The Local Ladle

4 Healthy Summer Salads Recipes

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Summer means Famers Markets and beautiful fresh produce, so why not celebrate with a few of my favorite healthy salad recipes! Check out these 4 quick and simple recipes below and feel free to get a little creative with your own favorite ingredients! Read more

Spicy Garlic Hummus Wontons with Tzatziki

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Whenever I make a stop back home,  I can always expect to leave with an assortment of mismatched groceries from my parent’s fridge.  “Maddie do you want hummus… raspberries… wonton wrappers… or zucchini to take with you…?”  My mom yells upstairs.  Of course I agree to taking everything with me. Sunday grocery shopping in the city might just be the WORST.  I’m then left with the misleading challenge of creating meals from my Chopped mystery ingredient basket…

I will say, one of my greatest talents has to be creating dishes from nothing, this recipe being the aftermath of one of those situations. I was left with hummus, wonton wrappers, and craved something fried. Voila! The spicy garlic wontons came to life!

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Citrus Ricotta Toast

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Artisanal toast… a trend that has taken off like crazy and even as much as I roll my eyes at the trend, I do admit I have a hard time passing up avocado toast on any brunch menu. The toast below uses ricotta, which is similar the creaminess of the traditional avocado. The creaminess pairs well with the citrus punch and earthiness of the pistachios and pine nuts!

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Balsamic Fig & Blackberry Avocado Toast

Balsamic Fig & Blackberry Avocado Toast

I am going on my 3rd week of sticking to a vegan diet and I must say these past few days have been the hardest for me! Being vegan is easy…. until your faced with the challenge of saying no to every egg dish on that glorious brunch menu or it’s your moms birthday at a restaurant known for their succulent and mouthwatering duck. Going out to eat hands down brings out every vegans little devil on their shoulder. That guy doesn’t seem to shut up until the menus are gone!

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Watermelon & Feta Salad

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It’s quickly approaching summer and to me that means watermelon season!  Watermelon is hands down my favorite food.  Usually, when I tell people I get the oddest looks. Yes, out of all the amazing dishes and ingredients I have tried,  a refreshingly juicy bite of watermelon is still top of my list.  If you want to get on my good side it’s simple, just bring me a watermelon!  Read more

Chorizo Jalapeño Poppers

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Every time I open a restaurant menu and to see jalapeno poppers under the appetizers, it’s like the remainder of the menu is a blur. It’s not even an option, I have to order the addicting spicy bites! This past weekend in Chicago, I fought over the last of Old Crow Smokehouses amazing bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers! They sparked the idea of me making jalapeno poppers of my own. Instead of using a bacon, that it most commonly used, I decided to go with a Mexican chorizo. The deep smoky and spicy flavor of the chorizo could not be a better match with the cream cheese and fresh jalapeno.

Check out my notes at the bottom for some great vegan substitutions! Read more

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Spotted dog is what the Irish Americans call “Irish Soda Bread.”  Irish Soda Bread is a traditional product of a poor country. This was because it was made with only the most basic of ingredients, which included flour, baking soda, soured milk to moisten and activate the soda, and salt. One of my favorite facts is that a cross was traditionally cut on the top with a knife to ward off the devil and protect the household. From the earliest of times in Ireland,  bread-making was an integral part of daily life in almost every home.

Made in just about 2 or 3 minutes and baked in only 30-40 minutes, this Irish Soda Bread might just be the easiest bread you will ever make . By the end of culinary school in Ireland, I probably could have made this bread with my eyes closed! This bread is also terrific canvas for experimenting with different variations and uses. Some of my favorite variations are with olives, sun dried tomatoes or caramelized onions. Read more

101: How to Boil an Egg

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“She can’t even boil an egg.”

Even I must admit, boiling the perfect egg is easier said than done. I personally think that cooking eggs are some of the more temperamental and difficult skills to master in the kitchen. My dad actually begins his week every week boiling about seven eggs to easily grab every morning on his way out the door. He recently asked me what the correct amount of time was to boil an egg without having it too soft or to the point where the yolk turns the green/gray color.  I honestly could not give him an exact answer and it drove me crazy!

After some trial and error, I have perfected the method and time it takes to boil a soft, medium, and hard egg! Be careful to follow exactly when to put the egg in the pot because it does change depending on how soft you prefer your egg. Read more

Stan’s Donuts- Chicago

Stan's Donuts- Chicago

If a place could be made for Instagram, it would be Stan’s. Walking into the door, you are immediately hit the smell of sweet yeast and dark coffee. Your eyes are quickly drawn to the massive case of about forty donut and pastry options. When it comes down to making a decision, the pressure feels like choosing from about a million because there isn’t a wrong choice! Read more

Homemade Soft Pretzels

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My love for making soft pretzels all started with the Super Bowl a year ago! We had experimented with Wisconsin beer brats with pretzel buns… and let me tell you, I will never go back to a normal bun! Being from the Midwest we love our football, but I must say I am secretly one of those people who really comes for the food and commercials! In honor of the 50th Super Bowl quickly approaching, I thought that I would share my pretzel recipe with you!

The best part about pretzels is that you can make any shape that comes to mind! Seriously, feel free to go crazy and let your artistic side break through! Read more

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