A Peachy Dessert

Fresh Local Peaches
Puff Pastry Filled with Peach Jam and Brie
A Drizzle of Honey
Whipped Crème Fraîche

We made this dessert when I was in Chicago visiting my family. We were shopping at Whole Foods Market and asked the produce manager what his favorite fruit was that day. He said, “Local Illinois Peaches.” So that is what we bought and how this dessert came to be.
Initially we were going to grill or sauté the peaches in butter with sugar, but they tasted so delightful as is, we decided to leave them as nature intended. What shall we serve to complement these beauties? Last month I made a Baked Brie in Fillo with Preserves, that became the inspiration here. Tangy whipped crème fraîche would provide the perfect balance to the sweet fruit.
The photo above is of my neighbor’s peach tree here in Los Angeles. They told me to help myself. YAY! More peachy desserts are on the way! And a big thank you to my generous neighbors!

Cut puff pastry sheets into squares. Fill each square with a generous spoonful of peach jam and a piece of brie. Fold the corners together. Brush the pastry with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until puffed and golden brown.

Slice the peaches and arrange on the plates. Place warm puff pastry in the center, drizzle with honey then top with whipped crème fraîche.
A Splendid and Easy Peachy Dessert!

Dinner with Top Chef Stephanie Izard

seared foie gras served over smoked duck wontons
with a smoked duck broth

Stephanie making smoked duck wontons in Kristy’s kitchen.

menu
 
seared foie gras served over smoked duck wontons 
with a smoked duck broth
 
smoked goat with potato gnocchi 
summer squash and salsa verde
 
seared miso marinated lamb 
with market potatoes and blackberry gastrique
 
grilled bison strip steak 
with smokey blue and sweet onion panzanella
 
frozen nougat with peach and tomato coulis



Kristy’s Summery Table

How This Amazing Evening Came About…

You may remember me writing about the over-the-top birthday present from my brother, Don, and sister-in-law, Kristy, last year, Guest-Chef-For-The-Day in Charlie Trotter’s kitchen? So this year, my generous little brother, always outdoing himself, bid on having Top Chef Stephanie Izard come to their home to cook dinner for six people for my birthday present. It would be the three of us plus three guests of my choice. The silent auction benefits my nephew’s school, North Park Elementary School. The gift also included a Top Chef chef’s coat and cookbook. How cool is that? Thank you, love you!

That morning Stephanie and her Sous Chef Dave shopped at the Farmers’ Market, then they spent the day smoking the duck and goat, and prepping the meal. They arrived at Don & Kristy’s home carrying a huge cooler filled with all the ingredients to make one extraordinary dinner!
 
smoked goat with potato gnocchi
summer squash and salsa verde

In Her Own Words
Experience
In Chicago, my restaurant Scylla and before that sous chef at La Tache, roundsman at Spring, line cook at Vong. In Phoenix, line cook at Christopher’s Fermier Brasserie and other restaurants. In 2008 I was the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef.
Hometown
Born in Evanston, IL but grew up in Stamford, CT.
Education
University of Michigan, with a degree in Sociology, then headed to Arizona, where I attended the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona.
Chicago Love
In a very spur of the moment decision, I decided to just pack up and move to Chicago nine years ago from Phoenix. It is such a great food town, with a wonderful community of chefs. I plan on staying here for a long time.
The Drunken Goat
It’s definitely going to be representative of my style. There will be a lot of seafood, definitely a lot of pork products and some fun flavor combinations going on. I will take comfort-style foods and just bring them that one step further. It’s going to be a lot of tasty food.

Stephanie’s food is amazing, unique, delicious. We were all so impressed with her fresh, interesting and bold combination of ingredients. The dishes were very creative, yet balanced and harmonious. Stephanie and Dave themselves made the evening even more memorable. They were gracious, easy-going, good-humored, unpretentious, and a lot of fun!

Global Wine Pairing
 
Ruinart Brut Rosé Champagne NV
 
Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Achleiten Smaragd 2006
 
Château de Ségriès Tavel Rosé  2008
 
Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2007
 
Weingut Robert Weil Rheingau Riesling Spätlese 2007

Stephanie describes each dish after it is served.
seared miso marinated lamb 
with market potatoes and blackberry gastrique

Stephanie and Dave are such good-sports! Taking a break from cooking to play with Stone. If it were still light out, I bet they would have been shooting hoops in the alley too!
 
grilled bison strip steak 
with smokey blue and sweet onion panzanella

 
frozen nougat with peach and tomato coulis


Little Chef Jett

Stone, Stephanie, and Jett

My dear friend Peggy and I met in college. We are Alpha Phi sorority sisters. After graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 1977 we moved to Aspen, Colorado to put our college degrees to good use, we were ski bums. There we worked in restaurants cooking, bartending, and waitressing. Life was great, a free ski pass included.
Since Peggy and her husband, John, live in Chicago, it was a special treat to invite them to the Top Chef dinner. It was also a pleasure to invite Kristy’s sister,Wendy, who was visiting from Arizona.

