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  1. Gone Fishin’

    April 21, 2014 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Hey Strangers! As I’m sure you both have noticed, I’ve been a little, uh, casual in my posting schedule. The truth is, I’m eating pretty differently than I was before. I’m just finishing up the Whole30 Challenge (today is Day 29!) and while it’s not right for everyone, it’s been really great for me. The food I’m preparing right now is more utilitarian than mouthwatering, so I won’t be blogging my recipes. Perhaps when I’m better at making delicious, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free meals, I’ll invite you back into my galley kitchen.

    Until we eat again…

    Closed


  2. Banh Mi Sliders

    March 12, 2014 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Finished tray of banh mi

    Two years ago, I had never tasted Vietnamese food. And today I would “Hey, Kool Aid” through a brick wall if I thought there was a banh mi on the other side of it.

    Open Banh Mi

    What can I say? People change. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m scary allergic to bell peppers, ginger, coffee, curry, and wasabi. But (in recent months) that hasn’t stopped me from experimenting with Asian flavors I’ve never before tasted in entirely inauthentic ways!

    Close up banh mi

    This delightfully tiny, non-lethal slider version of the classic banh mi features sweet and savory pork, quick pickled vegetables, sriracha mayo, salty peanuts, and fresh cilantro on sweet Hawaiian rolls.

    Continue reading for Banh Mi Sliders recipe

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  3. Mixed Greens with Cambozola, Hibiscus Pearls, and Pear Vinaigrette

    February 9, 2014 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Today I’m going to ask you to use your imagination. Have a glass of wine, close your eyes, turn on some Simon and Garfunkel, and imagine you’re entertaining your nearest and dearest. Imagine you’re tasked with cooking a fabulous dinner for your terribly handsome beau on his 50th birthday. And imagine that last minute rush before dinner is served—the rush to get dinner on the table and make sure that hot food stays hot and salad stays fresh.

    Hibiscus Pearls
    Can you imagine that? Good. Now imagine that the beautiful ingredients below came together in a perfectly composed salad that I didn’t have a chance to photograph on that lovely night before serving it!

    Hibiscus Pearl Salad.jpg

    Sorry, folks. By the time dinner was served, the sun had gone down and I couldn’t justify whipping out my lighting set-up to photograph the finished salad. So just imagine a bed of velvety greens tossed in sweet and sour pear vinaigrette, topped with creamy, pungent Cambozola, toasted walnuts, crispy apples, and my mad scientist experiment, hibiscus pearls. Imagine that!

    A word about those hibiscus pearls: this was my first foray into molecular gastronomy. It was a success, and much simpler than I imagined. I steeped a cup of hibiscus tea and spiked it with hibiscus extract from l.c. finn. I boiled that with agar agar, and used a regular eyedropper to squeeze the mixture into a tall glass of cold oil to form the pearls. That’s the extent of the special ingredients and equipment. The flavor of the pearls was distinct but not overwhelming; a little tart, like pomegranate juice. The texture was smooth and gelatinous—sort of like biting into a creamy drop of tea. For instructions on making agar agar pearls, visit http://molecule-r.com/en/content/67-pearls-training. You can purchase the extract here.

    Continue reading for the recipe for Mixed Greens with Cambozola, Hibiscus Pearls, and Pear Vinaigrette

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  4. Pink Peppercorn Bread Dipping Oil

    February 2, 2014 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    My incredibly generous manfriend, Handsome Greg, treated me and Mom to an epic shopping spree at Kitchen Window for Christmas. My loot included 3/4 of the ingredients of a complex, delicious bread dipping oil: a fruity extra virgin olive oil, pink peppercorns, and smoked sea salt. I added a few leaves of fresh thyme, and served it for Greg’s birthday dinner.

    Pink Peppercorn Bread Dipping Oil
    The surprisingly fruity bite of the peppercorns was carried gently down to earth by the tender thyme leaves and robust, earthy smoked sea salt flakes. We sopped up the oil with chewy, warm ciabatta bread, alongside Greg’s favorite pepperoni-stuffed chicken breasts, angel hair pasta scampi, a killer salad with cambozola and hibiscus pearls, and classic molten chocolate cakes.

    Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken and Pasta Scampi

    Linked to: I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Flour Me with Love, Chef in Training, Nap Time Creations, 33 Shades of Green, Lil’ Luna, Gooseberry Patch, Creations by Kara, Lady behind the Curtain, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Food Trip Friday, Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Tidy Mom, The Country Cook, Be Different, Act Normal, Addicted to Recipes

  5. Mixed Greens with Crispy Prosciutto, Figs, Burrata, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

    January 16, 2014 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    I’ve reached a turning point. After weeks (months) of chocolate and bread and gravy and kickasseroles, I’ve started craving salad again.

    Fig Burrata Proscuitto Salad

    Yes, I know, summer in Minnesota is a lifetime away. Last week we had temperatures around 20 below zero. Last winter we still had snow in May. May. (#disMay)

    Fig Burrata Proscuitto Salad_closeup

    But despite my bleak weatherscope, now that the holidays are over, I’m craving bright, fresh, warm-weather foods. So here’s a tasty compromise—fresh greens with a summery, acidic vinaigrette topped with the luxurious tastes of winter: salty prosciutto, sticky figs, and creamy burrata.

