Posts Tagged ‘lemon’


The Arrival of Summer Wines

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by David

Summer is so close I can almost taste it and by taste it, I mean the glorious flavors of strawberry, bing cherry and minerality of Rose. Our first delivery of Bieler Rose is arriving right now, which means warm summer weather is right around the corner.  Following on the heels of the 2013 Bieler Rose from Provence are some new additions from other corners of the globe. We are adding the Zios Albarino and Skouras Moscofilero to our summer lineup.

Bieler Rose

RoseThe Bieler Rose is a classic example of Provence style Rose, clean fruit flavors, streamlined minerality and bone dry. Paired with salad Nicoise, grilled shrimp and cheese or left on its own, it is a fantastic way to enjoy a warm summer evening.

Zios Albarino

The Zios Albarino from the Rias Biaxes region of Northern Spain is great pairing for Spanish food and seafood. There is this underlying saline note as a result of being so close to the ocean that reinforces the seafood pairing. With notes of green apple and lemon, the lees aging adds weight and body to this lush wine.

Skouras Moscofilero

whitewineThe Skouras Moscofilero from Peloponnese, Greece is an expressive white wine made from 100% Moscofilero, a native Greecian grape typically grown at high altitudes. With notes of orange blossom, white flowers and honeysuckle, there is a bright acidity that makes this a great food wine or a refreshing glass by itself.

Stop by The Chopping Block to grab a bottle (or two) for that nice evening that’s just around the corner.

What’s your favorite warm weather wine?


David Indriksons is a Lead Class Assistant at The Chopping Block with a background that goes from small scale bistros to large scale catering and everything in between. In addition to a great love of food, he is a self-admitted travel junkie that enjoys hanging out with locals around the world and trying new cuisine. Outside of TCB, he enjoys skating, snowboarding, and playing with his dog, Caesar.


Hello, April Calendars

Monday, March 10th, 2014 by Sara

I just spent the last few weeks working on The Chopping Block’s April class calendars, and I can’t even begin to explain how mentally refreshing that was. I am truly a happier person now. I’m optimistic again. Yes, I know there’s still a lot of snow that needs to melt, but it will, and then everything will be okay.

springveggiesIf you are reading this blog, the April calendars have made their debut, so you should take some time and navigate through all of the classes. Seeing words like asparagus, spring onions, peas and strawberries might just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

All of our 101 classes have spring-inspired menus that include student and chef favorites such as Grilled Curry-Spiced Salmon with Spring Pea Mint Sauce, Ginger-Marinated Grilled Flank Steak with Sesame Snow Pea Salad, and White Ale-Braised Chicken with Leeks, Artichokes and Coriander.

We will teach you how to make Ravioli Stuffed with Green Garlic and Ricotta with Arugula Pesto in Pasta Workshop and Herb Ricotta Gnocchi with Bacon, Peas and Mint in White Wine Cream Sauce in our Know Your Gnocchi class.

I am excited to inform you about two completely new classes that are being featured in April! First one up is called Lemon Lovers. If you truly love lemons this class will deliver. Fried lemons? Yes! Preserved lemons? Yes! The best lemon dessert of all time? YES! I would guess you’re pretty intrigued by now. This class is offered at both locations, so take your pick.

noodlesThe second new class you’ll see on the calendar is Noodle House D.I.Y.  From soba to mai fun and chow fun to udon… Asian noodle shops offer a staggering array of noodle dishes, and we’ll teach you how to prepare four recipes that you can easily make at home.

I don’t have enough room to list all of the other exciting classes in April, so please take a look at our calendar for the lineup. I hope you feel a renewed sense of optimism, too!

Sara Salzinski has been a chef instructor at the Chopping Block since 2002 and loves sharing her knowledge of all things food-related with her students. She loves interacting with her students, making them feel right at home and at ease. Sara is also the Curriculum Coordinator at TCB which means she develops the classes, menus and recipes. A lot of Sara’s inspiration for classes and recipes comes from personal experience. When Sara and her husband, who is also a chef instructor, are at home they join forces and make countless mouth-watering creations that are then taste tested by their 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son.


A Moment for Sconuts

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 by Andrea L

I recently made a shocking discovery. I was trying to come up with ideas of fun things to bake that weren’t the usual cookie or biscuit. I was feeling daring and wanted our customers to eat something exciting. Then it hit me: SCONUTS! I had recently heard of a Cronut, a cross between a croissant and a donut, however, I decided to take this to the next level. Keep in mind this recipe can also be made gluten free by subbing gluten-free flour instead of regular or cake flour.

sconutI took my favorite scone recipe, and instead of using regular flour, I subbed it with cake flour, which is lighter. Cake flour has less protein than regular all-purpose flour. Less protein means less gluten and therefore, anything made with cake flour will be lighter and fluffier. Then I went even farther and decided that instead of baking my creation, I would deep fry it, just like a donut. And so, sconuts were created!


3 cups cake flour or gluten-free flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cup buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients, add the buttermilk and roll out onto a floured surface, punch out in 2 inch rounds and fry off in vegetable oil that is heated to 360 degrees.

This is your base, so that means once you make the above recipe, you can add anything to it to change the flavor. In this case, I added 1 teaspoon of lemon extract and made lemon flavored Sconuts with a powdered sugar glaze.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons water (or for my version: lemon juice)

Mix together. That’s it!

Donuts have become really fashionable these days, and mix and matching the recipes can take us delicious places to reinvent some new tastes and recipes that are really exciting. Next, I am going to try a Maple and Chinese 5-Spice Sconut.

What’s your idea for a Sconut recipe?


