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Eat this! Add flavor with compound butters

What it is: Compound butters are fresh butters mixed with seasonings, such as herbs and spices, used for enhancing foods. They typically provide a finishing touch to a dish or sauce. Where it comes from: French cuisine leads the practice of making flavored butters, beurre compose in French. Auguste Escoffier listed some three dozen versions […]

Top Chicago spots for Purim goodies

The Jewish festival of Purim begins at sunset Wednesday, March 7. Like many Jewish holidays, Purim commemorates yet another occasion when somebody tried but didn’t quite succeed to wipe out the Jews — in this case a Persian tyrant in about 360 B.C. — but this holiday is more festive than most, a boisterous Mardi […]

Eat this! Hummingbird cake, a sweet taste of the South

What it is: A classic Southern layer cake, hummingbird cake is a sweet, moist and fruity dessert, full of crushed pineapple, chopped bananas, pecans and cinnamon, and typically spread with rich cream-cheese frosting. Some recipes crust the exterior with more pecans. Other names for the cake include “never ending cake,” “nothing left cake” and “Jamaican […]

Artisans’ cheese sale now monthly

Great American Cheese’s Warehouse Cheese Market shifts to a less-frequent schedule in 2012, offering its small-batch cheeses from artisanal producers around the country only on the first Saturday of each month. The sale takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with proprietor Giles Schnierle on hand to offer tastings, tips and information about the […]

Chicago pop sweetens life for dieters

“It’s like a fudge sundae in a can.” If post-holiday dieting is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, you might want to stock up on a Chicago-made drink. Arthur Canfield began producing soda pop in a plant on Chicago’s South Side in 1924, but the A.J. Canfield Co. remained a little-known local producer until […]

Plainfield dry gin? A Chicago favorite

What are you drinking this New Year’s Eve? If gin or vodka is your tipple, and you order “well” drinks at a Chicago bar — from Emmit’s in West Town to Grape Street in Streeterville — your libations will likely originate in southwest suburban Plainfield, Ill., where the U.K.-based spirits, wine and beer giant Diageo […]

Gear up for the holidays with sweet events

Why mess up your kitchen making holiday sweets when you can use somebody else’s? Local culinarians invite you to come into their kitchens for sweet cooking parties. Chocolatier Katherine Duncan hosts a truffle-making party from 6:30 to 9 p.m.Thursday, Dec. 8, at Katherine Anne Confections in Logan Square. Appetizers, wine and chocolate sampling are included […]

Eat this! Penne all’arrabiata, angry pasta of Rome

A simple Italian dish, penne all’arrabbiata features penne rigate, small, ridged tubular pasta cut diagonally into “quills,” dressed with tomatoes, garlic and chilies.

Hot news! Chicago’s wiener officially the biggest

The Big Hot Dog, produced by Gorilla Tango Novelty Meats, a sideline for the folks behind Chicago’s Gorilla Tango Theatre, has been named the world’s largest commercially available hot dog by the Guinness Book of World Records. Gorilla Tango introduced the 16-inch-long, 4-inch-diameter, 7-pound wienie in January 2010. “I always knew I had something special […]

Cool down the kids with free gelato

Sweet! Free gelato for kids in Lakeview and Lincoln Square.