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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Burch Steakhouse and Pizza Bar

Salmon tartare, shallots, kalamata olives, agrumato
Chocolate braised rabbit bridie, acorn squash, pine nuts
Fried semolina dumplings, brown butter, sage
Veal & pork kinkhali, butter, chili thread
Bone marrow, consommé, star anise

This past Monday I dined at Burch, the latest venture by James Beard Award-winning chef Isaac Becker (his other endeavors include Minneapolis restaurants La Grassa and the 112 Eatery). My girlfriend and I arrived at 7pm with a reservation (which are a MUST) and were seated immediately. The restaurant is composed of two different sections: the downstairs pizza bar and upstairs steakhouse. We were seated in the main dining room where the ambiance is reminiscent of the building's former identity as a pharmacy. The floors are a beautiful vintage white and black tile and the 14' ceilings create an open, airy feeling. The restaurants large windows face Hennepin Avenue where cars and pedestrians flood by. Black booths, vintage bulb lighting and brick walls provide a unique flair of American vintage. The menu consists of various sections from small plates and dumplings a la carte, to larger shared plates and steak. The menu lends itself well to sharing. My girlfriend and I shared several small dishes. We started out with the salmon tartare, which was delicious but we both thought the portion size could have been larger. The salmon was fairly mild with hints of acid and salt from the olives and lemon. Next we sampled the chocolate braised rabbit, stuffed in what looked like a fancy empanada. Inside the pasty was the most succulent braised rabbit with deep rich flavors revealing a hint of chocolate but not overpowering the dish. We loved every bite of this dish. We also ordered three very different dumplings, including a semolina dumpling, which tasted like a rich gnocchi,  a veal dumpling with chili threads, and lastly a bone marrow dumpling with a rich star anise broth. The dumplings were all amazing, my favorite being the veal dumpling with chili threads. The bone marrow dumpling was incredibly rich and filling especially when paired with its aromatic broth. I was impressed by the uniqueness of Burch's menu, especially their dumplings. I have never seen such innovative, tasty and creative recipes. Aside from the superior quality of food, the service was also impeccable. We were never left with an empty water glass and our table was cleared and cleaned between dishes. 

If you are interested in dining at Burch, please click below to be transferred to their website. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

6 Minute Egg with Asparagus, Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese

Last week I was clearing out my refrigerator in search of ingredients for dinner. I came up with a delicious and simple meal using literally, "everything but the kitchen sink." I started by roasting asparagus, scallions and sliced and peeled sweet potatoes in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper in a 425 degree oven for 30-45 minutes (add sweet potatoes first, as they take longer to cook). I also toasted a slice of brown bread with butter to create a decomposed sandwich of sorts. To make a 6-minute egg all you need to do is boil water with salt, then add your shell-on egg gently into the boiling water with a slotted spoon and wait 6 minutes. Take your egg our and cool under cold water. Peel and eat immediately.  I crumbled goat cheese on my plate for a perfect creamy and tart element. Sometimes your most make-shift meals can end up being the best :)

Salmon and Avocado Salad


Delicous combinatiom: grilled salmon and avocado... yum!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

I found a delicious dessert recipe from good ole' Paula Deen last week and wanted to share it with you. I adore cheesecake as well as apple crisp, and these bars bring together the best of both worlds. If you are looking for an unbeatable dessert recipe, I recommend you try these!

Click below for the recipe:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pupuseria La Palmera

Pupusa with Queso
Sour Cream Chicken Plate 
Boiled Yucca with Pork Rind 

Last week my husband and I went out in search of some antique goodies at the Flamingos occasional sale on 34th and Cedar and unexpectedly ran into a small El Salvadoran treasure! The tiny restaurant specializes in pupusas, a stuffed homemade corn tortilla, similar to an arepa. Pupusas are a  popular dish from El Salvador and translate to mean, purse in Spanish! The pupusas are available stuffed with meat, cheese or beans. They arrive with a side of curtido, a cabbage dish made with chili and vinegar. The crisp cabbage cuts a bit of the heaviness from the pupusa. My husband ordered the famous sour cream chicken plate with a side of homemade corn tortillas and fluffy rice. The sour cream chicken was to die for, extremely tender and flavorful- spot on. We also ordered boiled yucca with crispy pork rind, which I was not a huge fan of. The yucca wasn't very flavorful and tasted similar to a plain boiled potato. I did however like the crispy pork rind (pig skin)... what's not to like?! I was highly impressed by the freshness and authenticity of the food. Our waitress (the owner I believe) hinted that each ingredient is made from scratch including the corn tortillas, which are hard to find. The interior is bright and open, featuring a check-out counter and dining room with around 10 tables. The interior reminded me of restaurants I've been to in Mexico or the Dominican Republic; casual like much of the dining experiences you'll find in Central America. The restaurant is located on 4150 Cedar avenue in the Powderhorn neighborhood of south Minneapolis. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Panko Crusted Tilapia with Homemade Tarter Sauce

What is better than crunchy crusted fish? Not much. A few nights ago I made a panko crusted Tilapia with a side of roasted veggies and my homemade tarter sauce. This simple  fish dish is a definite crowd-pleaser. Tilapia is a relatively inexpensive fish with a mild flavor. Tilapia is often used in fish tacos because the flavor can be easily enhanced by other ingredients. To coat my fish, I used mayo instead of an egg wash, which creates a moist tender fish. After the mayo coating, I drugged the fillets in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper. I seared the fillets in a non-stick pan coated with a thin layer of butter until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side. I hope you'll enjoy this recipe! 

Check out my fab tarter recipe:

1 cup light sour cream
2-3 tbsp mayo
1/4 cup minced dill pickles
1/4 cup minced red onion
2-3 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped garlic
3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients well. Serve with your favorite fish or seafood dish.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Baked Teriyaki Tofu with Sesame Green Beans

Any tofu lovers out there? I am guessing most of you believe that tofu tastes as bland as white bread, and it does... until you show it some love :) By showing it some love, I mean doctoring it up with bold flavor. Tofu acts like a sponge when interacting with a liquid. Tofu adapts to the flavors you add, making tofu a perfect platform for manipulation. Another great attribute of tofu is the low cost and health benefits. Tofu is high in protein, making it a good alternative to meat. The FDA granted this claim for soy: "25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol  may reduce the risk of heart disease. (Wikipedia). 

Last night for dinner, I made teriyaki baked tofu, which I loved. Baked tofu changes the texture from silky to crispy on the outside, yet fluffy on the inside. I paired my tofu with sesame green beans, using a simple mixture of mirin, soy, garlic and sesame to coat my green beans. 

Please try this fantastic tofu recipe below. I assure you, you'll change your mind about tofu for good!!

Baked Teriyaki Tofu
(serves 4)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup 
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 (14 oz) package extra-firm tofu, drained and dried on paper towels. Cut into 8 slices. 

In large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Add tofu and let soak in sauce for 1 hour. Drain tofu (reserve excess sauce) and place on foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Next, flip tofu over, and increase heat to 425 degrees. Pour remaining sauce over tofu and bake again for 10-20 minutes, or until your tofu is golden brown and firm to the touch. Plate with green beans, add to a sandwich or cut up in a salad.