September 20, 2014

Chicago Eats

by Anja

It's been short, but sweet. The days I spent visiting Sun in Chicago.
We made the most out of it and explored the city by car, foot, bicycle, boat, and paddle board. So much fun we had. And of course we ate like there was no tomorrow. Sun had planned every single meal and all I needed to do was sit down and wait for my plates to be filled.

We went to Summer House Santa Monica for lunch and breakfast. Great, vibrant atmosphere and good food. It really did feel like being in Santa Monica.

Parachute was a highlight. A neighborhood restaurant that serves globally inspired Korean American cuisine. Beverly and John were the greatest hosts and made our evening a true pleasure and unforgetable experience. Sun will devote a full post to this special restaurant, so I will keep my little retrospect short. A thorough review is coming up.

Another great night was spent at  Girl and the Goat. Among our favorites that night were the fried zucchini flowers, the crisp braised pork shank, and the pan roasted halibut. Unfortunately this place gets packed and loud, so we decided to go to a quieter, more relaxing place for dessert and drinks.

We went to Fig & Olive and enjoyed sitting on the roof-top patio. We had a wonderful time, enjoyed fine cocktails and dessert (chocolate souffle and creme brulee cheesecake) and I'd definitely like to try their food one day.

Kai Zan was our favorite experience this week. Amazing food! Try their escolar pearls, maguro pearls, calamari fry, angry crab, orange rush. Or better yet, go for the chef's choice, a multi-course menu full of pleasant surprises.

I have to say that - in my humble opinion - not even Grace could beat the Kai Zan experience. Among one of the finer tasting menu restaurants Chicago has to offer, food and service was without a question good, yet for some reason we couldn't get excited that evening. Maybe it was because it was our last and a bit of sadness lingered on that evening. But maybe really the people at Kai Zan just knew how to better please and surprise our tastebuds.

Oh, and yes, by coincidence we found this doughnut truck. So cute, I couldn't resist taking tons of pictures.

August 30, 2014

Shrimp & Grapefruit Risotto

by Anja

This wonderful recipe here more or less comes from Aran Goyoaga's amazing cookbook "Small plates, sweet treats" which in the last two years has become one of the most used cookbooks in my home. So many great recipes in there! This risotto here is amazing, and my version is only slightly different from Aran's original recipe.

Most of the adjustments I make to recipes are shortcuts. As a working mom, there's simply not always enough time for elaborate recipes. Other times, adjustments need to be made according to the availability of ingredients. Switzerland still does not offer all of the - sometimes rather exotic - ingredients found in some of my favorite reicpes. This is true for this risotto recipe here, too. In Switzerland, a country without any seashores, it is really hard to get by good and fresh seafood. Shrimps come frozen, often times precooked

So, I work with the ingredients I have and try to make the most out of the recipes. If you look for the original, extremely good recipe for this risotto, look into Aran's book. If you can live with or look for a simplified version, read on.

Ingredients (serves 4)

more or less 12 ounces (350g) frozen shrimp, preferably uncooked, defrosted
5 cups fish stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1 1/2 (about 300g) cups short grain rice (such as Arborio)
1/2 cup (125ml) white wine
1 grapefruit (including zest, so get an organic one if possible)
a few fresh thyme sprigs
a good handful of finely grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt

Finely grate the grapefruit zest, then segment the grapefruit, making sure to save any juice. Set aside until needed.

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp flipping once, until they turn pink, about 1 minute. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and keep them covered until ready to use. (skip this step if you use precooked shrimp).

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pot and turn the heat to medium. Add the diced onion, season with salt and cook until softened, but not browned (about 5 minutes). Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until all grains are well coated with the oil. Add white wine and let cook until fully dissolved (1-2 minutes). Add 1/2 cup (125ml) fish stock and stir. Continue cooking the rice, stirring constantly. When the stock has been absorbed, add another 1/2 cup (125ml) and continue, stirring, until the all stock has been used and rice is cooked al dente (this will take about 18-20 minutes).

Add grapefruit zest, segments and juice and cook for another 2 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and shrimp. Stir and make sure the shrimp is heated through. Serve immediately with a few sprigs of thyme.

August 16, 2014

Curry Vegetable Lasagna

by Marjan

Layers of vegetable, accented with spices from the east, brought together with a velvety texture of coconut milk and lime zest- are you ready to try my vegetarian lasagna unlike any other recipe out there?
I personally love my recipe for beef lasagna. I hope to share it with you in future blogs. My family and friends always ask me to make it for them on special occasions. It is a classic Italian recipe with all the pleasures of indulging herbs, tomato, ricotta cheese, and beef based flavors.

However, lately, I have found myself eating much healthier which means excluding recipes which require meats, processed pasta, and cheese. No matter how healthy I prefer to eat, I can never substitute taste and flavor for the sake of eating healthy! Therefore, with the abundance of vegetables available from our garden, I am constantly substituting coconut milk in place of cream and cheese; quinoa as my protein base; and using vegetables instead of pasta, bread and rice to satisfy my hunger.

In this recipe, I do use 6-8 sheets of lasagna; however, using curry and coconut milk, really sets this preparation of flavors apart from any other recipe out there for vegetarian lasagna. The ingredients are versatile, therefore you can incorporate any vegetables you already have such as bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. Try it, I’m certain you will love it!

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