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Cook the Book: The Grand Central Baking Book

Lake Forest Bakery, St. Louis Mo. It no longer exists, but it was my childhood bakery and was incredible. Chocolate chip stollen, gooey butter cake, paradise cake, all the cookies... oh, and the best chocolate-chocolate birthday cake ever. EVER.

Cook the Book: Ad Hoc at Home

Los Nopales, the most fantastic Mexican restaurant in Chicago, is literally underneath my apartment. I don't know how I got so lucky!

What's Your Go-To Cheese?

Manchego foreeeeeever. (There's an incredible raw one at Whole Foods that I'm addicted to.)

48 Hours in Chicago!

I second the Bristol!! My absolute favorite lately. Hot Chocolate is also great, in the same vein as the Bristol. (Both have a great brunch, but Bristol's is only on Sunday.)

I think one of the most consistently excellent restaurants is Los Nopales... great Mexican-- I've made many Los Nopales converts.

Mercat a la Planxa is a fun downtown-y tapas restaurant... delicious food and not terribly expensive.

Hmm, I'll still be thinking about this for a while...


Ice Cubes in Orange Juice

Crushed ice in orange juice is my faaaaavorite. That used to be the first thing I had after I got home from school. But ice in milk is kinda gross... even crushed ice.

Cook the Book: Unforgettable Desserts

The magic combo of homemade cookies with homemade ice cream.

Pomegranate Molasses

I've used it in marinades and salad dressings. My boyfriend, more adventurous than I, likes to mix it into drinks! Juice spritzers, cocktails...

New Seasonings! I need good ideas for them!

I like making aioli with my smoked paprika-- delicious. It's great with crusty bread and cheese (Manchego and Idiazabal are my faves!).

Agree with @bessfour: truffle salt on popcorn is unbeatable! Also, it's great sprinkled on drained pasta. It doesn't beat you over the head with truffle flavor, but it really amps up the taste of whatever sauce you use.

what do i do with...

I just made a fantastic thai soup this week with lemongrass.

I sauteed garlic, chunks of ginger and lemongrass in olive oil and a little bit of coconut fat. Added assorted julienned vegetables, sauteed more, then added stock, fish sauce, lime juice, ground ginger, and a little bit more coconut milk. Threw in some basil at the end and adjusted the seasonings to taste.

I crave thai soup so often-- this is the first time it's met my expectations. It really tasted like what I would order at a restaurant! I think the lemongrass played a somewhat significant part in this...

Cook the Book: 'Simple Fresh Southern'

Stuffing, stuffing, stuffing. Also, not really a side, but I always claim the vegetables that cook in the cavity of the turkey. Those are truly my favorite.

Imo's Pizza: St. Louis' Inexplicably Addictive Pie

@courtguerra, i'm with you! although my tastes have significantly broadened and developed over the years, as a st. louis native (who longs to go back!), i am quick to defend imo's and provel. i love the somewhat... metallic(?) taste and the way it burns the roof of your mouth. yummm.

rendered fat

ooh, thanks for all the tips! i was totally fantasizing about doing fries, @wookie. and yum, chopped liver!

you guys are the best!

Cook the Book: 'How to Roast a Lamb'

roasted rack of lamb and cherry tomatoes. the tomatoes become slightly stew-y and the whole thing is dee-lish.

Cook the Book: 'The Pioneer Woman Cooks'

Smitten Kitchen is so inspiring... And while this may not count as a blog, I've been known to log many hours on Tastespotting.

Cereal with Water and Other Cereal Compulsions

I pour milk in my cereal and drink it all out of the bowl instantly-- I like my cereal to be just slightly wet.

Cook the Book: The Southern Italian Table

Anchovies melted down with garlic and some tomatoes if they are on hand.

Thanks, But No Thanks: Pumpkin Spice Frozen Yogurt at Red Mango

Agreed-- we asked for a sample before deciding on the original, but still all you could taste was the graham cracker crumbs. And yes, they cover it in graham cracker crumbs when sampling...

Whole Foods Field Trip

Cheese (from the "remnants" section-- small pieces forunder $4.00), beer, wine, fancy chocolate... I spent almost $100 there last night buying ONLY treats. UGHHHH.

Cook the Book: 'The Craft of Baking'

Lake Forest Bakery in St. Louis-- chocolate cake, chocolate mousse frosting, chocolate shavings. This was the most heavenly birthday cake a girl could ask for for years, until the bakery closed.

Nationwide Shortage of Canned Pumpkin Threatens Thanksgiving Pies

I got the last can at my store a few weeks ago! I thought it was a fluke... now I'll have to rush back and buy all of their re-stock!

They carry ________ but not _________?!

I was at Jewel the other day (large Chicagoland chain) and they did not have a single regular sized carrot in the entire store. Baby carrots, yes. Carrot sticks, yet. Carrots in pre-packaged soup mixes, yes. NO BAGS OF CARROTS!

Cook the Book: 'Japanese Hot Pots'

I love my mom's mushroom barley soup. Just smelling it makes me feel cozy and full!

However, I just recently had Burmese food for the first time, and the samusa soup was incredible. Cabbage, broken up falafel, jalapenos, onion, a nice not-too-spicy kind of curry broth. DELICIOUS. I want it all the time now. Too bad there are no Burmese restaurants in Chicago...


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