Foodspiration from K-Movies by Jenny Chang

I realize I’m late to the game, having only recently watched the breakout Oscar award winning film, Parasite just a few weeks ago. Friends have been raving about this film for many reasons but mainly because a South Korean film was gaining notoriety in the film world and thus, Hollywood.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, I have an interest in Korean films and dramas. Mostly dramas, and if you have never seen a Korean drama, it’s the best soap opera ever and will suck you in from the first episode. It’s the perfect combination of unrequited love, wish-harm-to-you-villain, sentimental protagonist and/or hero all perfectly measured for a gut wrenching saga series. Admittedly, I’ve had to wean myself from watching said dramas. However in any K-drama series or movie, I am often inspired to cook something delicious as a result.

K-dramas and movies are notorious for featuring some of the best, most popular foods in Korea. You will see scenes that take place around a table where food is second to the action or drama about to unfold. Don’t be mistaken though, the food is meant to entice and entice it does. If not around a table, then a street vendor or cart selling the hottest, on-trend, instaworthy snack or bite around.

In the movie Parasite, you see the housekeeper rush to prepare a dish after the lady of the house calls to say they are on their way home from a rained out, camping trip and requests the housekeeper have these noodles ready for them when they arrive. The dish she prepares is called Ramdon in the movie but is known to Koreans as Jjapaguri because it’s a combination of two types of instant noodle dishes: Chapagetti and Neoguri. Chapagetti resembles the instant version of the Korean classic Jjajang Myun (aka. noodles in black bean sauce), while Neoguri is a noodle soup in a spicy seafood broth.

Before you turn your nose up to instant noodles, you should know that instant noodles in Asian countries is like cereal to Americans. Whole aisles are dedicated in grocery and convenience stores to instant noodles. It’s a staple in every Asian household. And today’s instant noodles are a far cry from the ones you might remember from days of old (Cup of Noodles or Maruchan – though I mean no disrespect to either brands).

Taking something so ordinary and ubiquitous as instant packaged noodles and elevating it with the addition of, arguably the most expensive cut of meat in Korea, Hanwoo beef (similar to Wagyu or Kobe) is clearly the director’s statement about the wealthy in Korea. It’s this contrast that piqued my curiosity about Jjapaguri and ultimately, made me try it at home.

I have to say, the result was enjoyable. I jazzed up the instant noodles a bit with the addition of julienned cucumbers and thinly sliced scallions but used prime ribeye steak vs. Korean Hanwoo (because who could get their hands on Hanwoo in the US).  The savory-ness from the Chapagetti was followed by a slightly spicy heat that hits you a moment later. The next time I make this dish, I would add a soft boiled egg vs. the steak, along with some stir-fried bok choy or even some chewy rice cakes (ddukboki).

That’s the thing about instant noodles, you can make them as elaborate or as simple as you wish. So next time you happen to be in the instant noodle aisle at your local grocery store or better yet, venture into your local Asian market, stop and consider how you might “fancify” your instant noodles to make them #instaworthy. You might find that you’ve created your own noodle mashup much like the Ramdon in Parasite!

Ramdon aka. Jjapaguri
Serves 2
  1. One package of instant Chapagetti
  2. One package of instant Neoguri
  3. One ribeye steak
  4. Julienned cucumbers
  5. Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
  1. Salt and pepper the steak on both sides. Sear in a cast iron pan for 3-4 min on each side, depending on thickness of steak and how well you like your steak cooked.
  2. Meanwile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add noodles and dried vegetable packet. Boil noodles until tender (about 3 min). Reserve about 1 cup of water from the noodles and set aside. Drain noodles.
  3. Return drained noodles to pot and add Chapagetti seasoning packed along with ½ of the Neoguri seasoning packet. Add reserved noodle water. Mix well. Add oil packet from the Chapagetti and mix well.
  4. Top with julienned cucumbers, sliced scallions and sliced ribeye steak. Other toppings can include soft boiled egg and stir fried vegetables.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Small Pleasures by Teri Hiben

As I reflect on some recent things that bring a smile to my face, I’ve noticed they are often the little, more commonplace happenings that really are extra-ordinary: a one year old in her early, self-confident walking, a handwritten note of thanks for something I’ve long forgotten, a five minute conversation meant to encourage, even only one day of sunshine after many gray days can bring on that smile.  Those small gestures and simple everyday sights end up giving me pleasure, enthusiasm, and energy.  They add up to having a big impact.

