One of the best things about the holiday season is how the spirit of giving illuminates within us. Such was the case when the Amercian Culinary Federation (ACF) brought a crew of helping hands to the 52nd Annual Thanksgiving Feast at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
Each year La Rabida’s rehab gym is elegantly decorated for the event by a faithful group of church volunteers. ACF Chefs and industry members brought turkeys and all the trimmings to cook and serve the feast. Over 100 patients and their families were treated to Thanksgiving dinner last week.
La Rabida has been serving Chicago families since 1896, providing care to children with lifelong medical conditions regardless of their family’s ability to pay. The Hospital serves 9,000 children annually who require primary and specialty care to address complex and challenging medical conditions. Read about the children and how you can help here.
Holiday Tips from Tony Dee
We asked Executive Corporate Chef, Tony Dee, from Eddie Merlot’s, for some quick holiday entertaining tips. To our surprise, his biggest message was, “keep it simple”.
Stick to finger foods. No cakes, but cookies, brownies and bars. People should be able to “snack and graze easily with a drink in one hand and a cookie in another. Stick to finger foods and make what you know during the Holidays – it’s not the time to try out exotic flavors or challenging dishes. There’s nothing wrong with making the basics, short ribs, ham. I do exactly that, I’ll make a nice ham with a beautiful glaze.”
Does he have a secret for perfect mashed potatoes?
Tony says, “He’s bad”, because when he makes mashed potatoes he sticks with a 2:1 ratio: 2 parts potatoes to 1 part (unsalted) butter, “…it’s like velvet”. Adding only salt and white pepper, he uses his Kitchen Aid and emphasizes the potatoes need to be whipped immediately after draining but for no longer than it takes to blend in the butter and spices.
Time Out Chicago’s 100 Best Things We Ate and Drank in 2012 list just came out.
In the entrée category, Embeya’s “big dinosaur ribs” are described as something that hits, “every gustatory pleasure point via a crisp top layer of fat, sumptuous pork and a sticky, sweet and spicy tamarind-garlic glaze”. The mouthwatering Fat Beef Burger, “topped with onion jam and chorizo shoved between two halves of a juice-soaking pretzel bun”, at Bread & Wine, is just one of the burgers that made the cut.
The last entry on this ever extensive fast food to foo-foo dish list is the 101st reader picked favorite: Chicken and Waffles at Longman & Eagle. Who doesn’t like the magic of salt and sweet?