Category: Cooking

261. Barrington Eats: Feast Your Eyes on Heinen’s Fall Foods

 The Prepared Foods section at Heinen’s provides extremely unique and exciting selections for you to take home, heat and eat. And while they have some good standard everyday fare such as Chicken Romano and roasted potatoes, they also offer higher-end options that are fabulous, well-thought-out and really above and beyond everyday dinner. But the best part is that Heinen’s reinvents their Prepared Foods menu for every season and is now offering a full selection of tailor-made fall options at their Barrington store.
We’re taking a look at Heinen’s Fall Foods today in Part Two of a three-part-series about some of the most exciting seasonal offerings to be explored at Barrington’s newest grocery store.  To learn more about the new fall offerings in their Prepared Foods counter, we spoke with one of the company’s corporate chefs and learned that they truly think before they create, taking into account the demographics of their eating audience.  They profiled our area and say they discovered that we like finer things but also happen to love good old-fashioned comfort food.
The results of their research equal creamy rich goodness paired with delicate seasonal ingredients and include items such as rich Pumpkin Bisque, delectable Truffle Macaroni and Cheese and multifaceted Risotto Cakes……

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186. Barrington EATS: Hot Toppings for Your Diggity Dog

 Some of us may not be proud that the number one food consumed in America in July is hot dogs. But it’s true. 155 million alone will be consumed this upcoming weekend according to the National Hot Dog council. I much prefer eating healthier options, as I know many of you agree. But on an occasion like this, I say if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
 

Dogs will be the option many places you go over the Fourth of July festivities, including our beloved Brat tent. And you can buy them cheaper right now than at any time during the year. I love experimenting with different flavors and condiments, and saucing up a hot dog the way they do it in other parts of the world can add to the fun.
If you are serving dogs this weekend, here’s some topping ideas from other parts of the country and world……

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182. Barrington EATS with Biltmore Chef Mike Battaglia

 If you’ve read my blogs, you know that I often refer to cooking as a sport.  I recently met Mike Battaglia, the Executive Chef at Biltmore Golf, Beach & Tennis Club in North Barrington, and I’m telling you he is a player. Major Leagues. The kind who is always in the game, covering the whole field and going above and beyond average play. He changes up his strategy (menus), stays on top of changes in the industry (ingredients) and covers all the bases (making the most sense with his food).
Getting a chance to chat with a chef who plays this well is always a treat and inspiration. Chef Mike’s passion for his food is evident. And, to him, flavor is so important… as it should be for any great chef. So, Mike took us on a tour of his kitchen home base, showing us where he creates the meals for the Biltmore Country Club dining rooms that host weekly dinner menus and scheduled and private events……

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162. Barrington EATS: Pick & Prep the Perfect Mango

 It’s Monday morning and I have mangoes on the mind. How many ingredients can you think of that go as well with fish as they do in a smoothie, yet can also brighten up a pizza? Mango is a surprising fruit, and can do all three.

Mangoes are ripe and ready this time of year, and this means they’re everywhere, they’re priced right and they taste great.  But how do you know how to choose the perfect mango to put in your grocery basket?  Here are a few pointers to help you pick and pit the perfect mango……

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155. Barrington EATS: The Coolest Thing in the Kitchen

 I look forward to this time of year for many reasons… the Fox River is open for boating, the days until the Barrington pool opens can be counted on our fingers, graduation parties, gardening and baseball punctuate the weekends, and at the grocery stores, the prices of cucumbers begin their steady descent to from over $1 per cucumber to their 3-cucumbers-for-a-dollar lows (expect late in the summer).

Cucumbers are a solid staple in my household, an item that I refer to as a Smart ingredient. It’s Smart because they always get eaten (don’t rot in the crisper!), and can round out SO many meals for my family. Both my kids and I will eat cucumber slices just as a snack. Think crunchy, like chips! They are a main ingredient in two of my favorite salads, (recipes below) 4 other salads in my salads cookbook, they add a great texture and liveliness to many of my kids favorite sandwiches, such as turkey and bacon, or ham and lettuce.…

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85. “C” is for Cookie at Community Church of Barrington

 Bakers throughout Barrington have been busy all week preparing for tomorrow morning’s 38th Annual Community Church of Barrington Cookie Walk. If you want to see what “selling like hot cakes” looks like, don’t be late. Last year, they sold out of cookies in just over an hour.  So be sure to show up early because goodies found at the Cookie Walk make THE BEST “homemade” holiday gifts for neighbors.  They look just like you baked them yourself.  But …. shhh … don’t tell anyone I’ve let you in on this sneaky cookie tip.  I wouldn’t want my own neighbors to know my little holiday secret ;).

