Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Calling all coffee lovers to Eataly

***** UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED AND WILL BE RESCHEDULED FOR A LATER DATE

Thanks to the folks at Eataly for passing on this information on a consumer education event hosted by Lavazza (Italy's favorite coffee!) It takes place August 16 at Eataly with food historian and author Francine Segan who will invite you to explore the many ways of enjoying coffee.

Learn about Lavazza's history and how to cook with coffee to create some decadent treats along with sampling of new specialty blends.



Event:             Spotlight on Artisanal Products: From Cup to Plate with Lavazza Coffee

When:             Saturday, August 16, 2014 | 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM (Central Time)

Where:           La Scuola at Eataly
                        43 East Ohio Street
                        Chicago, Illinois 60611
                        312.521.8696
                        chilascuola@eataly.com

What:              Lavazza’s National Brand Ambassador and Food Historian, Francine Segan (James Beard Award Book Award finalist), will lead a unique voyage into the world of coffee at Eataly. As an expert in Italian food, Francine will guide an engaging class featuring Lavazza’s four new specialty blends. She will also discuss the rich heritage of this family owned Italian coffee brand. Together, Francine and chefs from Eataly’s La Scuola will demonstrate the recipes for a Coffee Hazelnut Tart and Coffee Cake. Following the demo, attendees will have the opportunity to taste these delicious treats made with Lavazza.

Websites:       For more information and registration visit: Spotlight on Artisanal Products: From Cup to Plate with Lavazza Coffee
For more on Lavazza visit: www.lavazza.us/us/

From the inbox: Big Tree Farms Receives Fair Trade Certification

From the inbox this week comes this press release - big news from Big Tree Farms!

Big Tree Farms Receives Fair Trade Certification
Big Tree Farms Coconut Sugar becomes first and only certified fair trade coconut sugar.

Bali, Indonesia (July 16, 2014) Big Tree Farms announced that their unrefined, organic Coconut Sugar line has received Fair Choice certification from Control Union Certifications. The acquisition of this certification makes Big Tree Farms Coconut Sugar the first and only fair trade coconut sugar on the market. As a pioneer in the fast-growing Coconut Sugar segment, Big Tree Farms’ impressive certifications extend beyond Fair Trade, including USDA Organic, Non-GMO and Low Glycemic Certifications.  All certifications will be featured on Big Tree Farms Coconut Sugar packaging going forward, allowing shoppers to see a clear difference in coconut sugars.

Control Union Certifications are awarded on an enterprises ability to commit to stringent social, environmental, and economic development principles. Dedicated to social and environmental responsibility, safe working conditions and fair trade practices, Big Tree Farms is the only vertically integrated brand of coconut sugar on the market. Working with and supporting over 14,000 family farmers across the archipelagos of Indonesia. Every bag of Big Tree Farms Organic Coconut Sugar is harvested from partner farms and processed at their own factories in Indonesia.  

Called the “best alternative to cane sugar” by Dr. Oz, Big Tree Farms Coconut Sugar is made from pure flower blossom nectar of the coconut tree. Considered one of the most sustainable sweeteners on the planet, coconut sugar is an unrefined, high nutrient and low glycemic sweetener that can be used in place of anything that normally requires cane sugar. With a 1 to 1 replacement ratio, coconut sugar is an easier substitute compared to other popular alternatives like stevia or agave, which often have a different taste and substitute ratio. Big Tree Farms Organic Coconut Sugar is the only coconut sugar to obtain a low glycemic verification, consistently maintaining a Glycemic Index of under 40, ensuring it is not adulterated with cane sugar Rooted in Goodness™, Big Tree Farms is a sustainable supply chain of natural and organic tropical food products. Their mission is to inspire beneficial change through the creation of innovative and health-forward food products that provide sustainable health, economy and environment to our customers, farmer/suppliers and company community.

For more information visit www.bigtreefarms.com

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Maggiano's gift card giveaway

The newest location of Maggiano's opened this week in Vernon Hills at the Westfield Hawthorne Mall. It was my first experience visiting a Maggiano's after hearing people rave about it for years. Now I see what all the fuss is about. The food was magnificent. The portions generous. The atmosphere cozy. The staff friendly.

