@John AP: Happy Foods is at Central and Devon. There is another larger location on Northwest Highway, but I'm not sure of the exact address. I would suggest that you let your fingers do the walking. They do include food ads in the Tribune on Sundays and Wednesdays. I love, love, love their deli. Another terrific item is their Chicken Salad with Celery and Grapes. Deeeeeeelicious!!!
If you have too many tomatoes and they are starting to go bad or tomatoes that seem less than stellar, you can try and salvage them by making pan con tomate (bread with tomato). It sounds too simple but you will see when you taste it that simple is good. This is also a way to use stale Italian or French bread.
Toast the bread well, rub a clove of garlic on it, cut a tomato in half and rub one half all over the bread, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, preferably sea salt.
If you have some nice cheese it can almost be a meal when the summer heat hits. I also like to eat it with my scrambled eggs in the morning, it is less boring than plain old toast. Read more here:
Yes, I know this is like the Italian bruschetta but that uses the meat of the tomato as well and this is more about the juice. Of course, if you have too many tomatoes from your garden you can always post here that you are giving them away!
For those who don't like to have tomato skins in everything, you can blanch the tomatoes in a pan of boiling water and the skin will slip right off of the tomato. I do that frequently as I don't like thick skins on tomatoes when I make sauce or stewed tomatoes. They maintain their flavor and you don't have those little skin rolls in everything.
Second, I do a lot of canning and I hate, repeat, hate canning tomatoes. Oh, I do it, but I hate taking off the skins. A couple of weeks ago I was watching one of my new favorite cooking shows, "French Food at Home." The host was doing some preserving. One of the recipes was taking raw tomatoes and putting them in a jar (canning jar with lid) and processing them raw, in the jar. When you want to use them you dump the jar in a food mill and crush them. This will obviously take the skin off and remove the seeds.
I had made two jars from store bought tomatoes for a trial to see if it works. If it does, my life has just become easier.
@Gerard, I am crazy about cookbooks and came across something about winter tomatoes in Italy, not sure if it would work here but you can just tack them up on the vine if you have an appropriate place to hang them, see the excerpt here:
At the end of summer tomatoes get down to 20 cents a pound near my house. I just buy them and put the entire bag into the freezer. I use them all winter for anything (except fresh salad) -- soup, stew, chili, casserole, etc. If you want the skin off you take the frozen tomato and run it under some warm water. It is so easy that I have not canned tomatoes since.
@ Dirk, Problem is there is only one per cow. I know Chicago Meat (or whatever their name is now) has them, but you need to ask. They call them "Hanging Tenders." To be honest, they need to open a case to get them and I always feel bad. I am sure they sell the rest, but...
If people are interested, I will go and ask what the price of a case is. We can buy the case and divide accordingly...
I don't want to rain on the "Blue Bunny" parade (I like it also) but one of my favorites is Hudsonville out of New Holland Michigan. If you have ever been to an ice cream shop in Michigan chances are you have had it.
A&G carries some flavors. They are the closest I know.
kenjiFind us here --> http://reddit.com/r/greatNWside
@dirk, in terms of travel time from jeff/portage park, an alternative to Whole Foods is The Butcher and Larder on Milwaukee Ave. down by Division. If the Kennedy isn't backed up you can make it in very little time.
@kenji. Love Butcher and Larder. Have you tried the Publican's butcher shop? Great selection, and they have a sandwich shop attached.
Re: Butcher's Block. Just because they consider it 'the finest' meat from 'small Midwestern farms', there is no guarantee that these are hormone free. To our household this is a big issue for health and flavor. Would like a better option locally.
Hasselmann Farms delivers frozen meat once a month to St. John's church on Kostner. They are Animal Welfare approved, meaning these animals live the good life and are humanely slaughtered. Just yesterday they delivered a chicken straight from the processor. It was never frozen. Got it home, added a little seasoning, threw it in the oven. The taste and texture was so different from previously frozen. Very rich flavor, almost gamey. It was so delicious even my wife tried some, and she's a pescetarian.
My favorite supermarket is Meijer (for ads go to Meijer.com). The closest one is in Melrose Park at North Ave and 9th on the east side of Winston Park SC. There is another one on Golf Rd., west of Golf Mill SC. Unfortunately none in Chicago. They have great prices. Excellent meat, Produce, Deli and Bakery. I love their cutup fresh fruit in the Produce dept.
I shop at Happy Foods for meat. After hearing about Blue Bunny ice cream and the chicken salad on this thread, I made sure to try them. The black cherry chocolate chip ice cream was great and so was their deli chicken salad.
@ kenji: Thanks for the hot dog tip. Since the owners of my favorite hot dog stand sold the place, I haven't been able to find one as good as it was. The new owners don't measure up. Although, I do like King's at Foster and Milwaukee. I will have to try this placeand see if they can capture my hot-dog-heart. @Polonia Chelonia: I'm so glad that you enjoyed your groceries from Happy Foods. It is sometimes difficult to recommend places because taste is subjective.
We had a short conversation a bit back on preserving tomatoes. This months Cooks Magazine has some information on what we were talking about. They agree with Barbara Tahir (see above) that the best thing to do is freeze them (not that I doubted Barbara I just havent done it yet...). It's a good article and will give you a reason to go and buy the new Cooks at at City News.
Looks like @NW Chicago Mom pretty much said it all. Both approaches are Italian in origin, and are project/inquiry-based. Reggio has an emphasis on the natural environment which is nice to see in the city. The rates are so reasonable: we're saving $300 monthly after moving from a different center.
Zorba's Bakery on Central south of Belmont and south of Central Gyros. Spinach/cheese pies for $2.00!!! And they have those great cookies for coffee - made fresh. Baklava is another steal there. Honey from Greece. I'm smiling thinking about it.