Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lela Wine Dinner - April

Every month, Lela's at the Sheraton in Bloomington, MN, has a wine dinner. Basically, it's an opportunity for their chef, Stewart Woodman, to play.
We've been to a bunch of these now and, with the exception of a very misguided grilled cheese sandwich, the food has always been excellent. Woodman has a really great sense of pairing food with wine, and he's not afraid to be dramatic and interesting. The first one we went to, he served Elk Tenderloin and it was just stunning.

Conveniently, the dinner in April happened to be on my birthday, so it was pretty easy to insist we go. Here is the menu:

So first off, Sea Urchin on Rhubarb Sorbet

This was... interesting. I love Sea Urchin. I like how it's delicate and fatty and sweet and unctuous. This rendition was good, but I feel as though there was a ratio issue. The Rhubarb Sorbet was so cold and tart. I think the flavors worked well together but would have rather had a piece of Sea Urchin with a few blobs of the sorbet. The urchin got lost in the noise.

Next we had Salmon with Tobiko in broth:

This was light, bright and pretty. My Tobiko fell into the broth and I didn't really get to taste it that much, but one of my dinner companions said it was fantastic and I believe her. Delicate, savory, enjoyable. This was a good dish after the sea urchin. It wasn't mind blowing, but it was tasty.

I didn't take a picture of the Lobster Bisque (and honestly until I just looked at the menu to get the order down, I forgot we had it). Woodman's Lobster Bisque is really nice. I've had it before and it's just the right amount of creamy and fishy and meaty. It's a winner every time.

And then, of and then, we had the Berkshire Pork Chop.

This was beyond the star of the show.

It looks unassuming, right? Almost simple? It wasn't. It was absolutely gorgeous. The beurre rouge was great, the puree was lovely, but that green stuff on top? That is a ramp chimichurri. Ramps, if you're not familiar, are wild garlic. They are most commonly found in spring time, and I have never even thought to put them in a chimichurri before. The balance was fantastic. The portk was cooked perfectly, the Emmolo Merlot that paired with this was delightful. Best dish I think I've ever had at one of these dinners.

We had short ribs too.

But they weren't the sumptuous deliciousness of the pork chop, so, you know. That happened.

Now I have to figure out how to get my hands on all the ramps in the world so I can make that sauce.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Because.... Zoe

I know, I know. A dog. How cute.

No.... a dog! How cuuuuuuuuuuttttteee!!

I'm not going to lie, I love this face. Zoe is awesome and ridiculous and a pain in my bum but I love her so very very much.

The weather is doing that weird Minnesota thing where it is being changeable and prickly, then at times beautiful and unexpected. Living here is still unexpected and hard to grasp.

When we moved in to Ferngully Farm, the first thing we did to the house was put up a six foot cedar fence. This house is on a corner lot, backing up to a busy road, so the fence was necessary not just for out privacy, but so the pups could run around out back as they chose.

It's rained a lot here recently, and Zoe has these weird territory "feelings". She doesn't like people, or strollers, or people with strollers, or other dogs, or kids on bikes. She runs back and forth along the fence line just in case they might try and get in. She's run back and forth so many times that she's compacted the dirt into a channel and when it rains, there is a very long pond against the fence lie.

So yesterday when she decided to run back and forth she did so in the middle of a very very muddy pond... and then she came in the house.

Y'all, I have spent more time cleaning up paw prints over the last 6 months than I have sleeping.

This time though, she looked like she'd been through a tough mudder. I had to coax her gently, and then when that failed, dramatically manhandle her into the bath tub to rinse her down. The water was beyond black and she was just yucky. And now, she's clean and stuff. For the minute.

Minnesota strikes again

Monday, May 1, 2017

On Drinking in Airports - MSP

I've been living in Minnesota for about 9 months now and whilst it is.... interesting, it's been tricky to make it feel like home.
The Husband (oh yeah by the way I got married!) and I are constantly searching for different methods to make it feel more like home.
It seems that I have recently dived into the "absence makes the heart grow fonder" method quite deeply. I'm traveling a lot. Any excuse really. Be it a girls trip with either my best friend or my sister, a random business meeting across the country, or the need to help out with a three year olds birthday party, I'm on a plane every chance I get.

I don't know why, but I really really love drinking in airports. There is something about it that makes me feel sophisticated, like the high flyer I'm really kind of not.

It's also really interesting to me how different airports have different options. I actually get a bit excited when I fly Southwest out of MSP, because that means I'm heading to Surdyk's for a sandwich and some Cava... this sandwich in particular.

It's their Pecorino and Prosciutto sandwich with La Quercia Prosciutto, Pecorino, rosemary-apple jelly, red onion and arugula on a ciabatta roll. Now, it can vary from day to day based on how generous the person making it is with the cheese, but it is always quite delightful. I tend to pair it with just a nice glass of Cava, because, you know, bubbles.

