Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Saturday in October

Did some crazy cooking last week, as the above mise en place clearly shows...
What do we have?
  • Chicken and sun-dried tomato sausages- they got grilled grilled and tossed with pasta in a quick, shallot, red pepper butter sauce. Super quick, flavorful and a definite keeper!
  • Stew stuff... garlic, tomato, red chiles, wine, beef, carrot, onion, potato and some bacon. I used the rendered bacon fat to brown the beef and sweat the veggies. At the last minute, I tossed in some uncooked spaghetti pieces (like three inch segments) and Barry really raved about the change in texture this addition added.
  • I boiled a dozen eggs so Barry would have weekday snacks.
  • Four chicken leg thighs that got grilled for lunches through the week-good to eat cold, or nuked in the microwave, Barry really likes these!

  • And, last, but not least... two racks of baby backs. More smoking experimentation... a little over eight hours this time. Tender, yet with a bit of tooth pull, I'm getting closer-still not there yet, but my comfort level is rising.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

More 30 Minute Meals

Another quick one... a simple center cut pork chop, salt and peppered, red pepper flakes and thrown on the grill. Direct medium heat about 5 minutes a side--these chops were about 2 inches thick. Quite juicy even without brining! Knorr rice as a side... probably my favorite packaged rice mix.

Breaking Fast

So, it's Sunday morning and that means breakfast. And since it's NFL time, dammit it's big breakfast time. Game on at noon, load up!

So, mise en place:
  1. grape tomatoes- quartered
  2. boiled potatoes
  3. diced onion
  4. chopped up bacon
  5. diced garlic
  6. free range, organic eggs
Not pictured: salt and pepper, red pepper flakes...

So, it's kind of easy... mostly 'cause it's the AM, and yours truly doesn't do the coffee thing, so caffeine free, non zombie kitchen action is what it is...

Anyway, toss some oil of choice-- I used corn oil, into a hot skillet. Add an inch of butter, toss in the onions and sweat them down.

Add the garlic after a couple of minutes then add the tomatoes and potatoes. Don't fuss with it... just let it cook and get all good and crunchy!

Meanwhile, in another (hot) skillet start the bacon. As the bacon cooks, toss some of the rendered fat into the potato mix to give it a boost.

Bacon done? Drain the rest of the fat and toss the eggs in... If you are scrambling them, coat the pan and shake to loosen. Once it starts to set up, scoop and fold for perfection!

Here's the result:

Remember, clicking on any pic will let you see it bigger!


Hello again... sorry for the delay...

So the good news? I'm employed! Sadly, I no longer have five hours to fuck around in the kitchen. So, it's been a week of transition... how do I cook after eight hours of work?

Of course, my first week of work coincided with Barry's first week of school, so my schedule was totally out of whack.

My whole 'modus operandi' has been shelved. I usually cooked in the moment. Go to the store, see what looks good, cook it and eat. Now, quite obviously, I have to think in advance, and that's my new challenge. In a weird sort of way, I'm looking forward to it. I've never been a Rachael Ray detractor, in fact I've bemoaned the fact that people can't just crank out a good meal at will.

Okay, now I'm that "30 Minute Meal" guy. I already know, that I'm gonna end up shopping at least three times a week, and probably more.

Since I do love to grill, and it is kind of quick... I made some NY Strips with my take on taters.

So, easy and quick.

  1. Got the time? Marinade the steaks. Don't have the time? Don't worry, salt and pepper them and let them get to room temperature while you prepare the taters.
  2. Chop up some potatoes, I leave the skin on and I used the big "baking" potatoes.
  3. In a sauce pan, bring the taters to boil and let cook for ten minutes.
  4. Now you can go for it... In a skillet melt an inch of butter and whatever is handy... onions, garlic, herbs, etc. Let it cook for a minute or so and toss in the taters.
  5. Meanwhile, grill the steaks. I have a gas grill. Direct Medium heat-- four minutes a side for medium.
  6. Let the steaks sit for five while the taters cook.
  7. Done!
Now that's a quick, and thirty minute meal, from a working guy! Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit in your underwear and enjoy, 'cause you got to go in to the office in the AM!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Misty Water Colored Memories...

So, yeah... getting older does kind of suck, but really, not for what you imagine. Yeah, my joints ache, and my flexibility is a joke compared to my twenty-something self. And my waist is Falstaffian these days, but my regrets are focused elsewhere.

I’ve lived in the city for 45 years now, and the sub-urbanization of my city, with the dominance of chains is what makes me sad.

