Girl and the Goat Thanksgiving charity event

November 18, 2010 (CHICAGO)

They're feeding these families (roughly 230 people total) with the help of Common Threads. The restaurant is selling special T-shirts to help pay for a Thanksgiving Day meal. They're $35 each. Or you buy a button for $3. Each button will serve as a ticket for a raffle that GandTG will hold, where ten people will win heritage turkeys. Both the tee shirts and the buttons are available at the restaurant.

Viewers who are interested in attending the brunch can Jen Esien at

Stephanie Izrd, Executive Chef/Partner Girl and the Goat Stephanie Izard executive is definitely not afraid to take a risk. At the age 27 and with no business partners, she bought a building and opened her first restaurant, the highly acclaimed Scylla. In 2007, Izard earned a spot on Bravo's 'Top Chef' season four, sold her restaurant on the fly, and headed out to film the show nearly the next day.

After winning the show, Izard spent two years traveling, speaking, cooking and promoting her next project, GIRL and THE GOAT, by hosting a series of underground "Wandering Goat" dinners at unsuspected venues around Chicago.

With a sociology degree from the University of Michigan, Izard's unassuming culinary career began at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, and then, working as a line cook at Christopher's Fermier Brasserie in Phoenix. A native of Evanston, Izard moved to Chicago in 2001 and worked her way through some of the most respected kitchens in Chicago - La Tache, Spring, and Vong.

Now, it's come full circle in her personal and culinary life with opening of GIRL and THE GOAT. Inspired from the Izard surname, which is French for the Pyrenean Chamois, a goat antelope found in several mountain ranges, the restaurant has been in the offing for the last couple years and floating through Izard's head throughout her career. "In decor, cuisine and overall spirit, GIRL and THE GOAT is rustic with a bit of badass," says Izard.

In her spare time, Izard is heavily involved with Common Threads, the charity co-founded by Oprah toque and Table Fifty-Two honcho Art Smith that teaches kids about nutrition and healthy cooking, as well as is a big proponent of local farmers and products. Launching her first cookbook in fall 2011, Izard's cooking at her newest venture, GIRL and THE GOAT, has been praised by high-profile publications such as Chicago Tribune, Timout Chicago, Chicago magazine and Chicago Reader.


The Girl and The Goat was born in the summer of 2010. Her doors are open to anybody with an open mind, an empty stomach, or a thirst for crafted beers and cocktails. She opens early and doesn't close til late. Her menu consists of 30 items: 10 vegetarian, 10 meat, and 10 fish, as she likes to appeal to all tastes and gastronomical creeds. She makes sausages every day and has 4 to choose from.

She sits in the West Loop, convenient to get to for everyone, but still gritty enough to appeal to the chef's integrity. She has a wide breadth of seating choices, including the sidewalk patio, a comfortable lounge, bar seats, standard table seating, and four seats close enough to the kitchen line that you might be asked to help.

She blended her own wine, and it's tasty. She has beers on tap from Three Floyd's and a fine selection of others in bottle form. She's open 7 days a week, because she never gets tired. She accepts reservations but always keeps tables open for walk-ins, nomads, dreamers, and those of you who don't like to plan.

We are Common Threads.
We teach low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals because we believe that through our hands-on cooking classes we can help prevent childhood obesity and reverse the trend of generations of non-cookers, while celebrating our cultural differences and the things people all over the world have in common.

Our mission is to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking. We help bridge cultural boundaries and strengthen our global family by teaching children about their similarities and differences in the warm comfort of the kitchen: Through the simple process of preparing and sharing a nutritious meal, children who participate in our programs learn to connect with their bodies, their neighbors, and their world in bite-sized lessons.

Common Threads began out of our love of family and good food, two basic ingredients that link all people of this world together. Family nurtures us, protects us and connects us to a larger community. Food nourishes us, excites us and teaches us about the world around us.

