the buckwhEATER

I published my first buckwheater blog post about a year ago. This anniversary and the most peaceful and wonderful of all holidays coincide this year. In order to properly to celebrate this grand happening, I needed to start some kind of tradition.

I pooled my strengths and lessons learned over the past year and concocted a seasonal treat that not only highlights and compliments the nuances of the…

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Apr 20
Herb-infused Oil
Making #weedster #brunch extra special this year. Get sky high with this special lemon lavender coffee cake. Most delicious way to celebrate #420! #happy420 #treats #buckweeding
Apr 20

Making #weedster #brunch extra special this year. Get sky high with this special lemon lavender coffee cake. Most delicious way to celebrate #420! #happy420 #treats #buckweeding

coffee cake

coffee cake

While making my first batch of herbed coconut oil, thousands of complimentary flavor combinations soared through my mind. Blueberry yum yum is an incredibly floral and sweet strain of ganja, with gorgeous purple flecks dotting each bud. Herein lies plenty of culinary potential. As the oil simmered ever so slightly and the ganja released its essense, a tropical bouquet emanated, rising to meet…

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Apr 20
Special Lemon Lavender Coffee Cake

Introducing the French Toast Grilled Cheese.

French Toast Grilled Cheese

French Toast, meet Grilled Cheese. Grilled Cheese, meet French Toast

Why is April National Grilled Cheese Month? Spring produce is finally among us, filling our lives with tender baby greens, artichokes and bright ruby rhubarb. Why, after months of wintry imprisonment, are we just celebrating the year-round delicacy that is grilled cheese?

While I’m hot and bothered by this seasonally…

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Apr 15
French Toast Grilled Cheese
http://roamandhome.com/2011/04/12/sun-wah-bbq/

Photo from Roam and Home. Check out more Chicago reviews at roamandhome.com! 

A little over a month ago, I took my boyfriend to Sun Wah BBQ to celebrate his 24th birthday over the Beijing duck feast. The deal costs $40 for two diners and includes an unholy amount of food: it’s the ultimate budget date night package. Get yourself a bottle of dry red wine and ready yourself for duck mania.

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Here’s how Sun Wah does duck: a full barbecued bird is carted to your table and hand-carved before your eyes. The process is mesmerizing and incredibly efficient. Once the duck meat is shingled onto a plate, it’s soon surrounded by pickled veggies, steamed buns, hoisin sauce, fried rice and a soup made out of the duck carcass. The duck meat is so juicy and flavorful, you’ll soon find yourself addicted. The fried rice is greasy and pretty average, but still tasty. Beware of the tiny bones and cartilage that are a float in the soup!

Everything is really tasty and unless you come in starving, you will have leftovers. The deal also covers sorbet for two, which they promptly ran out of before we received out share. I was a little disappointed that our server did not offer us a substitute, so I felt a little bit cheated. But even without the sorbet, it’s a wonderful meal and I highly recommend it!

Value: $40, plus $5 wine corkage

Sun Wah BBQ A little over a month ago, I took my boyfriend to Sun Wah BBQ to celebrate his 24th birthday over the Beijing duck feast.
Apr 10

beef shank

I have no regrets about being vegetarian for seven years, but I do feel that I’ve paid my dues. While I’ve made many a unique stir fry and can turn almost anything into hummus, my knowledge of cooking with meat is severely pale in comparison to my vegetable skills. To be honest, I’m terrified of cooking meat lest I overcook it into a leathery stump or become ill from consuming raw meat. It’s an expensive practice to perfect.

roasting beef shank

At the moment, I’m just under three weeks away from exploring the meaty bounty that is Bacon Fest in Chicago. That’s right, little miss former vegetarian has a media pass to bacon fest. Get ready for some porky porno…

Anyway, I need to prep my body for the unholy amounts of pork belly that I will consume in a short couple of hours so that I don’t go into shock. Time to conquer my fears and cook myself some meat. This is why I got my ass to The Butcher & Larder and left with almost 4 lbs of bone marrow stuffed beef shank.

The Learning Curve

roasting beef shank

Ingredients //

Equipment //

Preheat oven to 275 ° F. Add oil to skillet and heat over high. Brown shank on all sides. Let rest for 10 minutes.

beef shank
Add the shank to center of your roasting pan and surround with vegetables and aromatics.

