My go-to Greek Yogurt.

My initial intention when purchasing a bunch of pears was a healthy one and would allow me to have some fresh fruit to munch on. Although with all this crazy heat in Madison nearly twenty-four hours later they were brown and on their way to molding, so it was time to get creative, and fast!!

I had just finished din din and was craving something that would satisfy my sweet tooth. I sliced off all the bruised parts, which unfortunately was the majority for some. However, I then scoured my cupboards and drizzled honey over while sprinkling on brown sugar and cinnamon. Next up was time to throw it in the oven and wait to see what the finish product would be. About twenty minutes later I had a gooey warm poached style pear to top on whatever I pleased. Unfortunately whatever I pleased turned into whatever I had, Chobani Greek yogurt. Lately yogurt has been my go-to ingredient and strikingly it was amazing because the tartness of the yogurt complimented the sweetness of the pears making me craving more, more, more!

Bon appetit and when it’s brown, don’t throw it down.

Rhubarb… summer’s favorite veggie!

 

Madison’s summer was well under way when I was lucky enough to have a few of my besties visit all the way from Minnesota!! I was feening to be in the kitchen cooking and also to satisfy my sweet tooth. The best thing about visitors is I can cook the tasty treats I dream about without being worried I will devour the entire dish MYSELF!

My roommate and I had just come back to our apartment after spending a few hours moseying around the Saturday Farmer’s Market. I had a bundle of rhubarb, raspberries and the fixings to make a mean dessert bar. I took to my Mac in order to find a recipe I could get creative with, and landed on Martha Stewart’s Rhubarb Crumb Bars.

The prep work for the rhubarb took a while but otherwise I was baking away within minutes and popped my version of the cake as a Raspberry and Rhubarb Crumble in the oven and took a break from cooking in 90-degree weather. Forty minutes later my crumb cake was out of the oven and ready to cool so that ALL my friends could devour it.

The cake had a really nice flavor because the rhubarb is more of a tangy taste instead of many other desserts loaded with sugar. I tried some hot out of the oven as well as later on when it cooled, and my vote is hot with ice cream. Cooled off allowed the flavors to set in and was more along the lines of a pound cake. Either way it was a success and with a full apartment it didn’t even last 24 hours.

Bon appetit and FYI the leaves of rhubarb are toxic, YIKES, steer clear!!

PIZZA FIX!!

I must admit one of my favorite things to eat is a piece of damn good pizza. This post therefore is about two pizzas I created in… the last week, whoopsy, I guess it is fair to say I was on a PIZZA FIX!

The first pizza is from Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog, GOOP! I’d like to think we are best friends that spend their time cooking and laughing but we all know that isn’t true, at least she has great taste in food and culture so it’s like we are blog friends. This recipe is adopted from another chef in the blogosphere. My mom and I also did our part by adding our own pinches and touches of honeybee loving! The recipe is for the pizza crust and is easypeasy to follow but does take a big chunk of your time. If you have that time it is well worth all the effort and leaves you with pizza crust for maybe ten more meals!!

Once our pizza dough had risen we were ready to get creative and scavenged the fridge and ended up with our version of a good old margarita pizza. The tomato sauce was from GOOP and really made a difference as it asks for carrots and is supposed to simmer for about 40 minutes allowing all the flavors to cook together. Gwyneth instructs you to purée the sauce but we left it nice and chunky for a heartier pizza. We topped the pizza with chunks of crushed garlic, thinly sliced zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls and aged parmesan cheese! It only cooks in the oven for about two minutes and it is best served piping hot with a refreshing salad and fine glass of organic wine. Ooohlalayumyum this pizza was almost 11” x 9” and we finished every last bite!! We decided to make our crust extra thin which produced a final product that was like a cracker bread crust, however I have heard the thicker crust is just as delicious.

  

  

After sampling the amazing ingredients we put on our GOOP pizza I was craving more but now back in Madison taking classes and cooking with Slow Food. Part of my internship with Slow Food is to promote the amazing idea of supporting local grocers and farmers while eating divine dishes. Williamson Street, or more popularly known as Willy Street, in Madison is about a mile of locavores who know how to cook and live life. I spent the afternoon drawing up my own Slow Food flyers and headed to Willy Street Co-op in order to start promoting our Slow Food chapter. By the time I was done I had gone full circle and ended back up at Willy Street Co-op starving!! While aimlessly walking the aisles looking for something that caught my interests I came across Vicolo Pizza crusts!! The Vicolo pizza crusts come pre-made and packaged in the freezer section of only a few grocery stores. This did not fall in line with the Slow Food idea I spent the afternoon promoting so I decided to fill the pizza with ONLY local ingredients. My mom and I used to get these pizzas pre-made in Mill Valley but having the cornbread crust as your blank canvas made it much more fun!

