My Blog on WCCO-TV: Bite of Minnesota
Monday, December 31, 2007
I mentioned in my last post that Ryan graduated and we threw a party for him. Well, in the hustle of the day, I only got a pic of my main dish although we had a ton of food. The favorite item was lavash pizza with smoked mozzarella, proscuitto and arugula, which we served as an appetizer.
Although I couldn't get my stubborn dad to try my main dish, the rest of the family loved it. I made Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens Pasta. It was my first time making it in advance and for a large group. I roasted the greens and veggies the night before and reheated them in the oven while I cooked the pasta. Tossed everything together and voila!
Soon after Ryan's graduation, Thanskgiving came along. Ryan's mom took care of almost all the cooking, but I brought Candied Sweet Potatoes. Ryan's great grandma used to make these, so I tried to bring the memory back with my own version. I had never made this before, but let me tell you...it won't only be a Thanksgiving dish! I loved the crunch of the marshmallows and of course the sweetness of the brown sugar and sweet potatoes together. This dish was such a hit, we were only able to package up a few bites to bring home with us.
Over the weekend, Ryan and I celebrated our 14th anniversary and had a fun day. It's been a long time since we've been able to tool around the city together on a weekend. We ran a bunch of errands, checked out a Greek grocery store in Minneapolis (and picked up a ton of cool items), and ate at one of our favorite organic/vegetarian restaurants, French Meadow. Mmmm...I love French Meadow! Ryan tried this thai tempeh sandwich and we're determined to figure out how to make it. Any recipes calling for tempeh to be mixed with thai spices out there?
Friday, December 14, 2007
While Ryan was in school, he kept fueled up with these Energy Orbs from the Students Go Vegan cookbook. These are made with dates and cocoa powder. I rolled some in coconut and some in hemp seeds. They are really a great snack and just kept in the fridge for a pick-me-up.
Pizza has been a helpful meal on study intensive days. Ever since Ryan's mom loaned me the breadmaker, I've been stocked up on pizza doughs. I keep mine in the freezer and just pop them in the fridge in the morning to defrost. We've experimented with various herb crusts, whole-wheat crusts, spicy chili crusts and decided that we like the plain crust the best!
This pizza is half veggie pepperoni and half blue cheese and cherry tomato. Seriously one of my favorites.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Last Saturday was a prime example. We were in the process of getting hit with 7-9 inches of snow, so what better time to drive very slowly and carefully to the mall? Plus, Lush was having it's Grand Opening and giving away a ton of free stuff, so we HAD to go! Look for me and Ryan in the next Lush newsletter with our facial masks on :)
Imagine my surprise when I ran into a fellow food blogger,Catherine and her friend Courtney at H&M. We've been meaning to meet up again for awhile, but schedules get the best of us, so we were excited to see each other. Woo hoo! And, yes, that will probably be our last MOA visit until next year.
Onto the food...
Having some tofu I needed to use up, I reached for my trusty Vegan with a Vengeance and decided to make jerk tofu (rather than jerk seitan) and coconut rice.
I sliced the tofu pretty thinly, but kept it thick enough to not break. The marinade for this dish is very tasty without being too spicy. It really warmed us up on a cold night! The coconut rice is a nice touch, but lacked coconut flavor. I think it's due to using lite coconut milk instead of the full fat version, which is an okay sacrifice for me. I'd recommend making the jerk tofu again and maybe next time I could chop it up for topping on a salad or on a sandwich.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Here is an awesome pasta dish made with whole-wheat fettuccine and a sauce made from pureed butternut squash and leeks. It also contained sage. With our herbs now moved inside, it was a perfect way to use the sage.
Next time, I would cut down on the heavy cream and use skim milk instead as the sauce was a bit heavy in fat. On the side, we sauteed broccoli and garlic, a "go-to" veggie dish for us.
Here's the recipe from The Cottage Gourmet:
Spinach Fettuccine with Leeks and Butternut Squash
3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 medium leeks, halved and thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium butternut squash, diced in ½-inch pieces
¼ cup vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 lb. fresh spinach fettuccine
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, add leeks and cook for 5 minutes. Add butternut squash and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth, cover pan and steam the vegetables until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and sage until mixed well, remove from heat.
