Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Best Chicago Food Promo - Funny Chicago Marketing

In a city where "Eagleman" & the "Victory Auto Wreckers" commercials I thought it would be fun to play with the Windy City's sense of humor. We live in the center of a special accent, the Chicago accent. Where the words "Front Room" (in typical Chicago homes there is a room in the front of the house, often with a bay window looking over the street) we have combined the words into "Frunchroom". Where we turned the commonly used, "Garage Key" & turned it into a Polish sounding last name, "Grachki." I thought I'd have some fun with our regional foods, Giardiniera (pronounced Jar-Din-Air) & Italian beef sandwiches (often referred to as a "Beef Sangwich").

what is italian beef
Funny Chicago Ad

Monday, May 29, 2017

Chicago Gift Package - The Best Gift For Him or Her From Chicago - Chicago Food Gift

Did you marry or recently start dating someone from Chicago & you just don't know what to gift them?

Looking for the BEST CHICAGO GIFTS? Are you in love wit' someone from the Windy City & you just don't know what to get him or her? Maybe you just miss your family or home in Chicago & you want to taste some comfort food! Here are some of the top Chicago Foods on Amazon that will make you or your loved one feel at home! Regional foods out here truly are "Chicago Friggin' Delicious!"

chicago style italian beef
Chicago Johnny's Italian Beef Wit' Hot Giardiniera

Chicago Style Italian Beef "Sangwiches"! Absolutely da best ting' to come outta Chicago, because, well, it's the vessel that most commonly holds "Giardiniera!" So you married someone from Chicago & they are always talking about this mysterious meet sandwich wit' hot peppers & oil all over it, so juicy that you have to eat it wit' your elbows far out to your sides & your pinky fingers hanging out so the juices don't roll down your arms; the crunchy, spicy, acidic hot peppers balancing the flavors of the thinly sliced beef piled high on a luscious soft French roll dipped in the very gravy that the beef was cooked in. City workers rubbing elbows with CEO's & stock market traders in a standing room only "Beef Joint" while looking out the window watching traffic & people walk the streets. That's Chicago!

How do you compile this Italian beef 'sangwich' (you know, sandwich, but wit' a heavy Chicago accent)? First you start wit' da bread! In Chicago we use a high gluten French roll (typically Gonnella or Turano, but there are others). The bread needs to be chewy & dense wit' a tough & crusty exterior so that you can dip the whole sandwich to make it 'wet' (gross, right? Wrong!). Then you pile up some thinly sliced Italian beef that's been cooked, sliced, then heated 'tru' in the very juices that it was cooked in. An average 6" French roll will hold about 4-6 ounces of Italian beef when you make your 'sangwiches'. Then comes the greatest Chicago culinary creation, the Giardiniera (jarred-in-air). This pickled pepper, celery, cauliflower, carrot mix is a great blend of hot, crunchy, acidity, deep flavor that goes on top of the Italian beef sandwich (unless, of course, your want sweet peppers - a fried sliced bell pepper with oregano & salt, but trust me, you want some hot giardiniera if you can handle the heat). Cheese is optional at most Beef Joints across Chicago & is usually mozzarella or a mozzarella/provolone mix. Take this whole sandwich & dip it in the gravy to make a 'wet' sandwich or enjoy it as is for a 'dry' sandwich!

Get what you need for an Italian beef at home from Amazon!

chicago deep dish pizza
Chicago Johnny's Deep Dish Pizza

The Famous Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza! Is it really that deep? 

Well, yes it is! This Chicago classic style of pizza is not all about a ton more carbs, its about creating a 'wall' to hold in a lot more cheese, sauce, & toppings. When you make a deep dish pizza you 'pull up' the dough around the side walls of an aluminum pan to create a kind of pie crust. These high walls of dough are able to hold in everything, I guess similar to a pie! There is not much more dough than a traditional Chicago thin crust on the bottom of a deep dish (though there is a common misconception from outsiders that there is). Typically there is a lot of olive oil or butter (sometimes even corn oil) in the crust. This creates a flaky, rich, friggin delicious crust!

