A Beginner’s Guide to Wine

A slightly pretentious  but interesting infographic about wine:

 
So from now on, there is no excuse for failing to swing your wine with 2 fingers. Barbarians.
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Roast that Cauliflower!

This cauliflower turned out way better then the picture did… thanks iPhone focus.

Fall foods are in full swing here at The Happy Food Dance! I took a solo tour around Pike Place Market the other day and arranged all my treasures neatly so I could remember how they started out. And Instagram it of course.  #notashamed

That Elephant Garlic is a beast!

Pike Place goods

I remembered a gorgeous photo Food52 had recently posted of an entire head of cauliflower roasted so I decided to try my hand at it. I followed this recipe posted by an editor at Food52 that was created by Chef Alon Shaya and it turned out pretty darn amazing, if I do say so myself.

Crunchy on the outside while soft and flavorful inside. The bottom pieces that were in contact with the pan were uber crunchy, and hence were my favorite part.

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, whole, stem trimmed and leaves removed
  • 2 1/2cups dry white wine
  • 1/3cup olive oil plus more for serving
  • 1/4cup kosher salt
  • 3tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 1bay leaf
  • Coarse sea salt (for serving)
  1. Heat oven to 475° F. Bring wine, oil, salt, lemon juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Carefully lower in cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Using 2 slotted spoons or a mesh strainer or spider, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, draining well.
  4. Roast, rotating pan halfway through, until brown all over, 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with whipped goat cheese (recipe below).

 

I didn’t have a bay leaf so I used a few sprigs of fresh rosemary in the broth instead. The recipe called for a funky cheese sauce to pair with the cauliflower, but their suggestion sounded a bit too rich for my taste.  I just mixed up some goat cheese and ricotta I had on hand with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and black pepper.

It was a creamily perfect pairing for the hearty, crunchy cauliflower. Slice off a hunk and spread a healthy helping of the cheese sauce on top to enjoy at its fullest.

 

I’m planning on trying these other cauliflower recipes from Food52 soon: Cauliflower Steaks  and Roasted Cauliflower with Bread Crumbs.

Provisions by Food52

For our wedding this summer we received so many fun kitchen products, some essential and some simply decorative. I love them all dearly, but there always seems to be more out there!

I’ve recently discovered Food52 , which is basically a online food community. They have columns, recipes, contests and even a hotline where you can ask or answer food questions. Beautiful photos, decadent recipes and some awesome columns make it a must add to your feedly or whatever stand in you are using for Google Reader ( may it rest in peace).  I’ve found some of my favorite food blogs from here and continue coming back for more.

They’ve recently launched provisions, which is an online store for artisanal food products and artsy kitchen accessories. I’ve been pinning a lot to my secret Gift board as well as my “I Want” board…

Some favorites

There are some handy Collections where products are helpfully curated by project, such as The Coffee Collection, Tea Time, Linens, Eating Outdoors, Indie Food Mags and DIY Kombucha.

The Coffee Collection

I’d love to get my hands on some Lucky Peach and Chickpea subscriptions.

Then just loads of pretty products and tools.

Spice and Herb Salt Tower – $25

Espresso cups – $36

Limited Edition Sfoglini Summer Basil Radiators (2 pounds) – $24

Superior Servers – $30 – $55

Sagaform Oak Grater – $25

Peugeot “Paris” U’Select Pepper Mill – $42

Brooklyn Slate Cheese Board, Knife and Soapstone Pencil Set- $48

Tiffin 3-Tier Bento Lunch Pail- $25

The Classic, Tea Crafted for Cocktails $32

Medley + Noir Blooming Tea Set $28

There is also a superb pinterest board of similar products from other vendors. I think they have asked well known bloggers to contribute to it so there is a nice variety of unique things. Be sure to follow their instagram too. Pure eye candy.

You are what you eat

The facts in this Food Mythbusters video about fast food marketing to kids are alarming.

My Netflix queue has been filling up with food related documentaries lately. Now, most of them are slick and cool, highlighting crazy awesome chefs who do mind-boggling things with food. But I’m going to start challenging myself to actually learn while watching documentaries, and not just be entertained.  Putting myself through Food 101.

The very first foodish film that I remember being challenging and actually changing the way I think about what I eat was  Food, Inc.  It’s been a few years now so I don’t remember all the details it stated, but I do remember being shocked and outraged.

Shocked and outraged at the travesties, manipulation, and flagrant greed by the food and advertising industries. But I was also ashamed that I had been duped and remained ignorant for so long.

Always a fan of looking “behind the scenes”, this started me on a quest to learn more about the food we eat, why we eat it and what is in this “food” we eat. Cuz guys, often it isn’t even food. It is chemicals and wood pulp and dye  and carcinogens  and just absolute insanity. And the animals we eat, are horrifically tortured and pumped full of nonsense which makes its way into our bodies.

