As I write this we're in the thick of the latest winter storm. Snow continues to coat the driveway and I've already shoveled once today. Sure, snow can cause traffic delays and make for treacherous dog-walking conditions, but snow also can be delicious.
Especially when it comes from the bakery department at Meijer.
Through the end of the month Meijer features its Snowflake Cake as its Cake of the Month. You can chase winter blues away with a slice of white layer cake, iced with Perfect Finish Vanilla whipped topping and then sprinkled with sweetened coconut flakes. The cake costs just $5.99; pick up one to take home and one for the neighbor kid who shovels for you.
If you've sworn off dessert, you can enjoy a snowflake in a glass at Jade Asian Infused Restaurant, 1021 Fountain View Drive, Carol Stream. Mixologist Angela Sawyer came up with the Snowflake Martini, a refreshing quaff that combines Smirnoff Vanilla vodka, White Chocolate Godiva liqueur, a splash of Bailey's Mint Chocolate and a drop of Blue Caracao.
The cocktail costs $9 (order on Mondays and enjoy 25-cent wings with it) and will be available through April. Here's hoping there's not snow outside that late in the season.
And the nominees are: Wheeling native Rob Levitt, chef at Mado restaurant in Chicago, is among the nominees for the 2010 Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence.
Levitt, who with his wife runs the popular Bucktown eatery, is up against John De Rosiers of Inovasi in Lake Bluff, Joshua Linton of Aja in Chicago and Michael Sheerin of Blackbird, also in Chicago, in the Rising Chef category. Mado also is up for Best Neighborhood Restaurant.
The awards, named for the founding chef of Wheeling's acclaimed Le Francais, will be handed out Friday, Jan. 29 during the Grand Chefs Gala. The Gala is an annual fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Nominees for Rising Pastry Chef are Meg Galus, Tru; Craig Harzewski, Naha; Stephanie Prida, Blackbird and Natalie Zarzour, Pasticceria Natalina. "Top Chef Masters" winner Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill has been nominated in the Celebrity Chef category along with Michael Carlson of Schwa, Curtis Duffy of Avenues at the Peninsula and Paul Kahan of Blackbird. Celebrity Pastry Chef nominees are Suzanne Imaz, Sofitel Chicago Water Tower; Sarah Levy, Sarah's Pastries & Candies; Mindy Segal, HotChocolate Restaurant and Cindy Schuman, Sepia. The Grand Chefs Gala will be held 6 p.m. to midnight at The Fairmont Chicago, 200 N. Columbus Drive, Chicago. The evening starts with an extravaganza of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from 40 of the area's top chefs (including many nominees), a three-course dinner, a dessert buffet and live and silent auctions.
Tickets cost $400 and can be purchased at grandchefsgala.com or (312) 236-4491.
Food in the Atomic Age: Learn how the advent of the automobile and the culture of mass marketing changed the way we eat during a Chicago Foodways Roundatable presentation at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda.
Barbara Kuck with the Culinary Historians of Chicago will talk about how American food production and consumption were transformed in the years after World War II. Following this lecture, museum director Seleena Kuester will provide an introduction and overview of the "Food in the Atomic Age" exhibit.
The exhibit traces how Atomic Age conveniences created the streamlined, efficient American home of the 1950s. Visitors can explore a re-created 1950s kitchen, where they'll learn about the rise of prepackaged foods and state-of-the-art kitchen appliances. Then visit a 1950s diner to learn about the increasing popularity of fast food and see period fast food restaurant advertising. The exhibit is on display through Feb. 21.
The lecture program costs $7 for Lake County residents; $9 for others. Reserve a spot by calling the museum, (847) 968-3321. The museum is located in Lakewood Forest Preserve, corner of Route 176 and Fairfield Road.
• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 427-4524. Listen to her discuss food and restaurant trends on Restaurant Radio Chicago, 5 to 6 p.m. Saturdays on WIND 560 AM.