Andrea Larson is a lover of all things food and wine. She is a culinary graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago and has worked at such local restaurants as Uncommon Ground, Spring and Custom House. Currently she is working on her local dream of eating her way around Chicago and probably spends more money on dining out than she should!


I Know a Guy (A Fish Tale)

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 by Mike

I love seafood; nothing makes me happier than fresh oysters, grilled whole fish or every kind of Shrimp Bubba ever mentioned!

Having grown up in South Carolina, I became accustomed to a certain level of quality that in my eyes became the standard of what fresh fish and seafood should be.


















In Chicago, that requires a Fishmonger if you want to do it right.  One of the best has to be Isaacson & Stein Fish Company as they continually have a wide selection of quality product.



This past weekend provided the perfect reason to go back, as I was hosting some Pescatarian friends for dinner.  As they were new to the area, they were very happy to hear of a good place to find quality fish.

After browsing the day’s selection, we settled on some beautiful Whole Rainbow Trout.















When buying whole fish, you want to look for:

  • Clear Eyes
  • Clean smell of the sea (You can’t cook funk out of fish)
  • Shiny appearance
  • Bright, red gills (Dull brick means the fish has been around)

After a quick stop at The Dill Pickle Food Co-Op, the menu was set.

The Menu

  • Fresh, Whole Rainbow Trout w/ Rosemary & Lemon
  • Roasted Sunchoke Soup
  • Kale/Beet Salad w/ Goat Cheese, Pepitas and Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • Wild Rice















When the weather permits, I prefer to grill these fish but roasting in the oven works too.  Start by rinsing the fish inside and out and pat it dry.  Then season the interior with salt and pepper.  Next, stuff the trout with butter, rosemary and lemon.  Finally, rub the outside of fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 25 minutes at 450 degrees.  The flesh of the fish is milky, white and somewhat flaky when done.















For the Sunchoke soup I was inspired by a similar dish I had recently at a new restaurant that opened in Logan Square called Cellar Door Provisions.  Simple, fresh sunchokes, red onion and garlic roasted and blended into a velvety soup thanks to my stick blender and Chinois.

The salad and rice balanced out what turned out to be a great time with some new friends.  Sharing a home cooked meal and introducing new neighbors to two local options for sourcing quality, responsible ingredients and showing them that “being good at adulthood” as they put it is not as unobtainable as they once may have thought.

Mike Lintal grew up in a suburb of Charleston, South Carolina. He studied Broadcast Journalism at The University of South Carolina, and upon graduation took a job as a local news producer at a TV station in Charleston. Soon after, fate called Mike to Chicago when his girlfriend received a dream job offer. Mike quickly realized that his interest in good food and beverage, cultivated by the Lowcountry's high quality and standards, was known in the "Big City" as being a "Foodie". After spending 3 well-fed years enjoying Chicago's vibrant and blossoming dining options and attempting to convince rural car dealers that the internet was not "THE Devil" he knew it was time for a change. Constantly looking for a way to turn his love of all things gourmand into his professional endeavor, he accepted a position as Private Events Coordinator with The Chopping Block. When he's not out pursuing all things taco or brewed, he can be found cooking at home with his fiancée or playing with their infectiously cute puppy.


Meyer Lemon Remedy

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 by Carrie

As I sit here on the couch, coughing, sneezing, and sniffling all over my laptop, all I can think about is a Meyer Lemon Hot Toddy. The question right now is: hot toddy, or NyQuil? I think I’ll have a better chance of typing and finishing this blog if I go with the hot toddy. Hold on… be right back.











Yes, I really did just make myself a hot toddy!













lemonsThe very first blog I wrote for The Chopping Blog was about winter citrus.  This is the most perfect time of the year to eat (or drink) citrus, not only because it is in season and the flavor is the best right now, but for the Vitamin C as well. Meyer lemons have a sweeter and more floral taste than standard lemons and can have a slight orange tint to the pulp. They have thinner skins (less pith) than other lemons and therefore are harder to transport and store. This make them perfect for preserving, too!  The season typically lasts from January to May, if we’re lucky.

Another of my favorite ways to use Meyer lemons is in the Meyer Lemon Pound Cake recipe that we make in our Eat, Drink Man Woman class on March 22nd at Lincoln Square. Sign up now! Okay, okay. I’ll share the recipe.

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze

cake2 Tablespoons breadcrumbs

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ cup whole blanched almonds

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon fine salt

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

½ cup milk, at room temperature

2 Tablespoons lemon extract

Zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons

For the glaze:

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 lemon, zested

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Butter a loaf pan and dust it with the breadcrumbs, tapping out any excess.
  3. Grind the almonds in a food processor until very fine.  Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  5. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and add the sugar.  Using a whisk, mix until just combined.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  6. Add the flour mixture and milk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour.  Blend until mixed after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Stir in the lemon extract.
  7. Using a spatula, fold in the lemon zest, juice and ground almonds.  The mixture will be thin.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 65 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack.
  9. While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze.  Place the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a bowl and stir until smooth.

I know your mouth is watering at this point. If you don’t have the loaf pan or cooling rack to prepare this Meyer Lemon Pound Cake, you should stop by The Chopping Block and pick them up because all bakeware is 20% off for the month of February!

Carrie finally found her culinary niche as a Chef Instructor for The Chopping Block in May 2008, but only after a hilariously traumatic demonstration interview (of which you will have to attend one of her classes to hear about). She gets a thrill of sharing the things she’s learned about food and cooking with others and the memories and experiences around food that have made her who she is today. Her hope is to take away the apprehension people have of cooking by pouring on her southern hospitality and charm and having fun in the kitchen. When she isn’t cooking, you can usually find her at a concert, a neighborhood restaurant or just hanging out with friends and enjoying their company.