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Eat this! Pecan pie, an American favorite

What it is: A fall and winter favorite, pecan pie falls into the category of sugar pies, featuring a sugary custard filled with pecan halves. Where it comes from: Pecans are indigenous to North America. Pecan pie, surprisingly, dates only to the late 19th century. Nutless sugar pies are older, but the first recipes adding […]

Drink this! Sweet, hot and rummy

What it is: The chilly December weather calls for a warming drink: Hot buttered rum starts with a spiced, buttery “batter” blended with rum and hot water. Where it comes from: Hot buttered rum and similar rum toddies were created in Colonial America, and was a favorite tipple of 18th-century politicians, who reportedly plied prospective […]

Five fabulous Thanksgiving sides recipes from Chicago chefs

Of course, you’re serving turkey for Thanksgiving. But what else? Chicago chefs have some great ideas. Carrot and cranberry borscht, Zed451, River North. ‘Especially Good’ sweet potatoes, Whole Foods Market. Butternut squash polenta, City Provisions, Ravenswood. La calabeza rellena, oven-roasted acorn squash stuffed with artichokes, green peas, chile de arbol, mushrooms and saffron rice, Las […]

Be the next food TV star!

  Your Face Here Think you have what it takes to host your own cooking show? The Food Network is casting its next season of “Food Network Star,” a reality-TV show in which contestants vie to win a series slot on the network. They’re looking for “top-notch culinary know-how, an infectious television-worthy personality and the […]

Obama cooks!

In honor of Pres. Barack Obama’s reelection, we bring a favorite recipe of the Cook in Chief. “I’ve been using this chili recipe since college and would bring it to any potluck,” the president said. Barack Obama’s chili Pres. Barack Obama 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 1 green pepper, chopped 3 to […]

Six Chicago restaurants teach you their secrets

Yes, you can cook! Learn from local chefs how to make their specialties at these cooking classes and eat the results. Mon Ami Gabi in Oak Brook’s cooking class offers instruction from Chef Bruce Williams, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, in seasonal dishes including gazpacho, seared salmon with leek quinoa and citron butter and […]

Eat this! Dried apricots, intense and golden

What it is: Small, golden-orange fruits, apricots (Prunus armeniaca), are stone fruits, members of the rose family along with peaches, plums and cherries. The fresh fruits are delicate and highly perishable. When dried, their flavor intensifies, and they have a long shelf life. They’re high in beta carotene. The golden color of dried apricots is […]

Eat this! Lobster thermidor, a theatrical dish

What it is: Lobster thermidor, a luxurious dish, features grilled lobster meat served in the shell with a rich sauce. The sauce varies, ranging from bechamel to cream sauce to brandy sauce to hollandaise. It is sometimes topped with grated cheese and broiled. Where it comes from: Marie’s, a Parisian restaurant near the Comedie Francaise […]

Eat this! Artichokes, the armored vegetable

What it is: Round and spiky, the globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) is a savory relative of the thistle and the sunflower. The edible parts are at base of its thorny leaves, which eaters scrape through their teeth, and its soft heart. Where it comes from: Nobody knows who first figured out how to eat this […]

Eat this! Deviled eggs, a summer favorite

What it is: Hard-cooked eggs, halved, with their yolks spiced up and piped back into the whites, stuffed or deviled eggs are popular summer picnic fare. Where it comes from: Stuffed eggs were known back in ancient Roman times, although the name and the concept as we know it now likely date to 18th-century England. […]