Archive for the ‘cook’ Category

Yesterday in my hometown it snowed over 7 inches and they lost power to over 20,000 people.  It has begun whether you like it or not people.  Winter.

But until it reaches my front door, let’s reflect on some of the wonderful summer food that I haven’t yet had a chance to write about and would like to reflect upon via photography.  Thank you to all of the contributors that helped make these dishes happen this summer!  Jen, Ashley, Kristin and Steph!

I found all of the recipes and had links to them under the pictures but it keeps deleting them when I go to publish the post so if you would like any recipes for the dishes below, let me know and I’ll email them over!

Jen's Veggie Kabobs

Jen's Thai Chicken Kabobs with Peanut Sauce

Jen's Fruit Pizza

Ramthun Rumble Spread

Kristin's Grape Salad. I.HEART.THIS.

Ashley's Chocolate Chip Cookie Fruit Pizza, believe it was care of her Pampered Chef recipe book. If you're looking for a Pampered Chef lady in the Madison area, let me know!

Kristin's cute dip set up. Apparently it was even cuter before her helpful hubby dropped the bottom plate but I wouldn't have known unless she said something!

Steph's Mango Peach Sangria

Steph's Chilled Peach Soup with Goat Cheese

Steph's Shrimp Rolls, Grilled Corn with Mango Habenero Butter, and Cucumber and Red Onion and Vinegar Relish. Unreal.

Six-Layer Coconut Cake with Passion Fruit Filling

My Grilled Turkey Burger with Grilled Mix Peppers, and our beautiful yard that will be neglected until May : (


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EBTKS Vegetarian Stir Fry

Everyone has those days when they look into the fridge and think “what in the world am I going to do with all of this stuff?”.  Last Sunday was one of those days.  I had a bunch of things leftover from the Farmer’s Market and a homemade coleslaw kick and needed to get rid of the fresh veggies that taking a quick turn from fresh to rotten.

If this concoction would have turned out better I would have given the full recipe and instructions.  BUT it wasn’t that great so I’ll just give the ingredients and the pics.  It was a valid and noble attempt at discarding  ; )


  • Cabbage
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy Sauce
Here’s the fly by night photo version:

Broccoli and Carrots

Bok Choy



Tah Dah!! orrrr Tah Dullll!!

I’m not really sure what I was missing but there was definitley something that was lacking.  Oh well!  I still used the veggies and got a couple of mediocre lunches out of it, mission accomplished!

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I was looking for a quick and easy dessert that had no baking involved and ran across something that was completely new to me (in the cooking world anyways), a fool.  A fool is an English dessert that was originally made by with whipped cream and gooseberries and looks similar to a parfait.

But since I don’t have gooseberries and the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market sent me over an email flyer that said “Rhubarb is Hot This Week”, I needed it to revolve around fresh rhubarb and found a great recipe in Cooks Illustrated.

Rhubarb Blueberry Fool

This recipe is also great to make ahead of time since you have to refrigerate it for 1-24 hours before serving and serves 8.

Rhubarb Blueberry Fool


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh rhubarb , trimmed of ends and cut into 6-inch lengths
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger , grated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • pinch table salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream (cold)
1.) Soak rhubarb in 1 gallon cold water for 20 minutes. Drain, pat dry with paper towels, and cut rhubarb crosswise into slices 1/2-inch thick.

These weren't cut down to size yet

2.) Bring orange juice, ginger, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt to boil in medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rhubarb and return to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes. Gently stir in the blueberries and continue to simmer, stirring only 2 or 3 times (frequent stirring causes rhubarb to become mushy), until rhubarb begins to break down and is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer rhubarb and blueberries to nonreactive bowl, cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour or up to 24.

OJ, sugar and ginger

Putting rhubarb and blueberries into the hot tub

Blueberries and rhubarb mixture after simmering

3.) Beat cream and remaining sugar in bowl of standing mixer on low speed until small bubbles form, about 45 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave a trail, about 45 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume and forms soft peaks, about 30 seconds.

Fresh Whipped Cream & Sugar

4.) To assemble fool, spoon about 1/4 cup rhubarb and blueberries into each of eight 8-ounce glasses, then spoon in a layer of about 1/4 cup whipped cream. Repeat, ending with dollop of cream; serve. Can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 6 hours. (To make one large fool, double the recipe and layer rhubarb, blueberries, and whipped cream in a 12-cup glass bowl.)

And enjoy!!

Rhubarb blueberry, fool!

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Yum.  Yum. Yum.