Salt the boiling water and add fettuccine and cook until al dente, 3 minutes for fresh pasta or 10 minutes for dried pasta. Drain and return to the pot. Add the squash-leek sauce and the Parmesan cheese. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer all to a large, warmed bowl or platter and serve immediately. Pass extra grated cheese for topping. For variety, try adding freshly ground nutmeg.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
We're only doing one Thanksgiving this year, which is nice as we typically do 2 Thanksgivings which results in Ryan and I being super stuffed and stressed out about spending equal amounts of time with each family.
This year, we're doing Thanksgiving at Ryan's parent's house. I'm making sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Yum! Saturday is my sister's birthday, so we're heading over there for lunch and Tres Leche Cake, which I've never tried, but heard it's awesome.
Recently, I was flipping through some old Cooking Light magazines and came across a recipe for Sesame Crusted Tofu and realized we had the ingredients. We used Ener-G instead of the eggs. We made a veggie stir-fry out of random veggies we found in the fridge.
Everything turned out great and this was pretty quick and easy to make. Made for tasty leftovers too!
Again, Happy Thanksgiving...can't wait to see what everyone has to eat!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Sorry for the container pics, but I had already packaged them up for our lunches
when I remembered to take a picture.
Another easy recipe is the Green Beans with Citrus Zest. This recipe was in Food & Wine by Heidi Swanson. So easy and so yummy! You don't even need to steam these beans separately. I love the slightly different taste that this dish gives the green beans. Be warned that adding hot oil and water does make for a dangerous situation, so have your cover ready!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Here's the recipe:
Swiss Chard Quiche Pie
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons oil
1 bunch Swiss Chard
1 cup shredded cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 pie crusts
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brown onion and garlic in oil. Trim and chop chard, add to pan, and cook down until wilted. Beat eggs in a bowl; mix in cheese, salt, and chard mixture. Pour into pie crusts; bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Makes 2 pies.
Here's a pic of the Swiss Chard and onion mixture:
Here's the final product:
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Ryan and I tried a recipe from our co-op that involved roasting acorn squash and stuffing it with wild rice, brown rice, tempeh and cranberries. All the ingredients on their own are great...but not so great all together. I couldn't quite pinpoint what was wrong with this dish. The tempeh and rice mixture tasted plain and the squash was almost a little bitter. In the end, we found the best way to eat this dish was to eat the rice mixture separately from the roasted squash.
It looks pretty though, doesn't it?
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The fall season is being reflected in our cooking too. We've been doing a lot of squash, sweet potatoes, and grains. Our crop share has ended, which is always sad, but it just means we need to make different meals now.
Hash is a super easy and very filling dish to make. You'll see a couple more on here that we've made, but here's a recent one. This is Roasted Fall Vegetable Hash from Food and Wine magazine. I love brussels sprouts, so it was a good excuse to buy some and use them.
Here's the ingredients cooking: brussels sprouts, butternut squash, onions, apple, and some tempeh bacon (which rocks in this dish!)
Here is the final. Our sage leaves got a little frost bitten, but are still very good.
Roasted Fall Vegetable Hash (from Food & Wine)
½ pound brussels sprouts, quartered
½ pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ pound thickly sliced bacon, cut into ¼ -inch dice (we used a package of tempeh bacon)
½ pound sweet onions such as Vidalia or Texas sweets, finely chopped
1 small Granny Smith apple—peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
10 sage leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup apple cider
Preheat the oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the brussels sprouts and squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the apple and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Gently stir in the roasted brussels sprouts, squash and sage, then pour in the cider. Simmer over moderately high heat until the cider has almost evaporated, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and serve.
To make ahead: The vegetable hash can be refrigerated overnight.
Monday, October 1, 2007
With items from our crop share, we made roasted potatoes, shallots, and kale with caramelized garlic dressing. The recipe goes pretty much as it sounds as you roast all of the items and then mix it all together with roasted garlic and red wine vinegar. It is good to roast the kale in a separate pan from the potatoes as they have different cooking times. It was served with some corn on the cob - yum! Overall, the kale dish was very good, but I wouldn't list it as a favorite. It is kind of weird to eat crispy kale.
