Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Glazed Beet Donuts

When I mentioned on Facebook that I was going to try making beet donuts today, Amy from Green Your Plate told me I was "talking crazy talk." But you see, I think beets, especially roasted beets, have a mild sweetness that makes them perfect for this type of application. And let's not forget about the color they add. Last summer, we made a Vanilla Beet Gelato that we really enjoyed so, it wasn't so crazy for us.
Beet Donuts
This was my first go at making real cake donuts (the shortcake ones from yesterday don't count) and I wasn't sure what to expect from the texture. I have to say, they were surprisingly close to what you'd buy at a donut shop, firm and springy but, not too dry. I have a feeling they are best eaten the day made but, that isn't a big deal since you could mix these up and bake then in about 15 - 20 minutes.
Beet Donuts
Of course, you want to know how they taste. They were very good, sweet but, not too sweet, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. The beet flavor is there but it is subtle, perfectly balanced with the other flavors. If you served these to someone without telling them they were made with beets, I'm betting they would have a hard time putting a finger on what the flavor is. I should mention Matt thought the cake could be sweeter but, I thought it was totally sweet enough, especially with the glaze.

Glazed Beet Donuts
adapted from the recipe on the Norpro Donut Pan package

3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
3/4 t baking powder
pinch salt
pinch cinnamon
pinch cayenne
1/4 c chopped, roasted beets
1/4 c milk
3/4 t vanilla
1 egg
1 t shortening

Glaze
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 T milk

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease three donut forms in a donut baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cayenne.

In a small food processor or chopped, purée the beets with the milk. It won't be smooth. Mix into the flour mixture. Stir in the vanilla, egg and shortening. Divide between the three greased donut forms.
Beet Donuts - Ready to go in the Oven
Bake for 8 - 11 minutes (mine took all 11) until the donuts spring back when touched. Let cook for a few minutes in the donut pan before removing to a rack to finish cooling.
Beet Donuts
Once cool, make the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and milk in a bowl you can easily dip the donuts into. I like to start with the water and add the sugar a little at a time until I get a thickness I like. You may need more or less sugar. Dip the cool donuts carefully into the glaze. Remove to a rack where the glaze can drip off. Let set for a few minutes to harden.
Beet Donuts
Makes 3 donuts.

Now, how's that for a way to get some more vegetables into your kids?
Beet Donuts

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shortcake Donuts

This is really just a silly one. Over the weekend I bought a Norpro Donut Pan to make cake donuts at home (my favorite kind really). The packaging on the pan said it worked with any quick bread or non-moist cake recipe. Matt suggested I try making shortcake donuts, the hole would be a place to tuck in more strawberries. You know me, I'm always up to try something like this. It actually worked surprisingly well. Here's what the donuts look like from the top and bottom.
Shortcake Donuts Day 27 - Shortcake Donuts
Now really, these are just shortcakes with a hole in the middle, the texture and taste are the same as normal shortcakes.  I used my go-to shortcake recipe from Small-Batch Baking, which makes a decadent cake with heavy cream and vanilla. The only thing I had to change was the cooking time as the hole in the middle made these cook much quicker.
Strawberry Shortcake Donuts
You can serve them with berries and whipped cream over the top or slice them in half like we did. I was afraid they would fall apart when sliced like this but, happily, I was wrong.

Shortcake Donuts
from Small-Batch Baking
(You can also use this recipe to make regular shortcakes if you don't have a donut pan just bake in 2 mounds for about 28 minutes.)

2/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/3 + 2 T heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a small bowl. Mix the vanilla and heavy cream together. Slowly add the cream/vanilla to the flour mixture stirring gently with a fork until the dough hold together. Divide the dough in half. Gently roll each half into a snake just long enough to fill a donut form in the dough pan. Bake for 15 - 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool on a rack.

Makes 2

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekly Menu and Farmers Market Finds 6/26 - 7/2/11

Our farmers market was really hoping this weekend and we are really starting to see more and more vegetables. And the strawberries, just tons and tons of strawberries! And a special hi to Jim, who stopped us at the market to say hi and let us know he reads the blog. It's so fun to meet the people who read this and see they are real live humans!
Farmers Market Finds 6/26
Here's what we picked up this week...

