Blog is 3! Celebrating with King Trumpets and Shishito Peppers!

Grilled King Trumpet Mushrooms &  Shishito Peppers on Rosemary Skewers
Baby Spinach and Rosemary Roasted Golden Soybeans
Toasted Sesame Oil & Tomato Water

Pleurotus eryngii
King Trumpet Mushroom also known as King Oyster, Eryngii, Pleorote du Panicaut,
Argonane, Bouligoule, Champignon de Garrigue, Cardoncello, Cardarello

Taste With The Eyes is 3 years old!

Cooking, photographing, writing, then ultimately sharing my culinary adventures on Taste With The Eyes is a source of much joy for me. This little food blog is an ongoing learning experience, a terrific creative outlet, and a source of pride. It has opened doors and provided new opportunities. It is the means with which to connect with fellow foodies, and a wonderful way make new friends with various interests and passions from all around the globe. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share food and ideas and experiences with you.

Reading your blogs provides an awesome source of inspiration, a conduit of creativity, and a heartfelt connection through your personal stories. Your enthusiasm is infectious. I cook, dine, laugh, and cry with you.

Your kind, knowledgeable, clever, and sometimes funny comments are deeply appreciated. I learn so much from you, way beyond food and cooking. You amaze and inspire me.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Continue reading “Blog is 3! Celebrating with King Trumpets and Shishito Peppers!”

Cilantro-Scented Navy Bean Mash, Smoked Fish

Cilantro-Scented Navy Bean Mash
Smoked Salmon Rosette

Cook navy beans in chicken stock with smashed garlic cloves. Add cilantro sprigs for the last half hour of cooking. Let cool. Remove the sprigs and garlic.

Mash the beans with a potato masher, add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Fold in crème fraîche and rough chopped cilantro leaves.
The Navy Bean is a mild-tasting, smaller-sized dense white bean that got its name from being a staple food for the US Navy, as they do not spoil and provide excellent nutrition.

Courtney of Chicago’s Coco Cooks blog is hosting this month’s My Legume Love Affair, a wildly successful event created by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook. April is its tenth incarnation, and one of which I am excited to participate in once again. Next month’s host will be yours truly, Taste With The Eyes.

Courtney’s challenge was to create a starter or dessert with legumes. For this party, I am serving a starter of cilantro-scented navy bean mash on spoons topped with a rosette of smoked salmon or a morsel of smoked trout.

My friends Heather and Abbi, stopped by during the creative stage. I served them the cilantro-scented navy bean dip with toast points brushed with olive oil. Cooking the beans with garlic cloves, stock, and cilantro imparts a wonderful depth of flavor to the beans. My vegetarian friends would love this too, just use a rich vegetable stock in place of chicken stock.

Another post, another thank you to my brother. This one, to my brother Don. You see, he waited in a not-so-short line last December to get an autographed cookbook by Charlie Trotter. Those of you who have been following Taste With The Eyes may recall that my birthday gift from Don & Kristy last year was Guest Chef For The Day in Charlie Trotter’s kitchen. I am a big fan of Charlie, and this cookbook, Home Cooking with Charlie Trotter, is a favorite; with casual recipes for the home chef, focusing on crisp flavors and straight-forward presentations. That’s where the idea for cilantro-scented navy beans came from!
Next up for MLLA 11, Three Bean and Potato Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette, inspired by Charlie, too.  Bean aficionados, won’t you please join us in May and share your favorite legume recipe?

Charlie Trotter’s Kitchen

I’m so fortunate. Last Saturday I was The Guest Chef for the Day at Charlie Trotter’s Restaurant in Chicago – a unique opportunity to participate in the creation of Charlie’s world class cuisine. The weekend before, the restaurant celebrated its 21st anniversary. This prestigious restaurant is dedicated to excellence in the culinary arts and I was absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to be a part of the team for the day.
I arrived at 2 PM. The plan was to work in his innovative and progressive kitchen until 9 PM then change out of my chef’s whites and join my family and friends in the dining room for dinner.

The Family Meal: The staff and I enjoyed this delicious fish stew, paprika potatoes, fresh Illinois corn and salad before the shift.

Ready to get cooking, but wait, I am first offered a glass of Champagne…they’re spoiling me! Pierre Peters Brut Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru

I’m hoping I can give you a sense of the experience by sharing photographs of the kitchen and some of the finished plates.

The Busy, Dedicated Staff

Garde Manger: the station where cold dishes are prepared.

Chilled Snow Lake Trout with Smoked Salmon Roe
Sorrel & California Crayfish

Pickled Baby Radish with Chives
Charlie Trotter is clearly passionate about vegetables.

Building the Dish:
Michigan Heirloom Tomatoes with Fava Beans
Basil Seeds & Chervil
Italian Summer Truffle 🙂
Ossau Iraty with Truffle
Ossau Iraty cheese from the French Pyrenées is aged for a minimum of ninety days;  its fragrance is reminiscent of toasted hazelnuts, and it tastes of the sweet, buttery flavors from superior sheep’s milk.

Braised Short Ribs are Grilled…


Forty Eight Hour Braised Short Rib
with Chive Blossoms & Fermented Black Garlic

Angelica Ice Cream is made with angelica herb from the restaurant’s abundant garden.

Michigan Raspberries & Blackberries
with Angelica Ice Cream & Angle Food Tuile

I am so grateful to the entire staff at Charlie Trotter’s. Everyone was extremely accommodating, friendly, and professional. And to top it all off, my family, friends, and I enjoyed a fabulous dinner later that night.
Thank you everyone for a most extraordinary and memorable day.

Mignardise: small sweet bites served at the end of a meal…
A sweet experience indeed!

Charlie Trotter’s Guest Chef – Me!!!

Today is my birthday. The reason I am telling this tidbit of information to the world is to share my excitement over the coolest birthday gift from my brother, Don, and sister-in-law, Kristy. I will be the Guest Chef For The Day at Charlie Trotter’s Restaurant in Chicago, spending the complete day in the kitchen including food preparation training and working on the line! Then after cooking from 2 PM to 9 PM, I change out of my chef’s whites and sit down to dinner in the dining room with my family. Whoo! Hoo!

Charlie Trotter’s is regarded as one of the finest restaurants in the world. For 20 years, the restaurant has dedicated itself to excellence in the culinary arts. Never willing to rest on its laurels, Charlie Trotter’s Restaurant is innovative and progressive in the world of food and wine and has been instrumental in establishing new standards for fine dining.”

If any of my friends, including my blogger friends, are in Chicago on this particular summer evening (date to be determined), come to Charlie Trotter’s (reservations required) and let me cook for you!

Thanks Don and Kristy. I love you. Whoo! Hoo!

A video profile of Charlie Trotter’s eponymous restaurant.