Category Archives: News

General developments and noteworthy news for Chef Aram Reed

Bourbon Pork Chop

Going Beyond the Grill

WGN Selfie June 2015

My standard behind the scenes selfie! Happy to be back at WGN!

A slew of grilled recipes seem to circulate like crazy around Father’s Day.  I have no idea why grills and grilling are always associated with dads, but I’m pretty sure that dads love many types of food in a variety of preparation methods — not just grilled!

While planning the dish that I was to prepare for a recent Father’s Day segment on WGN, I realized that dads across the county are probably sick of the same old stuff.  So, I created a dish that was special but still satisfying and easy to prepare in your home kitchen.  Dads, you can thank me later.

Before you get started, I have a quick PSA… do not overcook your pork chop!  There’s nothing worse than a tough dried out pork chop.  Trust me, there’s no saving it once it’s been overcooked.  As you’ll see in the segment, I cook the pork chop  on just one side on the stovetop and then I transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking it for 10-12 minutes.  This will result in a perfectly cooked, juicy and tender piece of meat.   Here’s the recipe below and you can watch the full segment here.

 

Bourbon Pork Chop

A collection of shots from my segment! Photo: Kristina Miller

 

Pork Chop with Bourbon Glaze Over Spinach Greens

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon bourbon
2 bone in 1” thick pork chops
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:
In a bowl, mix together the mustard, brown sugar, and bourbon. Rub the pork with the garlic and any preferred house seasoning, then brush with half the glaze. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Season pork with salt, pepper or spice rub of choice. Bring burner to medium high heat, sear one side of pork for 4-5 minutes or until nice browning occurs. Then flip pork over, top with glaze and finish in oven for 10 minutes or until pork has internal temperature of 165F. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Apply additional glaze over pork and serve over spinach greens. Garnish with Heirloom Tomato.

There you have it!  As always, I love seeing photos of your dishes, so be sure to tag me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Cheers to all the dads!

Chef Aram

Tuscany Dinner Series

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Last November, I returned to Italy — a place where I’d spent my very early culinary days, honing the skills that I’d learned at Le Cordon Bleu.  The purpose of this trip was much different from the last one.  This time around, I really wanted to absorb the beauty of the land and its people for a full emersion into the culture.

I spent two weeks trekking throughout Tuscany.  I began in Soriano Nel Cimino, a small village located about an hour north of Rome and stayed in an old castle turned hotel. I was the only guest during the off-season, which might seem a little creepy at first, but was really pretty amazing.  The king of the castle, even momentarily, I quickly made friends with the hotel manager over glasses of Campari and whiskey.  Eventually, I left the countryside and made my way to Florence.

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I was inspired by the breathtaking sights of the rolling hills and historic architecture. My days were filled with reading while sipping coffee and fernet in the town square.  I met amazing people, like Gigi, a local restauranteur who let me hang out in his kitchen.  We’d watch fútbol together and drink wine made by his parents while we waited for our pizza to cook. I was inspired by the food.  Everything that I ate was simple, yet very sophisticated.

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My February dinner series is a Tuscan-inspired menu that takes you from Soriano Nel Cimino to Florence — all in the comfort of your home.  Each course represents parts of my journey that I’m excited to share with you and your group.  From Tuscany to your table!

 

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Limited dates are available, so RSVP your memorable dinner experience today.  Just email me at info [at] chefaramreed [dot] com.

Salud!
Chef Aram

Giving Green Beans the Spotlight: Green Bean Salad

Green Bean Salad

Green Bean Salad

It’s time to rediscover the green bean!  Green beans get such a bad wrap.  Most of us grew up eating either the canned or frozen variety which was probably overcooked to the point of only a mushy semblance of a string bean.  Thankfully, we now have access to fresh green beans as close as your nearest farmers market.

When choosing green beans at your farmers market, be patient and take a little time to select individual green bean instead of grabbing large handfuls.  Trust me, the extra effort will be worth it when chow time comes.  Here are a more  tips on how to choose, store and prepare green beans.

Now that you have your fresh green beans ready, here’s a quick and easy recipe that’s perfect for your next meatless meal or side dish.  I also love this dish because it’s a great alternative to a traditional leafy greens salad.  For a protein boost alternative, add a can of tuna.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Green Bean Salad

2  tablespoons olive oil

1  shallot, minced

3  garlic cloves, minced

1/2  cup dry white wine

1  pound green beans, trimmed

1  14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1  14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1  14-ounce can habichuela beans, drained and rinsed

2  tablespoons parsley, minced

1  tablespoon lemon zest

kosher salt

 

Preparation

In a sauté pan, add olive oil, shallot and garlic and sauté on medium heat for one minute.  Add dry white wine and reduce.

Blanch green beans in a pot of salted boiling water for two minutes.  Drain and transfer to ice bath.

In a bowl, combine chickpeas, cannellini beans and habichuela beans.  Add green beans, shallots and garlic.  Toss with parsley and finish with olive oil, salt and lemon zest.

Cover and refrigerate for one hour.  Serve cold.

 

Enjoy!

