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Monthly Archive for June 2008

Who Needs Fireworks?

I really, really hope that I’m getting this to you in time. Please tell me you haven’t planned a Fourth of July menu yet. Or that, if you have, you’re at least open to being persuaded otherwise. Or that you have the sides all picked out and a bevy of desserts all lined up, but you just don’t know what will anchor the feast that will accompany your fireworks gawking, parade going, sun basking and cold beer sipping. Because have I got the recipe for you.

I try to avoid hyperbole on this site because I know you might grow tired of me and soon you’d just roll your eyes, oh-brothering your way on to the next food blog in your reader. So I try to contain myself most of the time, saving up my over-the-top oohs and ahhs for the really, really special recipes.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Pork,Recipe on June 30 2008 » 28 comments

Welcome (Home) Wagon

Thank goodness. The vegetable party—as delicious as it was—is coming to an end. Kevin’s coming home today and bringing his sweet tooth (which didn’t seem to exist before this blog’s inception) with him. In honor of his return, I made him some cookies: snickerdoodles. They might sound a little run of the mill, but we had them out the other night (they came alongside a selection of (insanely delicious) ice creams) and we both loved them. Also, they’re the perfect homey, simple cookie to say “welcome home.” They’re also tender and comforting and even kind of caramely. The dough is delicious too. Not that I would know.

Now, I’ve got some studying to do before he gets there, so I hope you won’t mind a photo montage of sorts today. Click through to the jump for the play-by-play of this cookie bake (which was quite brief; gotta love a baked good that comes together in the time it take your oven to preheat):

(Click “more” for the photos & recipe.)

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on June 27 2008 » 10 comments

Not Your Mama’s Peas & Carrots

If you haven’t noticed, it’s been a little vegetabley around here this week. That would be because Kevin is on a business trip in Vegas for the week, surrounded by the ding of slot machines, the whoosh of black jack cards being dealt and the sweltering desert heat. He is “working,” I suppose, but he’s also planning to watch the NBA draft in the sports book and being wined and dined in fine restaurants. I, on the other hand, am surrounded by a fortress of books and flashcards and my head hurts from the alarming number of rules I’ve crammed into it over the past few weeks of studying for the bar exam. But, at least I have my vegetables. And they include mushrooms, beets and all sorts of treats that Kevin wants no part of. All in all, I’m doing quite well all by my lonesome, thankyouverymuch.

I’ve decided to embrace the fact that my version of “When The Cat’s Away …” involves practice exams and fungus and lots of vitamins. And today’s recipe is a point in case. Today, I bring you peas and carrots. Now, before you click away to sexier, sweeter blog posts, let me at least plead my case. First, I get where you’re coming from. The thought of “peas and carrots” conjures visions of institutional cafeteria food at its worst: mushy, gray and convincing kids everywhere that hot lunch is a no-no.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Side on June 26 2008 » 6 comments

Now It’s Really Summer

Last weekend included an annual summer occasion: the inaugural summer burger. Not a turkey burger, not a salmon burger, not a black bean burger. No, a real-deal, honest to god, as-American-as-it-gets burger. It’s an occasion that I dream about, especially during the months when the grill is frozen shut, enrobed in its snow-covered tarp. It’s an occasion that can practically reduce me to tears upon the first juicy bite. It’s also an occasion that can lead me to suffer from a severe case of tunnel vision.

You see, it’s all about the patty (ground sirloin), the bun (soft and eggy), the cheese (sharp white cheddar), the slather (Dijon mustard) and the toppings (grilled red onion, a thick round of salt-and-peppered beefsteak tomato and a heap of sharp baby arugula). Left to my own devices, I would likely end up with a barren plate, anointed with a glorious burger but nary a side dish (save for a pickle, probably).

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Side on June 25 2008 » 15 comments

Couldn’t Wait Any Longer

I have been waiting so, so long to share this recipe with you. It’s one of my favorite summer recipes and it appeared on our plates last summer, in its multi-hued glory, at least a couple times every month. It reminds me of days at the market where people are three deep at the bin of sweet corn, frantically pulling back the husks to peer at the kernels, blond silks flying this way and that. I spent all fall-winter-spring longing for days like that, and for this salad.

Admittedly, we are not quite there yet. We did a little tour of Farmer’s Markets last weekend—two in Lincoln Park on Saturday and our local Wicker Park market on Sunday—and the bounty included piles of tiny strawberries, with their perfect green stems; juicy heaps of cherries; crates of sugar snap peas sweet enough to eat for dessert; and the season’s last rhubarb and asparagus. There was no corn, no okra, no cherries tomatoes. But I just couldn’t. wait. any. longer.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Side on June 24 2008 » 9 comments

Make it All Better

You know the crispy bits around the edges of a pan of brownies? The ones that have buckled from the heat of the oven? The ones that practically disintegrate in your mouth when you take a nibble? If you like those bits, you will adore these biscotti. They’re similar to the brownie bits in their crunch and deep chocolatey flavor, but they’re also studded with dark chocolate chips and slivered almonds.

