Archive

Posts Tagged ‘salad’

Decorah Trip No. 2a57fd

Yup.  Just made up a hexadecimal number because I have no idea how many times I’ve written about trips to Decorah and I’m too lazy to figure it out.  Besides, who really reads hexdec anyway?

Anyway, Lindz and I made one of our regular trips to our old stomping grounds.  We stopped by the StoryPeople studio to pick something up and I ran across what I can only assume is one of the limited edition wood paintings.

living_memory

A bit more subdued than Brian’s usual work, but I like it.

For those that are curious, the story printed on here is Living Memory.  Speaking of my old workplace, I just found a new sculpture that I got quite a kick out of:

pertodolist4Web

You can find it here on the StoryPeople website.

What would a trip to Decorah be without eating at La Rana?

IMG_20121020_132618

The smoked salmon salad. All local produce. All awesomeness.

Really not a lot to say.  It’s a fun little bar with a great atmosphere and great food all at a small town price.

Condolence Chili

Our friend Dave made this recipe for us when Lindz found out that she didn’t get into any of the Ph.D. programs she applied to.  Which in hindsight was a good thing, but that is another story.

A handful of months go by and Lindz wants to make some soup because our friends Paul and Jill are coming over for the evening.  Lindz decided to make chili and got the recipe from Dave.  By some freak coincidence, this happened to be the day that Alice had passed away.  Earlier in the day, Lindz got all the ingredients necessary, so I decided that we might as well make the chili since we still wanted Paul and Jill to come over.

Our track record with the chili is 2 crappy times out of 2 times eaten.  I dubbed this recipe Condolence Chili because of this record and the fact that it’s good enough to distract you (even for a little bit) from your sorrows.  It’s best eaten with some really good friends.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs of Ground Meat (we used Chorizo with the cases cut off)
  • a 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 3 15 oz cans Beans (we used Black Beans, but feel free to mix them up a bit, i.e. black, pinto, navy, etc.)
  • 2 Chipolte Chilis in Ancho Sauce
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbs Oil
  • large Onion, medium dice
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced

Put the tomatoes, beans (drained and rinsed), chipotle chilis, sugar, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a large stockpot and bring to a simmer.  Continue to simmer until needed at the end.  Heat 2 Tbs of oil in a large skillet over med high heat and add the onion, chili powder, cumin (both to taste, about a Tbs each), and the remaining 1/4 tsp salt.  Mix well and cook until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Increase the heat to med high and add the ground meat.  Break it up as it cooks and cook it until it is no longer pink.

I know it sounds weird, but I find browning meat relaxing. Maybe it has something to do with the smell.

Transfer the meat/onion mixture to the stockpot and bring back to a simmer.  Let this cook for a minimum of 15 minutes.  Taste, adjust the seasonings, and serve.  Like any soup or stew, the longer you let it simmer, the better the flavors will blend.

As usual, I serve chili with grated cheese, diced onions, and sour cream on the side so people can add what they like.  I personally add them all.

This is a welcome sight no matter what else is going on in your life.

With cornbread as the obvious number one choice, what is the next best thing to go with chili?  That’s right, garlic bread!  Lindz talked me into making it the way I did when we lived back in Decorah.  Not that it took any convincing to get me to do it.

Ingredients:

  • loaf of French Bread
  • 2 sticks of Butter (yup, that’s a half of a pound), softened
  • 2 4-4.5 oz jars of Minced Garlic

Slice the bread horizontally down the center (or into 1″ rounds).  Spread a stick of butter on each half and then a jar of garlic on each half.  Hey, I never said this was a healthy recipe.

You maybe having a knee-jerk reaction to the amount of butter and garlic. But don’t knock it until you try it. I’ve gotten very good reviews.

Place the bread on a baking sheet and put into a preheated oven (at 375 degrees) for about 20 minutes.  I’m not actually sure about the time, I just check it every five or so minutes.  Pull it out of the oven when the bread is golden brown and toasted.

This is a very effective anti-vampire recipe. I haven’t seen one since I’ve been eating this.

