Monday, April 28, 2008
Hungover? Try this for lunch!
Now its time for me to drop some science on you! Yes, we are all afraid of mayo on a severe case of "WTFDID Syndrome*", but here’s a recipe that has successfully warded off the symptoms for my buds and I for a long time.

2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 teaspoons honey mustard (Recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 large mango, peeled and sliced (optional)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, chives, or basil
1/2 pound mixed salad greens (about 4 quarts)

1. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the lime juice, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and black pepper. Add the oil slowly, whisking.
2. In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, mango, and tarragon with half the dressing. Toss the greens into the remaining dressing. Put the greens on plates and top with the chicken salad.


1/8 cup fat free mayonnaise
1/8 cup Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1/8 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1/16 teaspoon paprika

In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together all ingredients well. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Make 1/2 cup.

Fruit contains fructose, a form of sugar that helps the body burn alcohol faster that helps accelerate the removal of remaining alcohol in your body. In addition, fruit contain high levels of vitamins and nutrients that help to replace the body's energy and expel alcohol toxins from the body faster.

Honey is a concentrated form of fructose, so eating honey helps too.

Eggs contain cysteine, a substance that breaks down acetaldehyde, the toxin that causes hangovers. The liver contains glutathione that is easily depleted by acetaldehyde and eating eggs helps to absorb this toxin. Additionally, eggs give you energy in the morning.

Alcohol dehydrates the body, so drinking lots of water before going to sleep and after waking in the morning helps relieve the discomfort that alcohol dehydration causes. Cucumber helps replenish the water supply in your body and prevents the rapid change in alcohol levels that causes headaches.

So now, with a little preparation, you can make it through Monday without the dirty looks from your boss and with a little less swearing that you'll "never do that again".

* What The Fudge Did I Drink (WTFDID) Syndrome is characterized by fatigue, headache, dizziness, and vertigo, anal leakage, unexplained scars or injuries, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, being "so fudging wasted", and generally looking like a douchebag. Some or all symptoms may be present.

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posted by Allen @ 10:26 AM   4 comments
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I'm sick of lemonade!
Some of you may know that, in an effort to save my own life, I've been trying to avoid soda pop for a long time which means that I get to drown myself in a choice of water, alcohol, or... lemonade. I was an avid lover of lemonade for most of my life. I'm not talking about that crud that comes powdered in the little foil packet, I mean the stuff that you had to sip slowly to avoid choking to death on that errant seed that mom/dad/nana/paw-paw/sweetie inevitably lost. The stuff that you remember drinking while sitting in the grass, exhausted from chasing fireflies or your little brother or sister.

BUT NOW... things are different.

Years of abuse from the ultra-sour or super syrupy lemonade impersonators has tainted my cherished memories but my love of the little yellow fellows has not waned. In an effort to satiate my craving for some tangy goodness I went on a hunt for the perfect non-lemonade lemon recipe and boy did I find a goodie. Courtesy of Katia at Gourmet Girl here is her recipe for Lemon Caper Shrimp Crostini.

"Making the crostini: Slice a French Baguette into 1/2" thick rounds and lay on a baking sheet. Brush a little melted butter on bread and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. (If you really like garlic you can also add some to the butter). At the restaurant, I grill them since the grill is so easily accessible.

Lemon Caper Shrimp
1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick)
1/4 cup capers
3 cloves crushed and finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
Coarse sal de mer to taste

1. In a large saute pan melt half the butter over medium heat, add shrimp, garlic, black pepper, paprika and Thyme; cook until the shrimp turn light pink. Add lemon juice, white wine and capers and bring to a boil. Add cream, remove from heat then slowly stir in butter until it melts. Add salt to taste.

2. Serve Shrimp over Crostini drizzling with a generous amount of sauce. The recipe will serve four as a starter or two as a main dish. I sometimes garnish with Caper berries like I did here."

This recipe rocks! Plain and simple, rocks. Hasn't quite made it to awesome for me but I'm always a little critical of recipes that use that many moo juice derivatives.

Give the recipe a try, yourself, and don't get caught up in the fancy terminology. Sal de Mer is just a sea salt, if you can't get it sub in your favorite. Leave a comment and let me know how you liked it or better yet, go give Katia the props over at Gourmet Girl.

See you tomorrow!

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posted by Allen @ 9:10 PM   0 comments
Saturday, April 26, 2008
And we're back...
After a brief, ok not-so brief, hiatus Uptown Cook is back!