So once we've created this 'pie' dough we add cheese, usually a mozzarella, provolone, & Romano mix. Then we top the cheese with toppings (or fillings if you want to call them that). Some of the most common fillings are bell peppers, onions, Italian sausage (in a patty form or a crumbled form), spinach, & often pepperoni. Then, & this is the most confusing part if you are unfamiliar with deep dish pizza, comes the sauce! The sauce is generally a crushed tomato & spices mix to create a thick, rich sauce that won't slide off when you cut the pie. The reason sauce is on top of this amazing creation is because of the extended cooking time, you don't want the cheese to burn or the toppings to dry out! Then comes a heavy dose of Peccorino Romano or Parmesan cheese. This is typically not a "pick it up by the slice & eat it" kind of pizza, we use fork & knife to eat Chicago deep dish pizzas! Top it off wit' some hot giardiniera if you want to add a true Chicago spice to your meal!

What would a Chicago food gift package be without a Chicago hot dog!?

chicago style hot dog
Chicago Style Hot Dog "Dragged Tru Da Garden"

A Chicago hot dog is an all beef, generally natural casing, smoked hot dog topped wit' a pickle spear, mustard, raw onions, sport peppers, sliced & halved tomatoes (I prefer roma tomatoes), neon green relish (I mean NEON green), & a dash of celery salt. We call this "Dragged Tru' Da Garden" because of all the vegetables & toppings on it. Serve it on a steamed poppy seed bun, typical to Chicago.

So to make this delicious, filling Chicago Dog start with an all beef hot dog. There are two major brands in Chicago, Vienna Hot Dogs & Red Hot Chicago Dogs, both owned by Vienna. But there are plenty of delicious, all beef, smoked natural casing hot dogs (Bobak's & Daisy brand are friggin amazing). This hot dog has a 'snap' to it when you bite into it from the natural sheep intestine casing.

Place this all beef smoked hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun, then add your mustard, neon green relish, fresh diced white onion, quartered pickle spear, tomato slices, sport peppers (traditional to Chicago, a small pickled pepper (similar to a Tabasco pepper), & of course, a dash of celery salt (salt & crushed celery seed mix). You get a great mix of acidity, salt, fresh, smoky, & tangy flavors from this great Chicago classic!

Make your own Chicago style hot dogs at home!


What would a Chicago gift pack be without a great Maxwell Street Polish Sausage?

maxwell street polish sausage chicago sandwich
Classic Maxwell Street Polish Sausage From Chicago
Often unknown by outsiders, the Maxwell Street Polish Sausage is a summer favorite in Chicago. A course ground Polish sausage, smoked, & topped wit' sauteed onions, mustard, & often sport peppers, this is one of Chicago's best street foods!

Oddly enough, this heavy, smoked sausage is often served on a poppy seed hot dog bun! This gives a soft, fluffy wrapping contradictory to a very good 'snap' that comes from the natural encased Polish sausage! Topped with sauteed white onions (cooked in the grease from the Polish sausage or in butter), classic yellow mustard, & quite frequently with sport peppers. All around a great sandwich with a nice tangy bite, smoke flavor, sweetness from the onions & the Polish itself, & great acidity & spice from the sport peppers. Definitely a must try sandwich if you are in the area.

As common as a great juicy Italian beef 'sangwich' is the classic fennel Italian sausage! 

Chicago Johnny's Italian Sausage
Chicago Style Italian Sausage
I make my own Hot Italian Sausage & I've been making it since I was about 5 years old. As a matter of fact, our recipe goes all the way back four generations to the Sout' Side of Chicago! I sell locally to regular customers but do not distribute or sell online (sorry, locals only). There are some great Italian sausages out there though!

Typically grilled (we call it charring {ch-are-ing}) & with a great crust to the sausage, there are many variations. I love a good Italian sausage with whole fennel seeds in them! A natural pork intestine casing gives a great snap to Italian sausage & also provides a cooking vessel for the pork to 'stew' it's own juices inside! You will see just as many Italian sausages on menus across Chicago as you will Italian beef sandwiches.

