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  • The Chopping Blog

Sloppy Joe Sliders

  I love to entertain, and since the world is starting to finally reopen, I’m really excited to get back to gathering together with friends and family to enjoy and share delicious food. One of my ...

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Father and Son Bonding with Burgers

  June is when Summer kicks off and Mother Nature teases us from time-to-time with hot weather days. It gives us a reason to hang out at the beach and pull that grill out, as we celebrate Pride ...

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The Perfect Strawberry Pie

  Until I was seven years old, I lived on a small homestead - my grandparents lived on one side and my great grandparents on the other. We grew sweet corn, my grandparents grew green beans, my great ...

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Tempeh 101

  If a sci-fi movie and a high school biology class had a child, it’d be tempeh. It sort of looks like a brain and involves fermentation (a process that is just as complex as a brain’s), but don’t ...

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A Go-To Summer Salad: Mexican Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

  My family and I love Mexican food, and it’s something we enjoy at least twice a week. Because it’s our go-to cuisine when cooking at home, and because there are so many different ways to express ...

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Summer Corn Bisque

“Biz, why are you making soup – it's summertime?!” I know I might get asked that question, but truth of the matter is that I love soup 365 days a year.

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Grilled Pineapple with Bourbon-Butter Sauce

Grilling season is in full swing at The Chopping Block, and one of my favorite grilling classes is New Orleans Brunch on the Grill. We make Cajun grilled shrimp skewers with remoulade, BBQ baked ...

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Summer Sesame Soba Noodle Salad

Seeing as I’ve got less than ninety days to rock a wedding dress, I’m really making an effort to make healthier eating choices and up my exercise. Luckily, I’m a veggie lover, so eating vegetables ...

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A Salad for Strawberry Season

  Strawberry season leaves me swooning! I can’t help it. For me, it’s the sign that Summer has really, truly arrived… and with it, all the fresh and wonderful foods that the season brings. With this ...

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A Chocoholic's Guide to Cacao

  I want to let you all in on a not-so-secret confession: I am a chocoholic! They say a day without chocolate is like day with no sunshine, but I wouldn’t know because I eat a bit of chocolate every ...

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Apple Pie Empanadas: A Perfect Hand-Held Treat

  Who doesn’t love empanadas? They are the perfect size hand-held treat, and can be sweet or savory depending on what mood you’re in. Savory empanadas can be filled with meat, seafood, cheese or ...

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Shrub Cocktails All Summer Long

As life slowly returns to some semblance of what it was like in 'before times', I've been thinking back over the past year. Most of it was pretty awful thanks to the pandemic, but there were a few ...

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Don't Waste One Spring Ramp

The first sighting of a robin. The vivid green on the grass after it rains. A redbud tree bursting with blooms. All of these things help remind us that we are in a new season of the year and it makes ...

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Buffalo Blue Cheese Burgers

  I absolutely love burgers. I mean, what’s not to love? Earlier this year, I successfully waited in a line to get free Big Macs for a year, so if that doesn’t prove my love of burgers, what will?

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How to Grill Baby Octopus

    We officially kicked off grilling season last Wednesday with a hands-on grilling class on Cinco de Mayo. On Saturday, we had our first demonstration class on the Lincoln Square patio with one of ...

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Stuffed Pork Tenderloin 101

  When I went shopping last weekend, pork tenderloin was on sale so I decided to pick up a couple. I had no idea what I was going to do with them at the time, but after some serious brainstorming, I ...

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All About Asparagus

  Spring has arrived and with it comes one of my favorite vegetables: asparagus! While asparagus is luckily usually found year-round in grocery stores, like most produce, it has a peak season. You ...

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How to make Rhubarb Curd

  My mom worked full-time and between work and taking care of four kids, it didn’t leave a whole lot of time for baking. We didn’t have a lot of money, so buying premade cakes and cookies was not an ...

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Quiche for Every Meal

    I'm a sucker for quiche on any menu. When I'm traveling, I always seek out the best bakery in town to try their quiche. Paired with a green salad tossed with a bright vinaigrette, quiche is the ...

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Brandade: Your New Favorite Dip

  I remember first trying brandade when I was in culinary school and experiencing a moment of euphoria. Brandade is a Mediterranean dip consisting of pureed potatoes, salt cod, garlic and olive oil, ...

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Burnt Basque Cheesecake: A Cheesecake Like No Other

  For several months now, I’ve been toying with the idea of baking a Burnt Basque Cheesecake. The idea was first brought to my attention by my partner Fernando, who stumbled upon the recipe and ...

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Everything Bagel Strata

  I’m passionate about a lot of foods – flats over drums when it comes to wings, smooth over crunchy if debating peanut butter, cheese curds over mozzarella sticks when I’m digging into fried cheese, ...

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10 Veggie Soup

I am one of those people who gets super pumped with every season changing. I love the sunshine in the summer, the color wheel of fall, the peacefulness of a winter snow and the regeneration that ...

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Notoriously Good Gnocchi

  There is nothing more special to me than perfectly light, fluffy, pillowy gnocchi! Sometimes that texture can be hard to achieve, though. I know I have eaten my fair share of dense and tough ...

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Make Mexican Shrimp Cocktail This Weekend

  The first time I ever experienced coctel de camarones (Mexican shrimp cocktail) was 21 years ago when my husband and I drove all the way from Chicago to Ensenada, Mexico on the Baja peninsula. Talk ...

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Sheet Pan Dinners are Easy to Make and Clean Up

  If you are on social media, you are likely familiar with popular cooking trends such as simple sheet pan dinners, and the viral baked feta dish that really took off recently. I personally love ...

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Whole Wheat Pita Bread, Step by Step

      My first experience with pita bread was 40 or more years ago in the small Midwestern town from where I am from. I don’t exactly remember what was in the pita, but I do remember thinking pita ...

