Saturday, August 18, 2007

Pork Frites @ Salut

Salut Bar Americain is usually our Saturday post shopping celebration of excess. This time, there was no shopping - just a hunger for good meat and fries.

I wasn't in the mood to blow a $40 wad on steak so I opted for the pork chop frites. Served with this delicious spicy blood orange glaze with enough on the bottom to slop the fries, it was heaven. If you just need meat and potatoes, this is the way to do it folks.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Montreal - The French out there . . . La Chaumiere du Village - St. Agathe des Mon

We capped off our vacation to Montreal with a weekend in the Laurentian mountains north of the city at a quaint, but slightly quirky gay B&B. For our first night in the mountains, we returned to a great little French restaurant in the little town of Saint Agathe Des Monts simply named La Chaumiere du Village.

While the building itself suggested a converted 1950s home, the food itself was remarkable. 3 of our party of 4 started with a puff pastry appetizer featuring chicken-like wild mushrooms, white and grey shallots (who know there was such a thing) in a creamy white wine sauce sandwiched within a tongue tingling pastry studded with cracked black pepper. The server/pastry shelf, a spry petite little elderly woman who hovered over us throughout the night was tickled to see our delight in her creation.

After a refreshing "gourmand pause" of lime sherbet floating in a shot of gin or vermouth (it was difficult to tell), I was treated to a main course of flank steak paired with a sweet-smoked red wine reduction. I love grilled flank steak, but i struggle to keep from over-cooking it. This was among the best I had ever tasted and the sauce was a work of art unto itself.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Herkimer has got Gose

If you are in the twin cities, go to Herkimer and get the Gose. It is a cross between a Belgian Wit and a Berliner according to the menu. I'm not sure what that means, but it's good stuff and very distinctive. Maybe it was the orange slice garnish, but to me it's sort of like Blue Moon, if it went to the dark side.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Back to bacon - the mech way!

In a quest to start eating breakfast at home, thus avoiding the crap carbs and fat by which I may be tempted at work, I have fallen into a groove. These days, most mornings start with Fiber 1 Rasin Bran (disclaimer - I am employed by the folks that make this cereal) and Jennie O extra lean turkey bacon.

The turkey stuff is not an exact copy of what bacon lovers crave, but the stats are great. Each slice has 20 calories, less than 1g of fat and 3g of protein. I swear by the stuff. My only worry is the first ingredient on the label, "mechanically separated turkey". Sounds horrid and cruel to the turkey.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A new recipe from my kitchen - Creamy Rice&Beans

Inspired by those burritos-as-big-as-your-head at Chipotle, I pulled together this dish to go with grilled chicken for a meal a few weeks ago. I always feel guilty for consuming those buggers, but this side dish gives me what I crave and I can just have a small 1/2 cup serving with a more respectable piece of lean grilled chicken and a nice green salad. I also have this recipe posted on
  • 1/2 cup white jasmine rice (uncooked)

  • 3/4 cup chicken stock (or broth)

  • 2 cloves of garlic - peeled and smashed

  • Fresh Juice of 1 lime

  • 1 can black beans - rinsed and drained

  • 1/4 cup low fat sour cream

  • 1/4 cup shredded mexican-blend cheese

  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

  • 1/2 tsp Chile Powder

  • Salt to taste

  1. Stir together rice, stock and garlic in medium saucepan

  2. Heat on medium-high heat to boiling

  3. Stir once, cover and reduce heat to low

  4. Simmer rice on low heat for 20 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed

  5. Add lime juice to rice

  6. Re-cover rice and continue to simmer for 2 additional minutes

  7. Lightly fluff rice with fork and stir in black beans - re-cover and heat additional 3 minutes or until beans are heated

  8. Remove rice from heat

  9. Stir in sour cream, cheese, cilantro and chile powder until well blended

  10. Add Salt to taste

  11. Serve immediately!

Creamy Rice And Beans @ Group Recipes

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Eating through a disaster

Tonight as I was trying to get my 45 minutes of cardio in at my office gym, an interstate bridge loaded with rush-hour commuters was falling into the Mississippi River a few miles away. Through my cloud of sweat and the sounds of VH-1's "I love the 90s - 1996" blasting in my ear, I noticed that incredulous stares at TV screens beyond my field of view. Not until I completed my cool-down, did I switch the station on my personal "Cardio-theater" to CNN to catch the news.
As expected, my phone had been shivering in my gym bag for half an hour with text messages from friends, frantic calls from my Mom and sister, notifications from my Facebook page, etc. After calling Mother to calm her down and alerting J, the BF to what was going on beyond his office, I went home the back way - avoiding the highway and enjoying the view of Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles.

I got home, stuck a Trader Joe's Refrigerated Pizza (Pesto Pomodoro) in the oven and attempted to make a honey dijon vinaigrette (red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, squeeze of honey, kosher salt, and coarse black pepper) to go with my baby spinach salad with feta, sliced almonds and roma tomatoes. Not a combination I had tried before, but it actually turned out well enough to inspire us to eat outside.

We sat on our balcony which has a clear view of downtown Minneapolis, but no visibility to the river beyond and the disaster that was still unfolding as we consumed our meal. I've been sipping on a bottle of "Cheap Red Wine" this week which seemed appropriate for a pizza & salad night, but whose garish (though not repulsive) flavors and rich red color amplified the dark hazy mugginess that settled over the city as the sun set and people were still being recovered across town. Reading the blog of a former political colleague who witnessed the collapse from his house, I'm left with some heavy questions that will linger over all of our dinner tables for a long time both here in the Twin Cities and beyond.