Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shallots Review

OK so last week my wife and I went to Shallots and sat in the main dinning room, mainly because we had gift certificates to use.

First of all, I do love the look of the new place.  It has a very natural feel.  The stone look makes me feel like I am dinning in European wine cellar, which in my opinion is a good thing.  The one problem I did have was that I think the lighting was a little to dim, but I tend to like my restaurants well lit.

I started out with the Spicy Tuna Crunch sushi roll which was delicious with good balance of flavor and texture.  Oh and remember how people used to say "If you are going to Shallots eat first or you will be hungry", well that no longer applies for the most part.  The sushi was generous portion.

My wife and I split the grilled skewer platter which I was not impressed with.  The portion was small for $32, and the food was not cooked at that well.  Especially the lamb that had both a funny texture and taste.

We both ordered stakes, although I wanted the Ribs but they were out of them. I had the grilled szechwan and my wife had the bordelaise.  Both steaks were cooked well, but the flavors of the sauces seemed to be a bit strong and overwhelmed the flavor of the meat. 
also both steaks came with a garnish of a sprig of rosemary stuck in them that I thought kind of looked stupid.  On the menu it says that my wife's steak was supposed to come with crisp onion rings in the plural, but all she got was one sad onion ring that circled the rosemary.

We ordered the  Layer Mousse Cup & Chocolate Terrine which was tasty but the portion size could have been a bit bigger and I would have preferred more chocolate and less raspberry in the Mousse cup.

Overall a nice experience, but next time I think I will sit at the bar for the cheaper menu and let you know how that is.  Although, from what I hear it is supposed to be pretty good.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What is the deal with Chalavi?

What is the deal with Chalavi?  I keep trying to go in there but there hours suck.  At first they said they were going to do breakfast but they did not open until 8 AM.  Then they changed their open time to 10 AM, so I guess breakfast is totaly out.  I walked over there at about 8:20 PM tonight to find out they close at 8.  So I guess I will have to try again another today.
Culinary Question of the Day:What do you like on your baked potato?
Culinary Question of the Day: What do you like on your baked potato?

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Mother's peanut butter flowers

Lots of people asked for this recipe after Ahuva's kiddush...these are the little peanut butter flowers that my mother makes-




Warning: The recipe makes a TON! You can use a cookie cutter to cut out small shapes and scraps can be snacked on or saved to use as crunch in an ice cream.



Peanut Butter Flowers

Layer 1:

16 oz dark chocolate

16 oz honey

2 T water

2 c Chunky Peanut Butter

4 c Chopped Peanuts

8 c Rice Krispies

Melt choc, water and honey, add peanut butter, peanuts and rice krispies. Spread over 1 cookie sheet and 1 9x13 pan



Layer 2:

14 oz white chocolate

1 ½ c creamy peanut butter

Melt together and spread over layer 1



4 oz choc chips

Melt and drizzle with a thin tip in a straight line going up and down, making lines ½” apart. Use a toothpick to make lines through the chocolate lines in the opposite direction.



Chill and cut out with a small cookie cutter for shapes or cut into small squares. Yield 1 large cookie sheet and 1 9x13 pan

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why I hate buying Kosher fish in Chicago

OK so the way I see it there are only 3 choices in where to get fish under hashgacha in Chicago currently, and each has its own issues.
1.  Jewel: The issue at Jewel is that the if you come in the afternoon or evening, they never have a fish monger manning the kosher fish counter.  Usually someone will come over from the non-kosher meat counter to help you, but the usually they have no clue what they are doing and end up making a complete mess of the butchering, leaving both scales and bones on the fish.  Now I do have to say the guy there in the morning named Forest is the man.  He always gets me the freshest stuff and does a good job butchering it.

2.Hungarian: A few years ago Hungarian closed their full service fish counter and now has limited amount of fresh pre-cut fish.  It is usually cut OK but the selection is limited and you are stuck with it in the weights they cut it.

3.Roberts: This place is on Devon.  I went in there for the first time in years.  The place seemed smelly and dirty to me.  Everything was literally buried in ice so you could not see it.  The selection seemed small for a place dedicated to fish.  They only had farmed salmon, and they only have  tuna by special order.