Lately as I’ve brought a treat for a gathering or a dinner, I’ve played on this idea with desserts.  A slice from a small bundt pan, a mini muffin or cupcake, a small cookie is just the right amount – a great treat to savor, nothing more yet nothing less.  Watching a child light up with joy at seeing a 6” layer cake rather that the more common 9” cake brings life to the saying that good things come in small packages. And remember, if they are small, maybe you can enjoy two!

Below is a recipe I’ve used for years from Martha Stewart.  They are Biscotti Bites with just a touch of grapefruit zest and formed with a mini scoop.  One small bite of goodness, a little something.  Try them.  Small efforts, like small changes, can make a big difference.


Biscotti Bites
  1. 1 ¼ cup flour
  2. 1 ¼ cup fine cornmeal
  3. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  4. ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  5. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp.
  6. 1 cup sugar
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1 ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  9. 2 tablespoons finely grated grapefruit zest (from 2 small grapefruits)
  10. 11 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided
  11. Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Beat butter with a mixer on med. speed until smooth. Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Then beat in coconut, zest and 5 ounces chocolate until evenly distributed.
  2. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough, spaced 1” apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle tops with sanding sugar. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  3. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden, 18-20 minutes. (longer if you use larger scoop). Let cool completely on baking sheets set on wire racks.
  4. Melt remaining 6 ounces chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Dip bottoms of cooled cookies in melted chocolate, scrape off excess against rim of bowl, and set on parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
  1. Recipe from Martha Stewart
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Crowned the Salad Queen by Jenny Lorish

I don’t know how it happened, but I have been dubbed the “Salad Queen” by my co-workers. 
When we have those holiday get togethers and company meetings I will admit, I tend to bring a BIG salad. It’s a “go to”  I lean toward.  So, I guess that is how it came to be.  “Salad Queen” it is.  I guess I now have a reputation to uphold. How can I make the next salad for our next get together more interesting than the last? 
Not all salads are created equally.  Lettuce based salads are not always fun.  So, I start by thinking about the base ingredients such as grains, roasted veggies, legumes, and pasta.   For any particular salad, I start with one of a few of these and then build from there.
Next ,comes the salads fixings/toppings: seasonal fruits and vegetables, cheese, nuts, seeds, croutons, the sky is the limit.  From there I go to the salad dressing.  
I start by thinking about which flavor goes best with the base:  balsamic, red wine vinegar, citrus, mustard, creamy, so many choices.  In any given salad, I truly enjoy crunch, sweet, spicy, tangy, all different flavors and textures bursting in my mouth.  
Some of my favorite salad recipes are inspired by restaurants I have frequented for lunch with my favorite friends.  On the many different lunch dates, I tend to order the same salad at the same restaurant every time I go there.  For example, at Nordy’s Cafe,  its the Cilantro Lime Salad with shrimp instead of chicken.  At California Pizza Kitchen it is typically the Roasted Veggie salad, so good.  I have to admit, I’m very inspired by the deliciousness of these salads, and I go home and try to recreate it for family and friends.
My advice to you, if you’d like to become the “Salad Queen”, or known for something delicious, start by sharing your favorite things and make it a “go to” for you, your loved ones and especially for those you work with side by side every day. Go ahead and wear that crown with pride!
My favorite dressing in the winter is this lemony vinaigrette. What would I put this delicious dressing on? Massaged chopped Kale or baby greens, sliced avocado, pomegranates, spicy pecans, pumpkin seeds, and shaved parmesan. It  brightens up any cold, dreary day into what feels like a sunny day.  I hope you love it as much as I do!  #tastethesunshine  #beinspired
Lemony Vinaigrette
  1. 3/4 cup olive oil
  2. 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  3. 2 tablespoon white vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  5. 1 clove garlic, minced
  6. 2 tablespoons honey
  7. 1 teaspoon dried oregano , any other herbs you prefer
  8. salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a dressing container or mason jar, or a blender. Blend well until the dressing is emulsified (combined well and not separating).
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Whisk or shake well before each use.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Cookie Memories by Lauren Miller

 It always amazes me how the aroma or taste of something from the kitchen can bring back so many memories. For me, one bite of our homemade Christmas cookies and I am transported back to my childhood. Christmas wasn’t complete without a batch of my mom’s homemade Old Fashioned Butter Cookies.

