Sunday, September 28, 2014

What?! We're Eating at The Mall?! @e+o

Wanting something out of the ordinary and close to "Chiburbia" ( Chicago suburbs), I recalled hearing that Chef Rodelio Aglibot, who is responsible for everything delicious at Sunda , has brought his culinary genius to Randhurst Mall in Mt. Prospect called E+O. Knowing what this guy can do to food, I did not even flinch at the thought of eating at the mall...and they have pappardelle!

House made pappardelle, short rib, sour cream:
Of course! What did you expect? Well, I actually expected the typical Italian tomato sauce as the short rib ragu. Oh no no! The ragu had an earthy beef stew nature, with a hint of sweetness. It reminded me of a really good pulled pork sauce. Swirling the sour cream around turned the sauce into one creamy slurp of heaven! Oh yeah...clean plate club.

My noshing partner for this adventure is my friend Dr. Cracker (D.C.) He had the steak, but I don't recall what it was called, but I remember it having a roasted fenel bulb. Prior to this experience, I did not know what a fenel bulb looks like or tastes like. It had a meaty but celery crunch, and it seems that it would take on seasonings very well. D.C. is a big steak snob, often stating that his fillet mignon trumps most steak houses out there...he actually liked this.

The Chiburbia culinary adventure was too good not to do I did! This time, I dragged Karla Fantastic. She was filled with doubt as I nonchalantly said "We're going to eat at the mall." I can't believe she agreed to this idea.

 She had the Kale Salad with bulgur, parsley, lemon, pecorino, currants,pine nuts, sweet onions, and olive oil. Holy medley of flavor and textures! There were different types of crunches that I experienced in one bite, and I swear there was lobster in there, although it wasn't mentioned. I heard that the next day leftovers of this dish was even better!

Another dish was the Double or Nothing Sushi with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, mango, albacore, salmon, tuna, escolar, sesame sauce, tobiko, and nori. This did not need to swim in the pool of soy sauce and wasabi. I think if I had access to that, I most likely would've ruined the flavor masterpiece.

My insatiable craving for carbs won again, and I ended up with the Smoked Chicken Carbonara with fusilli pasta,duck skin, peas, pecorino, and duck skin! Just put a bird on it!...bird egg, bird, bird skin. Everything is indeed better with an egg on top. The egg made a creamy sauce that enveloped the spiral noodles. The peaceful zen as my teeth digs into the carbs is shaken by the crunchy duck skin. Shake me some more!!!  Oh I have news goose...I had left overs! I popped this in the microwave the next day, waiting to eat pasta in a a pool of oil as most carbonara dishes suffer from. To my delight, there was no sign of an oil pool. It tasted like it did when it was first served! 

E+O number 3! In celebration of being born, a little catering stumbled on my office. The smorgasbord included chicken sandwiches with lemon aioli, garden ciabatta sandwich for the vegetarians, turkey sandwiches and crab cake sandwiches with avocado and lemon remoulade. Being that it was my birthday, I felt adventurous, and put my mild seafood allergy to the test. I picked the crab cake sandwich. No benadryl needed. That my noshers is the true test of freshness. I somehow only itch when it's not fresh. The crab cake was real crab cake, and not just filler cake, and the avocado and lemon remoulade joined forces to create a creamy and tangy medley in my mouth! 
For dessert, were donut hole looking things, but it tasted like carrot cake, chocolate chip cookies, and thumbprint cookies. To take these sweet things to the next level, it came with chocolate and creme anglaise type dipping sauces. Oh was it hard to leave the lunch room.

No cocktails were served during lunch, but they do serve strong but amazing craft cocktails. Call me a lightweight, but one was enough. Remember you still have to drive out of Chiburbia! 

This place is definitely worth breaking out of the city bubble for! Multiple experiences of this place has proven it! Oh and their outdoor patio makes you forget you're within mall limits. Breathe in the fresh Chiburban air. Now hop in your rental car, eat at E+O before you head on over to Ikea...yes it's close to Ikea.

The inside looks like this...



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

OhMyGosh! Cookie Dough Buckeyes!

Some people's passion are just so strong and infectious, you couldn't help but subscribe to their cause. Enter The Great Dane's love affair with the Ohio State Buckeyes. I however, have no affiliations with any of the Big 10 teams. Coming from a small private university gives me a lot of wiggle room to root for the team of whoever was throwing a party. Go Meat!

Ok, maybe TGD has infected me with a little bit of enthusiasm. I mean, look at this mascot! It's just waiting for a hug!
Scrolling through my Pinterest board of things to do, I came across Something Swanky's   Cookie Dough Buckeyes recipe! The traditional buckeye is made out of  peanut butter and chocolate. Call me crazy, but I'm not crazy over peanut butter and chocolate combinations. Wait! Don't get me wrong, if you present me with a peanut butter cup, I will gladly eat it!

So with the OSU kickoff extravaganza that TGD has planned, it was only appropriate to make some buckeyes...for breakfast! Oh the joy of before-noon games.

 Let the kitchen adventure begin! 

My personal twist on this adventure calls for the following ingredients:

-1/2 cup butter
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1/2 tsp salt. I decided to be fancy, and used Cabernet salt
-1 1/4 cup flour
-1/4 cup milk. WHOLE milk is preferred. I just feel that it's how mother nature intended it.
-Approximately 1 cup of chocolate chips. It will help if you have a bag of it. Need I convince you?
-Splash of vanilla. I wish I had an actual vanilla bean.

Candy Melts for dipping.

This is how you do it...
Cream the brown sugar and softened butter together, then dump the rest of the ingredients in! Oh, if you need explicit instructions, don't dump the Candy Melts in!

I used my 70's style hand mixer to mix everything. It makes it so much more civilized than wrestling with the bowl and a spatula...just be careful about cranking the mixer up too high too soon. It's snowing...flour!

When everything is well combined,  go wash you hands and sing your ABC's, and start forming them into balls. I used a melon baller to get them as close to uniform sized as possible, and shaped them with my impeccably clean hands.

For the Candy Melt, since it's just chocolate colored and fake flavored, I added a few handfuls of the chocolate chips to give it a chocolatey kick. Approximately 2:1 Candy Melt to chocolate chip ratio. I used a toothpick as a dipping utensil, and then just smoothed out the toothpick holes after the chocolate has hardened.

O.H. I. O! Ready for kickoff! 
TGD was impressed by this arrangement.

Great success! OSU beat the Navy  37-17...and that this did not make it in the Pinterest fail club. So shocked! My addition of the Cabarnet salt balanced out the sweetness of everything. Sometimes, you get a flake of the salt, which was a welcomed depth of flavor. Adding the chocolate chips to the Candy Melt made the chocolate coating taste like I slaved over tempering chocolate.  It was a sweet pre-game treat...and post game celebration gorge fest. 

Time to scroll through Pinterest for more things to do in the kitchen that does not require fire.