 Add the shank to center of your roasting pan and surround with vegetables and aromatics. Whisk together mustard, beer and stock, if using, and add to the pan. The liquid should come up almost halfway up the shank. Place in the oven and set your timer for 4 hours

Whisk together mustard, beer and stock, if using, and add to the pan. The liquid should come up almost halfway up the shank. Place in the oven and set your timer for 4 hours

Once the timer goes off, check the meat to see if it’s falling apart. If you’re not digging it yet, continue cooking at 30 minute intervals. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

roasting beef shank

Eat it on sandwiches, with eggs or however you choose. I served it with quinoa and roasted char salad.

roasting beef shank

This is probably the easiest preparation for any meat.
As for the plating… well, I’ll get there.

roasting beef shank

Roast Beef Shank I have no regrets about being vegetarian for seven years, but I do feel that I’ve paid my dues.
Apr 8

Edzo's

If there’s one thing that Chicago loves most, it’s meat. I’d put it up there above all of our sports teams and above our phenomenal beer scene. There’s just nothing we love more than a juicy slab of beef. While there are plenty of burger huts to choose from, Edzo’s is a favorite among locals. Okay, Evanston is not technically Chicago, but I’m not going to include this as a post about traveling so suck it.

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Anyway, this modest counter has no frills, save their illustrated chalkboard menu. When you walk in the door, you may even feel underwhelmed by the tacky tiled floor and fluorescent lights, but you’ll soon discover an upscale approach to the simple burger. While plain, the eatery is smartly laid out: deep enough to handle a long line but not too open as to feel empty on slower days. The staff is very friendly, even as you point a camera in each of their faces. Edzo’s is more laid back than many spots in the actual city limits.

A burger joint must excel in three simple categories: milkshakes, fries and the burgers. Judging by these standards, Edzo’s is a strong contender.

Edzo's

Milkshakes

Their milkshakes are made on an old-fashioned spindle machine, resulting in a unforgettably creamy sip. You can choose from the classic flavors as well as more interesting options like chocolate peanut butter. If you’re looking for something fruity, come in the summer time. Edzo’s only has fruit milkshakes when the season provides the best fruit. The delectable shakes are pretty large and cost $4.75 each. We went for the mint cookies and cream, which was damn fine. The picture below is just half a shake, and it was about all I could handle.

milkshake

Fries

The fries are fresh-cut through out the day. There are tons of options from truffle to buffalo to garlic. My love of heat steered me towards the angry fries. While I expected a crispy pile of spicy seasoning, I received a mushy pile of giardiniera and hot sauce-soaked fries. That’s not how I enjoy my fries, so I can’t fairly judge their quality. Keep it simple and go for the twice-fried old fries, and let me know your thoughts!

angry fries

Burgers

This place gives you a lot of room for customization. You can build your own burger, beginning with either a 4 oz griddle burger or an 8 oz char burger. From there, you get your choice of whole wheat or white buns and and the usual line up of toppings. You can even choose to upgrade to locally-sourced, humanely raised beef patties for $3, an option I’m never one to resist.

The griddle burgers are nice and thin, but not greasy nor flimsy. I ordered the Dillo Day ’14, a very special burger with the 4 oz patty split into two crisp, juicy disks made with 28 day dry aged beef from CDK farms. Inside the fluffy bu, the patties sandwiched another patty of parmesan-encrusted. The beast was studded with picadilly relish. It was awesomely cheesy.

CDK Farms Beef, Parmesan Encrusted Merkt's Cheddar Mac n'Cheese Patty, Picadilly Relish

CDK Farms Beef, Parmesan Encrusted Merkt’s Cheddar Mac n’Cheese Patty, Picadilly Relish

On the other hand, we also ordered the tribute burger, which was animal style. This means that the burger is topped with American cheese, caramelized onions, special sauce and all the other typical fixings. My only other experience with an animal style was with the fries at In-N-Out burger so this is what I was expecting:

The In n' Out Animal Style Burger. hipstercrite.com

The In n’ Out Animal Style Burger. hipstercrite.com

Unfortunately, the burger I got was flat and even a little dry. The crazy animal toppings just weren’t all that flavorful. The tomato was grayish and mushy while the lettuce was very overpowering. How can lettuce be overpowering on a burger? Dillo Day made up for Tribute’s shortcomings, so no hard feelings here.

Rain Crow Ranch Beef, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Tomato, Caramelized Onions, American Cheese, Yellow Mustard.

Rain Crow Ranch Beef, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Tomato, Caramelized Onions, Pickles, American Cheese, Yellow Mustard.

I enjoyed my lunch at Edzo’s, but so far my favorite burger shop is Butcher and the Burger in Lincoln Park. That’s not to say I won’t be back next time I find myself traveling out to Evanston.

Value: $27 for one milkshake, one fry and two burgers.

Edzo’s Burgers If there’s one thing that Chicago loves most, it’s meat. I’d put it up there above all of our sports teams and above our phenomenal beer scene.
Apr 4

How to Scramble Eggs

I always hated scrambled eggs. I naïvely believed that they were boring and lackluster. But that was a darker time in my life If you’re eating rubbery, dry scrambled eggs then you, too, are living in the dark. scrambled eggs Welcome to the light.