Spotlight Foamy Bells plant - I've been looking everywhere for more of these for my garden.
Eggs - We go through a lot of hard boiled ones lately
Flank Steak
Dill - to use of shrimp sandwiches for lunch
Cucumbers - This is a favorite snack right now
Strawberries - Just enough for strawberry shortcake for two
Beets
Sweet Peas

We've visited a few food related stores this week that we've been wanting to check out for awhile.
R.J.'s Fresh Meat
First, we went to R.J.'s Meats in Hudson, WI. This little grocery store is mainly known for it's old school meat counter and has won numerous awards at the American Cured Meat Championships. You can even bring in your fresh caught game for processing. But, we were there for the sauages. They make 32 kinds of brats, 3 kinds of poultry sausages and 5 kinds of specialty sausages. We couldn't resist getting about 6 different kinds to stock up our freezer for the upcoming holiday weekend.
Nordic Ware Factory Store
And we finally stopped by the Nordic Ware Factory Store. A large kitchen ware shop with Nordic Ware goods and lots more. Of course they have lots of versions of the famous bundt pan but, I was there to pick up a donut pan. Looking forward to trying lots of different versions of baked donuts!

On to Menu Planning Monday....

Chicken Thighs with Green Garlic and Chive Pesto

Stir- Fry with Sweet Peas

Roasted Beet and Lentil Salad

Steak Fajitas

Roasted Beet Pizza or Tart

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pasta with Peas and Bacon in Green Garlic and Chive Pesto Sauce

Yesterday, I shared a recipe for Green Garlic and Chive Pesto, now today I give you a recipe for how we used it in a pasta dish.
Pasta with Peas and Bacon in Green Garlic and Chive Pesto Sauce
This was one of those dishes we made up on the fly. We knew we were going to turn the pesto in to a cream sauce but, the question then was what else to put in it. I wanted to use some of the sugar snap peas that have been so good at the farmers market lately. I thought the sweetness would be good against the zing of the pesto. We thought bacon would be the perfect addition of saltiness (ok, when don't we think bacon is the perfect addition?). Since we were eating at Corner Table it only made sense to pick up some Hickory Smoked Bacon from their deli case.

I usually use the term comfort food for fall and winter dishes but, this pasta is totally spring comfort food. We had worked all day around the house and yard plus, canned two batches of jam so, this pasta was the perfect dinner. It comes together quickly, the sauce is done in the time it takes to boil the pasta, and its got that creamy goodness that is always soothing.

Pasta with Peas and Bacon in Green Garlic and Chive Pesto Sauce
(If you can't find hickory smoked bacon feel free to use your favorite good smoked variety but, the hickory smoke really adds a slight summer bbq smell and flavor to this dish.)

4 oz pasta, we used penne
3 slices of hickory smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 1/2 c sugar snap peas, strings removed
1 T all-purpose flour
1 c half and half
2 T green garlic and chive pesto
1 oz asiago cheese, grated
1 oz parmesan cheese, grated
fresh ground pepper
salt

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove to a paper towel, leaving about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the peas and cook for one minute. Sprinkle the flour over the peas and stir while cooking for another minutes. Add the half and half and bring to a boil while stirring until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the pesto, cheese and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Cook until the cheese is melted. Stir in the cooked bacon. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Stir in drained pasta and heat until cooked through.

2 servings

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Green Garlic and Chive Pesto

Over the last three years we have slowly been re-landscaping our yard, adding perennial gardens, raised vegetable beds and such.
New Garden Path
This summer I redid an area that used to be my herb garden (though nothing grew well there). There were a few stray things from last year that I needed to dig up, a bunch of chives and some stray green garlic. Matt suggested it would make an interesting pesto.
Green Garlic and Chive Pesto
I'm not a super huge fan of basil pesto but, this one is a completely different story. It's a beautiful bright green with a very zingy flavor. That zing does mellow out quite a bit when mixed with other things like cream for a pasta sauce.

