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Tom’s Cookbook Library: Cool recipes from hot chefs

“Chefs & Company” includes recipes from Chicago-based Stephanie Izard, acclaimed chef-owner of Girl & the Goat, Little Goat and Duck Duck Goat.
“Chefs & Company” includes recipes from Chicago-based Stephanie Izard, acclaimed chef-owner of Girl & the Goat, Little Goat and Duck Duck Goat.

Anyone curious about what dishes off-duty professional chefs might whip up for unexpected guests will find plenty to chew on in “Chefs & Company” (Page Street Publishing).

The book, compiled by Maria Isabella, is aptly subtitled: “75 Top Chefs Share More Than 180 Recipes to Wow Last-Minute Guests." Isabella’s latest book – a terrific resource – draws on recipes and insights from culinary pros across the country.

Six Chicago-based chefs contributed their knowhow, including Stephanie Izard, acclaimed chef-owner of Girl & the Goat, Little Goat and Duck Duck Goat. Her recipe (below) for Ice Cream Sundaes with Sauteed Pineapple, Sesame Whipped Cream and Pie Crust Crumble offers a exotic flavors.

Izard also shares enticing recipes for Stir-Fried Eggplant, Sesame Cucumber Salad and Fish Fillet with Vanilla Herb Yogurt and Szechuan Chili Sauce.

Isabella says the criteria for the book’s recipes is that they are straightforward, fuss-free and ready in an hour or less. Home cooks may find the preparation takes longer, but the timing can be expected to improve with practice.


(Serves 4)

For the pie crust crumble:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 Tbl. sugar

8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

1/3 cup lard, chilled

1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup ice water, or as needed

For the sauteed pineapple:

2 Tbl. unsalted butter

2 cups diced pineapple

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 cup red chili flakes (crushed red pepper)

For the sesame whipped cream:

2 cups heavy cream, chilled

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 pints of your favorite ice cream

To make the pie crust crumble, place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse in the butter and lard until pea-sized balls form. Add the lemon juice and pulse to combine. Add the ice water, a teaspoon at a time, until a somewhat dry dough ball begins to form. The dough should not look sandy but should not be overly wet, either. You may not need all the water.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring all of the pieces together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

On a piece of parchment paper or wax paper, roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thick square. Use a fork to prick holes at random throughout the sheet of dough.

Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, then break into shards and set aside.

To make the sauteed pineapple, set a nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the pineapple. Allow the pineapple to release a bit of juice before adding the brown sugar, salt and red chili flakes. Toss to coat, then cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until sugar is bubbly and coats the pineapple in syrup. Remove to a bowl and let cool for a few minutes while you make the sesame whipped cream.

Add all the ingredients for the whipped cream to a chilled metal bowl and beat until medium-stiff peaks form.

Scoop even amounts of the ice cream into four dishes. Top each with 1/2 cup of the sauteed pineapple, a large dollop of the sesame whipped cream and a handful of the pie crust crumble. Serve immediately.

Journalist Tom Witom, who lives in Elgin, has written extensively for years about food and the food industry. Contact him at

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