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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Enter to win!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  In fact, it is exactly six days, two hours, and 28 minutes away (at least it was when I was writing this).  Need that top-shelf pie pan to make that perfect pumpkin pie sure to impress the whole family?  With the holidays just around the corner maybe you're more interested in buying your mother, father, spouse, brother, sister, etc. that kitchen accessory that will end all kitchen accessories.  Or if you're me, you'd treat yourself to a little luxury.

Let's cut to the chase.  I am GIVING AWAY a $25 gift card to the Uptown's fabulous Kitchen Window as well as this fashionable, never-been-used apron (though I did buy it quite a few months ago).  I have far too many aprons.

Please excuse my less than quality photo!

How do you "enter to win"?

Become a follower OF my blog NOW, and your name is in!  It's that simple.



Sunday, November 6, 2011

A fabulous autumnal meal

Last night my good friend David so graciously hosted a few of us gals for a fantastic seasonal feast.  He is a phenomenal cook - I could use a few lessons from him.  I might also add that he created such a cozy, relaxed setting with candles, music, and dim lighting; not to mention a fabulous and creative table setting for four.

The handsome chef himself:

Guest post by Mr. David Silha Reimann

After having been invited to the establishments of others for food tasting, I needed to return the favor for all of my experiences.  I thought about the changing seasons and the need to enjoy a harvest of its goodness through a hearty meal. 
Three ladies (Emily B., Kath K., Sarah T.) were brought to mind when thinking about conjuring up the meal. It would be created to warm the limbs and soul before a freeze sets in for the number of months I do not care to think about. 

I steamed two Acorn Squash in the oven a few hours before the guests arrived. 
I fought through the tough skin of the squash with a knife to divide them into halves. I filled a baking sheet with ½ inch of water and set the squash face down for their steaming. Oven= 350 for 45 minutes. 

Within in the month of October, I mastered a warm recipe of sautéed Kale leaf: garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice.  The leaves of the long and broad Kale plant give a feeling as though it stores (they do) essential fiber and vitamins.  The first crunches of the leaves inside your mouth awaken your belly as if it were to say, “okay, I’m getting ready for something down here that will clean me up.”

1 head of Kale 
4 Tbps of olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic
½ Lemon

  • Trim the large stem from the center of the pre-rinsed leaves- if you don’t, while you eat your finished product, you will find yourself chomping away on something that is tough and unnecessary. 
  • Cut the leaf into large squares (don’t make it any more difficult than it sounds – just cut). 
  • Turn the burner onto high/med-high for 3 minutes, so it gets the heat up pretty high on the pot (with lid).
  • Add oil, followed be the garlic after 30 seconds. Let the garlic sizzle/fizzle for no more than 1 minute or else it will burn and be bitter.
  • Add chopped Kale leaves. It is like spinach; it cooks down a lot. You may think that you have too much before, but afterwards, you may be surprised.
  • Turn the heat down to medium – cover with lid. Wait 2 minutes.
  • Move the Kale around so the ones on top go to the bottom surface of the pan. Repeat twice. Adjust the heat up and down (if you have an electric burner) so you can hear/see steam rising; if you have a gas burner, I’m jealous. 
  • When the leaves have wilted, raise the heat so when you add ¼ of water it really rises with steam; cover it.
  • Turn it to low once the water has evaporated from below the leaves.
The longer you cook, the better the dish.

The meat of the meal was Pork Tenderloin. I bought two that had been pre-marinated: one) lemon garlic; two) honey mustard. 
I pre-heated the oven to 500 and turned it down to 400 when I was ready to throw the ‘loins in for 45 minutes. As my dad taught me over the years, “tent” (with Tinfoil) any meat for at least 5 minutes after it has left the heat source. This allows the meat to soak up/hold its moisture.

I re-heated the room temp. squash in the oven 5 minutes before we sat down to dinner. I put ½ Tbsp of butter, and a pinch of brown sugar into each half so they would melt and mix in with one another.
Squeeze the lemon over the Kale right before you passing.

I didn’t lie to the guests when it came down to dessert. On my way home from Rainbow (where I bought everything leading up to this), I stopped in at Lunds and walked around three serving tables of pre-baked desserts for probably five minutes.  Right before I pulled the trigger on a purchase of $5.99 sugar cookies (with orange and brown M&Ms), my eyes met a container holding Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip cookies. I was sold just by how good they looked, so, I bought them.  

They were fantastically paired with a cup of Good Earth – Spice Tea (K.K. and I were the only two who wanted to cap the night off with something extra warm).  

The night was full of conversation, laughter and cheer as the four of us were surrounded by music, the light of candles, and conversation. 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Just a Minneapolis gal in Paris

Last week I was so fortunate to travel to Paris with my mom and sister Blair.  My sis Karly is studying there this semester, so we went for a little visit.

Paris is unbelievable.  Beautiful.  Breath-taking.  Chic.  Romantic.  Historic.  It was so surreal to be there.  I mean, you hear about it, read about it, watch movies about it, see paintings and photos of it; but to actually be there is indescribable.

