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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Roasted Lamb Chops with Peppers & Herb Yogurt




For dinner tonight I splurged and made lamb chops, my favorite protein. There is something about the flavor of lamb that beats all others. At times it's hard to tell whether you're eating turkey or chicken but lamb on the other hand... very distinctive. I paired the lamb with a herb yogurt sauce, arugula salad and sautéed peppers. I have the lamb marinade and yogurt sauce recipes below for your enjoyment :)

Lamb Marinade
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
1/2 cup fresh oregano
1/2 cup fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced garlic

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined, then pour over lamb and let sit in refrigerator overnight. 

Herbed Yogurt Sauce
(makes about 1 cup)
1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup arugula
1/4 cup fresh oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil 
1 tsp agave nector or honey
2 tsp minced garlic
Pinch salt and pepper

Pulse all ingredients together in blender until smooth. Serve over your favorite meat, vegetable or as a dip. 




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trattoria Tosca, Linden Hills

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Last night, my husband, his parents, my parents and I joined for a lovely dinner. I had originally suggested we choose the Broder's Pasta Bar on 50th and Penn, famous for their extensive freshly made pasta list. We arrived at Broder's at 7pm on a Wednesday night (they DON'T take reservations!) only to be told to wait 1 hour and 45 minutes to be seated!!!... I mean WHAT? I understand the pasta is fantastic but at 7pm we are hungry and not inclined to wait in a crowded rainy patio for hours. Thus came our brilliant idea to drive a few miles to Trattoria Tosca, another amazing Italian restaurant in Linden Hills. Trattoria Tosca is probably my favorite Italian restaurant in the Twin Cities. Every time I dine there I am left with a feeling of contentment and bliss. I feel as though I could be transported to Italy at any moment and be eating the very same pasta. The pasta is made fresh in house and their menu changes by the week, ensuring each dish is as fresh and local as possible. Don't expect your traditional spaghetti or caesar on the menu, each dish is well-thoughtout and unique. I did notice from the last time I dined at Trattoria about a year ago they have removed their 'half portion' pastas from the menu which I greatly enjoyed. I would order a half size pasta and salad and feel perfectly content by the close of the meal. I also noticed their prices have increased, making this eatery fit more into the "special occasion" restaurant list. 

The restaurant design is minimal with chocolate brown wood tables and chairs and a black and white tiled floor reminiscent of an old pharmacy or general store. Their menu reflects that same simplicity with paper menus featuring 3 salads, 5 pastas and 4 proteins. I actually enjoy the decision making process when there aren't 50 choices to decide from. However, I knew what I wanted to order within seconds, having seen the words, "tagliatelle," "lobster" and "truffle" all in the same sentence!!! I mean how can you go wrong with that dynamic trio?! I convinced my mother to share the pasta with me and order their fennel and arugula salad to share. The salad hit all the right notes: sweet from the apples and heirloom tomatoes,  spice from the peppadew peppers, smokey from the aged gouda and acidity from the citrus vinaigrette. The wow factor did not arrive of course until the pasta arrived looking devilishly delectable. Tagliatelle a lesser known pasta shape in which they cut the dough into a ribbon shape, much wider than a fettuccine. When cooked al dente, (like they do at Trattoria) you can taste a slight bite or chewy consistency I adore. The pasta was set is a light cream sauce with pecorino, truffle, shallot, lobster and pancetta... absolute heaven. I have to say this was the best pasta I have had all year. I felt like royalty eating each silky ribbon of pasta and ever so often hooking a plump piece of lobster on my fork. I cannot speak for my fellow diners, but I was quite impressed. For dessert we decided to share a piece of marble cheesecake, which was delicious of course but certainly not the best I have tried. Hey, you can't over-achive at everything :). 




















Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Peanut Noodles



Who doesn't love peanut butter? Creamy, salty and nutty are a sure bet when cooking up a stick to your ribs noodle dish like this. Kids love these noodles and will undoubtedly forget about the "weird" vegetables hidden inside when you entice them with their favorite peanut butter! If you are looking for a meal in a pinch, this one is for you. I have posted the recipe for peanut sauce below which you can use with a meat satay or mix into your favorite noodles. 

Peanut Sauce
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup apricot nector

Mix well and serve. 




Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wheat Berry Salad with Goat Cheese & Arugula

Healthy and refreshing, this recipe is exactly what you want for a light end of summer dish. The base of the dish is a grain called wheat berries, whole wheat kernels brown in color and and chewy and nutty when cooked. These grains are packed with fiber, protein and iron. I added garbanzo beans to my dish, adding a bit more protein along with mustard and red onion to my vinaigrette. The recipe can be found below:

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/wheat-berry-salad-with-goat-cheese-10000001906373/

Thursday, August 16, 2012

French Onion Soup



French onion soup is my husband and mothers favorite soup, they go coo-coo for coco puffs over this stuff! I wanted to make this special soup for my husband last night and found a great recipe by Tyler Florence on the Food Network site. 
French onion soup gained its popularity in the U.S in the 1960s when we became further entised by French cuisine. The ancient Romans ate this soup often because the main ingredient, onions were cheap to buy and prepare. The secret to French onion soup is allowing your onions to thoroughly caramelize, which pulls out the sweetness and complexity when cooked over low heat for nearly 45 minutes. I followed Tyler's recipe to the T and my husband was happy with the result! 



Monday, August 13, 2012

Orange & Ginger Vegetable Lo Mein


After a long weekend of fun filled partying for my amazing friends wedding I felt that a good dose of vegetable therapy was in order! I am a NON-believer in the greasy-food hangover cure... yes it may taste amazing but that grease has got to be clashing with your alcohol induced body. As much as I would have LOVED to order a cheesy pizza and call it a night, I stuck to my guns and found a good recipe for veggie lo mein filled with broccoli, carrots, scallions, watercress nuts, and my favorite baby carrots. I added tofu to the recipe as well as a small amount of oyster sauce, but play as you will my fellow foodies! I made sure to get my noodles extra crispy in a hot wok, adding egg for texture and flavor. 

Check out the recipe:


http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/orange-ginger-chicken-lo-mein-10000000223228/

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pan Seared Haddock over Sweet Carrot Puree, Broccolini & Crispy Potatoes


Dinner last night was a hodgepodge of various kitchen delights. I always see carrot purees used in restaurant dishes, and wanted to try to recreate one myself. I cooked with broccolini because it's one of my favorite vegetables. I love to eat the stalks, which are often tossed away on traditional broccoli. I whipped up crispy potatoes, due to the sole fact of their having been in a bowl on the counter ready to use for weeks ;). Sometimes, you have to get creative with what you have in life, whether it's an unused potato or business you want to create... (hint hint). Haddock, I bought at Trader Joe's frankly because it was cheap! Haddock is a mild marine fish, sold all over the world and used in Norway for their fish balls and Scotland for their fish suppers. Most commonly, haddock is cooked for British fish and chips! (great idea btw). I cooked my haddock by simply sautéing it in butter and herbs. I have posted a link below for a luxurious carrot puree to be used with almost anything... it's the good! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Broccoli & Brussels Crustless Quiche

Who doesn't love a good quiche? Especially a healthy and flavorful one? I found a recipe in Cookinglight for a broccoli quiche and changed it a bit. For example, I added brussels, sour cream and cream cheese as well as a crispy panko topping for texture. I posted the recipe below, with the hope you'll do the same as I and make it your own!

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/crustless-broccoli-cheese-quiche-10000000491421/

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Broccoli-Corn Cakes


Last night my husband and I had a few friends over for happy hour. I wanted to make something healthy and simple to prepare. For those of you who are familiar with my blog, you'll see I tend to use corn A TON! I am sort of obsessed with the sweet yellow kernels. I looked up a few recipes for corn cakes and corn fritters, but did not find anything too appealing. 
In this event, I'll typically begin making up my own recipe 
(with a little trial and error!). I started out with simply pureeing corn, but then I wanted a little extra color and nutritional value, so I added broccoli to the pot... you get the idea. I have written my loose recipe below for you to follow, or for your loose following ;). 

Broccoli- Corn Cakes
(makes about a dozen 3'' cakes)

1 bag frozen sweet corn, thawed
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup broccoli 
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour 
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Pinch salt and cayenne 


  1. In a blender, puree 3/4 bag corn, basil, oil and broccoli until smooth. Then add eggs, flour, parmesan, salt and cayenne until smooth. Then remove from blender, place in a bowl and stir in remaining corn. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop large spoonfuls of the corn mixture into pan (do not spread or flatten). Cook until edges begin to set and undersides are browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until cakes are browned and cooked through. Garnish with sour cream and basil.