50 posts tagged dinner was delicious
Have you ever thought to yourself “How the do two nutjobs like Lucy and Rachel make their blog and otherwise conduct themselves in a way that their 12-year-old-selves might think of them as an adult?”
But if you want to hang out, come visit us on Saturday, May 18th at 3pm at the Apple Store, North Michigan Avenue. We’re going to be talking about what we’ve learned in the last year of food and fuckery, and we’re really excited to meet y’all!
Chicken Salad Sandwich
We feel zero shame in saying that we don’t always brown bag it.
It’s hard to be an adult. Sometimes we cannot believe that anyone on the planet has time to spend the day at the office, commute, make sure your plants/pets/children are clean and watered, put food in your face— potentially feeding others, maybe have a social life or deskank your house, AND still possess the forethought, motivation, clean pans, and stocked fridge necessary to make the next day’s lunch.
Leftovers make us more likely to save the cash of running to the deli next door, but present the problem of being boring and easy to forget in the fridge. The secret we’ve found to successfully taking your lunch to work is to make something that’s exciting— and working with a recipe that’s half done before you even started.
Chicken salad is tasty, nutrient-diverse, and impossibly satisfying. You can make a batch big enough to keep it in the fridge for four days with totally minimal effort— and not too many dishes. When you short cut it by using store bought rotisserie chicken, it is one hundred percent idiot proof. And probably more delicious.
Chicken Salad Sandwich
- 2 cups Grapes
- 4 stalks Celery
- 1 tsp Fresh Thyme
- A Handful of Fresh Parsley
- ½ Rotisserie Chicken
- ¼ cup Greek Yogurt
- ¼ cup Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- Lots of Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Pistachioes
- Good, sexy, crusty Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, cut in fat slices
- Lettuce, of your choosing
Grab a big cutting board. Wash your Celery and Grapes, cut into bite size pieces; roughly chop the Parsley and Thyme. Set this produce aside in a large bowl with the Pistachios.
Pull, chop, shred, or otherwise remove the Chicken from its bones. This is the only time we will ever recommend you lose its skin. Because Ew.
Add the Chicken, Yogurt, Mayonnaise, Soy, and Pepper, being sure to mix thoroughly. If things look too dry, add another squirt of Mayo or dollop of Yogurt.
Park it in the fridge overnight in individual portions, and bring your Bread and Lettuce separately.
It’s 6pm on Sunday and it’s time to have a cocktail. Something to wind you down so you can be fresh for the new week— or make your long neglected pile of laundry more fun to sort though while you desperately try to figure out how to dress yourself like an adult.
Grab a rocks glass, or something else short and wide. Find an Orange and your vegetable peeler, shave off a 1in wide strip of Zest, rub it around the lip of your glass, and throw it in. Shake in 2 dashes of Orange BItters, a splash of Campari, a bigger splash of Sweet Vermouth and 2 fingers of Bourbon or Rye. Vigorously stir with 1 big Ice Cube or a couple small ones. Drop in a Luxardo Cherry, and leave the jar close by for snacking.
Multigrain Pancakes with Blackberry and Rhubarb Compote
In a perfect world, we’d eat pancakes for breakfast every single day. They’re fluffy and cozy and serve as a vehicle for gratuitous butter consumption. But most recipes have too much sugar (and too little else) to keep us from being the useless, half-asleep victim of wackadoo blood sugar.
In order to combat the post-brunch carb nap, we’ve crammed these pancakes full of Nuts, and swapped our usual maple syrup for Blackberries and Rhubarb. The extra fiber and protein that these substitutions bring to the party make the pancakes more substantial and more delicious— which is, honestly, the only thing we care about.
Multigrain Pancakes with Blackberry Rhubarb Compote
For the Compote:
- 12 oz Blackberries, well washed
- 1 cup Rhubarb, well washed and chopped into ¼ in chunks
- 1/4 cup Honey or Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Lemon Zest
- 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Vanilla Bean, split and scraped
- A shot of Whiskey
- 1 tbsp Butter
The word “compote” sounds fancy, but it’s the easiest thing in the world. Dump everything into a non-reactive saucepan over medium low heat. Cook until the Rhubarb melts into basically nothing and the Blackberries start falling apart— or until the juices reduce down to syrupy goodness. Mash any unreasonably large chunks of Blackberry with a fork.
