This year we are celebrating 19 years of getting the country to cook through education and entertainment in our classes, private events, and retail products. None of this would have been possible without you our beloved customers, so we hope you’ll join us at each of our locations for a few special events that encapsulate “The Chopping Block Experience”.
This Thursday, November 3rd, the Merchandise Mart will celebrate Customer Appreciation Day from 10am-5pm. We’ll have four free cooking demonstrations running throughout the day, food, wine, and spirit tastings, and 20% off all retail merchandise. Our friends at local Journeyman Distillery will be sampling their Old Country Goodness (O.C.G) Apple Cider Liquor, which was a big hit at this year's Apple Fest. Holiday décor will be up and ready for you to start your shopping early, so stop buy for the chance to win a piece of Le Creuset or a free hands-on cooking class!
On Saturday, November 12th we’re hosting our annual Turkey Trunk Show at our Lincoln Square location. Join us and see how we do turkey, The Chopping Block way. Our chefs will demonstrate how to smoke, grill, roulade, and of course, roast a turkey. They'll also be showing off their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. So stop by for expert tips, tricks, advice, and tastings!
All this talk about food, wine, and spirits got me thinking about my current favorite products. It’s a question I’m asked regularly, and I always have a difficult time not providing a lengthy list. My favorite kitchen gadget is the spiralizer. I use it to make Zucchini Lo Mein, and then I took our You Don’t Know Squash class and have been making the Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette ever since. It just so happens we’ll be demoing this dish at Customer Appreciation Day this Thursday at the Mart, so make sure you come try it! It makes a great salad for any occasion.
My favorite gourmet ingredient is Jalapeno Gold. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, and it’s unbelievably addictive. I’m a believer that it make everything taste better – pizza, burgers, cornbread, the list is really endless. It makes an appearance at nearly every gathering I have. This past Labor Day, we made cornbread, and spread it over the top. It was so good, I didn’t even get the chance to snap a picture of it while it was still whole!
Swing by the Mart's Customer Appreciation Day for a taste of our recipe for Cheddar Cheese and Scallion Cornbread Muffins with Jalapeno Gold. You’ll definitely want more, so here's our recipe.
Cheddar Cheese and Scallion Cornbread Muffins with Jalapeño Gold
Yield: 12 muffins
Active time: 15 minutes
Start to finish: 45 minutes
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Jalapeño Gold candied jalapeños, rough chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350º. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Toss in the scallions and cheese.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, milk and buttermilk.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until just combined.
- Gently fold in the candied jalapeños.
- Using a large spoon or a portion scoop, fill the muffin tins 3/4 full.
- Bake until the tops spring back, 18 to 20 minutes.
Once you come to Customer Appreciation Day and try our zucchini salad and cornbread, you’ll be in the mood for Thanksgiving, so you’ll want to act early and reserve your spot for Taste of Thanksgiving on November 19th. You’ll have the chance to move throughout our entire Merchandise Mart space, watch our chefs prepare a variety of Thanksgiving dishes including soup, salad, turkey, sides, and desserts, and find the perfect wine for your Thanksgiving table. You’ll also feel great knowing that $10 of your ticket sale is going directly to The Greater Chicago Food Depository!