Chef Aram

 

As seen on WGN: Farmer’s Market Vegetable Gratin

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It’s always a blast visiting the WGN Midday crew!  Thanks to everyone who watched today’s segment.  Here’s the full recipe and you can view the video here.  This really is the perfect dish to include in your  4th of July festivities, so give it a try and let me know what you think on  Twitter  or Facebook!

Farmer’s Market Vegetable Gratin

Ingredients:
2 to 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter
1 medium yellow squash, ends trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 Japanese eggplant or other small narrow eggplant, end trimmed and cut into ¼ inch slices
canola oil
2 1/2 cups cups coarsely chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
kosher salt
1 Tbs + 1 tsp chopped thyme
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Set a cooling rack on a baking sheet. Heat about 2 Tbs canola oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, and season with salt. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook onions until translucent, but without browning, for about 20 minutes. Stir in 1 Tbs of the thyme. Combine the yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplant in a large bowl, toss with the olive oil, and season with salt. Drizzle the slices of tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, and remaining 1 tsp thyme in a small bowl. Spread the onion mixture in the bottom of a 13½-by-9½-inch gratin dish or 13-inch round shallow baking dish. Layer the vegetables in the dish, working on the diagonal. Arrange a layer of overlapping slices of one-third of the zucchini around the outside edge of the dish. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tbsp of the cheese mixture over the top. Make a row of overlapping slices of yellow squash slightly overlapping the zucchini, and sprinkle 2 to 3 tbsp of the cheese mixture over the top. Make a third row with overlapping slices of tomatoes, slightly overlapping the zucchini, and sprinkle with cheese mixture. Do the same with the eggplant and continue making overlapping rows of the remaining vegetables, and sprinkle the top with any remaining cheese mixture and a light sprinkling of salt. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the vegetables are completely tender and offer no resistance when pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Just before serving, place the gratin under the broiler to brown the top.

Grilling the Chef: 20 Questions w/ Chef Aram

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What did you eat today? 

A leftover bagel from a week ago and a five-course meal at Kinmont. In general, I eat a lot of burritos.

Favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?

R&B/Soul like the Supremes and Bill Withers. I love the positive energy.  

If you weren’t a private chef, what would you do for a living?

I’d be playing for the Chicago Bulls, but I just chose to be a chef instead.

What would be your ultimate final meal?

A big fat bone-in ribeye with an old fashioned.

What is your favorite charitable cause?

Anything that feeds hungry people. No one should go to bed hungry.  

Name someone you’d like to cook for, alive or dead.

Jacques Pepin and Julia Child circa 1950 and in Paris.

Best thing you’ve eaten lately?

Crispy pork shank at Dusek’s in Pilsen.

Wedding season is upon us, for couples about to tie the knot, what are the three must-have kitchen items couples should include in their registry?

Without a doubt, the top three kitchen must haves are a Vitamix, a Le Creuset pot and a really good knife.  All will last you for years to come.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I hate mushrooms.

You’re also a cooking instructor, what’s the most common question that students ask?

How do I cut an onion without crying.  Here’s the trick!

What’s in your fridge right now?

Everything for my event tomorrow and leftover spinach and cheese pizza from Pete’s Pizza.

What’s the one thing you’d like the world to know about the food scene in Chicago?

We’re number one.

Favorite Chicago neighborhood for a great meal?

Logan Square – no question.

What’s your favorite word?

Apparently, it’s “baby.”  Someone recently pointed out that I say it all the time but I’m not aware of it.

LIGHTNING ROUND…

Sweet or Spicy  Spicy

Red or White  Red

Ice Cream or Gelato  Both, please.

Malort – Yea or Nay  Ugh, okay, if it’s Letherbee’s Malort then yea, but otherwise nay.

Cats or Dogs  Dogs

Sunrise or Sunset  Sunset

Cubs or Sox  Sox

Jordan or Rose  Rose who?

Chef Aram’s WGN Recipe – Pan Seared Salmon

wgn on the set

Cooking live with the team at WGN was a blast!  Many of you have requested the recipe of my pan seared salmon dish, so here it is!  You can also watch the full segment here.

Pan Seared Salmon Over Orange Fennel Salad

Ingredients:
1/2 fennel bulb
1/4 red pepper
2 Tbs fennel fronds
1 orange, juiced and zested
2 Tbs olive oil
kosher salt
6 oz portion of salmon

Directions:
Pre heat sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil to pan, place salmon flesh side down to sear about 4 minutes. Then put pan into a 350-degree oven and continue to cook the fish for about 3 minutes or until opaque. Do not flip the fish.

Using a mandolin, slice fennel bulb and red pepper into small bowl, add fronds, juice and zest and pinch of salt, toss gently. Place salad on plate, add salmon on top and serve.

Enjoy!

Chef Aram

New Website and Blog Are Up!

The New ChefAramReed.com

The New ChefAramReed.com

After a few seasons of working in Chicago, I realized my site was in need of updating and my presence (here in Chicago) needed expanding. So, I reached out to local designer (and long-time friend) Will Hobbs to help me develop some new material. My new site, chefaramreed.com, rolled-out in early August, and this blog will continue to update with news and other noteworthy entries to keep you up-to-date. Keep an eye out for upcoming events and classes, too… there should be some really interesting developments over the next couple of months!