Set aside until cool and remove the Vanilla Bean before serving.
For the Pancakes:
- ¾ cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats— not Instant and not Steel Cut.
- ¾ cup Whole Wheat Flour
- ⅓ cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup whole Nuts, we like an assortment of Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Pecans, and Almonds best. Anything except Peanuts (weirdo) would be fantastic.
- ¼ cup Sugar
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 ¼ cups Buttermilk
- ⅓ cup Whole Milk
- ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 Eggs
In your food processor or blender, combine Oats, Flours, Nuts, Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salt. Whirr it all together until it turns into a coarse meal. This mixture of dry ingredients can be stored for up to a week in a zip top bag or mason jar on your counter— and for basically ever in your freezer— so make it in advance and don’t wake up the whole house.
In a large bowl, beat together the Buttermilk, Whole Milk, Vegetable Oil, and Eggs. Whisk in the dry ingredients until well combined. This is a sturdy batter and you don’t have to worry about being dainty. You can mix the crap out of it.
Slowly heat a large non-stick pan, preferably with low sides over medium heat. Cook pancakes, no more than two at a time, for about 2 minutes on the first side, or until you can see bubbles start to set in their center. Flip carefully and continue to cook for about 1 1/2 minutes. Repeat until you’re out of batter, duh.
Serve topped with a side of bacon, too much butter and Blackberry Rhubarb compote.
Asparagus with Egg & Speck
It’s Asparagus Season. AKA: the best fucking month and a half of our lives.
Spring Asparagus is the best food on the planet. It’s sweet and tender and melts in your mouth; it is not the ropey bland garbage you suffer through in winter. Sure, it makes your pee smell like rotten eggs, battery acid and turpentine, but it tastes like goddamned magic and needs nothing more than a drizzle of Olive Oil and a sprinkle of salt.
… but we figured adding salty, pungent Speck and buttery poached eggs wouldn’t hurt single fucking thing.
Speck is Proscuitto’s bossy older cousin. Flavored with juniper, nutmeg, and tons of garlic, it’s made with the gorgeously fatty pork shoulder instead of the relatively lean leg used in other cured Italian hams. This gives speck a melt-in-your-mouth texture and delivers extra flavor in each bite. The pleasantly bitter (but mostly just smokey-sweet and intensely porky) flavor gives Asparagus the balls it needs to feel substantial on a chilly spring day. While you could certainly sub Proscuitto, if that’s what’s handy, we love working with Speck and think it’s worth seeking out.
Asparagus with Egg & Speck
- Plenty of Water (for poaching Eggs)
- 1 tbsp White Vinegar
- 1 Bunch Asparagus
- 1/4 lb Speck, thinly sliced
- Olive Oil
- 4 Eggs
- Good Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Serves: 2 as a substantial meal, 4 as an appetizer
Preheat your oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with Parchment Paper or Foil.
Bring a large pot of Water to a bare simmer and add 1 tbsp White Vinegar.
Trim and wash the Asparagus, and separate the bunch into 4-6 evenly sized bundles. The smaller the bundle: the more Speck you get. Plan accordingly.
Wrap each bundle with one slice of Speck and place wrapped end down on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with Olive Oil and roast until the Asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes.
While the Asparagus roasts, poach your Eggs. Poaching Eggs isn’t hard even though it can seem intimidating. However, it does take a careful hand and a little thoughtfulness. We really love this tutorial from The Kitchn and recommend checking it out if it’s your first time. We have confidence that you can do it because you’re a fucking adult and it’s just an Egg, okay, so stop freaking out.
