saturday night supper

The time has come to share a beloved sugarcured tradition with you: Saturday Night Supper.


For the past year, we’ve spent a good chunk of our Saturday nights—many of them coming on the heels of a weary week on the wards or on the cusp of a challenging couple days ahead—preparing simple, bountiful, and beautiful feasts. Sometimes, friends gather with us around the table. More often than not, it ends up just being the two of us, sharing our joys, stresses, and life musings as we chop, fry, sample, plate, and savor the night away.


From our humble Hyde Park kitchens, we’ve globe trotted on these Saturday nights. We spent a lot of time in the Middle East, fueled by an Ottolenghi obsession. We tried our hand at tapas. We celebrated our roots with Iowa produce and Cuban black beans.


With the end of third year in June and the start of what has definitely been a much more socially freeing fourth year, one might have thought that Saturday Night Suppers would morph into Saturday nights on the town. But the tradition has held strong, a testament to the allure and satisfaction of bringing friends around the table to share in good food.


And so here is our latest rendition: Taco Night.  In usual Saturday Night Supper fashion we went a little overboard, but that only means more leftovers to enjoy throughout the week. Roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, drunken black beans, cabbage slaw, roasted corn and poblano salad, pickled red onions, feta, salsa, avocado, lime, all (barely) piled into corn tortillas. Chicago has some amazing taquerias, but these gave them a run for their money.


Smoky and Spicy Sweet Potatoes and Carrots:

2 large sweet potatoes

2 carrots

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin

dash of cinnamon (or cinnamon sugar)

squirt of sriracha

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Slice carrots into 1/4 thick coins and dice sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch thick cubes. Toss in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Lay on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until soft but still retaining a bite, stirring about 20 minutes through.

Roasted Corn:

4 ears sweet corn, husked and cleaned

1 small jalapeno, chopped finely

1/2c finely grated parmesan or other salty cheese

juice of two limes

1T butter

Roast corn in the oven at 450 degrees or on grill until it just starts to char. Cool just enough to cut off the cob and mix with all other ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drunken Black Beans: used this recipe, minus the orange and smoked paprika given all the other flavors going on

Green Onion Slaw: from a beloved Smitten Kitchen fav. Substituted greek yogurt for the mayo.

To assemble, serve with: Corn tortillas, diced avocado, salsa, cilantro, lime. A big bowl of watermelon was the perfect refreshing antidote to the all the spice.


No cheese? Who cares!