Nothing is better than South Carolina pork sandwiches and I think that I may have found a winning recipe after traveling to the depths of multiple online recipe databases.  Then of course I made some modifications to match my lifestyle; why bake for 6 hours when you own a crock pot, right?

The recipes that follow feed 8 people and is an inexpensive and easy way to feed guests coming over on a Sunday afternoon.

South Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich w/ Spicy Slaw and Mustard Finishing Sauce

Just make sure that you have enough paper towels because this is a meal where your guests can get down and dirty with their overstuffed sandwiches.

South Carolina Pulled Pork

Everything to put on the piggie shoulder


  • 1 (5-7) pound pork shoulder
  • 3 TBSP paprika
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP ground mustard
  • 2 TBSP coarse (kosher) salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
1.) Mix the paprika, garlic powder, sugar, mustard, and salt in a small bowl.

Mix it up people

2.) Rub the dry mix all over your pork shoulder, in the crock pot so in case you spill, the seasoning just goes on the bottom.  Add the water onto the bottom of the pot, set crock pot to low for at least 6 hours.  I set my automatic crock pot up for 10 hours and it still turned out amazing.

Nice and comfy in the crock pot

3.) After arriving home, your pork will be piping hot and falling apart.  Leaving the pork in the crock pot, use two forks to shred apart the shoulder, take out any fat pieces that you don’t care to have in your sandwiches, and leave in the juices to soak up.

Mustard Finishing Sauce


  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP finely diced green onions
  • 2 TBSP yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
1.) Melt butter in microwave and mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.  Drizzle over sandwiches.

Please note this is a serving that must have been from a catering website or something...I scaled down the recipe for practicality reasons.

Homemade Spicy Coleslaw


  • 1/2 of a cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, finely grated
  • 1 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3/4  cups mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP yellow mustard
  • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • several dashes hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
1.) Mix mayonnaise, yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, celery seed, hot and hot sauce in a bowl and whisk.
2.) Find the largest or container you have and mix the cabbage, carrots, green onions, red onions and the spices/mayo blend together, tossing lightly to incorporate the flavors.

Tasty Confetti

3.) Chill for 1-2 hours in the fridge before serving.
Assembly of Sandwiches
1.) Toast rolls on the second rack of your broiler, on low.  Using tongs, take about 1/4 cup of shredded pork and 1/4 cup of coleslaw and assemble onto sandwich.  Use about 1 teaspoon of finishing sauce and drizzle over the sandwich.

Shredded Pork Sandwich with Spicy Coleslaw and Mustard Finishing Sauce

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My next post is going to be about a restaurant that is my new favorite place to take people from out of town…it’s a food truck gone dive bar trio that serves among other things, a d*mn good lobster roll.

Yes, a really good lobster roll in Minneapolis…and I’m not joking.

But before I tell you about this restaurant, first you need to know what a lobster roll is.  While some of you might know  I’m guessing that a majority of us Midwesterners might not even know what to picture when you hear the term “lobster roll”.

SIDE RANT: BUT I’ve been having lobster rolls and clam strips for years and am now patiently awaiting the migration of clam strips to the Midwest.  I am very lucky to have grandparents that live on the East Coast and most years we would go up to Maine and dine on these local treats at little roadside stands or picnic tables overlooking the ocean (or highway).  

Summary: if you’ve never been to Maine then you need to put it on your bucket list.  Now back to your regularly scheduled program.  

What is a Lobster Roll?

  • Is it a lobster flavored dinner roll?
  • Is it a lobster tail rolled into a ball of some kind?
  • Is it a lobster that has been specially trained to do somersaults?

You’re completely wrong but that was a nice thought.

First of all, you need to know that there are two different variations of lobster rolls; one with mayo and one with butter.

  • The mayo version contains chunks of fresh lobster with mayonnaise and sometimes celery and a light seasoning.  Then the mixture is cooled in the fridge for a bit before serving.

MAYO version of the lobster roll

  • The butter one I’ve never seen but essentially it’s hot lobster rolling in butter on top of a roll and apparently is referred to as “Connecticut style”.  (One one-way ticket to Connecticut please!)

BUTTER lobster roll version

What’s With the Bun?

Now to the bun….this is special and is what gives the lobster it’s “roll” title as you probably already figured out.  The lobster and seasoning are served on a buttered and crunchy-fied hot dog bun (or some kind of hot dog bun looking cousin).

While that might sound weird, if you ever try eating a lobster sandwich you’ll quickly understand why it’s a hot dog bun that is used for this application.  But how boring are hot dog buns?

Thus the New England split-top hot dog rolls (with flat surfaces on each side) was born.

