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  • The Chopping Blog

Cozy Up to a Different Kind of Pork Stew

  We've been missing out on a lot of our favorite events over the past year, including one that's very special to me - the Christkindlmarket in Chicago. I'm sure most of you are probably familiar ...

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Tuscan Salmon: A Weeknight Family Favorite

  I was tasked with making dinner the other night, and had absolutely no idea what to prepare. I had fresh salmon to work with, which was a step in the right direction, but when I opened my fridge ...

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Garlic Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

  Fourteen years ago, as a junior in college, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to spend the semester abroad, and chose to go to Florence, Italy. I immediately fell in love with the people, the ...

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Lasagna: A Look Between the Layers

  I love making lasagna, and it has been a Christmas tradition in our house for as long as I can remember. For Christmas Eve, we always celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, but on Christmas day, ...

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Easiest Donut Recipe Ever

I am not the biggest dessert fan in the world, but I do love dessert for breakfast. I especially love donuts for breakfast and even more, when they are extremely fresh, warm and just out of the fryer.

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Chocolate Pudding

  This rich chocolate pudding will surely satisfy all of your chocolate cravings. Made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry and fridge, this is a simple recipe and easy to make. ...

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Cooking for One - Shrimp and Grits

  I live alone. But even when my family lived with me, I still mostly ate alone because of a few reasons. First, our schedules were different. Before quarantine and working from home, I had a ...

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Shortcut to Chicken and Dumplings

Being from the South, I've had lots of Chicken and Dumplings in my life. Everyone has their preference of how to make this dish, especially the dumplings. Some people like super thin noodles while ...

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Ragú Bolognese: The Ultimate Sunday Supper

  I dream about pasta on a regular basis. No joke! It’s seriously the food my dreams are made of, and I could easily eat it every day. I restrain myself from doing so, but I do try and work it into ...

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Cabernet Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

I love surprises, so Secret Santa exchanges are right up my alley. It used to be that you wrote your “wish list” on a piece of paper, or had no wish list at all and hoped your Santa knew you well ...

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Festive Appetizers for the Holidays or Any Day

  One of the things I love most about cooking is serving other people my food. I love to see people enjoying what I have created and hopefully inspire them to make something of their own. It brings ...

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My Sister's Peanut Brittle

  I love peanuts and peanut-y dishes: Kung Pow Chicken, peanut sauce, peanut butter cups, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter pie and of course, peanut brittle. I always loved the taste of peanut ...

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The Best Old Fashioned Fudge Recipe

  Back in the early days of The Chopping Block 20+ years ago, I was working on holiday curriculum with my fellow Chef Instructor Lisa Futterman. We thought a candy class was a no brainer, after all, ...

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Christmas Cookie Challenge: Your Easiest Yet

The kids are out of school for the holidays, and some of you are taking a break from work this week even if that means just staying out of your home office this year. With all of this extra time on ...

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Mac n' Cheese Made Easy

  As the winter chill sets in and the schedules seem to get endlessly busier, I find myself looking for ways to satisfy my rich food itch. To make something that fits the need normally takes a good ...

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Wok Cooking 101

  In my last blog, I mentioned how during these months of lockdowns (self-imposed and otherwise), I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with recipes. Several of them have been inspired by the fact ...

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German Fruitcake is Traditional and Delicious

  Like it or not, it is fruitcake season. In Germany, we have Stollen, which a fruit bread of nuts, spices, and dried or candied fruit coated with powdered sugar or icing sugar and Lebkuchen, which ...

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Christmas Roast Beef

This holiday is most likely going to look different to everyone this year. There may have been job loss this year, and most of us are planning smaller family get togethers. But one great thing about ...

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Chickpea Curry for the Meatless Monday Win

Several years ago, I decided that we should try to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our lifestyle. I had heard the concept “Meatless Monday” and thought it would be a fun way to remember to ...