I’ve dabbled with a variety of biscotti recipes: some stripped down and simple, some featuring dried fruit, some savory. But I’d never tried a chocolate recipe. I blame the double chocolate cookies of a couple weeks back for nudging me into trying this one.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on June 23 2008 » 16 comments

If You Can Call it a Salad

This is the kind of salad that is at all times on the brink of losing its status as a salad. It’s the kind of salad that has a 1:1 ratio of virtuous vegetables to decadent elements. It’s the kind of salad that allows you to couple each bite of lettuce or carrots or celery with crisp bacon or creamy avocado or pungent, smooth blue cheese. It’s the kind of salad you can order in a bar.

Which is fitting, because we ate this salad on our deck. And, lately, our deck is my favorite bar in Chicago. In the past couple weeks, we have had countless opportunities for cocktails up there at sunset, usually followed by a lingering dinner as the lights in the tall buildings downtown start to twinkle (if we can’t have stars, at least we have this), conversations meandering and laughter rising and falling.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Salad on June 20 2008 » 6 comments

Do You Know Who This Reminds Me Of?

I made this ice cream—a cherry gelato, speckled with bits of pureed bing cherries and softly scented with almond extract—on Sunday night. I made it to serve for dessert with some friends on Monday night, but it really tasted best right out of the ice cream maker, when its texture was at its lushest and flavors at their brightest. It got a little icy and grainy in the freezer, which made me a little sad, but our guests were generous about it on Monday (nudged along, I have a hunch, by the chocolately treat I served with the gelato: stay tuned).

By Tuesday, the last bits of gelato had gone even further south, but my sister, Kevin and I had some anyway, as we alternately watched the NBA finals and the Cubs game. I thought my sister, who is not a big cherry fan (which, to me, is akin to lunacy, but—hey—she’s family), was being polite as she slurped thoughtfully through her bowl. A couple bites in, she looked over at me and said,”Do you know who this reminds me of?” As a spoonful of the gelato melted on my tongue, I knew exactly who she meant: Grandpa. And we both had a good smile thinking about a man we both adore, and the fruit-flecked pink ice cream (usually strawberry, but we were close enough) that he adores. Is there anything better than a broad-shouldered man who is more than six feet tall cradling a bowl full of pink ice cream in his truly enormous paws? I think not.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on June 19 2008 » 14 comments

Wild and Crazy Crisp

Crisps were one of the first things I wanted to make when I first started to cook and bake. My first crisp unfolded much like all my other early cooking excursions: I’d be hit with an idea (pesto! lasagna! banana bread!) and would have to make it as soon as humanly possible. These excursions usually involved a mid-grocery store cell phone call to my mom, who would get as excited as I was and patiently dictate her recipes to me.

I got the brilliant idea to make a crisp for the first time a couple falls ago, when Kevin and I were driving home from an orchard in Virginia, where we’d wandered through the rows of squat apple trees, plucking a peck of apples. My mom walked me through the method: butter, oats, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. And don’t forget the salt. I probably don’t have to tell you that I was in autumnal heaven shortly thereafter, pulling a bubbling dish of softened baked apples, topped with a rustic, undulating lid of sweet, buttery oats.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe on June 18 2008 » 9 comments

Second Thoughts on Potato Salad

In both the cities I’ve lived in since growing up in Minnesota—Chicago and Washington, DC—I’ve been forced to grow accustomed to days that are an ungodly kind of hot. Days where the digital displays outside banks flash temperatures that begin with nines or even sometimes climb into triple digits. On these days, I cannot be bothered to wear much more than a gauzy, swishy sun dress and I refuse all shoes that don’t flip and flop. I’ve also been known to ban all physical contact, even though I’m generally an avid hand-in-hand stroller. And as if this isn’t all bad enough, these days even make me lose my appetite, which is truly a hold-the-presses type of occurrence.

Okay, so I don’t lose my appetite completely. But my palate undergoes a serious reduction and my desire to cook nearly evaporates. On such days, it’s not uncommon to find me standing in front of the open refrigerator or freezer, basking in the icy emanations and also pawing around for a bite of ice cream or crisp slices of cucumbers or a bite-sized cherry tomato that will cooly burst in my mouth.

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Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Side on June 17 2008 » 4 comments

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