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.
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
Category Family and Friends, Fish and Seafood, Fruit, Garlic, Greens, Handsome Greg, Jalapeno, My Mom Rules, Onion, Orange, Sauce, Vegetable | Tags: fish and seafood,fruit,garlic,greens,handsome greg,jalapeno,my mom rules,onion,orange,sauce,vegetable | 5 Comments
November 14, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Just last week(ish), I shared with you all how my allergy to green peppers indirectly prevented me from ever tasting tomatillos. Today, my imaginary internet friends, I’m going to tell another terrible tale: The Most Lamentable Tragedy of Bake Up, Little Suzy’s Exclusion from the Whole of Asian Cuisine.
(I know. The title needs work. It’s a little wordy.)
Bell peppers are not my only edible allergens. I’m also allergic to ginger, coffee, curry, and horseradish. And that bizarre combination not only kept me from coffee house poetry slams in the 90’s, but also excludes me from enjoying the cuisine of Asia to this very day.
I’ve long dreamed of preparing meals that feature the genuine flavors of China, India, Korea, Thailand—but I’ve never really tasted them, out of fear of, well, dying. So I’m attempting to learn about entirely unfamiliar flavors, in utterly inauthentic ways.
I begin today with this fresh and crispy, savory and sweet, salty and crunchy salad. Now I’m assuming that normal people who don’t share my allergies will add ginger to the dressing or the marinade or both. But I found this salad delicious, satisfying, and not at all deadly without it.
Continue reading for the Sesame Chicken Salad recipe.
Category Chicken, Fruit, Greens, Nuts, Onion, Orange, Salad, Sauce, Vegetable | Tags: chicken,fruit,greens,nuts,onion,orange,salad,sauce,vegetable | 8 Comments
June 30, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
I had the best idea.
One night I was craving a hearty salad with sweet-tart, fresh fruit vinaigrette. I’d already made salad dressings with lemon, orange, and tangerine, but I wanted to move out of the citrus family and try something different.
And that’s when inspiration struck – I could transform the classic combination of strawberries and balsamic vinegar into a savory salad dressing, with layer upon layer of flavors.
Juicy, caramelized strawberries, fresh garlic, creamy-sharp Dijon mustard, a tender kiss of wild blackberry honey, and aged balsamic vinegar.
Sadly, this brilliant idea occurred to me five months ago, in the dead of Minnesota winter, when strawberries—if they could be found at all—were dry and wooden.
That left me with 147 long, cold days to dream of ripe, juicy berries. In those 147 days, I wondered just what would happen when you roasted strawberries. I finally had a chance to roast strawberries last week, and as it turns out, this is what it smells like when doves cry.
The strawberry halves gently caramelized in the oven, their juices slowly seeping out and thickening, before they became the foundation of my new favorite salad dressing. I tossed the dressing with romaine hearts and scallions, then topped the greens with roasted chicken, goat cheese, and sweet-n-spicy candied almonds.
It was a very long winter.
Continue reading for Chicken Salad with Roasted Strawberry Vinaigrette Recipe
Category Chicken, Fruit, Greens, No Cheese Left Behind, Nuts, One-Dish Meals, Onion, Salad, Sauce, Strawberry, Vegetable | Tags: chicken,fruit,greens,no cheese left behind,nuts,one-dish meals,onion,salad,sauce,strawberry,vegetable | 5 Comments
May 9, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Whew! Thirty posts in thirty days – I made it through National Grilled Cheese Month. And though I made some delicious discoveries (Cinnamon Roll Grilled Cheese, anyone?), I’m a little cheesed out. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m ready for bright, fresh spring flavors. And some roughage.
I originally made this dish for Mom and Handsome Greg as part of an Argentinian-inspired meal that began with corn and bacon empanadas and ended with baked churros, cinnamon ice cream, and homemade dulce de leche (recipes coming soon, I promise!).
For our main course, we enjoyed crispy romaine leaves filled with luscious summer salad and tender grilled chicken, and kissed with garlicky parsley pesto. Fresh and bright, hearty but not heavy.
Continue reading for the Grilled Lime Chicken Lettuce Boats recipe
Category Avocado, Chicken, Cucumber, Family and Friends, Fruit, Garlic, Greens, Handsome Greg, Lime, My Mom Rules, Salad, Sauce, Tomato, Vegetable | Tags: avocado,chicken,cucumber,fruit,garlic,greens,handsome greg,lime,my mom rules,salad,sauce,tomato,vegetable | 16 Comments
January 2, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
I think it’s time I came to terms with a disappointing truth: I am not a homemade pie crust person. Wait! Let me finish! As much as I admire those patient bakers who make pie crust by hand, for me, it’s just not worth it.
