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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Seared Trout with Arugula and Almond Pesto

Last night for dinner I seared a trout fillet and topped it with a healthy and fresh arugula pesto. For a side, I seared asparagus in truffle oil. I love using arugula for pesto because the it has a nice strong bite, which shines through. Instead of using pine nuts, which are used in traditional basil pesto, I used blanched slivered almonds to create a rich nutty flavor. This pesto is great for pasta salad's, to toss in a salad or to place over fish or meat for extra flavor.  

Arugula & Almond Pesto
3 cups fresh arugula 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
3/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
3/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese  
3 cloves fresh garlic
2 tbsp lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse all ingredients together until smooth. Add more olive oil if pesto becomes too thick. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an air tight container.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Caramelized Banana Crepes

What's not to love about the combination of crepes, bananas, sugar, butter and almond crumble? I made these sweet and decadent crepes for breakfast one morning. I had some leftover crepes to use, so I decided to make a banana filling for them. The bananas were saut├ęd in butter, brown sugar and a touch of milk. I filled the crepe with a small amount of the banana mixture and poured the rest over top along with an almond crunch (you could also use any granola cereal). I have a crepe recipe I posted a while back, so search for "crepes" in the search bar to find that recipe.

I hope you'll love these sweet treats, great for a special breakfast or dessert! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Caramelized Onion Lasagna

Last week I made a scrumptious vegetarian lasagna with spinach, sweet potato and caramelized onion. I used swiss cheese on the top of the bake as well as in a pesto cream sauce incorporated into the layers for moisture. The sweet onions and potatoes compliment the salty and tart swiss cheese. You're going to love this! 

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Caramelized Onion Lasagna
(serves 4-6)

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced garlic  
2/3 cup milk
4 tbsp pre-packaged pesto
2 cups grated swiss cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 bag frozen spinach, thawed
2/3 cup sour cream  
1 package non-bake lasagna noodles
1 cups pre-cooked sweet potato puree
1 cup pre-cooked caramelized yellow onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small sauce pan, heat butter over medium heat, then add garlic and saute 2-3 minutes. Then add milk and pesto and allow to boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low and add 1 cup swiss cheese, salt and pepper. Stir on low until thickens. Meanwhile, add thawed and drained spinach to a bowl and mix with sour cream and 1/2 cup swiss cheese. To assemble lasagna, use an 8 x 8 pan and pour a thin layer of pesto/milk/cheese mixture into bottom. Next, add a layer of lasagna noodles followed by: spinach mixture, noodles, sweet potato, noodles, caramelized onion, noodles. Pour remaining pesto/milk/cheese mixture on top layer of noodles followed by remaining 1/2 cup of swiss cheese. Bake with foil on top to prevent the cheese from burning at 350 for 25 minutes. Then remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes or until top cheese layer is lightly browned and melted. 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tea House Chinese Restaurant

Crispy tea smoked duck 
Shanghai soup dumplings 
Beef & scallion pancake roll 
Stir-fried eggplant 

Kung pao shrimp
Fish fillet in black bean sauce 

Last night I went to dinner at the Tea House Chinese Restaurant on 24th and University SE with my husband and parents. The Tea House has four total locations, the others being in Plymouth, the downtown Minneapolis skyway and St. Paul. What I love about the University location menu is that it retains the authenticity of traditional Chinese fare. Sure, they have your average lo mein, fried rice and orange chicken, but they also have more interesting dishes as, soybean pork feet soup, fish fillet with pickled vegetable, and steamed pork belly. The interior of the restaurant is large and cozy with rich dark wood and dim lighting. 

For a starter, we ordered my favorite soup dumplings, which are actually incredibly difficult to find in the Twin Cities. The dumplings were perfectly juicy with a hearty ball of pork and broth on the inside. Be sure to eat these with a soup spoon or you'll have broth dribbling down your shirt! The pancake roll was also quite delicious. Inside the pan-fried roll were a few thick slices of barbecued pork that complimented the salty and crispy scallion roll. We shared all of our entrees, my favorite being the smokey crispy duck, which was moist and flavorful. I also loved the kung pao shrimp. I am a sucker for sweet and spicy sauces, especially when they are brushed on plump shrimp! The black bean fish dish was tasty and simple. The eggplant dish was a Chinese New Year special, so it may not be on the menu any longer. The sauce the eggplant was mixed in was absolutely addictive. I believe it had chili oil, soy and some kind of sweet ingredient like oyster sauce inside. 

I am eager to return to the Tea House to try a few more unique menu items! I hope you'll also check this place out when you're craving real deal Chinese food! 

Click HERE to be directed to their website. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Panko Crusted Salmon with Broccoli and Green Beans in Black Bean Sauce

Last night I made panko crusted salmon over brown rice with a side of broccoli and green beans in a black bean sauce. I placed the salmon in a marinade of orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and ginger for an hour to flavor the salmon before coating it with panko (Japanese bread crumbs). I learned a fun trick for remembering the steps of coating fish or meat in bread crumbs; all you have to remember is the word FEBruary which helps use remember first to drudge protein in Flour, then Egg followed by Breadcrumbs. This helps me because I had been making the mistake of placing my protein in an egg wash first, instead of flour. Drudging in flour first helps adhere the egg and breadcrumbs a lot better. 

For my side dish, I stir-fried broccoli and green beans with canned black bean sauce and toasted sesame seeds. 

Try your version at home and let me how it turns out!