And the cuisine?  Fabulous.  Here are a few of my food experiences!

A French hot dog.  Two hot dogs wrapped in a fresh baguette and dijon mustard, topped with crispy cheese.  The hot dog itself was pretty gnarly.  At least the after-taste wasn't so good.  Stick an American hot dog in there and it'd be award-winning.

1664 beer.  If you know me well you know I love me my beer.  Two pints for two Euros?  Now that's what I call a bargain!

One simply cannot travel to Paris without trying a crepe.  Banana and nutella is my fave.  So so so yummy.  Every time I've had a crepe in Europe I've thought to myself, I am going to make crepes when I get home.  Haven't done it yet, but one of these days.  Perhaps over the holidays this year...

Blair had a little mishap and got it all over her face.  

The last night we were there we went to a French brew pub.  Who know they had brew pubs in Paris, of all places?!!  The space was super cool - multi-level with exposed brick, complete with a lounge space.  Very sexy.  Well, as sexy as a brew pub can get. 

We (Mom, Karly, her beau Kyle, and I) shared a pitcher of Ginger Twist beer - an amber beer with hints of ginger, lemon, and lime.  Mmmmm.

So so so much fun.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Homemade applesauce

'Tis the season for apples.

One reason I am particularly fond of the fall is the idea of spending a sunny, crisp Saturday afternoon at the apple orchard.  The irony, though, is that I haven't actually been to an apple orchard to pick apples since I was a wee young lass.

Toward the end of the summer I though to myself, This is the year I will finally make it to the apple orchard.  And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it's the middle of October.  Where is the time going?!

Instead, I decided that a bag of freshly picked apples from my mom would have to suffice for the time being so that I could make one of my favorite fall recipes - applesauce.

Nothing like a bowl of warm, homemade applesauce to accompany an autumnal meal by the fire on a crisp, blustery evening indoors.  Meatloaf?  Mashed potatoes?  Squash, anyone?

Homemade Applesauce

8 tart apples, Honeycrisp is always a good option
1 C water
1 C sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

First, peel all of your apples, get rid of the cores, and cut them in to quarters.  Bring the water and apples to a boil, stirring the apples occasionally to ensure that all apples are softening.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, again stirring occasionally and breaking the apples when they become tender.  I prefer mine to be the consistency of chunky applesauce, but you can also continue stirring / breaking the apples until completely smooth.  

Stir in remaining ingredients, heat to boiling, boil and stir 1 minute.  Super easy, just a bit time consuming.

You'll never eat Mott's again.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake

I came across this recipe one day on Dara & Co.  I admit that I am guilty of sneaking a peak of our food editor's blog at work some days.

Marie Flanagan - more commonly known as Reetsyburger in the food blogging world - is the mastermind behind this post and recipe.  You can bet your bottom dollar that any recipe posted on Dara & Co., no less from Ms. Flanagan herself, is going to be lip-smackin' good.

And who doesn't love a good zucchini bread?  Especially with chocolate.

Do not be fooled, though.  This chocolate zucchini bundt is no bread.  It's a full-on rich and decadent chocolate cake.  I did still have it for breakfast, though, even with the chocolate icing.

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake, from Dara & Co., complements of Marie Flanagan

3 C shredded zucchini
2 C all-purpose flour
1 C unsweetened cocoa
2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
Dash of salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1 C Canola oil
1 C sugar
1 C packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1 package dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350, grease your bundt pan, and grate 3 C zucchini.

Combine your sugars, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until fluffy.

Next beat in your eggs.

Fold in your grated zucchini with a spatula.

In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, dash of salt, and cinnamon.  Add your dry mixture to your wet mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.

Bake for 50-65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Now that is one perfect bundt, but it's missing that special something...



Marie didn't frost hers, but I say, What's chocolate cake without icing?!

Chocolate Supreme Icing

4 T cocoa
6 T milk
1 stick butter
3 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Bring cocoa, milk, and butter to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.  Drizzle over cake.

Yum, yum, yum.  Rich and chocolately goodness!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

3 days and a whole lot of desserts

A few weeks ago I was hired as the official "caterer / baker" for a recruitment event that my sorority held.  What started as a highly organized and well-planned assignment soon turned to total chaos.  Maybe not total chaos - nothing earth-shattering happened - but I was definitely in for a long and labor-intensive few days in the kitchen.

I can't pretend I didn't love it, though.  As I was driving to deliver the final product, I thought to myself, If only this could be my full-time job.  Perhaps one day.

Three days and all the space my parents have in their kitchen and dining room finally resulted in a variety of three adorable desserts: 200 chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies, 100 mini red velvet cupcakes, and 100 fruit pizzas.

Ooh mama - now that's a lotta work!  But it was worth it; from what I hear the desserts were a success!

Keep in mind, if you ever need desserts for a special occasion I'll give you a great deal!