  

The Willy Street employees helped me find an amazing Sweet Basil Pesto from Renaissance Farm of Spring Green, Wisconsin along with their own Mozzarella cheese, heirloom tomatoes, and garlic!! Once I was home and all the ingredients were ready to go I had my own personal pizza ready in fifteen minutes.

  

I spent the rest of the night reading for my summer class and blogging about my new best friend, pizza!

Bon appetit to All Hail Honeybess’ 50th post!!

111 South Hamilton Street

This post is a bit delayed because after my wonderful meal at Nostrano I hopped on a plane off to Beijing to start my month of traveling around China. However, that does not deter from how this post may leave you wanting to run as fast as you can directly to Nostrano’s matre’d asking for a table!

I first heard about Nostrano from my sister who lives in Chicago. She has had the privilege of dining at Tim Dahl’s Chicago restaurant, Blackbird and also follows the extremely helpful, Tasting Table, an online food blog. Tasting Table did an article about the brand new Nostrano that Tim and Elizabeth Dahl planned to open in the culturally thriving Madison, a place to start a family but still have customers in their restaurant who truly enjoyed good food. This article started my love for Tasting Table as I now have “To-Do Lists” under each category but also left me eager to try Nostrano.

The perfect opportunity arose when my mom and I were trekking through Madison gathering last minute supplies for my trip abroad and also hoping to end the day with a belated Mother’s Day meal… therefore time to dine at Nostrano, and explaining the title of this post. Along with my beliefs on local sustainable foods I also like to think everything happens for a reason. Thanks to my sister living in Chicago and eating at great restaurants along with reading Tasting Table and sending it my way, I was now able to feast like a God.

Since this had been a long day and we had a two hour drive ahead of us we both ordered coffee as soon as we were seated. To this day I am searching high and low for the Guatemalan blend of Ancora’s coffee we were served. This past semester has transformed me into a coffee drinker as apparent in one of my past posts about how I enjoy a cup of joe. Although I have grown to depend on it from time to time I still am not the wildest fan, until now!! My mom and I both had three cups each and were left wide awake and ready for anything but also so satisfied before we even received our menus, oopsy 🙂

The menu is small, which is how I prefer it, and it was filled with extravagant options that allowed me to realize the chefs must LOVE cooking under the Nostrano roof. We started with the Marinated Olives with Sourdough Focaccia bread that was great to dip in the olives’ oil. There was also a butter lettuce salad that my mother enjoyed so much she almost licked the plate after. The amazing flavors combined had a freshness in each bite.

For the main meal I choose to splurge with the Pork Shoulder Agrodolce that was served with cannellini beans, cavolo nero or kale, and a piece of grilled ciabatta resting on top. My mom was surprised that an ex-vegan would choose a pork shoulder entrée but I am so unbelievably glad I did, and so was she!! The meat was cooked to perfection as it fell to pieces with the poke of my fork allowing all the other ingredients and flavors to mix in the bowl. I was reluctant to share but with the friendly portion served I wouldn’t of been able to clean the plate on my own.

My mom opted for something a little lighter as she ordered another butter lettuce salad to go along with the Sunchoke soup. They brought over a bowl with a small jar and pouring the piping hot soup right in front of us and added a small garnish of sunflower sprouts. I must admit this was the most elaborate presentation of soup, and the flavor fell in line as being smooth and exquisite.

  

We were beyond full at this point but as dessert was being explained to us I magically made room for some good chocolate lovin’! We sampled the Crema which is explained on the menu as milk chocolate cremeux, malted barley pizzelle, brandied cherries and lambic gelato but I would state it simply as heaven on earth!

Three hours had now passed, the restaurant was full and our waiter was our new best friend. As one last meal before leaving the country I was beyond satisfied with our choice.

A fun fact to go along with the great meal is that Nostrano actually means local allowing each employee to pride them-self on promoting the slow food idea by serving uniquely amazing meals.

Bon appetit and hurry over to the corner of South Hamilton and Main Street on the Capitol Square in Madison.

A Vegged-out Hearty Piece of Heaven!

Surprise surprise this vegged-out twist is actually exactly what I mean, a sandwich appearing as a hearty hamburger minus the meat. One day I was absolutely craving a hamburger but am not really the biggest fan of having to cook raw meat so I decided I would cheat a little and make my very own veggie burgers!! This was very impulsive but I hustled off to the grocery store in order to gather what I thought would help make my creation. I checked out some prepackaged veggie burgers to get a good idea and started shopping.

