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Easy, Fluffy Cornbread

24 Nov

The BusyFoodie is back! It’s been a while since I posted anything, but you know….life gets in the way. My husband and I bought our first home, and we took a trip to Hawaii – a post on where to eat in Hawaii is coming soon! (hopefully). I finally found a bit of time to post a recipe. For Thanksgiving, we made a pan of delicious, fluffy cornbread. It’s great as a side dish, or you can bake some in mini muffin tins for a basket of bite-sized appetizers.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups milk (I use skim or 1%)
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Soak cornmeal in milk for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients (except cornmeal) in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine oil and eggs.
  5. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  6. Mix together all ingredients, and then pour into the greased pan.
  7. Bake in oven until the top is golden brown, and a knife inserted in the center of the cornbread comes out clean, about 22 minutes.

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Speculoos – Belgian Spice Cookies

26 Feb

These cookies are like gingerbread cookies crossed with Biscoff biscuits (I’m a big fan of both). They are thin and crunchy and IMO totally addictive. They do take some planning, because you have to refrigerate the dough overnight. But once made, they keep well in a sealed container for over a week (if you don’t eat them all by then!)

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Ingredients

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup oat flour or almond meal
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Beat sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light.
  2. Add egg and beat until fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and spices.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture just until combined.
  5. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into a rectangle. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch thick.
  7. Cut dough into small rectangles, about 1-inch by 2-inches, or cut into shapes with cookie cutters. If dough feels dry, add a bit of water.
  8. Garnish with slice almonds (optional)
  9. Bake at 350F on parchment-lined baking sheets until the cookies have darkened and the edges have begun to brown, about 14 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and cool.

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Neapolitan Pizza in Chicago: Spacca Napoli

30 Oct

Looking for some solid Neapolitan-style pizza on Chicago’s north side? Spacca Napoli is a good option.

We started off with a grilled vegetable plate – a generous amount of grilled eggplant, red and yellow peppers, and zucchini.

Spacca Napoli

The grilled octopus was alright. It came as a a couple large pieces, so it was bit more challenging to eat than most other presentations I’ve seen.

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The pizzas are where Spacca Napoli shines. The Neapolitan-style pizzas are all sized to suite one person. They are so good you probably won’t want to share anyway. There are many options, including a couple of daily specials.

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The disappointment of the night was the Peaches Vesuvio we ordered for dessert, which was I suppose more of a misunderstanding than anything. I thought that the peaches would be fresh, but they are not. The menu says “Peaches (Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio)”, meaning they are jarred peaches from the national park in Italy. Though they may have originated from Italy, they tasted like run-of-the-mill canned peaches from around here…I expressed my disappointment to our server, and he graciously took the dessert off our bill.

Info: Spacca Napoli Pizzeria, 1769 W. Sunnyside Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640 USA
Spacca Napoli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pearl’s Southern Comfort, Chicago

9 Oct

I‘ve been to Pearl’s Southern Comfort in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood three times now – the food is delicious, there are good beer and cocktail options, the service is friendly and attentive, and I like the ambiance. Pearl’s also has a rooftop deck that opened this past summer that serves up drinks and bar bites. Pearl’s is busy, but I’ve never had to wait for a table. Plus. the bar has a couple of good screens for watching the Cubs game.

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We love the boudin balls,  delicate fried dough balls filled with sausage and a bit of rice.

Pearls Southern Comfort - Boudin balls

The catfish bites are lightly battered pieces of flaky fish.

Fried catfish bites

The gumbo is so flavorful, packed with dark meat chicken, sausage, and okra. (This photo was taken after we had already devoured half the bowl!)

Gumbo

Hubby ordered the shrimp po’boy. The fries were extra crispy.

Shrimp po'boy

I had the blackened catfish which was nicely done. It was served with collard greens, and the only disappointment of the night – the mac n’ cheese. Which, unfortunately, was a huge disappointment. I ordered the catfish partially because it came with a side of mac. However, this was probably the worst restaurant mac n’ cheese I’ve ever tasted. It kind of made me wonder whether the restaurant had run out of real cheese, and came up with this Kraft dinner / cheese whiz concoction instead. It tasted so bad, I couldn’t eat more than one spoonful of the mess.

Blackened catfish

Luckily, the fantastic banana bread pudding redeemed the night. This gigantic dessert was epic. Don’t attempt to finish this on your own, this is a dessert meant for sharing. It’s soft, sweet bread layered with banana and served on a plate drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce. There were hints of rum in there as well.

Banana bread pudding

 

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The Final Word: Overall, Pearl’s severs up excellent Southern food, and it’s a great place for a date or dinner with friends. The only thing I’d wish they’d change is the mac n’ cheese. 

Info: Pearl’s Southern Comfort, 5352 N. Broadway Street, Chicago, IL 60640 USA

Pearl's Southern Comfort Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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