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Perfectly Al Dente Pasta in the Instant Pot

  It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Instant Pot. But when I recently started seeing recipe after recipe online to cook pasta in it, I was skeptical. How could the machine that miraculously ...

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Persimmon-Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

  On a recent grocery run, I came across an orange tomato-like fruit, the persimmon. As a self-proclaimed “foodie,” I love finding foods that I’ve never tried. I’ve seen persimmons plenty of times ...

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Coq au Vin Step by Step

  One of my favorite warming winter recipes is Coq au Vin, or chicken braised in wine. I think Coq au Vin is to chicken what Beef Bourguignon is to beef. It takes an ingredient as simple as chicken ...

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Mexican Tortilla Soup: Your New Go-To Soup This Winter

  After feasting on Thanksgiving leftovers all weekend, my palate was in need of some new and exciting flavors. I was also looking for a creative way to use up the turkey stock we made with our ...

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Ropa Vieja

  At the beginning of the year, Cuba was on my list of places to travel in 2020. Thanks to the pandemic, it’ll have to remain on my list (which is growing as the months pass) a bit longer. I ...

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What to Do with Thanksgiving Leftovers

  Thanksgiving has come and gone, and although things may have looked differently this year, there are some things that remain the same: leftovers! All month long, The Chopping Block has hosted a ...

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How to Make Pickled Ginger

  I have had an idea for a book called “Pickled Ginger” for years. No, it’s not a cookbook and nor does it really have much connection with cooking at all. The idea stemmed from my own experience ...

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A Different Thanksgiving Table

There are likely to be some empty seats around your Thanksgiving table this year, or even a computer at the head with your family members joining via Zoom. Health officials have urged people not to ...

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Old-Fashioned Egg Noodles

  When I was younger, I would hang out in the kitchen with my grandma, who was always cooking up a big pot of food. Even though it was just her and her sweetie at home, she still cooked for a small ...

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: Your New Holiday Favorite

  With the Thanksgiving holiday just a few days away, I think we’re all taking a step back to re-evaluate what things might look like this year. Many of us are cooking for a smaller number of people, ...

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Cozy up to a Bowl of Soup this Season

  If you live in Chicago like me, you have to admit we have been pretty lucky with the weather so far this fall. That's been great news for all of the outdoor grilling classes we've hosted on our ...

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Delving into the Simplicity of Snacking Cakes

  I know I’m not alone on this, but for the past several months while on a self-imposed (and at times, a state-imposed) lockdown, I spent a lot of time experimenting with recipes. It all began with ...

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Vanilla Bean Scones

  My daughter and son-in-law go to Starbuck’s at least once a day. Sometimes twice! When they lived with me, they would always ask me if I wanted anything, and usually I said no (that’s the frugal ...

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Butternut Squash and Barley Risotto

  I love squash – roasted, sautéed, sweet, savory, in a pie, and in risotto. While this risotto is absolutely delicious, it is unlike most traditional risotto recipes. Here we are using pearled ...

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Tis the Season for Chai Spiced Pumpkin

  I have never been obsessed like some people are with pumpkin spiced lattes, pies, candles and other things of that nature. Don’t get me wrong; I love those flavors all year round, and pumpkin pie ...

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Orange Cranberry Bread

    When I was a kid, I always knew that we were getting close to Thanksgiving once I smelled my mom’s Orange Cranberry Bread. As the reigning Chopping Block Queen of Quick Breads, I decided that ...

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A Customer Appreciation Day Like No Other

I celebrated my 18th anniversary at The Chopping Block this past Monday. 18 years! That means that: I am old. I have been involved in 18 different Customer Appreciation Days over my time at this ...

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Spanakopita: Light and Flaky Spinach Pie

  I’ll do just about anything to get my kids to eat spinach. Things are obviously a bit crazy in the world right now, and it can be such a battle these days to consistently get veggies in their diet, ...

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Eating all the Chilies in New Mexico

Every time I visit my sister and brother-in-law in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I insist on eating as many dishes with chilies as possible. I say to them all of the time, "I have to eat all of the chilies!" ...