  

Twenty minutes later I walked out with mini Portobello mushrooms, black beans, walnuts, scallions, eggs along with the usually burger fixings and hearty country white bread. Back at my apartment I chopped everything up to a size that would keep a hearty texture but also blend flavors well. Then was time to start forming the burgers making sure to add enough black beans and eggs so that they would be cohesive and keep their shape.

  

I think the trick was to place a square of butter on the bottom of each patty allowing them to keep from sticking while adding flavor. Then I placed them in the oven at 350 for roughly 15 minutes or until they felt firm as if they wouldn’t crumble from a simple poke. My roommate and I then created our own sandwiches as I choose to add sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a Lite Caesar Vinaigrette. Instead of a bun we opted for a country wheat so it wouldn’t mask the flavors of the burger.

This was my little creation I was so very proud of being able to successfully enjoy! The recipe is simple and already lost in my noggin of foods but can be recreated with whatever veggies or nuts you prefer. Someday I will venture out to possibly add meat and create the greatest walnut/veggie/hamburger, someday…

Bon appetit creatively!

Dining as Venecian Goddesses.

As my last night in lovely Sheboygan my mom and I walked along the river front to dine at Lino’s Ristorante Italiano. This is one of the newest additions to the South Pier located with the Sheboygan River and Lake Michigan on either side of the peninsula. When we moved to Sheboygan this peninsula was covered with weeds and wild bushes. Today it has a breezy pathway outlining the whole peninsula and decorated with various boutiques and restaurants. Lino Autiero and Marco Rossi are long time friends who have landed in Sheboygan in order to help establish the restaurant scene and add flare to what was once a deserted piece of land. With the summer sun setting we decided to sit outside and enjoy our meal only a few feet from the calm Sheboygan River. The scenic views with the lake in the background made the environment divine and as if we were nestled in Venice itself.

We started off with a bottle Lino’s choice of wine, a Ripassa, and after only a few glasses we were fully enjoying our time in bliss. Our choice of appetizer was of course a basket of homemade bread, accompanied for dipping was an aged olive oil and balsamic vinegar, my absolute favorite start to a meal. After exploring the menu and hearing the specials I choose the cheese and spinach tortellini with lobster and a light cream sauce. It was a bit rich but was just perfect for a splurging type of night.

My mom sampled the special Venice which was a chop and unfortunately not what she intended to order but covered in the most delectable mushrooms and a tasty pasta as the side.

Next up was desert after much convincing by our new best friend, or waitress. We opted for something light and shared the mandarin orange sorbet imported from Italy and served in the rind of the orange. It was divine but I must contest that I feel that it would have tasted the same or better had it been grow and assembled on this side of the pond. As much as I love Italian food much of the good meals have their produce and various endless ingredients imported from Italy, making the meal incomparable but the allowing the carbon foot print to sky rocket. Although sometimes, just sometimes I allow myself the ability to justify indulging in the fine foods, regardless of when they are carted from. My Slow Foodies wouldn’t appreciate this as much but we will keep that on the hush hush.

Our meal was now approaching three hours long and we were close acquaintances with Lino as we learned about his amazing adventures and the Italian lemons. This lead to a sample of his special Limoncello, imported from Italy, made with the purest and largest lemons that are only found covering the streets of his home town in Italy. I am able and strong enough to take a shot but this was sweet like desert with a punch in the face that gave me goosebumps.

We were now satisfied with fully bellies and a buzzing head. The atmosphere and company made this a special night and I am eager to explore the rest of the menu.

Bon Appetit.

 

Going Greek.

 

Summer heat always leaves me only wanting cool refreshing treats which recently has left me craving yogurt. In order to restore my tummy after the extremely adventurous foods I sampled in China I have been leaning towards Greek Yogurt which is full of live cultures and probiotics. Both of these help restore the bodies digestion system and greek yogurt also has high amounts of protein, healthy perfection. However, this does not come cheap and many are flavored which I am not wild about. I have discovered the perfect solution, farmer’s markets. Depending on what county you reside in there is sure to be a farmer’s market close by and if you are lucky enough you can find home made greek yogurt, score!!

I stumbled upon this in the Sheboygan County Farmer’s Market, hosting only about fifteen to twenty stalls. I choose to add fresh strawberries, blueberries or just honey for some extra sugar. This tastes better and is waaaay healthier than the added flavors and sugars found in most yogurts. It is also really good with granola or on the go for a full meal, if your bowl is big enough! Maybe next summer I can take my greek yogurt to the shores of lovely Greece… #dreambig.

Bon appetit.

