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Desjardins: Hockey isn't my only passion

by Andrew Desjardins

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In this edition, he explains his passion for cooking and what he'd like to eat out of the Stanley Cup should the Blackhawks win the series.

CHICAGO -- One of the best parts of living in Chicago is the food. There is great food here.

Since we moved here after I got traded to the Blackhawks in March, my wife Mandy and I haven't been able to really go out and experience it as much as we might have wanted with our five-month old son, Ames, at home. He keeps us pretty busy.

People always ask me about the deep dish pizza, but I've only had it once. I had it at Lou Malnati's, and it was really good. You can only really have one piece of that stuff, but it was an interesting slice for sure.

We've also been to RPM Steak, we've gone to Chicago Cut Steakhouse a few times, I liked Chicago q, the barbecue place, Velvet Taco right near Tavern on Rush, and we really like going to Eataly to eat and shop for groceries.

But honestly, I'm really a home guy and I cook a lot. I do a lot of the cooking around the house. I love it. It's one of my top three passions.

I kind of cook a lot of everything, and it's not just barbecuing. I don't do as much pasta anymore because I'm trying to stay away from the carbs, but I do love making pasta dishes.

I get asked all the time what my signature dish is, and I can never come up with an answer because I love to cook everything. I always panic on that question, and everyone always asks me that. I love doing risotto, my wife really loves just the straight white wine/parmesan risotto and I like to throw in butternut squash because she's not a big mushroom eater. I like the mushroom risotto.

I also love to make homemade burgers. I know that's barbecuing, but you get the ground veal and the chuck and mix them together 50/50. I make a great burger.

My wife and I really like Indian food, and I make my curry from scratch.

I do the tomato based curry, with fresh ground cumin seed, turmeric, garam masala, the dried red chillies with some chicken thighs and boil down the canned tomatoes with all that stuff. I love that. I've got that one down. I actually got inspired for that by watching Aarti Sequeira on the Food Network, but I kind of turned it into my own thing.

That's one of my best dishes, but I haven't been able to make it in a while because we live in a pre-furnished apartment, and it doesn't have all the pots and pans and stuff I need in the kitchen to cook. That's why we've been getting a lot of delivery in Chicago, because I don't have the kitchen I need.

It's tough. I haven't been able to cook near as much as I would like to, mostly because of the spices. I need my spices, and I don't have them.

I make everything from scratch. I'm not one of those guys that's going to go out and buy a taco kit. I get upset when I have to do stuff like that.

I do love that kind of food though. I love making fajitas, and it sounds like such an easy dish, but I make everything from scratch and it's really good.

Same deal with my pre-game meal, I make a white wine sauce with vegetables and chicken.

I'm a huge foodie and I'm bad about it. When somebody's cooking, like when my wife wants to cook instead of me, I'm always hovering over the kitchen. I try to stay away, but I'm definitely one of those hoverers and I'm just like, "So, what are you guys doing in here?" That kind of thing. I'm bad at that.

But I get that foodie thing from my family. My mom's a great cook, my grandma on my father's side ran a catering business. She makes the best pierogis, that's the Ukrainian in me. And my grandpa on my mom's side was really into food too.

I'm kind of looking forward to getting back to my own kitchen and having my area to cook more regularly. Obviously, I have a good reason why I'm not able to cook.

Playing for a Stanley Cup is the chance of a lifetime, and I don't want to look that far ahead. I'm trying to take this one step at a time, but if we're fortunate enough to win that thing, I hope to be able to take it back to my hometown of Lively, Ontario and get a chance to eat out of that beautiful trophy.

I know I've gone on and on about what a foodie I am, so I know exactly what I would eat out of the Cup if I was lucky enough to win it here.

A big bowl of Lucky Charms cereal.

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