I’m not a big fan of beans. Maybe it’s because I ate them all the time while I was growing up. My diet as a child was based on beans and potatoes, which were cheap and relatively easy to find at the local market. To me and my family, those were the days when oranges and bananas were the stuff of fairytale, and meat was a delicacy.
Doesn’t this dessert look scrumptious? It’s a doughnut fried French toast, drizzled with cream cheese glaze and seasonal jam and made lighter by the addition of fresh fruit. It tastes as good as it looks, and I had the opportunity to try it this past weekend, at the Sweet & Savory brunch organized by Public House gastropub and Chicago Food Bloggers.
UPDATE: Relished has recently been rebranded as Home Chef.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I love to cook, yet cooking fresh meals every night is not always possible. I wish I had more time to go to the local fresh markets and to find culinary joy and inspiration in the fruit and veggie aisles, or lean sources of protein over in the meat aisles. Sadly, more often than not, my job and my school get in the way. So when Relished contacted me and wanted to send me some fresh ingredients to prepare a few of their dishes, I jumped at the chance.
I’ve always been a big fan of using chicken liver, hearts and gizzards in cooking. I like their unembellished appearance and enduring humbleness, and I am in love with what they represent to me. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: I grew up in a time when every bit of meat was much appreciated, and getting hold of a small pack of chicken liver was a reason for celebration. I remember my mom and my aunt chopping them finely and using them to make a “diluted” meat dish, made up of a small amount of meat, a whole lot of bread, some water to bind it all together, and very few spices. I grew up with the idea that chicken liver was an expensive delicacy, and that you could only eat it on special occasions.
This is one of my husband’s favorite panini, and he likes to eat it as a dinner upon getting back home from work. It is a comforting and filling “double meaty” panino, in which the wholesome texture of the mushrooms works in harmony with the energetic flavor of the smoked ham. This is a good source of energy and replenishment during the winter season: it’s a nutritious “winter warmer,” which delights your senses and fuels your body.