Joe’s Soapbox XXVIII

One of my pet peeves is TV chefs throwing the word “carmelization” around everywhere. Sour grapes? Well, yes actually. But just because I’m ticked that Tyler Florence gets to jet around the country making pot-au-feu with pretty single women while I’m sitting at home blogging in my underwear doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to carp […]

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The Italian Cream Cake Conspiracy

I’m constantly struck how neighboring regions have such different culinary traditions. Lousiville is just 5 short hours away from Chicago, yet it is unequivocally part of The South. Here, biscuits rule instead of Italian loaves, and people reminisce about country ham and salt rising bread. The pizza’s terrible but the barbecue kills. And when I […]

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Apples & Honey

I don’t know why the significance of the pairing of apples and honey in this week’s pastry recipe didn’t strike me before. The combination is of course eaten the night of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, to bring blessings in the upcoming year. It was the unusual choice of honey that got me interested […]

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Sweet Home Chicago III

Well, I pulled a mighy fine pie out of the oven last night for the Superbowl. Not quite star quality, but mighty fine nonetheless. The crust, as I’d hoped, was dense (without being too dense), rich (without being too rich), flavorful and flaky. All the qualities one would look for in a biscuit, or as […]

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This Week’s Pastry…

…is simplicity itself: Puff Pastry Apple Tarts with honey glaze. It’s a fantastic illustration of the kind of baking feats that can be achieved with just one or two carefully selected ingredients, and of course an ample stash of puff pastry in the freezer.

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A Comment! A Comment!

You’ll have to forgive my excitement, but it’s my first one. I’ve gotten so used to seeing all those little zeroes at the bottom of the posts, I never check for them. This one came from a good friend (and world-class chef) by the name of Tim Coonan, in regard to the (possible) Arab origins […]

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Sweet Home Chicago II

Having spent about an hour roaming the web looking at various attempts at Gino’s-type pizza crusts, I’ve come to a few conclusions. The most important of which is that many of these folks are vastly overcomplicating the matter. Maybe it’s the fact that Gino’s famously guards its “top secret” crust recipe. Maybe it’s the fact […]

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Sweet Home Chicago I

Friday night is pizza night and so last evening I trotted out my usual Chicago-style crust. Complimentary as the wife was, it was obvious that I’d once again fallen short of the ideal (Gino’s, Gino’s, Gino’s). And as if I wasn’t dispirited enough afterward, I got an email from one of my oldest friends, a […]

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