823 Michigan Avenue

Where else would you rather enjoy a summer sunset than on top of the new and improved El Camino! A bunch of us decided to head downtown Shevegas for margs and delectable Mexican food. El Camino once upon a time was only big enough for three tables with a capacity of maybe 75 people. Now the renovated restaurant has two full bars with enough room for seating down stairs, up stairs and outside on the brand new patio. Half of us sat around catching up and sipping on divine lime margaritas during happy hour enjoying them at two for only six dollars!

The expansion of the restaurant has not allowed the quality of service or food to falter as we all enjoyed our meals and I even explored authentic Mexican cuisine with a lengua taco, TONGUE! I attempted to find out where their meat came from before ordering so I could make a somewhat wise decision. Our waiter explained that it is from a “store” in Milwaukee, allowing me to justify that it is kind of local. This is not ideal when choosing to eat an unusual part of the animal, but when choosing something as bizarre as tongue off a menu it usually indicates that the restaurant purchases full animals. This is pushing them to explore the chefs culinary skills by cooking all odds and ends of the animal and usually, not always, but usually full animals are purchased from local farms. With Milwaukee roughly an hour away I made the executive decision that this was considered local and there for ordered one tongue taco with a corn tortilla.

Despite what people may prefer, corn tortillas in my opinion are the obvious choice when choosing to eat Mexican cuisine. If you are going to go as far as to situation yourself in an ethnic restaurant and sample food other than American then whey wouldn’t you do so fully. Flour tortillas are the western (American) influence on authentic Mexican cuisine, and mask many flavors. The corn tortillas, on the other hand, compliment the other ingredients the way they are meant to be enjoyed. Allergies aside, there really is no excuse for ordering flour, just saying!

Bon appetit to having adventurous taste buds.

A morning of lattes, Britney and yoga.

All Hail Honeybees ventured out to lovely Kohler, Wisconsin to spend the morning in Brewed Awakening, a coffee shop located in the entrance of Woodlake Market. This coffee shop happens to be employed by a friend of mine and we listened to Britney Spears, a mutual favorite, while keeping the fort down and sipping on lattes. I was of course the only one relaxing while he was proving himself to be the ideal Kohler employee.

Brewed Awakening offers a variety of drinks made with the amazing Alterra Coffee and a counter of in house baked goods. They have wifi and a small counter for those who wish to spend mornings inside cafes.

Inside the Woodlake Market is a wide selection of local produce, fresh baked goods and prepared meals along with the usually grocery goods but on a scale above the average Piggly Wiggly. I purchased a Fage Greek Yogurt and Kind Granola Bar to go along with my Poor Man’s Latte, skim with honey and cinnamon. Woodlake Market is also offering a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, allowing the market to offer their customers the freshest and local products that also help out local farms. The produce for the CSA comes from Garden Weedin’ in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The meats here are also of good quality as the sausages are packaged in house.

All in all this was a successful morning and now its time to finish hitting the other hot spots of Kohler’s  Shops of Woodlake as I venture over to Yoga on the Lake to have my butt wipped into shape by the enthusiastic instructors. The studio has me stretching in front of the bay windows framing Woodlake, not too shabby.

Bon appetit.

504 Broadway

All Hail Honeybees decides to dine fully clothed but ultimately with naked foods. This narrow restaurant with a counter and one table is located right on the edge of North Beach and the name of the restaurant, Naked Lunch, is based off the book Naked Lunch written by William S. Burroughs. William S. Burroughs was a writer that filled the pages of his books while exploring an intense drug trip. There are no drugs tucked in the food but it is so good you may imagine yourself slipping away to a better place, jokes of course… but is it that good!

My sister and I decided to take a day off to enjoy fun in the sun and catch a quick lunch since we were lucky enough to know one of the head chefs. The menu is small and changes everyday so we decided to sample almost everything, seeing as we couldn’t make our minds up. First up was a chilled English cucumber gazpacho with tarragon and creme fraiche and the last two cups full of cinnamon sweet tea.

The second course was a salad to share made of mixed greens, pea shoots, avocado mousse, grapefruit wedges with a lemon vinaigrette and toasted almonds on top.

By now we were getting full but the best was yet to come. I sampled the grilled asparagus sandwich with roasted carrots, fennel compote, mint, radishes and pea shoots!! My oh my this was absolutely amazing!! A close second, in my opinion, was my sisters Trumer braised short rib sandwich with oven dried tomatoes, basil, crispy onions and arugula.

The only thing we did not sample was a foie gras torchon and duck proscutto sandwich with tomatoes, butter lettuce and black truffle salt. This sandwich cost close to everything else we ate combined so we decided to take our chances and wait for it to reappear on the menu another day.

Unfortunately we did not make it to this corner of heaven until close to the end of my stay in San Francisco so we were only able to experience the true skill of the cooks once, but mark my words I am dreaming about my return.

Bon appetit.