Poach the Eggs one at a time by first cracking them into a small container with a handle and gently lowering the entire container into simmering water. While underwater, pour the Egg out of the container and start a timer for exactly 4 minutes. When the for minutes are up: remove your now-poached Egg with a slotted spoon, allow to drain on a paper towel and repeat.
Once the Asparagus is roasted and Eggs are poached, put them together and season with Pepper and a tiny bit of Salt. Speck is pretty salty, so keep your seasonings mostly on the Eggs. If you want to gild the lily, shave a little fresh Parmesan cheese on top.
Serve with bread, obviously, for mopping up yolks.
Like. Ridiculously, soul-consumingly busy— and actually busy, too. Not the kind of busy you tell your friends when you’re really just re-watching a season of 30Rock for the 18th time with your pants off. We both have new day jobs that we sincerely love for once and they are taking up lots of our attention. We’re also working on two fun, top secret projects that we’ll start talking more about soon.
The downside of our adventures is that we feel like we’re neglecting you. We miss you. We don’t have the time we want to give you to blather enthusiastically or peddle food porn— but we do have time to eat. So, for now, that’s what we’re going to share.
When we get busy like this, there are three things that we want: Dessert, Vegetables, and More Dessert but with Alcohol. Today we’ve got all three.
Brownies‽ are the best brownie that we’ve ever eaten Ever. They were introduced to us by our dear friend Erin Watson, who finally gave Rachel the recipe two Christmases ago in an effort to stop her from refusing to attend parties where this confection isn’t present. Erin is a poet, a damn fine cook, and one of the best humans we know. This recipe is perfectly fudgy, with a light crackly crust, and deeply chocolatey flavor that feels like you can taste it in your ears. We could eat them for effectively every meal.
Brussels Sprouts are our favorite vegetable and are particularly good to us when we’re crazy. They’re quick cooking and packed with magnesium— which lots of studies show is a key nutrient in battling the negative effects of stress. We like them best served in one of two ways: Brussels Sprouts Gratin is a comforting, two-step pile of heaven that is like eating hugs— hugs that are full of cheese. Sprouts with Honey, Sriracha, and Balsamic Vinegar, on the other hand, are spicy and tangy and pretty refreshing. They both make a quick, idiot proof pseudo-meal that you can wolf down over the kitchen sink when you’re too tired to sit down.
Beer Floats are like rootbeer floats but better. They bring the same frosty, slurpy, messy, brainfreeze, but now that you’re an adult, they also get you drunk. They’re perfect for when you need your dessert to put you to sleep— or even for a decent and respectable dinner party in saner times.
adapted from Erin Watson, who thinks she adapted it from her partner’s mother, who thinks she adapted it from King Arthur Flour
- 2 sticks Unsalted Butter
- 2 ¼ cups Sugar
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 tbsp Coffee
- 1 ¼ cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa— we splurged and used Valrhona and it was just. like. the correct decision.
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 4 Eggs
- 1 ½ cup All Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Chocolate Chips
Preheat your oven to 350°. Line a 13x9” pan with foil for easy clean up, or just lightly grease iand dust with extra cocoa powder.
Over medium heat, melt the Butter in a medium sized saucepan. Once melted, add the Sugar, Vanilla, and Coffee. Cook until the mixture is hot, but not bubbling, and a little shiny, but still grainy— about 3 minutes.
Whisk together the Cocoa, Salt, and baking Baking Powder. Add the Eggs to this mixture until you get a kind of weird looking paste. Trust us. Everything will be OK. Quickly and carefully beat in the hot Butter-Sugar mixture and mix until completely smooth.
Fold in the Flour until just combined and barely stir in the Chocolate Chips at the last second. Immediately dump into your prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center with just a few desperately clinging crumbs.
Brussels Sprouts Gratin
adapted from Nigel Slater’s Tender
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 scant cup Half and Half
- 1 tbsp Grainy Mustard
- ¼ tsp Salt
- enough black pepper to give everything freckles
- 4oz Blue Cheese, like Roth Buttermilk Blue that we tried at Whole Foods once and cannot shut up about.
