Archive for the ‘Appetizer’ Category

Lemongrass Pork Patties

September 22nd, 2015 1 Comment

    How do you learn about a culture?  Travel to the region and wander around indulging in street food. Street-vendor food in Mexico like the carne asada tacos in Hermosillo and churros in Tepic shaped some of my greatest food memories ever and have influenced my food choices my whole life.  Street food is always what people miss about their home countries, and after tasting these lemongrass wonders I would almost make the monumental effort to overcome my fear of flying over an ocean to experience real

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Ancho BBQ Sauce… or is it Chutney?

September 1st, 2015 No Comments

  It’s kind of a chutney, kind of a móle, kind of a ketchup…don’t let the label inhibit you.  It’s tasty and it goes well with warm things, that’s the most important thing to remember.   Anchos are dried Poblano peppers.  They generally have only the mildest of heat, but exhibit a rich depth that is almost sweet and even fruit-like.  Scott and I sometimes use them puréed in chocolate cakes as a secret ingredient to give a bit of warmth but without overpowering the experience.

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Tomato Dill Salad

August 18th, 2015 2 Comments

    Purple lisianthus from the Canoe Creek Produce at the Farmer’s Market.  I hear they’re difficult to grow because they are slow to germinate, but it is so worth the wait.  I’ve found myself sitting and just staring at them over the last week and a half that they’ve lived on the table.           In these August days we’re so free with how we use fresh produce here in the midwest, vegetables are mounded into salads because they

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Summer Relish

July 28th, 2015 2 Comments

  It’s amazing to eat produce when it is still warm from the sun.   These ingredients of summer that I’m finding in my garden or the Farmer’s Market—cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, onion—there is just nothing like fresh and connected to the vine or the soil sometime in the last 24 hours.   photo by David Cavagnaro   It’s been a busy summer of catering with back-to-back and mid-week events crammed into the first two months of summer, but this is the flip-side payback

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Yellow Pepper Pesto

July 14th, 2015 No Comments

  Colorful tasty vegetables or herbs ground into a paste…’pesto’ is a loosely used term.  The word pesto comes from the Italian word ‘pestare’ meaning to pound or crush.  Texture has such an impact on the way we perceive and taste a dish, and crushing or pureeing helps create a silky coating that adheres well to sauce-vehicles like pastas and vegetables.     This is a light and lovely spread that could be served over fish, noodles, vegetables, or chicken and has the extra bonus of being

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Celery Snack

July 7th, 2015 2 Comments

  A ridiculously simple snack it is, yet it’s been a (sometimes daily) staple for us when we need a no-grain high-protein crunch.  If you’ve ever done a cleanse-diet or a few weeks of eliminating sugars and grains and reducing carbs, you know the near-desparation that can set in as you search for something you can eat.  This provides a satisfaction that is hard to describe if you’ve never experienced that frantic hunt for foods that are not sugars or grains—it’s fast to make, fulfilling with

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Cardamom Chicken

June 23rd, 2015 No Comments

  How do you describe cardamom?  Such an curious flavor, ‘A hint of camphor, eucalyptus, and lemon’, it is one spice that does not hide—like dill, saffron and caraway you really must intend to add this flavor, it will not go quietly.  But that’s okay, because there’s no need to be quiet when you taste like cardamom.   Originating in southern India, it’s a key ingredient of garam masala and is used in many Indian dishes both sweet and savory, even in coffee.

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Salsa Verde…version 564

June 17th, 2015 No Comments

  Spending time in Mexico led me to believe that all salsa verdes included tomatillos.  But no…if you follow the latin-based language back across the ocean salsa verde looks a tad different.  Still ground into a potent green sauce, Italian and Spanish salsa verde usually involves anchovies, parsley and capers.  Garlic and lemon are a friendly addition to this mix as well.     Capers are the pickled edible flower buds of the caper bush (or Flinder Rose), though there are other seeds that can be used.  What’s

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Avocado Strawberry Salad

June 4th, 2015 No Comments

    NOLA a.k.a. the Rebirth City. I’m traveling with friends this week to New Orleans and Bay St. Louis, visiting friends and eating delectable dinners everywhere we go.  Not much time for words so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.         A sweet morning on the porch while we visited my friend Beatriz who owns the Fairchild House B&B on Prytania in the Lower Garden District.     It was recommended we take the ferry across to Algiers and

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Western Indian Spinach

May 19th, 2015 No Comments

  Tis the month of spinach and greenery and our livers are thanking us for being drawn to these deep rich colors then serving them up for dinner.  Right now the local spinach is delicate and young, you barely need to add anything.   A side of black tea with a splash of milk looks on the menu as well.  We grew up drinking black tea with a bit of milk and sugar—our father bicycled across the British Isles in the 1940’s and brought back with