Not only was it a celebration of the grand opening of this location, but it was an introduction of the new "Lighter Fare" menu, which is only currently available in a handful of their restaurants and it is the only one in the Chicago area to have those menu options. The new Lighter Fare options allow you to enjoy your favorite Maggiano's classics, reducing the calories and fat content, but maintaining the great tastes and big portions that the chain is known for. More on Lighter Fare in an upcoming post.

On our visit, we sat at the media table where a variety of different dishes were brought out for us to view and photograph and then taste. Some were their most popular menu items. Some were Lighter Fare menu items. Some were appetizers. Some were desserts. It gave me a great sense of the overall offerings there and a point of reference when comparing the Lighter Fare to the typical dishes on their menu.


The first two items we started out with were the Stuffed Mushrooms and Crispy Zucchini Fritte and both were purely delightful. The mushrooms are stuffed with spinach, capped with seasoned breadcrumbs and served in a garlic white wine sauce. I'm a huge zucchini lover and this fried zucchini is the best I have ever had. It was lightly breaded in Japanese crumbs and served with lemon aioli so good you totally want to lick the dish. :) I would recommend both as musts for starters on a visit to one of their restaurants. And today, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Maggiano's so that a winner can try out these appetizers or some of their other delicious menu items. Many thanks to our friends at Maggiano's for providing the gift cards to give to our blog readers!


Giveaway will be done on rafflecopter to select a random winner. Please leave an e-mail address so we can contact you if you win! Good luck! And be sure to subscribe to the blog to get our posts delivered to your inbox. We'll have a couple more posts coming up about the new Lighter Fare menu and other items on the Maggiano's menu and more giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Disclosure: I received complimentary menu items for the purpose of a review. Maggiano's provided gift card prizes. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Chill Bubble Tea

I recently had my first experience of trying bubble tea. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I love tea, so when I spotted Chill Bubble Tea while walking around Westfield Hawthorne Mall in Vernon Hills, I figured I'd go get some chilled fruit-enhanced black tea. But much to my surprise, this wasn't traditional tea. It was more along the lines of a smoothie, so I went for my favorite flavor of smoothie - cantaloupe. Mmmm. :)

Have you tried bubble tea? What's your favorite flavor?







Friday, July 25, 2014

Famous Dave's Bolingbrook location celebrates grand re-opening


Famous Dave's invited Chicago Foodie Sisters out to the grand re-opening of their newly-remodeled Bolingbrook location last week where we sampled their new small plates bar menu that's available each day after 4 p.m. You'll also find some special $6 craft beer flights on Fridays, too.

So, hubby started out with a draft craft beer flight. They've got a new menu of craft beers with some great varieties like Dogfish, 2 Brothers and Revolution.




 I tried out a Boulevard 80-Acre wheat beer. It was perfect with the bites we tried.


Along with that craft beer flight, we started out with four of the new small bites items to try out: the Hawwiaan Flatbread, the Brisket Taco, the Buffalo'd Bones and the Southwest Chicken Salad.

First was the flatbread, which included shredded pork, a zesty bbq sauce, green onions and pineapple. I LOVE pineapple on pizza and with the sauce and pork, it was a refreshing touch of sweetness that perfected it. They also offer a smoky bacon bleu variety of flatbread.


The brisket tacos were fabulous. I had to remove the hot peppers since I'm not the most tolerant of major heat, but once those were gone, so was the heat and I loved the remaining ingredients. The were served on a soft shell with some fresh pico de gallo and cilantro. Muy bueno!

Now, although I'm not big on major heat, I do like a little. These slow smoked center-cut St. Louis-style ribs had such awesome flavor that I ignored the heat. It caught up to me on the second one, but I couldn't stop. Served with celery and some house-smoked bleu cheese, they'll make you ditch the buffalo chicken wings for good.

Our final pick for our first round was the Southwest Chicken Salad. As I read the description, they had me at avocado. Seriously, I'd eat just about anything if you threw some avocado on top. Our very sweet and attentive server, Jillian, suggested this as one of her favorites on the menu, too, so I was anxious to give it a try. It was served in lettuce cups with some shredded chicken and tortilla strips on top. Totally loved this - again very refreshing with the avocado and just enough of a kick.