My suggestion is get to Jewel at about 8 AM or talk to local competent halachic authority about the correct way to buy kosher fish from a place that does not only sell kosher.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Update on details of Wednesday Night's Sushi

I ended up going with an Alaskan salmon maki with a chipotle honey mayo and a tuna sashimi with honey chili oil vinaigrette.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Culinary question of the Day:What is your favorite traditional Rosh Hashana(Jewish New Year) dish?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Night Rosh Hashanah Menu

Homemade Round Challah
Sushi-Details TBD
Vegetable Soup
Mushroom Farfal
Tongue with Cabbage
Pomegranate Glazed Turkey Breast with Pomegranate infused craisin bread stuffing
Beef Cheek with Carrot, Sweet Potatoes, Date and Fig Tzimus
Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples
Hot Beet and Leek Salad
Apple Galette

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pickle Problem

OK so next time I will make sure to use a food safe bucket.  If you are going to try and pickle at home do not not use a Home Depot "Homer" bucket.  It is not considered food safe.  I ended up with red bits in my brine, and decided to throw it out.  I did check the pickles before I chucked them and it looks like about 50% of them would have been good the other 1/2 were either hollow or mushy.  If at first you don't succeed......

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pickle Power

OK so I am fan of pretty much anything fermented.  Now I know many of you guys are going to be like "EWW, isn't fermented rotten." And you would be kind of right.  Fermentation is what is responsible for good bread, good beer, good cheese, good wine, and of course pickles.  Every so often I get brave enough to try and make my own pickles.  I have only had mediocre results thus far, but I got up the guts to try again.  As a base I used this as a recipe:http://www.wildfermentation.com/resources.php?page=pickles

I use a 5 gallon orange plastic bucket from home depot:http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xmi/R-100087613/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

I did about a 1/2 a dozen small to medium sized pickling cucumbers.  I made 2 gallons of brine with 1 cup of salt.  I used kosher salt because that is what I had in the house, but I usually use fine pickling salt.  I filtered the water through my Brita pitcher.  I think it gets rid of some of chlorine out of the water so it does not kill the good bacteria lactobacillus:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactobacillus

I boiled about 1/4 of the water to dissolve the salt in and then let it cool.  I added 2 bunches of dill plus a little bit more of flowering dill from my balcony.  1 head of garlic each clove peeled and smashed.  Then I added the cucumbers and the brine on top of it with a few pinches of whole black peppercorns from http://www.thespicehouse.com/ .

I added a heavy plate to prevent the pickles from floating up and put a towel on top of the bucket to prevent bugs and dirt from getting in,

Here are some pictures of what it looks like today, day 1.  I will hopefully update with pictures daily.  It should take about a week to ferment.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Shavous Wine Dinner Menu Pot Luck

Ok here is what we came up with:


4 Courses:

1. Sweet Onion Crostini (Daniel Rubin) paired with a rose` (David Zigun)

2. Cream of Potato Leek (Daniel Peikes) paired with a white (Daniel Peikes)

3. Poached Salmon with cream sauce (Daniel Peikes)

Lasagna (Daniel Rubin)

Spinach Strawberry Salad (David Zigun)

Avocado Salad (David Zigun)

Pasta Salad (Avi Zip)

Potato Grattan (Avi Zip)

Paired with red wine (Daniel Rubin)

Corn Bread (Daniel Peikes)

Herb Butter (Daniel Peikes)

Paired with red wine (Daniel Rubin)

4. Cookie dough cheesecake and white chocolate cheesecake (Ronit Peikes) paired with a sparkling wine. (Avi Zip)

Wine choices and recipes to follow

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Crock-Pot Meaty Mushroom Barley Soup

http://peikescookbook.blogspot.com/

Crock-Pot Meaty Mushroom Barley Soup


OK folks this one can take a while so I am going to include a quick version as well.

1lb Stew Meat

3 Large Onions cut in a large dice

1lb carrots Sliced

½lb of Mushrooms Quartered

½ lb of beef bones

½ a bag of pearled barley

First I’ll give you the quick version. Dump it all in a crock-pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, cover it with water and let it cook for at least 4 hours.