These cookies were different from others I’d see in the store or bakeries, as my mom rolled them out very thin, almost thinner than a pie crust. They were then baked until just a bit golden and had a satisfying, buttery crunch when bitten into. And everyone seemed to have their favorite cookie shape. Mine was always the snowman, with red sugar sprinkles.

My mom got this family recipe from her neighbor and friend while living in their 1st home with their young family. I remember coming home from school in December with a fresh batch of cookies spread out on the counter. I also remember begging to make them with a friend when I was in grade school, and boy, did we make a mess in the kitchen, with flour and sprinkles everywhere!

I now roll out these cookies in my own kitchen for my family, using the very same cookie cutouts from my childhood. Yes, they can be a lot of work and yes, they create a mess with sugar crystals and flour everywhere. But if my family remembers these cookies when they are grown, then the mess in the kitchen will all be worth it.

Old Fashioned Butter Cookies
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 3 eggs, well beaten
  5. 4 cups sifted flour
  6. ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Cream butter; add sugar and vanilla and continue creaming until light. Beat eggs and add to butter mixture. Blend well. Sift flour, measure, sift with salt and add to dough, using more flour if necessary, to make dough stiff. Chill 30 minutes (or longer).
  2. Roll out thinner than ¼” thickness. Cut with cookie cutter and sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake on cookie sheet at 400 degrees. Start watching cookies at 5 minutes, as baking time will vary depending on thickness of cookies.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

The Secret Ingredient Is Giving by Tania Pasterz

It’s that time of year again when our “to-do” lists start to include preparation for the holidays. Is the pantry stocked for out of town relatives and homebound college kids? What can we do ahead of time? For most of us pantry essentials like baking supplies, produce, dry/canned goods and spices are a trip to the grocery store away.

However for some, many if not all of these items are out of reach. That is why Marcel’s has partnered with The Glen Ellyn Food Pantry through November 18 to help combat local hunger. Bring in a food item for the food pantry and receive 20% off any food/wine item in our store.

 While planning ahead don’t forget to check out our November Class schedule. On Tuesday, November 12, Julie is doing a free demo of Orange Pecan Wild Rice that could fit nicely on your holiday table. We also have Kelly’s One + Done: Poultry Stock and Silky Gravy class that I’m going to try to sneak in myself! Kelly will teach the secret to silky smooth gravy and you will go home with gravy and stock to freeze until the holidays. And Robin will teach two Make + Take classes for soft white rolls to freeze and bake on Thanksgiving. While, Rachel will teach two Make + Take: Thanksgiving Pies classes passing on her techniques for the perfect pie. You will leave with two pies, one ready to bake and one ready to bake off in time for the holidays.

So, in your preparation for the holidays, stop in at Marcel’s and don’t forget to stock someone else’s pantry while stocking your own. The Food Pantry is in particular need of canned kernel corn, canned peas, rice, dry and canned beans, canned tuna, ketchup, boxed penne pasta, canned chili and cookies.

Happy holiday planning!

By the Numbers at Marcel’s by Jill Foucré

Those of you who know me well know I am a numbers person. While there are certainly many places in life where it’s best to follow your heart, in business I think it’s best to follow the numbers. Almost always, when there’s an important decision to be made, a look at the numbers will give great guidance if you listen to what they’re saying.

Since we opened Marcel’s, I have devotedly followed the numbers and a lot of them are really fun to think about!

Let’s start with you. We have had well over 30,000 different people shop at Marcel’s since we opened. And that doesn’t even count Marché. We have been open for a bit less than 3,000 days so that’s more than 10 new people every single day! We are so appreciative of each and every one of you – but thinking about how many of you there are, I don’t feel so bad that I draw a blank on a name here and there!

At the very, very beginning when I was thinking about this little business I could create, what I really wanted was the recreational cooking school. It of course has become so much more than that but the Marcel’s kitchen, led by Chef Kelly Sears and our very talented chef team, is a powerhouse unto itself. 1,807 classes (and more every single day) with 24,742 participants plus 850 private events with another 11,910 participants. Yowza! That’s over 36,000 adults and kids learning, eating, having fun, and meeting us around our table. Exactly what I envisioned. This wouldn’t have happened without the 16 chefs, over 100 Culinary Assistants, and more teenage dishwashers than I can count who have delivered each and every class to you.

And we can’t forget the retail store. We pride ourselves on having something for everyone at every price point and that means an awful lot of merchandise! And if you’ve ever wondered who chooses all of these fabulous things, look no further than Dana Williams, store manager/buyer/visual merchandiser extraordinaire. We have had 22,226 different products in the store for you — and while we are constantly searching for new and different things, we’ve also got many items we’ve carried since day one.