Green Garlic and Chive Pesto

1/3 c chopped green garlic, I use the white and some of the lighter green parts
1/3 c chopped chives
12 raw whole almonds (I'm sure roasted would be good too but, don't use salted)
2 T grated parmesan
4 - 5 T olive oil
fresh ground pepper
kosher salt

Put the garlic, chives and almonds in a food processor of chopped and pulse a few times to chop small. Add the cheese and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until smooth. If not as smooth as you'd like add more olive oil and process again. Stir in a few grinds of fresh pepper. Taste and add salt as needed, the amount will depend on how salty your cheese is.

Makes about 1/2 cup.

Tomorrow, I'll give you the recipe for the pasta we made with this pesto. Later this week I'll be trying it on chicken.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dill Pickle Faux- Fried Chicken

I was looking online at the menu of a new restaurant near us, Wise Acre, and noticed one of their entrées was Dill Pickled Fried Chicken. Oh, did I ever want to try that but, between vacation and Matt's business trips we haven't had a chance to go yet. What is a girl to do other than try to make her own version at home?
Dill Pickle Faux-Fried Chicken
My idea was to use the same sort brine I would to make deli dill pickles to give the chicken the dill pickle flavor. Then instead of deep frying (something I don't really like to do at home), I'd do a faux-fry in the oven since I'd had success with it in the past. I had no idea whether Matt and I would like this or not but, we like dill pickle potato chips so, I thought why not.
Dill Pickle Faux-Fried Chicken
Total success! The chicken had a good dill and spice flavor just like a good pickle. The crust came out brown and crispy plus, it's a little better for you without the skin or deep frying. The only thing I would do different next time is add a little dried dill to the brine to boost the dill flavor even more. Matt thought the chicken with the brine was good enough that it didn't even need the crust. He thinks we should use this brine on some boneless chicken, grill it and then serve it on a sandwich. Sounds good to me too!

Dill Pickle Faux-Fried Chicken

4 bone-in skinless chicken thighs

Dill Pickle Brine
(You could use the brine from a jar of your favorite pickles instead of making this brine if you have some on hand.)

1 c water
2 T white vinegar
2 T kosher salt
1 bunch fresh dill fronds (about 1/3 c)
1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed
1 small bay leaf, crumbled

1 t pickling spice, crushed a little
OR
1/8 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t red pepper flakes
1/8 t ground cardamom
1/8 t ground all spice
1/8 t ground cloves
1/8 t ground mustard
1/8 t ground ginger

Put the water, vinegar and salt in a bowl or baggie big enough to hold your chicken. Stir or shake until the salt is dissolved. Stir in all the remaining ingredients. Add your chicken and let brine 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Rinse and dry the chicken thighs.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Breading

6 T fine bread crumbs
2 T grated parmesan
1/4 t dried thyme
1 egg

In a shallow bowl mix the bread crumbs, parmesan and thyme together.

Put the egg in another shallow bowl and beat it.

Dip the chicken thighs into the egg and then into the breading coating all sides. Place bone-side down on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with a little cooking spray. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until done, turning the thighs over at about 30 minutes.

Makes 4 thighs

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekly Menu and Farmers Market Finds 6/20 - 6/25/11

Is everybody else having as weird a spring as we are in Minnesota?! We're all getting ready to build arks here with all the rain that's been coming down and even more in the forecast. Add the cool temperatures (other than that record breaking 103F day), and the farmers at the market are saying they are about a month behind.
Farmers Market 6/16
Strawberries - Finally came in this week about 3 weeks late and apparently the season will be short. We picked up a bunch and I canned a couple batched of jam already yesterday and processed 16 more cups of strawberries for the freezer.
Day 19 - A Jam Plan
Ho Chi Minh Pepper Plant - A gift to us from the folks at Swede Lake Farm for sharing some of our peppers with them last year. This is one hot pepper!
Chicken - We are completely out of whole chickens in the freezer and by the time we got to the market last week they were sold out so, I made sure to stock up with week.
Cucumbers - I eating about 1/2 of one everyday for lunch these days.
Blackberry and Ginger Pie from Sun Street Breads - This will be dessert tonight with a little sweet chai ice cream
Sweet Peas - They'll go in pasta tonight and a stir-fry later this week but, I'm also liking a handful raw as a snack.
Spinach - For lunch most days I eat rye crisps with a little cheese and ham, thinking I'll add a few spinach leaves this week.