Other than the cheddar crust for Tenessa’s apple bacon birthday pie, I’ve yet to make a pie crust that rivals the texture or flavor of the ready-made, roll-out crusts you buy in the dairy department. And it’s cheap – refrigerated pie crust bought on sale (on double coupon day) is next to free, and can be stashed in the freezer until a proper pie-portunity presents itself.
I’m glad I tried making pie crust from scratch, and I can file it away with other things I’ve done once, and don’t really feel compelled to do again like camping, or folding the laundry.
If you want to make a pie crust with your own two hands, there are thousands of recipes just a Google away. But this savory, rich, and fluffy quiche will do just fine in a store-bought crust.
I first made it for Mom and Handsome Greg last April, back when I had a job, as part of a luxurious farewell-to-winter brunch. I’ve since adapted it as a recessipe fit for an unemployed lady’s budget that’s exactly the same, but with onions for the leeks. And frozen spinach for the chard. And nothing for the prosciutto. So, yeah. It’s nearly identical.
Continue reading for the Prosciutto, Leek, and Swiss Chard Quiche recipe
Category Breakfast, Eggs, Family and Friends, Greens, Handsome Greg, Leeks, My Mom Rules, No Cheese Left Behind, Pie, Pork, Vegetable | Tags: breakfast,eggs,greens,handsome greg,leeks,my mom rules,no cheese left behind,pie,pork,vegetable | 10 Comments
September 2, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
It seems early to share a chili recipe.
I’m afraid I’m tempting fate, daring Minnesota winter to make a premature appearance, by posting a warm, cozy one-dish meal while the State Fair still provides summer bliss on a stick.
I originally made this recipe—a perfect hybrid of chili and Italian wedding soup – last blizzardy March, so I think I’m safe. Also? I’m not likely powerful enough to control the weather, even with an extraordinarily delicious recipe.
This was the sort of dish I made back in March, when I still had a job. I’d spend Sunday afternoon cooking up a big pot of something to pack up in plastic containers for lunch through the week, and hope that I didn’t get totally sick of it by Wednesday, abandon my leftovers, and make an emergency run to Subway for lunch.
The week I made this delicious chili-soup ended far too soon, without the slightest sandwich temptation.
When I make it again (even though I NEVER repeat recipes) I’ll probably substitute a box of frozen chopped spinach for the pricey rainbow chard.
Continue reading for the White Bean and Turkey Chili recipe
Category Beans, Corn, Garlic, Greens, No Cheese Left Behind, One-Dish Meals, Onion, Recessipes, Soup, Turkey, Vegetable | Tags: beans,corn,garlic,greens,no cheese left behind,one-dish meals,onion,recessipes,soup,turkey,vegetable | 2 Comments
May 5, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
I took this photo in a conference room at work.
As I may have mentioned before, I’m writing a musical revue for the MN Fringe Festival this summer. Outside of my joe job (and the kitchen), I spend pretty much every waking moment working on the show. I’m so close to being done writing the script that I can almost taste it. And I’m POSITIVE that being done writing the script tastes delicious.
I’ve got two short monologues and a medley left to write, and I have run out of ideas. I’ve used them all up. I got nuthin’. And it’s totally freaking me out.
And now it seems my theater hobby anxiety is spilling into my cooking hobby anxiety. I’ve got this perfectly beautiful, delicious salad to share with you, and what happens? Writer’s block. I don’t have any stories or quips or insights, just a list of ingredients and some overused adjectives: crunchy romaine, sweet tomatoes, and creamy mozzarella, tossed in bright, fresh chimichurri dressing, and topped with tender, juicy steak.
I’m sorry, folks. I let you down.
Continue reading for the Steak Salad with Chimichurri Dressing recipe
Category Beef, Fruit, Garlic, Greens, No Cheese Left Behind, Salad, Sauce, Tomato, Vegetable | Tags: beef,fruit,garlic,greens,no cheese left behind,salad,sauce,tomato,vegetable | 3 Comments
January 24, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
I hosted Christmas dinner this year.
In the weeks leading up to the big day, I was awfully excited and nervous about it, until I realized that hosting meant providing the venue, not the meal. Mom arrived with nearly all of the food prepared – the lasagna was ready to be assembled, the cottage cheese bread was ready to bake, and the candy cane custard was ready to go into the ice cream maker.
She did let me toss the salad. It was pretty exciting.