I also made some Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars from a recipe by Ina Garten. These totally rocked and are uber addicting, but really filling, so it stops you from eating too much! I used natural peanut butter as I can't remember the last time I've bought Skippy or Jif. We used raspberry jam that Ryan's co-worker made from raspberries in her garden.
It's really easy to make as you made a peanut butter dough bottom, slather on some jelly, and then drop the rest of the peanut butter dough on top of the jelly. Top with crushed peanuts and put in the oven until golden and you're done!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Yep, it was my birthday recently (actually, on the 12th). Typically my birthday celebrations span over an entire week as it's hard to get everyone together at one time and I can spend my actual birthday with Ryan.
This year Ryan was especially sweet. We've been so busy (my bro had a new baby!), so the idea of rush home-drive downtown-eat and drink tons-come home-passout wasn't so appealing this year. So, he surprised me by secretly taking the day off work and cleaning the house along with getting by birthday gifts ready. (sidenote: I was totally onto him. I knew it was suspicious that he made me breakfast and wasn't in a hurry to get to work. I was also suspicious when he answered his phone mid-day and I could hear that he was driving!)
So, when I got home from work, he was waiting for me all dressed up. He said he was taking me out for an appetizer and a drink close to our house. We went to Copper Bleu, a new upscale restaurant out here in the 'burbs. We then went home where he made me dinner and surprised me with our dining room table set with new dishes, water in wine glasses, and a new tablecloth.
It was all so perfect!! While I sat and drank ice wine, he made a surprise dinner of crab (again, Guy's Big Bite came in handy!) And he made a recipe I had picked out of the local co-op's newsletter. It had zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, spinach, soba noodles and tofu. Yum!
And, of course, dessert! This was a marscapone cheese, raspberry and chocolate cup. No, Ryan didn't make it, but it was still really good!
It was just so nice to be able to spend my birthday at home and with such a wonderful guy!
My birthday celebrations continued to be awesome as we went to my parent's house on Friday and had take-out and DQ ice cream cake (the first pic in the post). It was great to hang out at my parent's house without having to rush off to somewhere else.
On Saturday, we tried out a new restaurant with Ryan's family called FireLake. They pride themselves in using local ingredients and the food was wonderful. Ryan and I split the trout with grilled asparagus and shared some appetizers with everyone. I don't think I've ever had trout before, but I know I will again! We were having such a good time that after dinner was done and everyone had left, Ryan and I found a cozy couch and just sat and talked for another hour.
Monday, September 17, 2007
We had batter and oil left over that we didn't want to waste, so he went on to make Beer Battered Fish, Onion Rings, and Green Beans the next day:
Let me tell you - it can be exciting making food like this, but I know it's not exciting (or healthy) for our bodies at all. I couldn't even look at anything fried for a couple weeks after eating this.
*Summit Brewery is a local beer made in St. Paul, MN. It's really good and they have some great varieties that come out throughout the year. Ryan's been trying to drink more local beer since it doesn't have to travel as far (less gas used, less emissions, etc.). Try it if it's in your area!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
First off, we gave a bunch to our families and we brought some to work. Everyone was so amazed at how much better they were than the ones from the grocery store. That's fresh and local for you!
Then, we used a ton for breakfast in yogurt and granola or just ate them plain. We also used them in smoothies with some of the strawberries I picked earlier in the year (picked 17 pounds of those, but forgot to take pictures).
We also made ice cream - yep, blueberry ice cream is so awesome! Speaking of icy treats, we made milkshakes with the blueberries too.
Almost immediately, I made blueberry muffins sprinkled with a rock sugar topping.
For another breakfast goodie, I made blueberry cornmeal pancakes. Totally not the healthiest recipe as it uses eggs and butter, but I plan to modify it in the future.
I also HAD to make a blueberry pie! Ryan and I served this with vanilla ice cream. I was tempted to make another pie, but figured I'd wait until apple season.
As you can imagine, there were still a lot of blueberries left, so they are all in the freezer in foodsaver bags. It's great to have frozen fruit around to throw into dishes!
