790 Grand Avenue St. Paul MN 55105
The Golden Fig
790 Grand Avenue St. Paul MN 55105
I baked something! Unbelievable, right? From left, apples, carrot cake jam, chocolate bread, cream cheese, crusty bread and manchengo cheese.
Because nothing says holiday cooking like lard, am I right?
Top the chocolate bread with cream cheese and carrot cake jam. Trust me on this one.
Being the fickle person I am, I have a new love. The meat department at Kowalski's. The only place in town I've found nitrite-free kielbasa. So when I saw they had ground lamb, I thought, make lamb wraps - easy for dinner, right? Not if you've never made homemade Tzatziki sauce. The sauce is Greek yogurt plus blended cucumber. Which means I ended up with a very watery sauce. Not like the cream kind you find with most gyros. Plus, I had a ton leftover. So I walked, (yes, literally walked) down to the Persian grocery store and restaurant, the Caspian Bistro. The gentleman there did not only have the kitchen prepare me a pound of gyro meat, he proceeded to explain to me where I went wrong with my sauce and exactly how to make it next time. The store is a delight for foodies. Especially when you can buy liquid saffron for TEN DOLLARS. Yes, you heard me correctly. TEN DOLLARS. Not like when you buy regular saffron and it costs you $8798259137.
There is a sign in store that says, "We have what you need". They even had Spam and Hormel chili amid the 769876 kinds of olive oil, the baklava, and the rose jam.
Naturally, I walked out with $84 worth of food.
2418 University Ave. SE Minneapolis MN 55414
Ever be on your way to a holiday dinner empty-handed? Or looking for a gift for that person who has everything? When the liquor store won't do, my solution is Anonna Gourmet in the St. Anthony Village shopping center.
I can guarantee your hostess won't have every one of the 425436513254 types of olive oil or vinegar that they have at Annona.
Plus, they have a selection of gourmet foods as in salsa, honeys, jams, syrups, pastas - I could go on and on.
The owner is extremely knowledgeable and friendly, and as far as I can tell, is always there. Check them out, I promise you won't be disappointed.
2907 Pentagon Dr, St Anthony, MN 55418
Saturday mornings pose a challenge for me. After watching New Scandinavian Cooking with my BFF Andreas Viestad, I have the option of watching either Wisconsin Foodie (assuming it's not an episode about making cheese) or Peg + Cat. I used to live in Milwaukee, so I'm happy to see a show that portrays the town as more than just a beer and Harley destination. But really, who can resist a show about a little girl and her cat teaching math (complete with graph paper as the background) with such ditties as "One two three, I've got chickens all over me".
Anyway, one of the trademark lines in Peg + Cat is Peg stating, "we've got a reeeaally BIIIIG problem!" Tonight at the Co-op I ran into a reeeaally BIIIIG problem. In the medicinal herbs section, I saw that vanilla beans are $139.00 per lb.
I know right? Then how much is the saffron? Do they have saffron? They would have to keep in locked section with the cigarettes. Oh wait, they don't sell cigarettes.
But I had to have them to make the malt milkshake I saw Andreas make. Besides looking scrumptious, I found all the ingredients I needed for once. Quark, which tastes like the most amazing cream cheese that you will ever eat, and barley malt syrup which I thought would only be available at a brewing supply store. I bought two vanilla beans and it set me back $7. but still in the end cheaper than going out to dinner, combined with the equally amazing Taste of India selections from the hot bar cost a total of $46. Waaay cheaper than any restaurant on you'll find on VDay.
Note: I added a healthy dose of maple syrup to make it palatable. Very different.
I found the best food blog ever. Well, I mean, almost as good as mine. It is http://siriouslydelicious.blogspot.com/. Actually, her pictures are better than mine but I'm working on that. Anyway, Siri is a fellow Minnesota expatriate in California. Thanks to her blog, I discovered not only this Pink Lemonade Mix by Pillsbury, but they make an amazing Key Lime Cake mix also. Really, how great is that for timing? Pink Cookies for Valentine's Day and Key Lime Cake for St. Paddy's Day. And the perfect colors for spring if you, like me are ready to take out that damn lying groundhog. As I sit here writing this, the temp is 3 degrees heading for a low of -11. I'm so ready for spring. But while I'm waiting, I can easily get in the mood with these easy mixes. Frosting sold separately but #ohsoworthit.
