• The Chopping Blog

Edible Holiday Gifts: The Sweet, The Spicy and The Salty

If you’re looking for a host gift, a stocking stuffer, or something to put under the tree, edible is best when it comes to gifts. These homemade gifts are minimal effort and maximum tasty so you can ...

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A Beginner's Guide to Fresh Herbs and Spices

  When it comes to the use of herbs and spices, many of us think we’ve got it down pat. I know there was a time when I thought I was doing it right by shaking in some chili powder and dried oregano ...

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Why You Should Add Sorghum to Your Diet

  Would you like to know about the new food trend coming down the line?

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The Dark Side to Garlic

In Star Wars, there is a light side and a dark side. The light side represents good, while the dark side represents evil, anger, and a  farmboy regressing against his father. But in the case of ...

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CSA Boxes: A Beginner's Guide

  We all know that eating locally is the best option. We’ve been told that meals made with seasonal and organic ingredients are better for both the environment and our bodies. However, it's not ...

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The Great Vanilla Debate

When it comes to cooking with vanilla, there are quite a few choices like pure vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste and vanilla beans. There's also vanilla sugar, infused vanilla syrups; the list goes ...

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How I Learned to Love Mustard

I was a very plain child growing up. My tastes were simple and modest. I did not like jelly on my peanut butter sandwiches. I only liked vanilla ice cream. And Cheerios were my go to cereal. I wasn’t ...

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How to Make Sushi at Home

Just because I am a chef doesn’t mean that I am absolutely comfortable preparing every type of food. For instance, I certainly cannot claim to be an expert when it comes to making sushi.

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The Power of Parmesan Cheese

Just recently in a class I was teaching at The Chopping Block, a question was asked about how to finish a risotto without parmesan. To which I responded, why wouldn’t you want to finish your risotto ...

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The Building Blocks of Cooking: Spices, Vinegars and Oils

Is your pantry stocked well so that you are set up for success in the kitchen? Or do you find yourself running to the store for last-minute ingredients all of the time? If you are a newer home cook ...

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Four Ways to Enjoy Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of my most cherished summer produce items. I always advocate eating, cooking and using seasonal ingredients at their prime. In my opinion, it should be a crime to sell tomatoes in ...

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New England Lobster Party in Chicago

I think the next best thing to beer is lobster, so I must share with you the amazing time I had at a recent New England Lobster class.

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How to Make Mango Sorbet in Just 10 Minutes

I made homemade sorbet. Impressed? I know, right! And guess how long it took me? Here's how to make mango sorbet in just 10 minutes.

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It's White Asparagus Season

I noticed some really good quality white asparagus while visiting Whole Foods the other day. It made me think about how abundant this vegetable is in this country compared to ten years ago. 

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An Adventure in Frying Cheese Curds

Some days, things just fall into place.

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Recreating my Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in Chicago

Grilled cheese is just one of those things that you just can’t get enough of. It's a comfort food from your childhood that now needs to live up to your adult palate.

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How to Dry and Preserve Morel Mushrooms

I purchased a house in Michigan last August and have been excited to go morel mushroom hunting like I used to when I was a kid. I have gone out over the years with my brother but haven’t had any ...

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Worry What to Bring to a Potluck? Everyone’s a Winner at a Potluck

I love potlucks. There is nothing that fills my heart more than seeing a huge variety of dishes out for me to sample.

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Pigs Heads are Not for the Faint of Heart

There is a distinct possibility that I am a little too obsessed with pork. In my tiny little Chicago apartment, I have a curing cave for making cured meats (mainly pork). I recently pulled out a ...

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Pinch Some Tails in our Crawfish Boil Class

One of my favorite classes to teach at The Chopping Block is Crawfish Boil because it means we are beginning the transition from spring to summer. It's also tons of fun! In this class, you’ll not ...

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Let’s Get Herbal: Creative Ways to Use Herbs

Do your attempts at home gardening look like mine?

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Easy Dill Dishes

Dill was thought to be a good luck symbol by the First Century Romans, according to the Food Lover's Companion. The herb has been around for thousands of years and has been used for both culinary and ...

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Tropical Fruit Passion

I took a break from Chicago's cold weather this winter to fly to tropical Miami Beach, Florida. It was between 75 and 80 degrees and sunny every day we were there. It’s funny what warm weather does ...

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My Switch to Coconut Oil

This post isn’t about the nutritional differences between coconut oil and other oils. Yes, I’ve Googled the nutrition of coconut oil versus olive oil, and I’m sure you can do the same. They’re pretty ...

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The Secret of Siberian Health: 7 Principles that will Change your Life

I often get the question: “Why don’t you ever get sick?”

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How to Scale a Recipe

Ever wanted to understand how to double your favorite recipe? Increasing or decreasing a recipe is referred to as “scaling a recipe,” and it really is an art. Now, it's relatively simple to double a ...

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Hawaiian Wedding Planning: Part One

Last year, one of my good friends asked me to cater his wedding rehearsal dinner in Michigan and, of course, I said “Yes!” A weekend in Michigan, hanging out with a couple hundred of my closest ...

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Fantastic Cooking vs Glorious Fails

It’s not what you do, but how you do it.

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Vegging It Out

When my daughter decided to become a vegetarian a few years ago, it made things interesting when it came to meal planning. While it might have been easy to just keep cooking the way I always had, I ...

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Rolling Sushi: Where to Buy Ingredients in Chicago

Chicago is a good place to find quality sushi bars and restaurants. I really enjoy going out for a fantastic sushi meal, but only on occasion since it can be quite pricey. Last week, I got really ...

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How to Host a Hot Homemade Pizza Party

It’s been a little over a year since I’ve blogged about one of my favorite foods: pizza! I can safely say that I eat pizza at least two or three times a month and sometimes more. There are so many ...

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Simple & Fresh Ingredients = Memorable Meals

I was blessed to be able to spend a week in one of the most picturesque and beautiful places in the world recently, the Cayman Islands. While the week was filled scuba diving and kayaking, I was also ...

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My Secret Obsession

I have to admit that eating healthy has its rewards to your waistline, but what is life without a sweet treat every now and then? After all, you need to balance out all that asparagus and butternut ...

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Rethinking Dietary Restrictions

As a kid, I had an allergy to dairy products that made attending all of the pizza and ice cream parties that my elementary school friends threw almost torturous. Luckily, I outgrew this allergy by my ...

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Enroll in Boot Camp for your Culinary Fitness

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Great Granola

There is something that has been plaguing me for about a month now, and I finally conquered it today! I know it may sound silly that a line cook with three years of culinary school can’t make a ...

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April in Paris

White Asparagus & Sausage at the Market

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Sharpest Tool in the Shed

The Chopping Block's Annual Knife Sale begins today, so I feel that it is appropriate to talk a little bit about the importance of a quality knife.

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Can You Make That Gluten Free?

I never wanted to be one of “those people.” You know, the kind with “special” dietary restrictions. The kind of person whose diet had to be worked around when choosing restaurants or at dinner ...

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