I am just finishing up my last cup of Italian Roast Coffee before I get super Busy. Hope you guys are making it a Great Monday.
The smell of Fresh made Popcorn FLASHES me back to my Mom's kitchen as a young girl, helping her make Popcorn Balls. Waiting for the finished product and not munching on the fresh popcorn was not easy. Try this recipe from Mom's archives and the Joy of Cooking for Popcorn Balls
6 Cups Popped Popcorn, Set aside for later
2/3 C Sugar
1/2 C Water
21/2 T Light Corn Syrup
1/8 t Salt
1/2 t Vinegar
Pop the Popcorn and set aside for when candy is done.
Have sticks ready or mold pan greased.
Use Heavy bottom saucepan with a Candy Thermometer clipped to the side. If you don't have a Candy Thermometer, a regular one will wok, or you can use the old, Ice cold water test for hardness trick. Bring Ingredients to a boil. Cook covered for about 3 minutes until steam washes down sides of pan. Uncover and cook, without stirring, nearly to the hard crack stage, about 290°. If using cold water method, be sure that it is ICE cold, candy will form hard ball at bottom of cup.
Place popcorn in Large bowl. Pour over popcorn's surface, gently turning with wooden spoon. Lightly butter hands. Once all kernels are lightly coated, scoop up amount desired to be placed on stick and and form around stick. You can also use a mold to make interesting shapes for Holiday themed get together's, such as, Easter.
The Good Food Festival in Chicago at U.I.C. Forum was a great opportunity to meet some very interesting people and make connections with Environmentally Conscious Family Owned Farms and businesses. We especially enjoyed chatting with the operators of Joe's Blues Premium Frozen Blueberries. As you know, I love Blueberries. These were so delicious and would work perfectly for summer smoothies. Yummy. They are grown using organic methods and are offered at a discount for CSA Members. Find Joe's Michigan Berries at these Chicagoland locations
Sunset – Highland Park
Sunset – Lake Forest
Sunset- Long Grove
Plenty Grocer and Deli-2036 W. Division Street in the Ukrainian Village
Sandwich-Me-In-3037 N. Clark
For More Information visit
The James Beard Winning Chef's Demos were interesting and fun. We caught up with several of them at Saturday's festival.
We also had the opportunity to chat with many other supporters who are making this movement happen. We really enjoyed Farm Logix, Seeds of Technology booth. An exciting company that follows Farm to Plate and Farm to School Solutions. Many of our Public schools are sourced and supplied by this company. It's an exciting time in Food Service! It was also fun to see 104.3 K Hits http://khitschicago.cbslocal.com/ and WCPT AM and FM http://www.chicagosprogressivetalk.com/ in full support of the the Festival. We enjoyed chatting with Chris Schrage of AM 820 . From Edible Chicago to Farm Logix, we were so excited to see how this Festival has grown and gained support over the last 10 years.
A Big Thank you to the U.I.C. Forum for hosting this years event and to all of the Event Organizers and Sponsors!
The Spotlight this week is on Farmers and Agriculture. What better time than to feature Recipes from one of the Family Farms we discovered at the Good Food Festival U.I.C. Forum in Chicago. We had the pleasure of chatting with Molly Breslin of Breslin Farms. Their farm focuses on grains, beans, and growing them organically. They concern themselves with Biodiversity and Sustainability, salvaging every seed possible. It was a pleasure chatting and learning more about their Family Farm.
A Levantine Salad frequently served in Mezze, a course of small amounts of food similar to Appetizers, in Middle Eastern and Balkan countries.
1 C Cracked (uncooked) or whole (parboiled 15 min.) wheat berries
1/2 C Boiling water
2 Each Scallions and Spring or Green Onions, fine chop
1/2 Each of Green Bell Pepper, cored, seeded, diced and stalk of celery, diced
1/4 C of Italian Parsley, finely chopped and fresh mint, chopped
1 Italian Plum (Roma) tomato, skinned, seeded, diced
1 T each of Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
1/4 t each of Salt and Black Pepper
Place wheat berries in a small bowl: pour the boiling water over them and let soak 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry. Place wheat berries in a serving bowl and add scallions, green pepper, celery, parsley, mint, and tomato. Toss to mix. In a screw top jar, combine Lemon Juice, Oil, Salt, and Pepper. Shake to mix. Pour over wheat berry mixture. Toss to mix. Chill overnight, or several hours, at a minimum, before serving.
