Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thai Dinner Party - Dec 22, 2009

Thai Green Curry with Chicken, Celeriac, and Sweet Potatoes

We co-hosted a small group last week at our house for a Thai themed meal. Our friend Katie, who we visited in Thailand last year, was in town for the holidays and we all cooked up some Thai goodies for friends. Katie brought some delicious laab, of which I did not get a picture, and I made the above curry and some sticky rice with mangoes for dessert. It was a nice respite from traditional holiday foods and a tasty way to reminisce about our travels together.
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Happy New Year! - Dec 31, 2009

Oregon Ouzo

Here are pictures of the delightful small batch spirits Kate and Scott got us for Christmas. Yum!

Lemongrass Cello

Thanks for hauling them all the way from Portland, Kate!

Have a safe and happy New Year everyone.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Holidazzle - Dec 19, 2009

Nick Putting in His Order at the Chef Shack

We went downtown Minneapolis with our visitors to take in the Holidazzle Parade and sample some street food from our beloved Chef Shack. We downed hot cocoa, chili dogs, butternut squash soup, and mini doughnuts. The only bad part was taking our mittens off to eat. Brr! Nick and my sisters also sampled the crepes at Vincent's street cart, both the Nutella and the ham and cheese were super yummy.

View of the Wells Fargo Building from our Spot on Nicollet Mall

We go to the Holidazzle every year, and usually have to duck inside to grab food and drinks, so it was great to be able to take advantage of the food carts outside. I hope there are more and more each year!
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Christmas Eve Dinner - Dec 24, 2009

Festive Table

I hope you all had a joyous holiday full of tasty morsels! I feel so far behind in my blogging due to my total lack of a schedule over the past two weeks. Slowly but surely I will dig myself out of this hole. So, be on the lookout as I haphazardly post whatever food related photos I can find as I sort through all the Christmas pictures. Above is the dinner table at my parents' home on Christmas Eve. The menu included goat cheese and sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken breasts, roasted root vegetables, 'party potatoes,' garlic toast, and probably a bunch of other stuff that I can't quite remember. For dessert, my mom made this beautiful and delicious kahlua trifle.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Hot Buttered Rum - Dec 20, 2009

Mugs Lined Up

Nick's mom brought along a recipe for hot buttered rum and she and my father-in-law made up a batch while visiting. Creamy and delicious, it's a very seasonal beverage. Lucky for us, we have some leftover mixture in the freezer to continue to enjoy for a bit.


The recipe contains amounts of sugar and heavy dairy that I don't want to think about. The cinnamon and nutmeg give a hint of seasonal spice, and the rum warms it all up. Cheers!
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Winter Tart II - Dec 18, 2009

Winter Tart on Puff Pastry Crust

We did a prequel to this meal last week and since it was tasty, it went on the menu for our recent guests. Friday night we munched on this variation from 'How to Eat Supper,' while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. We had fun picking out the assortment of veggies to roast.

Colorful Root Vegetables

We came up with a nice mix including beauty heart radish, sweet potato, onion, turnip, carrot, and parsnips. We added cabbage, apple, and garlic later and topped our pre-made pastry crust. The final touch was some chevre and pecorino-romano cheese.
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Cafe Rushmore - Dec 17, 2009

Japanese Inspired Pot Roast

This is a Cafe Rushmore meal (Technically it's been a Cafe Rushmore week and will continue to be so through the Christmas holiday). We hosted Nick's parents and cousin at our place last Thursday and decided to make one of our favorite comfort food dishes. Japanese inspired pot roast is a recipe out of Food & Wine that we've made a few times in the past. It's nice for a group and we made use of the daikon radish we received in our CSA delivery earlier that day. The beef was perfectly tender and the veggies nicely al dente. We served it over udon noodles and had Christmas cookies and homemade cinnamon-coffee gelato for dessert.
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Last Veggie Delivery - Dec 17, 2009

Winter Veggies

Whew... I have a few entries to catch up on! Let's start with our last delivery from Harmony Valley Farm for this year. It was a very heavy box this past week, full of root vegetables to keep in storage for a few months, plus some cabbage. We are so lucky to have had such a fantastic season of produce and our most heartfelt thanks go out to everyone at the farm who helped make it possible. It will be a strange few months sans veggie deliveries, but fortunately many of these will store well. We are already looking forward to May. Cheers, and thanks again!
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Carrot Sunchoke Soup - Dec 13, 2009

