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butterless roux?

Is it possible to make a rue without butter, using olive oil for example? What about with a (heresy, I know) butter substitute such as Smart Start or the like? I'm asking because I'd like to know how to properly modify recipes with rue for the very colesterol-conscious.

Jan 26, 2009
thebelly in Home Cooking

Bratwurst on Grill

I like them cooked in hot beer and onions, then finished on the grill. Unless the beer is at a rolling boil they shouldn't split.
Brats are also great just grilled directly.
Either was, one very,very important thing is that they are grilled rather slowly over a low heat or even indirect heat. Otherwise they will burn, split open...etc. Be patient.
I like them with just mustard and kraut on a brat bun.

Aug 08, 2008
thebelly in Home Cooking

Keefer's steakhouse

Glad you asked. I went to Keefer's a while ago for my "birthday dinner" and it was awful, I hate to say. After seeing and continuing to see so many positive things said about it, I must have been the victim of an off night or just an off table, but it was bad. i will not be back.

Details include: Slow service, a long wait between plates. Wrong apps delivered to table. Caesar salad made with only the white bitter nubs of the romaine, and bad anchovies (I know anchovies). No lobster, as advertised, in lobster bisque. Given steak knife with tip broken off. Steak was pretty good. Pasta dish very bad, cold and way overpriced. There is more but I can't recall at the moment.

I would go to Joe's, or another of the top places.

Jul 30, 2008
thebelly in Chicago Area

"Pepper Sauce" circa 1950?

Thanks again for the advice. The recipe is pretty straightforward, apart from the pepper sauce. off the top of my head (I don't have it in front of me) it calls for tomato juice, paste, vinegar, molasses, onions and herbs and spices to be tied in cheesecloth to simmer with everything else, sugar, "pepper sauce," worcestershire sauce, "hot stuff" and what seems to be an inordinate amount of butter.

Looking forward to making it along with some barbequed (smoked) meats in the near future!

Jul 28, 2008
thebelly in Home Cooking

"Pepper Sauce" circa 1950?

Yes, calls for apple cider vinegar, about the same quantity as the tomato-based ingredients.

Jul 25, 2008
thebelly in Home Cooking

"Pepper Sauce" circa 1950?

Hey, thanks for the assistance. This is very interesting.

Jul 25, 2008
thebelly in Home Cooking

"Pepper Sauce" circa 1950?

I've recently inherited my grandmother's recipe for barbeque sauce, that I would like to reproduce as accurately as possible.

It calls for a bottle of "pepper sauce," which seems to not be a very spicy type of sauce, because it calls for a whole bottle, and also because the recipe later also calls for "hot stuff like tobasco."

I am assuming this recipe might be from around 1950 but maybe earlier. Recipe also calls for "Brer Rabbit cooking molasses," which seems to have been around from the early 1930s and popular through the 50s.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Jul 24, 2008
thebelly in Home Cooking

Please help me decide barbeque spot

I agree with JJ. For me Fat Willy's is my favorite, for the same reasons. I would go there before the other places mentioned. Their burgers are also outstanding, although it is almost impossible to order a burger and not the ribs, pulled pork, or brisket.

May 08, 2008
thebelly in Chicago Area

Best Tortillas in Chicago?

Yes, agree completely, thousands of markets around the city have great fresh tortillas.

Jan 17, 2008
thebelly in Chicago Area

Fewer than 1100

To chime in...

It should be noted that bechamel is used for much more that croquetas. Look at bechamel-based lasagna and canelones, for example. This is partucularly true in Catalunya.

I do agree that American tapas are much heavier on the sauces, toppings, are generally fancier, and even depart from real Spanish cooking, many times moving into the Latin American realm.
I disagree that most middle class households had hired help in 1973, under Franco.

Jan 16, 2008
thebelly in Features

Best Chicago Sportsbar

If by any chance you are going to watch the Packer game, you should go to Will's North Woods Inn. Best sports bar in Chicago, if you're a Packer fan only.

Jan 08, 2008
thebelly in Chicago Area

Real BBQ in Chicagoland

I think Fat Willy's meets all of your requirements. You might need to ask them to serve the sauce on the side when ordering ribs. For me, it is my favorite BBQ place in the Chicagoland area, by far.


Nov 02, 2007
thebelly in Chicago Area

Thanksgiving "to go" in Milwaukee/Lake Country?

Yes, those sound like good options. Thanks!

Thanksgiving "to go" in Milwaukee/Lake Country?

I'm wondering if anyone knows of a good market or other place to get an entire Thanksgiving meal to go. This could be in Milwaukee or preferably in Waukesha county, particularly in the Delafield area.


Columbian food

You could try "The Flying Chicken" on Lincoln Ave., between Addison and Irving Park.

Oct 22, 2007
thebelly in Chicago Area

Wisconsin Folk: what are your favorite places to buy Brats?

You can't really go wrong with any freshly made WI brat, but the best I've had lately were from Gagliano's in Delafield, about 30 minutes west of Milwaukee, in "Lake Country." Really, really good.

Good baguette

Thanks for the recommendations, I'll have to give these a try. The bast baguette I've found so far is actually from Stanley's market on North and Elston. I'm not sure who supplies them though.
thanks again.

Oct 16, 2007
thebelly in Chicago Area

Good baguette

You know what I mean. Where can I get one?