A guest post brought to you by my beautiful, creative, and talented cousin Ali.
I am in my early 30s and about a year or so ago I started to develop really bad adult acne. I was never a porcelain-skinned girl to begin with; I always had an annoying “zit” here or there that needed to be zapped and dealt with. But this! This was different. Deep, painful and embarrassing, I suddenly found myself with 2 kids and a face that resembled a 14 year old. My cheeks were swollen, red and ugly, my bathroom was full of lotions and potions from the drugstore and my excessively expensive dermatologist, and (even though I have a loving hubby who doesn’t care what my skin is doing) my self esteem was slowly sinking. I’d had enough.  ​
​Something had to change.
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And then the question…my mom was at her Esthetician and after describing my inflamed cheeks, jaw, chin and neck, asked her opinion​​ on what I should do. Without blinking she asked my mom,”Does she eat cheese?”​ “Yes,” my mom replied. “Tell her to STOP. She’s allergic”. And it all made sense. All the women, and lots of the men, in my family fall somewhere on the spectrum of lactose intolerance…myself included. If it upset my insides why wouldn’t it upset my outsides. The skin is the largest organ in the body after all. So there it was – an answer – but I LOVE CHEESE! I mean I! LOVE! CHEESE!!! Love. Love Love.
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But I did it, I gave it a go, and to my astonishment, gone went my acne. Not gone gone. Not yet. But over the 4 weeks or so that I have drastically decreased my lovely, delicious gift from the cows I can see improvement. I have to confess it is indeed working. So, sadly, I say a sad goodbye to my love affair with cheese (oh feta how I miss thee) and anything cheesy and set off for a future of clearer skin! Since I am not a big meat-eater and need protein from somewhere (as do my kids and carnivore hubby) I have started hunting for filling, healthy, dairy-free dinners.
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This is the bowl I made tonight. A bowl full of flavor and nutrients. I kept the ingredients simple as to not meld too many flavors. I wanted to taste the whole foods…and they were delicious. I even texted the hubby, after I sampled the sauce with a bit of noddle, to inquire when he would be home, and then swallowed the accumulating drool in my mouth as we awaited his arrival for the next 45 min. The flavor of the sauce is bold and slightly salty with a pop of garlic (which is raw. Read: good for you!) but not overpowering while allowing the flavors of the roasted veggies to come through. My 2-year-old son spent the meal requesting “more sauce please” and had seconds of everything. All the parts are made separately and can be stored in the fridge for a few days. This would be an excellent prepare-the-night-before dish or something to dig into for a few days of lunches. It can be served cold or warm and you can add whatever veggies you prefer. The original recipe was only for cauliflower, which I love for its earthy flavor, but I have an obsession with roasting brussels sprouts, so those had to go in. You can also add chopped red peppers, raw sugar snap peas, carrots, sunflower seeds, etc. The soba noodles can also be replaced with quinoa, rice, or any grain you desire.
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This was a delicious, easy dinner. I look forward to my leftovers. And I did not even miss the cheese.
Enjoy! -Ali
Soba Noodle Bowl With Miso Tahini and Roasted Veggies
8 oz buckwheat soba noodles
2 cups cooked brown or green lentils
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into medium-sized florets- bottoms trimmed and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon olive oil for roasting plus more for kale
1 bunch of kale
juice 1/4-1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh black pepper
Sesame Seeds to garnish
For the dressing:
1/4 cup mellow white miso
1/4 cup tahini
1 cloves garlic
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup waterOptional: fresh herbs for garnish (dill, cilantro and parsley…) I used parsley. I also intended to add some uncooked  julienned carrots (for an added crunch and vitamins) but I forgot.Cook the lentils if you don’t already have prepared ones (1 cup dry is about 2 cups cooked.)

Cook soba noodles according to the package. Rinse with cold water to avoid sticking (rinse the pot with cold water too to cool) and return noodles to the pot.

Toss the cauliflower and brussels sprouts the with the olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and lay on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring once half-way through, until they are cooked and nicely toasted.

Place chopped kale in a bowl and add enough olive oil to lightly coat (about 1 tsp), the lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt.  Mix or massage into the kale.

In the meantime, place all dressing ingredients in a small blender. An immersion blender worked great. Start with 1/2 cup water, and then add another 1/4 to thin, if you like.

Assemble the bowl:
Divide soba noodles into big bowls. Top with lentils, roasted veggies, kale and plenty of sauce. Garnish with herbs and sesame seeds and serve! Enjoy.

summer of simplicity

This summer, my cooking and eating have been all about simplicity. I spent the month of July living in a hotel room on a busy rotation, but had the benefit of having an amazing farmers’ market take place outside the hotel doors every Saturday morning. I took full advantage of the summer’s bounty and the 2×3 square feet of counter space I had to make vibrant salads filled with fresh corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers. It never ceases to amaze me how little effort is required to enjoy such delicious food when it’s at its season’s peak.
Even though I’m back to the comforts of my kitchen, the warm weather and abundant produce are making me crave nothing more than fresh fruits and vegetables (and the more-than-occasional ice cream sundae). I’ve made many variations on this salad throughout the summer, but here’s the most recent iteration, which featured fresh corn, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and creamy avocado. I love an herby punch and put generous handfuls of dill, mint, and basil in the salad, crumbled in tangy feta, and dressed it all with a combo of lemon, olive oil, and honey mustard. It lasts in the fridge for about 3-4 days, and while great on its own, was also delicious combined with cooked lentils or canned beans, pairs beautifully with salmon, and makes a great portable lunch stuffed into a pita pocket with hummus and greens.
Here’s to the summer (and to more frequent postings—I promise!)
Summer Simplicity Salad
3 ears of corn, husks removed, kernels cut off
5-6 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 medium English cucumber, diced
1 large avocado, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup dill, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
2 lemons, juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey mustard
salt and pepper
Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until well combined. Pour over vegetable/herb mix and toss evenly to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!