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Posts Tagged ‘kielbasa’

Farmer’s Market season officially kicked off this past weekend, and I couldn’t be happier. While it’ll still be some time before the best produce is available (peaches, carrots, etc.), there are some great veggies ready for the taking. With Sunday not only being the first Wicker Park Farmer’s Market, but also being an absolutely beautiful day, Yuki and I took Otis out for his first taste of the fresh produce Michigan has to offer.

Jakes Country Meats was there some beautifully smoked pork products. All of their pork is smoked with wood and vegetables like beets and celery that contain natural nitrates. They hit me up for a couple of smoked chops and a package of kielbasa as I am a lover of kielbasa. Haven’t had the kielbasa yet, but I salivate every time I open up my freezer and see them sitting there just waiting to be thawed and thrown on my grill!

I also picked up some River Valley Kitchens asparagus ravioli, some beautiful purple asparagus, and a few butterball potatoes. Along with the smoked chops these ingredients were to become dinner.

I also used 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 onion diced, 3 garlic cloves minced, and a handful of parsley chopped.

In my large skillet I melted the butter and then sautéed the garlic, onion, and asparagus for about 6 minutes. I added the ravioli (since they were not frozen I did not boil them) and let the fry in the butter for about 5 minutes or so on each side. Then I tossed in most of the parsley and seasoned with some salt and pepper. I set it aside until my grill was done.

For the grill I cut the potatoes into wedges and drizzled them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I grilled them on the top rack for about 8 minutes on each side. Since the chops were smoked they just needed to be heated, some nice grill marks were also in order. So, I just let them cook for about 3 minutes on each side.

On the side I made a very simple salad with iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges, and a lemon vinaigrette I made with the juice from 1/2 lemon, twice as much olive oil as lemon juice, salt, and pepper (emulsified into a smooth texture).

I will say this, the chops, while very delicious, were more like breakfast ham than dinner meat. They were a tad salty for the way I prepared them. If I were to buy them again, which I would in a heartbeat, I would serve them with a vegetable hash and a nice runny poached egg on top. Otherwise everything was fantastic.

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Yuki and I picked up some pre-flavored aburaage (deep-fried tofu) for inarizushi at the Assi Plaza the other day. So, last night for dinner she made some sushi rice with hijiki to stuff into them and I made a quick stew with a couple of kielbasa that I picked up from Andy’s last week. I mean really, what matches sushi better than Polish sausage?

Inarizushi is really simple to make. Yuki measured out the rice to make 2 cups in our rice cooker. After she poured in the water the put about 2 tablespoons of dried hijiki in and let it sit for about 30 minutes before turning the cooker on. Once the rice was cooked she dumped it into a large glass baking dish. I stirred it around while she fanned it to release the excess moisture. Then, she poured in a mixture containing 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and a pinch of salt. I mixed that all in until the rice was cooled to room temperature. Prior to that Yuki took the aburaage and boiled it for a few minutes. Aburaage is covered in oil and by boiling it you can remove most of the oil. Then, it’s simply a matter of stuffing the rice into the packets, a job that fell into my hands. Make sure to keep a bowl of water nearby to keep your fingers wet otherwise the rice will stick and you’ll never get the aburaage filled.

For the kielbasa I sliced up half an onion, 1 yellow bell pepper, 3 cloves of garlic, half a long napa cabbage, and the two kielbasa. In a pot I heated up a tablespoon of olive oil and tossed in the onion, pepper, and garlic. I let those saute down for about 5 minutes and then added the kielbasa, I let that cook for about 4 minutes. Then I tossed in the cabbage and let it wilt down for about 4 minutes. I poured in 1/4 cup dry white wine and let it boil for a few minutes until it evaporated. Finally, I poured in a mixture of 1/4 cup soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of mustard. I let that boil down for about 5 minutes and that was it, just a little black pepper to season.

To serve, we put a shiso leaf underneath the inarizushi. We also served the extra rice because we made more than we could stuff into the aburaage.

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Those of you who haven’t journeyed up to Andy’s Deli on 5442 N. Milwaukee are a bunch of idiots! I say that with a touch of humor, but also a lot of truth as there are very few reasons to grocery shop at Jewel, Dominicks or Whole Foods when there are gems like Andy’s in our beautiful city. A Polish Deli/Grocery store, Andy’s is a one-stop shop for almost all of your digestive needs.

 

 

They have a counter with freshly prepared foods such as goulash, various roasted and braised shanks, cabbage rolls, ground chicken balls (some in dill sauces), pork loins, numerous vegetables and salads. The menu changes daily, but there are always selections of each major food group: cow, pig, chicken, and fish. They also make 2-3 different soups every day with their barley soup ranking as one of the best bowls (of soup) in all of Chicago.

 

 

On the other side of the U-shaped deli counter are their deli meat and cheese selections. Most of the meats they slice are homemade. My two favorites are the ham-off-the-bone and their smoked turkey. I don’t know how, but they manage to keep that turkey as wet as….well, I have a sick mind so I’ll keep that one blank and let you use your imagination. They also have this delicious havarti cheese with dill speckled around inside of it. Not to mention the usual offerings of butchered dead animal carcass found in most grocery stores.

 

 

Behind the deli counter lining a wall that must be at least 15-20 feet hang all sorts of home smoked sausages (I luv me sum kielbasa) and bacons. That right there is enough to get my stomach rumbling (It starts by rumbling in a good way, the next day it’s rumbling for other reasons).

 

 

Andy’s also carries some perishables, some of which are imported from the motherland. Local Polish bakeries bring in breads every morning. There are frozen items like different pierogies and homemade tripe. An aisle of chocolates and candies, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, eggs, etc. They also carry liquor and some pharmaceuticals. Sausage, beer, and drugs, what more do you need?

 

 

To top it all off, their prices are much cheaper than the larger chain stores. I can walk out of Andy’s with four or five bags full of fresh and prepared food for well under $40! Where else can you buy food for 2 that lasts at least a week for that price?

 

 

The only two things missing from Andy’s are bagels and Asian ingredients. While they should carry bagels seeing as there used to be a large Jewish population in Poland, I don’t think too many Polish grew up eating Mao Po Tofu.

 

 

Andy’s is definitely one of my two favorite grocery stores in the Greater Chicagoland area, the other being Mitsuwa (my review for them is forthcoming). Next time you need a good piece of meat to take home, whether it be smoked, roasted, braised, cured, or freshly butchered, make the trek out to Andy’s.

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