    Fig Burrata Proscuitto Salad_closeup2

    This salad was my first experience with burrata and, well, if you ever see the headline “Midwestern Soprano Arrested after Defeating Great Siberian Tiger with Bare Hands,” that’s me, and the tiger and I were fighting over the last piece of burrata. It’s creamy and delicious and that tiger had it coming, stealing my cheese.

    Continue reading for the Mixed Greens with Crispy Prosciutto, Figs, Burrata, and Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe

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  6. Lemon Risotto with Seared Scallops

    December 14, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Have you met my mom?

    Mom
    If you’re an actor in the Twin Cities, she’s probably dressed you, beautifully and carefully in costumes that helped you fully realize the physicality of your character. If you’re a St. Kate’s graduate, she might have mentored you and helped you find your way into adulthood. If you’re a ballroom dancer, you might have once shared a waltz with her at the Dancer’s Studio weekly dance party. In the unlikely event that you’ve been incarcerated, she might have taught you to quilt on one of the many Sunday afternoons she’s volunteered at the women’s correctional facility in Shakopee. And if you’ve been to her place for dinner, you’ve had an incredible meal shared with good friends, along with music, wine, fascinating conversation, echoing laughter, and a lapful of love from her cat, Pablo.

    Mom1
    When she came to my house for her birthday dinner last month, I wanted to prepare an extra special meal, to return the kindness of many such dinners and thank her for setting such a powerful, compassionate, creative example for me to follow. Also, cooking for people is how I love them.

    Mom2
    So I topped a creamy lemon risotto with Mom’s favorite—seared scallops. The luxurious risotto is somehow light, with a pop of freshness from lemon and Italian parsley. I served it alongside a fig, burrata, and prosciutto salad with balsamic vinaigrette (recipe to come!), and followed it with mini flourless chocolate cakes topped with a blackberry and red wine reduction.

    Lemon Risotto with Seared Scallops

    Happy Birthday, Mama!

    Continue reading for the Lemon Risotto with Seared Scallops recipe
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  7. Chocolate Bark with Chipotle Pepitas
    and Pop Rocks

    November 2, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Firecrackers

    Happy 4th of Halloween Eve!

    Chipotle Pepitas
    To celebrate the magic of Halloween, this year I decided to make a candy inspired by … 4th of July fireworks.

    Chips
    When I was a girl, I though fireworks and firecrackers were so beautiful—pretty enough to eat—and I desperately wanted to know what they taste like. Fortunately my sensible sister Emily dissuaded me from taking a big bite of fiery sparkler.

    Melted Chocolate
    This candy tastes like you just ate a firecracker, but without the hassle of having to re-grow your eyebrows. First it’s sweet and hot, then there’s an explosion in your mouth, followed by a bit of lingering smoke.

    Seeds in Chocolate
    The recipe for chipotle pepitas makes far more than needed for the chocolate bark, and that’s fine by me. The salty, smoky seeds make an excellent crunchy snack.

    Plate of Firecrackers

    Continue reading for the Chocolate Bark with Chipotle Pepitas and Pop Rocks recipe

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  8. Cherry Crisp

    August 31, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Cherry Crisp3

    Goodbye summer.

    Cherry Crisp

    Goodbye ice cream trucks and picnics and ripe tomatoes.

    Cherry Crisp2

    Goodbye road trips and outdoor concerts. Goodbye action blockbusters in air conditioned theaters. Goodbye lemonade.

    Topping Ingredients

    Goodbye s’mores and dandelions and thunderstorms and fireworks. Goodbye reruns and strappy sandals. Goodbye sunburns. Goodbye baseball and crickets chirping.

    Cherry Filling

    Goodbye fresh cherries.

    Cherries

    Continue reading for the Cherry Crisp recipe

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  9. Crab Cakes with Orange Aioli

    July 21, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    The good news is my little show opens in less than two weeks and we’re right on track. The bad news is my little show opens in less than two weeks and I’m plagued with the world’s worst chest cough. For better or for worse, I’ll soon be standing in front of hundreds of people at the Illusion Theater in Minneapolis, and I’m hoping with all I’m worth that I won’t be up there honking like an agitated goose.

    Thank goodness for Air Supply’s Greatest Hits to ease my anxiety.

    Crab Cakes
    I’m comforted, too, by the memory of the last meal I prepared for Mom and Handsome Greg that I truly tasted—Crab Cakes with Orange Aioli—before cough drops became my primary source of sustenance and “mentholyptus” killed my taste buds. The crab cakes were exceptionally crabby—you could easily add more breadcrumbs and make more cakes. They were moist and flavorful with a crispy, golden crust, and the accompanying dip was a perfect balance of creamy mayo, pungent garlic, and bright, fresh orange zest.

    Continue reading for the Crab Cakes with Orange Aioli recipe

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  10. Rosemary Roasted Garlic Honey Mustard

    June 30, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Two weeks ago I posted a recipe for Bloody Mary Ketchup accompanied by an image of a beer-braised bratwurst half-dressed in the spicy, tangy sauce. I have since heard impassioned debate on proper brat condiments from a number of sources. It seems the argument between ketchup lovers and mustard enthusiasts is more volatile than the Great Cilantro War of aught three.

    Honey Mustard

    In the interest of impartiality I’m following up my favorite ketchup recipe with my favorite mustard recipe. I roasted a head of garlic with sprigs of fresh rosemary, then combined the resulting sweet garlic paste with a creamy honey dijonnaise.

    Continue reading for the Rosemary Roasted Garlic Honey Mustard recipe

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