Friday, October 29, 2010

Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Super Simple Sauce

I used one red and one green heirloom tomato for color and flavor. You can use any tomatoes that you have for this sauce.

This recipe serves two, so adjust accordingly.

4 cloves Garlic - roughly chopped
1 T Red Onion - finely diced
2 Heirloom Tomatoes - roughly chopped
White Pepper

Heat butter and oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.

Add garlic and onion and cook for two minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, salt and white pepper and cook for two more minutes.

Pour over, or toss with pasta or grains.
This sauce is gluten free and vegetarian, so toss it with some pasta and add some steak if you want that stuff.

Rotini with Tomato Garlic Sauce and Baked Yellow Squash

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tip - How to Clean Clams

When buying clams, be sure that they are still alive. They should be tightly closed. If you have one that is open, tap it. If it's alive, it will respond to you.

Never eat or prepare dead shellfish! Also, open the package that they come in to allow them to breath till you're ready to clean them.

When cooking with clams, you want to take care in cleaning them. Their shells have lots of grooves good for holding dirt. This dirt will loosen up while the clams cook and will end up in your broth or sauce. No one wants to eat dirt!

1. Place the clams in a bowl.

2. Fill the bowl with cool water.

3. Let this sit for 10-20 minutes. This will help to clean some of the saltwater from inside the clams.

4. Remove the clams from the water. (Do not pour them out, use your hands to lift them out.)

5. Take one at a time and scrub it under running water.

6. Rinse it off and pat dry.

Once all the clams are clean, they are ready to cook.

Clams in White Wine Sauce

Other mollusks, such as mussels should be cleaned the same way. Mussels have something that's commonly called it's beard. You'll see a bunch of fibers hanging out of the shell, that is the beard. To remove this, use a towel to hold it firmly with your fingers. Then, tug the fibers out and toward the hinge. This should remove it without killing the mussel.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Clams in White Wine with Linguine

This one's for you Tim.

When you buy clams from the market, they should be alive. They should stay alive till you're ready to cook them. When you're done cooking them, they should all be opened. If any of the clams do not open, do not eat them! Also, be sure to clean the shells very well. They have little groves that can hold dirt, and you don't want a gritty sauce!

A Large pot of Salted Boiling Water
1 T Butter
2-4 large Shallots - diced
2 Celery stalks - finely diced
Garlic - sliced
6 peeled and seeded Tomatoes - diced
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (CRP)
1 1/2 cups Dry White Wine
Juice form 1 Lemon - divided
1-2 lb Clams - cleaned well
1 T cold Butter
Fresh Basil - chiffonade

Heat butter and EVOO in a large skillet.

Add celery and shallots to the pan. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.

Add garlic to the pan and cook 2 more minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and season with s/p and CRP. Cook for another 2-4 minutes.

Turn the heat off, or remove the pan from the open flame (to prevent a flare up) and add the wine. Return the pan to the heat and add 1/2 of the lemon juice.

Bring to a boil.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baked Yellow Squash

My mother use to make something very similar to this, as a side dish with spaghetti, when I was a kid. I think this recipe also makes a great vegetarian main dish and it's gluten free. The yellow squash stays firm on the outside, so you can eat it with a knife and fork, and the cheese adds protein.

You can serve the squash as you would a steak with it's own side dishes, as a side dish with a main entrée, or serve it over pasta or grains.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mac-N-Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

I used a box of macaroni and cheese when I made these balls. Next time, I would make my own. The cheese wasn't as gooey as I would of liked it to be. Overall though, I was very happy with the outcome of this crazy idea that I literally dreamt up one night.

Macaroni and Cheese
Fresh Basil
1 Egg
1/2 package Italian Dressing Mix or 1 T Italian Seasoning
Dried Oregano
3-4 cloves Garlic
1 Onion
Italian Style Bread Crumbs
1 lb Ground Meat (I used turkey. Beef, pork, chicken or a combo would also be tasty.)
Cooking oil

Cook your mac and cheese as you normally would, weather with a box mix or by scratch. When the mac-n-cheese is cooked, stir in a handful of chiffonade basil (thinly sliced or ribbons).

Then put the prepared mac and cheese in a storage dish. (I sprayed the dish with non-stick cooking spray first.) Cover and place the dish in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

After the mac-n-cheese has completely cooled, turn it out of the storage dish onto a cutting board.