Here’s how it works, for $10, you can buy a “one pound” box and fill it with your own hand-picked assortment of cookies in all shapes, sizes and colors……

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74. 8th Annual Barrington Taste Fest and Expo

 Once a year in Barrington, the finest local chefs all come together in one place to serve up a special menu of featured dishes for diners to sample. It’s called the Barrington Taste Fest & Expo, it’s happening Thursday night, October 27th, at the Millrose Restaurant in South Barrington and tickets are selling fast, but still available.
The event is organized by the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce as a way to help the community get acquainted with some of the latest offerings made by local restaurants, caterers, bakeries, breweries and wine representatives.
But it’s not just about the food. While you sip and sample, you’ll also be able to mingle with exhibitors representing Barrington businesses in a wide range of categories, including medical professionals, retailers, financial and real estate advisors.  They’ll be sharing the space to feature their products and services while raffling great prizes. And the Chamber puts a fun spin on the event by giving you a passport when you walk through the door……

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Open Air Produce Market at the Arboretum of South Barrington

24. Meet the Green Grocer in South Barrington

 A Chicago neighborhood hot spot is opening for business in Barrington TODAY to offer a new place for us to find fresh local produce while shopping outdoors.  The Green Grocer is debuting a seasonal open air market this morning at the Arboretum of South Barrington and their colorful fruits and veggies are just waiting to come home to your table.
The new Produce Market will be a great place to pop in and pick up essential grocery items, lunch to go, the ingredients for a fresh and delicious dinner, fresh flowers or a gift for a friend who loves unique and hard-to-find food items.…

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2011 Chili Champion at the South Barrington Arboretum

306. Be Crowned the South Barrington Chili Champ

 The results are in after Saturday’s “Chilly Challenge” Chili Cook-off in South Barrington. About 300 chili fans from in and around Barrington met at the South Barrington Arboretum Saturday afternoon to sample and vote for chili prepared by seven local restaurants.

I was one of the guest judges and snapped a few photos on the chili tour, which started at Pinstripes Bowling, Bocce & Bistro. A shuttle whisked the chili tasters off to all seven restaurants, which included Pinstripes, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, Nozuzmi Asian & Japanese Cuisine, Gold Class Cinemas, L’Eiffel Bistrot & Creperie, Panera Bread and defending 2010 Chili Champion, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. That’s a lot of chili for only $10 and it was so much fun! Almost all of the participants cast ballots for their favorites at the very end and it was a very close vote. But the 2011 South Barrington Arboretum Chili Champion is……

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Purchase Christmas Cookies at Cookie Walk

254. Community Church of Barrington Cookie Walk

 One of Barrington’s best holiday secrets is happening tomorrow morning and, if you’re like me, you don’t want to miss it. I’ve always dreamed of baking batch after batch of Christmas cookies to give as homemade gifts to friends and neighbors. But this only happens in my Martha Stewart fantasy world. Well, thanks to a talented bevy of baking ladies at Community Church of Barrington, my fantasy will be realized this year, or at least it’ll look that way ;).

The Community Church of Barrington’s 37th annual Cookie Walk is happening tomorrow, December 11th, from 10:30AM until 12:30PM, but doors will open at 9AM for those who want to pick up their tickets early.…

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Cooking with Erin Bailey

237. Garnish Your Holiday Table Like Chef Erin Bailey

 Sometimes little details can add a world of elegance to your Thanksgiving table. That’s what Barrington chef, Erin Bailey says. And, when it comes to cooking, Erin’s a local expert. She’s a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris Culinary Arts School in France and, for years, she ran La Pomme de Pin, a specialty foods market and catering business she started right here in Barrington.

I recently dropped by to see Erin when she was preparing a pre-Thanksgiving meal at home. She was making mashed potatoes and the conversation quickly turned to one of her favorite subjects, food. “If you start with good ingredients, the preparation can be really simple.”…

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Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey

232. Talk Turkey on “National Thaw Day”

 Did you know that today is a holiday? Yes. It is. The Thursday before Thanksgiving every year is called “National Thaw Day”. It’s the day you’re supposed to take your frozen turkey out of the freezer and put it in the fridge so it’s sufficiently defrosted and ready to be cooked on Thanksgiving. I’m not writing this because I’m an expert. I’m writing this because I have a secret……

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