Now that you see what we did with our blueberries, what would YOU do with 20 pounds of blueberries?
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
We were really surprised at how fast the local farm ran out of blueberries. Imagine my sense of panic when I found my first and second choice were sold out! I did some further research and found Rush River Produce in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. It's located on the way to La Crosse (where we went to college), so we knew it would be a beautiful drive and it's only about 1 hour from our house. Well, it's only 1 hour from our house when you have the right directions. OOPS! So, we enjoyed the driving adventure through the bluffs of Wisconsin.
Rush River has 9 acres of blueberries, so there were plenty for us to pick. It was great because we really felt no one was competing for "the spot" and we could sit back and enjoy. If you look really closely, you can see the blueberries on the bushes.
There were tons to pick, both on short bushes and tall bushes. We found that many people came and went, hopping from bush to bush looking for the biggest, blueist blueberries. Our technique was totally the opposite. We picked every single blueberry from the bush before moving on because they are ALL good!
So, after over 2 hours of picking, we had picked over 20 pounds of blueberries. I'm sure at least an additional 5 pounds went into our mouths during the 2 hours.
We spent another 45 minutes just dinking around on the farm. They also sell currants and gooseberries, but I think we were too wiped to pick anything else. I'll leave you with a picture of one of the cool wood carvings that was hiding behind the barn. I can't tell if this guy is getting out his aggressions or worshipping the sun.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
We did manage to try the Corn Chowder from Vegan with a Vengeance. It was pretty good, but I felt like I needed a crusty roll with it and there was no crusty bread in sight! We were able to use our immersion blender for this recipe, which came in very handy.
I better get back to work as I just took a quick break to get a posting up. Have a great week!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
1 package (2 oz) rice noodles
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 lb. pressed extra-firm tofu, broken up in pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon Asian chile paste
1 tablespoon peanut oil
Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a medium pot; cook noodles 3 minutes. Place cabbage in a colander and drain noodles over cabbage; immediately rinse with cold water. Drain again. Toss cabbage and noodles in a bowl with carrots, cucumber, pepper, and scallions. Whisk basil, mint, juice, vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, chile paste and oil in another bowl; drizzle over noodle mixture.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
My family was very shaken up yesterday as my dad would have been taking that route to table tennis last evening, but decided to stay at work a bit longer. It is amazing to hear all of the stories from the locals here who just narrowly missed being on the bridge and those who survived. The news agencies have been doing a fantastic job on coverage and you can find up to date information here and here.
I finally uploaded pictures so I could post more on our crop share. Here's our 4th crop share (yeah, I know, I'm seriously behind). We're getting more color as the summer continues!
Parsley, thyme, cilantro and dill
Carrots - both orange and yellow
Kohlrabi (similar taste to broccoli)
Fresh basil - multiple varieties
Monday, July 30, 2007
Speaking of lazy...I still haven't uploaded any pics to my computer from my camera, so I'll talk about something we made a couple weeks ago - stuffed peppers!
I used Isa's recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance for Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers. I could have sworn that I had quinoa - why wouldn't I? But, I was wrong as I only had quinoa flour. Argh, time to break out the millet. So, the peppers were stuffed with millet, black beans, tomatoes, and some other goodies that I can't remember.
The recipe made a ton and we even cut down the recipe. We tried to eat as much as we could, but in all honesty, we weren't too into this dish. Ryan even used it to fill tacos, so we did try to eat it all! Maybe it was the millet, maybe it was the blah tomato sauce. Either way, I think I'm sticking with my mom's stuffed peppers recipe for the future.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Ryan and I are doing the Lazyman Triathlon again this year although we started a couple weeks later than the YMCA does. This weather makes it really difficult to do any running or biking outdoors so we've taken the workouts inside for awhile.
I need to catch you all up on the crop shares we've been getting, but I need to get the pics from my camera to my computer sometime soon. We've been enjoying sweet corn, raspberries, and even orange watermelon!
Awhile back, we tried to make Fat-free Vegan's ribz. Here they are in the pan after baking.