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Waffle It

  Toward the end of summer, I had a unique opportunity to help a friend who keeps bees harvest their honey. It was a very special day for me as I have a real interest in keeping bees and this was my ...

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

The crisp fall weather has been great lately. Leaving off the furnace, and letting the cool, gentle breeze blow in through the windows has been so refreshing. And then yesterday, it snowed. Talk ...

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Let's Get Squashed

  One of the best things about fall being in full swing is the multitude of squash options that become available to spice up our recipe repertoire as the weather gets cooler. Of course, there’s ...

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The Moistest Apple Cake

  I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I just started watching the Great British Baking show, and I’m absolutely enamored with it. I’m on collection 3, and it’s down to just 4 contestants. Eeek! ...

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Moroccan Vegetable Soup

  The cliché start to any soup blog in October is always the same. It begins with some form of “it's that time of year again” or “the chill is out so get your ladle out.” All are as ubiquitous as the ...

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Sweet and Sour Mustard Meatballs

    Fall is my favorite season, as it is for many. Cooler air and beautiful colors in the trees are most welcome, in spite of knowing there will be Midwestern blizzards to come all too soon. A change ...

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Welcome Braising Season with Roulade and Dumplings

  Time is flying by this year, and we are already planning our holiday offerings, both virtually and in-person at Lincoln Square. We are also continuing to offer outdoor grilling classes, and we've ...

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Roasted Tomato Pepper Soup with a Protein Pump

  Now that football has started and the weather is cooling down more and more each day, it is time to harvest the last of our garden’s gifts! This is a bittersweet time for me, but I love the ...

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Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

  One of the questions I get asked often is why do I bother to cook for myself since I live alone. “Isn’t it too much trouble?”  Well, luckily I love to cook, but now that I am not cooking for a ...

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Getting Stuffed on Chicken Wings

  When I was asked to write about chicken wings for our next #TCBCookingChallenge I was so excited. I love chicken wings! Whether they are fried, baked, smoked, dry rubbed or tossed in a delicious ...

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My Favorite Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

  It’s been so long since I’ve eaten chicken pot pie, and I’m pretty sure the last time I did the experience was underwhelming. I really had no intention of making it, but my daughter requested it, ...

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Brigadeiros

  An authentic Brazilian confection, Brigadeiros hold a special place in my heart. A few years back, my brother and sister-in-law were here in Iowa. We were talking about some of our favorite foods ...

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How to Make and Use Crystallized Ginger

    In my recent blog on how to make dried ginger, I nudged readers to see if there was an interest in learning how to make crystalized ginger. I’m happy to say the answer was yes! You also requested ...

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Make the Most of Fall's Favorite Fruit: Apples

The sounds of pie making in our Lincoln Square kitchens last week brought back memories of Apple Fest in years past. In 2019, our culinary team made and sold 800 (!) of our famous Apple Pies, the ...

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Banana Pupcakes

Like a lot of you, I baked more often than usual these past few months during the pandemic. I made my share of quick breads, cakes, and cookies. There were at least three baked goods in our home at ...

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Easiest Answer to Side Dish Emergency

People who like to cook always have a kitchen stocked with the basics and can confidently embark on a recipe knowing there is a supply of things like onions, garlic, flour, butter, cinnamon, all of ...

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Naan Pizza

  My wife and I like to play games like “Would You Rather”, the Question game, or Categories - all games you would typically play in the car on a long road trip. We often play these games in social ...

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Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

  Friday, September 18 was National Cheeseburger Day, and I’ve been thinking about cheeseburgers ever since. I absolutely love cheeseburgers – they’re simple to make and so versatile, with an endless ...

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Have Leftover Rice? Try Making Croquettes

  You’ve just spent all day working, made it through several meetings via Zoom, made sure your kids logged onto their virtual classes at the right time, helped support them through e-learning and ...

