practice makes perfect

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Dinner Party, Sources, Well Equipped, Fête Fact, Posted on July 6, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
A few weeks ago, after returning to Chicago we had our first dinner party. I was so excited to plan the menu, at long last set our table for more than two, and prep for the evening. I thought I had it all planned out perfectly. Turns out I was more than a little out of practice. I hate when I have people over and I find myself stranded in the
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for the love of cod

cooking for one... or two
Categories: Soups, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Sources, Posted on March 15, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
A dear friend is writing her second book. She reached out because she hit a roadblock and wanted my opinion. She is brilliant in the way she can take extremely complex topics and break them down in a way that ordinary people can grasp. Her dilemma was between being “true” to the essence of her subject and being perceived as dumbing it down so the a
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weigh in

food detective
Categories: Desserts, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Lunch, Sources, Well Equipped, Posted on January 30, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
How about something sweet?  I’ll confess I’m not much of a baker. My birthday cakes are endearingly lopsided and zucchini bread eternally crestfallen. What I’ve come to realize is that cooks and bakers are wired differently.  Bakers tend to follow recipes to the law and measure precisely. Us in the cook-camp like to add a pinch of this and bit of
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the games we play

food detective
Categories: Meat, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Posted on December 21, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
Other than hugging those I love, diving into a sumptuous meal at a table that’s not my own is probably what I miss most. Include people to the one I’ve been quarantined with for the past ten months and I just might fall down and faint. Some eat to live, I must say I live to eat. My past travels have frequently been influenced by potential meals.
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into the woods

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Cocktail Party, Sources, Posted on August 31, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
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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just what the doctor ordered

cooking for one... or two
Categories: Beverages, Cocktail Party, Breakfast/Brunch, Sources, Posted on July 5, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
I don’t know about you, but some days I could really use a drink. Most times it’s a crisp glass of white wine while I’m preparing dinner. But I’ll confess on rare occasions I’ve craved a little something a little earlier. Properly doctored, a bloody mary is the perfect tonic. A fitting connotation to accompany brunch, lunch or dinner. Suitably garn
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summer daze

cooking for one... or two
Categories: Salads and Dressings, Fish and Seafood, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Sources, Eating Out, Posted on June 21, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
Is July really around the corner? Lately I’ve been reminiscing about summers past. Top on that list were the parents’ weekends at my girls’ summer camp in New Hampshire. Another highpoint- the lobster rolls at George’s. There’s nothing quite like a lobster shack roll. And while they’re almost impossible to replicate, I’ve discovered a suitable home
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an american great

inspiration
Categories: Breads, Pizza, Tarts, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Breakfast/Brunch, Sources, Posted on June 7, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
“One of the greatest pleasures of my life has been that I have never stopped learning about Good Cooking and Good Food.” ― Edna Lewis. Just as Julia Child enlightened the American home cook to French cuisine, and Marcella Hazan to Italian, Edna Lewis is a central pillar in our culinary landscape, one who helped define the American view of Southern
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breakfast is served

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Breads, Pizza, Tarts, Eggs, Breakfast/Brunch, Sources, Posted on December 14, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
I’m not sure about you, but with a houseful over the holidays breakfast can really throw me for a loop. It doesn’t matter how well prepared I am, it’s as if the clock moves double time. I never quite get it together, and then all of a sudden, my ho ho ho begins to slip into a mumbled bah humbug. I am always on the quest to turn the first holiday
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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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