Clearly, the Chicago of my childhood no longer exists. Corner stores, Mom and Pop grill places, butchers, bakers and vegetable stands were ushered out with 7-11’s, White Hen’s and countless fast food franchises.

I can remember when McDonalds was a treat... a destination, a trip to 59th and Kedzie, before they became commonplace. My big (yeah I said big) I mean, OLDER (that better, Tom?) brother actually worked at the Burger King on 55th with my Aunt Mary.

Suffice to say, most of my childhood no longer exists. My hospital that I was born in, my grade school and my high school, all in Chicago, no longer exist. Who is following me with an eraser?

Even sadder, my 20 something haunts no longer exist. The bars, the restaurants, the hot dog stands, all gone...

And yet, Filberts remains

Childhood place intact! Wow! 34th and Ashland... mixed cases for 9 bucks. And, it’s good! Not too sweet, no cloying aftertaste, and all mix well with Vodka! Do yourself a favor and get some before, sadly it is gone.

3430 S. Ashland

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Outdoor Cooking

Outdoor cooking? But, but, but... it’s like the middle of September and you live in Chicago, and shouldn’t this be a late May topic?

Well... I do cook outdoor year round, so I guess talking ‘bout it now is as good as anytime. However, the bigger controversy is the outdoor cooking thing.

Am I grilling? Or, BBQing? Who’s toes do I want to step on. I’m a graceful sort of guy, by the way (my loafers are indeed, light), and would be crushed to actually step on a toe! And yet, this is a place where few would voluntarily tread.

OK Delk, what in the hell are you yammering about?

I use the “Umbrella” term of ‘Outdoor Cooking’ to sidestep all the inherent craziness. Right? BBQ people get bent out of shape when grillers say BBQ. BBQ people get bent out of shape over wood chips. Pork shoulder with or without bone? Dry rub? Mop? Smoke?

Headache? Yes...

Okay, then there is the charcoal versus propane debate.

Experts: nationally known, award winning, local, self proclaimed all have some sort of say in this.

What does the forward thinking home cooking newbie do?


God bless the Internet, but the more you read, the more inadequate you feel.

So at this point, I say, “My condo board will only allow propane grills.”
Should I feel straight jacketed? Or should I make the most of it?

I, unsurprisingly, opt for the latter.

So I grill, and I enjoy it. But a part of me yearns for smoking...

Purists will scoff, but I only have my trusty Weber Genesis, so do I lay down, or make an attempt? I attempt.

In the back of my mind, I imagine dark clouds of smoke billowing out of my grill and my neighbors outraged, so I vow to pull the plug on the experiment at any given moment. I read more on the ‘net and get more confused/discouraged.

Anyway, I toss out all I read, head over to Peoria Meat Packing and score a three pound pork shoulder (with bone). The Dominck’s on Halsted only has Mesquite chips, so thats, that.

I rub the meat with a combination of: Paprika, Cumin, Chile Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic and S&P, and let it sit overnight.

Front two burners off, back burner on low, temp at 220, chips in foil, drip pan with water and about four hours in...

Took about nine hours and was worth it. The best? No, but the best I made, and that alone made it worthwhile. Had I listened to the experts, I NEVER would have attempted. It was an awesome meal.

Barry took a chunk with some leftover pasta for lunch and was content. The last got chopped up and scrambled up in some eggs for a kick ass brunch.

So, the moral of the story is to just give it a try, you might be surprised!

(remember, click any pic to see it bigger!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

hey there...

Man, I just haven't been in the blogging sort of mode.

And yet, I read lots of you guys, and maybe I need to do a bit more writing instead of just posting a pic. I know a picture is said to equal a thousand words, but I have to start making some sort of compromise between the written and the visualized.

So then... how 'bout a pic?

This is the first template* Barry made to kind of help me figure out his schedule for the week and when he would need food. As Mac people... it's the new "Numbers" program packaged into the iWork 08 update.

It's a start, and useful to me... my scatterbrained excuses can now be debunked with printed out proof.

I find it real hard to think in more than a day when it comes to food. Having the week mapped out in front of me makes it a bit easier and while I'm still getting used to it, I thank Barry for helping me out.

*Actually, the real first one was a horrid design that used a ton of colored ink and didn't allow me to write on it...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Beef Barley

Mise en Place for some beef barley soup I'm making...


Stuffed some pork with spinach and goat cheese.

Stuffed Balls

Stuffing some meatballs with fresh mozzarella... quite tasty, Barry dug them cold as a snack.

Breakfast Bread

An almond and poppy seed bread I baked for Barry's breakfast.

Some Pasta

Whipped up this simple roasted tomato, red pepper and salami dish for Barry's dinner...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Grilled some chicken for Mr B's lunches...


