Friday, August 31, 2012

Hanna tested: Internet approved

Before I head out of town and have an actual reason why I’m not updating this weblog, let’s take a look back at the most significant recipes I found, tasted, and loved on the Internet this summer.
  • Bacon corn hash from Smitten Kitchen.  This dish is what great summer crop is meant for. I have made this at least once a week since it appeared in the blogosphere, mixing in whatever vegetables from Nichols were on hand. Cabbage lends itself particularly well, as do golden beets. Always with a runny-yolked, fried egg on top. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
  • Pulled pork tacos from Not Without Salt. Love this Dating my Husband series, love these tacos more. After watching the accompanying video at least as many times as Fitty’s been shot, I made this recipe for Alex and his mom. It was mother-in-law-asks-for-the-recipe good. Easy, slow cooking, with a few simple ingredients that lead to full-bodied flavor and tender meat.  It’s a winner like Russell Crowe is a winner in Gladiator: deeply satisfying and in every way.
  • Marinated mozzarella from Lottie + Doof. You guys, this one blows my mind. It starts with good buffalo mozzarella. I don’t know what they do to the buffalo to get mozzarella that good, but I’m in.  There can’t be anything wrong when you take fresh mozz and marinate it in of in olive oil, salt, lemon zest, basil, garlic, and, in my case, a little crushed dill seed. Fantastic, obviously. That’s a great summer dinner with some fresh cherry tomatoes and bread… but it’s also a great sandwich with salami and healthy slices of heirloom tomatoes. Bieber in the park never tasted so good.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Summer of Oysters

I don’t know who started the rumor that February is the shortest month, but I beg to differ. I’m pretty sure it’s July. Leap year or no, I consistently seem to jump right out of June and into August. One second, it’s my birthday and I’ve got the whole summer in front of me, and then the next we’ve flown right through July in a whirlwind of friends, food, and family, and I find myself at August, the dreaded back-to-school month.
This year, while I am not reluctant about September’s approach, but disbelieving that so many dream-worthy things could happen to us in just one month, I am troubled that the summer seems to have slipped by without as many weekends in the country, days in the sun, and evenings on our bikes as last year. 
But I’m not complaining. We’ve been busy—making life decisions, bacheloretting, and frequenting old and new restaurants, where, it seems, the recurring theme has become oysters. And so, what I might have called the summer of love, has been christened The Summer of Oysters.
In between binging on trashy inspirational wedding television—you guys, why have they not made a My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding/Four Weddings crossover episode?—I’ve upped my oyster consumption from none to many. The first fried and capery at Girl & the Goat for my birthday, the second atop the most delicious, lemony-fresh chowder—nay soup!—I’ve ever had at Nana Organic, and then, this afternoon at a pre-emptive celebratory meal, raw and briny from GT Fish & Oyster.  
And I liked ’em. On the halfshell they were soft, creamy, and salty, sauced with shalloty mignonette. GT Oyster also made an impression with their ridiculously smooth clam chowder, a solid if admittedly small lobster roll, and plain delicious fish tacos. But let’s talk about dessert: salted. caramel. tart. Be still my beating heart. In a word: intense. In a sentence: It was so buttery, rich, and balanced, I wanted to ask it to join bookclub.
What were we pre-celebrating with this rather exceptional meal? you ask. This afternoon, after lingering over lunch, we stopped in at ye old Cook County Vital Records office and invited the government into our love. That’s right: this marriage just got licensed.

GT Fish & Oyster on Urbanspoon