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
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.
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)
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.
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
Category Fig, Fruit, Greens, No Cheese Left Behind, Pork, Salad, Sauce, Vegetable | Tags: fig,fruit,greens,no cheese left behind,pork,salad,sauce,vegetable | 3 Comments
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