On to Menu Planning Monday...
Matt is traveling again this week so, it's I'm trying to cook well for one again.

Penne with Green Garlic and Chive Pesto, Sweet Peas and Corner Table's Bacon

Stir-Fry with Sweet Peas, Broccoli and Spinach

Spring Onion Tart

Green Garlic and Chive Pesto Chicken
Dill Pickle Faux-Fried Chicken
Also, we'll be posting a recipe this week for the Dill Pickle Faux-Fried Chicken we made last week, so good!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, June 17, 2011

Best Local Foods Challenge

The recent issue of Minnesota Monthly listed the best local foods. I thought it might be interesting to create a list of them to see how many we've already tried and how many more we can try this year. I've marked the ones we've had in red and added a few notes.

Dairy, Eggs and Grains

1. Cedar Summit Whole Milk
2. Kalona Chocolate Milk
3. Kalona Super Natural Yogurt
4. Kalona Super Natural Sour Cream
5. Autumnwood Milk
Cedar Summit Farm Cream Bottles
6. Cedar Summit Cream - Break the cream cap at the top of the sweet glass little jars for the most decadent addition to your morning coffee. Seriously good.
7. Johnson Quail Eggs
8. Auracana Blue Chicken Eggs
9. LTD Duck Eggs
10. Harmony Organics Chicken Eggs
11. Hope Unsalted Butter - This is the butter we keep on hand all the time in both salted and unsalted. The flavor is so outstanding compared to the national brands.
12. Nordic Creamery Butter
13. Rochdale Farms Hand-Rolled Butter
14. Parisserie 46 Miche
15. Country Choice Organics Duplex Sandwich Cremes
16. Potter's Crackers
17. New French Bakery's Sesame Semolina Loaf
18. Whole Grain Milling Company's Corn Chips
19. Bittersweet Farm Ruby Red Popcorn
20. Native Harvest Wild Rice - You can really tell the different when you buy a good hand harvested wild rice.
21. St. Paul Bagelry Everything Bagels
22. Rustica's Bostock
23. Birchwood Granola
24. Salty Tart Croissants
25. Rustica's Bittersweet Chocolate and Ginger Cookies
26. Surdyk's Pretzels
27. Sun Street's Baguette - We love most of Solvieg's breads. Having her bakery close by has made me stop baking my own because I could never get the quality she does.

Cheese

28. Montchevre Cheese La Chevriotte
29. Alemar Cheese Company's Bent River Camebert
30. Crave Bros. Petit Freres
31. Star Thrower's Raw Sheep's Milk Camembert-Style Cheese
32. Montchevre Cheese Bucheron
33. Love Tree Farm's Gabrielson Lake
Sheep
34. Love Tree Farm's Sweet Young Thing - A great sheep's milk cheese, perfect for snacking. It went over big at a party here topped with some of my Fig and Jalapeno Jam.
35. Crave Bros. Mascarpone
36. Crave Bros. Fresh Mozzarella
37. Kowalski's Fresh Mozzarella
38. Donnay Chevre
39. Northern Lights Blue
40. Shepherd's Way Big Woods Blue
41. St. Pete's Summit Winter Blue
42. Montfort Gorgonzola
43. Dunbarton Blue
44. Roth Kase Buttermilk Blue
45. Pastureland Meadowlark Cheddar
46. Marieke Gouda Belegen
47. Carr Valley Mobay
48. Bleu Mont Bandage-Wrapped Cheddar
49. Hook's 10 Year Cheddar