By the time we were done that evening, we had tried nine of the fifteen items on the FD's Modern Barbecue Bar Menu, so way too much to share in one post. Watch the blog for more on our visit and the new menu items.

Right now the Bolingbrook location is the only one where you'll find this new menu, so head over to be one of the first to check it out! There's a great variety of items, so you'll find something for everyone and items on this menu start at just $2.99!


 Famous Dave's 
704 Janes Avenue
Bolingbrook, Illinois 
(630) 783-1502
www.famousdaves.com/Bolingbrook








Thursday, July 24, 2014

From the inbox: New savory world scrambles introduced at IHOP

From the inbox this week, there are some new limited time egg dishes at IHOP that sound fabulous. They'll be on the menu until September 7. Here's the press release with all the details:


BREAK OUT OF YOUR SHELL! IHOP® RESTAURANTS INTRODUCE THREE EXCITING NEW SAVORY WORLD SCRAMBLES ON JULY 21!
The Restaurant Famous for Making Eggs Any Way You Want Them Has Three New Scrambles Inspired by Tastes from Around the Globe

GLENDALE, CA (July 21, 2014) Do you have a taste for adventure, but can’t get away? For a limited time, you need only go as far as your local IHOP® restaurant:  they are bringing exactly that—a taste of adventure— straight to your table with the introduction of their new World Scrambles, which capture the best flavors from destinations both near and far!
Guests at IHOP restaurants have always been able to enjoy a multitude of egg dishes, prepared any way they want them, and now three new savory egg scramble sensations, available now through September 7, give them even more “egg-citing” choices to enjoy:
All-American Bacon Scramble: Fluffy scrambled eggs topped with diced fresh tomatoes, crispy hickory-smoked bacon and shaved white cheddar cheese.
Tuscan Scramble: Eggs scrambled with sweet basil, roasted red peppers, finished with shaved Parmesan cheese, diced tomatoes, and topped with delicious fresh spinach
Californian Scramble: Jack & cheddar cheeses melted into fluffy scrambled eggs topped with our salsa & fresh avocado.
Each World Scramble, a satisfying choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner, is made to order and perfectly paired with golden hash browns and your choice of a warm flour tortilla, toast, or two of IHOP restaurant’s classic buttermilk pancakes.
“These new World Scrambles are just the latest in a long line of egg dishes available to satisfy our guests who come to IHOP knowing that any egg dish they order is custom made and delicious. These three scrambles were created to highlight savory ingredients that bring the delightful tastes of regions such as Tuscany, Italy and California to the menu,” said Marie Grimm, Vice President of Menu Development and Innovation, International House of Pancakes, LLC.
Guests can also beat the summer heat with refreshing new lemonades, also available until September 7.In addition to a traditional lemonade, IHOP restaurants are now offering a cherry lemonade and a mango lemonade, each garnished with a slice of lemon, and available with free refills. Each ice-cold lemonade pairs well with IHOP’s new dinner salads, sandwiches and other entrees.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES, LLCFor over 55 years, International House of Pancakes, LLC has been a leader and expert in all things breakfast and a leader in family dining. The chain is highly competitive in its menu offering, serving 65 different signature, made-to-order breakfast options as well as a range of meals under 600 calories.  Beyond offering “everything you love about breakfast, ®” IHOP® restaurants have a wide selection of popular lunch and dinner items, as well. IHOP restaurants offer guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. As of March 31, 2014, there were 1,627 IHOP restaurants in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Philippines and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Under the licensed name IHOP at HOME® consumers can also enjoy a line of premium breakfast products available at leading retailers. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based International House of Pancakes, LLC and its affiliates. International House of Pancakes, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN).  For more information or to find an IHOP restaurant near you, please visit www.IHOP.com.  Follow IHOP on Facebook and Twitter.

LongHorn introduces Steaks Across America starting at $12.99


Love steak? LongHorn Steakhouse recently introduced Steaks Across America, which takes guests’ taste buds on a culinary trek across the country. The limited time only offer will run through mid-August with meals starting at $12.99.

