into the woods

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Cocktail Party, Sources, Posted on August 31, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (2)
On a recent trip to the Evanston’s farmers market I spotted these gorgeous “hen of the wood” mushrooms. If they sprouted legs and a beak you could almost imagine they would start to scratch and strut amongst the stands.  Personal disclaimer- what often looks inspirational at the farmers market frequently turns out to be a bomb in my kitchen.
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little choked up

cooking for one... or two
Categories: Appetizers, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Posted on May 9, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
Many are in month two of wondering what to cook for one or two. If you need a little inspiration don’t fret, because guess what? It’s artichoke season! Perhaps it’s been a long time since you steamed an artichoke, or maybe you never have. Well you’re in for a treat. Cooking up an artichoke is a simple affair. Basically, just cut off the stem and
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what the devil

what we're cooking
Categories: Appetizers, Eggs, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Posted on April 24, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
I truly missed all of our holiday traditions this spring. Mass at our church nestled in the San Jacinto mountains. Our annual adult Easter egg sprint in the backyard. Then a divine brunch up the hill. I’ve been longing for family, rituals and if I’m really honest with myself- deviled eggs. Deviled eggs are one of those things that just seem to
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wrapped with a bow

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Posted on December 24, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
How’s this for a Hollywood ending to your holidays. Here is the amazing baked cheese recipe that accompanied my saucisson spread from an earlier post. This is not your typical baked brie. And it couldn’t be simpler to make. The garlic studded triple crème, with a splash of vermouth, bubbles in the oven on a bed of aromatic herbs. And the critical
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the spread before the spread

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on December 3, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Here’s a holiday quandary- when the pressure is on to put on a lavish holiday meal what can you serve beforehand that will simultaneously delight your guests and not push you over the edge? Disclaimer Thanksgiving dinner is not one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I adore having my house and table brimming with family and friends. It’s just al
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gem of a weekend

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Eating Out, Fête Fact, Posted on November 18, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Two weeks ago, the stars aligned, and my college roommates and I finally got together for the first time in over seven years. Upon seeing each other it was if the last thirty-eight years literally melted away. What a tonic for each of our souls. We laughed, we reminisced, we held one another, and of course we ate (disclaimer: there was also a litt
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the date that got away

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on November 5, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
it’s one thing to misplace your reading glasses, completely another to space on the fact that you’re hosting a party. That happened to me last week. Months ago, my daughter at Northwestern business school thought it would be fun to invite some of her classmates over for a cocktail party. At the time I thought so too. Then life happened.
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put yourself at the table

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Meat, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Desserts, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on September 21, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Isn’t it fun going to those upscale gourmet grocers and walking past their cases filled with amazing prepared fare? While tempting, picking up an entire dinner party that way can cost a small fortune. So, what should you do when you want the convenience of having everything made well in advance but you either want to showcase your own cooking and
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hot summer daze

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Soups, Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on July 22, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Baby it’s hot outside.  Our prewar apartment on Lake Michigan has so much charm, but no central air or personal outdoor space. We do have a few strategically placed portable air conditioner units, but with endless days in the in high 90’s it’s a little warm inside. So, what’s a girl to do when she planned a party a month ago? Time to put her menu
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eat this

food detective The other night we stopped by my cousin’s in Lincoln Park for a glass of wine before heading out to dinner. She had a wonderful spread of cured meats and the most amazing fresh ricotta. My husband and I couldn’t wait to find out where she got it. Turns out there is an Eataly in Chicago. It’s a 12-minute drive from my apartment. And if you spend
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