Thursday, October 11, 2007


In the world of surfing, localism the fierce resistance by local resident surfers to tourists or out-of-town visiting surfers riding their "rightful" waves. Well, I've dabbled in surfing, but as you know, the world of food is where I get my thrills.

I've talked about it on my blog before, and I'll talk about it again: eating locally grown produce, as well as meat and dairy products, is hailed time and again by chefs and food experts as the best way to eat foods in their peak seasons and at their maximum freshness.

Chef Jill Houk, a local chef who started who own catering company, Chefs on Call, came by the agency today and gave a great talk about eating locally. We had some great butternut squash soup, and we talked all about how squash is one of the midwest's superfoods! (That just means it's a food that's so packed with vitamins and nutrients, it's more than just regular old food - it's SUPER.) I can't wait to make a vegan supper of spaghetti squash with marinara and tofu!

I did a little searching, and found some great resources for eating locally here in Chicago.

The Chicago Green City Market, with three locations in the city, is revered as one of the top 10 farmer's markets in the country! Check out the website here. It has a ton of great articles and links to other websites that are relevant to local, seasonal, and organic eating. I have a trip planned for Saturday - I can't wait! I'm definitely taking my camera, so look for a Green City excursion post, and maybe a local-produce-inspired recipe or two!

Liz, an art buyer at the agency (and widely regarded as THE coolest lady at work, bar none), told the whole group today about
Irv and Shelly's picks, an organic produce, meat, and dairy delivery service here in the city. How cool is that? You just purchase a minimum of $25 worth of food, and they'll deliver it your house - perfect for us car-free people. And they guarantee that they maintain trusted relationships with local organic farmers whose products are top-notch. And I trust Irv and Shelly.

I also discovered this great resource, which has Q & A about everything food (including an explanation of what the heck an heirloom tomato is. I thought I knew - I was wrong!). It has a ton of links to cookbook suggestions, cooking classes, equipment recommendations, and local eating options. I can't wait to explore it even more!

And am I the only one who had an unhealthy OBSESSION with this season's Top Chef? I didn't think so. The finale was filmed live here in Chicago! My friend from work saw Tom Colicchio near the El, and Ross saw Dale Levitski outside my building! I won't lie - I spent my lunch break skulking around the NBC studios, prodding the security guards for clues as to where the contestants might be hanging. No luck. More to the point: Bravo just launched a food-centric site, which is really just a branch of their network site, but is completely addictive! His Hotness Rocco DiSpirito has a blog - need I say more? [Dreamy sigh.]

And for those of you who love dining out in Chi-town as you do cooking at home (that would be me), there's the LTH forum, where foodies from all over the city weigh in on the best places to eat, drink, and shop. Want to know where to get authentic Peruvian cuisine? Check it out. Can't find almond butter at your local Jewel? Throw it on the forum, and they'll point you in the right direction.

A last discovery: I heard something today about the nutritional benefits of sprouted grain bread. According to,

"Sprouted grain bread has increased in popularity in recent years. Traditional bread is made from ground flour from the hardened kernel of grain. Sprouted grain bread involves soaking the grain and allowing it to sprout. The sprouted seedlings are then mashed together and baked. Sprouting allows the enzymes in the grain to convert some of the carbohydrates and fats to vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Due to the changes that take place, sprouted grain bread typically is higher in protein, fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals than regular bread. It is also less refined and processed than even stone ground wheat bread, so it has less of an impact on your blood sugar."

I haven't tried it yet, but I hear that the texture is more like banana bread - it's more dense because it's not baked. It's basically a raw food. Interesting. I'll check it out and post it later.

I picked up some fresh Challah bread at Trader Joe's, and I can't wait to make French toast before my Green City Market trip on Saturday!

Thanks for reading! 'Til next time....

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