Unfinished Business

Molly S. Collins

I am a graduate of Northwestern University looking to find inspiration from the people I meet every day. I love life and do whatever I can to make it as beautiful as possible.

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As someone who travels quite a bit for work, it is too easy to fall into the TV dinner rut. You come home jetlagged and the last thing you want to do is stand in line with the rest of the neighborhood to buy fresh produce. Instead, you rely on the frozen meals patiently awaiting moments like this. The more you eat them, the less motivation you have to finally replace them with a warm, home cooked meal.

That’s why my latest venture at a Cook Au Vin class was the best kick in the culinary butt I’ve had in a while. It reminded me just how much I love the feeling of sitting down to a plate filled with goodies I made all myself. I joke that it’s practice for my future housewife duties, but really it is all about me and my never ending goal to fill my life with amazing food and people I make happy with it.

The class was taught by Chef Ryan, a culinary enthusiast who got his start working through restaurants while earning an English degree in college. He worked for the Army’s public affairs department before finding his way back to the kitchen. I think the cooking life suits him and his beard much better.

The menu for the day was brunch: croissants, gravlox and eggs Benedict. Each dish requires attention and a high level of preparedness, but as long as you follow the French mindset of mise en place, the results will not disappoint.

I discovered just how much love, rule-following and butter croissants require. Each layer of lovely flaky crust may clog my arteries, but the elbow grease required to make it happen balances it out.

Gravlox is so easy that I am willing to make my first seafood purchase at the market just to attempt this dish again. All it takes is the right balance of herbs and spices and a few days to let the fish cure. Oh, and about a pound of salt.

Then there’s eggs Benedict and the poached eggs that I dreaded the entire class. But lo and behold, I successfully created three that were edible but perhaps not the most visually appealing. The trick is to crack the egg into a cup first to make sure the yolk isn’t broken. Then, dip the cup into the boiling water with a splash of vinegar so the egg can easily slide into the pot. Then let the egg whites do their magical swirling dance.

I can’t wait to use my new impressive skills again in my own kitchen. Hopefully my roommate doesn’t easily get sick of eggs Benedict…

Cook Au Vin As someone who travels quite a bit for work, it is too easy to fall into the TV dinner rut.

Chicago Restaurant Week: The Results

Chicago Restaurant Week: The Results

I may be late to the posting party, but I am never late to dinner. Especially during Restaurant Week, as tables are quickly snatched up by hungry on-lookers. The cold kept the competition at bay this year though, along with the extension to two weeks, resulting in more reservation opportunities and repeat visits.

My kitchens of choice this year were the blossoming Perennial Virant, the classic…

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Happy Valentine’s DayThe folks at Time Out Chicago won my heart with their local foodie valentines.

Regardless of your…View Post

Happy Valentine’s Day

The folks at Time Out Chicago won my heart with their local foodie valentines.

Regardless of your…

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Food for Thought“Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too. How fortunate we…View Post

Food for Thought

“Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too. How fortunate we…

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Crispy Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds with LimeOnce in a while, downing an entire can of Pringles is a great idea. But most of the time, it is a…View Post

Crispy Chickpeas and Pumpkin Seeds with Lime

Once in a while, downing an entire can of Pringles is a great idea. But most of the time, it is a…

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“Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life. They appear so while they are passing; they seem to have been so when we look back on them; and they take up more room in our memory than all the years that succeed them.”
- Robert Southey


Chicago Restaurant Week: PreviewIt is that most marvelous time of year again: Chicago Restaurant Week.
While you usually have to…View Post

Chicago Restaurant Week: Preview

It is that most marvelous time of year again: Chicago Restaurant Week.

While you usually have to…

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Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

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The winter drones on, and there is no sign of fresh produce for months. Thank goodness for the seasonal vitality of butternut squash. It makes an appearance in almost every dish I contribute to the holiday table because it is so easy to prepare. I tend…

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The Disappearing Generic Grocery Store

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First there was the Snowpocalypse of 2011 where dozens of cars were stranded on Lake Shore Drive, and now Chicago can say it survived Chiberia 2014.

Barely a week into the new year, we were hit by two feet of snow in some areas and a record low of 42…

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The Happiest Meal of the Week: Brunch

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You had the night of your life, whiling away the hours with your closest friends, throwing back Jose and annoying the DJ by requesting Wagon Wheel for the hundredth time.

Then it’s suddenly Sunday morning, your…

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