Cut the macaroni into cubes about the size of a large die and set them on a tray. Loosely cover the tray and place it in the freezer while you season the meat.

In a large bowl, beat the egg.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

White Bean Dip

I made this as a quick pot luck dish for my friend Rebecca's birthday party.

3 cans White Beans (navy or northern) - drained and rinsed
1/2 head Roasted Garlic
1 small Onion - roasted and chopped
EVOO - about a 1/4 cup
1 small Red Bell Pepper - roasted and finely chopped
Crushed Red Pepper (CRP)

To Dip With
Pita - cut into triangles
Carrot Chips
Belgian Endive
Snow Peas
Cucumber - sliced
Radishes - thinly sliced

Blend the first three ingredients together, I used an immersion blender for this. A regular blender, food processor, or a potato masher will also work.

As you blend, slowly add a small steady stream of EVOO. Do this till the mixture is smooth and well blended.

Stir in the roasted pepper.

Season to taste with s/p and CRP.

Serve with veggies and breads.

This dip is easy, vegetarian, gluten free, and tasty stuff!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Review - The Sample Room

The Sample Room
2124 Marshall Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

I really enjoy the concept of The Sample Room. As the name suggests, you can try lots of different things in one visit. The menu is separated into categories such as; charcuteries, cheese, meat, and pastas. There's also a few entrées to choose from. Tony and I don't have huge appetites, three of the small plates will fill us up. If you have a larger appetite, share a couple of plates and have an entrée or sandwich for yourself.

I was surprised to find out the history of The Sample Room. The building was built in the late 1800's and opened as The Thies Hotel and Sample Room. I believe the restaurant that's there now opened in 2002, which also surprised me. I didn't find the place till this year and I feel like I've been missing out!

The Sample Room is at Mile 856.2 on the Mississippi River. So, if you want some great food as you're out boating, you can tie up at their dock, walk up, and sample some tasty stuff. Or, if you want to go to eat in a more traditional way, they are located at 2124 Marshall St NE, Mpls. There is plenty of parking in the back of the restaurant, by the Mississippi.

There's a nice cozy feeling to all dinning areas at The Sample Room. Including a relatively small dinning room with a bar counter to one side and a patio on the other. My favorite place to sit is the outside bar area. It's closest to the river and provides a great atmosphere when the sun is setting.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Seafood Stuffed Salmon

I made this salmon over a year ago and I didn't write anything down. So, no recipe. Fortunately, I did take lots of pictures to document this concoction. I remember it being very tasty!

I used Tony old phone to take these pictures, so they're not the best. I still thought it was worth sharing this one. Maybe it'll give you some crazy over stuffed ideas of your own.

This is a mirepoix with garlic, shrimp and orange zest.

Cooked white rice with saffron and sweet onions.

The shrimp and rice mixed together.

I cut a pocket in the salmon, making sure not to cut all the way through the fish.

Stuffed the rice mixture into the pocket.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review - Sea Salt Eatery

Sea Salt
4801 Minnehaha Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 721-8990 ‎

If you haven't been to Sea Salt this year, hurry! Time is running out. They close the doors, till next spring, on October 31. If you've never been, then you need to go now. That way, you'll have time to fit a couple of visits in, you'll want to go back!

The restaurant is located next to Minnehaha Falls, so take a walk or bike around the park, visit the fall, and then eat some delicious seafood.

Inside tables are limited, but there's ample outdoor seating. Dress to sit outside and you'll be happy. Another thing that's "outside" is the bathroom. Well, it's through a pavilion and is shared with the public park. The restaurant is always clean, the restrooms are not.

To order, you stand in line. Sometimes it's a long line, but it usually moves pretty quickly. The menu is on the wall and the specials are posted on a chalk board, and online. I suggest, if you're with someone, that one person stands in line while the other finds a table. Your drinks are given to you at the counter and the food is brought to you.

On our last trip to Sea Salt, Tony and I had the Whole Fried Crappie served w/ Chowder & Melon for $13.95. The skin was very crispy and the inside was perfectly light and flaky. We got a bit of attention as we ate the fish. It did look intriguing next to all the fish sandwiches around us.