Of course, just like in the kitchen, it’s our staff that makes Marcel’s special — and I know they make you feel special, too. We’ve had 33 different people on the retail staff over 8 years and I think each and every one of them has had more than a tiny bit of fun being a part of the Marcel’s family.

A few last numbers:

Six. Those who have stood by my side since the beginning (and before the beginning!). Kelly Sears, Paul Lindemuth, Dana Williams, Rita Cevaal, Teri Hiben, Lisa Sallwasser – the words “couldn’t have done it without you” are so inadequate.

Eight. Wonderful years.

One. Super grateful owner.

Farm Fresh by Denise Stano

It’s that time of year again…school is back in session, the cicadas are singing loudly, morning and evening temps are cool enough to forego the ac, and it is peak season at our farmer’s markets. The bins are overflowing with sweet corn, tomatoes, peaches, peppers, etc. Who can resist a bouquet or two of zinnias, dahlias or gladiolas?

Anyone who has travelled north along the western shore of Michigan knows that much of the produce at our local markets comes from Michigan farms. Beginning with the springtime asparagus to the many varieties of apples in the fall, these farmers also sell their products at their own roadside stands, many still using the honor system. I have a real weakness for these stands and can eat myself silly with the abundant seasonal fruit and goodies I find there. This year’s vacation Up North was no exception.

While you still can, do yourself a favor and make the choice to support our local farmer’s markets. Buy what’s fresh, Google a recipe or check the recipes on the Marcel’s website, and enjoy the flavors of the season.

Strike While The Grill Is Hot by Julie Busteed

Summer and summertime cooking… two things I look forward to. But with a bit of coordination, the two get even better.

The foods of summer… going to the farmer’s market and cooking with in-season fruits and vegetables, all so good…peach pies, grilled corn, and fresh sliced tomatoes. And since it’s often too hot to turn the ovens on inside, it’s a perfect time for grilling outside. This is where the coordination comes in.

We’ve been enjoying many grilled meals this summer. Since the Kamado Joe grill can cook at both high heat (up to 900 degrees) and also smoke something for hours, a little pre-planning can go a long way. Strike while the grill is hot… or something like that.

For example, we’ll have a flank steak marinated and ready to grill at 600 or 700 degrees. Once the steak is done, I adjust the temperature with the daisy wheel on top and bring it down to 400 degrees and grill my chicken, so that we can have grilled chicken Caesar salad the next night. Once the chicken is cooked, I again adjust the temperature to 200 degrees and smoke some salmon, that I save and use later in the week to create a wonderful Salmon and Basil Lasagna (recipe below). And this is where summer gets better – you’re not spending as much time cooking, freeing up time for more enjoying.

Like many other acquired skills in the kitchen, getting the hang of “stoking the Joe” to get the temperatures you need is easy once done a time or two. And unlike conventional grills, the Joes’ ability to get the high temps, and what you can then do with steaks, is amazing.

We have a few left in stock …stop by and take a look.

Salmon and Basil Lasagna
Serves 4
  1. 12 ounce salmon filet
  2. Olive oil
  3. 1 Tablespoon minced basil
  4. 1/2 Teaspoon salt
Lasagna Sauce
  1. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  2. 2 Garlic cloves minced
  3. 1 Tablespoon minced shallot
  4. 1 Cup heavy cream
  5. 1/2 Cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
  6. Sea salt to taste
  7. White Pepper to taste
  1. 4 Lasagna noodles
  2. 1/4 Cup minced basil
  3. 1/3 Cup Parmesan cheese - grated
  1. Coat the salmon with oil. Sprinkle the flesh side of the fish with the basil and salt. Cover the filet and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare your Kamado Joe smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200 degrees. Place the salmon on the smoker and smoke until cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. (This can be done ahead of time - even a day in advance.)
  3. While the salmon smokes, make the sauce. Warm the oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and the garlic and saute until soft but not browned. Stir in the rest of the sauce ingredients and adjust the heat to allow the mixture to simmer steadily. Stir frequently - cooking until it’s reduced by one-third/
  4. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package. Drain and cut the strips into thirds (I also think that you could put this in a 9 x9 pan as opposed to making individual servings)
  5. Flake the salmon into bite-sized chunks.
  6. To assemble the lasagna, spoon about 1 tablespoon of the sauce on each plate. Lay a strip of lasagna over the sauce and top with 1 ounce of the salmon. Spoon sauce thinly over the fish and scatter about 1 teaspoon each of the basil and cheese over the sauce. Repeat with a second layer. For the top layer of the lasagna, again layer the pasta strip followed by the salmon. Top with equal portions of the remaining sauce, basil and cheese. Serve hot.
Adapted from Smoke and Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison
Adapted from Smoke and Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Wedding Gifts to Cherish by Jennifer Dorn