Sauces, Ice Cream and Candy

50. Groveland Confections Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
51. Golden Fig Salty Caramel Sauce
52. Minnestalgia Blueberry Sauce
53. Laura's Candy Marshmallows
54. Laura's Graham Crackers
55. BT Mcelrath Milk Chocolate
56. Haute Habañero Sauce
57. River Chocolate Company's Kumbe' African Chocolate Sauce
58. Ring Mountain Gelato
59. Heartland Red Fruit Sorbet
60. Heartland Strawberry Mint Sorbet
61. Izzy's Peace Coffee Ice Cream
62. Izzy's Summit Oatmeal Stout Ice Cream
63. Pumphouse Creamery Salty Caramel Ice Cream - 6/30 - Actually they call it Sea Salt and Caramel Ice Cream. Great texture and flavor. I feel like you can taste the milk in it. Homemade waffle cone tastes like Golden Grahams cereal.
64. Pumphouse Creamery Vanilla Ice Cream
65. Sonny's Spumoni
66. Sonny's Blood Orange Sorbet
67. Patisserie 46 Lime Coriander Bars
68. Thomasina's Cashew Brittle
69. Very Prairie Vanilla and Double Chocolate Marshmallows
70. BT Mcelrath's Prairie Dog Chocolate Bar - 6/26 - Good but I prefer the Salty Dog especially because it's dark chocolate.
71. BT Mcelrath's Blood Orange Blossoms
72. Sweet Jules Sea-Salt Caramels
73. BT Mcelrath's Strawberry Balsamic Caramels
74. Very Prairie Wild Meringue Mushrooms
75. Mademoiselle Miel Honey Bonbons
76. Very Prairie Vanilla and Chocolate Meringue Stars
77. Sweet Godess Butter Almond Toffee
78. Sweet Godess Peanut-Butter Cup
79. Groveland Confections's Dark Chocolate, Coffee and Sea Salt Bark

Honey, Jam and Hot Sauce

80. Ames Farm Honey - A very distinctive honey. I can tell when someone is using it just by the way it smells. 
81. Johnston Honey
82. Ames Farm Buckwheat Honey
83. Lucia's Pecan-Nut Honey
84. Birchwood Strawberry Preserves
85. Red Lake Nation Blueberry Jam
86. Lucille's Kitchen Strawberry Rhubarb Basil Jam
87. Lucille's Kitchen Mead Jam
88. Wee Willy's Barbecue Sauce - No one thinks of MN for barbecue but ,we love this sauce. It's basic but so good even Bon Appetite called it one of the best.
89. Lucky's Honey Mustard
90. Lucia's Plum Ketchup
91. Fanfrikkin'tastic Buffalo Wing Sauce
92. Lucky's Jalapeno and Garlic Hot Sauce
93. Kayak Kitchens Haute Habanero Paste
94. Sadia's Hot Sauce, Mild
95. Daddy Sam's Salmon Glaze

Syrup, Vinegar and Pickles

96. Red Lake Nation Chokeberry Syrup
97. Waletzko Family 2011 Maple Syrup
98. Stanley's Sugar Bush Grade B
99. Anderson's Apple Syrup
100. Lorence's Berry Farm Raspberry Syrup
101. Leatherwood Garlic in Mixed Fruit Vinegar
102. Leatherwood Rhubarb Vinegar
103. Golden Fig Rose Raspberry Vinegar
104. Talmadge Farms Spicy Green Tomatoes
105. Heartland Pickled Burdock
106. Tangletown Gardens Basil Bean Pickles
107. Tangletown Gardens Corn Relish
108. Papa Pat's Sweet Bread and Butter Pickles
109. Heartland Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
110. Heartland Sauerkraut