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Old Italian's Braciole

  For many years, I cooked numerous dinners for a dear friend I fondly called The Old Italian. His cooking prowess was limited to pour-over coffee - lots and lots of coffee all day long – and to the ...

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Tomato Season at the Farmers Market

Fall has officially arrived, and the farmers markets are in full swing. If you live in our Lincoln Square neighborhood, please check out the Farmers Market held on Tuesday mornings and Thursday ...

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Welcome Fall with Sweet Potato Bisque

My late husband finally understood how much I love soup once he gave me a cookbook with 101 soup recipes. I can eat it all year round. I especially love coming up with soups using leftovers at the ...

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“Pimento” Sourdough Bites

  The sourdough craze has really taken off during the pandemic, perhaps because some people had more free time on their hands. Now that it's football season, I wanted to show off my newfound ...

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It's Still Summer so Take Advantage of Tomatoes

I get that some people simply can't wait for the last minute of Labor Day to end so that they can unofficially welcome fall by breaking out their Ugg boots, sweaters and pumpkin-spice everything. But ...

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Skip Banana Bread and Make Banana Cheesecake

  When my counter fruit bowl overflows with bananas, as it often does, my taste buds urge me to make a banana pudding. Or a banana pie. Or, best of all, a combination of the two - a banana pudding ...

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Late Summer Harvest: Plum Tartlets

  My family and I typically go apple picking in Michigan every year, and although we still managed to get our hands on some apples, we had the opportunity to pick plums this time around. I had never ...

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Upside Down is Right Side Up with Stone Fruits

  Now this is what I’ve been waiting for: the season of stone fruits is now in full swing. Stone fruits are what they sound like - tree fruits that have a stone-like pit in the center, including ...

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Tex-Mex Meatball Soup

  With cooler weather on the way, I can’t think of anything more inviting than a hot bowl of soup. This Tex-Mex Meatball Soup is a hearty, zesty soup that I really can’t get enough of. I always make ...

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Japanese Souffle Pancakes

  As the reigning Pancake Princess at The Chopping Block, I’m always looking for new and different pancakes to make. I’ve made sweet pancakes, as well as savory pancakes, so when it came time to make ...

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Garden Salsa

  Our garden has exploded with tomatoes this year. We literally cannot eat them fast enough. When I counted 30 beautiful, bright red tomatoes on the counter, I knew it was time for salsa. On average, ...

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5-Ingredient Roasted Yellow Tomato Sauce

  Welcome back to another blog post featuring our home-grown tomatoes! Earlier this month I made a delicious Onion-Tomato Jam that was fabulous on toasted sourdough bread with a sprinkling of goat ...

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Vegan Pumpkin Tamales with Black Bean "Mole"

    We’ve all been through major life changes. Whether voluntary or mandated, lifestyle or dietary, you know that when you make changes, things, well, change! If you have recently moved to a vegan ...

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Millionaire Baking Inspiration

  What inspires you to bake, cook or create a delicious dish? For me, inspiration can strike from just about anywhere. It can come from reading a good cookbook, seeing beautiful food pictures on ...

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Seven Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip

  The latest cheese challenge in The Chopping Block's private Facebook group got me thinking about what’s the most cheesy, ooey, gooey dish that I like to make. Immediately, I knew: spinach artichoke ...

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Buffalo Dip for your Cheese Cravings

For some reason, I start craving dips when the weather starts to drop even to the 70’s. August and September feel like football games and hanging out by a bonfire. But with the world the way it is, I ...

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Happy Birthday Julia!

    Just after finishing my culinary school training, I attended a food professionals’ conference in New York. At one of the lectures, the seat next to mine remained empty until a very tall woman ...

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Smoked Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce will Scare your Taste Buds

A friend recently suggested I watch the Gordon Ramsey episode of Hot Ones on YouTube, and I laughed as the celebrated chef worked his way through a series of hot wings doused in hot sauce, getting ...