And dinner was fantastic. Mom’s lasagna recipe is the world’s best (the secret ingredient is salami!). All that remained of the meal the next day was a bag of leftover romaine hearts, and a giant mess on the dining room table.
So when my dear friend Jenna called from her hotel in town and we discussed what to do on our annual holiday visit, I shocked myself when I replied, “c’mon over for dinner. I’ll cook.” Without testing recipes, without weeks of menu planning, without even sufficient time to go to the grocery store, I offered to make dinner for my fancy friend, who lives in Connecticut. Connecticut, y’all. Who am I?
It was a little touch-and-go there for a while when I realized the dining room table was not just messy, but missing – it was completely hidden by dirty dishes. I thought of everything I could possibly make out of lettuce, while I rummaged through the soiled plates and glasses for the table. As it turns out, the dining room table was inside of me all along.
And the lettuce soup recipe for my fancy vegetarian guesty was only a Google away. I cooked and cleaned in record time. Jenna and I shared stories of the year past, wishes for the year to come, boxed wine, and the world’s ugliest soup.
It was creamy and fresh, with a little bit of heat, and seriously butt-ugly. The crispy goat cheese croutons provided a tangy richness and a partial disguise to the fugly, yet tasty, lettuce and potato puree.
Recipe below the fold
Category Family and Friends, Garlic, Greens, My Mom Rules, No Cheese Left Behind, Onion, Potato, Professor Meowington, Recessipes, Soup, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: garlic,greens,my mom rules,no cheese left behind,onion,potato,professor meowington,recessipes,soup,vegetable,vegetarian | 6 Comments
October 22, 2010 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Last week, my leftovers were so fancy, I had to put earrings on.
I made myself a schmancy-ass pizza, so I had schmancy-ass leftovers. Handsome Greg brought pasta from D’Amico for our standing Saturday night date, and I MacGyvered my leftover prosciutto, pear, and arugula into an adorable appetizer.
I wanted to do a simple bite – pear slices and arugula wrapped in prosciutto – but the pear was quite under ripe. It worked fine roasted on a pizza, but it was not all that palatable raw. So I decided to sear the pear slices in olive oil and braise them in honey.
The resulting bite was delicious, but very soft. I would’ve liked a little something crispy in there. Next time, I’d start with a ripe bosc pear, drizzle it with honey, and keep it raw. As prepared below, I thought it could’ve used a bit more salt in the pears, and maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Recipe below the fold
Category Appetizer, Family and Friends, Fruit, Greens, Handsome Greg, Pear, Pork, Vegetable | Tags: appetizer,fruit,greens,handsome greg,pear,pork,vegetable | 2 Comments
October 7, 2010 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
In the one short month since I began blogging about what I’m cooking, the way I cook and eat has already changed. Rather than cooking my usual fare and then writing about it, I’m thinking about what would make a good blog post, what would make a pretty photograph, and then cooking it.
Last Friday, I had a quiet evening in by myself. I was planning to heat up the last of the pasta e fagioli for dinner (and eat it on the couch directly from the plastic container), when I remembered that leftover pizza dough in the freezer from the fried parmesan croutons.
I went a little wild. I decided to make a nice, pretty pizza with rather extravagant toppings. Just for me. I know!
I had a travel-size bottle of the world’s most delicious wild blackberry honey to drizzle on top. Mom brought it back for me when she was visiting my brother and his family in Seattle last summer, and I’d been saving it in the pantry for something special. I ran to Rainbow and picked up a bosc pear, a few slices of prosciutto (yeah, you can buy prosciutto by the slice at the deli counter–don’t judge), arugula, and goat cheese.
And I made myself a perfectly lovely little pizza, that I ate at the dining room table, using my nice dishes, wearing pants. OK, sweatpants. But still!
It felt a little funny to prepare such a nice little pizza when I had no company to share it with, and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Jenni Ferrari-Adler summed it up perfectly in her intro to Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant:
A good meal is like a present, and it can feel goofy, at best, to give yourself a present. On the other hand, there is something life affirming in taking the trouble to feed yourself well, or even decently. Cooking for yourself allows you to be strange or decadent or both. The chances of you liking what you made are high, but if it winds up being disgusting, you can always throw it away and order a pizza; no one will ever know.
Recipe below the fold
Category Family and Friends, Fruit, Greens, My Mom Rules, No Cheese Left Behind, Pear, Pizza, Pork, Vegetable | Tags: fruit,greens,my mom rules,no cheese left behind,pear,pizza,pork,vegetable | 4 Comments