Beer and Meat

111. Summit Unchained Gold Sovereign Ale
112. Lift Bridge Farm Girl - Not a favorite of ours but we don't really like Saissons
113. Furthermore Fatty Bombalatty - One of Matt's go to beers.
114. Surly Darkness Stout
115. Surly Smoked Lager
115. Surly Abrasive Ale
116. Dave's Brew Farm Matacabras
117. Rush River IPA - Matt loves a good IPA & he loves most things Rush River does as well
118. Barley John's Old Eight Porter
119. Harriet Brewing Pils
Dark Abbey Release Day at Harriet Brewing
120. Harriet Brewing West Side Belgian IPA - We prefer their Dark Abbey
121. Town Hall Masala Mama IPA
122. Brau Brothers Bancreagie
123. Brau Brothers Sheep Head Ale
124. Whetstone Goose
125. Lorentz Pepper Bacon
126. Callister Farm Chicken
127. Wild Acres Duck
128. Pastures A Plenty Pork
129. Au Bon Canard Foie Gras Butter
130. Corner Table Paté - Scott has a way with meat and we order his charcuterie plate a lot. We've yet to be disappointed. 
131. Corner Table Chicken Liver Mousse - See above
132. Clancey's Pepper Bacon Paté
133. Clancey's Duck Prosciutto
134. Heartland's Mangalista Bacon
135. Hill and Vale Lamb Chops
136. Hill and Vale Rib Eye

Wow, we have a lot left to try. So, those of you in the area, anything on this list that you love and we absolutely have to try? Anything you're surprised to see or not see on here? I was surprised not to see any beers from Fulton, meats from Mike Philips or ice cream from Sebastian Joe's

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spring Sweet Pea and Green Garlic Pasta

Seems like we just got home from vacation and Matt is already flying off for work leaving me to fend for myself. Luckily, the farmers market this week had the first of the spring vegetables to inspire me to eat well even though solo. That's a good thing since I've been known to resort to a bag of microwave popcorn for single girl dinners (oh come on, you know you've done it too!).
Spring Sweet Pea and Green Garlic Pasta
I had picked up a bag of the most beautiful little pea pods which were perfectly sweet and tender when eaten whole. They would be great in a stir-fry but, I really wanted to spotlight them in a simple creamy pasta, something that would say spring in a bowl. The cream sauce is flavored with spring onions and green garlic, both which have a milder flavor than their full grown counterparts which means they won't overpower the sweet peas. It's also a super quick dish, with prep and cooking the pasta, it was ready to eat in less than 15 minutes which is great in this nice weather when we'd rather be outside than in the kitchen.

Spring Sweet Pea and Green Garlic Pasta
(if you can't get spring onions or green garlic, you can of course use regular, it just may have a more pungent flavor.)

2 oz penne pasta
1 T unsalted butter
1 spring onion, sliced
1 green garlic, chopped (if you can't get green garlic try garlic scapes)
1 c sweet pea pods, strings removed
1/2 t white wine vinegar
1 1/2 t all-purpose flour
1/3 c half & half
pinch of dried thyme
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Put the pasta in to boil per the directions on the box.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-hugh heat. Add the white part of the onion (setting aside the green parts for later)and the garlic. Sauté until tender about 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. Add the pea pods and sauté for about another minute until bright green but still crisp. Stir in the vinegar. Sprinkle the flour over everything and stir for 1 minute. Add the half & half, reserved green parts of the onion, thyme, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir while boiling until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Taste for seasoning.

Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce.

1 serving but easy increased to feed more.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekly Menu 6/13 - 6/17/11

Back to reality after vacation, well for me anyway, Matt is off on back to back business trips. That's ok I stocked up at the Kingfield Farmers Market this weekend for some good single girl meals this week.
Farmers Market Finds 6/12/11
Our market is a 100 mile market so, there isn't a ton of variety yet (especially since the cool weather has put the crops a few weeks behind) but, man, was I happy to see some fresh green veggies there. Here's what we picked up this week...

Broccoli - I thought it was too early but they had lots of beautiful small bunches
Dill - I've been making a cucumber, dill, yogurt and lemon juice salad for lunch everyday lately so I was thrilled to see the fresh dill. Also thinking of trying my hand at dill brined chicken.
Eggs - From happy, free range, organic fed hens
Spring Onions - Perfect for pizza or even just on the grill
Spring Peas - We didn't grow peas this year so, I'm happy to pick up a big bag of them
Cucumbers - It's not quite cucumber season here yet but, these are hothouse grown by Peter's Pumpkins. I have to say buying something from Peter is the perfect example of why I like shopping at the farmers market. He is so proud of his produce, telling everyone not to peel these as he doesn't spray them with anything. And asking you to notice how small the seed center is on his cucumbers, giving you more meat. A producer who is so enthusiastic about all he grows and sells to you is a good thing.