Oct 12, 2007
thebelly in Chicago Area

"80's" Cuisine?

I'm going to an "80's" party, and am trying to think what food could be considered "80's food." Anything come to mind? Thanks!

Sep 05, 2007
thebelly in General Topics


I am from Milwaukee and visit frequently, currently live in Chicago, and also have lived in NYC. I love all places, and I must admit that after NYC Milwaukee will be very different. While it is changing rapidly, part of its very charm for many people is that it is decidedly not a "celebrity city," and people seem to like it that way.
Food-wise, many of my favorite restaurants are in Milwaukee and this includes my favorite Thai, Pizza (sorry Chicago and NYC), Indian, Chinese...etc.
And if you like beer, Milwaukee and WI in general is the place for you. I have friends from NYC visit every year, we go up to Wisconsin, and they have a blast. You can always think of it this way- with the money you'll save living in Milwaukee rather than NYC, you can eat like a king, and even travel more if you need that occasional escape.

Roast Pig anywhere

Thanks very much for the information. I wasn't looking for anything exactly inparticular, other than a slow roasted roast pig with golden crispy skin, and succulent meat, and the right amount of fat...etc.
Just out of curiosity, what is the differnce between Lechon and Cochon?

Aug 27, 2007
thebelly in Chicago Area

Roast Pig anywhere

Is there anywhere in Chicago or the immediate area that does whole pigs or sucklig pigs. Doesn't matter what "style," i.e. South American, Asian, American....
Just wondering if there is anywhere that does this, and does it right.

Aug 24, 2007
thebelly in Chicago Area

How to prepare octopus?

I would make the classic Spanish tapa/racion Pulpo Gallego, but you would need relatively thick tentacles rather than baby octopus. It is easy to make and so simple and delicious.
If your octopus is not already cleaned, it will require some relatively teduous cleaning, similar to a squid. I've seen live octopus that have been eviscerated still squirm around and try to escape. Actually, cleaning them then freezing them is a good way to actually kill them.
So, take your tentacles and put them in boiling, salted water along with some peeled potatoes. Yukon golds or the like work best. Then, when the potatoes are fork tender, so is the octopus. It is that easy. Slice the potatoes into slices like very thick potato chips. Slice the octopus into slightly thicker "silver dollars." On a plate (in Spain this is almost always made of wood) put the potato slices on it, the octopus on top of that, then douse with a high quality olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and sprinkle also with pimenton. That's it. This can be finished in the oven for a minute or two if necessary.
This is one of my favorite dishes - it is so easy and so good. Try it sometime.

Aug 16, 2007
thebelly in Home Cooking

Absolutely Amazing Waffles in Chicago

Wow, three comments and nobody's mentioned Ann Sather? That would be my choice, for sure.

Aug 06, 2007
thebelly in Chicago Area

Backyard Championship Ribs

Thanks, this helps. I have always enjoyed barbeque and am now getting into the actual cooking of it. It is certianly a fantastic hobby, and rewarding.
To continue and ask another question then: Let's say one only had access to the typical kettle grill (they lived in a big city, say) and also was unable to be properly vigilant for 5 hours to maintain the temperature, check the food,..etc. (they had kids, say), but one was really fixing for some good ribs. In theory, would it be possible to hit the ribs with indirect heat and smoke on the grill for 1 - 1/2 hours, then finish for the remaining hours in a slow oven, thus enabeling them to do other things besides sit out back all day barbequing, which is what they would like to do, but couldn't (they were married, say)? I imagine this is a type of heresy, and the coals would impart even more flavor after smoking, but would this be a decent option under certain circumstances, such as those mentioned above?

Aug 03, 2007
thebelly in Recipes

Backyard Championship Ribs

Hey DaCook, if smoke only goes into cold meat, then how long should one use smoke for, if the temp is at about 225 as you suggest? Also, if this is true, how does one account for a 1/2 inch or bigger smoke ring on bigger cuts like an all-day smoked shoulder or boston butt?


Aug 02, 2007
thebelly in Recipes

Deep Dish Pizza (no chains)

You're going to want to go to Pequods on Clybourn.

Jul 31, 2007
thebelly in Chicago Area

Milwaukee 1st Visit Help

People are on to something here. Try the typical Milwaukee things.
Try a real brat. I would go early to the Brewer's game and stroll around the tailgating scene and I'm sure one of us nice Milwaukeeans will offer you one.
At the State Fair for sure try the cream puffs and roasten corn and see the pig races.
I'd go to eithe Raatches or Maders, both are good.
3-Brothers is a must, listen to these people.
Frozen custard also typical. Kopps or Kitts are excellent. May be tricky without a car.
A Friday fish fry is a must, as is a Brewery tour. Kill two birds with one stone at the Lakefront brewery. It's a "hall" and a brewery, you'll get a tour, and maybe not the most typical fish fry, but there is nothing wrong with a fish fry inside a brewery.
Have fun.

The Secret Ingredient Every Chef Uses

Anchovies are truely fantastic. Disagree that the best are from the Cantabrian coast. The Catalan Mediterranean coast produces amazing anchovies, in particular those from L'Escala and the surrounding area.

Jul 25, 2007
thebelly in Features

Weekend in Chicago

If you want to go to Sunday brunch, and it's a special occasion, then consider the Signature Room up in the Hancock building. Great views, and great food.

Jul 19, 2007
thebelly in Chicago Area