Italian Wedding Soup

While making this recipe and preparing to share it with you, I decided to do a little research to find out the history behind the origin of a soup I grew up eating all the time and that is quite popular in Italian restaurants: Italian Wedding Soup. Growing up in a family with very Sicilian … Read more

On Being Half Sicilian

It’s so important to appreciate and respect our family roots, no matter how old we are or well-traveled or educated. One always comes full circle in when you’re able to understand at least a little something about our grandparents, great-grandparents and beyond them. What where their struggles? What were their professions? How did they live, … Read more

The Culinary History of Algerian Pastries {and Algerian Food in Chicago}

Have you ever planned to spend a theme-filled day out?  We seem to do it a lot of this in Chicago since there are so many great neighborhoods to explore. For example, there are some great Swedish places to visit in Andersonville (delis, clothing stores, museum and cafes); the Pilsen neighborhood for some Latin flavor; Greektown for the cafes & sweets; and Devon for a taste of Indian food.

Merguez sandwich at Pomera

Halal Merguez Sandwich at Pomera Grill

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Pistachios and Walnuts: A Deeper Look at the Most Widely Used Nuts in Syrian and Middle Eastern Desserts

Nadia Hubbi of Sweet Pillar & Co. gives us her take on how two of the healthiest and most traditional nuts of the Middle East stack up in food history, health benefits and culinary use. It’s an interesting look at both walnuts and pistachios, some of the most widely-used nuts in traditional Middle Eastern cooking that are making big waves in American cuisine, too. Be sure to check out her site and consider something as delicious as the chocolate-covered dates for your next hostess gift.

Photo Credit- Nadia Hubbi

Gorgeous Green Pistachios 

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A Quick Guide to Dates & How to Store Them

Our latest guest post is by Nadia Hubbi, Founder & CEO of Sweet Pillar & Co. Her chocolate-covered dates captured me so much that I asked her to tell us all about how to find the perfect one for our tastebuds and the origins of this ancient, lovely fruit so that we can appreciate them all the more.

Let’s talk about dates and not the kind between couples but the sweet dried fruit that has been around for centuries. Dates, bite-size brown fruits, are packed with health benefits and for the most part are available year round. While they are popular in organic and nutrition stores and during Ramadan, when many Muslims break their fast with a date, not many people know much more about them.

Dates & Cream for Iftar, dessert or a healthy snack

Dates originate from the Middle East where for generations they have sustained life in the hot arid region. In the 1920s, a rare disease called Baioudh deciminated most of the crop in the Moroccan desert, but eleven offshoots of the Medjool dates travelled to Southern California. Nine of the original eleven survived and have since flourished in the Coachella Valley in California. These account for more than 200 pounds of dates produced annually.

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