Preheat your oven to 450°. Lay the Sprouts out in a single, even layer on a cookie sheet. Roast until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.
In a small casserole dish, whisk together Half and Half, Grainy Mustard, Salt and Pepper. Fold in the cooked Sprouts. Top with crumbles of Blue Cheese. Roast until bubbly and just starting to brown, about 15 minutes. This is not a great candidate for re-heating, but it tastes fucking fantastic cold.
Sprouts with Honey, Sriracha, and Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1 squirt Sriracha— to your taste
Preheat your oven to 450°. Lay the Sprouts out in a single, even layer and drizzle with Olive Oil.
Roast until tender and browned on the edges, about 15 minutes.
Whisk the remaining ingredients together. Toss with your roasted Sprouts and immediately start shoving them into your face.
We totally stole this idea from our favorite local pizza joint, The Boiler Room. They’re amazing. Give them your money.
- Good Vanilla Ice Cream
- Good Dark Beer (stout, porter, what have you) with lots of Chocolate, Coffee, and Nutty notes. We often use Revolution Brewing’s Mad Cow Milk Stout or Founder’s Breakfast Stout. If you’re on the west coast, we bet this would be upsettingly delicious with Almanac Brewing’s Biere de Chocolat.
Scoop a few jagged chunks of Ice Cream into a tall pint glass. Top up with Beer, being careful to not let things foam all over the place. Drink with a straw and a spoon.
March in Chicago is still winter. Somehow we always manage to forget this and it throws us way off our game. It snows in March but it also rains in March. Sometimes it does both, in the deceptively cheerful sounding “Wintry Mix.” It is bullshit and grey and we lose an hour of sleep somewhere in the middle and it requires significant willpower to make it to the absolute treasure that is this city in the spring.
Shepherds Pie helps us get through this last stretch of drizzly, icy nonsense. It’s comforting and makes us warm and it’s a great way to clean out your pantry of any lingering root vegetables to make room for the fresh green stuff that is just around the corner.
It’s worth noting that, while Lamb is the most delicious thing basically ever, this recipe is a great choice for non-meat eater adaptation. We don’t often give up our meat freely, so you know that means it makes for a pretty pain free substitution. Double up each of the veggies (and check your Stout and Worchestershire labels) for a minimally processed, belly warming casserole or swap the Lamb for some TVP to make a great fish alternative for a Lenten Friday supper or that weird vegan your roommate is banging.
- 1 lb Lamb
- 4 Carrots
- 4 Stalks Celery
- 2 Turnips— make sure they’re smaller than your fist.
- 1 gigantic Onion
- ½ lb White Button or “Baby ‘Bella” Mushrooms (same thing. you know that, right? they just charge you an extra buck to make them brown)
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 clove Garlic
- 3 tbsp Cake Flour— AP is fine, too, but Cake Flour makes a smoother sauce.
- 1 tsp Dry Mustard
- ½ Bay Leaf
- 4 oz Stout
- 2-3 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
- 1 ½ cups Stock— Mushroom is best
- Black Pepper, to taste
You will also Need
- 4+ Cups Mashed Potatoes
In a large skillet or dutch oven, brown your Lamb, drain, reserve 3 tbsp of the fat, and set aside.
Dice Carrots, Celery, Turnips, and Onion, peeling where appropriate, into fairly small chunks and slowly cook in that same pan in the reserved Lamb fat. The longer and lower you cook, the more flavor you can develop. Patience will pay off. 30 minutes is ideal.
Chop your Mushrooms into an unrecognizable hash. The goal is to mimic the texture of the ground Lamb. Add these chopped Mushrooms to the root veggies for their last 10 minutes of cooking, along with the Garlic, which has been finely minced, and a small pinch of Salt to help draw out a little water. Continue to cook until most of the water from the veggies has evaporated.
