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
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
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
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
March 8, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Once I conquered my fear of baking a cake without a box mix, I was hooked on making every element of every meal from scratch. Hamburger buns, condiments, crackers, ice cream – I love making it all myself. Really, if I can find a way to needlessly complicate a recipe, I will.
At this point, it takes an unbearably hectic week to keep me from churning my own butter, so to speak.
So. It was a week until pay day, which meant protein = beans. I was planning to make my southwestern-spiced pasta and bean salad, when I realized that I had not one, not two, but THREE half-empty, opened bottles of Ranch salad dressing in the door of my fridge. Could I really justify buying buttermilk and sour cream and three different fresh herbs to dress my salad?
I could not. So I tossed my salad with bottled dressing, and it was perfectly lovely.
As much as I love cooking and baking from scratch, my option to do so is a luxury. It requires time, money, energy, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, a place to store both fresh foods and dry goods, reliable transportation to the market, potable water, pots and pans, cupboard space, and cooking skills, just for a start.
Sometimes I have all of those resources to spare, and just like most people, other times I don’t.
I hope you enjoy this recipe.
Continue reading for the Southwestern Bean and Pasta Salad recipe
Category Beans, Corn, Fruit, One-Dish Meals, Onion, Pasta, Recessipes, Salad, Tomato, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: beans,corn,fruit,one-dish meals,onion,pasta,recessipes,salad,tomato,vegetable,vegetarian | 3 Comments
February 18, 2011 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Last week, Minnesotans enjoyed a warm and sunny, puddly teaser thaw, and it seemed spring was just around the corner. Sadly, winter made an all-star comeback this morning, and the icy Minnesota wind that chapped my ears as I left for work sounded especially smug.
"Corn ... Nuts!"
I’m still pouting over my not-trip to Mexico, so I’m sharing another not-authentic Mexican recipe. These delightfully spicy and crunchy fish tacos look winter square in the face and say, “BITE ME.”
As much as I love batter fried fish (fish and chips, like, woah), I don’t really like deep frying in my kitchen.
Or, more accurately, I don’t like cleaning up the mess left by deep frying in my kitchen. So rather than dragging out the kitchen kettle and dealing with all that oil, I marinated the fish and grilled it on my little electric grill.
I made a cucumber salad instead of the more traditional cabbage slaw, but that left me with a pretty soft, squishy taco.
So I took a little inspiration from Heathers, and added a handful of Corn Nuts for some crunch. I drizzled the top with a spicy and tangy sriracha dressing, and saved the leftover dressing to use as a dip for tater tots, à la the Bulldog.
Recipe below the fold
Category Corn, Cucumber, Fish and Seafood, Garlic, Jalapeno, Onion, Salad, Sauce, Tomato, Vegetable | Tags: corn,cucumber,fish and seafood,fruit,garlic,jalapeno,onion,salad,sauce,tomato,vegetable | 1 Comment
December 28, 2010 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
I haven’t posted many salads from the galley kitchen yet, because most of the salads I eat are too boring to write about. I mean, no one needs a recipe to “chop iceberg lettuce and toss with bottled blue cheese dressing.”
In its simplicity, this salad is just a step or two beyond the iceberg/bottled dressing that normally accompanies my solo dinners, and honestly, doesn’t really require a recipe at all. But it’s one of my favorites – sweet, cool, and crispy — and it’s the perfect salad next to a big bowl of spicy chili.
I served this not-at-all-boring salad alongside a not-quite-perfect chili to my three fancy guesties — my lovely friends Alison and Aissa, and my Mom (who rules). Aissa is allergic to wheat gluten, so I served popcorn with the chili, instead of the usual cornbread. But don’t worry — I popped the corn in rendered duck fat and tossed it with truffle salt first.
Recipe below the fold
Category Cucumber, Family and Friends, Fruit, Jicama, My Mom Rules, Orange, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: cucumber,fruit,jicama,my mom rules,orange,salad,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 6 Comments