Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Banana-Walnut-Chocolate-Chip Cookies

I had a few bananas that were headed over the hill and needed to be used up before they completely turned to mush. My normal go-to recipe would, of course, be banana bread, but I was kind of tired of the same old thing. I found this recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cookies book and fell in love even before I made them. They’re basically a cross between chocolate chip cookies and banana bread – brilliant!

I’ve made a number of recipes from this book and I have to say, it’s definitely a keeper. It’s a cute, little chunky book, measuring in at 7" by 9" and almost an inch thick. It’s packed with 175 recipes and is organized into seven chapters: Light & Delicate, Rich & Dense, Chunky & Nutty, Soft & Chewy, Crisp & Crunchy, Crumbly & Sandy, and Cakey & Tender. And, as if all that wasn’t enough, it includes ideas for packaging and giving away your homemade treats. This book would make an excellent gift for just about anyone. But as long as you’re doing that, you might as well buy one for yourself too!

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Banana-Walnut-Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Goat Cheese Pasta with Asparagus

It might be Spring on the calendar, but it’s not feeling like Spring on the ground – yet. This winter has been especially dreary and loooong, but when I make this creamy, light, bright pasta with a quintessential Spring vegetable, my spirits are lifted and I can actually imagine the sun coming out and the tulips blooming.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Goat Cheese Pasta with Asparagus

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Upcoming Lecture | The Local Option

As part of their Culinary Chicago series, the Chicago History Museum is hosting a round table discussion on local and organic eating. For those of you in the Chicago-land area, here are the details:

The Local Option | Tuesday, April 22, 7:00 p.m.

In honor of Earth Day and Chicago’s efforts to go green, join us as we discuss all things local and organic. What does organic and all-natural really mean? How can I support local growers? What is a "locavore" and how can I become one? And what are area businesses doing to improve our food options and assist the local farmer? Featuring Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, Sarah Stegner of Prairie Grass CafĂ©, and Dave Cleverdon, farmer and owner of Kinnikinnick Farm and Green City Market board member. Moderated by Dimitra Tasiouras, Program Director of the Illinois Humanities Council.

To purchase tickets or for more information about the museum, visit

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Book Review | The Food You Crave

My work life and blog life are not the best of friends. They fight all the time and, being the bully that he is, work life almost always wins. Work life has been especially active over the past month as we grow and make exciting changes to our business. I have managed to sneak in some tv time (I’ve got to unwind somehow!) and my most recent find is a show on the Food Network called Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger. Rantings and complaints about Food Network programming aside (there are enough other blogs that handle that), I really enjoy this show and think that it’s a great addition to their line-up. The accompanying book, The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, has quickly become one of my favorites.

Ellie Krieger is a nutritionist who has combined her nutritional know-how with her cooking skills to create a fabulous collection of recipes that are good for you and actually taste good, too. She follows a “usually–sometimes–rarely” philosophy when it comes to choosing food. Nothing is off limits, as long as it’s in the rarely category, and she tries to incorporate usually foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat – into every meal. She takes classic recipes that can typically be fat- and calorie-laden and updates them to be lighter, leaner and healthier. She has a l0t of interesting and inventive tricks up her sleeve for making successful healthy recipes. For instance, her Macaroni and Four Cheeses uses pureed squash as a surprise ingredient – it bumps up the nutritional value, adds a wonderful sweet and creamy flavor, and imparts that signature yellow-orange color that identifies a classic mac ’n’ cheese.

I recently tried her revamped version of Sloppy Joes. Her recipe adds kidney beans for an extra boost of fiber, diced red pepper for flavor and Vitamin C and uses ground sirloin to replace higher-fat ground beef. The flavor was spot-on Sloppy Joe and really hit the spot.

Every recipe in The Food You Crave supplies nutrition information, including “excellent and good sources” of vitamins and minerals. If there was one down-side to the recipes, it would be their lack of seasoning. If you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, this is the book for you. If you’re like me and like your food well-seasoned, you can simply add salt to taste and the recipes will be perfect.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Sloppy Joes