I also harvested some green garlic and chives from our garden.

On to Menu Planning Monday....

Peas and green garlic pasta

Broccoli, egg and cheese bake

Dinner out

Dill brined faux-fried chicken

Probably brats on the grill

Looks like a beautiful summer week, hope everyone has a great one!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, June 10, 2011

Eating Stockholm - A general overview

We are back from a fabulous trip to Stockholm, Sweden. We couldn't have asked for a better time. As with any other trip food was a big part of the enjoyment for us. Scandinavian chefs are on the cutting edge of the culinary scene and Stockholm has five Michelin star restaurants. Similar to the trend happening in the States nicer restaurants are paying a lot of attention to using local ingredients in their dishes. Apparently Swedes are really into cooking at home too as more cookbooks are released per capita there than any other country, it comes out to something like one a day! If you are thinking of traveling to Stockholm, or just like to armchair travel, I hope you enjoy this overview of what we learned on our trip.
Celebration cake at the palace
Celebration cake for Sweden's National Day
Costs: Let's get this one out of the way, it is expensive, especially with where the dollar is right now. Our cheapest dinners were about $70 but, over $100 was much more typical. These were dinners with one drink each, maybe an appetizer to share and a main each. A nicer meal is going to even go up from there, for example the Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel was $76.60 each without drinks, add in drinks at over $10 each and you can easily hit about $150 per person (and that was our second most expensive meal). For lunch a sandwich and drink (usually a light beer or wine) ran about $50 for the two of us. Food and drink was definitely the biggest expense of our trip.

Food: Fish is king in Sweden with herring and salmon sharing the crown. A lot of people turn up their nose at pickled herring but, give it a try. We had about twelve different kinds, I loved them all and Matt liked most of them. A lot of restaurants offer a sampler plate which is a great way to try it. Make sure to pair it with a cold beer. Salmon is usually served smoked or as gravlax.
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
We also saw a lot of shrimp on menus usually as an open-faced sandwich for lunch on rye bread with hardboiled eggs and mayo. This became Matt's favorite lunch of the trip.
Prawn and egg sandwich

Most menus had a steak dish but it was also typical to see reindeer (or elk), veal and ox as the red meat choice. We had all three and really enjoyed them. Chicken seems to always be served wrapped in bacon.
Moose Meatballs

Make sure to try some Swedish meatballs, meatballs in gravy with potatoes and lingonberries. They are available everywhere but, the best we had on the trip were made with reindeer at Blå Dörren.

What about Swedish pancakes? We didn't see them offered anywhere except for our hotel's breakfast buffet. Everything we read said that pancakes should only be eaten at a private home because that is the only why to get them freshly made. Most restaurants that offer them are serving a precooked version brought in from a food service company.

Drinking: The legal age to buy alcohol in Sweden is 18 at bars and restaurants and 20 for the state liquor stores, Systembolaget. Some places may only sell people between 18 and 20 lower alcohol drinks. It is expensive to buy drinks but, that doesn't seem to stop anyone. We saw lots of people having light beer or white wine with lunch and bars and cafes were very busy right after work with people having drinks with friends.

Beer seems to run from $2.50 to $15 depending on the alcohol amount. All menus list the alcohol volume of each beer. Some places have only one brand of beer on tap and you order it as either at light, medium or strong depending on the alcohol volume. Swedish beers tend to be lagers. We found that there seems to be a real interest in American beers in Sweden with breweries making beers based on American beers.
Steamer Matbaren
Matt really enjoyed a beer called Steamer which was based on Anchor Steam. The East River Lager was inspired by the Brooklyn Brewing Company who had come and consulted with the brewery in Sigtuna.

Wine typically started at $10 a glass but, more likely we were paying $12 - $15. It wasn't surprising to find only a house wine available by the glass though most nicer restaurants had a bigger selection of European and American wines.

