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Hinsdale cooks share recipes from 2019

Chef, home cook and Hinsdale Bite Club members dish on their favorite creations


Last updated 1/8/2020 at 4:53pm | View PDF

Jim Slonoff

Home cook and food blogger Marisa Donovan and chef and restaurateur Paul Virant shared recipes for two dishes they enjoyed in 2019, a flavorful chili and pimento cheese spread. (file photos)

Less than two weeks into the new year, cooks already can find enough recipes online to take them through 2020 - and beyond!

Before plunging into the "741 best dinner recipes" or the list of "Southern recipes everyone should make in 2020," how about a look back at 2019?

Four Hinsdale cooks (including one Michelin Star chef) shared recipes they enjoyed making last year with The Hinsdalean. All are available online at

Don't forget the Fritos

Home cook and food blogger Marissa Donovan has been making her favorite chili for about 10 years.

"I originally found it online somewhere and each time I made it, I tweaked a little of this and a little of that.

"This just has such good flavor because of all the different ingredients and the spices, the three different kinds of beans and the beer."

Donovan isn't opposed to taking advantage of shortcuts in the kitchen, but she said a packaged chili spice blend won't produce the same result.

"When it comes to chili, it's just so worth it to take the time to put it together yourself," she said.

The chili always makes an appearance at the Donovans' annual Halloween party and on Super Bowl Sunday. It can be made ahead and reheated on the stove or in a crock pot the next day or two days later. It also freezes well, flat in a freezer bag.

Whenever she makes it, Donovan makes sure to have all the toppings available.

"The toppings are big here," she said. "Fritos definitely don't make a regular appearance on my grocery shopping list, but corn chips top off chili in the best way - and you can't skip them."

Goulash with a twist

Chandra and Chander Jadhwani enjoy cooking the Indian food they grew up eating. They also like trying different things, so they signed up to attend the September meeting of the Hinsdale Bite Club at the Hinsdale Public Library. Members prepare dishes from a particular country or centered around a certain theme.

"We were very excited until we heard it was German cuisine," Chandra said. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh. What did I get myself into?' "

Her husband chose a goulash recipe from Mimi Sheraton's "The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking," the library-recommended cookbook for the meeting.

"We don't eat beef, so he made the chicken goulash," Chandra said.

Chander, who said he enjoys tinkering with recipes, wasn't afraid to alter to this one, adding a little more red pepper.

"I come from India, so we need hot and spicy," he said.

Chandra chose a cucumber salad recipe she found online, turning to her spiralizer when she realized she had lent her mandolin to a friend.

"It's very simple and refreshing," she said. "The salad has a fair amount of dill, so it's a cleanser for the palate."

The theme for the Jan. 21 gathering is Game Day Favorites.

"We're looking forward to the sporting event," she said.

Make it a cheeseburger

The pimento cheese that covers the dry-aged griddled burger at Vistro in Hinsdale has been a favorite of chef Paul Virant's since it was on a barbecue week menu years ago at Vie.

"When we opened Vistro, it became the cheese component on our burger," Hinsdale's Virant said. "It's been a staple on the Vistro menu since we opened."

He pointed to his Jar Sessions pickled peppers as one of the reasons the spread is so tasty, along with the smoked aged cheddar from Nordic Creamery in Wisconsin.

Virant suggested trying different types of cheeses in the spread.

"I think a Monterey Jack would be really good," he said.

The spread could be used on other meats, such as a pork roast, on a sturdy fish like sturgeon or with bratwurst and sausages. It could even be combined with Swiss chard, kale or collard greens to create a gratin.

"You could add it into that, put some bread crumbs on it and broil it," he said. "That would be tasty."

The dip tastes good straight out of a bowl, too - scooped up with veggies, crostini, crackers or flat bread.

"It's a perfect sort of party snack," Virant said.

Author Bio

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext. 104


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