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.

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
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.
Born in Evanston, IL but grew up in Stamford, CT.
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.