Made a couple of trays of meatballs... froze most but cooked eight.
The eight cooking...

Monday, August 20, 2007


I made some blueberry muffins last night for Barry to take into work. Today is the first day of the semester (even though he taught all last week) at the law school.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Beating the Heat

Probably the best way to beat the heat and regain a bit of childhood to boot.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fries On A Grill

If Samuel Jackson can make a movie called, "Snakes On A Plane", My version would be "Fries On A Grill".

Monday, August 6, 2007

Crema Salvadoreña

Still visiting mom, further up on Odgen and Harlem, we popped into Berwyn Fruit Market and Barry picked up some Crema for the chili I made the other day.


Used some leftover HOT giardiniera from Novi's beef on Odgen and Oak Park Avenue as a marinade and then grilled it up on the Weber. The chicken is from Peoria Meat Packing on Lake.


Back and forth to Mom's... she's been in the hospital lately.
We hit Dukes on 81st and Harlem for a beef.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I experimented...

I love to grill...
I love Italian food...
I grilled a lasagna!

It was good!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

C H I L I !

Here's the combo, beef/pork mixture I scored at Peoria Meat Packing to make chili...


More Humboldt Park

Mom and her kids cooled off in the lagoon...

Schmidt, Garden and Martin

Way cool Prairie School architects, Schmidt, Garden and Martin built this boat house circa 1890 or so...

It's still awesome today.

Crouching Steve, Hidden Steve

Wax on... Wax off...
I show Jeff my Martial Arts skillz.

Ron and Jeff

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, long time pal Ron and his partner Jeff visited from Seattle. Here they are in the splendour that is Humboldt Park.
I <3 Jens Jenson!


In other news, this came in the mail yesterday!
I now feel official!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

More Fulton Market

Eggy-weggs! No lomticks of toast though...
Yes my droogs, another pic from the meat packing district a couple of blocks away from Loft on Laflin HQ.

The Pig Cutting Board

This is probably older than me...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hot Chicken

In dinner news, I made some fiercely hot chicken.
The "old 40 clove" thing you have probably seen forever in various cookbooks, but like me (and it would appear a lot of my friends, I queried about it), have never made.
The gravy had a Scotch Bonnet in it and Barry and I sweated profusely and had runny noses from the heat.
It was in Barry's words, "A keeper!"

Engine 103

This is the super sweet, fire house doggie across Laflin from us! He likes tummy rubs...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Where's the goddamn taco truck?

Yeah, I live next to a meat packing district and yes, it is a trip to wander!
Best part though, are the taco trucks that appear during lunch/shift breaks.
Wish more sold to the public, the meat packers that is, the taco trucks sell to anyone!.... [I got a tax number (thanks Barry) but the volume would be the deal breaker].

Monday, July 9, 2007


Good Sweet Lord, it was hot out! I took the time to slow cook a pork shoulder for a good ten hours. It's in a half-assed Carolina based vinegar sauce (mostly 'cause if it's too vinegary, I don't care for it). A teeny pinch of sugar the next time, I think...

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Making Pasta...

Yep... I made pasta last night. Chopped up some sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil and red hot peppers!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Oh Canada!

So, Barry and I drove up to Toronto to see our pal James rock out... awesome show, James rocks and Toronto is our new go-to place...

This is James rocking:

We snagged some Peameal Bacon!
Two, 2 pound roasts and four sliced slices.... all awesomely vacuum sealed by the butcher for E-Z freezing action! One of the roasts is earmarked for my BFF Ron! (lol)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed some tomatoes with hot Italian sausage, basil and rice and then grilled for twenty-five minutes.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Ham and cheese baked omelette with pancetta and garlic asparagus.

Grilled Eggplant

Balsamic glazed grilled eggplant with bowtie pasta.

Ribs Done!

Plated up and ready to eat...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Halfway there...

The babybacks sat in a rub overnight and are now on the grill. Two burners off and the third is at very low and the temp is around 218 degrees. This is after four hours, or halfway through the eight hours I intend to cook them. Looks and smells amazing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

R to the I to the B

Swung by the "Palace of Meat" also known as Peoria Meat Market and snagged these breathtaking baby backs... Gonna give them a Memphis dry rub and let them sit overnight before an eight hour low and slow date with the Weber. Lake Street, right in front of the meat market was a mess... some cell talking broad in a minivan plowed into a semi making for quite the traffic snarl. People put down your phones and please concentrate on driving! Thank you!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pride 2007 continued...

I also ran into man-about-town Mike. Always a pleasure to see and one hell of a DMV guy!