My Blog on WCCO-TV: Bite of Minnesota

Monday, May 22, 2006

Weekend in the Kitchen

We were lucky to have an open weekend which allowed us to get caught up on a lot of household stuff, including cooking. Saturday was the main cooking day.

Ryan and I made pizza for brunch (we both slept in) with the Trader Joe's crust and marinated mozzarella topped with fresh basil and Roma tomatoes. Yum! The crust was awesome - so soft and doughy. I think I'll be stopping at Trader Joe's more often just for the pizza dough.

Then I wanted to try making my own pasta sauce, so I cooked up some red and green peppers, garlic and onion in a bit of olive oil. Next I added tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, fresh basil (again!) and red wine. I let that cook down for about 3 hours before adding some more crushed tomatoes and cooked another hour. To drop the acid level, I added some sugar and then jarred it up. Tasted pretty dang good off of a spoon. I'm making lasagna this week, so we'll use that as the sauce and that will be the true test of its worth.

-Here's a pic of the beginning stages

Since I had to be near the pasta sauce for 4 hours, I just stayed in the kitchen. I whipped up some granola which we love to put over ice cream, mix with yogurt, or served plain as a snack.

Here's what was in it:
*rolled oats
*slivered and sliced almonds
*sunflower seeds
*sesame seeds
*hemp seeds
*wheat germ
*flax seeds
*dried currants
*syrup mixture of maple syrup, oil, almond extract and water

I also made Ryan's mom's Chex Mix and substituted Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and Newman's Own Spelt Pretzels, which turned out to be a good change.

After munching on a bunch of snack stuff all day, we were kinda stuffed for dinner, so Ryan made some Leek Rings (can you tell we were just watching Alton Brown?) Leek Rings are made just like onion rings. They taste quite similar, but the leeks have more of a garlic flavor. They were really neat to try.

On Sunday, we biked 16 miles on the Cannon Valley Trail, saw The DaVinci Code (which rocked!), and made Fish Tacos for dinner. Walleye was on sale at the grocery store and we are suckers for homemade fish tacos so we couldn't resist. I know some Minnesotans are silently cursing us for making walleye in any fashion besides the standard breading and frying, but oh well, walleye is the best for fish tacos! We've tried tilipia, grouper, and orange roughy, but walleye has a light flavor that works really well. As with all taco dishes, I had to make my awesome guacamole to load on top. That stuff is addicting.

I cut up a bunch of rhubarb and hope to make a Rhubarb Crisp this evening. Not sure what's for dinner since Ryan's going out with a friend.


  1. Hi Ryan and Crystal!

    I am really enjoying checking your blog every day. I get to know on a more regular basis what you two are up to.
    I'll have to try those changes to my chex mix. Where did you get the pretzels and cheddar bunnies?
    Your pasta, leek rings and fish tacos also look really good. Haven't had much time lately to do some good cooking, but all your pictures are gearing me up and getting me excited to get back at it!!

    Love You Both,


  2. Hello Mom-

    We found the pretzels and cheddar bunnies at Cub Foods in the organic section. Most likely they have them at Valley Natural Foods as well.

    All of the food was very good this weekend! Talk to you later Mom.


  3. Cooking with one's sweetie is such a big YES! I enjoyed reading about your marathon cooking day and will be visiting often to see what you two are doing in the kitchen...

  4. I'll be sure to check out the pizza dough at Trader Joe's. That Cannon Valley Trail looks like a neat place. Would you say it's kid-friendly too?

  5. Mindy - thanks for stopping by! Cooking is definitely something that brings us together although it didn't start out that way. When we were in college (and poor), it was HotPockets, spaghetti and sauce, and ramen all the way! Not much cooking involved and neither of us had any interest in making anything!

    Kaivegan - YES! I would say that Cannon Valley Trail is very kid friendly. There were a lot of families out on the trail and it wasn't very busy. There are little spots where you can have a picnic or a rest. The terrain is pretty level too (no big hills!). If you're biking, bring $3 for wheel pass. Walkers are free. Post on your blog when/if you do go.


  6. I love the leek rings. I've never heard of that!

    Your granola has inspired me. We eat it all the time and I never think to make it myself. Duh!

    So jealous that you have a Trader Joe's. I read about lots of Americans shopping there. I wonder if Joe will ever come to Toronto?

  7. The leek rings sound quite tasty. I'm definitely a leek fan.


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