The Local Ladle

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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Pomegranate & Tomato Summer Salad

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One of my favorite memories at Ballymaloe Cookery School was walking into the green house with the feeling of just stepping into a rain forest of tomato vines from floor to ceiling. The vibrant colors of the tomatoes ranging from green to deep red could not even be captured by a camera they were so naturally beautiful.

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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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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

Warm Quinoa & Vegetable Salad

Quinoa Vegtable Salad

There are so many people and hands that go into creating one dish. We easily forget about this. Our society has come to a point that if we can't directly see or feel something, its not there. I fell in love with food because of the story it tells. Not by cooking exactly, but by the story of how the ingredient came upon the plate has always fascinated me. We fail to remember the artisans of cheese, the farmers of the organic carrots, or even the coffee roaster who provide you with the robust aroma and satisfying jolt of caffeine every morning.   These are the hands that need acknowledgement because, end of the day, my part is simple. My role is to take these beautiful ingredients that are given to me and unify them to become one piece of art.

Next time you are in the kitchen, I encourage you to stop to reflect on the love already put into these ingredients

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Kale Salad with Beets, Avocado, and Goat Cheese

Kale and Beet Salad

The spring weather today has inspired me to create this colorful fresh kale salad! The combination of fresh crisp kale and beets against the creamy avocado and goat cheese just might be deadly!

This salad is the perfect pop of color to any table, whether it’s for lunch, dinner, or served as a side!

I mean look at these beets! It amazes me that something this beautiful can come from nature itself! Not only delicious raw, these Zebra beets are also fantastic roasted. 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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