Stephanie Izard’s new Chicago restaurant, The Drunken Goat, will be opening in the West Loop in February. Her site “Stephanie Izard,”  is in the midst of being redone right now but there is some content available, including some awesome recipes. Definitely keep checking back.
To my Blogger Friends in the Chicago area:
How about we finally get together and plan a dinner at The Drunken Goat in early April? I will be in town for Passover. It would be so great to meet in person. Let’s go visit Stephanie! If you are interested, please leave a comment here, and we will make some plans come March, OK?
Dear Stephanie:
Thank you so much for the outstanding meal 
and best wishes for continued success! 
Don, Kristy, Peggy, John, Wendy, Stone, Jett and I 
are your biggest fans!
Lori Lynn

Chicago Style Hot Dog

Chicago Style: dragged through the garden
I have been in Chicago visiting my family. Grew up there on the North Side in West Rogers Park. Cubs fan. Hot Dog fan, too. Loved Fluky’s back then. Does anyone remember Terry’s Hot Dog Stand on Touhy Avenue? It was our hangout.
Every time I go back to Chicago to visit my brother Don, my sister-in-law Kristy and nephews Stone (7) and Jett (almost 5, he is counting the days) which is quite often actually, we observe a few important culinary traditions:
  1. They take me somewhere to enjoy a Chicago Style hot dog or Polish sausage. This time it was Chicago’s Dog House in Lincoln Park.
  2. I cook a meal with my nephews. Together we made Panko Crusted Turbot with tartar sauce and ketchup.
  3. I cook dinner for the adults at least one night. This time twice, one night had to be the Award Winning Mushroom Agnolotti recipe!
  4. We dine out at one of Chicago’s top restaurants. We ate at a wonderful hot new place called Sunda New Asian Cuisine this time, but the highlight of the trip was a home cooked meal by the amazing and über-talented Top Chef Stephanie Izard at Don & Kristy’s home. I can’t wait to share that meal with you all!
  5. We always eat lunch at Joe’s Stone Crab on Grand & Rush before Kristy drives me to O’Hare to fly home.

I am particularly fond of Hot Doug’s but this time, happy to try some place new, we went to Chicago’s Dog House.

We all liked the “Frips.” A cross between fries and potato chips.

They originally tried to do this by hand, but it took way too long for all the customers in line, so now they’re using an auger.

Daddy Style: My brother likes to try the specialty of the house. Here is the Duck Sausage with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, caramelized onions and Dijon mustard.

You might know me as Lori Lynn, but my “real” name is Aunt GeeGee. One day when my little brother, Don, was almost two years old and I was three, my dad took me on an outing.
My little bro was inconsolable. He cried and cried out for GeeGee. My mother did not know what GeeGee meant.  She tried everything from food, to changing his diaper, to toys – but he still cried until I came home with my father. And then my little brother sighed his relief when his “GeeGee” returned.
As we got a little older, the name GeeGee (pronounced like the clarified butter X 2) morphed to Geeg. And then in high school, it wasn’t cool anymore and Geeg became Lori. Over forty years later after my little brother had kids, the name GeeGee has now become cool again. Stone and Jett only know me as Aunt GeeGee. YAY! Yay for silly names, old memories, and traditions.
The Kids Fix Dinner with Aunt GeeGee

Back at their house: Jett and Stone crusting the fish for dinner. Flour, egg, breadcrumbs. The flour got a little messy. Oh well. Stone said the fish was “good,” and gave the thumbs up sign.

Stone Style: My seven-year-old nephew has loved onions ever since he was a baby. He prefers his hot dog with ketchup and onions. Jett prefers just ketchup, and is not too keen on the poppy seeds.

The family enjoys lunch at Chicago’s Dog House in Lincoln Park. Aunt GeeGee happily sat between the boys.

Huh???

Julia’s Last Home & Coq au Vin

Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, Mushrooms, and Bacon
“In France it is usually accompanied only by parsley potatoes; buttered green peas could be included if you wish a green vegetable.” from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

In honor of Julia’s birthday, Father Adam and I made the meal as she recommends. Our potatoes are parsleyed and our peas are buttered and tossed with chopped fresh mint.

Montecito, California

Adjacent to the city of Santa Barbara, lies beautiful Montecito. A while back my mother and I had lunch at the charming Montecito Inn.

After lunch, we decided to drive up the road to visit the Casa Dorinda to see where Julia Child (August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004) spent her last years.

This assisted living facility is a sprawling complex, the former estate of a wealthy nature lover. Julia occupied a cozy one bedroom apartment. She decorated her little kitchen walls with cookware and tools just like she had at her home in Cambridge.

In addition to cooking and camaraderie, another of Julia’s passions was golf. I like to imagine that it gave her pleasure to have this pretty little green at the Casa Dorinda. Perhaps she played here?
Back to the kitchen and her Coq au Vin recipe…

Bacon is simmered in water, then dried and sautéed in hot butter until lightly brown. A whole chicken, cut-up, is then browned in the fat. Cognac is added to the pan.

Another reason to love Julia’s cooking – many of her recipes include lighting them on fire! Tip the pan and ignite the cognac.

