Chicago Gourmet has become my Christmas. I have started to look forward to it like no other time of year and I count down the days like a child with an advent calendar. Just like the holidays, I can’t wait to sample all of the delicious foods, see familiar faces and there is always anticipation of a surprise or two around the corner. As I was driving to Chicago Gourmet at Millennium Park this weekend, I started singing (a tone-deaf version of “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”)….. It’s beginning to look a lot like Chicago Gourmet Everywhere I go Folks in crispRead More →

My brain seems a little frazzled right now. I’ve eaten a lot of really great food these last couple of weeks and now I am trying to get back into the swing of my own kitchen. I keep waiting for someone to present me with a menu, put it on a small plate and do all the work. (This is where in the movies a dark, ominous sky appears and the heroine looks forlorn.) It is not like I’m not motivated, it is more like I just don’t know where to begin because I’ve been so inspired. I have learned so much lately that IRead More →

“Slow down, you move too fast.” Do you know that song from Simon and Garfunkel? It kept going around my head this weekend when I learned about something new…slow food. No, I don’t mean food that at one point was slow like a snail or turtle. The definition of slow food is “food that is produced or prepared in accordance with local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality locally sourced ingredients.” The Slow Food Movement is a nonprofit group that is connecting the joy of savoring great food and the work it takes to produce healthier, local options for everyone. On Sunday, I was invited toRead More →

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately and just wanted to take a nap. So I stretched out on my belly and all of a sudden I was having the craziest dream. I was at Ravinia (the oldest musical festival park in the US) in Highland Park, IL. I knew I was dreaming because the signs said Food Network in Concert at Ravinia! Food and Music….please don’t wake me up. Seeing some of my favorite Food Network Stars in person put me in a complete stupor. I stood there crying after meeting Iron Chef, Alex Guarnaschelli. (I’m very grateful this was a dreamRead More →

I’ve been waking up in the morning and there has been a chill in the air. The leaves are starting to turn and the calendar says the first day of fall is less than a week away. As with every turn of summer to fall, my mind starts to think a little bit about the comforting joy I get from autumn food. (Sort of like a toasty warm hug to your belly.) My good friends at Mercat a la Planxa must have been reading my mind when they decided to host a Fall Dinner with some innovative new menu options from Chef Jose Garces &Read More →

It is the middle of September and most of the kiddos are back in school starting a whole new year of learning. I thought why should the kids have all the fun! (Besides the fact that they are kids and that is what kids do!) My friends at Fortune Fish & Gourmet in Bensenville, IL gave me (and enough folks to fill the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago) the education of a lifetime on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 by hosting the Chicago Seafood and Specialty Show. The show provided an opportunity to taste and learn from over 160 of the finest Seafood andRead More →

Driving up to Kendall College on Saturday morning, I knew that it was going to be a great day. The sun was shining and unseasonal briskness of the morning made it a perfect day to sit and learn about Mexican Cuisine at the second annual Mod Mex event hosted by Chicago’s very own, Rick Bayless. Last year’s event was a showcase of the New Face of Mexican Food but this year was a little different because the chefs concentrated on the beauty of a Mexican market basket and innovating a new way to look at those ingredients. The ingredients included Tomatillo, Piloncillo (a cone ofRead More →

Balls to the wall. That saying has a different meaning for a lot of people. If you are an athlete, it probably means you are doing your best and pushing yourself. If you are like me, it means it is time to start canning!!! Every summer around Labor Day, I start pulling my Ball jars out of the basement and start lining them up on the kitchen table. I count the jars and estimate how much product I’m going to need to fill all these beauties. (My new favorites are the Spring Green Heritage jars. They came out this year to celebrate the 100th anniversaryRead More →

We came home to a surprise on Saturday….a box of lobsters from Boston. LIVE LOBSTERS!!!! Have you ever had a box delivered to your house that moved?! It was just crazy. It was somewhat shocking to me to see them moving about. As a carnivore, I understand that before my food gets in a pretty package at the store, it is alive. I just haven’t been part of that process before and found it very overwhelming. I started feeling guilty that these beautiful creatures were going to die so I started reading about humane lobster cooking methods. As I was reading, I found something thatRead More →

On September 7, 1998 I woke up singing these lyrics: You’re mine and we belong together Yes, we belong together, for eternity  You’re mine; your lips belong to me Yes, they belong to only me, for eternity You’re mine, my baby and you’ll always be I swear by everything I own you’ll always, always be mine You’re mine, and we belong together Yes, we belong together, for eternity The lyrics were from the song “We Belong Together” and they kept replaying in my head. The day before (September 6, 1998) was the day I danced to this song with my new husband at our wedding.Read More →