August 2012 | chicago foodie girl

8.27.2012

Food Truck Social

*Tap, tap, tap* Is this thing on? Ahem.

As I mentioned on my facebook page (follow me over there for bonus content!), I didn't mean to disappear. I spent much of the last week and a half walking around in a major state of zombie-ness. My new job is quite lovely and there are a lot of fantastic people, but between getting up an hour earlier than normal, a 1.5-hour commute (each way!) to navigate, a wicked case of insomnia, and a billion new students/classes, I'm was totally out of it. Thankfully, my insomnia broke just in time for the weekend - I slept a glorious nine hours on Thursday night (versus the 2-3 I was sleeping), spent Saturday evening at Ravinia, and braved the pissing rain on Sunday for an afternoon of deliciousness at the Food Truck Social.

I don't know if I've mentioned it before or not, but I am slightly obsessed with food trucks - I have been known to plan an entire outing around a food truck stalking session. :-) While food trucks are common in many other major cities, the trend is a fairly recent phenomenon in Chicago, thanks to some strict legislation that made it difficult for them to operate in the city. After a recent surge in food trucks and a lot of push from the owners, the city finally amended the original food truck ordinance. The new ordinance still has some major limitations (for instance food trucks are not allowed to park within 200 feet of a competing brick-and-mortar restaurant), but it is a step in the right direction (they can finally apply for a license to actually prepare food on board - up until a few months ago, all food had to be pre-prepared/cooked). The city has received almost 50 mobile food preparer license applications over the last two months, which means one really great thing for me... more food trucks with awesome food! Hooray!

Diana and I attended the second annual Food Truck Social yesterday and had a magically delicious time (despite the abysmal weather). The FTS is the perfect opportunity to both learn about new food trucks and to track down some of the seemingly elusive trucks. There were fifteen trucks parked in a giant lot in West Town with a bunch of tables/tents and live music. Not only did we eat so much fantastic food, but also, thanks to the rain, we had the opportunity to talk to many of the food truck owners without hordes of hungry, angry people trying to push us out of the way to get to the front. I can't wait until next year's social, which is already rumored to be twice as big!

(please excuse the quality of some of these photos - it's not all that easy to take photos in the rain while balancing various plates of goodies)

Free Almond & Coconut bars from the KIND truck!

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8.13.2012

Recent Foodie Finds

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. As with many of you, I spent a good chunk of mine glued to the Olympics. I've always been fairly indifferent about the Olympics; while I greatly enjoyed the gymnastics and track portions, I never really paid attention to much else. There was something different about this year - it was as though an Olympics craving switch was suddenly turned on in my brain. I just couldn't get enough! I even watched some basketball, which is one of my most hated sports (only slightly ahead of football). I especially loved the women's super heavyweight lifting - those girls are fierce!

Besides watching the Olympics, I devoted a fair amount of time lesson planning and getting things ready for the new semester (my new job starts in two days!). Mario and I also spent Friday geeking out at Chicago Comic Con and then partied hard on Saturday at our friend's seven-year-old's birthday party. Fun times! :-)

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8.08.2012

Recipe: Easy Seared Scallops

I have a love/hate relationship with scallops; while I love eating them, I tend to hate cooking them. Fresh scallops that are cooked properly are sweet, buttery, and will practically melt in your mouth. Fresh scallops that are just slightly overcooked are like little fishy, chewy hockey pucks. Let me just say that once you've experienced them, it's hard to get the fear of cooking scallops and ending up with those chewy pucks out of your mind. Yuck.

I stopped by Fresh Farms International Market the other day (that place is awesome!) and was enticed by a special deal on some beautiful scallops. I decided it was time to give my scallop cooking skills another try. I used a recipe for seared scallops from Alton Brown (slightly modified) that I saw on an episode of Good Eats years ago and I'm proud to say that I ended up with a really amazing dish. The scallops had a lovely caramel coating on the outside and were tender and buttery on the inside.

If you've never cooked scallops or you just want a simplistic way to prepare them that will really allow for the flavor of the scallops to shine, I highly recommend this easy recipe!

Seared Scallops


INGREDIENTS
1 to 1 1/4 lbs dry sea scallops (approximately 16)
2 tsp unsalted butter
2 tsp olive oil
Truffle salt (the original recipe calls for Kosher salt, but the truffle salt gives it a really lovely flavor)
Freshly ground black pepper

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8.06.2012

Awesome News!


You might have guessed by my string of no-cook recipes and festival posts that I haven't done much cooking/baking during the past few weeks. We've had some pretty hot days here in Chicago and honestly, the hotter it is, the less I want to hang out with a blazing oven in my air conditioning-less kitchen. However, that's not the only reason for my lack of posts. The other reason is way more exciting and much higher on the awesomeness scale than the hot, humid weather... I got a new job! Woo-hoo!

For the last five years, I have held both a full-time teaching position at one college and an adjunct position at a second college. My full-time position was one that is often misunderstood and not very highly regarded amongst academics (non-tenure-track, but with the responsibilities of someone who is a tenured professor at an equivalent school); unfortunately, it was also one that came with terrible pay. I'm not going to go into too many details because I've already complained about it enough, but basically, it sucks to hold a full-time faculty position and to also have to work a part-time position on the side.

I've been on and off the job market for the last few years. While I really wanted to leave my full-time school (and to stop working two jobs!), I didn't want to make a lateral move or end up at another school that I disliked. I had a long list of wants/needs that I refused to compromise on - because of that list, my job search was quite limited. I will admit that it was frustrating, but I hung in there and at the end of May, I was offered a coveted tenure-track position at one of the few schools in the area that I had targeted. I gave my notice mid-July and finished up with both jobs last week. Hell yes!!

The last three weeks have passed in a blur of paper grading, finals, packing, lunches with coworkers, and goodbyes to all of my favorite students. In addition to the craziness of finishing up at both schools, I've also been preparing for the start of the new school (training, syllabi, etc.). Now that I'm officially on break (I don't start at my new school until next Wednesday), I have a little time to catch up with everything (yes, I'm actually going to cook something! Yippee!). Also, don't be surprised if I suddenly comment on something you wrote weeks (or possibly months) ago. :-)

Yay me! :-)


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