Lemon Risotto with Spinach and Roasted Sunchokes

Have you ever had a sunchoke before? I'd heard of them but didn't really know what it was all about until I got a few in my CSA box last week. So I did some research and quickly became absorbed in the ruse of the sunchoke. That's right, this deceptively cute twist of a root has some serious strategery up its knobby brown sleeves.  Thankfully, I am here to shed some light on this tale of culinary and agricultural subterfuge!


Heritage General Store

A couple weekends ago I got a chance to stop by Heritage General Store, a new cafe in Lincoln Park that serves Stumptown coffee and Mast Brother's chocolate. 'Nuff said, right? To top it off they have a welcoming, light-filled space where you can sip your espresso while taking care of the bike repair that you will inevitably need if you spend enough time cruising the lakefront bike path (not that I would know anything about, um, crashing into pedestrians or anything like that). Of course, there's an Intelligentsia not too far away....but for my money's worth, Stumptown is better. That's right, I said it. So call me a bad Chicagoan. Anyhow, if you're in the neighborhood, swing by on a Saturday morning and try some espresso and a maple pecan chocolate bar (yum!).


Chocolate Stout Cake with Fleur de Sel Ganache

Would you think I had a problem if I told you I've made this cake three times in as many weeks? What if I told you that this cake gives me a sense of well-being and deep satisfaction--like the satisfaction of a strong cup of coffee in the afternoon, finishing off a bottle of wine on a Friday night, or listening to Barack Obama sing Al Green


Zucchini Fritters with Lemon-Chili Sauce

Hey friends! I decided to play around with the formatting of my posts a bit. Instead of writing out the directions, I've included a recipe card + image. Just click on the image and it should enlarge into an easily readable file. The image should print out nicely to an 8.5x11" size, but I haven't gotten to a printer yet to test this. I liked the idea of moving toward a more cookbook-like format, and I hope this makes it easier for you to follow the recipe, too. On another note, this recipe came about because I got my first CSA box (yay!) and it included zucchini, which I normally don't cook. I scoured the 'tubes for the most palatable zucchini recipe I could find and came across this (from Martha Stewart.com). And you know what? I'm a convert. I can't wait for the farmers to send me more zucchini.