21 February 2013

My take on a Frontera salad

The next time you have a layover or are stranded in Chicago's O'Hare airport, or hell, even if you only have a few minutes, plan on eating at Rik Bayless Tortas Fronteras in Terminal 1 and 3.  This place puts all other airport food to complete shame.  The food is local, free range and organic for goodness sake!  What other airport restaurant can say that?  Seriously, if you know of one, tell me, and I will fly to there. 

So I've been there twice this year.  The first time it was still morning, so I got a breadless breakfast torta.  That is actually something they offer on the menu, so I wasn't being too awkward, that is until I requested they add mushrooms to it.  But they don't mind at all!  So the employees are awesome too!  So I had arugula, scrambled eggs, rajas, mushrooms, avocado and 2 kinds of Mexican cheese all served in a cute paper cup with a wooden fork.  Bonus points again for the minimal packaging! 

The second time I was too late for eggs, so I opted for the Taqueria Salad, to which once again I added the mushrooms from a different sandwich on the menu.  It was one of the best salads I've ever had. 

So I normally don't crave salads when it is freezing cold outside, but yesterday I did, so for lunch I headed on over to Crazy Bowls and Wraps for a Fajita Salad.  That consists of romaine, chickpeas, avocado, pepperoncinis, tortilla strips and subbed grilled tofu.  That comes with a bag of tortilla chips and way too much dressing, so the chips and dressing came home with me.  Yes the dressing is that good, and I suck at Mexican style salad dressings.  

ANYWAY, I finally had all the fixens to try my hand at the Frontera salad, so I made it for dinner. 

Of course I can't leave a recipe alone, so mine is a bit different from the original.

Romaine - torn
Baby Spinach
Red Cabbage - shredded
Red Pepper - strips
Avocado - strips
Green Onion - sliced
Goat Cheese - crumbled
Shitake Mushrooms - strips sauteed
Tortilla Chips - smashed
CBW dressing, or something similar

13 February 2013

My favorite breakfast, time allowing

Brussels sprouts, halved and cooked face down in coconut oil in a cast iron skillet.  It is all I want to eat lately.  I have been known to have this for breakfast lunch and dinner on the same day.  If you cover the skillet while they are cooking, they will steam and cook faster.  If you want them to caramelize without getting soft, only cover for final min of cooking time.

Cauliflower Risotto

I got a fancy new blender with a shredding blade, which worked pretty well to turn a head of cauliflower into the consistency of rice.  Other than the lack of rice, this is pretty much a basic risotto.  Oh, and I was low on stock, so I used white wine to make up the difference.  The result was kind of boozy, but for me it worked. 


I first had this soup years ago at Ernesto's, a little wine bar in Benton Park.  Then I forgot all about it until Sauce Magazine posted a recipe early this winter.  I love this soup because it is traditionally vegetarian.  The name translates to "cooked water."  Want it vegan?  Leave out the poached egg.  Below is my own adaptation of the Sauce recipe.

1 yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
5 bay leaves
1∕2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Olive oil as needed
4 carrots, sliced
1 T tomato paste
1 carton Pomi tomatoes
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
8 cups water
Salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 parmesan rind
1 lb. fresh greens, rinsed and chopped - I used collards on this occasion
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
Crusty bread
Parmesan cheese, optional
Eggs, optional

• Purée the onions, celery and parsley in a blender.  You could skip this step, but it makes for a nicer texture.
 • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the purée and cook for 1-2 mins.  Add the carrots and cook until they seem dry and sticky.
• Add the red pepper flakes and toast 1 min.
• Add the tomato paste and tomatoes and simmer for 1 min.
• Add the water, salt and black pepper to taste. Add the greens, parmesan rind and beans and bring to a boil.
• Once the soup reaches a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.
• Top each serving with a poached egg and serve with garlic rubbed toasty bread.