Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Yeah, if there is a way to make something more fattening, I can usually think it up. This isn't too over the top, but it is indulgent. It's take off of a patty melt with an italian twist. I grilled the burgers; sauteed some leeks and mushrooms, and layered them on some buttered homemade bread. Added a couple slices of cheese, lettuce and tomato. Smooshed it down as best I could and pressed on the panini grill. The result... YUM!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Odd Combinations

This dish evolved over a couple of grocery trips. The coleslaw came first and the chicken and polenta followed. It tasted great, but made a so-so looking plate.

Grilled chicken paillard with a herb-cheese polenta and a side of coleslaw.


This dish was inspired by a contest for grilling and wine pairing. I never entered the contest because I wasn't quite sure of the combinations of things. I think what tripped me up was that I measured everything out so I could write the recipe. Normally I just pour and sprinkle until it looks or tastes good.

Now down to what it is... This is a grilled swordfish that was marinated in coconut milk, lime, olive oil and chili oil. It is topped with a pineapple, peach, red pepper, red onion and cilantro salsa. Underneath it is sauteed plantains with a little shallot and prosciutto. I will probably make this again with a few alterations and no measuring will be allowed!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Best birthday dinner ever!

For my 36th birthday, my fiance took me to the Meritage in St. Paul for an incredible 7 course tasting menu complete with a wine pairing for each course! The meal was inspiring and delicious from the very start.

Course 1: Appetizer
This was a trio of fun! On the left was a tuna tartare in a crispy taro chip. The middle was a delicious soup made of cream, seafood stock and saffron. Did I mention there was cream? We both wanted to lick out the little cup. And lastly, was the smoked mushroom french toast with this maple syrup-like sauce drizzled over it.

Course 2: Another appetizer? Salad? Don't care what it was called... Yum!
Himachi tuna... need I say more. The sauce was a blood orange gastric with blood oranges, watercress and olive oil.

Course 3: Seafood heaven on a plate
This was probably the best scallop I've ever had. It was huge!! Seared perfectly on one side with a piece of pork belly propped up next to it. The rest of the plate was finished with lentils, a butternut squash puree and brussel sprout petals.

Course 4: Duck!
I've never been a huge fan of duck. It can be very good or just plain gamy. But not this duck. It was seared wonderfully so the skin was nice and crispy and seasoned with a moroccan spice (cardamom). Next to it was phyllo stuffed with a confit of the duck leg, apples, swiss chard and walnuts.

Course 5: Venison
Yep... I ate venison. And loved every last bite. This was the one thing on the menu I told the server that I really had no desire to eat. She came back from the kitchen and told me that Chef said being that I was a culinary student, I needed to try their venison. So I was proven wrong. Venison is good. This was a roasted venison loin au poivre (green peppercorn crusted, ect.) with a chestnut puree, cranberries, braised endive and grilled gingerbread. As you can see, I dug right in before I had a chance to take the picture.

Course 6: The "I don't think I can eat anymore" cheese plate
All I have to say is the hippy lady cheese on the left was hands down the best of the three. It was a sheep's milk cheese and made such an impression I don't really remember the rest of the cheeses.

Course 7: Dessert
This was, again, a trio of fun. On the right was an orange chocolate cake. Middle, a creme brulee with a wedge of grapefruit and lime. And last but not least, the pineapple upside down cake with a raspberry coulis. Yum... yum... and YUM!

But wait! There's more...
After we got our way through the dessert plate they sent out yet another round. It was a cute little chocolate mousse creme puff. I ate the mousse. I couldn't finish the rest.

Culinary III is DONE!!

It's been a few weeks now and I keep forgetting to post the last few whirlwind weeks worth of dishes that I made in class. This first one is osso bucco. I had always heard that this dish is delicious but had never tried it. Well... they were right. It could have been braised a little longer, but the flavor was incredible. I hope to make this again.... SOON!

Veal Blanquette was next in line. This really wasn't as good I had hoped. It was a little bland. Maybe I didn't season it enough... or maybe the flavor was supposed to be more subtle. At any rate, it was good but... I don't know.

Yeah... lamb... not my favorite. I like lamb. Well, some lamb dishes. Maybe I just haven't had enough really good lamb to make a well informed decision. This dish was a braised lamb shank. I like it... but I wouldn't go out of my way to fix it again.

And for the finale.... More lamb! This was a braised lamb as well. This time a stew with all kinds of vegetables to "garnish" it. To me the "garnish" was like a whole other meal in itself. Technically all the vegetables on top of this stew are the "garnish." I had to make this for my practical final. All the vegetables had to be cooked properly, cut correctly, seasoned well and be hot and done at the same time the stew was ready. Loads of work! But Chef referred to this as a "pretty straight forward dish." God help us if he were to give us a complicated one!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday dinner... Seared Scallops in a Garlic Cream Sauce

Of course, I can't help myself. We cured and smoked bacon in class this week, so of course I needed to come up with a dish to use it in this weekend. I chopped the bacon and fried it, rendering the fat so I can sear the scallops in it. From that I made a simple pan sauce by adding garlic and white wine to deglaze the pan. Next cream was added. A little salt, pepper and parsley for color. I plated the scallops on a bed of fresh spinach and a side of pasta garnished with the bacon and parsley.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Beef... it's what's for dinner!

Guess what! We had beef again for dinner tonight. I made a steak salad with all the leftover cuts of steak that I had from the week. Sauteed up some onions and red peppers. Added some greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and tossed in some blue cheese dressing.... done! It was WAY yum!