Add the Flour and Dry Mustard. Cook for at least 5 minutes or until things start to smell a little nutty, stirring thoroughly and frequently. Drop in the Dry Mustard and Bay Leaf, and reintrudce your Lamb to the deliciousness. Slowly stir in the Stout, Soy Sauce, Worchestershire, and Stock. Check for seasoning, add Black Pepper to taste, and be sure to scrape any delicious browned bits off the bottom of your pan, so they incorporate into the sauce.
Cook over low heat until the liquids thicken into a velvety smooth sauce.
Turn your Broiler on to high and pour what is now effectively a stew into a large casserole. Carefully spread the Mashed Potatoes on top— it helps to strategically blob the potatoes on first, starting in the corners, and then join the blobs together— and broil until things get a little bit golden brown and crispy.
Serve hot with some roasted brussels sprouts, or just some crusty brown bread, and look forward to particularly epic leftovers.
Mashed potatoes are the platonic ideal of comfort food. They’re nostalgic and carby and fluffy but creamy and go with pretty much everything. You can dress them up on top of a rustic shepherds pie or stir in endless cheeses, pork products, or even some kale— but we think these spuds are best with nothing more than a fork.
Perfect mashed potatoes aren’t difficult to make, but there is one thing that can get in the way of your carb-coma fantasy.
Potatoes are made of two major components: water and starch. And those fuckers just don’t get along.When the two mix together, you get a nasty, gummy mess that is impossible to turn into anything other than a pile of the kind of slop you’d expect in a college dining hall.
The good news is that the water and starch are kept separate in tidy compartments within the potato cell walls. Keeping them from getting together and causing trouble is as simple as handling them carefully.
Most people boil their potatoes and we get it because water seems like it would be a pretty good cooking method. It evenly and thoroughly transfers heat from your heat source to the food with minimum effort and keeps things from drying out. Both of those are excellent goals to have but water can do some serious damage to the cellular structures of the food itself. Think about pruney fingers, Brussel’s sprouts fart smell, and mushy rice.
Cooking your potatoes in water risk rupturing cell walls, mixing the existing water and starch in the potato together, but it also guarantees that any starched naturally released during the cooking process will turn into slop.
Instead of subjecting our potatoes to these horrors, we opt for dry heat. Like fucking always. Roasting them slowly until they’re just cooked, but not taking on any (or at least not very much) color. We also elect to mash by hand with an old fashioned potato masher. Manual mashing (as opposed to ricing, whipping, or food processing) gently crushes the potatoes along the natural divisions in its structure, preventing any unnecessary damages and giving us the greatest control over the finished texture.
- 6 Russet Potatoes
- Aluminum Foil
- 2 tsp Salt, plus more to suit your taste
- 1 stick of Butter
- ½ cup Half and Half
- ½ cup full fat Sour Cream— low fat anything is for assholes, but it applies doubly in this situation. Don’t Be That Guy.
Preheat your oven to 350°. Thoroughly wash your Potatoes and pierce with a fork to keep them from exploding. Wrap each potato in Aluminum Foil, shiny side in, and place directly onto your oven’s rack. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until tender, being sure to flip them around once or twice.
Once cooked, allow the Potatoes to cool slightly while you combine the remaining ingredients in a large pot (big enough for mashing, duh), and being to melt over low heat.
As soon as the Potatoes are cool enough to handle, unwrap the foil and peel away their skin using your fingers or a big spoon. Or leave it on and chop everything up, if you’re into fiber.
Add the Potatoes to your melted Butter/Sour Cream/Heaven on Earth. Mash by hand until you reach your desired consistency. We like them a little chunky, but you do you to the fullest.
Check for seasoning and top with snipped chives, or don’t. Eat.
Lentil Soup is one of those powerhouse recipes that everyone needs to have in their back pocket. It’s a core foundation to your kitchen (and your life) that will serve you well from now until basically forever. Lentil soup is filling and comforting without forsaking nutritional density or incredible flavor. It’s versatile, vegan, and, better yet, basically free. A huge pot provides a week’s worth of satisfying, gut-warming lunches and only costs around 6 bucks to pull together. Kids dig it, old people fucking love it, and it’s maybe better than chicken soup when you’ve got a gnarly cold.
