Monday, July 17, 2017


Sourdough Pizza


1 3/4 c flour (I used white flour)
5 tbs olive oil
1 c starter (unfed)
1 1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

Toppings (you do you, these are only delicious suggestions)

1-2 tbs olive oil
3-4 artichoke hearts sliced thin
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1-2 cloves garlic chopped
6-7 slices of fresh mozzarella
4-5 tbs fresh basil
5-6 fresh arugula leaves 
crushed red pepper flakes
black pepper 
sea salt

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

To make the dough, hand mix the flour, olive oil, starter, salt and pepper until a workable dough forms. Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is soft but strong and shiny. Let sit for 30 minutes either wrapped in plastic or in a glass bowl with a damp paper towel over it. 

Roll the dough out on a floured work surface. I prefer a thin crispy crust, so I split the dough in half and rolled two 12" rounds about 1/4" thick. Place rounds on a lightly oiled pizza pan or baking sheet. Spread the 1-2 tbs of olive oil across the round and top with remaining ingredients. Bake 10-12 minutes. Enjoy with a glass (or two) of wine.

Nothing says "i'm sorry for being a slacker" like pizza right? I must admit, summer has kept me quite occupied in the best of ways. As more and more produce comes into season, i'm reminded to take note of what I am making these days and to embrace the shift from colder weather all-day-braised sort of foods to lighter, quicker, fresher meals. Pizza of course, is a year round favorite. Garlic and basil were harvested from The Field Museum garden and the arugula came from my own. I'm slowly building my vegetable recipe arsenal for the remaining summer months, so stay tuned, and in the meantime, make pizza.   

Monday, April 17, 2017


Caesar Salad with Garlic Rosemary Sourdough Croutons

2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic
1 egg yolk
Cayenne pepper
6-8 tbs of olive oil

1-2 slices of garlic rosemary sourdough (or any crusty bread)

1 large head or 2 small heads of Green Leaf Lettuce (any lettuce really, kale is also great)
cherry tomatoes
parmigiano reggiano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop bread into croutons. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in 10 minute intervals, flipping every 10 minutes until crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. Set aside and let cool. 

Add chopped garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar and cayenne to a food processor and blend until smooth. If you have a food processor that allows you to pour the olive oil slowly while the machine is on, do that, otherwise add olive oil and blend a second time. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Add enough dressing to lightly coat the chopped or torn lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, shaved parmigiano-reggiano and croutons. Serve and watch it disappear. 

I cannot recall the source of this recipe for the life of me, but my go-to "Caesar" recipe has morphed from something that was likely a lot more traditional into this, which is one of my favorites. I never have sardines on hand so they escaped the recipe years ago, and I tend to have white wine vinegar more often than red wine vinegar, but my bet is any version of this will still be amazing. We have this Caesar-ish salad almost once a week. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Rye Not?

Rye Sourdough

1 c white flour
1 1/2 c wheat flour
1 c rye flour
1 1/2 c warm water
1/2 c starter (unfed)
1 1/2 tsp salt
caraway seeds

Dilute the starter in the water. Add the flour and the caraway and salt and mix with your hands until it comes together. Cover it with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and leave it alone for 10ish hours in a room temp-warm place. A longer fermentation in the refrigerator also works. Once it's doubled in size, turn it onto a floured towel (gluten free or rice flour prevents sticking), shape it into a ball by pulling the corners up and over itself, and place in a bowl or basket. Cover it with a kitchen towel for another 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Preheat your oven to 500 with a cast iron dutch oven inside. When ready to bake, flip the dough into the cast iron, remove the towel, score the top and sprinkle some caraway seeds, then bake with lid on at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes take the lid off and reduce heat to 450 for another 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.

The St. Patrick's Day celebration has already kicked off in Chicago, which makes it the perfect timing for rye. A proper pint and a Rueben are in my future.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sun-day Dinner

Vegetarian Meatballs with Pistachio Pesto 

Vegetarian Meatballs

1 c cooked pearled farro
1 c coarsely chopped bread crumbs (I used country sourdough) 
* 5 whole portobello mushrooms, chopped (~2 cups chopped mushrooms)
1/2 c chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic

1/2 c chopped parsley
a few sprigs of thyme
a few sprigs of rosemary 
1 can of chickpeas (or lentils or any type of bean)
1 egg
1/2 c parmesan
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
red pepper flakes

* I happened to be using the smoker the day I made these, so I threw the portobellos on the smoker for 30 minutes. 