So start with a good, all pork, coarse ground Italian sausage with plenty of whole fennel. Grill it in a coil or in links, but make sure to give a great 'char' to the exterior! Then, use a quality, dense French roll (usually the same as the Italian beef sandwiches, Gonnella or Turano). You will find yellow mustard everywhere that serves an Italian sausage around here but seldom used. More than likely you will be topping your Italian wit' sweet peppers & onions, sweet peppers & garlic, or hot giardiniera! I prefer hot giardiniera on a hot Italian sausage because the acidity, flavored oil, & crunch from the peppers & celery mesh so well with this pork sausage! I always toast my French roll too, a nice flaky outside (& smoke flavor from the grill) with a soft & chewy inside is the perfect combination for a nice char-grilled hot Italian sausage!


However you do Chicago food you are doing it right! Just enjoy yourself & let our local comfort food take your worries away!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Chicago Food Pyramid Tees

Chicago Food Tees

Chicago ClothingIn Chicago we have certain regional specialties when it comes to food. We have giardiniera, a delicious pickled serrano, carrot, cauliflower, celery mix packed in olive oil that we use to top pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, sausages, & a plethora of other foods. You can't find it this way anywhere else in the country. We have deep dish pizzas, a hearty pizza that you have to use a knife & a fork to indulge in, with crushed tomatoes on top of the heavy layer of cheese & pizza toppings kept moist & delicious by saucing the top of the pizza pie instead of topping wit' cheese. We have hot dogs "Dragged Tru Da Garden" wit' sport peppers, mustard, neon green relish, onions, tomatoes, a long pickle, & a dash of celery salt. But my favorite, the Italian Beef 'Sangwich', is hyper specific to Chicagoland. Thinly sliced Italian roast beef cooked in gravy & spices, 'trown' on a heavy French roll & most often topped wit' sweet peppers (sauteed bell peppers, I love to add roasted garlic cloves in mine) or hot giardiniera (a great hyper-specific combination to Chicagoland). We often take our Italian Beef Sangwich & dip it in the gravy (sometimes refereed to as Au Jus) for a sloppy, wet, incredible depth of flavor. Remember, if you're going to try the 'Wet Italian Beef' make sure to put your pinkies & elbows out! And of course, in the city where the Italian Beef 'Sangwich' (said in a heavy Chicago accent sandwich becomes sangwich) was originated we have created what some would call the ultimate sandwich, The Combo! A grilled Italian Sausage on a heavy French roll that is topped wit' thin sliced Italian Beef! Talk about "Chicago Friggin' Delicious!"

So in my love of Chicago food I have designed the "Chicago Food Pyramid" with giardiniera, Italian beef sandwiches, deep dish pizza, Chicago dogs, the Combo, & of course, beer (we love our Old Style), You can find the shirt here for your loved ones or for yourself!

Wit' Love,
Chicago Johnny

Don't forget to grab your Chicago Johnny's Giardiniera! www.ChicagoJohnnys.com

Monday, January 30, 2017

Fire Roasted Asiago Garlic Poblano Burger Recipe, It's Really Friggin Amazing!

Chicago Johnny's Roasted Poblano Asiago Burger
Fire Roasted Poblano Asiago Garlic Burger
Some flavors just mesh, when you taste them together, you just 'get' it! With this burger you get the immediate creaminess of the roasted garlic, the tang & bite from Asiago, & the smooth rich earthy flavor from the fire roasted poblano pepper. On top of that you get the rich flavor from the Volpi salami & sweetness from caramelized onion. This s&^t is just friggin' fantastic!

I use Chicago Johnny's Burger Seasoning to crust & flavor your burger patties to a perfection. You also want a burger iron (found on the Chicago Johnny's recipe section) to flatten your patties & give them a nice dark crust!

