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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bacon & Caramelized Onion Brussels Sprouts with Herbed Goat Cheese

Nothing says Thanksgiving like roasted brussels sprouts. I know that brussels sprouts get a bad rap, but if you cook them properly, they can be a showpiece at your holiday table. For Thanksgiving today, I was in charge of making a vegetable side, so I decided to do roasted brussels sprouts with an addition of caramelized onion, smokey bacon and herbed goat cheese for a creamy tang. I added a bit of balsamic vinegar to the brussels sprouts towards the end of their cooking to add flavor and a hint of sweetness to compliment the caramelized onions. This delicious side can be prepared and enjoyed for just about any occasion! Follow my easy recipe below:

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Brussels Sprouts with Herbed Goat Cheese 
(serves 6)

6 strips of smoked bacon
4 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil  
2 bags brussels sprouts, washed and halved (or roughly 4 cups)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
1/2 cup crumbled herbed goat cheese
Pinch salt and pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until crisped. Remove bacon and place on paper towel and chop into small bits. Next, add onions and garlic to bacon fat remaining in skillet and cook over low heat 20 minutes or until caramelized. In another skillet, add olive oil over medium-high heat and add halved brussels sprouts, cooking until browned on each side adding balsamic vinegar toward the end of their cooking. Turn off heat and add onion mixture and chopped bacon to brussels sprouts and transfer into serving dish.  Lastly, top with crumbled herbed goat cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pork & Ginger Dumplings

Chinese dumplings are a favorite of mine, so I tried to make my own version of a classic Shu Mai dumpling using Laotian pork sausage seasoned with lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, lime and chili. I used pre-made dumpling wrappers found in most grocery stores and and egg wash to fold them together. I don't have a dumpling steamer, so I simply threw the finished dumpling into boiling water for a few minutes to cook through. These dumplings are fantastic for a light appetizer or flavorful snack during the day. You could even make a batch and freeze them to cook later. Check out my recipe below!

Pork and Ginger Dumplings
(makes ~24 dumplings) 
3 Laotian sausages, casings removed (found at most Asian grocers)
1/4 cup minced carrots
3 tbsp shaved fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1/2 finely chopped cilantro
1 package dumpling or wonton wrappers
1 egg, whisked 

In large saute pan, add in sausage and carrots over medium high heat mixing until sausage breaks down into smaller bits. After a minute or two, add in ginger and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn down heat to low and add in cilantro mixing well. Turn off heat once sausage is cooked through and set aside. Place wonton wrapper down in single sheets down on a flat surface. Brush edges of wrapper with your egg wash and place a small tablespoon of your pork filling in the center. Squeeze outer edges of wrapper together, forming a tight top piece as shown in above photos. Once your gotten a batch folded, toss gently into salted boiling water until wrapper cooks through, about 3-5 minutes. Strain your dumplings and serve immediately with dipping sauce. 

Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tbsp rice vinegar 

Mix ingredients together in a bowl and serve with your dumplings. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Chicken Marsala with Shiitake Mushrooms and Charred Green Beans

Sorry for the delay in posting, I have been busy with my 4 1/2 month old daughter Celia! I will try my best to write at least one posting weekly. 

Last week I made my version of chicken marsala. Chicken marsala is an Italian favorite of mine made with marsala cooking wine, chicken and mushrooms. I used sour cream in my sauce to create a rich, creamy consistency. I accompanied my chicken with charred green beans to balance out the richness of the sauce. 

Creamy Mushroom and Onion Marsala Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup marsala cooking wine
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sour cream 
1/2 chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat large skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Add in onions and garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add in mushrooms and cook another few minutes. Add in marsala wine and reduce heat to low, reducing liquid for 5 minutes. Turn heat off, mixing in butter, sour cream, parsley and seasonings to taste. Pour sauce over grilled chicken and serve. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Crispy Kale Salad

Kale has been a crazy fad for quite a while now, but for good reason! This super food is high in calcium, vitamin K and C, and sulforaphane which has cancer fighting properties! I love the fibrous, hearty texture of kale especially when roasted or sautéed. Kale is in season now and available at your local farmers market, so take advantage of this healthy vegetable while you can. I happen to love this particular recipe found in Bon Appetit magazine, which calls for a Vietnamese style lime dressing similar to nuoc cham dipping sauce. I added extra ingredients to my salad not mentioned in the recipe such as avocado, fresh corn and snap peas. Don't be afraid to do the same and throw in any fresh veggie or herb you have around.

Check out the recipe by clicking HERE

Pappardelle Pasta with Spinach and Almonds in a White Wine Cream Sauce

1 bag pappardelle pasta (found at Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup butter
3 tsp fresh minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup milk or heavy cream
1-2 tbsp flour
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 bag frozen spinach, thawed and liquid drained out
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1/2 cup roasted slivered almonds

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat butter in large sauté pan, adding in garlic over medium/low heat. Then add in wine and reduce to low cooking 2-3 minutes until alcohol evaporates. Now add in milk and flour and whisk over medium high heat until bubbles form, then reduce heat back down to low adding in salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Add in drained spinach until well combined, then toss in cooked pasta. Plate with slivered almonds and cheese on top. Enjoy! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dutch Oven Chicken in Mustard Marsala Cream Sauce

I was generously gifted a Le Creuset Dutch Oven last year, but have only used it a few times. The Dutch Oven can be used similarly to crock-pot, slowly cooking meals in one vessel for optimal efficiency and ease. Using a whole chicken as the main ingredient, I started by heating the pot with olive oil over high heat to sear both sides of the chicken, creating a crispy skin and sealing in moisture. Then, I tossed in cubed yukon gold potatoes, sliced onion, whole garlic cloves and fresh chives. I then created a sauce to pour over my ingredients. Unfortunately, I did not measure my ingredients but I can tell you that a generous amount of marsala cooking wine, mustard, horseradish, honey, sour cream, butter, salt, pepper and a touch of red wine vinegar went into the sauce. Covering the pot, I reduced heat to low and cooked roughly 1 1/2 hours until chicken was cooked through and potatoes softened. I poured the finished product over Israeli couscous to soak up the delicious sauce. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Be'wiched Deli

Be'witched Deli on 800 Washington Avenue North in Minneapolis is home to one of my favorite sandwiches, the "Asparagus". This unique sandwich is composed of formage blanc, piperade, blanched asparagus and black pepper glazed fennel on focaccia bread. The combination of soft airy bread, sweet vegetables, creamy cheese and crisp asparagus make this choice a winner. Piperade is a french side dish combining onion, green and red peppers and tomato. The black pepper glazed fennel adds an aromatic sweetness rounding out the sandwich. In addition to the sandwich, I ordered their spinach salad composed of candied pecans, smoked apple and brie cheese tossed in a light vinaigrette. The fresh salad was a nice accompaniment to the sandwich. 

Be'wiched deli is always bustling at the lunch hour with warehouse district worker bees. They also do quite a bit of catering to local businesses, and offer a bike delivery program! Why call Jimmy John's when you can have a gourmet Asparagus sandwich delivered to your desk?! Even if you don't work in the warehouse district, this joint is worth the visit! 

Click HERE to visit their website