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Tag: food

Some like it hot: Heat brings customers to some businesses (Sun-Times Media)

ST. CHARLES — Mary Alice Roach, 14, of Wayne and Madeline Mortensen, 17, of St. Charles sat under a pink chandelier Friday afternoon in Kimmer’s Ice Cream, each with an ice cream cone in hand.

The incoming freshman and current student were matched this summer, part of St. Charles East High School’s peer leadership program. They’d spent the day mini golfing, “getting comfortable with high school and making a smooth transition,” Madeline said.

“It was really hot so we thought, ‘Let’s get ice cream,’” Mary Alice said.

Kimmer’s definitely has seen an increase in business this year, according to owner Kimberly Elam.

When the temperatures first hit unusual highs this spring, Elam said, she was ordering ingredients “as if it was June.” And, on a busy day this summer, the shop can go through two or three tubs of caramel sea salt ice cream, its most popular.

The hot, dry weather has had “a significant impact” on the area, according to Dan Rich, public works supervisor in Elgin.

And that impact has been “both positive and negative,” Rich said.

But there is a silver lining in that rainless cloud for some area businesses, such as ice cream shops, cooling service providers and other organizations whose construction projects are ahead of schedule.

For the rest of the story, read Some like it hot: Heat brings customers to some businesses (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Katherine Peters for Sun-Times Media.


Meaty issue (Sun-Times Media)

It’s not Soylent Green. But calling it “pink slime” doesn’t make it sound much more appetizing.

Officially, it’s “lean finely textured beef” — cheap, lean beef made from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts and treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill E. coli and other bacteria. It’s mixed in with ground beef sold in supermarkets and served in some school lunches.

And it has drawn public outcry, mostly since a March 7 ABC News investigation reported that 70 percent of the ground beef sold in grocery stores contains the filler.

The outcry since has prompted several national grocers and fast-food chains to stop buying meat made with the filler. It also shut down, at least temporarily, three of the four plants where it is made in Iowa, Kansas and Texas.

And it has garnered nearly 259,000 signatures on an online petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to “STOP using pink slime in school lunches” by school lunch blogger Bettina Siegel of The Lunch Tray.

But school districts U46 and 300 say all that has drawn few phone calls from concerned parents in the Elgin and Carpentersville-Dundee areas.

“Actually, I think we had just one parent that asked about it, asked what we were doing. Just one parent,” said Claudie Phillips, director of food and nutrition services in Elgin School District U46, the state’s second-largest district.

For the rest of the story, read Meaty issue (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Sun-Times Media.

RECIPE: Hot Toddy… FOR HEALTH! (Lean Girls Club)

Battling an end-of-winter cold or flu after the snow this weekend in Chicago? I shared my husband’s hot toddy recipe for your health today on Lean Girls Club.

For the rest of the story, click the photo above.


My husband and I are kind of like your weird grandparents who always are trying to get you to eat things like beets and sugar-free candies and prescribing homemade tonics and tinctures for what’s ailing you. (Except for the sugar-free candies part. That’s just what my Polish great-grandma always tried to force-feed me.)

When I branded my arm with a hot baking sheet the week before our wedding, Joel read online to smear honey over the burn and wrap it in plastic wrap. (It left a barely-visible scar on my arm and a sticky spot on our seating chart.) When, after catching every cold and flu I came in contact with this winter, my tonsils became infected, he mixed me salty lime water and hot, spicy milk. (My throat did indeed feel better after three nights boiling milk with turmeric, but that more likely had to do with…

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RECIPE: A Fig Old-Fashioned for every season

Tyler Huckabee is the finder of awesome things. Even when somebody else finds the things and posts them on his Facebook page, they are awesome.

Like this recipe for a Fall Fig Cocktail from theKitchn.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Kristin loves figs. Also, that figs aren’t in season all that long; certainly, not in February. And so this recipe, posted on Tyler’s Facebook page, launched a citywide fig hunt to MAKE. THIS. COCKTAIL. That included stops at a Middle Eastern market, Trader Joe’s and (gulp) Whole Foods. The latter is where we found the next best thing to fresh figs… fig juice.

And so was born the poor man’s (or Old Man Winter’s) Fig Old-Fashioned, made with fig and orange juices for those snowbound in wintry Chicago, like Kristin. And maybe you. (You’re welcome.)

It’s a murky drink, not particularly attractive. But as Kristin described it, “The figgy cocktail was like a dense foggy evening that broke into crisp view of Orion.”

In other words, syrupy, tangy, well-balanced and DELICIOUS.

Fig Old-Fashioned
Adapted from theKitchn

1 ounce fig juice
1-1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce orange juice
1/4 ounce grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Pour ingredients over ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake, then strain into an Old-Fashioned glass.

Makes one drink, but you’ll end up making a couple more than that.

Photo taken with Retro Camera. Antlers blog divider via IROCKSOWHAT.

Free Home Run Inn pizza from Klout

You can argue Klout’s ability to measure influence is questionable, at best.

But you can’t argue with free pizza. Not even free frozen pizza. Not even when you take your food just a little too seriously, like my husband (and sometimes me, when I’m trying not to embarrass him).

Because some nights frozen pizza is the best thing in the world. Like Monday night, when Kristin and I were mixing Fig Old-Fashioneds (more on those in a later post) and planning to smoke some cigars she’d bought over the weekend at Up Down Cigar when Joel got home at 9:30 p.m. and hadn’t yet eaten dinner.

Joel and I usually pick up frozen pizzas when they hit $1 on sale at the grocery store. I like to spice them up with cinnamon and Frank’s RedHot sauce, sometimes oregano or red pepper flakes, if we have them. Joel adds meat. Or cheese.

So when Chicago-based Home Run Inn offered a free pizza (and pizza cutter!) as a Klout perk, I jumped on it. Because free is even better than $1. Also, I’d never had Home Run Inn pizza before, despite the fact, in the Chicago area, Home Run Inn makes up 25.8 percent of frozen pizza sales — more than DiGiorno and Tombstone combined (nationwide, it takes only 1.3 percent of that market). Those numbers come from a Chicago Tribune article Home Run Inn sent this Sun-Times Media reporte, along with the coupons and pizza cutter. No hard feelings.

The Ultra Thin Margherita pizza actually was pretty good. The ultra thin crust was flaky and buttery, but still crispy, almost like a cracker, and different from any other thin crust pizza I’ve had. The toppings… Well, they were buried in an avalanche of Pecorino Romano Joel had shredded on top.

Happy Margarita Day, indeed.

NOTE: In case you missed the part about the Home Run Inn pizza being a free pizza I got as a Klout perk, the Home Run Inn pizza was a free pizza I got as a Klout perk.

Photos taken with Retro Camera. Click to embiggen.