I’ve read a few books and articles that have enlightened me enough to change the way I eat. I’m become  kinda hippy-ish with my vegetarianism, green smoothies, quinoa, whole plant based foods and wheatgrass shots.  I love it.

Obviously food is an extremely personal decision and is, unfortunately, often dictated by outside factors such economic status or cultural norms. But I sincerely encourage you to educate yourself about what you and your family eat each and every day. I believe food and diet is an ENORMOUS factor in the state of our health today. Enormous.

How can you expect your body to act optimally if you feed it processed junk!? Logic people!

Books that were helpful to me:

The Kind Diet

Beauty Detox Solution

Eating Animals

In Defense of Food

Omnivore’s Dilemma

The China Study

The Food Revolution

I’m going to put these on my “To Watch” list:

16 TED talks that make you smarter about food

26 Films every food activist should know

What have you learned about food recently that outraged you? I’d love to know!

Farewell Chicago!

Boy, do I miss cooking myself a meal.

After a few weeks of apartment searching, packing, traveling and unpacking I’m definitely ready to go grocery shopping, cook dinner in my kitchen and eat it in my new apartment.

I left Chicago over a week ago after residing there for just about 3 years. It is a wonderful city and was very good to me. Since my self professed expertise is in food, I felt it only fitting to have my “Farewell Chicago” post be proclaiming my love for my favorite spots. Please visit them if you get the chance. Multiple times if you know what is good for you.

Brunch

Southport Grocery : Provides funky artisanal products, perfect red potato mash and my favorite cupcake.

Floriole Cafe and Bakery: Beautiful shabby chic bakery with killer quiches and they recently started Pizza Nights. T&C Photographie took some of our engagement pics here and we used it for our rehearsal brunch.

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baked good galore! Rhubarb galette, I shall never forget you.

Lunch

Falafill: Love getting classic and curry falafel and piling on the toppings from the mezza bar. I practically drink their tahini sauce.

Pastoral: Fancy, pleasant sandwiches when you want something with a bit more craft than your usual.

Butcher and Burger:  Love this “create your burger” spot. I get the salmon with umami or the lentil burger with avocado and a runny egg on top.

Coffee

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Intelligentsia: THE coffee roaster in Chicago. They’ve recently opened a few more locations and I really love the Logan Square and Broadway shops.

Heritage General Store: Great coffee and a chill vibe. Easy to spend  a few hours there reading or working. See more about it here.

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Heritage coffee with a Southport cupcake.

Ch’ava Cafe: The best iced coffee in the city.  Another good spot to work for a few hours and there is usually a delicious soup, sandwich and salad on the menu. Happy things happen here.

Caffe Streets: Wicker park spot with great coffee and a nice Chider.

Dinner

Spacca Napoli: My favorite place to get pizza. Really fast and so very rich in the Neopolitan style.

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– sobs with longing-

Native Foods : Vegan chain where I can order anything on the entire menu. I kill their Lavender Lemonade.

uncommon ground: Such a solid place, either location. This is the place I recommend most often to guestes as the food is approachable Americana but turned up to 11. Please get the sweet potato fries with goat cheese fondue.

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aforementioned sweet potato fries with goat cheese fondue. NOT TO BE MISSED

Antique Taco : Favorite fish taco and kale salad in the city inside a pretty rustic setting.

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Tiny Lounge: Great neighborhood spot if you want something a step or two up from your regular places. Spot on risottos, flatbreads and drinks. Celebrate happy events here like engagements, raises, promotions etc.

Dessert

Jeni’s Ice Cream: After paying $13 to purchase a pint at Whole Foods for years, you can now get as many scoops and varieties as you could ever wish for!

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Bang Bang! Pie: Just delectable pie and biscuits. I love their shop and its been fun to see it expand over the years. Read more about my love for it here.

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Glazed and Infused :  So dangerous to live around the corner from this doughnut place. My favorite is the blueberry lemon double glazed. Kill me with sugar.

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Margie’s Candies:  Too many pints of chocolate peanut butter ice cream to count were purchased here. Under the Montrose Brown Line this spot is overflowing with ice cream, candies, pies and sweets of all sorts.

Cocktails

Billy Sunday: Funky drinks in Logan Square with really fun ingredients.

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Barrelhouse Flat: Extensive menu, speakeasy vibe and they do things with Malort you never thought possible.

Violet Hour: Simple yet lavish cocktail lounge. Good for a dressed up evening.

Other favorite cocktail places discussed here.

Goodbye my cuisine friendly Chicago! I shall miss your food scene immensely and your idiotic weather not at all.

Spinning Plates

So I adore all things food obviously, but movies are another obsession of mine.

I’m very excited about this upcoming film as it follows such food centric yet very human stories.

One of the characters they follow is Grant Achatz,  who started Next and Alinea and recently survived tongue cancer. Can you just imagine? A chef getting tongue cancer. Just horrific. Read about it in his book “Life, On The Line”  or watch the movie Spinning Plates.