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Sweet Treats and Tips to Salvage Overcooked Cake

  I cannot tell you all how many times I have forgotten about something I was cooking in the oven and it burned to a point where I couldn’t eat it. Sound familiar? It happens to the best of us.

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Pepper Season is On and Popping

  I’m a self-proclaimed hot pepper fiend. I love the addition of heat into both savory and sweet dishes. I’m the girl that carries hot sauce in her purse (just like Beyonce), just in case the need ...

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Tomato-Onion Jam: The Ultimate Summer Condiment

  As I was standing in our backyard gazing at all of the tomatoes that were ready to be picked, I was wondering what on earth I should do with them. There are so many options, which makes it even ...

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A Salsa of a Different Style

  Salsa is America’s most popular condiment and pico de gallo is the fresh version. Both have a myriad of uses, with tortilla chips munched out of hand and as a condiment for Mexican food being the ...

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How to Make Jam without Pectin

I love to make jam; I’m sure in part because I used to watch my mom make it as a kid. Thinking about Mom in the kitchen brings back such fond memories. We primarily grew our own food when I was ...

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Zucchini Nut Bread

It’s zucchini season! We planted our garden a little late this year, and didn’t plant any zucchini. But thankfully, our gracious neighbor, Lori, did and offered a couple of her green beauties over ...

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When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Frozen Lemon Mousse

  It’s been a pretty tough year. We went from winter to hot summer with barely a notice of spring in Chicagoland, all the while sheltering in place. But to use a very worn saying, “When life gives ...

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How I Conquered My Fear of Yeast Breads

  For years I was intimidated by yeast breads. After all, working with yeast is like performing magic - such amazing transformation of ingredients! I remember my first brush with bread making decades ...

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Browned Butter Blondies with Salted Caramel Sauce

These browned butter blondies are next level. They have a crunchy exterior and gooey, soft interior. The browned butter adds some nuttiness, which really takes it over the top. The semi-sweet ...

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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes are Full of Surprises

Cupcakes are my favorite dessert to make for parties and now that we are living in COVID-19 times, they are even more perfect for your small gatherings. You don't have to share utensils from cutting ...

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Grilled Greek Chicken with Grilled Watermelon and Halloumi Salad

A few years ago (which now seems like an eternity ago), my fiancé and I took an incredible trip to Greece. Aside from the gorgeous views, we, of course, ate some incredible food. While it sounds ...

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Achiote Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves

  The weather has been so stellar for cooking outdoors, and because we’re trying to spend as much time as possible relaxing and cooking outside these days, my family and I are trying to expand our ...

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Tomato Tart with Cornmeal Crust

  It seems like everyone has an opinion these days, and they will defend their viewpoint loudly and emphatically. But there may be one thing we can all agree on  -  there is nothing more welcome than ...

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Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes

I have never worked from home before. With everything that is going on in the world, I am thankful that my day job allows me to work from home now. For one, my commute used to be three hours round ...

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Express your Artistic Flair with Garden Focaccia

If there's one good thing that's come from the global pandemic, it's a resurgence in the love of bread baking. I cannot count the number of posts I have seen from my friends trying their hand at ...

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Classic Niçoise Salad makes a Return

  Summer is in full swing, and we are trying to make the best of it! One of the high points of my summer so far has been teaching one of my favorite classic dishes: the Niçoise Salad in a recent ...

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Honey Nut Granola

  If you’ve been following my posts, it is probably fairly obvious that breakfast and brunch foods are some of my favorites. With that being said, I couldn’t leave out my trusty granola recipe. I’ve ...

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Hard Cider Can Chicken with Spicy Pickled Peaches

I spend a lot of time on my deck, especially these days, and it was truly my saving grace during quarantine! I often work from my deck, but on weekends, I love to spend the afternoon relaxing out ...

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Conchas: A Mexican Sweet Treat

  I love having adventures in the kitchen, and I love making recipes that are totally unfamiliar to me. Both of these occurred when I tried my hand at making conchas, a traditional Mexican sweet ...

