Joe Beef Dinner Party

A new year brings new aspirations. For us, it meant trying to cook at home more often as well as cook for friends.  After eating at Joe Beef in Montreal a year and a half ago, we fell in love.  When our farmer brought us a beautiful rabbit, our first instinct was to dig through the recipes from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts.  As soon as we found the recipe for the decadent Lievre a la Royale we knew we had to make it — and we needed to bring friends!  Things escalated quickly from there…

Table is set!

Table is set!

Gin n' Jews cocktail: Gin, Manischewitz, Lemon Juice, Egg White

Gin n’ Jews cocktail: Gin, Manischewitz, Lemon Juice, Egg White

Smelt Mayonnaise

Smelt Mayonnaise

Not pictured: Vijay Singh cocktail: Green tea, Gin, Chartreuse

Oysters #37

Oysters #37

Deviled Kidney and Hanger on Toast

Deviled Kidney and Hanger on Toast

Roman Coke cocktail: Grappa, Fernet, Chinotto

Roman Coke cocktail: Grappa, Fernet, Chinotto

Bagna Cauda (anchovy dipping sauce not pictured)

Bagna Cauda (anchovy dipping sauce not pictured)

Cider Turnips

Cider Turnips

Fancy wine brought by a guest to pair with the rabbit course

Fancy wine brought by a guest to pair with the rabbit course

Unassembled Lievre a la Royale: 2 braised rabbit patties with seared foie gras and black truffle in the middle -- wrapped in caul fat

Unassembled Lievre a la Royale: 2 braised rabbit patties with seared foie gras and black truffle in the middle — wrapped in caul fat

Lievre a la Royale

Lievre a la Royale

Not pictured: Panna Cotta topped with a darjeeling prune sauce

Eclair with pastry cream and chocolate sauce

Eclair with pastry cream and chocolate sauce

Definitely worth the time and effort. Excited to start planning the next dinner party! Thinking possibly the SPQR cookbook or the new April Bloomfield cookbook. Stay tuned!

Supper Club write up in the Chicago Reader

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I’m giggly excited about the Chicago Reader write up about the Supper Club that my husband are I are involved in. Our group met a year ago on a mushroom foraging trip lead by Iliana Regan of Elizabeth restaurant. We’re a bunch of people who love cooking, eating good food, and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Since the beginning, the supper club themes varied (Ancient Roman, Viking, Victorian, Mesopotamia, Iron Chef: Sardine, etc.) and the food increasingly continues to improve due to newly learned techniques.

Additional pictures along with menus to the various themes are on our official Sup Club website.

Ciao Chow!

Collection of Recent Articles/Happenings

I apologize for the randomness of this post but in the past few weeks, I came across a lot of good articles, dinners, happenings, etc. and I wanted to share!

Really enjoyed my recent meal at Thurk and La Sirena Clandestina; drinks at Scofflaw and The Office

Excited about the new website for the Sup Club I helped start

You really should check out Mitsuwa Marketplace not only for groceries (Wagyu, Berkshire pork, Monkfish liver) and Ramen in the food court

Just signed up for this monthly box delivery for a good cause

Chinese food boxes unfold to become plates!!

10 dining trends you need to know

The truth about olive oil found here

This mug is NOT ok

The Taste of Chicago added Food trucks

Thought this list was 1) helpful and 2) cute

Instagramming stranger’s food video prank = hilarious

Food related skit on SNL had me rollin

Oh Magnus. Only chicken can be chicken

EL Ideas received 3 Stars from Phil Vettel. Well deserved!

So proud of Elizabeth restaurant making it on Chicago Magazine’s list of 2013 best new Chicago restaurants

There’s going to be a beer festival in Wicker Park and Bucktown

Ramen!

Super cool TV show in the works about a Food Revolution in Chicago

Thurk Underground

The broth was this good!

Always on the mission for flavor combinations that I’ve never tasted, plating I’ve never seen, and ingredients I’ve never experienced, I typically don’t seek out simple food unless it’s a perfect baguette, good butter, or something of the like. However, I’m beginning to understand that I totally missed the point of what simple can be.

I met Chef Justin Behlke of Thurk through my friend, Melissa. They met on LTH forum where she offered to host one of his Underground meals at her place. He previously staged at Noma and wanted to bring simple, focused food to Chicago without all the drama of kitchen hierarchy. And so Thurk was born. After speaking to Justin, his passion and drive captured me.

Below are images from my most recent dinner a few weeks ago. Still amazed how complex everything tasted, yet how simple the ingredients were. Flakes of Alaskan maldon salt popping through the soft texture of freshly made cheese make my tastebuds squeal. Light pops of vinegar carrots cutting through the pan-fried pig face and warm pork broth caused me to close my eyes and wish the moment would never end. These pops of surprise tell me that simple can be complex with the right chef behind the plate

And let’s be honest — this is as close to Noma I am going to get for a while.