So if you're in Minneapolis St Paul Airport and hanging out in Terminal 2.... know that this sandwich is waiting for you. And me. Definitely me. Probably in July.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hi Y'all

So, guess what? I'm going to be back very soon. So much has happened. I am now a happily married lady living in Minnesota, and traveling as much as possible. I've got so many new things to share. New recipes, new adventures, new and very different watch this space!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Asian Carrot and Cabbage Slaw

I'm really into low ingredient, high health, pretty food right now. I'm trying hard to steer my household away from processed foods, and I'm trying to do better about working with fresh vegetables. By the way, trying are really the key words here. I still can't get my other half to stop buying insane amounts of candy. I'm so envious of his metabolism.

I'm also currently wracked with cravings for anything even remotely Asian inspired. I go through phases where I crave the same genre of food for weeks at a time. Sometimes it's seafood, sometimes burgers. Lately, it's Asian food.

So this recipe was born out of creativity and a desire for something filling, tangy, and easy to eat. I wanted acid and crunch and earthiness. This recipe makes a good sized amount of slaw, and it certainly does get better as it mellows in the fridge. I'll eat this straight out of the bowl, or on the side of some baked tilapia, or I'll make it the base of a baked chicken and avocado wrap (pictured below), which I highly recommend.

Asian Carrot and Cabbage Slaw

1/2 Head of Red Cabbage, shredded
3 Carrots, peeled
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
A few drops of Sesame oil (optional but worth it)
A few grinds of salt

You want to shred or slice your red cabbage length wise, so it is in nice long stripe. Peel the carrots and then run them lengthwise through a mandolin is you have one, or just use a vegetable peeler run down them over and over until you have very thin strips of carrot.

(Sidenote: If you haven't considered buying a Palm Peeler I strongly recommend dropping whatever you are doing and buying one now. I was given one for Christmas and it has changed the way I think about peeling vegetables. No more hand cramping, cursing, or denting my fingers. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.)

Put the carrots and cabbage into a large mixing bowl. In a heavy saute pan, toast the sesame seeds until they are just turning a little brown. Add the rice wine vinegar, sesame seeds, salt and a few drops (be sparing!) of sesame oil into the vegetables and mix well. Let sit for half an hour before serving, but if you need to dive in right away I'll never tell, and I'll totally forgive you.

Serve on the side of baked chicken or fish, or add to wraps. This would be awesome with shrimp tacos too.

Makes 6 servings

Monday, January 12, 2015

What I Did on Christmas: Lupo

Christmas day was a bit rough this year. My other half was working all day so we celebrated on Christmas Eve instead. I wasn't really up for staying home alone all day, so I went to see a show that a friend of mine works on.

After the show, I was thinking about dinner and about how I really really didn't want to cook. As I was walking back to my car, I passed by Lupo, Wolfgang Pucks restaurant at Mandalay Bay. I decided... screw it. I'm going to make something good happen to day. So I set up at the bar and ordered a really lovely dinner.

I drank Seghesio Zinfandel 2012, which is always a winner. I actually went to the Seghesio Vineyard back in April, and I really like it. It's also a huge favorite of my friend Jenn's, and she has excellent taste as always.

The it was Gnocchi with Veal Ragu. The ragu was a hair on the salty side but the gnocchi was absolutely perfect. Light, fluffy, delicate, exactly the way it should be.

I asked the bartender to pick me a side, and he settle on Lemon Parmesan Cauliflower. I'm going to probably try to recreate this. It was perfect. The citrus against the Parmesan really worked beautifully. It had just the right amount of caramelization and I really loved it.

If you're having a crappy day, sometimes it's worth it to just say Jai Refuse!, and make it into something better. You have more control over your destiny than you sometimes think.

Lupo on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Poire Martini with Pear Grey Goose Vodka

I like weddings. I find them neat and sweet and I've been lucky enough to have gone to many. They are all memorable for different reasons, and I like that I remember little glimpses of peoples days. Uneven flagstones at Heather's wedding. The way the wind whipped Alana's dress. A baby crawling across the floor at Michelle's and me nearly splitting my bridesmaids dress reaching for him. Anna rushing for her sister when her hair started to come undone. Kirsty waiting for the right moment in the music to start walking down the aisle.

Speaking of Kirsty, she's the younger sister of my dear friend Tree and she had a really awesome little Las Vegas wedding. We ended up having her reception in a cocktail lounge on top of the Delano here in Vegas and I had an amazing cocktail there. It, of course, had champagne in it since I was at a wedding after all.

The inaugural blog post of 2015 and the first (hopefully not last) of my new mission to play with all of the liquor in my bar features Pear Grey Goose.... which I bought specifically to make this cocktail. We'll not discuss how many times I made it in order to try and get the ratios right. Suffice to say, I've made a small dent.

For the Champagne/Prosecco/Sparkling Dry Wine any will work. Bear in mind that if it says sparkling wine on the label it doesn't mean it's not worth drinking.... technically it's only Champagne if it's from Champagne, France and lots of Vineyards respect that tradition and don't mislabel their product.

Poire Martini

1oz Pear Grey Goose Vodka
1/2oz St Germaine
1-1.5oz Champagne, Prosecco or other Dry Sparkling Wine
1 Thin Pear Slice to Garnish

In a cocktail shaker, shake the Grey Goose and St Germaine with plenty of ice. Strain into a glass and top with the Champagne. Garnish with a pear slice if you wish. If you don't have pears handy, don't let that deter you, because I think this drink is lovely.