Pistachio Pesto

2 c fresh basil
1/2-1 c olive oil
2 tbs white wine vinegar (or lemon juice, or both)
1/4 c shelled roasted pistachios
1/4 c parmesan
red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl mix the cooked farro, bread crumbs, half of the mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. In a food processor blend the chickpeas and the remaining half of the chopped mushrooms and blend into a chunky paste. Add chickpea and mushroom mixture to the bowl with the initial ingredients, add egg, parmesan, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and use your hands to mix. If the mix is too wet add more bread crumbs. If it is too dry add water or vegetable broth. The mix should form into balls easily without falling apart. Oil a baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes, turning 20 minutes in. Serve with pesto. 

I additionally spiralized some zucchini to serve with these. Pasta or risotto would be great as well.

It's supposed to be cold. Really cold. It is February after all. Warm, filling, comforting meals are in order right? Well it was close to 70 degrees this past weekend. While I simultaneously smoked a pork belly, it felt right to pursue a plant based version of what is typically considered a cold weather comfort food. Plus there's that whole carbon footprint thing. Weather aside, I will be making these again. Soon.    

Friday, February 3, 2017

for the love of cinnamon

Honey Cinnamon Sourdough

This recipe was inspired by and modified from the King Arthur Flour Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough recipe, which I had made many times prior to trying 100% wild fermented sourdough. Coincidentally londonbreadbaker (who I recommend you check out) very recently posted a naturally leavened version of this recipe from King Arthur as well, as they were inspired by someone they follow, and so on and so on. Go ahead and try it, everyone's doing it, haha. My modifications below:  

3 1/2-4 c white flour
1 1/2 c warm brewed cinnamon tea (chai would be nice too)
1/2-1 c starter (unfed)
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 tbs butter
1 egg

1/4 c honey
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 c raisins (optional - Billy doesn't love raisins so I resisted)

Dilute the starter in the tea. Add the flour, salt, egg and butter and mix with your hands until it comes together to be tacky but not too firm. Cover it with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and leave it alone for 8-10 hours in a room temp-warm place.Once it's doubled in size, turn it onto a floured towel and stretch into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick (gluten free or rice flour prevents sticking). Mix the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove and drizzle in an even layer across the dough, avoiding the edges by about an inch. Quickly and carefully (yes this is tricky) roll the dough, folding the edges inward as you roll to avoid the filling leaking over the side, into something that resembles a loaf. Place in a bowl or basket and cover it with a kitchen towel for another 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Preheat your oven to 500 with a cast iron dutch oven inside. When ready to bake, flip the dough into the cast iron, remove the towel, score the top (I forgot for this bake sadly), and bake with lid on at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes take the lid off and reduce heat to 450 for another 15 minutes. Cool on a rack and enjoy.

I must admit, it wasn't pretty...forgetting to score the dough and the elongated shape the dough took after rolling it left some room for improvement. Also the fluidity of the honey made the swirl effect uneven. The sugar, cinnamon, flour on egg wash recommended in the King Arthur recipe makes for a much nicer swirl, but I have been attempting to replace processed cane sugar with more raw alternatives, so here we are, with a slightly ridiculous looking but absolutely delicious naturally fermented cinnamon sourdough. February, the month hosting Valentines Day, I decided it's a good month to be a little kinder to myself and to others and to just enjoy the way things are. Maybe that happens to be slightly ridiculous but delicious. I'll take it.   

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sieze the Citrus

Ginger Citrus Salad

2 grapefruit
2 oranges
2 clementines
2 tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 c pomegranate seeds

Peel, chop, mix, enjoy. 

I admit, citrus is not a seasonally grown fruit in Chicago, however the southern half of this lovely country makes the availability of citrus fairly available in these freezing winter months. Enjoying the simplest things has been a great start to the year and fresh fruit is one of the things I miss the most in the winter. Plus a little vitamin C this time of year can't hurt. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A New Year

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Lemon & Pistachio

2 tbs shallot, diced
2 tbs olive oil 
1-2 c brussels sprouts, peeled  
1/4-1/2 c shelled pistachios
juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Heat the shallot and the olive oil in a saute pan and cook until fragrant over medium-high heat. Toss in the brussels and the pistachios and saute, stirring occasionally, until brussels have browned and are crispy but not overcooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and toss in lemon juice. Enjoy warm as a side dish or as an entree. 

A new year. A fresh start. It always feels good. With the Holidays full of friends and family and celebrating with delicious food and drinks, it feels natural to want to clean up and simplify life for the beginning of the year. With so many things to focus on, such as organic versus not organic, whether your choices are sustainable or not, local and seasonal versus economical or convenient, it can be overwhelming. Lots of goals. One recipe at a time. 

Happy New Year!

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