·         New! Kansas City BBQ Sirloin – A juicy 6 or 8 oz. ribeye drizzled with a smoky, three-pepper blend and topped with crispy onion straws.




·         New! Texas 3-Chili Pepper Ribeye – A grilled 9 or 11 oz.  signature sirloin glazed with warm bourbon BBQ sauce and topped with delectable candied bacon.





·         New! Manhattan Stuffed Mushroom Filet – Tender, grilled-to-perfection 6 or 8 oz. filet topped with cheese-stuffed mushrooms and a housemade béarnaise sauce.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Try out Colman's Mustard on National Hot Dog Day

There's been much buzz about National Hot Dog Day, which is today, July 23rd. All of America is celebrating the ultimate summer cook-out and game day meal. However, one of the condiments that is a perfect accompaniment to a nice steamy hot dog isn't American at all. It's England's traditional zesty mustard.

Colman's has been a staple in the English foodie world for 200 years (200 years exactly. It was first established in 1814!) I'm a big fan of mustards and love the variety that can come from this one simple product. Some are very mild, both in color and taste, others have a darker and richer color and flavor. Some are coarsely ground with a completely different consistency. Others have the added ingredient of horseradish and that certainly wakes up the taste buds. 

Not your typical mustard, Colman's has a bit of a kick and a little goes a long way. The Colman's Mustard trademark of smoldering heat comes from a blend of high-quality brown and white mustard seeds that give you that blazing taste sensation. Besides being a great hot dog condiment, it gives a unique flavor to other recipes, including deviled eggs. I used some recently in a honey mustard glaze for salmon and it was quite delicious!





About Colman's Mustard:
Established in 1814, Colman's of Norwich has been recognized widely as the most iconic English mustard in the world. Using a unique and zesty blend of brown mustard seeds (Brassica Juncea) and white mustard seeds (Sinapis Alba), Jeremiah Colman created a mustard with a flavorful heat sensation that has become an essential condiment and paramount ingredient in Britain's favorite recipes, even to the highest royal order. In 1866 Queen Victoria bestowed the ultimate seal of approval - the Royal Warrant - galvanizing Colman's as the crown jewel of mustards, securing its place in the most discerning kitchens around the world. Sold as prepared mustard and mustard powder, Colman's provides a pure, fiery and complex condiment for all your recipes and dishes. Complete Your Cooking With Colman's. For recipes, extended history and information please visit www.colmansusa.com.

Meatheads offers $1.50 hot dogs for National Hot Dog Day

The hot dog. Love it or hate it, it's a huge part of our foodie culture. It's about as American as apple pie.  Of course, in our area, most of the hot dogs offered by eateries, restaurants, stands, carts and hot dog vendors are Chicago-style. You know - where they load on mustard and relish and onions and cucumbers and all that and never, ever add ketchup. And if it comes on a poppy seed bun, that's the icing on the cake.

Well, I tried a hot dog recently that I liked as much as our beloved Chicago-style dogs. It's a New England-style dog. It's a long Vienna beef dog on a special roll. When I attended the opening of the Munster location and listened to some of their marketing people talk about the products, I was surprised to hear that these rolls are flown in from New England because they couldn't find a Midwest producer to make them. Meatheads toasts them on outside, which I love. Then they put two - only two -condiments on them. Mustard and diced onions. That's how they do their dogs. And they are pretty dog gone good! ;)

Today, in honor of National Hot Dog day, you can pick up a New England-style dog at Meatheads for just $1.50. They're also running a contest for best picture or video! My dad and I went to Meatheads when the Munster location first opened. He lives just down the street and had been anxiously awaiting their opening. He tried the burgers and became a fan. Now he is looking forward to trying out the hot dogs. He has had this day on his calendar for a while, so I'll be taking him to introduce him the hot dog, New England-style. :) He even has an idea that he thinks may win him the best photo prize. :)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Celebrate National Tequila Day with Don Julio

There seems to be a holiday or day of recognition for so many things these days. Coming up this week is a day dedicated to tequila! National Tequila Day is observed on Thursday, July 24 and the folks at Tequila Don Julio sent a recipe my way to share with all of you tequila lovers out there. 