As you can see, I couldn't get the mixture to fill the whole pan, but that didn't seem to matter in the grand scheme of things. Here they are sauced:
And here is the entire meal composed of sauteed Swiss Chard and onions from our crop share and some carrots that were steamed in foil on the grill.
Partway through dinner, I started thinking that the leftover ribz needed to go back on the grill for a little while before packing them for lunch tomorrow. Well, I completely forgot about them and they were totally charred by the time I remembered. So much for ribz for lunch!
I'd make these again - the texture was really good and a great way to eat BBQ sauce. They were really easy too!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu
1 lb. extra-firm tofu
2 tsp Ener-g Egg Replacer + 4 tsp water, mixed
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup peanut or canola oil
Sesame Seeds for garnish
½ cup sliced almonds
1-2 cups steamed broccoli
3 ½ tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (you can eyeball the ½ tbsp)
¼ cup water
2 tbsp + 2 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp molasses
¼ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
Slice the tofu into triangles or small cubes. Toss tofu with the egg replacer/water mixture until coated. Then toss in cornstarch until each piece is coated and dry, adding more cornstarch if needed.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok.
While oil is heating, mix sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch/water into a small sauce pan and whisk over medium heat until sugar and salt is dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture and whisk until the sauce thickens. If you leave the sauce unattended now it will thicken and burn, so keep an eye on it. When thick, turn off heat and set aside.
Place tofu in the hot oil, being careful not to burn yourself. You don’t want the tofu to be crowded or the pieces will stick to each other, so fry it in batches if needed. Fry for 3-5 minutes until golden on the bottom, then gently turn and brown the other side. When tofu is almost done frying, add almonds and fry until very lightly browned.
Drain tofu and almonds from oil (in the sink like you’d drain pasta, being very careful), and place tofu, almonds and broccoli in a large bowl. Pour sauce on top and gently toss to completely coat. Sauce should be thick and sticky - it shouldn’t pool at the bottom of the bowl.
Top with sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Beet and Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
3 bunches fresh arugula, washed and trimmed
¾ cup crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup champagne vinegar
½ cup olive oil
2 cups beets, peeled, diced and cooked
½ cup thinly sliced celery
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ cup toasted walnut pieces
In a bottle or bowl, whisk vinegar and olive oil together. Add ½ cup blue cheese and combine. In a large bowl, toss ½ cup with arugula and arrange on salad plates. In the same large bowl, toss beets, celery, salt and pepper with remaining dressing; spoon over arugula. Sprinkle each serving with walnuts and additional blue cheese.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
*I really don't know why this picture looks upside down...if I flip it over, it still looks upside down!
½ tsp salt plus a dash, divided
¼ cup sugar or honey
1-2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
¼ cup apple or grape cider
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add dash of salt, then the young turnips. When water returns to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer turnips gently until tender, but not mushy 10 minutes at most. Remove the pot from heat and transfer turnips to a dish to cool. Meanwhile, transfer ½ cup of hot cooking water to medium pot. Stir in sugar or honey, vinegar, and ginger to taste. Add ½ tsp salt.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Someone asked me how Pink Martini was...they were awesome! It is a 14-person group that play music from all over the world. The instruments were fantastic, especially the percussion team. At one point, they were playing the whistle and the bongos at the same time. If Pink Martini is at your local orchestra hall, buy tickets!!
Ryan and I have been enjoying our local crop shares and so far we have received three, but I need to upload a bunch of pictures, so Crop Shares #2 & #3 are still on my camera. Here's the first one:
Head of lettuce
Sugar Snap Peas
Of course we made salads!
Mine was a Taco Salad
Ryan's was more of a Waldorf Salad, but missing a couple ingredients.
I pick up our 4th crop share tomorrow. We should be getting some new items in addition to all the great greens!
Friday, June 22, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
We're excited to be making some healthy foods again. Here is some more backlog from when I was MIA from blogging:
Here you go:
Barley Pilaf with Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 c. finely chopped celery
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 1/3 c. vegetable broth
2/3 c. uncooked quick-cooking barley
½ c. sugar snap peas
6 tbsp julienned carrots
1/8 tsp black pepper
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth, bring to a boil. Stir in barley; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender.
Stir in peas, carrots, tofu and black pepper; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.