Black Bean Soup and Roasted Jalapeno Salsa
1 C Dry Black Beans
1 Poblano or Green Bell Pepper, Diced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2/3 C Red Onion, diced
3/4 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper
1 t Cumin
Optional Vegetable Broth
1 12 oz bottle of Beer (Originally calls for a Lager)
Soak beans overnight and then cook with bay leaf, epazote or Cuban Oregano leaf When beans are cooked, strain out liquid and keep it in reserve. Heat 2 . Oil over medium heat in a large stockpot and cook. Add pepper, garlic, onion, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables aretender. Then add cumin. Add beans, beer and reserved cooking liquid or vegetable broth to taste. Let all the ingredients cook together. Thickening the soup: mash some beans with a for or potato masher, or use an immersion blender. Serve topped with Salsa. Best made a day ahead. Adapted from Real Simple magazine, March 2010 issue.
4 Jalapenos, halved and seeded
1/2 C Cilantro, chopped
1/3 C Red Onion, fine dice
2 t Olive Oil
1/4 t Each Salt and Pepper
2 T fresh Lime Juice
Lay jalapenos skin side up on the broiling pan and broil unti charred (3 to 12 minutes, checking regularly). When jalapenos have cooled, slice them in strips and toss with the rest of ingredients.
Whole Wheat Fruity Breakfast Muffins
1 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 t Cinnamon, ground
1/2 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Salt
1/2 C Butter
1/2 C Applesauce, unsweetened
1 pc Apple, diced
1/2 C sugar
1 C Blueberries
1 C Cranberries
1 1/2 C Apple Juice or Apple Cider
Pre-heat oven to 325° F. In medium bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Cream butter and sugar in mixer, till fluffy. About 5-8 minutes at medium speed. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas, and add the rest of the fruit, as well as the apple sauce. Add the flour slowly to the butter mixture. Make sure that your mixer is in Low setting or you end up wearing the flour. Add the apple juice. Mix briefly, just till everything is incorporated. Gently fold in fruits using spatula. Fill well greased medium sized muffin cups up to 2/3 of filling. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool before taking them out of cups.
GrandPa Mac's Minestrone
1/2 C Olive Oil
1 Med. Onion, diced
1 Carrot, diced
1 Celery Stalk, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, sliced
1 C Potatoes, diced 1/2"
1 C Butternut Squash, peeled and diced to 1/2"
6 C Veggie Stock (Meaty stocks optional)
1 C Diced Tomato with liquid
1 C Cooked Merlot Red Beans
1 C Chard or other greens, de stemmed and chopped
1 t Thyme, fresh
1/2 C Parsley fresh, chopped
1/2 C Uncooked Pasta
Use a heavy bottomed pot. Heat olive oil over medium flame and ad onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook (or "sweat") the veggies for 15 to 20 minutes,stirring occasionally. Add potatoes, squash, salt and pepper, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer. Test veggies to be sure they are done; in not,cook till they are. Pasta can be cooked separately and added at serving time to be sure that it doesn't get mushy, or added dry to cook 5 to 7 minutes before serving. Stir in parsley before serving. Based on Mark Bittman's basic Vegetable soup instructions in How to Cook Everything, this recipe is extremely forgiving and lends itself to substitutions. In addition, it is a perfect basic recipe for using up leftover veggies.
Serves 4 to 6
Thanks to Molly Breslin of Breslin Farms for sharing some Delicious Recipes.
Must Try these Delicious Strombolis. I also made some Sausage, as well as, Pepperoni Strombolis at the same time.
For the recipe click here:
I remember as a girl, my family would always try their best to get me to eat my Spinach. I heard those words more than once growing up. Now, I love Spinach, cooked. and raw in juice recipes, salads or on sandwiches.
Try this simple recipe for you next get together. Yields 16 appetizer size portions
If you are short on time, you can use store bought, but this dough recipe is absolutely delicious with the Spinach.