To make this recipe you will need:
•Fire Roasted Poblano Pepper (either in a broiler, stove top, or on the grill)
•Volpi salami
•Asiago Cheese
•Ground Beef
•Crusty Italian Bread
•Caramelized Onions
•Roasted Garlic
•Burger Iron
•Cast Iron Skillet
•Love & Patience For The Kitchen
•Chicago Johnny's Burger Seasoning
•Chicago Johnny's Hot Giardiniera or Sauteed Jalepeno *Optional*

• The best burgers are two thin patties pressed hard with a burger iron, seasoned well to get a crust, & the toppings round out a well thought flavor profile. *You can get a burger iron through the Chicago Johnny’s website on the recipe page for this burger!

• Roasted garlic has none of the ‘bite’ that you get from raw garlic. Once garlic is roasted it becomes much sweeter, & milder in flavor. When roasted properly, the garlic will spread like butter!

• Fire roasting poblano peppers can be done in a broiler, stove top, or on the grill. Simply char the skin & blacken the pepper with your flame, peel the skin off under running warm water, & take the seeds out of your pepper.

• You can sauté some sliced fresh jalapeño to add some heat to this burger or Chicago Johnny’s Hot Giardiniera to really intensify the flavor!

Poblano Burger
Roasted Poblano Garlic Burger Recipe
Make sure you have a burger iron that fits into your cast iron skillet! Start your skillet on medium heat for 3-5 minutes so that the pan is hot when you place your meat into the pan, also heat up your burger iron on another flame (low) so that your iron is hot when you press your burger. While heating, split your ground beef into two 3 oz. sections & roll into two balls. Have your Italian bread, roasted garlic, fire roasted poblano (seeded & peeled), asiago, & Volpi salami ready. Once your burger patties are cooked you are going to heat up all of your ingredients & layer them together.

Toast your crusty Italian bread & butter if desired. Your skillet & iron should be hot, so slab a bit of butter in your skillet, place one ground beef ball in the pan & liberally sprinkle Chicago Johnny’s Burger Seasoning on & around the meat, about 4 inches around. Let your beef cook 20 seconds & then smash (and I mean smash) the beef flat as can be with the hot iron. You want a crust on your burger, & the meat will ‘talk’ to you as it cooks. You should hear some good sizzling. After about 40-50 seconds take your iron off, sprinkle some more Chicago Johnny’s Burger Seasoning, & flip the patty. Put the iron back on & cook for 20 seconds. Repeat for your other patty.

With the skillet still hot, warm up your poblano, roasted garlic, caramelized onion, Volpi salami, & pile your shredded asiago (or sliced) on the skillet. Once warmed through you can assemble your burger! First a slice of toast, then your roasted garlic cloves, then your Volpi salami, (*then your sauteed jalapeño if you chose to do so), one burger patty, 1/2 of your melted asiago, the other burger patty, the other 1/2 of your asiago, your roasted poblano, caramelized onion, & your other toast!

Enjoy wit’ da best beer Chicago has to offer, an Old Style!

 Curious about what made Chicago Johnny famous? Grab a pint of Chicago Johnny's Hot Giardiniera Or Dark Alley Hot Sauce! 


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Aunt Barbaras Italian Pizzelles

Aunt Barbaras Italian Pizzelle Cookies (Anise, Almond, or Vanilla)

italian pizzelle recipe
Italian Pizzelle Recipe
These thin crispy cookies are traditionally flavored wit' vanilla, almond, or anise & coated wit' powdered sugar. This delicious recipe comes wit' inspiration to my Aunt Barbara, from which I learned to make Pizzelles. She is my Grandma Annette's sister, & she is one of the women that inspired my cooking styles & techniques.

Every Christmas Eve out family gathers in the city to come together, celebrate another year together, get a visit from Santa Claus, & eat, & eat, & eat! On the dessert table there's a plethora of chocolate chip cookies, struffoli, crispy marshmallow treats, rosettes, et cetera. But one of the things I look forward to every year are sweet almond or anise Pizzelle cookies dusted generously wit' powdered sugar. The snowflake designs adorn these crispy buttery delicacies to give little pockets where powdered sugar hides, but also to give more surface area to make these cookies crisper!