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Mushrooms and Polenta

  One of the things I love most about farmers markets is discovering that something unexpected is in season. I always buy whatever it is, whether it was on my shopping list or not, and rush home to ...

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Follow this Rule for Every Type of Grill

  Summer has officially started, and I know many of us are excited to spend a lot of of it outside grilling! Here in Chicago, we are moving into phase 4 of re-opening, which means restaurants can ...

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Burek: A Meat-Filled Phyllo Pie

  A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of my Burek in The Chopping Block's private Facebook group with the promise of the complete recipe to come. If you are not familiar with our TCB group, you ...

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Yes, You Can Make Pop Tarts from Scratch

  I was feeling a bit ambitious this past weekend, and decided to try making pop tarts from scratch. I thought it would be a really great way to start Father’s Day morning, and my husband and kids ...

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Bubble Pizza

  I often crave pizza, but don’t have the time to make it from scratch. My favorite pizza crust recipe requires one proofing, so instead, this quick and easy bubble pizza is my go-to. I love that ...

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It Doesn't Get Much Easier than Muffins

  The stars must surely be in alignment because: our markets are now bursting with berries; we all need to get out of our ruts and treat ourselves and loved ones to something special; and this ...

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Caulifredo: A Cheater's Guide to Almost Alfredo and  Pesto

  Like a lot of other people over the past few months, I’ve chosen to rely on a delivery service for my shopping. Normally, I love to go to the grocery store. I love the colors of the produce, the ...

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Turn the Heat Up or Down in Homemade Harissa

  I absolutely love the flavors of Middle Eastern and North African cooking - the warm spices of cumin, cardamom, turmeric and cinnamon to name just a few; the freshest vegetables including tomatoes, ...

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Berries and Cream Stuffed French Toast

  Sunday brunch will always be my favorite memory. My family would frequent the local Hickory House, which had a good ole’ fashioned country buffet – pleasantly filling our bellies until supper. Or, ...

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Ali's Famous Coffee Cake is a Friend Maker

  Long ago, I had just moved to a far-away town where I knew almost no one. Once the unpacking was nearly finished, I sat for a minute in the front window and wondered how and when I might make new ...

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Summer Sides to Center Stage

  You’ve heard the description, “the table was sagging under the weight its food”?  This phrase is usually attributable to Thanksgiving dinner or summer barbecues, and conjures up the delights of ...

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Scallion Pancakes

I know, I know… by now you’re not shocked that I’m coming to you excited about pancakes again, but hear me out - my latest adventure in pancakes took a savory turn and it’s my favorite chapter of my ...

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Take Summer Up a Notch with Fish

  It’s finally summer, the season for all sorts of celebrations. If for no other reason than I-just-want-to-feel-like-myself-again, I think livin’ it up a little and getting a bit fancy “just ...

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Green Bombs of Kale, Spinach, Chard and Other Leafy Greens

  Are you one of those people who sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box eagerly in the winter and then, when deliveries start, you are dismayed by piles of kale, chard and spinach?

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Grilled Artichokes with Garlic Aioli

  Being from a little town in Iowa, I had no exposure to whole fresh artichokes growing up. I had never seen one, never eaten one and certainly never cooked one. I had tasted jarred and canned ...

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How to Make a Lattice Pie

Has your baking streak ended now the country is beginning to reopen and stay at home orders are being lifted? If you've been like so many of us over the past few months of quarantine, you've been ...

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Ethel's Daughter: Quarantine Sourdough Bread Baking

  Bread is a very important food in my German culture. In fact, we eat bread with almost every meal in Germany. I count myself fortunate to live near a great bakery called Phlour, a family-owned ...

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How to Make Mouth-Watering BBQ Chicken

One of my family’s absolute favorite, finger-lickin’ dinners consists of BBQ chicken, baked beans, braised collard greens and cornbread. This meal is the ultimate plate of soul food and leaves us ...