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No-Grain Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Lemon Zest

May 6th, 2015 3 Comments

  More woodland flowers from a walk on the bluff top, a pair of Bloodroot blooms.  This North American native is a member of the Poppy family and the root was used as a dye for baskets and clothing.  Here are more tidbits about the medicinal uses of this beautiful Bloodroot, or Sang de Dragon.       I can’t stop eating these little buddies!  High protein and no grain—this has been a handy breakfast treat as I try to eat less carbs.  I made them without

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Spring Pea Soup

April 14th, 2015 No Comments

  Yay, another pea soup!  I knew that was what you were going to say.  We’ve had a week of spring-emerging: from chill to rain to sunny days which means the buds and grass are finally beginning to explode in greenery.  I even saw blooming wildflowers in the woods on my walk yesterday.  And spring means green soup, yes? Green it is.   The bones of this recipe were resurrected from a 1984 Café Beaujolais cookbook by Margaret Fox.  My friend Frances passed

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Liptauer Cheese

February 11th, 2015 1 Comment

    I finally got a good photo of the Ukrainian jackets at the International Paralymic Championships here at Telemark, they’re beautiful.  I wish I would have had a cool jacket to trade with him…     Twenty countries! For more amazing footage check out the video of the 2014 Paralymic Winter Games in Sochi.     A much better shot of the Russian jacket.  The Russians and the Ukrainians were even hanging out part of the time….   A week after the IPC

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Pepita Dip

December 23rd, 2014 No Comments

  If it’s going to continue to be gray outside, it might as well snow a little—and it is!  White flakes are showering down and I’m grateful for even a small change in these overcast days.   Here’s a tasty and healthy little snack for the holidays. ‘Sikil P’aak’ is the Mayan name for this kind of dip, though usually it would include tomatoes since ‘p’aak’ means tomato.  ‘Sikil’ means pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, which were also an important part of the diet

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Sweet Soup (Søtsuppe)

December 16th, 2014 No Comments

    “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson. . This week’s quote can be taken different ways, but it seemed good for the long nights of the solstice season.  Our weather pattern has been stuck in a dreary, foggy, drabness for the last week and I’ve kept my colored holiday lights on all day just to have some hue in my life other than gray.  November and December have reversed themselves and we have no bright snow

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Burned Leeks with Dill Cream Cheese

December 2nd, 2014 No Comments

  Another Faroe Island dinner delight. All I had was a blog photo from a dinner at the Faroe Islands restaurant KOKS and the deducing began.  Regardless of what their version actually was, these niblets may have been my favorite part of the dinner—this and the celeriac purée.  Fortunately there were extra burned leeks for snacking as we cleaned up the feast and sipped our sherry and aquavit.       It takes a zen approach in separating these leek layers intact…ease…don’t rush….    

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Star Anise Pickled Onions

November 19th, 2014 No Comments

  This is a stone tile creation by Scott of limestone and onyx.  A fun little bathroom design and another photo distraction to entertain—like the previews before the movies, sometimes they are the most captivating part of the show!     Speaking of star anise… A couple of months ago I heard on the radio (my main form of outer world communication these days) an interview with my former chef/teacher Lenny Russo at the Minnesota State Fair.  He made the comment that star anise is grossly overused in the

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Thanksgiving Flashback

November 13th, 2014 1 Comment

  I often trot through our nearby wooded parks and recently stumbled upon this fire pit.  Most of our trails were built by volunteers in the mountain biking community…can you tell?  Knowing some of this crew I would guess this pit will be used well into the winter months, for “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” …or at least from having fun in the woods with their buddies.  

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Savory Roasted Pears

November 4th, 2014 1 Comment

  My sister and I recently went to this display of Flora Metamorphicae, 4,000 flower sculptures created by six Norwegian artists.  The flowers travel the world and the displays are changing and unique to the surroundings in which they reside.  Each flower is different, some resemble natural flowers and some spring from the imagination realm of its maker.  All are incredible.     More images of Flora Metamorphicae                  .   This exhibit is

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Plum Ketchup

October 14th, 2014 1 Comment

  (A visit to the Niagara Escarpment, more photos below…)     Close your eyes and open your mind to let ketchup become more than you think it is.   That red puree we think we know so well has origins in China (doesn’t nearly everything?!?) as a fish-sauce condiment called kê-chiap or ke-tchup (From slate.com “the syllable tchup—pronounced zhi in Mandarin—still means “sauce” in many Chinese dialects”) made from fermented fish and spices.  During centuries of its evolution the base ingredient of ketchup has shifted to salted anchovies, then soybeans were used in certain regions,

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