You can watch the video of Chicago Johnny's Pizzelle Cookies & then download a copy to print & add to your cookie file, or even hang on your fridge as a constant reminder to make these delicious treats!

You will need a Pizzelle iron to make these cookies & you will also need:

• 3 large eggs
• 1 1/2 stick butter (I prefer Challenge brand)
• 1/2 cup canola oil
• EITHER 1 tbl vanilla extract OR 2 tea almond extract OR 2 tea anise extract
• 1 cup cane or organic sugar
• 2 tea aluminum free baking powder
• Pinch sea salt
• 1 1/4 cup whole wheat or unbleached flour

Best Pizzelle Recipe
Best Pizzelle Recipe


Don't forget what made Chicago famous!

Smoky, bold, earthy flavors great for sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, Italian beef, sausage, et cetera!

Chicago Johnny's Hot Giardiniera! www.ChicagoJohnnys.com

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Homemade Coffee Creamer Italian Sweet Cream DIY Coffee Creamer

homemade coffee creamerChicago Johnny's Home Made Italian Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer!

I love coffee, probably in more than a healthy manner. I drink the stuff morning, noon, & night, seriously. In the morning I like a dark black coffee, then more mild as the day goes on. However, after dinner I love to add just a bit of home made coffee creamer to a rich, dark roast & enjoy an after meal coffee & cookie. Making coffee creamer at home is simple as can be!

All you need to make this creamer is:
•1 Cup of Half & Half
•1/2 Cup of Whole Milk
•2/3 Cup of Cane Sugar
•2 Tea Vanilla Extract
•1 Tea Almond Extract

That's It! Heat your Half & Half, Whole Milk, & Cane Sugar stove top in a shallow pot on low heat. Whisk together as you are heating to help dissolve the sugar, but be VERY CAREFUL because when milk heats up it will foam & you run a risk of foaming over the sides of your pot.

Once your milk is heated & your sugar is dissolved turn off your heat & add your vanilla & almond extracts. Whisk together & refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Recipe makes shy of 1 pint (2 cups).

Use Chicago Johnny's Italian Sweet Cream Recipe to enjoy your next friggin' delicious morning, noon, or evening coffee!

diy coffee creamer

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Best Dark Hot Sauce

Best Hot Sauce Ever
Best Hot Sauce Ever

Seriously, The Best Hot Sauce, Ever!

Just as dark & gritty as Chicago's history, Chicago Johnny's Dark Alley Hot Sauce is dark, rich, earthy, bold & full flavored. A subtle heat but a heavy kick in flavor, this stuff is top notch! Made from scratch with fire roasted poblano peppers, roasted garlic, hot peppers, smoked chilies, spices, vinegar, & portabella mushrooms. You've seriously never had anything like this.

Chicago Johnny's Dark Alley Hot Sauce is thick, not like your traditional hot sauces. It's full flavored with very little sour that you traditionally get from vinegar based hot sauces. It's made from scratch with white & red wine vinegar as the only preservatives. Fresh vegetables are the base of this dish, which makes it deep, earthy, & rich in flavor.

A great sauce for beef, pork, chicken, or even on a burger! I had one guy try a dab of this stuff on a spoon & he immediately bought an entire case, it's that friggin good!
Voodoo Chicken Nachos
Voodoo Chicken Nachos

 Pair it up with Chicago Johnny's Cajun Seasoning & make voodoo chicken! Simply pan fry chicken thighs with the cajun seasoning & sauce it with Dark Alley Hot Sauce for a smoky, spicy, rich Voodoo Chicken! Turn it into a Po' Boy Sandwich with homemade remoulade or shred your chicken & make Voodoo Chicken Nachos! Friggin' Delicious!

chicagos best giardineira
Chicagos Best Giardiniera

Want to try what all of Chicago is talking about? Chicago Johnny's Giardiniera is hand made in www.ChicagoJohnnys.com
Chicago. Bold, smoky, earthy, & friggin delicious! Chicago's Favorite Giardiniera!