Carrot and Sunchoke Soup with Cheddar and Baby Rice Popcorn

This is an Odessa Piper recipe from 'Asparagus to Zucchini' in the 'Jerusalem Artichoke' section. We made it once before over the summer and liked it. I thought I'd make it again but this time I wanted a heartier consistency so I omitted the straining step at the end and left it thick and rustic. The straining makes a very elegant soup, best served as a first course, but this was our main event, so... In addition to keeping it rustic, I added some shredded cheddar and some Krinke's Market baby rice popcorn from the Dane County Farmers' Market. Wow, I did not think about this at the time, but this was a completely Wisconsin meal, from the recipe to the topping!
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Weekend Morsels - Dec 12-13, 2009

Apologies for my absence yesterday. Due to the season, blog posts will be spotty at best for the rest of the year. Nick's parents arrive tomorrow, and the festivities all follow in a steady fashion right on up through the 25th. When I do have time to post, I'll make sure to try and catch you up on everything food related, most likely in collage format. Starting with last weekend, which included homemade lattes; Eggs in Purgatory/Hell, depending on if you are a glass half full/empty kind of person; Thai banana bread, adapted from my Thai zucchini bread; and the dining room tablescape, including one of my favorite seasonal citrus fruits, clementines.
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Peppermint Bark - Dec 10, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread

This is a new addition to the cookie repertoire this year. I spied the recipe in December's Bon Appetit and thought it might be a refreshing change of pace from all the ginger and cinnamon. I love a good peppermint-chocolate combo. I've also seen this recipe get good reviews here. So far I'm a big fan. It's nice and simple in addition to being yummy and festive. I just finished glazing the elisenlebkuchen and zedernbrot this afternoon, so I'll take pictures and post soon. And then, I am officially done with Christmas cookies this year...except for the eating of them, of course.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Burritos - Dec 9, 2009

Cinnamon-Clove Black Bean Burritos

Continuing the winter theme, I dog-eared this recipe a week or so ago when I was looking through "How to Eat Supper." I think it was the cinnamon and cloves that caught my eye. It's interesting how different recipes stand out at different times of the year. Anyway, I modified a bit, using black beans instead of pinto, and I am very excited about the way I cooked them! The recipe calls for canned beans, but I used dried, so they needed to be cooked prior to starting the rest of the recipe. I found a tip about a no-soak cooking method and gave it a try. It worked like a charm. Even though my beans were older than they should be, they all cooked up perfectly in under 2 mush, no hard bits. Then I just had to add in some onion, tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon and cloves, plus a little extra water, and let everything simmer and thicken for 15 minutes more. We had our beans wrapped up in flour tortillas with a little sharp cheddar sprinkled on top. Delicious, and very seasonal.
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Winter Tart - Dec 8, 2009

Winter Root Vegetable Tart

This dinner was adapted from a recipe in "How to Eat Supper." I took Lynne's suggestion and roasted some of our amazing root veggies from the CSA share, and mixed them in with some of the flowering kale we got last week. This mix was piled atop a puff pastry crust and baked for 15 min before adding the cheese (I used chevre with a little Pecorino-Romano) and baking for another 5 min or so. This was a lot of fun and allows for plenty of modifications depending on what may be hanging out in the pantry. I think it will become a winter stand-by at our house.
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Beef Stew - Dec 7, 2009

Beef Stew with Fresh Whole Wheat Sourdough

As we dig our heels in for the first major snow storm of the season, it's necessary to keep our strength up and our energy resources high. Enter beef stew, a perfect boost for said resources. I used some cipollini onions from our CSA share, along with the carrots, added a side of freshly baked bread and a glass of red wine and knew I would be well prepared to face blizzard conditions. That's right, my Mama didn't raise no fool. In case you feel the need for some blizzard prep yourself, here is the recipe I loosely followed.
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas Cookies - Dec 4-6, 2009

Holiday Baking Highlights

I know that I usually post the sweet stuff on Fridays, but I'm all out of sorts due to the rapidly approaching Christmas holiday. So, after a weekend spent baking, I have a good start on the seasonal sweets and thought I'd share some pictures, despite it being a Monday. Above highlights include, my 'Pound Plus' bar of chocolate from Trader Joe's (thank goodness for Trader Joe's!); just dipped spitzkuchen triangles; my homemade candied citrus peels; what was left of the 'Pound Plus' chocolate bar after a day in the kitchen; spitzkuchen just out of the oven; schokoladenlebkuchen with a fresh coat of chocolate; chopped candied citrus peels for the elisenlebkuchen; and one more gratuitous shot of the spitzkuchen since they turned out looking especially pretty this year. I have a few more to make and I'll share as I get them finished.
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Stuffed Squash - Dec 5, 2009

