April 28, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
My dear, imaginary internet friends, I have a confession to make. I’ve lured you here under false pretenses. Yes, I will eventually get to the velvety dumplings I promised you, and yes, you could just scroll down to the recipe. But I hope you’ll read my shameless plug first.
When I’m not cooking up fabulous dishes in my kitchen, I’m cooking up fabulous musicals for the stage. I work with a small theater company in the Twin Cities and we’re creating a new show all about growing up called Are You There, God? It’s a New Musical Revue! The show, inspired by Judy Blume and other YA fiction, will premiere at the Minnesota Fringe Festival in August.
And we’re raising funds via Kickstarter to offset the production costs. If you’d like to make a donation—even $5 will help—I’d be incredibly grateful. If you’re unable to make a donation, but you’d like to support the show, please pass along a link to your blog readers, your Facebook friends, your Twitter followers, your barista…anyone you think might be interested in supporting our show.
The Ugly Dumpling
I’ve been working on this show for the past decade, and it’s truly a labor of love. And I’d love it if you played a part in it.
And now for the recipe I promised. I’m a big fan of edamame—my favorite movie-watching treat is edamame steamed in the shell, then dusted with truffle salt. I promise: it’s better than popcorn. I wanted to give my fave flavor combo an upgrade, and hoo boy, these dumplings did the trick. They’re younger than springtime—bright, fresh, and tender—yet creamy and luxurious. Dip them in the shallot broth for a perfect sweet-and-salty bite.
Continue reading for the Truffled Edamame Potstickers with Shallot Broth recipe
Category Appetizer, Beans, Dumplings, Sauce, Shallot, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,beans,dumplings,sauce,shallot,vegetable,vegetarian | 5 Comments
April 14, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Well, this is awkward. I suppose it’s a little late to give a heads up that posting will be sparse until my show opens in August…? Also, the dog ate my homework, and the check is in the mail.
I’m sure you will forgive me for failing to post a new recipe for (gasp!) an entire month, when you try this righteous salad. It’s bright and fresh, yet satisfying, with a perfect balance of salty, sweet, and sour. It’s so delicious that with one bite, you’ll forget entirely what a lazy slacker I am. The recipe is from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. Do you have this book? You need this book.
The day I prepared this salad is pretty much a blur—I was so rushed making dinner for Mom and Handsome Greg that I barely had a chance to take photos of the meal. So I’m sorry to say that my sad pics don’t begin to do this recipe justice. Just another reason to pick up The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook; the photos are so beautiful you’ll have to resist the urge to devour the actual pages. The only change I made from the original recipe was to omit the tablespoon of fresh, minced ginger, because, as I mentioned before, I’m deathly allergic. If ginger doesn’t send you to the ER, then I suppose you ought to add it to the dressing as Deb suggests. She knows what she’s talking about.
Continue reading for the Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Miso Dressing recipe
Category Appetizer, Beans, Cabbage, Family and Friends, Garlic, Handsome Greg, My Mom Rules, Onion, Peas, Radish, Salad, Sauce, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,beans,cabbage,garlic,handsome greg,my mom rules,onion,peas,radish,salad,sauce,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 12 Comments
February 17, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
It’s official! My dear imaginary friends, this summer I’ll be singing again. My little theater group won a spot in the 2013 Minnesota Fringe Festival, and we will present a brand, new show this August. Details will be forthcoming; keep your eye out for Blue Umbrella Productions’ premiere of Are You There, God? It’s a New Musical Revue!
To kick off our first production meeting of the season, I prepared for my collaborators, Tall Paul and Hurricane Windy, a wreath of fresh vegetables and crackers surrounding a bowl of creamy, flavor-packed sun-dried tomato dip. The silky, tangy spread was equally charming atop celery sticks, pita chips, and the next day’s turkey bagel sandwich for lunch.
Continue reading for Sun-Dried Tomato Dip recipe
Category Appetizer, Family and Friends, Fruit, Garlic, No Cheese Left Behind, Spread, Tomato, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,fruit,garlic,no cheese left behind,spread,tomato,vegetable,vegetarian | 7 Comments
September 17, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
When I left my apartment this morning, a chilly wind mussed the yellow-green-red-orange leaves in the trees while it whipped my almost-dry hair into snarled submission. As I squinted into the crisp, blue sky, I thought—
Crap. I can’t do this. I’m still not ready to write about autumn. Sorry, folks.
Today’s recipe features the juicy, tart strawberries I loved all summer. There’s really nothing fall-like about it. The chewy toasts topped with goat cheese, basil, and summer berries macerated in sweet balsamic vinegar are a perfect appetizer for your next dinner party. In July.
