Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Goats!

Efrain, who I've posted about a couple of times, has graciously invited me to work with him on his Cook the Goat! party. The dinner will be modeled after a traditional Mexican wedding celebration.

It promises to be very interesting and lots of fun, and is very near my birthday, so get a ticket!

Saturday and Sunday, November 10th and 11th, Cook the Goat!
Slaughter on Saturday
Stewing on Sunday

First , Fresh Veggie Ceviche Bar with Plantain and Tostada Chips

Goat will be prepared 2 different ways:

* Stewed and Spiced in a Black Cherry and Roasted Pasilla rub with Potatoes
* Pit Roasted, Applewood smoked with Raw Sugar and Chile Rub.

All the traditional and some not-so-traditional sides will accompany the meat.

"Senor Goat" Smoked Pineapple Tres Leches Wedding Cake by Chef Beth Somers
BYOB or BYO-tequila.
performance by local chicago honky tonkers.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE SLAUGHTER ON SATURDAY, PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTACT INFO (EMAIL AND PHONE NUMBER) TO efrain@chefrain.com AND HE WILL CONTACT YOU.

To go ahead and make a reservation, go here

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

One-Woman Frustration Station

America's only certified organic bakery (it shall remain nameless, but is easy to find if you dig a little) offered me a job as a pastry chef today. The compensation: $9.00 per hour, no benefits.

Seriously, what is wrong with this industry?

I wanted the job, too. I wanted it very badly. The owner is insanely creative, and I wanted to feed off of her energy like a leech sucks blood. It would have been a wonderful learning experience.

The bottom line is that each month I put a small dent into the never ending debt hole that is my student loan; this loan is something of a conundrum. It allowed me to get a job in this underpaying field. If I continue to work in it, it will take the rest of my natural life to repay it. If I hadn't borrowed, I could never have afforded school, and probably would never have gotten a job in the first place. It's the circle of life. There are other bills to pay, too. $9.00 doesn't cut it, even if I never leave the house except to go to work. But that's no way to live.

I am going to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and listen to the new Radiohead album. Get it here, it's gorgeous.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pies for miles. Or at least a few city blocks.






Yesterday was the First Annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest. I was too late to register, but happily attended with a few friends. I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than sampling entries for an pie contest in what felt like a grade school gymnasium.

There were all kinds of pies, including one that included bacon and pork, and another with black pepper and cheddar cheese. Of course there were tons of traditional pies, but we were all surprised by the shortage of streusel-topped desserts.

Bobtail Soda Fountain was serving up ice cream. Their organic vanilla is insanely good.

In total, there were 79 different entries. I bet the judges had a severe stomach ache after trying all of them, but it's a small price to pay to serve your community. Little Miss Avery had her first taste of apple pie, and I think she liked it.

I am on the email list for early registration next year, and apparently my apple pie needs quite a bit of work, so I'll be practicing for the next several months. Let me know if you'd like to be a guinea pig. The only thing that's concrete for next year's entry is the name, coined by Jody. My pie will be "The Dominator."













Friday, October 12, 2007

Kang Nam

Two white folks walk into a Korean barbeque...or so the joke goes.

A few nights ago Dave and I visited Kang Nam, touted as one of Chicago's best spots for authentic Korean eats. Both he and I are novices at the Korean BBQ game, and were a bit intimidated when we were handed menus by the native Korean staff. Luckily English translations accompanied the original descriptions for everything. We were put at ease when our drinks arrived at the table. I ordered Seokryuju, a pomegranate wine. Expecting a glass of it, I was surprised when the waitress arrived with a fairly large bottle with a label warning that it was 16% alcohol by volume, more than 5 times the amount of a normal American beer. Needless to say, I was sauced by the end of the meal. Dave ordered OB, short for Oriental Brewery. His beer was huge. Koreans obviously enjoy alcoholic beverages.

We ordered beef short ribs and squid. Moments later our waitress delicately placed a fiery hot bucket of burning coals and wood chips into the pit in the center of our table. Immediately we felt heat radiating from underneath the table. She positioned two grates on top of each other and brought out a heaping platter of thinly sliced, marinated beef and dumped it on top. Then she abandoned us without a word. Dave got to grilling. As the beef quickly cooked, several plates of panchan, small Korean salads, arrived. Tiny bowls of tangy pickled cabbage and zucchini, spicy kimchi, sesame seaweed salad, creamy potatoes, crunchy bean sprouts, an indecipherable egg concoction, and other things we couldn't pinpoint crowded the table. There was barely room to fit the platter of squid that still awaited us.

We grabbed lettuce leaves and pretended to know what we were doing. We layered them with bean paste, soy sauce, and beef. Rolling them up taco style, we devoured, and it was good. Every bowl of panchan was like a little adventure, not knowing if it was going to be sweet or sour, crispy or soft. I am not sure if I have ever consumed so much vinegar.

Squid probably wasn't the best option, considering our newcomer status. Seafood like that cooks extremely fast, and when it's overdone, it becomes rubbery. Chew all you want, those tentacles aren't breaking down. We chewed a lot, and I was secretly happy for all of those short ribs.

Some time later the server arrived with bowls of rice and a spicy soup that was heavy with zucchini. I thought we might have to start balancing plates on our laps, but somehow she squeezed it all onto the table. In addition to plentiful alcohol, Koreans must like an abundance of grub. I can dig it. I can also dig the small complimentary bottle of Seokryuju our server sent home with me.

Next time, no seafood. Maybe we'll give one of the pork cuts a shot.




Friday, October 5, 2007

The Dill Pickle Food Co-op

The Dill Pickle

Look, look, at what my neighborhood is doing! There's a new member-driven grocery in town, and it seems they've already scouted a location for a market. It will be located at Fullerton and Sacramento.

Cool!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Paris, Je T'Aime

A week in Paris is not nearly long enough, but it's far better than no time at all.

The French can make anything seem fabulous. Even franks and beans.















It rained often during our time there, but no matter. Whenever a drizzle started, we headed for the nearest cafe to drink, snack, and smoke until it cleared. Paris is a fantastic city for lounging.

On one of these stops we came upon a place that we won't soon forget, O'Vinea. It looked like any other from the outside, but inside we were treated to an audible feast that included Pink Floyd, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Eurythmics, Nirvana, Metallica, Elvis Costello, Snoop and Dr. Dre, The Police, Black Sabbath, Velvet Underground, and James Brown. The good tunes were selected by our friendly server, who didn't speak a word of English, but knew all of the lyrics to the songs he was playing. It was a lovely juxtaposition. He was also selling original chalkboard graffiti. The charcuterie plate we had with our wine was also really nice.












We made a few new friends, ate great things, drank a lot, walked for miles, and even danced on a table or two, but only after the locals got up and did it first. It was a splendid week, and proof why travel during vacation should be mandatory.

More pictures here, but be warned that they are mostly of food, art, and foliage.