Jill is a master of lettuce salads.  This time she brought over one that contained apples, raisins, feta cheese, and a mustard vinaigrette.  It had a nice blend of flavors with the crisp apples, sharp feta, the sweetness of the raisins, and a nice tang of mustard and vinegar.

DSC00681_2

Even if you don’t like rabbit food, you should try this flavor combo.

DSC00684_3

This is Jill. This is a glass of wine. This is Jill with a glass of wine.

Finally, as promised . . .

I am writing about the mysterious kale salad that I keep mentioning.

A green on green salad. Worth the wait, huh?

I got the recipe from one of my favorite food-blogs.  Right now, the blog is going through a little identity crisis, but the writing is still top-notch.  You can find the original recipe here (in the comment section) at The Pete Is On.  I have no idea who Pete is, but I find him very entertaining, and our culinary curiosity is freakishly in step.  If you like reading my posts, you’ll love reading his.  Seriously, go check him out.  I’ll wait.

You did just go look at Pete’s blog, right?  OK.  I’ll believe you, but only this once.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle Kale
  • 1/3 cup Tamari Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds (shelled)
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds (shelled)
  • Alfalfa Sprouts to taste
  • diced Avocado

Mix the soy sauce and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk in oil slowly.  Slice onions thinly into half moons and put them into the dressing while you make the salad.  Toast the nuts in a dry skillet.  Do the nuts separately because they cook at different speeds.  Remove the stems from the kale and then chiffonade the leaves and slice the stems into a bite size pieces.  Add the dressing (except the onions) to the kale and massage with your hands until softened (about a minute).  Add the onion, nuts, and sprouts and toss briefly to cover with dressing.  Finally, add the avocado and serve.

When I’ve made it, I substitute almond slices and pine nuts in for the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.  Also, I don’t put in any alfalfa sprouts.  The first time I made it, I did put in avocado, but I’ve done it without, and it still tastes great.  It’s a very solid recipe and can handle any messing around with the ingredients with ease.

If you’ve tried kale before and have been turned off by it’s bitter taste, you should still try this recipe.  The dressing (I’m assuming the olive oil / lemon juice) tempers that bitterness quite well.

In the interest in full disclosure, I did get some “eh” reviews on it from my family.  But they didn’t spit it out immediately, so that’s good.  Even with the occasional lackluster enthusiasm, I’m going to making this salad a lot.

Czeck-Mass

So this past Sunday was the annual gathering of the Czecks for the Mass said in remembrance of our deceased relatives.  I’ll have more on that later.  But since my Aunt Janey was giving me crap about being so far behind in my posts, I thought I would put up a picture from Saturday.

Aw, cute.

My nephew, Cole, wanted to help me cook something for when people came over the next day.  Lindz and I were mean and made him finish his homework before he could help.  Once he was done, he and I started making a kale salad (again, more on that later).  Somewhere in the process, Lindz took a picture of us working.  Cole was a bit ambivalent about the final product, but I think it’s a great salad.  Although, he did enjoy the toasted nuts that went into it.  I had to tell him repeatedly to either eat the whole salad or stop picking the nuts out.  Eventually he listened.

I’m thinking we try something more complicated next time.

Categories: family, misc, party, supper Tags: , ,

Brunch at Longfellow Grill

A friend of ours was up in the Cities from Iowa.  So a bunch of us got together at the Longfellow Grill on Lake St.

Szechwan Beef Salad

I had the Szechwan Beef Salad.  It had beef strips, greens, carrots, fried wonton strips, sesame seeds, and a sweet peanut sauce.  On the side was served a piece of cornbread.  Longfellows definitely earned bonus points for having chopsticks with the salad when they brought it out.  Yes, I used them to eat it too.  The beef was tender and very flavorful.  The greens were fresh but the salad was overdressed.  I liked the dressing but it got really sweet towards the end.  I liked the fried wontons in place of croutons, it fit with the theme of the salad.  The cornbread stole the show though.  It was moist.  I cannot stress that enough, it was borderline dripping.  It tasted like one of the main ingredients was creamed corn.  Not the canned stuff either.  I’m talking the stuff that is made by some hillbilly’s great-grandmother in the backwoods of the South and then smuggled over the Mason-Dixon line and sold to the highest bidder on the black market type of creamed corn.  Yeah.  It was that good.

Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and a fruit compote

Lindz had the biscuits and gravy. This choice surprised no one.  Pretty much by default, she always gets biscuits and gravy no matter where we go.  I would venture that it is her favorite dish.  I didn’t try any of it because I was still trying to finish off my own plate.  You can’t tell from the pictures, but the servings were very large.  Okay, I’m going to qualify that a bit.  The servings didn’t look large when they were sitting in front of you, but you noticed it after eating for ten minutes straight and not being able to see any difference in the quantity of the food still in front of you.

As with most of the places I write about here, if you get the chance you should go and eat there.  You will be happier person afterwards.  Probably will want to slip into a food coma, but happier nonetheless.

Poached Egg Salad

I know I dropped the huge teasers of a Rhode Island trip and a new camera.  But I’ve been busy with work and making trips up north to make sure Grandma doesn’t go too stir-crazy in the nursing home.  In the near future, I’m going to be posting some short blurbs just to keep up the habit, and to shorten my queue.  So you’ll have to deal with crappy photos and short rambles.  Meh, such is life.

A while back I made myself and Lindz a salad with poached eggs on it.  I really enjoyed the combination.  So when I had some leftover stuff for a salad and I wanted a snack after work, it seemed like a good time to recreate it.

All that went into the salad was lettuce, sliced almonds, an Asian Sesame dressing, and a poached egg on top.  For as simplistic as the ingredients were, it was a very satisfying salad.  If you have a Rainbow Foods (grocery store) near you, I highly recommend getting the Roundy’s dressing (it’s the store brand).

BT’s, Pepper Salad, Green Bean Hotdish, and Fried Jalapenos.

Or what happens when Terry is told to make supper and try to use up some stuff in the fridge.

It’s an odd grouping, but a very satisfying supper.

The BT’s are actually supposed to be BLT’s.  But Lindz doesn’t care for lettuce, so we don’t usually have it around.  Personally, I like rabbit food, but I often don’t use it up fast enough, so we usually don’t buy it.  Nothing fancy with these, just good ol’ bacon, tomato, bit of mayo, and toasted bread.  Heart stopping goodness.

The pepper salad is a variation of a tomato salad that I often make.  I did a very coarse chop on four peppers, added some very thinly sliced red onion, a light drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and some balsamic vinegar to give it just a bit of a bite.  All of this is to your personal taste, of coarse.  In case you haven’t guessed, I just swapped the peppers in for the tomatoes from the original recipe.  Dave put this on his bacon sandwich and seemed to enjoy it.  Not what was planned, but then I’m pretty easy going.

The conversation between Lindz and Dave as I was starting to come up with a meal plan went as follows:

Lindz:  Do you like green bean hotdish?

Dave:  What’s in it?

Lindz:  Green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French’s onions on top.

Dave:  No.

Lindz:  What’s wrong with you?!?

So the bowl of steamed green beans was for Dave.  Like Lindz said, all that went into the hotdish was two cans of green beans, one can of cream of mushroom soup, and enough of French’s onions on top to cover.  Bake at 375 degrees F until it bubbles (about 10 to 15 minutes) and serve.

This was one of the days that we were working up on a roof.  So, by the time I got home, I hadn’t eaten in six hours, drank a gallon of water and was still dehydrated, and I had a beer while cooking.  Talk about a cheap buzz.  This is just the set-up to what seemed like a really good idea.  And as it turns out, it was.  I sliced up a couple of jalapenos and fried them in the bacon grease.  They went great on the BT.

Spicy, bacony goodness.

