Food

Buy Local at The Green City Market - Lincoln Park, Chicago

Foodies Unite!

By
Victoria
Allman

I rolled out of my bunk at 6 a.m. still aching and stiff from the night before. The alarm blared in direct competition with the snoring of my husband, our captain. The rest of the boat was quiet; the crew was asleep, using every last minute they could before our 8 o'clock start time. But not me.It was market day in Chicago. The Green City Market is an organic haven for foodies: a source for the area's most outstanding meat, cheeses, flowers and produce. Chefs and home cooks alike flock to the center of Lincoln Park to purchase directly from the farmers. Like a ritual, every Wednesday and Saturday I got up early to beat the crowds and the heat.

This morning, I ventured out into traffic still half asleep and blurry eyed. Barely aware of my surroundings, my first stop was a small independent coffee shop that brewed cups full of foam and robust richness.Latte? The woman behind the counter remembered my early morning order.

My eyes began to open with the invigorating smell permeating the car. I whizzed down Lake Shore Drive and drove through the streets. My mind stumbled to life, thinking about the day to come.By the time I pulled into the park, I was nearly coherent. I stumbled toward the stalls, finishing the last of my coffee, but when I hit the first vendor, I was in a full food mind set.

Nick, a young agriculture student and a throwback to the '60s generation, greeted me like an old friend. He quickly steered me to what was perfectly ripe.These zucchinis were just picked yesterday. He caressed them lovingly. These are the first of the summer tomatoes. We each handpicked a variety of heirloom tomatoes ranging in color from stoplight green to Tour de France yellow. He talked me into cranberry beans for my salad, and I picked out the tiniest banana potatoes, no bigger than a child's finger. As I paid, Nick slipped a long seedless cumber into my bag assuring me I would fall in love with its flavor.

Within minutes, I was on to my next friend, who supplied me with local organic quail eggs, yogurts and goat cheeses, all handcrafted in a European style. I moved on, this time to a shy taciturn man who didn't need to speak to convince me to try the honey from wildflowers just west of the city. Next was the woman who grew all her own herbs. I couldn't escape the distinctive citrus tang of lemon balm, the smell of rosemary and the lingering scent of fresh dill. This was the way to begin a day.Brightly colored vegetables greeted me at every turn. Carrots the color of Tigger lay with their long feathery tops still attached beside piles of shiny purple eggplant and deep emerald green zucchini. Sweet-smelling fuzzy peaches sat next to a pyramid of dark red cherries on the fruit stand.

Halfway through, I stopped at a tent for a fresh-baked croissant and another round of early morning greetings. Wiping the crumbs off my shirt, I was off to see the 5 year-old girl with big bouncy ringlet curls who helped her mom with flower sales.

I picked the sunflowers yesterday. Her innocent eyes turned me into a puddle, and I bought more than I could ever possibly use on the boat.I quickly unloaded the bags into the car and headed back for one final sweep of the market. Mounds of fragrant basil filled the air, and I couldn't resist buying numerous bunches for fresh pesto. I grabbed two pints of pencil-thin green beans to toss with it and enough zucchini blossoms to stuff with a cheese mousse for an appetizer that night. In all too short of a time, I jumped back in the car and headed for the boat.

This time, my thoughts raced while I drove back down Lake Shore Drive, flipping from one recipe to another like riffling a deck of cards. All I could think of was how to best use what I had procured. With ingredients so fresh and perfect, I made a point of keeping the dishes simple to showcase their flavors. I would have to roast the peppers and butcher the free-range chickens before I started on a soup with the tomatoes and zucchini. My mind jumped from stall to stall, replaying what had gone into each of my bags.

If I poached the peaches in champagne I could preserve their sweetness without overpowering them. And the baby arugula would be the perfect base for a salad, maybe with the banana potatoes.By the time I was back at the boat I had my menu set and was wide awake, wishing I could start every morning energizing at the Chicago Green City Market.

Preserved Tuna, Roast Peppers and Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 16 quail eggs
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon piment d'espellette (or paprika)
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2 8-ounce jars tuna in oil, drained
  • 2 red peppers, roasted
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 4 scallions, sliced on an angle

What to Do?

Bring a pot of water to a boil with the potatoes and sea salt and simmer for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain. Place in a large bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil with quail eggs, sea salt and vinegar. Simmer for three minutes. Drain and place eggs in ice water to cool. Drain and peel. Slice eggs in half. In a large bowl, whisk together Dijon, egg yolk, lemon zest, and juice. Slowly, drizzle in the oil, whisking continually to thicken. Season with sea salt and piment d'espellette. Toss with potatoes and mix gently. Add the arugula, tuna, peppers, black olives, capers and scallions and toss gently. Garnish the salad with the quail eggs.

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The beach at Fleming Villa | Source GoldenEye

In my quest for the best Caribbean Rum, I’ve sampled a few. From Appleton to Ron Zacapa rum, my tastebuds have celebrated the luscious flavors borne from fermenting sugarcane into smooth amber elixirs.

In the pursuit of rum perfection, I’ve noticed that a well-designed label can give clues about what awaits inside the bottle. Many simply present the distiller’s name and location where a rum derives its unique flavors. But it’s hard to resist the image of a crusty old captain, pirate ship or sassy sea wench when pouring a hefty splash into a tumbler.