Wedding season is year-round at Marcel’s – as we have fun with our customers helping to pick out the perfect gifts for their bridal showers and wedding gifts. A wedding gift is special – it should be a gift that surpasses the ordinary. At Marcel’s, we enjoy helping you select this perfect gift. We want you to find something that celebrates two people starting a new life together, a gift they will cherish forever.

Yes, we have a Bridal Registry! Couples are welcome to set up an appointment and create their wish list. After the wedding, we are committed to helping the couple complete their list by giving them 10% off any remaining items on their registry. It’s easy to view their registry online, then give us a call or come into the shop and we will help you select the perfect gift, have it giftwrapped and shipped anywhere you need!

So let’s talk about those One of a Kind special gifts. One of my favorites is a vase from Simon Pearce that has their invitation engraved on the front – Beautiful! Simon Pearce also has hand blown champagne flutes – toasting with these through the years will be so elegant.

Perhaps you would like to give a gift card. Marcel’s gift cards can be used to register for a cooking class together – so thoughtful and fun!

Think about those memorable gifts you received or inherited from your family. My Grandmother gave me her hand carved wooden salad bowl and I still cherish and use it today! We also have salad bowls and charcuterie boards that are handcrafted, making a unique one of a kind gift. Le Creuset Dutch ovens are popular shower gifts – just add a hand written recipe card with your gift to make it special.

Weddings are joyous and we here at Marcel’s, are always ready to ensure you feel great about your gifting! We look forward to helping you find the perfect cherished gift for you next gift giving occasion.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream by Didi Foth

Summer is finally here!  With all the rain and cold that we had in June, it felt as if it would never arrive.  It is here in its full glory- scorching hot days and warm humid nights.  When I was young, those were the type of days that would send us racing through the streets when we heard the distant music of the ice cream trucks.  The entire neighborhood would go running into the house to beg their parents for money so that we could buy the frozen treats that would cool us off and make us so happy. It was so hard to choose:  a drumstick, ice cream sandwich or Dreamsicle??  It was hard to imagine that anything could ever taste so delicious!

As an adult, there is still nothing better than ice cream on a hot summer day or on the patio at night, although my tastes have evolved a bit from the ice cream truck days.  I now know that ice cream can be made from fresh ingredients and with flavors that are only limited by your imagination – cookie dough, chocolate marshmallow, coffee, mint chocolate chip, etc.  And homemade ice cream- whether it be from a favorite little shop, a restaurant, or made at home-is the ultimate treat.

The flavors are fresh and make you think of berry fields, campfires with s’mores and chocolate shops. I have also discovered that ice cream, with an adult beverage, can be a fun dessert.  A Berry Prosecco ice cream float is as simple as adding fresh berries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a glass and topping it off with Prosecco.  How fun is that?

Making ice cream at home has definitely become much easier than the days churning for hours.  There are a variety of new ice cream makers on the market that allow you to eat a fresh, frozen treat within an hour of thinking of your favorite flavor, which is even quicker than hearing that first sound from the ice cream truck!   Marcel’s carries many of the items that you need to help you make these treats at home.

On Saturday, July 27, Marcel’s will have Guest Chef, Alissa Wallers of the French Pastry School, churning ice cream and making all handmade toppings in the hands-on cooking class, The Ice Cream Bar.  Think Bourbon Vanilla and Coffee ice cream with salted caramel sauce or blueberry compote.  How about a chocolate wafer ice cream sandwich cookie?  What a fabulous way to beat the summer heat and experiment with recipes and flavors.  Kids 12 and older are welcome to join this class so you can start some new family traditions – much better than chasing the ice cream truck!

Marcel’s will also be having a Neighborhood Happy Hour and Grown Up Ice Cream Social on Sunday, July 28 from 2-4 pm.  Come join us for some fun, adult ice cream drinks and a snack to beat the heat.  There is no cost for this event, but please pre-register.

Happy summer and here’s to a big scream for ice cream!