Monday, April 25, 2011

Rainy Weekend Granola

It hasn't been a great spring so far in the Midwest...we have had so much rain and temperatures still hanging in the 30's that it's left me wondering if it will ever get here!

The upside of the crappy weather is that it gives me the opportunity to cook and bake and not worry that I might be missing some outdoor activity! I decided to make a batch of granola and try to make it as gluten-free as possible.....unfortunately, that didn't happen as oats are a gluten product and the base of the granola is rolled oats....I need more time to develop a completely gluten-free recipe, but the good thing is that this recipe has quinoa flakes and millet puffs both giving it an extra added protein punch- (I noticed that Whole Foods is now carrying quinoa flakes in their bulk section!)


2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup quinoa flakes

1 cup millet puffs (available in health food stores in the cereal section)

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/3 cup honey (you can substitute the same amount of agave here if you like)

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.In a small saucepan, gently heat the water, honey, sugar, butter (or use a vegetable oil instead), salt and vanilla. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and stir in the liquid to coat.
4. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet, spread out in one layer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon several times to make sure that the granola cooks evenly. Let cool completely.
5. Transfer to an air-tight container. Enjoy with fruit, yogurt or your choice of milk or just alone as a snack!

I will enjoy this as I patiently await the arrival of spring.......

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

cover image via The New Yorker

I think this cover says it all! Happy Easter to all!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Coffee Please!

La Columbe on Church Street, New York City photo via

I read today that our little West Loop neighborhood is growing once again with a new addition- La Columbe Coffee is coming! I did hear someone say a while ago that we were getting a "cafe" on Randolph and Morgan, but they didn't mention the magic word: Coffee. I quickly did my research as I had not heard of these guys- turns out they are from the east coast with locations scattered between NYC and Philadelphia. I was hoping that at least one of my Chicago favorites (Metropolis and/or Intelligentsia) would have come down here and given Starbucks a run for it's money but it looks like La Columbe beat them to it!

La Columbe's 1950s Citroen H-Van (photos via

Not only will they have a cafe, but they will roast the coffee here as well- holy cow! Between Bays baking english muffins and Blommer Chocolate Co. making chocolate, the West Loop is the best smelling neighborhood in Chicago! On a good day, we may get to smell all three- beats the car exhaust off of Interstate 90 anyday! Look at their cute van- wonder if they will do house calls? Need. Coffee. Now.

La Columbe is all about earth-conscious coffees (organically-grown and fair-trade) as well as adhering to their 5 principles of ethical trade. Along with the coffee, they will serve local pastries and according to Eater Chicago, are in the process of getting all that sorted out. Hey- maybe they'll carry doughnuts from the Donut Vault! Now that would be awesome- since they are selling out everyday and I have yet to get over there in time to try one!

photo via the doughnut vault

Yes, Randolph Street is truly the new food happening spot in the city these days. Girl and the Goat has made a huge splash and is enjoying a packed house nightly, Maude's Liquor Bar opened in late December and is thriving and also one of my faves! Grant Achatz's Next just opened, along with his other project Aviary a new bar, and I heard that Stephanie Izard (Girl and the Goat) is planning a diner somewhere in the hood as well. There is a rumor circling about that Old Town Social is creating a sibling of their own: a chic bohemian-vibed spot in the space that Marche inhabited for so many years-coming this fall. Suddenly, so many choices! Somebody upstairs must really, really love me! I now know that I moved to the right place.....Brooklyn I love ya, but you got some competition now!

Next food for thought: we need retail in the West Loop! Lots of nightlife so far but what about daytime action? Maybe this is where I should step in?

Monday, April 4, 2011


I am told I simply must have this cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. These inspiring dishes are all vegetable, which suits me just fine. Even if you aren't a vegetarian, simply serve any of these tantalizing dishes alongside your choice of meats, fish or poultry or enjoy sans meat! Ottolenghi has made his success with 5 restaurants in London and has let the rest of the world in on his beautiful and bright creations with this amazing book.

photo via

Just ordered this on Amazon today and can't wait to start cooking as soon as it gets here! There's nothing like a beautiful cookbook to make my day.....

He writes a vegetarian column in the U.K.'s newspaper, The Guardian. Here is a beautiful example of mushrooms, garlic and shallots with lemon ricotta:

photo via

There are "plenty" of other recipes on The Guardian's site. So take a look and let me know what you think!