Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rice noodles

My mom makes a great tomato soup from scratch, but since my parents eat it so often, sometimes it is fun to put a spin on something so familiar. She adds long rice noodles; they need to be cooked prior to adding them to the soup. Although challenging while dishing the soup, the noodles add a little surprise to the dish.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Favorite thing about Grandpa

My favorite thing about my grandpa is that he owns a Nespresso machine. Just kidding! That's only my second favorite thing! We sit around his huge round table, drink espresso, eat cake and look through old photos. These are truly the best times.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My very own Panera

Lunches at Panera Bread Co are one of my favorite things to do when visiting friends in the Twin Cities, although I do realize that Panera Bread is a chain... But I love their soups so much! Who knew they have recipes posted on their website, so close within my laptop's reach!
Here is Jeffrey enjoying his share of the tasty Tomato, Cheese and Bread soup. Yums!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Omelet, with a French accent

If you think you know how to make a perfect omelet, you're wrong. And so was I. I tend to end up with half-moon shaped omelet, where the edges always end up crunchy and stuck to the pan, even though I fry them on lower heat to ensure that the middle is cooked. But friends don't let friends cook wrong...
Some time ago Jeffrey received an message from his friend with a video of a French cook teaching the technique to a perfect omelet. Apart from his AWESOME accent, the video features very entertaining and much different methods to making country style or classic omelets that are soft and creamy inside and NOT crusty on the outside. The above picture is the delectable classic version of an omelet. Love it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble goodness

Due to recent weather conditions we did not make it to Jackson Hole for Thanksgiving. Instead, we got together with all the friends stuck in Grand Forks, ND for a delicious dinner followed by long hours PS3 Rock Band and my favorite Catch Phrase. The appetizers included squash soup and delicious lobster ravioli.

Jeffrey made Paula Deen's sweet potato balls. They did not contain large quantities of butter, instead there was a marshmallow hidden inside.
Joe's very moist turkey waiting to be devoured. The feast also featured two other turkeys, one of which was smoked!Other yummies included a cheesy potato bake, perfect mashed potatoes with gravy, asparagus, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole prepared from scratch and my favorite creation - corn bread bake.
Desserts included a home made from scratch cheesecake (which I devoured about a half of) and a spin on a traditional pumpkin pie - with cream cheese bottom!
Since I don't have a recipe for my favorite Corn Bread Bake by Boyd, I will enterain you with a very simple yet delicious recipe for Cranberry Sauce. You will need:
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cur brown sugar
1 teaspoon of each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger
Heat the orange juice and dissolve the sugar in it. Once dissolved, add the cranberries and the spices. Take away from heat once cranberries start to pop. Leave in a pot for couple of minutes and stir occasionally to help the breakdown process. You can skip the spices if you don't want the sauce to taste a little Christmassy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Best medicine for blizzard conditions

Although the weather conditions in ND and closed roads in ID warned us against taking a road trip to Jackson Hole for Thanksgiving, we thought we would beat the odds and get there safely. After a long and miserable drive we found ourselves only in Bismarck, ND and decided to turn around. Seeing my pouty face Jeffrey did the only thing he could to turn my frown upside down - he invited me to lunch at The Bistro, a restaurant recommended by our friend Boyd, a fellow foodie.

Lobster bisque warmed us up pretty quickly! The best soup hands down I have ever had. Creamy goodness with pieces of lobster floating around the bacon bits.
When my salad arrived, I was mesmerized. Scallops, shrimp and tuna on a bed of spring greens, zucchini and green beans with a balsamic-anchovies dressing. But it gets better, because...

The tuna was prepared perfectly. Oh yes. If the above description didn't do it for you, you must be drooling now.
PS This fabulous salad was only $12.50!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Indian Cook off

Can we have those EVERY week, please? A plate filled to edges with Indian dishes is a way to fill any heart with happiness! Add a mango lassi and a ginger drink to the mix and you got yourself a very happy bunch of friends! For this special occasion I took advantage of a brand new Food Network show - the Aarti Party, and baked some delicious chicken samosas with mint chutney. I won't lie to you, it did require some work in the kitchen but judging from my friends comments - it was well worth it!

Filling made with chicken, potato, bunch of spices and ginger almost ready to go in the oven.
Baked and ready samosas. It cost me a lot of self control not to munch on them before we got over to Joe's...
Big thanks to Nick for making this delicious Naan bread. It was still warm when it got there... I know you're drooling as you're imagining me scooping Tikka Masala sauce with the bread...
Mango Lassi made by Kelly. Boyd generously let me take a photo of his plate.

Jeff is always ready for seconds and thirds with a fork in his pocket. Joe prepared a mango ginger beverage. Yum!

Special thanks to Lisa and Kelly for cleaning up the dishes!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Orange vests and chili

Hunting time in North Dakota has arrived and with it- chili cook-offs! This time the stakes were serious: a set of spices for the first place, southern BBQ sauce for the second and a jar of southern spices for the third. Taking into consideration the hunting crowd and their probable liking, after careful consideration I chose the recipe that I just KNEW would steal those northern Minnesota hearts. Thank you The Neely's for providing me with a hearty and meaty chili recipe! I only received a third place, but my cooking pot was completely empty, which is more of a compliment than the award itself!