OK. I've been a bad girl. I've been posting a few pictures and not writing. The winter gods have not been smiling on me. I've been sick since October and been doing the bare minimum, well you name it. Everything. Cooking, cleaning, working, if I can cut a corner, well you can bet that I do. Remember the post on the Nigella Express Cookbook? The one where I admitted I didn't know what Naan was? Thanks to a kind benefactor who found some in LaCrosse, Wisconsin of all places, I, A, discovered it was flatbread, and B, created the easiest pizza ever. Borrowing heavily from Nigella, I threw Ragu Pizza Sauce and shredded fontina cheese on top and ovened it. Best 15 minute dinner ever.
My son did this Gingerbread House in school. Not bad for a kid who hates art class. But I'm stoked because he now wants to make gingerbread men cookies at home. And hence, my secret wish he'll be a chef one day and cook for me.
I went to our dinky library yesterday in my quest to find a simple, healthy cookbook that will please all the palettes in my family. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found Nigella Lawson's Nigella Express:130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast. Now, there are essentially two problems I have with this book. One, I'm a great deal of it won't entice a six-year-old, and second, even though the recipes consisted on the average of about five ingredients (bliss), I had never heard of some of the ingredients. This is me we are talking about. It's hurtful. Here are some examples:
So my pride and my pantry are woefully deprived. I'm sure it's all good food, and fast, but I just don't have things like chestnut paste or carmelized onions burning a hole in my cupboard. And for obvious reasons, I can't go shopping today.
Incidentally, it's still snowing 4 hours alter. Hopefully the Minneapolis Schools will declare a snow day tomorrow. Please send Williams-Somona products!!
I have cooked entire Thanksgiving dinners. Pity that hasn't happen since 1996. Now, as a perennial guest, I am only tasked with finding an open florist on the big day and bringing dessert. Thank goodness for the florist down the street and my new stove. Last year's Pecan Pie out of The Cajun Gourmet: Afloat and on the Road ended up a soupy mess on the carseat. This year I am trying cupcakes. Naturally, that didn't stop me from having to go to Williams-Sonoma, credit card in hand. I purchased a wire rack, cupcake boxes, a candy thermometer, a 9-piece cake decorating kit, a Marvel Heroes cupcake kit and a jar of Italian Braising Gravy for my BIL. Which he will tell me is good, but not as good as his own. I really can't stop in that store. So my agenda tomorrow is to try the cupcakes. Just in case, you can see, I have a backup bag of Betty Crocker pumpkin spice cookies and cream cheese frosting. For my sister I got a jar of mulling spices from Prairie Berry Winery. Here's a close up.
Hmmm. I'll need to take a better picture. Anyway, you add Mulling Spices to heated wine along with brown sugar for a festive holiday drink. It's nostalgic for me. My sis & BIL took mulled wine in a thermos one Christmas Eve as we journey about looking at the spectacular lights in Chicago.
(Incidentally, I am still waiting for someone to bring me a case of Prairie Berry Phat Hogg red, which would go perfect with the mulling spices...)
Speaking of waiting, as you can also see from the top picture of my goodies, I am still waiting for the last wall in the kitchen to be painted...but being the delicate flower I am, I can't possibly move the appliances by myself. BUT once again, I digress. What else is in the picture, crepes for dad, one of his favorite things, (not an altruistic move on my part, I'm hoping he''ll make crepes on Saturday and I can blog about it). Milk Chocolate Raspberry sticks for my mother. She's always on the lookout for the frosted round jelly circles (I don't know what they are called). I googled images for "frosted jelly circles" and it returned mostly pictures of those gel phone covers. (Such is the digital age we live in). If you know where I can find them. please please let me know.
So that's it for tonight. The real cooking fun begins tomorrow. We'll see where my ambition takes me. Good thing I'm a morning person.
A Minnesota native returns after 13 years away discovering a whole new food landscape.