Guy’s Night

So my friend Ringer and I had a guy’s night when Lindz was out of town a while back.  I know what you’re thinking, “You’ve mentioned her before and unless something drastic changed, she’s still a girl.”  And you’re right, she is a girl,  but over the years she has proved that she has more testosterone than many males that I know.  Heck, she even went to my bachelor party.  So by definition, she is “one of the guys,” and therefore guy’s night is a legitimate option.  Anyway, we both love to try new foods and the best we could come up that night was a Brazilian rotisserie called Rodizio Grill.  We both decided to get the “Full Rodizio” which included the all you can eat salad bar and the gauchos (I know it’s a poor use of the term, but that is what they were called) with their spits of meat.  I’m not going to go into a full blown review like I did before because it was, well, a pain in the nether regions to write up.  I’m just going to give some brief impressions / highlights of the place.

We started off with a round of the salad bar, and I have to say, for the $20 price tag for that option, it is a bargain.  There was at least two dozen options of green salad, pasta salad, collard greens, cheeses, cous-cous, mozzarella salad, yucca salad, coleslaw, and bread.  I know I’m forgetting a bunch of stuff as well as low-balling the number of dishes.  Two of my favorites were the collard greens and coleslaw.  Not that I’ve had a lot of collard greens in the past, but these were best that I’ve ever tried, and Ringer, who’s had more than I have, also really liked them.   The base of the coleslaw was nothing special, it was just your basic creamy-style slaw, but they threw in shaved coconut and chunks of pineapple which pushed it into its own little realm of mouth magic.  The enthusiasm with this dish didn’t carry over to Ringer.  Oh, well, more for me.  We both decided that it would be well worth the trip again just for the salad bar.

The gaucho’s with their meat was an interesting experience.  We got a little hourglass shaped wooden marker with one half painted red and the other half painted green.  It’s a really simple system.  Green up, the gauchos will check if you want some of what they were offering.  Red up, they will skip your table.  On its side equaled “Check, please!”  You should check out their menu because it is quite extensive.  But here are some of highlights that we tried.  The Bife Com Alho (Beef-e Com Al-yo) is beef that is slathered garlic paste.  I mean slathered.  Even after it was cooked, you could see the layer of garlic that is still on it.  If you are a fan of garlic, this is definitely the dish for you.  My personal favorite of the tasty beef options.  The pork options were all very good, but nothing outstanding.  Without a doubt, my favorite chicken dish was the hearts served with a slice of lime.  They are called Coracao (Cor-da-sone).  The gaucho was quite kind enough to give me 3/4’s of a skewer.  He even mentioned that some people asked for entire skewers just for themselves.  The Abacaxi (Ah-bakah-shee), grilled pineapple, was to die for.  I’ve always been a fan of grilled pineapple and this was exquisitely done.

The best part of all of this is that it is that you can eat as much of whatever you want.  So my suggestion is to try a little bit of everything that sounds good and then get a lot more of whatever tickles your fancy.  A quick side-note is that they claim over 90% of their menu is gluten-free, and from what I saw that is completely true.

I would like to give a special shout-out to the gauchos and the floor manager who were extremely helpful in getting us what we wanted and making sure we were able to try everything that we wanted.  They definitely added to the experience.

Mmm. Happiness is chicken hearts.

Another Birthday Meal

Last week we went out for our friend Martha’s birthday.  Her chosen destination was Mario’s Bar at Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit in Minneapolis.  Gasthof’s is a German beer hall with everything that you would associate with the idea.  Loud people, lots of drinking, drinking songs, beer, wandering accordions, boots full of beer, waitresses that looked like they just came from the set of The Sound of Music (I know that it’s set in Austria, but that’s close enough for this Polack), beer, cabbage, schnitzel, oh, did I mention beer?  Our schedule got messed up that day and we were both very hungry by the time both of us got home, so we decided to head over there early and get some food in the dining room before heading down into the bar.  Despite having some Germanic blood in her, Lindz isn’t too fond of German cuisine.  I, on  the other hand, revel in it.  I mean what’s not to love?  They have all sorts of sausages, cabbage with nearly everything, dumplings, bacon, mushrooms, and really that is just the tip of the iceberg!  Lindsay ended up getting some chicken soup with homemade noodles and the shrimp appetizer plate.  I got the Halbe Gebratene Ente, or in English, the half roast duck.  It came with a dinner salad (pretty boring), red cabbage (cabbage and beets, which I found surprisingly good considering that I don’t like beets), cranberry sauce for the duck (num!) and I chose the german potato salad (take out the mustard and add dill pickles, bacon and warm it up, which is truly divine).  Here, this might give you a better idea of what I ate:

It tasted even better than it looks!

