TOC: Cooking the Books

• It’s The Cooking Issue this week at TOC, and the centerpiece story is a swoon-worthy smorgasbord of signature recipes from top Chicago chefs and restaurants. Admit it — you’ve been dying to makeUrban Belly’s lamb-and-brandy dumplings at home, or Smoque’s barbecue brisket, or the insane shortbread that Allison Levitt serves up at Mado. Now you can!

• Plus! Three writers get sent fully into the trenches: Rod O’Conner spends a day cooking at Mixteco Grill, where he learns that he is bad at filling corn husks. Heather Lalley rocks when it comes to making nonpareils at Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe, but doesn’t do so well at the chocolate curls. Michael Austin spends hours picking parsley for the cooks at The Bristol. Facing the wall, no less.

• Kevin Aeh lists off eight essentials for any kitchen. We concur with food processor, silpat, paring knife, saute pan, cookie sheet, silicon spatula, wooden spoon — but seriously? A pressure cooker? Works for some, sure, but not remotely on the same plane of essentialness as a freaking wooden spoon.

• Healthy cookbooks blah blah blah. Portion control blah blah blah. DIY Cheesemaking — now you’re talking!

Oh, but we’re not done — there are still restaurant reviews!

• Heather Shouse swings by MarketHouse, where the food is good (bordering on great), but there’s that unfortunate problem of being located in a dull place in a dull hotel with dull (okay, despicable) tourists.

• Meanwhile, David Tamarkin checks out Palette Bistro, which serves up solid neigborhood fare (hurrah, short ribs!) but isn’t necessarily worth making a special trip.

• Tamarkin also has a look at the newly-opened The Grocery, a bistro with an ambitious menu and, despite its BYO status, wine pairing suggestions for every dish.

[Photo: jinglejammer/FLickr]


TOC: Cooking the Books