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.
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!
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
Category Apple, Family and Friends, Fruit, Greens, Handsome Greg, No Cheese Left Behind, Nuts, Onion, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: apple,fruit,greens,handsome greg,no cheese left behind,nuts,onion,salad,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 2 Comments
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.
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.
Category Appetizer, Bread, Family and Friends, Handsome Greg, My Mom Rules, Sauce, Side Dish, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,bread,handsome greg,my mom rules,sauce,side dish,vegetarian | 5 Comments
November 2, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Happy 4th of Halloween Eve!
To celebrate the magic of Halloween, this year I decided to make a candy inspired by … 4th of July fireworks.
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.
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.
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.
Continue reading for the Chocolate Bark with Chipotle Pepitas and Pop Rocks recipe
Category Candy, Chocolate, Dessert, Family and Friends, Nuts, Vegetarian | Tags: candy,chocolate,dessert,nuts,vegetarian | 7 Comments
August 31, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Goodbye ice cream trucks and picnics and ripe tomatoes.
Goodbye road trips and outdoor concerts. Goodbye action blockbusters in air conditioned theaters. Goodbye lemonade.
Goodbye s’mores and dandelions and thunderstorms and fireworks. Goodbye reruns and strappy sandals. Goodbye sunburns. Goodbye baseball and crickets chirping.
Goodbye fresh cherries.
Continue reading for the Cherry Crisp recipe
Category Apple, Bars, Cherry, Dessert, Fruit, Fruit Desserts, Lemon, Vegetarian | Tags: apple,bars,cherry,dessert,fruit,fruit desserts,lemon,vegetarian | 7 Comments
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.
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
Category Garlic, Recessipes, Sauce, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: garlic,recessipes,sauce,vegetable,vegetarian | 5 Comments
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 | 14 Comments
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!).
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.
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
Category Beans, Bread, Jalapeno, No Cheese Left Behind, Recessipes, Sandwich, Spread, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: beans,bread,jalapeno,no cheese left behind,recessipes,sandwich,spread,vegetable,vegetarian | 4 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
January 30, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
I’ve been sitting on these cookies. I mean, I’ve been sitting on the recipe for these cookies.
I first made these delightful treats nearly two years ago for a bake sale. My singer/actor friends (Mickey and Judy) and I needed to raise money to produce a musical. The show was in August, and it didn’t seem right to post about cinnamon-kissed cookies perfect for Christmastime in the sweltering summer heat.
So I tucked the recipe away, and made a mental to note to share the recipe closer to the holidays. Then I forgot about them entirely until somewhere around St. Patrick’s Day 2012. Well, shoot, I thought (except I probably thought a stronger word than ‘shoot’). Now I’ll have to wait another eight months before I can post this recipe! How will I sleep at night, knowing all my imaginary internet friends will be again deprived of my snickerdoodles with cinnamon chips?
As it turns out, I slept just fine. Christmas 2012 came and went, and I forgot, once more, to share the recipe. I’m pretty sure that if I file this recipe away again, by the time you get it, you’ll be able to bake the cookies in the glove compartment of your flying car.
I suppose you could serve them for Valentine’s Day, with some line about your sweet-hot cinnamon love. But that’s your business.
Continue reading for the Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips recipe.
Category Cookies, Dessert, Recessipes, Vegetarian | Tags: cookies,dessert,recessipes,vegetarian | 5 Comments