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Simple Sheet Pan Paella

  Everyone I know is suffering from quarantine fatigue, and you may be too. But there have been a few upsides to this forced exile. We have returned to the kitchen to make many more meals at home ...

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Want to Live to be 100? Cook the Right Foods

  If you’re like me, your cookbooks are getting a workout during these stay-at-home days. I find it’s easier to keep busy and refrain from wallowing when engaged in physical tasks. Of course cooking ...

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Scones, Biscuits and Shortcakes

  I regularly make scones or biscuits for breakfast as a special treat. I love making these for so many reasons but especially because I think it is nearly impossible to find a good scone, or at ...

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Pork Stew in Salsa Verde: A Delightful Mexican Dish

  A very good friend of mine gave me this recipe, and we have cooked it several times now. He learned it in Mexico from his grandmother, and he comes from the city of Puebla where this is a regional ...

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Honey Buns Reimagined

  Growing up, my husband was accustomed to the luxuries of convenience store snack cakes and assorted pre-packaged cookies. Whereas at my house, my mom baked and made pretty much everything we ate.

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Summer Grilling isn't Cancelled

Memorial Day weekend is always called the unofficial start to summer. In years past, the long holiday weekend was a time for first of the year beach vacations, large barbecues with friends, swimming ...

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Where There’s Smoke, There’s Salmon: DIY Hot Smoked Salmon

  Last time I went grocery shopping, the salmon looked really fresh, so I bought a couple extra portions. I had no idea what I was going to do with them at the time, but I couldn’t resist the ...

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Cooking in the Time of Corona

  Do you ever daydream about cinnamon rolls, or am I the only one? I could eat them all day every day. One of the very first things I decided to bake during the shelter in place order was ooey-gooey ...

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Mango Mania

  Up until just a week or so ago, the weather in Chicago was still pretty chilly (below 40 degrees at night), and we’d been in quarantine for 2 months. My social media continued to remind me of trips ...

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No-Cook Spring Soup

  In my highly personalized and largely antiquated recipe system, there are folders. Started in my twenties, these old-fashioned colored cardboard folders have been stuffed lovingly over the years, ...

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Duck Egg Tagliatelle with Morel Mushrooms and Asparagus

Those of you that follow my blogs regularly know I love to forage for mushrooms. I have to write at least one blog a year on how to forage, clean and cook wild mushrooms. If you want to learn more ...

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How about Breakfast for Dinner?

  Adjusting to a new routine, as we go through these strange times, may be a challenge; however, we may actually find that we can break away from it and have some fun, especially in the kitchen!

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Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffins

These fluffy and moist muffins are sure to become a family favorite. The pairing of bright lemon and sweet blueberry is a quintessential Spring/Summer flavor combination – and one of my personal ...

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How to Roast Pork Shoulder and Turn it into Hog Wild Recipes

  During this stay at home order, I have been trying to be very smart and creative when it comes to grocery shopping. Since March, I have only been to the grocery store twice! Before this pandemic I ...

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Homemade Tamales: Check This Off Your Bucket List

  Who doesn’t love tamales? Masa dough with a sweet or savory filling wrapped in a corn husk, steamed to fluffy perfection is the way I like to sum up this delicious Mexican dish. But this is ...

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Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Short Ribs

  Short ribs are one of my favorite cool weather, comfort foods and quarantine has seemed like the perfect time for comfort food. Braising short ribs may take a few hours, but they make the house ...

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Pasta Doesn't Always Have to Be Perfect

There's nothing more comforting right now than a big plate of pasta. That's why we chose Cacio e Pepe, the popular pasta dish which means "cheese and pepper" in Italian, for our first Cook Along ...

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Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Pie

It's no secret that I am a rather lazy baker. When I do make the effort to bake, it is mostly for other people’s enjoyment, not necessarily my own. The first thing I baked all on my own was a pan of ...

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Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with Dalgona Coffee

  I was at a culinary crossroads the other day. My fiancé wanted me to make my mom’s sticky pecan cinnamon rolls for breakfast, but I knew that request would take a few hours by the time I had a ...

