Tag Archives: Cooking

Chicago Gourmet 2013 September 27-29

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Chicago Gourmet, presented by Bon Appétit, is a celebration of food and wine showcasing more than 100 of Chicago’s finest restaurants and chefs, as well as hundreds of renowned vintners, spirit makers, and premium breweries from around the world. Guests enjoy dozens of live cooking demonstrations, expert seminars, gourmet tastings, and book signings by internationally renowned chefs, master sommeliers, and winemakers.

Continue reading Chicago Gourmet 2013 September 27-29

Lincoln Park Chill & Grill: May 21st-22nd

Yes, it is finally time for Chicago’s summer neighborhood festivals to begin! I know that winter stuck around a little longer than most of us would like, but grab your honey and head to Lincoln Park for a perfect ‘Date Day’. The festival is taking place near the corner of LaSalle and Stockton, at the south end of Lincoln Park.

Better Homes and Gardens is sponsoring this year’s Lincoln Park Chill and Grill, an opportunity for you to try some great local eats, learn a bit about grilling and to meet our own hometown celebrity chefs. You can also just enjoy the outdoors, drink a beer and listen to a local band on their Lakeside Stage.

The festival runs May 21st: 11:00am-6:00pm and May 22nd: 12:00-5:00pm. Entry is free and you can pre-purchase tasting cards on the event website for a discount. $12 purchased in advance and $15 at the festival. One tasting card will get you three beers , four small plates of food or combinations thereof. They will also be offering full-sized sandwiches, water and soda. Try some great eats from the West Town Tavern, Girl & the Goat, Belly Shack, Hot Chocolate and others!

Hands on grilling classes are available for $30, some of these classes offered by celebrity chefs such as Ted Allen and Stephanie Izard. Art Smith will be emceeing the Grilling Showdown Contest – celebrity contestents to be chosen prior to the challenge.

We will see you there! Bon Appetit!!

The Chopping Block: Cook yourself up a Date Night this May!

As mentioned before, my husband and I love spending our date night’s at one of the Chopping Block’s couples themed cooking classes. It’s hands-on, a perfect opportunity to learn and new skill, it’s also a great time to spend with other couples, indulging in some wonderful food.

Please check out some of the classes offered this month:

Date Night: Hangin’ at the Hacienda – Vamanos! Bring a date and have fun making these all time Mexican favorites.
Queso Fundido; Authentic Carne Asada with Corn Tortillas, Salsa Verde, Queso Fresco and Mexican Crema; Mexican Rice and Borracho Beans; Flan Misterioso (Chocolate-Cajeta Flan Cake).

Couples Cooking: Hawaiin Luau – Immerse yourself in the sun-drenched food of the Hawaiian Islands.
Mango and Shrimp Spring Rolls; Macadamia Nut-Crusted Mahi Mahi with Volcano-Spiced Pineapple Relish; Coconut Rice; Passion Fruit Chiffon Pie.

Table for Two: Spring Dinner Party – At the Chopping Block, every table is the chef’s table. Bring a friend and watch one of our expert chefs work some kitchen magic to create a soul-satisfying feast. This cooking lesson includes a full meal, so come hungry!
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Focaccia; Celery Root, Parsley, Shaved Fennel and Watercress Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette; Pan Roasted Chicken

The Chopping Block has two locations – One in Lincoln Square and the other at the Merchandise Mart. If the class you desire is booked, be sure to check both places!

Ideal Date Night Cooking Classes at the Chopping Block: November

Again here I am STRONGLY encouraging you to try out one of the following Couple’s Nights at the Chopping Block. Two locations, one being in Lincoln Square and the other located in the Merchandise Mart, make it an easy date night to get to, no matter your location. Both are accessible via public transportation and we’ve never had issue finding near by parking in Lincoln Square.

Not only are you assured a delicious meal, you may:

  • Meet other couples.
  • Learn a new technique in the kitchen, or try a new food.
  • Challenge your partner with your knife skills and knowledge of all things culinary!
  • Impress, impress, impress.. both yourself and your date.

So here are your options for the month of November:

Couples Cooking: Fireside in Vermont

Bring a date and warm up with these cozy recipes.
Gruyere Cheese Fondue; Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Bacon Vinaigrette; Maple Glazed Salmon with Celery Root and Potato Hash; Pumpkin Donuts with Chocolate Sauce.

Date Night: Mambo Italiano

Authentic Italian cooking. Mamma mia!
White Bean and Sage Bruschetta; Porcini Mushroom and Herb Risotto; Eggplant Parmesan; Fresh Ricotta and Chocolate Filled Cannoli.

Wine and Dine

Have a blast learning fresh, new ways to make dinner fun!
Mushroom, Bacon and Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Tart; Herb Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Potatoes and Root Vegetables; Chocolate Ganache Tart with Fig Balsamic Glaze.
Two glasses of wine or beer per student are included in the price of the class. You must be 21 or over to attend.

As always take a look at their calendar and try something else that interests you as well. Make any cooking experience your ideal date night.

August Date Night Cooking Classes at the Chopping Block

Really any cooking class at the Chopping Block could be a great opportunity for an enjoyable Date Night ( short of maybe the Sunday morning ‘Tater Tots’ class ) but the following three speak specifically to the couple seeking a romantic, maybe challenging, definitely entertaining experience together:

Outdoor Class: Romantic Dining al Fresco

Enjoy a fabulous dinner in style on our outdoor patio while enjoying the sounds of the Lincoln Square Thursday night summer concert series!
Shrimp Ceviche with Grilled Vegetable Salsa; Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Asparagus and Herb Butter; Fresh Corn Polenta; Lemon Cake with Warm Blueberry Sauce and Whipped Cream.

Date Night: ¡Olé!

Have fun while cooking an assortment of authentic Spanish snacks.
Tortilla Española with Aioli; Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs); Seafood Paella; Banana and Cajeta Empanadas.

Couples Cooking: Under the Tuscan Moon

Come learn how to create the zesty, soul-satisfying cuisine of Italy.
Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad with Basil, Crispy Prosciutto and Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Handmade Fettuccine with Grilled Shrimp, Portobellos and Garlic; Plum and Apricot Crostata.

Classes are available at both the Lincoln Square and Merchandise Mart locations for approximately $140 per couple. Definitely worth the dollars you spend and you will find yourselves well fed. Click here for the August Class Calendar.

July Date Night Cooking Classes at the Chopping Block

My husband and I can verify first hand that these classes make for the perfect date night. We’ve taken classes at both the Lincoln Square and the Merchandise Mart locations and we will again. We prefer Lincoln Square just due to its proximity to some great after class bars but the classes themselves were equal in instruction, uniqueness of the dishes and appreciation for the results.

Don’t eat before you go and buy a bottle of wine at the Chopping Block. You won’t regret your evening out. Reserve now, the classes fill up fast.

Couples Cooking: In the Heat of the Night

These recipes will help you cool down the hottest summer nights.
Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Soup with Cumin-Spiced Grilled Shrimp Skewers; Pepper-Crusted Flank Steak with Gazpacho Salad; Lemon and Whipped Cream Tartlets.

Date Night: Summer in Provence

Come learn how to prepare the sun-drenched food of this rustic yet sophisticated countryside cuisine.
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart with Arugula Salad; Pan Bagnat (Extra Virgin Olive Oil-Poached Tuna Sandwiches on a Baguette with Red Wine and Caper Vinaigrette); Haricots Verts and Potato Salad with Garlic Aioli; Apricot and Almond Cake.

View July’s Class Calendar Here