It’s not in the picture, but I had a Hacker Pschorr Alt beer with my meal.  It is a dark beer from Munich, but it is nice and smooth.  Not bitter at all.  I was only able to make it two-thirds of the way through the plate before I had to call it quits.  Also by that time, we were technically running late for the party in the bar.

Downstairs was great.  They had a Polka band playing, people dancing, and apparently a Bad Christmas Sweater party going on.  Here I got myself a Paulaner Hefe-Weizen.  A nice Hefe-Weizen with a little bit of “chew” to the consistancy, just the way I like it.  It was a fun and relaxing get together.  I’ll leave you with a sign that I saw in the bar:

This is why Germans entertain me.

It’s A Hotdish, Damnit!

I’m a Minnesotan, born and bred.  Rural Minnesotan to be specific, so my perspective (and relatives) are definitely hick.  With that being said, it should be no surprise when I say that I fall firmly into the hotdish camp of the Great Hotdish vs. Casserole Debate.  It’s okay if the rest of the country doesn’t agree.  They’re wrong, but it’s okay for them to have their own opinion.

Tonight we had two friends over for supper and some mindless TV viewing.  Since the weather is getting cooler and there was a decent chance that Lindsay would be cooking when we made plans, it was decided that Tater Tot Hotdish sounded really good.

Rereading that last sentence, it sounds like Lindz is not a good cook.  I just want to set the record straight here.  She is a great cook.  She worked in two different restaurants for several years.  She is even highly praised for her ability to cook breakfast, specifically her eggs.  In fact, there were people who would walk out of brunch in one of the restaurants if they saw that she wasn’t working.  Nowadays, she just lets me cook because I enjoy it more and I’m more adventurous in trying different things in the kitchen.

Back to story.  Everyone I know grew up with a different standard version of this dish, but most of the time it was a way to use up different things from the fridge or freezer.  Even through all of the iterations, several key ingredients remain constant: tater tots, cream of something soup (traditionally mushroom), burger of choice, and frozen veggies.

I ended up cooking supper because I was home and Lindsay was busy with other stuff, so it all worked out in the end.  This recipe is going to have a lot of hand waving and approximations because I’ve made it enough that I just do it by feel.

First off you want to brown a pound of hamburger in a skillet and drain off the fat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place the burger in a large mixing bowl.  To that I added about a pound of frozen mixed veggies, about a pound of frozen green beans, and about a pound of frozen corn.  Then I added two cans of cream of mushroom soup.  The idea is to add just enough soup to coat everything without the final dish turning into, well, soup.

This is what it should look like

I put the filling into a 9×13 stoneware dish and leveled it out.  The final step is to place a single layer of tater tots over everything.  I then placed it in the oven and turned it to 375 degrees and left it for about 45 minutes (I forgot to get an actual number on the time, but this is pretty close).  Pull it out when you see the filling bubbling up through most of the tater tots.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  Never put stoneware into a preheated oven.  The thermal shock will cause stress fractures in pottery and in time it will crack on you.  Just put it in the oven and then set the temperature and let both heat up together.

And this is what came out:

Almost forgot to snap a picture!

Just so the meal didn’t feel so institutional, I decided to make a side salad with romaine lettuce, button mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.

I don't know about nutritious, but it was delicious.

For dessert, Sheryl and John brought over some apple crisp and vanilla ice cream.  Though somewhere in the process it lost the crisp, but nobody complained.  Not even sure that they noticed when we were all scarfing it down.

Yeah, that's right. You know what I'm talking about.

As an added bonus, the whole meal was gluten-free for those keeping track.