Continue reading for the Balsamic Strawberry Crostini with Goat Cheese and Basil recipe
Category Appetizer, Bread, Fruit, No Cheese Left Behind, Strawberry, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,bread,fruit,no cheese left behind,strawberry,vegetarian | 3 Comments
August 10, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
INT. BAKE UP, LITTLE SUZY’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
BAKE UP, LITTLE SUZY and HANDSOME GREG sit cross-legged on a red checkered table cloth on the living room floor, sharing potato chips and onion dip. The phone rings. SUZY answers the phone.
BAKE UP, LITTLE SUZY
Hello? Oh, hi.
Who’s on the phone?
BAKE UP, LITTLE SUZY
It’s the sixties. They want their onion dip made from Lipton soup mix and sour cream back.
Continue reading for the Caramelized Onion Dip recipe
Category Appetizer, Family and Friends, Handsome Greg, No Cheese Left Behind, Onion, Recessipes, Side Dish, Spread, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,handsome greg,no cheese left behind,onion,recessipes,side dish,spread,vegetable,vegetarian | 13 Comments
March 19, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Big news, imaginary internet people: I’m having the best week ever!
After eight long months of unemployment, as of this morning I have a job.
I’m the newest member of the marketing team at Free Spirit Publishing, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Everyone I’ve met there over the course of the three (count ‘em, three!) interviews feels like a friend already, and they (we!) do really important work – publishing books on positive youth development and resources for kids and teens.
I start in two weeks, so I guess I’d better get used to waking up before Days of Our Lives.
And there’s another reason I’m on cloud nine these days. I made an Argentinian-inspired dinner for Mom and Handsome Greg on Saturday night, and the corn empanadas with orange-infused honey were – gosh, can I even say it? – the best thing I’ve ever made.
I don’t like to play favorites, and that’s a really big thing to say, but these empanadas with their sweet, sticky sauce deserve the accolades.
The combination of flavors and textures – sweet, succulent corn, biting peppers and onions, salty bacon, gooey cheese, bright cilantro, crispy fried dough, and floral, citrusy honey – absolutely warrants my blatant abuse of tired adjectives.
There was much more orange honey than needed for the 12 empanadas, and it’s been a treat finding other things (besides a spoon) off of which to lick it. For starters, Mom’s popovers:
Continue reading for the recipe for Corn and Bacon Empanadas with Orange-Infused Honey Drizzle
Category Appetizer, Corn, Dumplings, Family and Friends, Fruit, Handsome Greg, Jalapeno, My Mom Rules, No Cheese Left Behind, Onion, Orange, Pork, Recessipes, Sauce, Side Dish, Vegetable | Tags: appetizer,corn,dumplings,fruit,handsome greg,jalapeno,my mom rules,no cheese left behind,onion,orange,pork,recessipes,sauce,side dish,vegetable | 31 Comments
March 11, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Have you seen that Food Network show Barefoot Contessa, hosted by Ina Garten? Ina, an incredibly wealthy, preppy East Coaster, shares recipes and tips for entertaining in a soothing Bob Ross-style voice, punctuated with rhetorical questions and her trademark nervous giggle.
How easy is that?
While I do aspire to emulate the Barefoot Contessa by living a fabulously privileged life in the East Hamptons someday, full of florist friends and elegant soirees, I’ve had a difficult time adhering to one of Ina’s basic rules of entertaining: prepare only three dishes from scratch, and buy the rest of the menu pre-made from the deli counter.
You see, I’m known among my regular dinner guests as the hostess with the mostess ambition in the kitchen. I like to pour hours into making every morsel with my own two hands. I mean, I’ve made my own ketchup. The thought of leaving half the menu in the hands of the deli counter just feels wrong to me. And yet, Ina has a point – making everything myself often means that I spend the party in the kitchen exhausted, rather than enjoying dinner with my guests.
So I took a very important step with this recipe (if you can even call it a recipe). The first time I made sweet potato chips with rosemary salt, I sliced the potatoes, fried them in oil, and tossed them in rosemary and kosher salt. They were delicious – salty-sweet, perfectly crispy, with a fresh, pungent earthiness from the rosemary. And they were a huge pain in the ass to make.
The second time I prepared this delightful snack, I bought a bag of Terra Chips, tossed them in vegetable oil, rosemary, and kosher salt, and popped them in the oven for a couple minutes. They were every bit as good as the homemade version, and a lot less work.
But I have a reputation to uphold. So, if anyone asks, I risked my fingers and knuckles slicing paper-thin sweet potato chips on a mandolin slicer. Then I braved third-degree burns from the hot oil frying the chips to a perfect crisp. And oh! Dealing with the mess afterwards – a greasy splatter-slick covering the stove top and a quart of used oil to dispose of – what an ordeal! Of course, it was totally worth it.
