New Year’s BIPA.

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First batch of homebrew. Things have been fermenting down in Miami. (Oh yeah, I live in Miami now 🙂

A New Year’s Brown IPA that was brewed on Jan. 1, bottle on Jan. 18, and drunk for the first time on Jan. 27.

Quite tasty, a delicious. I’ve already brewed up a batch of Kumquat Saison, to follow.

Gotta any beer tips? Shoot them my way!

Recipe over here, on my roommate’s and my own shared project.

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Cornelian Cherry Compote.

Here we are, back again where we started.

With sugar, cream and everything wonderful in the world.

It’s true, one can only stay away from ice cream for so long. It creeps up on your plate, ready for anything.

And anything almost always being consumption. Here on Bakelist summer normally equates to at least one ice cream week—which is really just an excuse to make lots of ice cream because duh! it’s Ice Cream Week. Ice Cream Week is a random week in the summer, often more than just one week because there is no and should never be a week-long limit on ice cream consumption.

Which is pretty much a very long way of saying I. Love. Ice. Cream. It is my favorite food after all. Thankfully, the majority of you out there agree that ice cream is supreme, whether or not it turns you into a conehead.

But alas, it’s still faux-adult let’s be responsible here on Bakelist. Lament the loss, and move on. Because I’ve found a loophole. It is very green—you know, eco-friendly and sustainable—and it is made of fruit. That’s right, the green-and-fruit loophole in any tryna-be-healthy lifestyle.

First off, you forage. What’s more sustainable than that? (Granted, it was illegal. But hey, I’m trying.)

Then, you make the most perfect sweet and tart cherry compote with minimal amounts of sugar. Compote and ice cream are a match made in heaven and who’s going to argue with St. Peter?

So there it is, an eco-friendly saint-endorsed way to eat ice cream.

Ah rationalization, I’ve missed you.

Recipe on the following page. Continue reading “Cornelian Cherry Compote.”

Pecan Toffee Popcorn.

Sorry for the delay, but the weather here over the past week in Chicago has really put a cramp in my cooking and baking. It’s just too nice to stay inside and do either.

The past couple days have been a lovely blur of seltzer water, iced drinks and freezes, and slurpees. Things you can savor out in the heat and play well with the beach. Things that require not a lick of flame or the zap of a microwave to make ready. I’ve consistently gone to the beach the last five days in a row. Ah, the end of college and the beginning of summer.

What a wonderful thing.

Of course, chocolate just doesn’t hold up to this kind of heat, so I’ve had to tap out my treats. Ice cream is in constant rotation, but sometimes you just need a little crunch.

Homemade pecan toffee popcorn fits the bill. Every Friday from January to May I would commute downtown for an internship, and every Friday I would get off a couple stops early in the Loop to stop by Garrett’s popcorn. It’s the smell, really, that gets you. More piquant and rich than wafts of homemade ice cream cones, Garrett’s popcorn really fills the air. For months, I was powerless against such smells. And then, I decided to make it at home.

The only hour the oven has been on in the past week was yesterday, quite early in the morning before the 95 degree day really set in. A nibble here, a bite after lunch, this popcorn is the sweetness of summer, distilled. Or rather, caramelized and toasted. And clearly, there isn’t anything better than a caramel summer.

Recipe on the following page.

Franks ‘n’ Dawgs

A while ago, I went on a hot dog tour of Chicago. Really, it was the Hot Dog Tour of Chicago, because a one-day, eight-dog tour is really quite enough for any one girl (and friends). I skipped class to go on my tour. That’s how dedicated I was on my quest to uncover the best of Chicago between an oblong bun. Yes, it was trying. It was painful, saucy, at times bacon-wrapped, and there were moments when I myself felt quite like a stuffed sausage. At one point I felt like bursting, spilling a days work of hot dogs, fries, and fried pickles everywhere. But I kept it in, for the most part because hots dogs look way better pre-consumption.

The result of that hard day last fall? Two jewels of the Chicago hot-dog scene, both with unique offerings. Hot Doug’s, with their crayfish sausage, duck-fat fried fries, and wonderfully balanced cheese, sauce, and sausage pairings, is for the sausage purist. The sausage, and they run from traditional to gourmet at Hot Doug’s, is king. Relatively nearby however is a place where sausage is king, but the rest of court is just as loved. Franks ‘n’ Dawgs is the place to find ‘five-star dining, on a bun.’ (Their pun. Punny.)

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I’ve been back since, many times. I apologize for the picture quality, but I couldn’t be bothered with composition and lighting, those little things, when there was food on the table. It’s that good. What you see is the Roaring Buffalo Chicken, truffle chicken sausage, celery root slaw, blue cheese, and house-made hot sauce, and the Southerner, pork loin and caramelized onions sausage, corn bread, cherry bourbon BBQ sauce, and scallions.

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If you’re in Chicago, or even the Chicago-area, go. Get a dawg. And the brussels sprouts salad and the triple truffle fries. Heads up, it’s byob, and there’s a Binny’s on the other side of the block.

Spices.

See this thing?  It’s amazing.  One of the worst parts about leaving the comfort of your own home and venturing out into a new apartment is…the absence of mom’s spice rack.  A real set back, in terms of cooking up something spicy and/or delicious.  Setting up a new pantry of spices can not only be pricy, it can can also just be a plain old pain.  So many spices to purchase, so little to room to put them, so little disposable cash.  Thankfully, the humid subcontinent has got the just-flown-the-coop covered.  This nifty little tin?  Oh yea, it contains a whole lot of flavor.  And the best part is, you get to steal from mom.  (Though I’ll have to get back to you on the price of refills…)