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 C Bread flour
1/2 C Whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
2 t Honey
1 t Milk of choice
2 Handfuls of Fresh washed, dried and de stemmed Spinach
1/4 C Chopped mushrooms
1 t White Onion, minced
1/2 t Garlic, Minced in oil or fresh (sauteed in oil and cooled)
1 t Oregano
1/2 t Basil
1/2 t Parsley, divided (save half for garnishing top)
1 t Sea salt
1/4 C Parmesan cheese, Shredded and divided
1/4 C Mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 C Cheddar, shredded and divided
Pizza Sauce for dipping
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in honey and milk. In a small bowl, combine 1 C Bread flour and Whole wheat flour. Add to yeast mixture; use dough hook or mix by hand till smooth. Stir in enough remaining bread flour to form a soft dough. Knead with base of hand on floured surface till smooth and elastic; about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and be sure top is lightly oiled. Cover so it will not dry out. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
While rising-Clean Spinach, Mince Onion and Garlic. In medium skillet, add 1 T Olive Oil. Sautee Garlic, add onion, then add spinach to wilt. Stir and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Punch dough down. Cover and chill for at least 15 minute (this will make the dough easier to work with). Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll out dough into a 14-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Evenly spread Spinach mixture over dough. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese, 2 T Parmesan cheese, 2 T Mozzarella cheese, onion, garlic, and mushrooms to within 1/2 in. of edges.
Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam together to seal and tuck ends under. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Place 4 diagonal slits across the Stromboli. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes in warm dry place.
Sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with remaining Parsley and Parmesan Cheese. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool briefly. Slice off appetizer size portions or cut into 4 pieces. Serve warm.
Stay Tuned for delicious pics.
While exploring St. Louis, we discovered a beautiful area, Park Forest. Loaded with family friendly activities and nature, you could get lost in this area and spend the entire day. This Sculpture welcomes you to the St. Louis Art Museum. Definitely worth the time to visit.
The Museum is set in the beautiful Park Forest area of St. Louis. An entire area devoted to wonderful museums, such as, art, science, and history, a huge Zoo, and an outdoor Theatre. Encompassing a massive area of rolling hills and natural beauty.
I just had to share two of my favorite pieces. Beautiful! We were impressed by this Jewel of a Museum. At every corner, we were pleasantly surprised by another beautiful piece. Stay tuned for more great Art! Great find! I would definitely recommend this area as a Fabulous Day trip getaway.
The Connected World Conference, the global expo for connected technologies that are transforming our lives, was held simultaneously with the Chicago Auto Show.
This special expo was held in 20,000-sq.ft. pavilion, and was designed to create awareness around connected devices within transportation, health/fitness, energy, and home.
• Best All-New Production Vehicle: 2015 Ford Mustang (25 percent of vote)
• Best Concept Vehicle: Cadillac Elmiraj (29 percent of vote)
• Best Green Vehicle: Cadillac ELR (32 percent of vote)
• Best Exhibit: Chevrolet (20 percent of vote)
• Vehicle I’d most like to have in my driveway: Bugatti Veyron
Factors that Connected World magazine looked for in the award winning vehicles included the cars’ safety, convenience and infotainment. The 2014 Connected Car of the Year award winners included:
• Small Car Category: The Dodge Dart was awarded for its UConnect voice-command system, affordability and
7-inch full-color customizable LED screen.
• Midsize Car Category: The Infiniti Q50 was awarded for its Infiniti InTouch system. This feature is quick, easy to
use and allows the driver to focus on the road.
• Luxury Car Category: The BMW 5-Series was awarded for ConnectedDrive, its infotainment feature. It has a safe
voice command system and a sleek design.
• Ultra Luxury Car Category: The Mercedes-Benz S-Class was awarded for its mbrace2 system that creates
entertainment and convenience for drivers.
• Green Category: The Tesla Model S was awarded for its easy plug-in and large navigation screen. It sets an
example of an eco-friendly footprint for this class of vehicle.
• Truck Category: The Ford F-150 was recognized for its SYNC with MyFord Touch. This system allows the driver to
easily and safely connect to his or her smart phone to control the entertainment features
According to the National Restaurant Association The following Culinary Predictions are the Top Ten Trends.
Locally Sourced Meats and Seafood
Locally Grown Produce
Healthful Kids Menu
Gluten Free Cuisine
Hyper Local Sourcing (RestaurantGardens)
Non wheat Pasta/Noodles (e.g. Quinoa, Rice, and Buckwheat)
Farm/Estate Branded Items
Did you know that U.S. sales of Organic Food has grown from $1 Billion in 1990 to 26.7 Billion in 2010? I have a feeling we have only just begun to see Organic foods become the way of the Future.
Delicious bites to make you hungry, from the Gala at the American Culinary Federation's Midwest Regional Conference.
Photos courtesy of A.C.F. Flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/acfchefs/sets/72157642564720723/
Chef Thyme Savor is a Personal Chef Service.Claire Vert's creations will delight discriminating palettes! Let us handle all the details, so you have Time to Savor delicious dishes with your guests!