There is so much tasty stuffs at Sea Salt. The catfish is one of my favorites, maybe because I'm from Texas. I've heard that the oysters are great. They come fried, served in a sandwich, or on the half shell. I also recommend the fish tacos. There are six different ones to pick from including grilled veggies, if you want a break from fish.

Unfortunately, if you're dying for fish-n-chips, you might not be completely satisfied. Chips are not on the menu. Sorry. Maybe the clam fries will fill the void?

Another thing that I enjoy at Sea Salt is the hot sauce bar. There must be 30 different kinds. I didn't count, I just know that there's plenty to choose from. I like to try different ones till I get one that's too hot, then I switch to malt vinegar.

I think October 31st is going to sneak up on us. The winter can seem so long without that last, fresh memory of Sea Salt on your tongue. So, don't delay!

Tony, sitting in front of Sea Salt's open kitchen

Monday, October 4, 2010

White Chicken Lasagna w/ Red Sauce

I used manicotti noodles instead of lasagna in this recipe. This is only because I somehow ended up with three boxes of the things in my pantry. The manicotti also inspired my Cabbage with Pasta dish. Feel free to use lasagna noodles in both dishes, if you'd like to.

Also, there's only two of us here, so I didn't make a full pan of lasagna. I used an oven proof plater instead. If you have a big family, or if you want lots of leftovers to freeze or give to friends, just fill a large baking dish with the same yummy, cheesy layers.

I've broken this recipe down into steps to make it easier to follow. If you don't have a full day to devote to the kitchen, make the sauces a day or two ahead of time.

Step 1 - Make Roasted Red Sauce and White Cream Sauce

Step 2 - Make Cheese Mixture

Step 3 - Cook Zucchini rounds and Noodles

Step 4 - Assemble the Lasagna and bake it

Use the links provided to make the sauces. If you make them the day before, warm them up on the stove a bit before layering the lasagna. If you don't preheat them, your dish will take a long time in the oven.

Cheese Mix
Ricotta Cheese - 8oz
Parmesan Cheese - 1/8 cup, freshly grated
Mozzarella Cheese - 1/2 cup, grated
Fresh Basil - chiffonade
Nutmeg - just a bit, freshly greted

Mix all of these ingredients together in a bowl and cover and refrigerate till you're ready to assemble the lasagna.

Zucchini - enough to cover one layer in your lasagna, I used 3 small ones sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
Crushed Red Pepper (CRP)
Turkey Pepperoni - cut into little squares, or crumbled after cooking
Mozzarella Cheese - shredded (used in the assembly stage)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Toss the zucchini with EVOO, s/p, and CRP.

Place in a single layer on a half sheet pan.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning once.

At the same time, place the pepperoni bits on a separate baking sheet and bake till crispy.

Set both aside till ready to assemble.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of rapidly boiling salty water till they're al dente.

Then drain them.

When they are cool enough for you to handle, cut each noodle open to make a flat sheet. (Skip this step if you're using lasagna noodles.)

Set aside till everything else is ready to be put together.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Roasted Red Sauce

Tony and I picked a bunch of grape tomatoes from our friend Joel's garden. (Thank you Joel!) I made a pretty tasty and easy sauce out them that I used with a White Chicken Lasagna. You don't have to use grape tomatoes, any type will do.

Grape Tomatoes - 1 pint
1 Onion - small to medium
3 Carrots - cut in half lengthways
1 Bell Pepper - I used yellow
1 T Butter
5 cloves Garlic - peeled and chopped
1 can Tomato Sauce - 8oz
1 cup Stock - I used poaching liquid
Crushed Red Peppers (CRP)
Fresh Basil

Roast the first four ingredients.

Then, heat the butter and a T EVOO in a large skillet or a sauce pan.

Cook the garlic, stirring, for a minute.

Roughly chop all the roasted veggies, except the tomatoes.

Add all the veggies, including the tomatoes and any juices that are in the pan to the garlic.

Stir in the tomato sauce and stock.

Season to taste with CRP and s/p.

Let this cook over medium to med-lo heat for about 20 minutes, sirring occasionally.

Finally, add the Basil.

Enjoy over your favorite pasta, potato, or polenta.

This sauce is gluten free, so eat it up Mo!

Red and White Sauces

First layer of Lasagna