The Local Ladle

Grilled Watermelon with Chili & Lime

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Anyone who knows me knows that I have a crazy addiction to watermelon. A watermelon a day keeps the doctor away?  Well… I wish that was true!

So it’s absolutely not weird that I would be the person to put watermelon on the grill!  This recipe below is the perfect dessert or side dish to any grilled meat and BBQ.  It’s refreshing, yet caramelized flavor, pairs perfectly with the fattiness and juiciness of any meat.

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Coffee Roasted Carrots

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The talented Daniel Patterson, Chef owner of Coi, in San Francisco’s North Beach brought to life the idea of “Carrots/Coffee.”  Daniel’s “Coffee Roated Carrots with Chicory Granola” dish has meat lovers even leaving his restaurant saying that the carrot course was the standout favorite.  Experimenting with these two unique ingredients brought together a genius combination of sweet, smoky, and earthy flavors.

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Asparagus, Brussel Sprout, & Pancetta Salad

Asparagus Brussel Sprout Salad

This past weekend I moved into the city and I am no longer living out of my large bag, or more familiarly known as my “traveling studio apartment.”  Chicago has finally become my home after a long dreaded job search and I can officially call myself a Catering and Sales Manager at Rockit Ranch ProductionsRead more

Summer Herb Potatoes

Summer Herb Potatoes

Simple, yet delicious! After cooking school, I have really come to appreciate each individual ingredient and I really believe that this recipe below highlights the beauty of these potatoes! Instead of coating them in sour cream or yogurt, I decided to keep this recipe light with a burst of fresh herbs.

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Loaded Hassleback Sweet Potatoes

Loaded hassle back sweet potatoes

Always in second place to the potato in most people’s eyes, sweet potatoes actually are packed with nutrients and contains serval amazing health benefits.  In my opinion, the sweet potatoes flavor actually brings much more to each dish instead of just being a canvas for toppings.

Perfect as a meal in itself or as a side to a nice roast, I really enjoy these Hasselback sweet potatoes for their simplicity and ease.

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Fresh Spring Salad Trio

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Salads are so often overlooked, but can be essential to enhancing a meal! A perfect plate of grilled steak or chicken can be given a whole new personality with the right combination of vegetables. Some of my favorite salads incorporate fruit and below are a few recipes that I truly believe will make anyone from family to guests coming back for seconds. Read more

Fire Roasted Shrimp Salad with Garlic Lime Dressing

Garlic Lime Shrimp Salad

Fire plays such a large role in both beer and cooking, so why not celebrate it by pairing Goose Island’s Sofie with this Asian inspired Fire Roasted Shrimp Salad. Sofie is a sparkling Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale, which is wine barrel-aged with copious amounts of zested orange peel. For all you champagne or wine lovers, this is your stuff!

The complex spicy white pepper and citrus notes of the Ale flawlessly compliment the fresh pop of lime and kick of heat from the salad. I chose to pair this beer specifically with the garlic shrimp because it brings out salinity and natural sweetness, all while cleansing the palate. Read more

My Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

This is my twist on a Caprese Salad. It’s definitely one of my favorite sides during the summer time when tomatoes are at their peak, but I couldn’t resist when I saw tomatoes and basil in the fridge this morning! Not only is this salad a wonderful addition to any cut of steak or chicken, but would be perfectly delicious filling a whole plate in my house!

I used a simple balsamic reduction, which results in a pretty presentation and gorgeous flavor! You will literally start putting it on everything after the first time you make it.

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Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranate & Yogurt Dressing

Acorn Squash with Pomegranates & Yogurt Dressing

This is side dish is a wonderful pop of color to any table! Finding myself as a cook, I have discovered that I love the combination of flavors in Middle Easter cooking. Yotam Ottolenghi, a co-owner of four restaurants and co-author of several successful cookbooks, has quickly become an idol to me. His inspiration comes from his Mediterranean background and unapologetic obsession with ingredients. When I was in London, I was fortunate enough to be able feast at his restaurant Nopi.  It was one of the most breathtaking dining experiences I have ever had!

I also highly recommend his cook books to anyone, but especially those who are vegetarians! His cookbook Plenty has hundreds of vegetarian recipes that bring a whole new light to vegetable and flavor combinations. Below is not a recipe from any of his cookbooks, but is a play on a lot of the flavors he loves to use. Check it out! Read more

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