Our recipe for lentil soup gets its flavor from a heavy helping of aromatic veg, plenty of cumin, and nutty, sweet roasted garlic. Since we’re hella busy— and lazy— we rarely have time or patience to roast our own garlic, but we’re never satisfied with the pasty, flavorless stuff you can buy at the supermarket. To get around this horrible tragedy of modern cooking, we developed a short cut. Pop as many unpeeled cloves as you need into a dry skillet over medium heat until their skins darken. With basically zero effort and less than five minutes, this technique gives you the tender, roasty nuggets of garlic that you need to make your soup (or garlic bread. or pile of pasta) taste really special.
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 4 Carrots
- 4 stalks Celery
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Lentils
- 1 tbsp Cumin
- 2 qt Vegetable Broth
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 whole sprigs Thyme
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Set a large, dry dutch oven over medium heat and drop in the Garlic cloves with their peels still on. Let them toast for a few minutes on each side, until the skins are browned and fragrant, and set aside.
Roughly chop the Onion, Carrots, and Celery. Add the Olive Oil to the dutch oven and saute until browned and tender.
Peel and smash up the Garlic and add it back to the pot, along with the Lentils and Cumin. Cook for a few seconds, until the lentils are nicely coated in oil. Empty the Broth into the pot and add the Bay Leaf and whole sprigs of Thyme. Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Fish out the Bay Leaf and Thyme.
Season with Salt and Pepper and serve piping hot. We like this soup all on its own, but it’s kind of amazing with a little extra . Stir in some spinach or add a little diced ham and definitely serve it with a big side of hearty whole grain bread or cheesy croutons.
Get Better Tea
Tea fixes everything.
Whether it’s shitty days and broken hearts or jittery nerves and stuffy noses, there’s a blend that can bring us back from the brink of any disaster. Constant Comment tastes like Rachel’s Gramma’s old kitchen and cheers her up on even the worst days, Sleepytime is the obvious choice for a sleepless night and chills us out better than Xanax, but we get the most relief from the stuff we mix ourselves from the pantry.
Blending your own tea is comforting and calming. It’s as much ritual as it is beverage and it makes us feel warm and centered and refreshed. Take a scoop of whatever tea is laying around, add a pinch or two of whatever you need to get through the night, carefully brew, and quietly drink— making a little space for yourself to heal. Over the years we’ve both built some favorite recipes (like camomile with red apple peels and Irish whiskey) but the best, by far, is Get Better Tea.
Get Better Tea is the only reason we’ve made it through flu season alive. It’s spicy, but still sweet and soothing, with a citrusy zing that makes you feel a little bit less like a corpse. The pungent ginger and peppercorn blast the snot out of your face so the antimicrobial properties of green tea and honey can get to work on the root of your problem. Orange zest brings comforting and familiar flavor, as well as a generous helping of hesperidin, an antioxidant that soothes coughs, reduces inflammation, and acts as a mild sedative, so you can finally get some fucking sleep. While it’s not going to replace, you know, a visit to your doctor or a bottle of Nyquil, it sure as hell tastes a lot better.
Get Better Tea
- 1-2 pieces of fresh Ginger, peeled, about the size of a matchstick
- a few strips of Orange Zest
- 3-4 Whole Pink Peppercorns— Black Peppercorns taste great, too, and get the job done
- 1 ½ tbsp Gunpowder Green Tea
- Plenty of good Honey, like Bike-a-Bee or Chicago Honey Co-Op
Cut and peel a few slices of Ginger, remove a few thin strips of Orange Zest with a vegetable peeler. Place these into a small saucepan with a mug’s worth of cold water. Bring the pan to a boil over medium heat.
As soon as the water comes to a full, rolling boil, turn off the heat and immediately add Peppercorns and Green Tea. Allow everything to steep for about 30 seconds and strain into your favorite mug.
Sweeten liberally with good Honey and drink while curled in a ball in your favorite chair with a blanket and your laptop.