Friday, March 29, 2013

Postcards from Bunny

Greetings friends!  We are delighted to inform you all that our dearest Bunny has once again had an opportunity to stop by Chicago inbetween her latest adventures; uncovering the long lost Temple of Artimis in Athens and cataloging the ancient pottery deposits of Machu Picchu.   A quick lay over at O'Hare provided just enough time for Bunny to stop at Macy's on State Street for another one of their famous Culinary Council cooking demos, this time with brand new inductee to the council and Chicago's favorite girl, Stephanie Izard, winner of Top Chef, James Beard Award nominee, and owner/head chef of two of the most talked about restaurants in town, Girl and the Goat, and her newest venture, the diner inspired Little Goat.

Chef Izard (whose last name comes from a type of French mountain goat, hence the affinity for goats) started the attendees off with a refreshing "mocktail" of blueberry juice, seltzer, and cucumber over ice, then moved on to demo several "flower" inspired dishes, as Macy's was kicking off its annual Flower Show.  First was a homemade Water Cracker, a wafer thin, crispy yet sturdy morsel, which was served with some creamy crab dip.  "The best thing about making a giant cracker is you can eat the whole thing and still say all you had to eat was one cracker," Chef Izard pointed out.  "A woman after my own heart," Bunny sighed.

Next was a Roasted Cauliflower dish ("Cauliflower is a flower too," Chef Izard joked) with pickled peppers, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  Bunny especially loved the compound butter used in the dish, which was flavored with garlic and panko bread crumbs, giving the veggies a very subtle, but wonderful crunch.  "We like to put a little crunch in all of our dishes," Chef Izard explained, elaborating that her style of cooking uses lots of bold flavors and layers of texture.

Last but not least was a crepe, made of what was essentially a rice noodle batter, stuffed with shredded goat (Chef Izard pointed out that really anything could serve as a filling for these crepes), and served with a little spring salad of blueberries, raw asparagus, and sunflower seeds in a light vinaigrette.  Bunny absolutely fell in love the crepe, which had a lovely chewy texture.  Luckily, everyone in attendance had been provided with the recipe (and you can find Chef Izard's recipes in her new cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen), so all Bunny had to do was find a propane burner and a frying pan among the rubble of her next dig and she would be able to whip up a batch for Benedict and his excavation crew.

Of course Bunny and had to ask about Chef Izard's favorite breakfast.  "I had half a Powerbar on the way over here, does that count?" she asked.  Eventually, she admitted to loving a good omelet full of fresh ingredients  like raspberries, mint, and goat cheese.  Chef Izard also re-iterated over and over again how important shopping at local farmers markets can be.  "If you don't believe me, try it yourselves," she said, "Get some eggs from your grocery store and compare them with fresh eggs from a local farm and do a taste test at home.  You'll be really surprised at the difference."

And so Bunny was off on her travels once more, with a belly full of deliciousness and a head full of new ideas, thanks to Chef Izard and another wonderful event from the Macy's Culinary Council!

*The writers of this blog have been compensated by Everywhere Society for the information contained in this post, but the opinions stated were not influenced.

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