Category Archives: Odds and Ends

Bannos and Lagasse, A Blast From Their Past

Every great chef has things in their culinary history that helps to define their future. Jimmy Bannos of Chicago’s Heaven on Seven is certainly no exception.

I LOVE going any of his restaurants. And, when I was full time in the Windy, I spent more than a few lunchtimes planted on a counter stool at the Wabash location savoring some of the best gumbo to come out of any kitchen, anywhere.

On a recent trip back, the allure of a bowl of etouffee or jambalaya or maybe even an LSD (Louisiana Soul Deluxe) was far to much for my weak self control. A Heaven on Seven fix was required.

My lunch measured up in every expected way. But, my trip to the rear of the restaurant turned up an unexpected piece of kitchen camaraderie. Straight from the walls of Heaven on Seven on Rush.

Jimmy Bannos & Emeril Lagasse

Pretty great right? I’m not sure of the time or location. It looks like it may have been taken at an event of some sort. They look happy, but not exhausted from barking out orders in a hectic kitchen all night. Maybe one of the two can time/date stamp this little piece of the past for us.

It’s pretty well known that Jimmy honed his craft in some of the great kitchens of the Crescent City. And, when you do that you’re obviously rubbing shoulders with some pretty masterful chefs. Here’s a little photographic evidence that the two of those talents actually enjoy each other. It’s a pretty simple image. But, it still manages to say a mouthful.

OF INTEREST…

Heaven on Seven
Emeril’s Restaurants
I Made Jimmy’s Famous Gumbo!
The Heaven on Seven Cookbook: Where It’s Mardi Gras All the Time!

Grilling and Butter. A Perfect Combination.

 

Some things are just made to go together.

Steven Raichlen and Aux Delices des Bois Grilling Butters

I’m going to come right out and say it. Right at the beginning of this post. Just so there can be no confusion. I am not a fan of butter on my grilled food. So much so, that I shun the Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain because I can’t come to grips with the butter they top their steaks with. No, it’s not a phobia. It’s just a preference.

I’ve always believed that if something is seasoned properly and cooked just right, there would be no reason to throw an extra glob of fat onto it just to make it palatable. But, something happened this summer grilling season. I am here to tell you right now. With the world as my witness, I WAS WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong.

All those wasted years, What a tragedy. Hopefully, I some have time left to make it right.

How does such an amazing reversal of taste come about? That’s a damn good question. And after my pronouncement in the first paragraph, I think you deserve a damn good answer.

Does this man look familiar? Look closely.

Steve Raichlen

If you answered BBQ legend Steven Raichlen, give yourself a gold star or a pat on the back (whichever you’re most comfortable with). The man who practically invented BBQ cookbooks for the masses is out with a new grilling product. And, it’s not a gadget, book or guide. It’s butter. Grilling butter to be more specific.

Steven Raichlen and Aux Delices des Bois Grilling Butters

You’re probably saying, “Big deal. I’ve used grilling butter before. That’s old news”. That may be true. But, I can tell you, the butters you’ve used are not like this. These butters are packed with flavor. Overflowing with a rich goodness that enhances the food without overwhelming it. It’s not that glob of fat that I avoided for so long. It’s a dollop of pure deliciousness.

Here’s the dish that turned the tide for me and made me a believer.

Cookbook Man Grilled Salmon

Ingredients
1 lb, salmon fillet
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
Steven Raichlen Fine Herbs w/Meyer Lemon Grilling Butter

Method
Pre heat your grill and prepare for direct grilling. Portion your salmon into 3 or 4 equal pieces. I like my fillets about ⅓ of a pound. Drizzle olive oil over fish. Turn to coat completely. Combine salt and pepper. Sprinkle mixture over flesh side of fish. Rest at room temperature about 20 minutes. Slice one butter pat for each fillet. About ⅓ of an inch thick.

When grill is hot place fish on grate directly over coals skin side down. You can use a fish grate if you would like. Cover and cook 4 minutes. Carefully flip fish, cover and grill an additional 3-4 minutes depending on your preference. I like mine just done (or just a bit under). When the fish is cooked to your liking, remove from grill and immediately place one butter pat on the flesh side of each fillet. Butter will melt onto fish.

