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‘No Cheese Left Behind’ Category

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. Refried Bean Crostini

    March 12, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    My blog is having a mid-life crisis. I’m a little concerned that my blog may get a flashy, new template, buy a convertible, and start dating a much younger blog.

    See, when I first began sharing recipes from my tiny galley kitchen, I imagined my recipes would feature ingredients like fiddlehead ferns, duck confit, persimmon, and dry vermouth (Vermouth?! You can’t HANdle vermouth!).

    Beans on Toast

    And here I am, two and a half years later, blogging about refried beans on toast and wondering, what happened? Well, the truth is, a tasty, satisfying lunch that never fails to remind me of my most memorable summer happened.

    Beans on Toasts

    The summer before my junior year of high school I went on a service trip to a tiny village outside of Mexico City. Each morning we traveled in the back of a pick-up truck along the side of a mountain to our work site. After a few hours of labor, that same pick-up returned with our lunch – a tray full of crusty rolls smeared with refried beans, topped with a slice of American cheese. And it might’ve been the heat, or the hard-earned hunger, or perhaps it’s my fuzzy memory, but I’m pretty sure those simple sandwiches were better than all the fiddlehead ferns and duck confit in the world.

    And so, in a fit of gooey nostalgia, I recreated my favorite culinary memory. I toasted split club rolls and topped them with a generous dollop of refried beans dressed up with prepared salsa and cumin. A thin slice of pepper jack cheese melted over top sealed the deal.

    Continue reading for the Bean-y Crostini recipe

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  5. Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

    February 17, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Sun Dried Tomato Dip

    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!

    Sun Dried Tomato Dip 2
    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

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  6. Buffalo Chicken Calzones

    January 9, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Forgive me, foodies, for I have slacked off. It has been 26 days since I last posted a new recipe. I’m not Catholic, so that’s as far as I’m willing to take the confession metaphor.

    All kidding aside, I’ve just been really overwhelmed by life outside the kitchen lately. Between my job, writing a new show, and keeping Handsome Greg and Professor Meowington happy, I’m swamped. The thought of creating a unique recipe accompanied by a clever tale makes me want to cry into my apron.

    And so, in the interest of keeping my blog alive (while exerting the VERY least amount of effort) I’m sharing an entirely unoriginal and frankly lazy-ass recipe. It’s easy, tasty, and a little bit embarrassing.

    I am sorry for these and all the sins of my kitchen.


    Continue reading for the Buffalo Chicken Calzone recipe.

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  7. Top Ten Recipes of 2012

    December 30, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Happy Holidays, imaginary internet friends! And congratulations on surviving the end of the world. Now I’m off to Barnes and Noble to demand a refund for my Mayan wall calendar. Wish me luck!

    In the meantime, I hope you’ll take another look at the 10 most popular recipes I shared this year.

    S’mores Fried Ice Cream with Chipotle Chocolate Sauce

     

    Asparagus Lasagna Slice

    Asparagus Lasagna with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, and Lemon

     

    Baked Churros with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Dulce de Leche

     

    Loaded Baked Potato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

     

    Cinnamon Roll Grilled Cheese Sandwich

     

    Oatmeal Cream Pies

    Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

     

    Cookies and Milk

    Toffee Cashew Cookies

     

    pie crust crackers

    Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Pie Crust Crackers

     

    Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    And the most popular recipe of 2012:

    Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

    Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken Breasts

    Here’s to a delicious (and gooey) new year!


  8. Pear Napoleons with Bourbon Caramel

    November 28, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    It’s embarrassing how much time I spend thinking about recipes I want to try. I’ll start with the germ of an idea (say, a pear dessert for Mom’s birthday dinner). Then I’ll spend weeks – maybe months – considering the options: pear tart, pear cobbler, pear cake, pear sorbet… And when I finally decide on the perfect recipe, I abandon the idea entirely because I’m terrified of making a mistake. (Yeah, I never said my process was a healthy one.)

    In this case, the paralyzing fear was invoked by the menace of homemade caramel sauce—it’s the easiest thing in the world to ruin. I think if I ever get around to recording another CD, it’ll be called Ways to Ruin Caramel, with forlorn country ballads like “Too Runny,” “Too Hard,” “Bitter and Scorched,” and “Grains of Sand.”

    It took no less than three glasses of cheap wine for me to face my caramelized fear, and I’m so drunk—I mean, I’m so happy that I did! This caramel sauce is the perfect texture (creamy but not too thick), with the subtlest bite of sea salt and just enough booze. *hiccup*

    The other components of the recipe – poached pears, sweetened mascarpone, flaky puff pastry, and toasted pistachios—are a cinch to prepare, yet every bit as delicious as the bourbon caramel.

    Continue reading for the Poached Pear Napoleons with Bourbon Caramel Sauce recipe

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  9. Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

    November 4, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy

    Green pepper is my sworn enemy.

    The conniving nightshade sneaks into salsa, it prowls in pasta, and it lurks in jambalaya, waiting to make its deadly move. Just one bite of a bell pepper and I’m a pathetic wheezing heap, my lips swollen like a Hollywood collagen job gone terribly wrong.

    For years I avoided green salsa in every Mexican restaurant, for fear that the lovely olive color might be enhanced by the scoundrel bell pepper. And as a sad consequence, I never tasted the delightful tang of tomatillos.

    Until now. I made this recipe for Mom and Handsome Greg, and instantly fell madly in love with the tart tomatillo sauce warmed through with a healthy teaspoon of smoky cumin. I filled corn tortillas with a luxurious and creamy chicken mixture, then doused them with the silky tomatillo sauce and topped them with a generous handful of gooey cheese.

    Next time I make this dish I’ll use white cheddar – the orange cheese with the green salsa was a little off-putting. Otherwise it was perfect.

    Continue reading for the Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas recipe

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  10. Balsamic Strawberry Crostini
     with Goat Cheese and Basil

    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

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