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Lemon Lime Soda Cake with Fresh Raspberries

  Quarantine has really stirred (see what I did there?) up my love of baking. I’ve always loved eating and making desserts, but I find myself really enjoying experimenting and trying new recipes. ...

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Banana-Nilla Pudding: A Fun and Delicious Family Activity

  Now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I have been spending even more of it in the kitchen than I typically do. And, because we’re sheltering in place, I’m always looking for fun activities ...

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Rhubarb

  As a general rule, I think people like to cook what they like to eat. The exception being you don’t really love sweets but your wife has a sweet tooth and your three kids can’t get enough cookies, ...

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Kefir: An Immune-Boosting Superfood

  Kefir is an ancient healing superfood from the Caucasus Mountains that has provided microbiome support for over 2,000 years. It’s a probiotic-rich drink with protein, calcium, and vitamin D. The ...

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Meet your Bread Baking Challenge with this Pretzel Focaccia

    If you've joined our private Facebook group, you might be cooking even more than your standard three meals a day. After all, what good is a quarantine unless we are challenging ourselves in the ...

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Rekindle your Love for Kitchen Equipment

  One of my first quarantine projects was taking everything out of my kitchen cabinets and drawers, cleaning the surfaces and reorganizing the contents. I had an appliance drawer that was a chaotic ...

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How to Make English Muffins

    My favorite style of English muffins is the sourdough kind, but that method is a bit involved. This is the recipe that you can use when you wake up in the morning, decide you want a fresh-baked ...

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Revisit your Family Recipes

  During this unprecedented time of quarantine, you might be tackling some kitchen projects you've had on the back burner for a while. That could include reorganizing and taking stock of your pantry, ...

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Baked Apple Pancake

  While the current state of the world, given the COVID-19 situation, is uncertain and concerning, I’ve tried to make the most of my time practicing social distancing. I’ve found joy in the simple ...

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Time to Turn to Comfort Food Like Lasagna

  It seems that everything eventually comes full circle. All of the things I enjoyed as I child have gained popularity in the last five years or so. All of the toys I was so fond of when I was a kid ...

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Empanadas: A Tasty Miami-Style Handheld Treat

  Empanadas are the ultimate snack food. Theses dough-wrapped treats can be filled with a wide variety of fillings ranging from meat, seafood, vegetables and cheese that are typically baked or fried ...

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Why You Should Stop Frying Fried Rice

  I just moved to upstate New York a few weeks ago and have been spending more time scarfing bagels and sorting through boxes than whipping up meals in my new kitchen. The fact that I went from a ...

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Shrimp Diavolo: The Perfect Weeknight Meal

    This recipe is packed with flavor and uses very simple cooking techniques. Shrimp Diavolo is a classic, slightly spicy Italian dish (where you control the heat by determining how much chili ...

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Food Comics: New and Improved French Onion Soup

We are pleased to introduce Food Comics from The Chopping Block where our resident Cartoonist Tom O'Brien illustrates his cooking adventures. Tom used to make Alton Brown's version of his favorite ...

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Chocolate Mousse, the Cheffy Way

  As a professional chef, I love throwing (and attending!) dinner parties, and I’m not shy about going back for seconds. But I’m also not one to skip dessert, so when it comes to the sweet stuff, I ...

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Spice Up your Weeknight Chicken

Most of our hands-on cooking classes at The Chopping Block focus on preparing several dishes which result in a delicious meal that our guests enjoy at the end of class. However, one question that we ...

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Sourdough Starter Tips for Beginners

  If you are like me, you’ve never made a sourdough starter nor cared for one. The responsibility of having something else besides my cat to feed did not seem like something I wanted to take on. I’ve ...

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Simply Satisfying Salmon Marinades

  Salmon is one of my favorite fish options whenever I go out to dinner. Normally, I am quite satisfied with my selection, and I am often left wanting more but when I went out to eat a couple of ...

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