It was created when a very nice piece of sliced bread fell madly in love with a hot dog bun.  As you know, the next step is clearly marriage so they took the plunge.  But hot dog bun was pushing 30 and he didn’t want to be an “old dad” so they decided to put a bun in the oven and add to their Carb family.  Then a little bundle of joy came into the kitchen and they had a child named “New England split-top hot dog roll”.


This Still Doesn’t Sound That Great

If this doesn’t sound good then you’re doing methamphetamines or something. Check yourself into rehab.

Next up, where to find these treats locally and save yourself a $400 plane ticket to Coastal Maine!

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Asian Pork Chops and Sesame Bok Choy

This recipe was adapted from Cooks Illustrated with a few of my favorite flavor preferences.  I also took the liberty of excluding a few ingredients that I didn’t own and had to google to see what they even were!



  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed or minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger


  • 4 boneless, center-cut pork loin chops , 5 to 7 ounces each, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 300 F

1.) Combine all glaze ingredients; mix thoroughly and set aside.

2.) Pat chops dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper…and marinade while you’re cooking with a little soy sauce just cuz

3.) Heat oil atop a large skillet (you know the huge breakfast ones) over medium-high heat until smoking. Add pork to skillet and cook until you have a nice crisp edge, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn chops and cook 1 minute longer; transfer chops to plate and pour off any oil in a stove top skillet. Place chops in oven.  While the chops are in the oven, COOK THE BOK CHOY ON THE SAME LARGE SKILLET TOP.

4.) Add any accumulated juices to a stove top skillet and set over medium heat. Simmer, whisking constantly, until glaze is thick and color of dark caramel (heatproof spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 2 to 6 minutes. Drizzle sauce over chops when bok choy is finished.

Sesame Bok Choy

This is something that even your pickiest veggie critics will like.  There was one person that stepped up to my table not knowing what bok choy was and left a bok choy lover!  This one was also adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that I ran across a while back.


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 baby bok choy (about 4 ounces each), each head halved lengthwise…or two regular sized ones cut in half
  • 3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger , minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds , toasted in a small dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes


1.) Combine soy sauce, stock, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and sugar in small bowl.

2.) Heat large nonstick skillet over high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, swirl to coat pan bottom. Place bok choy in skillet, cut-side down, in single layer. Cook, without moving, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Turn bok choy and cook until lightly browned on second side, about 1 minute longer; transfer to large, warm platter (heated by placing it on the stove top since the oven is on).

3.) Place soy sauce mixture in a small pan and saute on medium heat for 3 minutes, drizzle over cooked bok choy on a serving platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  PLEASE NOTE that the sauce on top (for the chops) was too dark and if you find it getting thick like I did just add a tablespoon of warm water at a time and slowly whisk it in.

Chop Sauce on Top, Bok Choy Sauce on Bottom

And voila!  There you have a decently priced meal that you would have paid $30 for in a restaurant.  And this pork was even organic so throw on another $10 a chop!

I would talk about the caramelized onion mashed potatoes but since they didn’t turn out I decided that they would wait until next time.  Next up, the dessert that I didn’t make but have to write about!

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I am going to break up my “girl’s night” courses into three separate posts since it would have turned out as the longest blog post, EVER.

First course was a salad that I found while cruising the television a couple of months ago.  My friend Jen absolutely loves goat cheese so I have had this on my brain since I watched that episode of “5 Ingredient Fix” with Claire Robinson.

Crunchy Goat Cheese Medallions (click for printable version)

Looking for something crunchy and tangy to spice up your salad?  Try this quick recipe from Claire Robinson of “5 Ingredient Fix” that will wow your guests.  I would suggest serving this with a vinegarette dressing.


  • 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup rosemary infused olive oil, plus 3 teaspoons
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • 1 (12-ounce) log fresh goat cheese, sliced into 1/2-inch disks….TIP: to slice, use a run a string of unused dental floss that is washed off…so it’s less minty
  • 4 ounces baby mixed greens, washed and dried


1.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2.) In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with salt and pepper, to taste. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of the olive oil, to just dampen the crumbs and mix well with a fork. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until golden and crisped, about 5 to 7 minutes. Allow to cool, then toss in chopped thyme.

3.) Brush the goat cheese disks lightly with the remaining 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Coat the cheese on all sides with toasted bread crumbs. Bake on a parchment or silicone lined rimmed baking sheet until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
4.) Divide the mixed baby greens between 4 plates. Carefully, divide the goat cheese rounds on top of each salad, garnish with a sprig of thyme and serve.

Crispy Goat Cheese Medallions Over Fresh Greens with Thyme Garnish

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