Scenes from Chicago Gourmet 2015

Chicago Gourmet 2015

This past Sunday I attended Chicago Gourmet, presented by Bon Appetit and as usual it did not disappoint, beautiful weather again set the scene for the perfect day.

Chicago Gourmet is a culinary food fest, not only does it showcase some of the city’s finest chefs and restaurants, it’s jammed packed with seminars, live cooking demos, book signings, gourmet tastings of desserts and food galore.

On the beverage side there’s an abundance of wine, beer, cocktails and spirits, it’s definitely an event for adults only.

One could not possibly taste and drink everything they have to offer, you have to pick and choose what’s calling your name that day, but it’s sure fun trying!

Chicago gourmet 2015

Honestly, I can watch the live demos all day long, it’s so fun and time goes by so fast, the venue is great, you’re close and up front and you’re able to talk to the chefs before and after in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

Chicago Gourmet 2015Chicago Gourmet 2015

There are tasting pavilions and exhibitors all around, you name it they have it, every cuisine you can think of and yes, there’s ever present lines, but they move pretty fast, especially with a glass of wine in your hands!

Chicago Gourmet 2015

You have to pace yourself, I never eat the bread, you would be stuffed in ten minutes!

Chicago Gourmet 2015

The sweets are insane, I could post a hundred photos!

Chicago Gourmet 2015

I love the vibe, the beautiful backdrop of Millennium Park, the food, the wine, the whole package!

Chicago Gourmet 2015

See you in 2016!

You can follow me on Instagram too!

Print Friendly

Corona Beans with Sausage

corona beans and sausage

Are you familiar with Corona beans? They’re a large white bean way bigger than cannellini, an old fashioned heirloom bean from Europe, Italy has a fondness for them. They’re big to begin with in the dry state but when you cook them they become huge, the picture doesn’t really show how big they get but I measured them to be about an inch and a quarter in their cooked state.

They have a nice creamy texture similar to a potato.

slow cooked corona beans

I picked up a bag at the Rancho Gordo store in the Ferry building in San Francisco last week on our vacation, it can be difficult to find Corona beans in the stores most of the time but online you should have no problem.

You will find many producers of these beans but Rancho Gordo is one of my favorites, In fact I love all their beans, and I’m not getting paid to say that!

I decided to go out and buy a new crock pot since I never used mine and gave it away to my daughter, I wanted to slow cook my Corona’s after I saw my friend Cathy make a pot of Greek Gigante beans, which is also a large white bean. She tossed all the ingredients into the crock pot including the dry beans, not pre-soaked, but dry.

I have to say I wouldn’t recommend tossing in dry Corona’s they took forever to cook and to reach that creamy point, it was close to twelve hours, so next time I would definitely pre- soak them overnight to get them started and reduce the simmering time, like I said these beans are huge and they’re not exactly the same type as the Gigante beans that Cathy used, so my recipe instructions will be slightly different than hers.

corona beans and sausage

This is my Italian version of pork and beans! Beans flavored with parmesan, garlic, onions, bacon, thyme, tomatoes and red pepper flakes then after they’re cooked, topped with a ring of the best Italian sausage you can buy, which will be pan seared and placed on top for serving. This is comfort food, stick to your ribs food, a welcome to fall!

corona beans and sausagecorona beans and sausage

You have to be patient, this isn’t a quick meal, you can make the beans the day before if you want either in the slow cooker or simmering on top of the stove, I guarantee your house will smell amazing and it’s definitely worth the wait!

Proud Italian Cook is also on Instagram, you can follow me here.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Corona Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon and Sausage
Giant delicious white beans called Corona. Slow simmered until nice and creamy, comfort food all the way!
  • 8 oz. dried Corona beans that have been soaked in water overnight for at least 8 hours, then drained
  • 3 oz. bacon, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes or squished whole tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 parmesan rinds
  • a small handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • a big pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. cooked, pan seared Italian sausage to serve on top of beans when finished cooking
  1. Place every single ingredient into a heavy pot or crock pot, simmer low and slow for hours, soaking the beans overnight will shorten the time. The true test for doneness is to taste at least 5 beans because beans all cook at different times.
  2. They should not be hard or have a crunch to the bite but rather they should taste creamy and soft like a potato.
  3. They could take anywhere between 3 - 6 or more hours depending on how high your flame is or how fast your crock pot takes.
  4. Keep tasting for salt, and remember they blow up, and the liquid will absorb them.
  5. Remember they should reach the creamy point!
  6. Serve them in pan with curved sides topped with the pre-cooked sausage ring.



Print Friendly

Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip

california coast

Sorry no recipe today just a little recap of my recent California trip. We’ve always wanted to do a Pacific Coast Highway road trip and we finally did it this past week, now I can cross it off my bucket list.

We flew into San Francisco and started our journey there, check out my Instagram account for some of the food we ate and the sites we saw in the bay area.

We continued on our road trip all the way down to San Diego, stopping along the way, staying overnight in beautiful cities along the coast.

california coast

The views were breathtaking, stunning and amazing!

california coast

Sometimes a little scary, but oh so worth it!

pebble beach

We even drove through Pebble Beach, seventeen miles of beauty all around.

california sea gull

Even the sea gulls were in awe.

california scenes

We stopped and stayed at various places along the way on famous Highway 1, like Nepenthe, Monterey, Big Sur, San Simeon, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Santa Monica, LA, Long Beach, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, San Clemente, all the way down to San Diego.

It only takes about 8 hours to make the drive down to San Diego from San Francisco, we had seven days which gave us more than enough time to see and stay where ever we wanted.

Los Angeles tour

When we got to LA we went on a hop on hop off bus tour which gave us an overview of the city, we were free to get off and visit different touristy things as long as we wanted then hopped back on the bus when we were done, no worries about parking our car in all the different areas we wanted to see. I highly recommend doing that in a big city, it’s stress free!

chinese theater

We did so much it’s hard to show everything in a single post but let me just say I ate delicious, fresh seafood every single day! (Instagram)

If you’ve ever thought about taking a road trip down the PCH, I can just tell you, it’s worth every mile, so much to see, so much to do with gorgeous views.

Time to get back cooking in my own kitchen and some of the fall meals I can’t wait to make.

See you soon!

Print Friendly