Serve with a nice cold summer salad.

Serve 3-4

Here’s how it will look.

Cookbook Man Grilled Salmon

Amazing, right? Have another look.

Cookbook Man Grilled Salmon

The butter melts leaving the herbs behind along with a silky, delicious flavor. WOW! The flavors are subtle enough not to overpower the actual food. It is a true enhancement to the dish.

OK, I’ll say it one more time just for good measure. I was wrong. At least on the butter thing. I’m not saying I’m making a res at Ruth’s Chris just yet. But, Steven’s grilling butters have broken new ground for me.

These butters are produced by Aux Délices des Bois & Planet Barbecue Grilling Butters. You can get more info on them at Transatlantic Foods. These are great to keep in the freezer and pull out when you need them. If you would like to have some for your very own we can make that happen. Just click.

Aux Délices des Bois & Planet Barbecue Grilling Butters

Oh, Aux Délices des Bois also produces some mean charcuterie. More on that later…

 

These products were provided for our tasting at no cost to us. We were not compensated in any way to write this review. Thought you should know.

Field’s Special Sandwich. Special Indeed

 

Can the memory of a sandwich live up to the reality?

Fields Clock with Snow by Mike Warot

Summertime meals are different than winter ones. More outdoor cooking. More foods for hot days, including lots of salads. Who really wants a pot roast after a day on the beach? And, of course the occasional dinner sandwich.

In my house that summertime dinner sandwich was one that was made famous not by some one hundred year old deli or secret family recipe. It was made famous by a department store. Marshall Fields and Company to be more accurate.

The sandwich that I’m speaking of is of course the one and only Field’s Special Sandwich. A mountain of a meal that is equally perfect for the middle of July as it is for the day after Thanksgiving. Mine was usually served mid-summer.

I don’t really have early childhood memories of the Field’s flagship store on State Street in Chicago (I do have adult memories). A trip to see the windows at holiday time or lunch in the Walnut Room wasn’t something we did on any kind of regular basis.

chitown 004 by favouritethings

My memories of Marshall Fields are rooted in the south suburban Chicago locations. They start when I was around ten years old. Every few weeks, no matter what time of year, a few of us from the neighborhood would jump on a bus in Homewood Illinois, transfer in Chicago Heights and end up forty five minutes later in Park Forest.

Field’s had a big store there. Big to a ten year old anyway. After pooling our money and buying a small box of Frango Mints, we would ride the escalators from floor to floor carefully avoiding clerks who would rather see us taking in a movie at the nearby Holiday Theater rather than terrorizing the Men’s department.

On many of those trips we would end up in the Field’s cafeteria. Diners would be sitting at neat square tables enjoying a variety dishes including the Field’s Special Sandwich which when served at the store, took up an entire plate. With no money for a real lunch, we would grab a cold drink, make a few more trips on the escalator and then head home.

My Mom was a devoted lover of the Field’s Special. And as such, had perfected it’s construction down to the smallest detail. This included replicating the homemade Thousand Island Dressing which held everything together. Now remember, this was back at a time when a restaurant recipe was generally unavailable in a cookbook. And, of course, no Google. Getting it right was a major achievement.

Every now and then on a warm summer evening my taste buds are calling for one. Now, it’s easy. A quick trip to the laptop or iPad and most any recipe ever created (maybe minus the 11 herbs and spices) can be conjured up. My search took all of about ten seconds.

Rather than reprint the recipe here. I’ll save some space and give you a link to the version posted by Deborah Loeser Small for Lake Magazine. You can get that here.

What I WILL do for you is give you a look at the finished product. Amazing, right?

Field's Special Sandwich

Just look at that monster! Absolutely delicious. I think I was almost caught licking the plate. The recipe was right on, down to the dressing.

Here’s a bonus. With the leftover rye, dressing and turkey you can make a great Turkey Reuben (minus kraut) the next day for lunch!


You can now get a Marshall Field’s Cookbook. It has all of the recipes you loved from the department store.

The Marshall Field's Cookbook: Classic Recipes and Fresh Takes from the Field's Culinary Council
Links and other information
Marshall Field’s information via Wikipedia
Field’s Fan of Chicago
Walnut Room – Chicken Pot Pie Recipe