With an increased availability of high quality tequilas paired with a growing appreciation for such spirits, tequila has leapt in popularity to become one of the top spirits in the luxury liquor category. Tequila Don Julio, Mexico's original luxury craft tequila brings you the Este Lado created by mixologists Marshall Altier and Ben Scorah for the occasion.


Este Lado
Created by Mixologists Ben Scorah and Marshall Altier


Ingredients:
1 1/2 ounces Tequila Don Julio Blanco
1/2 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
Slice of English Cucumber
Mint Sprig
Mint and Cucumber Wheel Garnish

Preparation:
  1. Muddle English Cucumber and mint sprig in simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. 
  2. Add Tequila Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice and ice. Shake well. 
  3. Strain Contents over ice into a rocks glass. 
  4. Garnish with mint sprig and cucumber wheel. 

Ideal Serving:
Rocks Glass

Yield:
1 drink, no drink contains more than 0.6 fl oz of alcohol 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pleasant House: Three Oaks, Michigan

I've written many times before about how much we love Three Oaks, Michigan. We also may spend
time in  New Buffalo and Sawyer and Galien and LaPorte and Buchanan when we head up that way, but we never miss stopping in Three Oaks. Sometimes it is to shop or hang out int he park or go to a movie, but most of the time, it is to eat (or drink.)


We were happy recently to finally try out Pleasant House in Three Oaks. Although there's been one in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood for some time, I had never been there. The Three Oaks location has been open a few months and I have been itching to go there. It had previously been a brewery, and although we head up once every four to six weeks, we never could seem to find the place open. When it re-opened as Pleasant House Restaurant and Brewing Company I was excited to see that the beer brewing would continue.

When we visited over Memorial Day weekend, I was happy to find Pleasant House open and busy. The family had already picked another place for dinner, so I ordered a couple things to go and tried them out at Dewey Cannon Park as the kids played.

Love the very British menu items and had a hard time picking out which royal pie to try. Ended up with the Steak & Ale Pie, which was fabulous. The crust was thick, yet very flaky.

I also got excited when I saw the Scotch Egg on the menu. It's my favorite thing on the menu at Three Floyds Brewery in Munster, IN. Love the crunchy fried sausage coating. Theirs is very soft-boiled version, which is a little different than the ones I've had in the past. I like my yolk with a harder boil and dark yellow center, so I passed it on to hubby as he loves his eggs that way. The outer layer of sausage that I tried was spectacular, though. I'll have to remember on the next visit to see if it's possible to order one hard boiled. It also came with some spicy coarse mustard, which was a great accompaniment.

Can't wait to make it back there sometime to try out additional menu items and give the beer a try. The interior is attractive and hip, yet has that elegant feel that can only come from a building that has survived for over a century.

There's also a shelf of goodies and gift items from jolly ol' England that you may want to purchase to bring on home. Plan to make a visit there if you're passing into Michigan on I-94. It's just a few miles off the expressway and well worth the detour.





Friday, July 18, 2014

Very Cherry Salad

Was making lunch earlier this week and since hubby and the kids had just picked cherries in Michigan, I went double cherry - cherry tomatoes and black cherries on some spinach and mixed greens with chicken, bleu cheese, slivered almonds and peach balsamic vinegar. :)



Pinkberry now offering Pick-Up Packs


Fans of the frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry will now have an opportunity to bring small quantities of their yogurt home in their Pick-Up Packs. The pack is a sleek insulated cooler that will hold 6 to 24 yogurts. It's perfect to take home for a intimate picnic or just to transport the stash that will go into your freezer to always have it on hand.

Pick- Up- Pack has everything you need for small event or last minute occasion.  You can call your local store and they will have it ready in 30 minutes.  You can customize they flavors and toppings in the pickup pack so each individual can receive what they like.  Sizes come in small, medium, and large.  The cooler with then be filled with everyone’s orders amd will be ready for pick up!

Oh, by the way, Pinkberry's newest store opened this week in Japan! Sweet! Japan is one of 20 countries where you'll find Pinkberry.


Trader Joe's Charmingly Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Each time I go to Trader Joe's I make sure I grab at least one new item that I haven't tried before. This time I had my two youngest boys with me, who naturally requested cookies, so I thought we'd give these a try.