A couple weeks ago, I got a newsletter from tasting table. That characteristic culinary erotica was plastered across my screen for my enjoyment, but the star was…

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Apr 2
How to Scramble Eggs

The good, the bad and the ugly on the Key West’s party strip.

You can choose to completely escape Duval if you’d like, but I feel that you’ll miss out. The shops are mainly filled with gaudy souvenirs, junky jewelry, and offensive t-shirts and the bars are populated with creepy guys checking out the dangerously intoxicated college girls, but there’s still a charm to the mile-long tourist trap. At night, there is a vibe similar to the heavily partied areas of Amsterdam, especially considering that the adult entertainment club on upper Duval advertises live shows. Steer clear of that place and other wallet-emptying traps and enjoy yourself among the stumbling spring breakers and bachelorette parties on Duval St.

Cowboy Bills Honky Tonk Saloon

618 Duval st
If you’re like me, you’ll be embarrassed to be here.

While exploring the bars of Duval with my country music-loving brother, I found myself at a Honky Tonk Saloon. Not surprisingly, I had never been to a honky tonk saloon and I hope to never go again. The place was riddled with people in cowboy boots square dancing while their bear sloshed onto the floor. A man sang a song about how he liked his women a little bit trashy.

Despite the fact that I, in my velvet shorts and black lipstick, stuck out a little bit, I actually had a really fun time here. We played a game of beer pong and I was somehow convinced to ride a mechanical bull. I did a pretty good job, despite the amount I had drunk prior. It’s a good time, but I wouldn’t go in without my brother.

Willi T’s

525 Duval Street
Make your mark with a dollar bill stapled to the ceiling.

Average live music and an expected beer selection are not quite as charming as the dollar bills plastered on the ceiling and walls at Willi T’s, the ghosts of tourists past. But the space is open, inviting and comfortable making it one of the better spots to grab a beer on the strip.

Beers just off Duval: World of Beers

511 Greene Street
The best selection of brews in the party district.

A beer enthusiast will quickly notice that Key West has a deficiency of craft brews. Enter World of Beers, a chain pub with a varied tap of 60+ imported and domestic beers. The best beer we enjoyed was the Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout.

It was a large bar and seemed like a nice place to hang out. Unfortunately, the bartenders that day were very rude. I felt like a drunk Cubs fan in Wrigleyville, where I would at least have understood their attitude. Still, the beer is awesome and they have a happy hour.

Garden of Eden

224 Duval St
Get loose and let your uglies shine

You probably won’t find hot college girls standing around topless, rather you’re more likely to accidentally bump into some creepy guys and their dongs. However, it’s worth stopping into. What’s the worst that can happen in a nude garden rooftop bar?

Best of Duval: Aqua

711 Duval St
The performers are talented and the drinks are fairly priced.

I’m a sucker for a good drag show and the Aquanettes delivered. Gaga tore the floor up, Tina Turner showed off her gams and we even got a taste of a Chicago cabaret. One of the queens also prerecorded an array of raunchy songs that she accessorized with outlandish costumes and poking fun at the straight boys in the audience. Each performance is entwined with the queens walking up and down the runways allowing you to stuff money into their cleavages.  The drinks are fairly priced, allowing for a rambunctious event.

The show is fairly long, running just past 2 hours. At the end, the dancing is replaced by slower impersonations like Adele, suggesting that the girls have tired. The audience is at its drunkest, so most won’t notice the drop off. However, each performance becomes a little repetitive and the show begins to drag a bit. Regardless of the somewhat slow ending, this is a really good drag show and I recommend spending a night here.

BuckwhEats Key West: Drinking on Duval The good, the bad and the ugly on the Key West’s party strip. You can choose to completely escape Duval if you’d like, but I feel that you’ll miss out.
Mar 28

Achieving that perfect ratio of firm white to runny-but-intact yolk is not as easy as it looks on the kitchen line. But with the right technique, just about anyone can enjoy that perfect diner-style fried egg every morning.

The Learning Curve

perfect fried egg

Ingredients //

Equipment //

Add the oil to the pan and heat over low for 5 minutes. Break the eggs on a flat surface, and add to the a small bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

perfect fried egg

Turn the heat to medium-high and heat oil for about 20 seconds. Add the butter and give it a swirl to evenly coat the pan. Working quickly, add the eggs to one side of the pan, cover, and cook for 1 minute.

perfect fried egg

Remove from the heat and let stand, covered. For a runny yolk, let stand for 15-25. For a medium-set yolk, allow 35-45 seconds. For a firm yolk, steam for 45-60 seconds.

perfect fried egg

A fried egg will improve a large variety of dishes. I tossed it on a sandwich with sriracha, baby spinach and melted Oaxacan cheese.

perfect fried egg

Diner-Style Fried Eggs Achieving that perfect ratio of firm white to runny-but-intact yolk is not as easy as it looks on the kitchen line.
Mar 26