Did that sound sincere?
Continue reading for the Sweet Potato Chips with Rosemary Salt recipe
Category Appetizer, Potato, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,potato,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 21 Comments
February 19, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Do you want the good news or the bad news?
The good news is my little theater company won a spot in the Minnesota Fringe Festival again this year! We’ve got a great show in the works – a musical revue of songs about growing up.
The bad news is we may not be able to do the show at all. Normally I fund the show myself out of my sorry-ass checking account. Times being the way they are, that’s not a possibility this year. My theatrical co-conspirators and I are planning to put up a fund-raising page on Kickstarter.com, and hopefully we’ll be able to raise the money we need by the Fringe withdrawal deadline in mid-March.
And so, in the coming months you might find cheap and easy casseroles and sandwiches in my galley kitchen as I prepare and scrimp and save for the festival. Hopefully this beautiful and elegant appetizer recipe will tide you over until I can get back to cooking hard-core.
This scallop dish started off the final schmancy-town dinner I made for Mom and Handsome Greg before I threw myself into Fringe last year. Wonton skins are fried and shaped into crispy bowls to carry the seared scallops and spicy-sweet pineapple and cucumber salsa.
Continue reading for the Scallops with Pineapple and Cucumber Salsa recipe
Category Appetizer, Cucumber, Family and Friends, Fish and Seafood, Fruit, Handsome Greg, Jalapeno, Lime, My Mom Rules, Onion, Pineapple, Vegetable | Tags: appetizer,cucumber,fish and seafood,fruit,handsome greg,jalapeno,lime,my mom rules,onion,pineapple,vegetable | 14 Comments
December 21, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
About seven years ago, Handsome Greg flew to New York for a terribly important marketing guy conference, and I got to tag along.
One sunny Manhattan afternoon while Greg was busy learning how to get people to buy stuff, I met up with my former roommate and current fancy friend, Jenna, for lunch in our old upper west side neighborhood. On that day, she introduced me to my new BFF, sushi.
At that point, I definitely had reservations about eating raw fish. I was afraid it would be cold and slimy and fishy (I prefer fish to taste like chicken). So my plan was to fill up on the appetizer before the sushi arrived. Jenna had ordered a bowl of tender, salty edamame, and as soon as I figured out how in the world to eat it, I was in love.
In the years following, I’d only ever eaten edamame steamed in their shells with a dusting of sea salt, just the way it was served at my fancy New York lunch – a bowl of salty edamame in front of a movie makes a great substitute for popcorn if you need a protein boost – but I was curious to try it other ways, and an edamame hummus seemed a perfect vehicle for the delicately-flavored young soy beans.
This took forEVer.
I’m not going to lie – this recipe is a huge pain in the ass to make. I spent nearly an hour peeling off all those little edamame skins. You could probably skip that step, but if you’ve got the time, and you can tolerate the tedium and potential carpal tunnel, the resulting hummus is super creamy with no lumps. I first made it for a production meeting for Those Were the Days; the team scarfed it up, but a couple folks suggested it could use a little more garlic. I tend to think it’s perfect as is, and extra garlic would overpower the delicate flavor of the edamame. So there.
Continue reading for the Edamame Hummus recipe
Category Appetizer, Beans, Family and Friends, Garlic, Handsome Greg, Spread, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,beans,garlic,handsome greg,spread,vegetable,vegetarian | 5 Comments
December 16, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
I’m a big fan of consumable gifts – they feel special, personal. Particularly this Christmas, as I enter my sixth month of unemployment, my gift list features treats like homemade baked goods, evenings out, dinners in – pleasures that can be used up or eaten. (Except for Mom and Handsome Greg, who will each receive a Lexus with a big, red bow. Shh! Don’t tell!)
Tied with a considerably smaller red bow, a jar of sweet and spicy nuts makes a lovely holiday gift. Or bake up a batch to start off a Christmas party, and your guests will be greeted at the door with a sweet, warm, cinnamon-y aroma sure to make their hearts grow three sizes that day.
I first spotted this recipe on my very favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, and I made a couple of teensy changes from her preparation. They are positively addictive, with a flawless balance of sweetness, salt, and heat. I’ve made them for countless occasions and they’re devoured in no time. They also add a flavorful crunch atop salads.
Continue reading for the Sweet and Spicy Almonds and Pecans recipe
Category Appetizer, Family and Friends, Handsome Greg, My Mom Rules, Nuts, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,handsome greg,my mom rules,nuts,vegetarian | 2 Comments