Curious rum aficionados like myself are always eager to hear the back story behind the libation in our hand. Like a slice of pineapple or lime wedged upon the rim of a glass, the history of a rum’s journey from the Caribbean to our lips can make a cocktail taste even sweeter.

I recently stumbled upon the extraordinary tale that intertwines Jamaican rum, world- class musicians and James Bond. To fully appreciate this unique saga, follow my lead and shake up a GoldenEye Cocktail (see recipe below) to sip while the story unfolds.

THE SPY WHO LOVED JAMAICA

James Bond Dr No Poster Credit Flickr

Our story begins in 1939, when a London journalist named Ian Fleming joined the British Navy Intelligence Service. His unit specialized in military espionage and covert plans to thwart German aggression in Europe and the Caribbean.

During World War II, Fleming was engaged in Operation GoldenEye, and in 1942 he was sent to investigate suspicions about Nazi submarines in the Caribbean. During this deployment, he became enamored with Jamaica and vowed to live there some day.

When the war was over, Fleming returned to Jamaica and bought 15 acres of plush land that was once used as a donkey racetrack. In 1945, he built a house not far from the banana port town of Oracabessa Bay, and the seaside property became Fleming’s tropical sanctuary where he could focus on writing and the discrete task of taking previously tight-held secrets into a public, fictional genre.

He named the estate GoldenEye as a tribute to his Navy service and began working on a book that evolved around the dashing spy and Special Agent 007, James Bond. This protagonist would emerge as the amalgamation of agents he’d met during his maritime service. As an avid birdwatcher, Fleming took the name for his lead character from American ornithologist James Bond, an expert on Caribbean birds, who wrote the definitive field guide, Birds of the West Indies.

Fleming’s first spy novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1952. This book and all 13 in the James Bond series were written in his bedroom at GoldenEye. Three of them — Dr. No, Live and Let Die, and The Man with the Golden Gun — take place in Jamaica.

STIR IT UP

Chris Blackwell | Credit GoldenEye

Not only did the breezy island life at GoldenEye inspire Fleming’s novels, but so did his fetching neighbor, Blanche Blackwell. She was the muse who helped spark his creative drive. The Blackwell family had lived in Jamaica since 1625, exporting bananas and coconuts and crafting a distinctive brand of rum.

Blanche’s son Chris Blackwell grew up between England and Jamaica, and in his childhood spent a good amount of time with Fleming. In 1954, after Blackwell got booted from an elite British school for rebellious behavior, he came back to the island to get involved in the family rum business. Contrary to plan, he followed his instincts and made a career choice that would dramatically alter the global music scene.

For a while, he kicked around working as the aide-de-camp to the governor and as a waterskiing instructor. But after hearing the blind pianist Lance Heywood play at the Half Moon Resort, Blackwell recorded the musician, and in 1959 he launched a music studio called Island Records. In sync with his unconventional style, it became known for discovering and nurturing innovative performers who had been shrugged off or overlooked by bigger record labels.

Island Records introduced the world outside of the Caribbean to Bob Marley and the Wailers and Jamaican reggae music, showcasing island culture and universal struggles of indigenous people. It launched British bands such as Traffic, Bad Company, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Roxy Music, King Crimson and Fairport Convention. It also cultivated artists such as Cat Stevens, Brian Eno, Grace Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits and the Irish band, U2.

Throughout his success in the music industry, Blackwell remained in contact with Fleming and his projects. When the first Bond movie, Dr. No, was filmed in Jamaica in 1962, Blackwell was hired as a location scout and consulted on the soundtrack. Sir Sean Connery, whom Blackwell had met during the filming of Dr. No, remained a friend until his passing in 2020. Using a family recipe, Blackwell launched his boutique rum in 2008 that is distributed around the globe.

Live and Let Die was filmed in 1973 on the Blackwell Estate, which now includes The Fleming Villa. Scenes from the movie were shot near GoldenEye, Blackwell’s luxury hotel in Jamaica. The latest Bond flick, No Time to Die, returns to the exquisite Jamaican backdrop of GoldenEye, and the production team was treated to a supply of Blackwell Rum for inspiration while filming.

TO CELEBRATE 60 YEARS OF JAMES BOND, a special bottle of Blackwell Rum has been released, along with a new memoir by Chris Blackwell, The Islander: My Life in Music and Beyond. If you’re cruising around Jamaica this winter, cue up some Bob Marley tunes, open a bottle of Blackwell’s 007 Rum, and shake it (don’t stir) with pineapple juice and ice to create the GoldenEye Cocktail. And if you’re nestled in at home in a colder climate and dreaming about the Caribbean, we suggest watching a Bond flick and warming up with the Toasted Toddy.

GoldenEye | Credit GoldenEye

GOLDENEYE COCKTAIL

INGREDIENTS:

-1 part Blackwell Rum

-1 part pineapple juice

-Lime or pineapple wedge

INSTRUCTIONS:

Shake together and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime or pineapple wedge

Toasty Toddy | Credit GoldenEye

TOASTY TODDY

INGREDIENTS:

-3 parts Blackwell Rum

-2 teaspoons brown sugar

-1 1⁄2 parts fresh lemon juice

-6 parts boiling water

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add all ingredients to a mug, except for the water. Pour in the boiling water, Stir well to blend

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