coast to LA.  Nothing like driving in style.


Although I was dying to cruise around, my body was starving.  I immediately drove to the North Park neighborhood to grab a bite at Breakfast Republic.


Breakfast Republic has been raising feathers in North Park, as a top spot to enjoy the most important meal of the day. Serving tasty takes on American classics such as Oreo Pancakes, Chicken Wing Breakfast Bowls and S’mores French Toast, they are an innovative breakfast destination that locals and visitors are flocking to when they’re in search of a fun and unpretentious place to begin the day.   And for me, that meant diving straight into the mushroom 'n pesto benedict.  It jumped straight off the menu and into my belly I think.  Button and oyster mushrooms, red bell peppers, spinach, hollandaise and pesto... and I added on shrimp. What a way to begin my day!




2730 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92104
www.breakfastrepublicca.com


After breakfast, me and the Mustang headed to Pacific Beach, to check into Tower 23 Hotel, the place I would call home for 1 night (although I wouldn't have mind staying for several nights).  Tower 23 is a modern and chic hotel overlooking the ocean. Each room has it’s own glass paneled balcony or patio with ocean views.  I was greeted with a gift bag, charcuterie and wine! What a treat!!! 


via


via





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Tower 23 Hotel 
723 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109
http://www.t23hotel.com


I wanted to hang out beach side and bask in the warm Californian sun all afternoon but had to stick to my #dreameats itinerary.  I quickly freshened up, and headed to PrepKitchen in Little Italy, as it was named one of San Diego’s “Best Restaurants” in 2014 by San Diego Magazine.  In addition, Prepkitchen Little Italy is the largest of the restaurant trio with a full service bar and private dining room. The resteraunt serves artisanal, farm-to-table cuisine and is open for lunch and dinner daily, as well as brunch on the weekend.  The entire menu looked devine, but since being in San Diego I knew I wanted to try the fish tacos.  Prepkitchen has yellowfish tacos, which are locally caught, and served with guacamole, pickled red onions, jalapenos, cabbage, and crème fraiche.  I also ordered a salad of roasted beet and spinach, that was tossed with goat cheese, avocado, almonds, tangerines and balsamic vinaigrette. Everything tasted as good as it looked and as good as it sounded.  Great start to my trip.





PrepKitchen
1660 India St, San Diego, CA 92101


 After lunch, I headed back to Tower 23 Hotel to unwind before dinner, which was to be held at the iconic Coasterra Restaurant. Coasterra is San Diego’s premiere bay front dining destination with delicious Mexican cuisine. 


Outdoor Patio
via

 Our night started with an order of table side guacamole of crushed avocado, tomato, red onion, cilantro, cracked black pepper, cotijas, lime and Serrano in a molcajete. 
via

We then devoured the ahi tuna tostada (yellow fin tuna glazed in garlic and sesame, soy sauce, avocado, crispy corn tortilla, coleslaw, Spanish peanuts and cilantro), a crowd favorite according to Chef Deborah Scott. 

Ahi Tuna Tostada
via 
 And then finally for the main course, as recommended by Chef, the Mar y Tierra - Cedar River natural beef short rib, Oaxacan mole, lobster risotto cake, grilled asparagus, and lobster claw... and yes it was out of this world.


Coasterra
880 Harbor Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
https://www.cohnrestaurants.com/coasterra


And this is how my first day of excessive eating in San Diego went down! My next stop is Temecula

6.1.16

Becoming a Guest California Dream Eater


Visit California exclusively invited me, A Girl & Her Food, for a five-day individually tailored road trip January 25-29 through San Diego, Temecula and Newport Beach to become fully immersed in “California Restaurant Month” during January 2016.

With so many dream food experiences being offered throughout the month of January, Visit California’s official “California Dream Eater,” Chase Ramsey, needed help in exploring the full bounty available across the Golden State during this period.  


As one of six “Guest California Dream Eaters” my mission was to experience all things culinary. Enjoy cuisine made by innovative chefs using local ingredients, meet the farmers growing this produce and engage with culinary artisans using #dreameats on my Instagram handle @agirlandherfood_ and tagging with @CaliforniaDreamEater.

As an added benefit, @CaliforniaDreamEater hosted a loop giveaway with the six selected "Guest California Dream Eaters" prior to the beginning of California Restaurant Month giving indifivduals a chance to win one of two $500 gift cards. Users just needed to follow @CaliforniaDreamEater and all participating Guest California Dream Eaters to be eligible. 


During the month of January, @CaliforniaDreamEater hosted a second Instagram contest encouraging diners to use #dreameats on their California Restaurant Month food photos for the chance to win one of sixteen $50 gift cards.

I can't wait to share all my adventures with you in an upcoming post!