If you prefer the chewy variety, you'll like these. They are thick and extremely soft with large chips. The kids dove in. I stopped them quickly to grab a picture. Then before I could upload it, the box was gone. I think it's safe to say they were a hit with the kids.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Help bring MicroCool Apron to market by supporting kickstarter campaign


From time to time kickstarter campaigns are brought to my attention for innovate ideas or great food products that are in need of additional funding to help bring them to the retail market. One was Zone 8 beverages. I got a sample sent to me of some of their tea. I really enjoyed it and was really rooting for them to meet their goal and be able to produce this tea. And I rooted for them a little harder because they were based in the Chicago area. I was so pleased when I recently stepped into Mooney's Ice Cream in Three Oaks, Michigan and saw that they were selling Zone 8 Beverages!

Here's another product that needs to some help to be brought to market - the MicroCool Apron. Being married to a firefighter, anything that can help keep people safe in the kitchen from burns and injuries is something I'm going to support. This sounds like a product that will do that for sure. It's an apron made with a special fabric that provides a barrier between you and hot oils and liquids.

Their kickstarter campaign is over in just a week and they're not quite half way to their $25,000 goal. Here's a little more about what they're trying to accomplish:


The MicroCool Apron - revolutionizing safety for professional chefs and cooking enthusiasts

Two Charleston entrepreneurs develop a first-ever micro thermal protective fabric for the culinary industry and bring it to Kickstarter

CHARLESTON, SC. - July 10, 2014 - Fueled by their own love for grilling and outdoor cooking, Chuck Bates and John Cato worked with polymer scientists to develop a fabric technology that might just revolutionize safety in the culinary world. The fire retardant MicroCool Apron is the ultimate protective chef’s apron, created with the first-ever fabric to repel thermal energy and provide a protective barrier from hot oil and scalding liquids.

“Grilling and cooking outdoors is one of the most popular summertime activities, and something I love to do,” said Chuck Bates, co-developer of the MicroCool apron, “but the number of burn injuries from a flaming grill or deep fryer is pretty staggering.” 



Burns are a leading cause of injuries in the restaurant industry. According to Ohio Casualty, a Liberty Mutual Company, scald burns are the most common cause of burns and scalds from hot oil are generally even more severe than injuries from hot water. Standard chef aprons and tunics currently used for the culinary industry do not protect against hot oil spills (375+ degrees). It would take just three seconds for a burn to occur wearing industry-accepted chef clothing. However, the micro thermal fabric treatment used in theMicroCool Apron reaches a temperature no higher than that of a standard home shower even after 20 seconds of exposure to a hot oil spill.



The MicroCool Apron is designed for professional-grade or home use. In addition to its thermal properties, the fabric is soft, breathable and comfortable, making it an ideal addition to commercial or personal kitchens.

“We know our technology can really make a difference in helping safeguard anyone cooking with hot oil and liquids,” says John Cato, MicroCool’s co-developer. “We also plan to eventually broaden our line of protective clothing to include chef tunics, gloves, leggings and sleeves.”



After months of researching, designing and testing their micro thermal technology, Chuck and John have taken their idea for The MicroCool Apron to Kickstarter in an effort to raise $25,000 in 30 days – sufficient funds for an initial run of the apron fabric. Reward levels range from MicroCool Aprons to an authentic Low Country Oyster Roast hosted by the founders.

For more details, video and images, visit the MicroCool Apron Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1937244867/microcool-the-ultimate-cooking-apron.






Gooey Grilled Cheese with Jalapeño Pickles

This goodie was made up for lunch one day last week at the urging of my 10-year-old. He asked if I could put jalapeño pickles on his grilled cheese. So, I made another for hubby and I to split and used the pickles on there, also.

My husband and boys went up to Michigan with me recently while I spent the day at Whirlpool's headquarters in Benton Harbor, Michigan and they explored the area. They ended up making several stops, including Jollay Farms in Coloma to go cherry picking. It was there that he got a jar of jalapeño pickles.