Now I’ll give you the long version. This should all be done in this specific order and do not clean the pan between steps. This recipe is dependent on building layers of flavor. Brown the meat and bones in a skillet with a little olive oil on all sides. Remove the meat and bones into the crock-pot. In the same skillet sauté the onions until light brown then add the mushrooms to skillet with the onions and cook until the mushrooms are browned. Add the mushrooms and onions into the pot along with carrots and barley. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, cover with water and cook on low for a minimum of 3 hours.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hawaiian Burger with Onion Marmalade beef fry and jalapeño mayo

Hawaiian Burger with Onion Marmalade beef fry and jalapeño mayo
Chop 4 large sweet onions and cook in a small saucepan on low heat covered with olive oil, salt, and pepper until the the time on a brown color and break down into a paste. Form a patty from just a 1/3 lb of ground chuck seasoned with pepper. Cook in a skillet over high heat about 5 minutes on each side or until medium. While the burger rests fry 4 strips of beef fry and grill a slice of canned pineapple on the same pan you cooked the burger. While that cooks toast an onion roll and mix a tablespoon of mayo with as much green jalapeño pepper sauce (green Tabasco) as you dare. Now it is time to build your burger in order:




1.Bottom of the bun

2.Jalapeño Mayo

3.Lettuce

4.Beef Patty

5.Onion Marmalade

6.Pineapple

7.Beef Fry

8.Top of the Bun

Monday, April 12, 2010

http://ping.fm/Mj8aP

Homemade Gnocchi and Mushrooms Sautéed in Butter with Parmesan and Chives

Homemade Gnocchi and Mushrooms Sautéed in Butter with Parmesan and Chives

Bake 1 lb of potatoes scoop it out of the skin. Mash it till is has a smooth consistent texture. Make a well and gently fold in 3 egg yolks, 1 cup of flour and salt and pepper to taste. Roll the dough into a 1/2 inch diameter snake and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Sauté a dozen or so sliced mushrooms in more butter then is healthy spiked with a little olive oil to stop it from burning. While the mushrooms are cooking bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the Gnocchi for 2 minutes in boiling water. Drain the pasta and add it to the mushrooms with more butter. Sautee till until the pasta and mushroom are lightly browned. Serve in a bowl garnished with parmesan and chives.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shabbos Menu

Shabbos Menu

Meatballs, I make them a super sweet red sauce which is basically canned tomato sauce, honey, brown sugar, duck sauce and ketchup. They are being served in little puff pastry cups



Roasted Veggies: Onion, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, and assorted colored bell peppers. Seasons with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted on a sheet pan at 350 for 20 minutes.



Royal Blend Rice (a mix of several types of rice and other grains) with onions, chopped fried pastrami, and Italian Sausage. Boil the rice per the instructions on the box. Sweat the onions, then fry the pastrami and brown the sausage in the pan with the onions. After the rice is cooked add it to pan with sausage, pastrami, and sausage.



Glazed Corned Beef: Get a raw corned beef (AKA a pickled brisket) I cheated and used a pickled Deckle Roast which is similar. Braise in apple juice for 2 hour at 350 covers. Then smear on a glaze of ketchup, mustard, and duck sauce. Cook covered for 1/2 hr. They uncover and cook for another 1/2 hour. Let it cool and cut against the grain.



Stuffed and Wrapped chicken breast: Butterfly a chicken breast pound it flat. Put some shredded corned beef in the middle and roll the chicken around it. Wrap a piece of pastrami and cook in the oven at 350 until the chicken is white all the way through.

Dessert:

Apple Crisp: Apples sliced thin topped with margarine, maple and brown sugar oatmeal and flour baked for about an hour uncovered at 350.

Cherry Turnovers: Puff pastry triangles filled with canned cherry pie filling baked at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Leftover Chicken

OK I know everyone is getting bored with with hearing what I am eating 3 meals a day.  I am going to try and share more recipes.  So here goes:

I had some leftover chicken that I needed to figure out what to do with. Added some green and red bell pepper and sliced an onion, sautéed quickly with a little Soy Sauce. Serve with leftover salad and leftover rice or leftover potatoes. This totally breathes new life into that leftover roast chicken that is not nearly as good as when it was fresh.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

http://ping.fm/VdTaE
Makor HaChaim Chinese Auction @ the Double Tree Skokie Catering By Hy Life