Kambocha Squash Stuffed with Minced Beef, Saffron Rice, and Sharp Cheddar

We decided to crack open one of our Kambocha squashes for dinner over the weekend. We filled it with ground beef, onions, rice and cheese, which we cooked and mixed while roasting the squash. Then we filled the squash and topped with the cheese and baked for another ten minutes or so. We just made it up as we went along. It turned out well and was a nice plate of comfort food as the weather turns colder.
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Friday, December 04, 2009

Burgers, Beets, and Chevre - Dec 3, 2009

Grilled Burgers with Roasted Baby Beets and Chevre, with Baked Sweet Potato and Parsnip Ribbons

I used up a few of our baby beets along with parsnips and sweet potatoes last night for dinner. My favorite burger topping of all time is a combination of the sweet roasted beet slices and mountains of fresh chevre. Also, I tried the parsnip ribbons, along with some sweet potatoes, in the oven this time, instead of fried and they turned out quite well. And, the house did not smell like a fast food restaurant after dinner. Mmmm...root vegetables!
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Penultimate Veggies - Dec 3, 2009

Fresh, Colorful Veggies

Our second-to-last CSA delivery of the season arrived yesterday. It was filled with beautiful, vibrant veggies, many of which will keep, under the right conditions, well into February. When I picked them up yesterday, all of the boxes were stacked under blankets to keep these guys from freezing. It makes me so happy that, despite the snow flurries outside, our farm is still able to deliver these delicious, incredibly fresh veggies. I know it's not easy and the crew puts a ton of effort and planning to make this happen. It's truly amazing and we appreciate it so much. Thanks again Harmony Valley. We still have one more delivery arriving in 2 weeks, so the root cellar will be well stocked this winter!
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Turkey Tetrazzini - Dec 2, 2009

Turkey Tetrazzini

Kate sent some leftover turkey home with us from Portland (she made two birds for our large group, but there were so many yummy sides, one remained totally untouched!). So, I found this recipe online and made it, with what might well be the very last of our fresh parsley from the back yard for the season. It was as expected, comfort food on a chilly evening. The mushrooms added a nice touch, and I just read that they are a good source of vitamin D (I need to verify that). If you still have some turkey leftover and want to try this, the recipe I used can be found here.
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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Portland Eats, Part 4: Portland Drinks! - Dec 2, 2009

Portland Drinks Highlights, Plus Willie

I would be remiss if I did not include a post about the spirits we imbibed on our trip west. Highlights include Hamm's beer, from the land of sky blue waters (now brewed in Milwaukee), and served at all the fine hipster establishments in Portland; Willie, not a drink, but a lovable and cuddly Old English Sheepdog that needed to be included somewhere in our highlights, so why not here?; Tasting at New Deal distillery, home of hand-crafted vodkas, cellos (including lemongrass, lavender, ginger, tangerine and blueberry), and a lovely chamomile flavored spirit, a bottle of which came home with us; and last, but certainly not least, wine tasting in the beautiful Willamette Valley, specifically in the town of Carlton, OR, where we tried several yummy pinot noirs and pinot gris.
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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Portland Eats, Part 3: Home Cooking - Dec 1, 2009

Portland Home Cooked Highlights

Next up are all the tasty treats that Kate whipped up for us during our stay. Highlights include the Thanksgiving turkey; slow cooker roast beef with sweet potato oven fries; morning espresso; pumpkin waffles with banana-coconut compote and whipped cream; a Dutch baby; and the Dutch baby dressed up with baked cinnamon apples. Not included are pictures of the rest of the Thanksgiving meal, because I was so busy eating it, that I failed to photograph it. It was that good.
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Portland Eats, Part 2: The Street Carts - Dec 1, 2009

Highlights from the Street Cart Vendors

Street food! So good it gets it's own blog collage. Portland seems to have more than it's fair share of street cart food vendors and we took full advantage while visiting. Some highlights include the schnitzelwich cart; burgers; the crepe stand; horchata!!; drunken noodles; and group feasting, street style.
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Portland Eats, Part 1 - Nov 30, 2009

Portland Highlights, Part 1

Nick and I just got back from visiting family and friends out in Portland, OR over the Thanksgiving holiday. We had so many delicious experiences that I have to break them into multiple posts. Up first are pics from various restaurants we visited. Sausage pizza from Apizza Scholls; sweet breads from a Guatemalan bakery in Hillsboro; sandwich board from Kenny and Zuke's; sesame bagel with lox cream cheese from Kenny and Zuke's; Roast beef on rye from K & Z's; Voodoo Doughnuts!; the O.D.B. (like the rap artist) doughnut with chocolate frosting, crumbled Oreos, and peanut butter drizzle; oysters on the half shell from Andina.
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