So, this sandwich included:

1 slice of super sharp cheddar cheese
2 slices smoked Swiss cheese
5 jalapeño pickle slices
2 slices of Italian bread
butter

Butter a slice of bread and place buttered side down in a skillet. Top with one slice of cheese. Add pickles then put more cheese on top. Butter another piece and put it on top, buttered side up. Grill until the bread browns and the cheese oozes out.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kenosha's HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival to feature Cooking Studio

Got this bit of fun foodie news about the upcoming HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival to take place in Kenosha on August 16th. Kenosha is one of our family's favorite places to head for a day or weekend. There are so many fun attractions, a lot of beautiful accessible lakefront and lots of good food. How fun that this music festival is morphing into a music and foodie festival! Read more in this press release from the HarobrPark Jazz and Food Festival, sent over from my friends at the Kensoha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.




Chef Daniel Bonanno and Gateway Technical College Culinary Arts program partner with HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival - Aug. 16, 2014

KENOSHA – Kenosha native and restaurateur Chef Daniel Bonanno and the Gateway Technical College Culinary Arts program will join forces at the Aug. 16 HarborPark Jazz and Blues Festival to launch the “Cooking Studio.” This interactive cooking demonstration provides the avid foodie, aspiring cooks, and gourmet food aficionados an atmosphere to ask questions about easy to find ingredients and explore preparation techniques for roasting a Wisconsin Berkshire Pig. Attendees will have a chance to taste samples of the savory Pork cuisine along with a succulent tasty side perfect for your robust taste buds.

The Cooking Studio offers a unique complement to the musical programming of the day-long HarborPark Jazz and Blues Festival. “I’m honored to be the first Chef to host this inaugural cooking demonstration and look forward to bringing other great Chefs to this event for many years to come. It's a tremendous opportunity to showcase creative but easy ways to cook and navigate the Kitchen while having a glass of wine and listening to some great music on the lakefront," said Chef Daniel Bonanno, owner, Pig in a Fur Coat. “We are very grateful to Chef Daniel for bringing his epicurean expertise back to his hometown and lending his name to support our cause,” said Tim Mahone, Chairman, Mahone Fund.

Chef Daniel, a Kenosha Bradford graduate, grew up in an Italian household where he discovered a passion for food – and particularly Italian cuisine. He studied at Apicius Culinary School in Florence, Italy, but returned to his native Wisconsin to get closer to farmers and ranchers. With Bonnie Arent his partner from Racine, he opened “A Pig in a Fur Coat” in Madison, which was named best new restaurant and drew national media attention as a featured restaurant on the Cooking Channel’s America’s Best Bites. Daniel, who worked for several years as a sous chef at Chicago’s Spiaggia restaurant was a semifinalist in the Rising Star Chef portion of the James Beard Awards.

Chef Daniel is looking forward to working with Gateway's Culinary Arts program to mentor Reuther Central High School culinary students as they prepare this decadent cuisine for the inaugural Cooking Studio. “It's always great to give back and help the community that I grew up in. And there is no better way to do that, than with educating the youth as they consider their career options,” said Chef Daniel.

“As we continue to pursue pathways of learning, this partnership with Chef Daniel gives our students hands-on experience and career insight as they participate in these educational opportunities,” said Terry Timmons, Dean of Service Occupations, Gateway Technical College.

Tickets are available online at mahonefund.org and also at Tenuta's, Andrea's and the Kenosha Community Foundation office. Advance General Admission tickets are $30 and $35 at gate. The Texas Roadhouse VIP lounge tickets are $85.

Gates for the Jazz and Blues Fest open at 1 p.m., and music begins at 1:30 p.m. Terry James and the Blue Flames and the Nellie “Tiger” Travis Blues Band (nellietigertravis.com) were recently added to the musical lineup, which features headline performers Jazz Funk Soul – featuring Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp and Paul Jackson Jr. – on the main stage at 7 p.m. Rounding out the musical lineup on the main stage are Chicago’s very own and talented trumpeter, Corey Wilkes and his Quartet and the KUSD Jazz All Stars, under the direction of Ken Wiele.

The HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival is produced by the volunteer efforts of the Mary Lou and Arthur F. Mahone Fund, which promotes educational and career opportunities for students and to support healthy lifestyle initiatives which reduce healthcare disparities in communities of color. All proceeds benefit the Mahone Fund which strengthens and enhances our very important community initiatives in Kenosha.