The event was well done overall. The linen was top notch and room was well put together. The Starbucks theme was nice without being overdone. The menu was well composed. It included a vegetable soup, sautéed veggies, coconut crusted fried chicken cutlet, grilled cicket breast with honey mustard sauce, meatballs, beef kabobs, chicken kabobs, roast potatoes, and two types of salad. The proteins were all delicious, although one of beef kabobs had a big piece of fat on it. The potatoes here bit one dimensional, bland and under cooked. Dessert ended up being a bit of a disappointment as it was pretty standard bakery fare from Breadsmith. The only entertainment this year was some background music by Ellie Cooper and I don't think anyone missed the fact that there was no major act. Overall, a great night out.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Friday Night Menu:
Chicken Soup
Meatballs
Roast Chicken
Roast Potatoes
Spinach Mushroom Noodle Kugel
Chocolate Cake

Guests are bringing the salad and I don't diet on weekends

Day 4 Dinner

2 hot dogs, 3 peices of white bread, pickles and saurkraut

Day 4 Lunch

1 Strawberry Yougurt, 1 Peanut Butter Sandwich, some iceberg lettuce and a clementine

Day 4 breakfast

2 eggs over easy made with a little canola spray (Oh how I miss you butter).  2 peices white toast (ran out of whole grain) and a grapefruit.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 3 Dinner

2 medium baked potatoes with cheese, red peppers, and onion.  Not sure if I am eating enough because I have not felt the greatest.  I may just need to drink more.  What do you think, do I need to drink more? Eat more? Eat differently?
peikescookbook.blogspot.com/
day 3 lunch:leftover chili and broccoli from dinner last night. No rice this time, 2 pieces of whole grain bread instead.
http://ping.fm/TNm6H
Day 3 Breakfast Same as yesterday 2 peices whole grain toast with colby jack cheese and a grapefruit.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

oh yah I mixed some white ricw in w/ the chili
Day 2 Dinner:Beef Chili made with green and red bell peppers, onions, beer, spices and tomato sauce and steamed broccoli.
day 2 lunch:2 pieces whole grain bread with peanutbutter some bagged iceberg salad and a clementine
culinary question of the day:what do you like to spread on your toast for breakfast?
breakfast day 2 two pieces whole grain toast with colby jack cheese a grapefruit and a tall glass of water

Monday, January 11, 2010

dinner day 1:Pasta with mushrooms onions and garlic sauteed in olive oil, sauteed spinach, and two clemintines
Day 1 Lunch:2 pieces of whole grain bread with peanutbutter, some cucumber and a clementine. I was tired and hungry in the afternoon.
day 1 breakfast 2 packages or maple and brown sugar aotmeal with a little 2 percent milk and a texas ruby red grapefruit.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

http://ping.fm/KIm7L
OK just got back from the market. Got some eggplant and zuccinni(sp?) that I am going to try again for the first time in a long time. I also got some romain to make some better salads. Some bagged spinach for salad or to be cooked as a side or to be added to fillings. I got some fresh Broccoli which I love. I got regular cucumbers for salads as well as some kirbys and hot peppers to make some homemade pickles. I got some bell peppers and onions to compliment protiens, and the peppers can also be a good snack on their own or as part of a salad. I got some clementines and apples for something sweet.
http://ping.fm/hcnRh
OK just got back from the market. Got some eggplant and zuccinni(sp?) that I am going to try again for the first time in a long time. I also got some romain to make some better salads. Some bagged spinach for salad or to be cooked as a side or to be added to fillings. I got some fresh Broccoli which I love. I got regular cucumbers for salads as well as some kirbys and hot peppers to make some homemade pickles. I got some bell peppers and onions to compliment protiens, and the peppers can also be a good snack on their own or as part of a salad. I got some clementines and apples for something sweet.
OK just got back from the market. Got some eggplant and zuccinni(sp?) that I am going to try again for the first time in a long time. I also got some romain to make some better salads. Some bagged spinach for salad or to be cooked as a side or to be added to fillings. I got some fresh Broccoli which I love. I got regular cucumbers for salads as well as some kirbys and hot peppers to make some homemade pickles. I got some bell peppers and onions to compliment protiens, and the peppers can also be a good snack on their own or as part of a salad. I got some clementines and apples for something sweet.
http://ping.fm/Lw9bu
OK today I start working on my plan to eat healthier. I am going to try and open my palet up to more vegetables and try and cut back on the complex starches and fats. More to coke
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