Heaven on Seven, a farmers market, and the Jam Class Buffet
By Thursday morning, I had concluded that there was no denying my unexpectedly ravenous morning appetite. I guess I'm not usually particularly hungry for breakfast, because my real job is sedentary, and I don't generally work until nine at night, either. So I took my hungry self to Heaven on Seven, described by the Slow Food Chicago guide as "New Orleans North, " where I had the above-pictured breakfast of poached eggs and andalouille sausage on cheese grits.
I'm afraid that I chuckled when I saw the plated breakfast, which looks like the Fisher Price play clock we used to teach my daughter to tell time, in the analog days of yore. The waiter seemed a mite offended, though I meant only to show my appreciation. I made sure to tell him how delicious it was, and I think I was forgiven. It really was wonderful, everything cooked perfectly, and the chopped green onions on top were just the right touch.
Heaven on Seven is located on the seventh floor (hence the name) of the Garland building at 111 N. Wabash, across from Macy's- formerly Marshall Field.* The ambiance is Early Tabasco, and they serve a variety of wonderful looking gumbos and estoufees and other cajun specialties. It was seriously crowded for lunch, by the time I left, but easy to be seated for a late breakfast.
After breakfast, I headed on over to the Daley Plaza Farmers' Market, one of many downtown and neighborhood markets sponsored by the Mayor's Office of Special Events. This one is open on Thursdays. Beautiful flowers and fruits, vegetables, baked goods, surrounded by umbrella tables, and there was a cooling fountain, too. There is a rule that all food must be identified by point of origin, which is pretty cool-pretty much everything I looked at was grown by the people selling it, and was from Illinois or Michigan.
As a traveler, I was kind of frustrated, I would have bought loads if I was at home. But I did have a fridge in my room, so I got me some homemade cheddar and a mini ciabatti for sandwiches, as well as a small box of apricots. I was really pleased with everything, especially the apricots. I had just about given up on fresh apricots- though I love the dried ones.
Supermarket apricots generally taste like potatoes. These little guys were not particularly soft, but they were a lovely dark orange, with speckles, and the little boy selling them explained that there might be a few worm holes, as they hadn't sprayed for 2 years. I was glad I took a chance on them, they were sweet/tart and spicy- just delicious.
I gave one to the elderly lady sitting next to me on the plane home, and she agreed that they were heavenly. I also bought 2 bunches of beautiful Michigan asparagus, and carried them home in my tote bag on the plane. I was a little worried that they might be a problem with the security folks, but they passed through the x-ray without comment, and I was able to serve them to my friends Friday night.
The third night of class was as busy and informative as the first two; we finished and bottled up our chutneys and jams, and made numerous bottles of garlic dills. I was able to wrap my jam bottles in my laundry, to bring home in my checked suitcase, but had no room for 4 quarts of dill pickles, so those were donated to a classmate driving home. The final photo is Chef Bob Hartwig , arranging a gorgeous buffet of his beautiful baked goods and our mutual jams, jellies, chutneys and pickles. We tried everything, then packed up our loot, our certificates(!), and our French Pastry School aprons. Much though I love this supply of goodies, my most valuable memento is my little notebook of recipes, annotated with my class notes. And you will be seeing the results here, as time goes on.
Things we made:
Lemon jelly with sliced lemons
Apple jelly with vanilla
Strawberry Mint Preserve
Blueberry preserve with red onions and sherry vinegar
Chocolate raspberry jam
"Nutella" type chocolate and hazelnut spread
Demonstrated (and eaten!):
sweet tart pastry
lemon pound cake
Scottish buttermilk and cream raisin scones