After the flames subside, add 3 cups of good red wine and enough beef stock to cover the chicken. Stir in tomato paste, mashed garlic, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. This is another one of those times where I wish you could smell the aromas…Cover and cook 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile make brown-braised pearl onions and sautéed mushrooms.

We thought Julia would be pleased that we sautéed French bread in clarified butter, in her honor, to make croutons for the coq au vin.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it to a platter then skim the fat from the sauce. Raise the heat and reduce the sauce. Beat beurre manié into the sauce to thicken, adjust seasoning. Add the chicken, bacon, onions and mushrooms back to the pot, heat through and serve.
The complete recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking can be found here. And oh my, the sauce was so flavorful, rich and velvety!
Julia Wisdom:
“The pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appétit!
Happy Birthday and Thank You Julia Child!
(The month of August is Julia Child Month here at TaStE WiTh ThE EyEs. I am resurrecting some prior Julia related posts as well as cooking some new Julia inspired dishes. Coq au Vin originally posted on 8.08.08).

Thank You Julia: Roast Chicken with a Natural Sauce

“A well-roasted chicken is the mark of a fine cook. Even among professionals, it is a source of pride to present a shapely chicken, with beautifully colored skin and perfectly done meat, juicy and tender. There is nothing technically difficult about roasting a chicken but there are many approaches to take…for serving either of our chickens, we suggest a delicious pan sauce.” from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.

The oven is preheated to 425°F. The chicken is rinsed thoroughly with hot water and dried with paper towels. Fat lumps are removed from the cavity. The small bony protrusions “nubbins” are removed from the wing-tip joints.

Carving is made easier when the wishbone is removed. This is done by lifting the neck skin and inserting a thin sharp knife into each end of the breast and slicing diagonally along each side of the wishbone.

The finger and thumb are used to loosen the bone, pry it out at the top, pull down, wriggling it out.

“A cooking process such as roasting a chicken is inexact – there is no one way that is the right way,” writes Julia. “Just start with a good chicken and pay attention to how you cook it.”

Voilà! The wishbone is removed!

 

“Not everything I do with my roast chicken is necessarily scientific,” she says. “For instance I always give my bird a generous butter massage before I put it in the oven. Why? Because I think the chicken likes it, and more important, I like to give it.”

Season the cavity with salt and pepper, stuff it with 4 sprigs of fresh tarragon and 4 thick slices of lemon. Give the lemon a little squeeze as they are inserted. Massage softened butter over the entire chicken skin and salt generously. Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken. “I learned the butter massage when I started cooking for the first time in France and would never give it up.”

The wings were folded up against the breast and the drumsticks tied together with twine. After roasting for 15 minutes, the heat is lowered to 350°F. The chicken is repeatedly basted with accumulated juices. Rough chopped carrots and onions are added after 30 minutes more. (We got nice caramelized brown bits in the bottom of the pan but had to add some chicken stock to the pan to prevent burning). The chicken is done when the juices run clear. Pierce the breast with the tines of a carving fork, press to bring the juices up, there should be no traces of pink. After about 1 1/2 hours the chicken was removed to a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes.
A Natural Sauce from the Roasting Pan

The pan can be tilted to accumulate the juices and fat in one corner, then spoon off the fat.
Julia shares, “Another aspect of roasting that is very important to me – also a lesson from my early years in France – is making the deglazing sauce from the drippings and brown bits in the roasting pan. These brown bits are the precious, caramelized natural juices, their flavor intensified and concentrated by the process of roasting and basting. When you turn these bits into a ‘deglazing’ sauce, you are preserving and essence of pure delicious chicken. There is nothing better to serve with your roast.”

Or do as we did, pouring everything into a gravy separator, then pouring the juices back into the pan, which worked great for removing the vegetables and much of the fat.

The pan is placed over two medium heat burners, 2 T. minced shallots are added to the pan, stirring briefly. Then 1/3 c. of dry white wine and 2/3 c. chicken stock are added, raise the heat to high, and cook to get the sauce to the right consistency, scraping up all the glazed bits in the pan with a wooden spoon. Taste the sauce, adjust seasoning. Strain to remove bits, add butter for a richer finish (we skipped the butter and found the sauce delightfully rich and flavorful without it).
Lauren carves the bird: Remove the trussing strings and lay the chicken on its side. Cut the skin all around the thigh and leg. Lift the leg and pull away. The thigh will break off at the hip joint. Separate the drumstick from the thigh. Then holding the fork in the breast, cut through the should joint under the wing. Slice through to the outer part of the breast. Remove the breast meat with the wing attached.
Roast Chicken with a Natural Sauce

Pour the sauce onto a warm platter.
Top with the carved chicken.
Recipe from:
Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
Published by Random House 1999

A well-roasted chicken and delicious sauce indeed!
Merci Beaucoup Julia!
Once again, in honor of Julia’s birthday, August 15th, Lisa of Champaign Taste blog is hosting the Fourth Annual Julia Child Birthday Celebration. Please join us in celebrating Julia, details here.
“Toujours Bon Appétit!”