P.S. Stay tuned - I'll have recipes posted soon!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Strawberry scones with lemon glaze - The ultimate summer scone

I have been in a baking frenzy this past week.  I can't get enough of it.  I believe I have made two batches of my favorite chocolate/butterscotch chip cookies since last Monday.  Usually I have pretty good self-control when we have homemade cookies in the house.  Not the case lately.  Too many cookies on Sunday led to a highly unproductive day.

The cookies are now gone.  Thank God for that.  Tonight I decided to make strawberry scones with a lemon glaze.  What I love about scones is that there are so many creative combinations of flavors you can add.  I recently had an outstanding strawberry peach scone.  Another memorable scone is the blueberry scone with maple glaze at Bread & Chocolate.  It tastes like a blueberry pancake with maple syrup, but better!

I modified PW's maple pecan scone from her cookbook.  I am proud to say that I am promptly blogging about these.  I am waiting for the scones to cool as I type!  Which also means that I have yet to try them. Though I can say that they smell and look quite heavenly.  I will keep you posted on how they taste!

Before I begin, you'll have to forgive my less-than-quality photographs.  I am roughin' it with my iPhone cam - can't find my digital camera charger anywhere!

Strawberry Scones with Lemon Glaze, modified from PW's maple pecan scones

For the scones:

3 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C sugar
5 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 sticks cold butter
3/4 C strawberries, cut in to small pieces
Lemon zest from one lemon
1 large egg
3/4 C heavy whipping cream

For the glaze:

2 C powdered sugar
2 T whole milk
2 T melted butter
1 t lemon extract

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut the cold butter in to small pieces, and add to the flour.  Cut the butter in to the flour mixture; meaning, sort of mash the butter cubes in to the flour mixture, for lack of a better explanation.  I usually have to get a little creative.  Last time I used a potato masher.  This time it was even less glamourous - I used beaters manually.  But it worked!  Cut the butter until the mixture resembles crumbs, like wet sand.

Next add your strawberries and lemon zest.  Mix throughout.

Whisk the egg and heavy whipping cream, and add to the dry mixture.  Fold the wet mixture in to the dry one until just combined.

Time to get your hands a little dirty.  Knead the dough slightly, but not too much!  Just to get the major clumps mixed in.

Place half of the dough on to a cutting board.  Form a disk about 8 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches thick.  Cut the disk in to six equal parts as if you are cutting a pizza.  Place each piece on to a greased baking sheet.  Repeat with the second half of the dough.

I would suggest baking in two batches.  I tried to put all twelve scones on to one baking sheet, and the baked in to each other, as you can see.

Bake for about 20 minutes until lightly golden.

Let cool completely.

For the glaze, mix all ingredients until smooth.  Add milk as needed so that the glaze will drizzle evenly on to the scones.  Once the scones are cool, drizzle on a dollop of glaze.  Let glaze harden.

Voila.  Your ultimate summer scone.

What a perfect treat for a warm summer morning!  Pair with a little iced coffee or iced tea and you're bound to have a spectacular day!



Saturday, August 6, 2011

The very best Rhubarb Bread. Ever.

Last weekend I biked to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market and picked up some fresh, local rhubarb to bake with.  Well, the work week flew by, and when Friday rolled around I still hadn't made a delicious rhubarb treat.  I left for the cabin after work on Friday with my fresh rhubarb in tote.  There is nowhere better to bake than amidst the peace and quiet (well maybe not in my family - but at least I'm out of the hustle bustle of the city) up North.

Usually when I arrive at the cabin my first line of business is always to bake.  Perhaps it's just because there is so much more space to do so than in my teeny tiny kitchen at home, which, by the way, only seems to shrink in size by the day.  Only three more weeks in that tiny kitchen and I'll be moving on to a bigger and better space!

Anyway, I found a fantastic rhubarb bread recipe from Taste of Home.  Lately I've been having a hard time finding great bread recipes, but I have finally found a recipe that is most definitely "Bordertown-worthy," if I do say so myself.

Rhubarb Bread, modified from Taste of Home

1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C canola oil
1 egg
3/4 C skim milk
1/4 C half & half
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 1/2 C chopped, fresh rhubarb
1/2 C pecans


1/2 C sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1 T cold butter

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

First prepare your buttermilk.  In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine skim milk, half & half, and lemon juice.  Stir and let stand for at least five minutes.

In a large bowl combine brown sugar, oil, and egg.

Mix until well-combined and smooth.  Stir in your vanilla and buttermilk mixture.  Next, add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture - flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix until well-combined and smooth.

Fold your rhubarb pieces and pecans in to the batter.

Pour half of the batter in to one of the loaf pans and the rest in to the other loaf pan.

Don't forget to make to streusel (I almost forgot)!  Combine the three ingredients used for the topping in a medium bowl.

Using your hands, work the butter through the sugar and cinnamon until it resembles wet sand.

Side note:  Every time I have someone take an action shot, I cringe at the sight of my hands - they always look like my grandma's.  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  I'm too young for that!!! 

Back to the matter at hand, spread the streusel mixture so that it covers the surface of both loaves.

Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Voila.  Beautiful.

One whole loaf was gone by morning.