Letherbee gin and Q tonic with thyme

Letherbee gin and Q tonic with thyme

Fresh cheese, honey, and thyme

Fresh cheese, honey, and thyme

Smoked trout pie

Smoked trout pie

Cured pork belly with lacto-fermented carrot

Cured pork belly with lacto-fermented carrot

Homemade sourdough bread and homemade butter

Homemade sourdough bread and homemade butter

Young kraut, egg yolk, basil (before the mushroom tea)

Young kraut, egg yolk, basil (before the mushroom tea)

Mushroom tea pouring over the kraut and egg yolk

Mushroom tea pouring over the kraut and egg yolk

Roasted beets, smoked sour cream, and leek ash

Roasted beets, smoked sour cream, and leek ash

Cheese dumplings with root vegetables

Cheese dumplings with root vegetables

Pig's head, grated carrot (before pork broth)

Pig’s head, grated carrot (before pork broth)

Chef Justin Behlke pouring pork broth

Chef Justin Behlke pouring pork broth

Pork broth

Pork broth

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Pork chop with brown butter, kale chips, and beer shallots

Pork chop with brown butter, kale chips, and beer shallots

Squash butter and milk sorbet

Squash butter and milk sorbet

Beer marshmallows, burnt honey candy, and biscuit cookie with tomato jam

Beer marshmallows, burnt honey candy, and biscuit cookie with tomato jam

Cured Egg Yolk

I recently learned of another fun trick with eggs!  At a recent Thurk dinner, Chef Justin Behlke strolled past each diner shaving what he referred to as cured egg yolk while he explained the dish.  This definitely piqued my interest and I cached it away as something that would require further research!

The proof of concept seemed easy enough so I grabbed the last egg in the fridge and buried it in the curing mixture to see what would happen.  I decided to start with a basic 50/50 mix of sugar and salt and added a bit of Herbs de Provence to see if it would pick up much flavor.  The “biggest” challenge is making sure the yolk doesn’t break!

After a 1 day cure and a two-week aging, the flavor seemed comparable to parmesan cheese, adding a salty richness.  My first pairing was with bone marrow, daikon, and leek which didn’t look quite as pretty as I envisioned, but it added an extra depth of flavor to the already rich marrow.

I’m curious now how different aging times will impact the flavor.  Hmmmm, I think I have a fresh dozen in the refrigerator… stay tuned…

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Place whole raw egg yolk into a 50/50 mixture of salt and sugar. I added herbs de provence for extra flavor.

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Cure the egg yolk for 24 hours in this mixture

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Remove salt from cured egg yolk, place in cheesecloth and hang in the back of your fridge for 1 week.

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Use a microplane to shave the cured egg yolk onto your dish

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One egg yolk produces a lot of shavings!

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We shaved ours onto bone marrow with roasted daikon and leeks. Not the prettiest, but delicious!

Sous Rising Guesterant

I started exploring Underground dinners a year ago and haven’t looked back. Creative and exciting food, fascinating dinner participants, and the warm welcoming into these chef’s homes really make it a unique experience every time.

My favorite Underground, One Sister, became Elizabeth restaurant so I sought out to get my fix elsewhere. I recently ate at Thurk Underground (post coming soon) and last night dined at Sous Rising Guesterant with Chef Jake Bickelhaupt (veteran of Alinea, Schwa, and Charlie Trotter’s). He and his wife, Alexa, host the dinners in their place in Uptown. An open kitchen leading into the dining area allowed us to see Jake plate as well as converse with him and give feedback throughout the night. Alexa did an amazing job making us feel right at home, pouring our wine and helping serve.

We booked out the entire table of 8 with our Supper Club so we didn’t have the pleasure of meeting anyone new, but Jake and Alexa genuinely seemed excited to have us. Jake’s take on American cuisine combined molecular techniques — where needed — for surprise. The flavors were inventive and bright. Execution was perfect and the presentation — stunning. I’m looking forward to seeing Jake obtain his goal of opening a small BYO restaurant and dining with him again!

**I forgot my camera at home so these photos are all taken with my camera phone. For better pictures, visit: http://www.sousrisingchicago.com/gallery.html taken by Huge Galdones.

Trout Roe: coconut cream, white chocolate, pink peppercorn, pineapple

Trout Roe: coconut cream, white chocolate, pink peppercorn, pineapple

Kiwano: gin, horned melon, rosewater, hibiscus

Kiwano: gin, horned melon, rosewater, hibiscus

Soup: fingerling potato chips, pea, milk, tomato, tendril

Soup: fingerling potato chips, pea, milk, tomato, tendril

Salad: Spanish octopus, avocado, finger lime, coconut, coast of Maine kelp

Salad: Spanish octopus, avocado, finger lime, coconut, coast of Maine kelp

Winter corn: yolk, fermented black bean, Murray River salt

Winter corn: yolk, fermented black bean, Murray River salt

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Kampachi: Sake cure, pomelo, carob, banana, tapioca pearls

Gnocchi: hedgehog mushroom, black truffle, broccolini, pecorino

Gnocchi: hedgehog mushroom, black truffle, broccolini, pecorino

Palate cleanser

Palate cleanser

Black Pig: Kurobuta, Okinawan, chestnut, tamarind

Black Pig: Kurobuta, Okinawan, chestnut, tamarind

Uni: maitake, Asian crouton, black garlic, burdock root, kumquat

Uni: maitake, Asian crouton, black garlic, burdock root, kumquat

Beef: mango, aged soy, nori, yuzu kosho

Beef: mango, aged soy, nori, yuzu kosho

Tart: Calamansi

Tart: Calamansi

Sweet: Shortbread, root beer, prune, orange, vanilla, honey

Sweet: Shortbread, root beer, prune, orange, vanilla, honey

Caffeine: espuma, coffeeweed, cardamom

Caffeine: espuma, coffeeweed, cardamom

Slip-on rubber pour spout

Just discovered a very useful kitchen tool that lends a helping hand in the kitchen: a thin slip-on rubber pour spout that fits on bowls, pans, etc. Used it today and successfully made pouring beet juice a non-mess issue when it could have been. :)

Slip-On Silicone Pour Spout for Mixing Bowls, Pots, Pans & Jars

Slip-On Silicone Pour Spout for Mixing Bowls, Pots, Pans & Jars

Happy New Year!