Children who participate in our programming come to our kitchens and embark on a world adventure as they prepare nutritious meals rooted in diverse cultural heritages. By using the power of food to show how much we have in common with our neighbors, we teach children that we are more similar than different. We can bridge cultural boundaries and strengthen our bond as a global family through the simple process of preparing and sharing a meal with others

Green Bean Casserole Green bean casserole:

Serves 6-8

For the casserole:Mushroom soup:
2 pounds fresh haricots verts (stems removed)
5 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 3 shallots, minced and divided
1 3 clove garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 pint button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 cups milk (room temperature)
1-2 teaspoons sambal (chili garlic sauce)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound maitake mushrooms, broken into small pieces
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and halved

For the Crispy Shallot Topping:
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups peanut or vegetable oil
4 shallots, sliced into very thin rounds
3/4 c rice flour
1/4 c corn starch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add beans and boil for 2 minutes then transfer to a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking (beans will continue to cook as the casserole bakes). Drain the beans from the ice bath and lay on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water.

Melt 5 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepot over medium-low heat.. Add in half of the shallots and half of the garlic and sweat over medium low heat for 5 minutes, do not without browning. Add in the button mushrooms and sweat for five more minutes.

Add in the flour and stir to coat the mushrooms. Whisk in the milk and continue to whisk for a minute or two to avoid lumps. Continue whisking and raise the heat to medium-high to bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally as the liquid thickens. Season with salt, and, pepper and sambal, adjusting seasonings to taste. (A thick soup base is desired for casserole, but if the liquid becomes too thick, whisk in a few additional splashes of milk).

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil in large saute pan over high heat. Add the shiitake and maitake mushrooms, and the remaining shallots and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms release their water, soften and begin to brown.

In a large bowl, combine haricots verts, sauteed mushrooms and creamy mushroom base. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed, and transfer to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, or until heated through.

While the casserole bakes, make the crispy shallot topping.
Put the salt and red pepper flakes in a coffee grinder, grind to a fine powder and set aside.

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed medium saucepot until it registers 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. (If you don't have a deep-fry thermometer, put the handle end of a wooden spoon in the hot oil to test the temperature instead. When a steady stream of bubbles forms around the handle, the oil is hot enough.)

Mix together the flour and corn starch in a medium bowl. Coat shallots in the flour mixture and then shake them in sieve to remove any excess. Carefully add the shallots to the hot oil in two batches and move them around with tongs as they fry to avoid clumping. When each batch is lightly brown and crispy, remove the shallots to drain on a paper towel and season with some of the red pepper salt powder.

When the casserole has finished baking, remove it from the oven, sprinkle with crispy shallots and serve.

Orange-Glazed Acorn Squash with Roasted Mushrooms and Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 4

I used to only use acorn squash in purees and soups. Their odd, ribbed shape makes them difficult to peel and almost impossible to achieve a nice uniform dice cut. But over time I realized that the outer skin isn't as tough as other squash like butternut and pumpkin, and when roasted, the skin is tender enough that you can actually munch on it along with the flesh.

Squash and oranges are natural partners, and not just because they tend to be the same color. Both have a good amount of sweetness and a slight touch of bitterness, although we still need to add a little vinegar to an orange glaze for enough acid to balance the sugar. And because squash are so synonymous with autumn, I wanted to boost that fall feeling with the season's other star ingredient: mushrooms. Finally, don't forget about texture. The crunch you get from the pumpkin seeds helps keep your palate from falling asleep in the soft roasted squash and mushrooms, and nobody wants to fall asleep at the table.

Orange Glaze
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
4 dried Thai chiles, broken into pieces

1. Combine the orange juice, sherry vinegar, sugar, and Thai chiles in a non-reactive pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and let reduce by 2/3 or until it resembles a light syrup. Remove from the heat and strain, discarding the solids. Set aside.

1 acorn squash
5 tablespoons EVOO
Salt and pepper
8 ounces Trumpet Royale mushrooms
2/3 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees .

2. Remove the top and bottom of the acorn squash, then cut into 4 wedges (leaving the skin on). Scoop out the seeds and "guts" of the squash and discard. Slice each quarter of the squash into 1/4-inch half moons, maintaining the short side of the wedge. Combine the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and spread evenly onto a baking sheet pan. Roast squash in the oven for 20 minutes uncovered.

3. Meanwhile, trim the end 1/4-inch off of the trumpet mushrooms. Slice lengthwise 1/4-inch thick. Toss 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

4. Toss the pumpkin seeds with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place on a separate baking sheet, transfer to the oven, and bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. As soon as you remove them from the oven, toss them in a good amount of salt.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts and Sunchokes with Candied Pecans

Serves 4 I do not have fond memories of brussels sprouts from my childhood. Not to throw my mom under the bus, but she used to serve frozen brussels sprouts that were boiled until they were as tender as baby food then coated with margarine. I always tried to pass them off to Dr. Pepper, who was always hanging out under the dinner table waiting for tasty scraps. But even he knew better than to eat them, and since he'd just roll them around under there and get me in trouble, I was stuck with them.

I'm not sure if fresh brussels sprouts just weren't as readily available back in the day, but nowadays they're everywhere. You can even find them in basic grocery stores on their tall stalk, which actually makes a great dining table centerpiece in a tall vase. The flavor of the fresh sprouts versus the frozen (or, God forbid, canned) is immensely better, enough that they even made a convert out of me. In fact, I like the flavor so much now that my preferred method of cooking brussels sprouts is simply to brown them in a bit of butter and oil then pop them in the oven for just a couple of minutes, serving them while they still have a little crunch left. A lot of times I'll add in another one of my earthy favorites: the sunchoke. The two vegetables compliment each other nicely, and they cook at about the same rate, making the dish quite simple to make. Sage brings in a nice aromatic element that adds depth without overpowering, while the pecans add a nice texture as well as a little sweet spice. And if you're like me and just can't get enough bacon, feel free to brown some pieces along with the butter to add a smoky element to the mix.

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon EVOO
12 fresh sage leaves
1 pound brussels sprouts, bottoms cut off, sliced in half
1/2 pound sunchokes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 cup candied pecans (recipe follows)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil to melt. Add the sage leaves and let cook for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the brussels sprouts and sunchokes. Toss to coat then let brown and toss again. Season with salt and pepper then transfer to the oven, cooking for five minutes or until just tender. Stir in the pecans, adjust seasoning, and serve.

Candied Pecans
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
Rice bran oil for frying
4 cups water
3/4 cup raw pecans
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper Salt

1. Place the sugar in a small stainless steel bowl.
2. Heat the oil to 375 degrees in a fryer or heavy-bottomed pan with high sides.
3. In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil. Put the pecans into the boiling water and boil until all of the nuts rise to the top of the water. Drain the pecans and transfer to the bowl of sugar, evenly coating. Transfer to the fryer and fry for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, being careful not to burn the nuts. Remove the nuts from the oil and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with cayenne and salt.

Technique 101: Candying nuts
There are many different ways to candy nuts, but I've found over the years that I get the best results from frying them. Some people prefer to make a caramel to coat the nuts and then bake them, but in my opinion frying makes for a thinner, crunchier candy coating, as the nuts aren't just sitting in goo while the cook. The trick to frying nuts is to quickly boil them first, which makes the sugar stick and really penetrate. You can do this with virtually any nut, but I find that I use this technique more with pecans, hazelnuts, and walnuts. One thing I am specific about though is the frying oil. Rice bran oil has a delicious flavor and a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying. (If you can't find it, sub peanut.) Feel free to get creative by adding spices to the sugar--cayenne, cinnamon, and nutmeg is a nice combo--and beyond the common use as a salad topper, try candied nuts tossed into pastas or chopped up as a garnish for sauteed fish.

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