Ok... let's re-cap what I've learned during the break:

  1. I've learned to not make broad, sweeping, and completely unfounded claims of superiority.
  2. I've learned to not despise over-hyped, mass-produced, corporate kitchens/fat factories.
  3. I've learned that The United States of America is "not in a recession" but it may be the next time you ask.
  4. I've learned that some people really will cook you soup when you're sick if ask on a page that you think no one reads, even if you don't know them.
  5. I've learned that finding "Kitchen Work" in a city with 3 culinary schools isn't as easy as you'd think.
  6. I've learned that sometimes your family isn't "just what you need".
  7. I've learned that sometimes you really can't go home again.
  8. I've learned that sometimes you really NEED to go home again.
  9. I've learned that when life gives you lemons sometimes you need to make something other than lemonade. Something with capers sounds good... Check back tomorrow to see what I come up with.
  10. I've learned that love is awesome but being IN LOVE is awesomer!
  11. I've learned to ALWAYS make clean cuts when cutting dough for biscuits.
  12. I've learned that seasoning a wok on the 5th floor of a mid-rise isn't the best idea but sometimes necessary.
  13. I've learned that so long as you aren't allergic to an ingredient, someone can make you like it by preparing it well.
  14. I've learned that canned veg can't compare to freshly prepared veg.
  15. I've learned that I can and will curry anything. Curried spaghetti and meatballs anyone?
  16. I've learned that not having to shave is both a blessing and a curse. "No, I have not been shipwrecked on a deserted island or living in a cave." Mom would argue with that fact.
  17. I've learned that you can identify the folks that you love, by the number of times you've wanted to choke the crap out of them and didn't.
  18. I've learned that you can identify the folks that love you, by the number of times that they should've choked the crap out of you and didn't.
  19. I've learned that money can't buy happiness... but it sure does make it A LOT more comfortable while you try and hunt it down.
  20. I've learned that sometimes life just sucks but you've still only got 2 options: Live it or end it. Living it seems like it would be the most fun, though.
  21. Finally, the greatest lesson I've learned is that sometimes life gets in the way of living. When that happens, we have to slow down and take a moment to appreciate the good, simple things that life has provided us. Good food, good friends, and good times. Cook a meal, crack some wine or a few beers, and invite some loved ones. Happiness is sure to follow. Until the hangover hits... but then you get to come here for a Monday Morning pick-me up.

See you tomorrow folks...


posted by Allen @ 12:19 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
TOP CHEF 4: Bourdain is in the building!
WooHoo! Acerbic and awesome rolled up in one slightly greasey package, Anthony Bourdain, my muse and catalyst of my obsession with world cuisine, is the celebrity judge! Sorry cheftestants.
posted by Allen @ 10:39 PM   0 comments
Top Chef Chicago: The Half-way Point...
Awesome quickfire challenge. Deep Dish Pizza is an art. I love Lisa! I'm really loving Richard! I want to be just like him when I grow up! Without the faux-hawk from 2005, of course.
posted by Allen @ 10:31 PM   0 comments
Top Chef Season 4: Chicago! Starts Now!
It's back and tastier than ever!
posted by Allen @ 9:59 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
What's for Dinner?
So here's a little something for my foodie homies. Tonight is "Asian Night" around my place so I whipped up a favorite of the wife's. Here's my recipe for "Uptown Eggrolls"

1/2 cup dried mushrooms
4 oz. Firm Tofu/Chicken
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oil
16 oz. bean sprouts, washed and drained
2 cup small spinach leaves
1/2 cup green onion, thin sliced
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, thin sliced
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 egg roll wrappers
Vegetable oil for deep frying

  • Soak mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes; drain and chop, discarding stems.
  • Chop tofu/chicken for filling. Stir-fry tofu/chicken and garlic quickly in 1 T hot oil about 2 minutes.
  • Add vegetables, stir-fry about 3 minutes more.
  • Blend soy sauce with cornstarch; stir in ginger root, sugar and salt.
  • Stir corn starch mixture into tofu/chicken mixture; cook and stir until thickened. Allow to cool.
  • Place egg roll wrapper with one point toward you.
  • Spoon 1/4 cup filling diagonally across and just below center of skin.
  • Fold bottom point of wrapper over filling; tuck point under filling.
  • Fold side corners over, forming an envelope shape. Roll up.
  • Fry egg rolls, a few at a time, in deep hot oil (365 degrees) for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Serve with fried rice or lo mein.

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posted by Allen @ 9:20 PM   0 comments

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