Lets feed those hungry hunters!
In line for the best bowl of chili.
Chris's spicy chicken chili was my favorite! Except my own, of course.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Beet it

I love salads, but honestly, sometimes even the good old Caprese needs a face lift to spark my interest. A good friend known for her interesting salads recommended a curious addition - beets! The bold and sour flavor of marinated beets binds amazingly well with either mild cheeses, such as fresh mozzarella, or strongly flavored cheeses, such as Danish Havarti or Brie. For an extra kick add sliced Cubanelle peppers. Place on a bed of greens and dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and voila! I may even skip that spinning class tonight after such a healthy dinner!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy food

Before the long drive through construction back to Grand Forks Jeff and I stopped for one last "ethnic" treat of the trip. Victor's 1959 Cafe offers Cuban goodness for any time of the day. Colorful and happy place with food that tastes almost sweet is a perfect beginning to any day.Too many tasty choices!

Jeff's choice - scrambled eggs with spicy sausage. And mine - eggs with beans, plantains and Cuban toast with guava jam. My taste buds were happy.

Platanos fritos were definitely my favorite! Sweet and delicate.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Little Poland

You don't have to go to Chicago to taste all the goodies Poland has to offer. Kramarczuk's store in Minneapolis on Hennepin serves Eastern European dishes for lunch in the restaurant section and the store section offers sausage from all over the world, along with cookies and sweets from my childhood. Unfortunately, I could not buy any sausage as we were staying in a hotel, BUT I did eat a plate filled with stuffed cabbage and sauer kraut and almost asked for seconds!

The stuffed cabbage (or golabki) with tomato sauce and sauer kraut. Yummers!
Guy Fieri knows good food!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Little Szechuan

I thought I knew Chinese food. That's until I ended up in this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant at 422 University Ave W, St Paul, MN. I also used to think that I didn't like Chinese. Oh, was I wrong!
Mapo Tofu, Jeff's choice. Although it was delicious, I think Jeff makes it better!
Jelly fish and noodles with pork for an appetizer. Jelly fish had a consistency of... well, I don't know! It tasted exactly what I thought it would taste like!
My favorite dish, Szechuan Tofu. It was perfect. And spicy! Definitely the star of the night.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The best hot chocolate

While in Jackson, WY my family and I visited the new chocolate shop Atelier Ortega opened by a chocolatier and pastry chef from Mexico. In addition to beautiful pastries we also enjoyed a cup of Mexican hot chocolate on an equally hot summer day; but it was worth it!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Make your own pickles day!

Don't google the holiday, I just made it up to celebrate my pickling skills. Now, these are not your regular vinegar pickles - they are salt water pickles. Just add 2 tablespoons of non-iodized salt to a liter of water and boil. Pour over pickling cucumbers, garlic and fresh dill packed in jars. It takes just couple weeks to marinate and they are ready to eat!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hot summer nights

Don't complain of the hot weather outside, in no time there will be blizzards and below zero temperatures. Where are you going to grill out those delicious footlongs then? That's right, I said footlongs. Our favorite grocery store decided to humor us and carry footlong hotdogs. Jacob was quick to notice the newest products and that night we enjoyed delicious beef with BBQ sauce and coleslaw right on top. Mmmm...

Not so fast, Sam! Put some coleslaw on it first!
There ya go!
Jeff's BBQ ribs. Now, that's a topic for another whole post...
Beer brats from Wisconsin.
Jackson's appetite grew as we were eating. So much that he decided Bocce balls were a good snack.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The worst thing I ever ate...

... was Limburger cheese. Excited to try something new, and encouraged by my love to all cheese, I purchased Limburger and decided to give it a try. Let me tell you something about Limburger - it's nickname is stinky cheese and it is so due to bacteria Brevibacterium linens, which is also present on human skin and responsible for the body odor.
Needless to say, my adventure with the new cheese ended in my defeat. Perhaps one day I will grow up enough to give it another try and enjoy it, as it should be, I am sure. But probably not.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Twarozek and Nalesniki - try pronouncing that!

When asked about my favorite foods I often forget about this one - "twarozek" or farmers cheese. And no, it isn't the yellow farmers cheese in a plastic wrap that you can find in a store. It is so much more than that!
Unfortunately, the grocery stores up here do not carry it. Apparently there aren't enough Polish people around! Thinking I could make couple people convert to natural farmers cheese, I decided to make it myself. Gallon of milk and half a cup of vinegar later, voila, I am now a proud farmers cheese maker! I boiled the milk and added the vinegar, which created slimy curds. You need to make sure that you stir it well so that all the milk fat is creating the curds and the fluid left around the floating soft curds is very watery. Pour the fluid onto a cheese cloth spread on a coriander and squeeze gently to get the watery fluid out. The mass you're left with is the Polish farmer's cheese. Now it wasn't that bad, was it!
Next I made some "nalesniki", or Polish crepes, and filled them with the mixture of the farmers cheese, sugar and raisins.To make the crepes you will need:
  •  2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1 cup milk 
Simply mix the ingredients and fry on an olive oil prepped pan. Polish crepes are thicker than the French ones, but you can make them any way you'd like!
Now, that's the flavor of my childhood!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Schrimp Tacomania

I am a big fan of shrimp and even a bigger fan of grilling them! One of many ways to eat them is to make delicious shrimp tacos, which will make you feel as if you were right next to the ocean, while, in reality, you are right in the middle of the continent... But let's dream on!
I grilled he shrimp after brushing some olive oil and bay seasoning on them and started building the tacos. I added some spring greens, avocado, salsa, fresh cilantro and plain yogurt - a healthy alternative to cream.