Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, makes a case for "having the time of your life" in Chicago. If you find yourself a generation removed from Sinatra's admonition, recall the adventures of hookey-playing student Ferris Bueller, who skipped school to explore the city.
I didn't have either Sinatra or Bueller as my guide to Chicago excitement, but I did have Peggy Rahn.And Peg is a first-class entrepreneur for food happen
ings in the Windy City.
When Rahn arrived in Chicago, she was prepared. Alphabetized, ethnic-categorized restaurant reviews bulged from her briefcase. Copies of magazineChicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
11/2 tablespoons sugar
21/4 teaspoons salt
11/2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3-31/2 cups flour
1 can (28 oz.) Italian-style plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 packages (10 oz.) mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheeseFor crust heat 1 cup water, shortening, sugar and salt until shortening melts; cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water; let stand until bubbly. Mix yeast and shortening mixtures in large bowl. Add cornmeal. Add 2 cups flour,; beat well. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn on lightly floured surface; knead, working in more flour as needed until smooth and elastic.
Brush a round 12-inch pizza pan (at least 2 inches deep) with oil. Press dough evenly over bottom and up sides of pan. Bake at 425 degrees 5 minutes.
For filling, drain tomatoes in colander, chop tomatoes and return to colander; set aside to drain. Cook onion, green pepper, garlic and spices in 2 tablespoons oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until onion and green pepper are tender. Stir in well-drained tomatoes and mushrooms; cook lightly; remove from heat.
Remove sausage from casing; crumble into pizza crust. Arrange mozzarella slices over sausage. Top with tomato mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.
Italian Beef Sandwiches
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small sirloin tip roast, about 21/2 pounds
1 cup cold water
8 soft Italian rolls, warmed
Pickled hot sport peppers or sliced sweet peppers, optional Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine seasonings in small dish. Rub half over all surfaces of meat, working some of it under fat layer. Put meat in a shallowpan just large enough to hold it. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer.
Remove pan from oven and pour cold water into bottom of pan. Let stand several minutes until fat has solidified, then remove and discard fat. Add remaining seasoning mixture to pan juices. Return to oven and continue baking until cooked as desired, preferably rare. Rare will register 130 degrees on the thermometer and will take 15-20 minutes for the final step.
For easier slicing, place meat in freezer until almost solid. Refrigerate pan juices.
To serve, slice meat into paper-thin slices, using a meat slicer or an electric knife. Heat by placing several slices at a time in microwave oven just until warm, 30-40 seconds, or by placing in steamer over simmering water for 1-2 minutes. Heat pan juices and spoon over split rolls. Add meat and peppers as desired and serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.
Chicago Hot Dogs
1 Vienna frankfurter
1 poppy seed hot dog bun
Ballpark prepared mustard
Sweet pickle relish, (preferably dyed bright green)
Whole small hot green peppers Put hot dog in bun and layer each ingredient in the order given. Then try to get one end in your mouth. It's a feat to eat!
Bean Sprout Salad
1/2 pound bean sprouts
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon crushed sesame seed Blanch the bean sprouts briefly in boiling water; plunge in cold water and drain well. Shred the cucumbers and carrot into matchstick-size strips; sprinkle with salt and sugar. Combine the bean sprouts and the cucumber and carrot. Combine with other seasonings and chill before serving. Makes 4 servings.
1 cup milk
31/2 cups cream
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks, beaten Combine milk, 21/2 cups of the cream, rice, sugar, and salt in a heavy, non-aluminum saucepan. Gently simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently for 50 minutes as mixture thickens and liquid is absorbed into rice.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Vigorously whisk in egg yolks (don't let them sit unattended in the warm pudding for even a second). Let cool to room temperature.
When pudding is cool, beat remaining cup of cream until stiff. Fold into cooled rice pudding. Pudding may be served immediately or chilled. It can be served cold, but 20-30 seconds in the microwave is an alternative. Serves 6-8.- From Cricket's, Chestnut Street, Chicago
Three-Berry Fudge Tart
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon flour
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
31/2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3-1/2 cup raspberry jam, melted
1/2 pint each raspberries, gooseberries and blackberries For crust, combine sugar and almonds in food processor; add butter and combine. Blend in flour, then egg. Form dough into a ball and chill overnight. Press into 9-inch pie or tart pan, trim edges evenly and line bottom with parchment and weights or dried beans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes; remove from oven and cool. Remove weight and discard parchment paper.
Melt butter and chocolate in small saucepan. Whisk in cream and sugar, then eggs, egg yolk and vanilla. Pour into partially baked shell and return to oven. Bake 10-15 minutes or until set. After pie has cooled, brush the tops with melted raspberry jam. Arrange alternating rows of fresh berries on top of the glaze to completely cover the pie. Makes 6-8 servings.- From Jackie's, Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
Shrimp de Jonghe
1 1/2 quarts water
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 rib celery, halved
3 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/2 pounds large raw shrimp in the shell
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sherry or chicken stock
11/2 cups coarse French bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper Put water, onion, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf and salt into large saucepan. Heat to boil. Add shrimp; cover and return to boil. Drain immediately. Peel shrimp and put into large bowl. Add half of the melted butter and sherry or stock. Toss to mix. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix remaining melted butter in 11/2-quart dish. Top with half of the bread crumbs. Top with remaining shrimp mixture, then remaining bread crumbs. Bake until crumbs are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve 4 immediately.