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Mini Quiches for Easter Brunch

Easter weekend is almost here. This year is flying by so far for me. How is it April already?  I’ve been asked on my Instagram page “Biz, do you have any Easter recipes?” And I literally don’t have ...

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Yes, You Can Make Gyros at Home

  When we think of gyros, most of us imagine a slowly spinning, glistening cone of delicious meat waiting to be shaved and nestled in a fresh pita or piled on top of a salad. It’s savory, juicy, full ...

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Here Comes the Sunchoke Tart

  You know, for a minute there I thought we might never see each other again. It has been over a year since my last blog post was published on The Chopping Blog, and what a year it has been. We’ve ...

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Fires, Family and Food: Celebrating Women's History Month

  As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we honor the women who have placed a stamp on history and acknowledge today’s trailblazers who are known to break barriers. The moment someone says a woman ...

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Citrus is my Main Squeeze

  Most of us are fortunate to be able to enjoy all types of citrus all year long. You may not know this, but citrus season is actually during winter. Citrus is the perfect little pick me up to get ...

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Waffled Reuben Sandwiches

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! By the time you are reading this blog, you probably already have your corned beef and cabbage cooking, your green shirt pressed and maybe a pint or two in the fridge. If you ...

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Triple Boozy Irish Brownies

  What’s better than a delicious fudgy brownie? A triple boozy brownie, of course! When I studied abroad 15 years ago, I spent a weekend in Dublin, Ireland. It was a beautiful place with friendly ...

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Shrimp Burgers: A Crustacean Fixation

  I love working with shrimp because they are very accessible, versatile, simple and quick to prepare, high in protein and omega 3s, low in fat, and most importantly… delicious! I always have a bag ...

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Mini Cherry Lattice Pies

We are starting to see warmer temps and the snow melting in Chicagoland, and I can smell the spring weather right around the corner. For whatever reason, spring season makes me think of pie!

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Gumbo YaYa: A Lesson in the Louisiana Soup

  Once we are able to safely travel again, New Orleans is at the top of my list, specifically for Jazz Fest which is hopefully happening in the fall. Not only does this city have the most amazing ...

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Baked Goat Cheese and Tomato Pasta

If you frequent social media, specifically TikTok, chances are that you’ve seen the viral baked feta pasta. I absolutely love one dish wonders, as I call them, where you essentially create an entire ...

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Step by Step Chocolate Mousse

  As I look out my window, it is hard to believe that spring is around the corner. There is about two feet of snow in my yard, and snow shoes are the ideal footwear for the trek from my home to ...

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Fresh Spring Rolls: A Fun Way to Eat Salad

  We’ve all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but what about the COVID-15 (or even 20) weight gain? It’s obviously been a stressful year, and to top that, it’s been cold and snowy for many, ...

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Lacto-Fermentation & Lessons I have Learned

  When I want to learn, teach, or write about a new culinary technique, I tend to go down various rabbit holes of online research, cookbooks, recipe testing, and trial and error to figure out how to ...

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Risotto Rules for an Impressive Dish

Risotto is always a popular dish in our cooking classes, and I love making it for dinner parties and giving tips to my friends. Knowing how to make a good risotto is something I think every home cook ...

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Remembering My First

  There is classic saying that you always remember your first. Does that phrase ring true for you? I thought of that today because this is my first “official” blog post for The Chopping Block, and I ...

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A Salmon Hater becomes a Salmon Lover

  I had so many food issues as a kid. Most of them are behind me now, except when it comes to coconut. I have to admit to still holding on to my strong dislike for it. As hard as I’ve tried, its ...

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Air Fryer Blooming Onions

  My fiancé touts himself as the superior gift giver in our relationship, and I really can’t argue his point. His gifts are thoughtful, practical and luckily for me, are often geared towards my love ...

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Easy Weeknight Tuscan Ribs

  When we think about ribs, we typically associate them with a low and slow cooking process. This cooking technique is appropriate for a slab because the gentle, long cook time breaks down the tough ...

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All Rise for Yeasted Doughnuts

  You can’t get very far in America without running into a donut shop. We have embraced the history of this dessert found all over the world and made it into our own. Of course, doughnuts as we know ...

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Skinny Pizza Dough Bagels

Over the years so many people have asked me “Biz, when are you going to write a cookbook?” My answer? “When someone pays me to write one!”

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The Best Homemade Pizza I've Ever Made

When a chef friend of mine recently told me about his latest adventures in making homemade pizza thanks to a book called The Elements of Pizza, I knew I had to give this dough with a very long ...

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Techniques for Making Challah

  Even though I have been working in the food industry for over half of my life, I still have so much to learn about making bread. Other than spending a unit on breads in culinary school (which was ...

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Birria Tacos

  If you ask my fiancé what he’d like for dinner, you’ll always get the same two answers – sloppy joes or tacos. I need more variety in my life, but luckily, I too, love tacos, so I enjoy ...

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Cream of the Crop Custards

I remember my custards class standing out while getting my Baking and Pastry degree at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago many years ago. It was a very early morning class and within minutes of starting, ...

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Homemade Oreo Cookies will Remind you of your Childhood

  I love researching recipes! If you were to look at my email inbox folder, you would find hundreds of saved recipes. Most have become like old friends that I just can’t seem to let go, and I’m ...

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Ultra-Crispy Baked French Fries

  What is it about a crispy potato that is so appealing? Do potatoes really have that much flavor all on their own? A good olive oil is extremely tasty, but the oil we traditionally cook French fries ...

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Totally Tubular Tots

  The title of this blog isn't just a throwback to the 80’s, it's a deep dive into one of my favorite root vegetables: the potato. This tuber can be utilized in a multitude of different ways, which ...

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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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