Since we only had akvavit once I really can't talk on the snaps and other hard alcohol.

Fika: Fika is a verb and a noun in Swedish that sort of means to drink coffee but, it means more than that. Fika is a break with coffee and a pastry. From what I understand Swedes usually take a fika break at 9am and 3pm. Well, who are we to resist and why resist when the sweets are so good.
Time for Fika

We really like the cinnamon bun or kanelbullar. These are not sticky and heavy like American cinnamon buns but, light and airy with a healthy dose of cardamom. Sweden smells of cardamom and cinnamon to me.
Chokladboll

Another we had to try was the chokladboll. An uncooked treat of oatmeal, sugar, coffee, cocoa, butter, and sometimes a pinch of vanilla sugar, which is mixed to a compact mass then rolled in Swedish pearl sugar. Yes, that is sugar on that and the cinnamon bun (we heard a couple of guys asking if it was salt).

Food Halls and Markets: We visited two food halls in Stockholm. The first was Saluhall which is considered the best indoor market. This hall is very much based on local foods
Saluhall Saluhall
Then we went to Hötorgsallen which had all the local items and a lot of imports and ethnic foods too. We may have enjoyed this market better because it had more non-freah items we could take home.
Hötorgsallen Hötorgsallen
We picked up some Cloudberry jam and horn salt (a leavening agent used in Scandinavian baking that my cousin needs for her special Christmas cookies). We also picked up a lot for Lentils de Puy because they are so much cheaper in Europe.
Hötorgsallen

There was an outdoor market on weekends outside of Hötorgsallen. As you can see it was berry season while we were there. There also seemed to be a fruit and vegetable stand outside every T-bana station everyday.

Restaurants: Here is a list of the best restaurants we went to with links to their websites and in some cases links to posts about our meals there. Most restaurants' menus have English translations and at the one we went to that didn't, the bartender actually came around the bar and translated the whole thing for me!

Pubologi - A fun gastropub with modern takes on Swedish food. Great wine and beer list. A hidden gem on the touristy Gamla Stan. Read about out dinner there here.

Matbaren - The bar at the Restaurant Mathias Dahlgren at the Grand Hotel. The restaurant has two Michelin stars but, the bar actually has one of it's own. A focus on local Swedish and Scandinavian ingredients. Read about our dinner there here.

Veranden at the Grand Hotel - The classic Swedish Smögåsbord, read about our dinner there here.

Blå Dörren - A busy beer hall and kitchen at the end of the fashionable Götgatan shopping street. This is where we had the best Swedish meatballs.
Mussels! Duck Confit
Akkurat - This is a place Matt stumbled on through Wikipedia. From the outside we thought it was a Mexican restaurant but it turned out to be a very Belgium inspired gastropub with huge beer and whiskey lists. We were to see Dave's Brew Farm from WI on the list. They are said to have the biggest whiskey selection in Stockholm. Mussels served eight different ways seemed to be the most popular dish on the menu though I enjoyed a tasty duck confit in kriek over lentils. The staff was extremely helpful with beer pairings. A popular place for locals with live music at the bar sometimes. I recommend a reservation.

For lunches we often found the quality of food at the museums to be very good. At the Nordiska Museet sandwiches were made to order. At the Nationalmuseum they had a selection of hot dishes and a wonderful cold salad buffet. We also noticed some of the museums had microwaves in the cafe area so, you could bring you own food and reheat it.

I asked Matt if he had any advice for someone going to Stockholm in terms of food and his response was, "Keep an open mind and try everything!"

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eating Stockholm - Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel

I thought going to a Smörgåsbord in Stockholm would be a little like going to a Luau in Hawaii, really cheesy and large amounts of food that isn't that good but, you have to experience it at least one. Lucky, I was wrong, at least at the smörgåsbord we went to, the setting was classy and the food was mostly great. We had read in a couple of places that the one to go to was at the Grand Hotel (yes, the same hotel where Mathias Dahlgren was). They serve a smörgåsbard in their Verandan Restaurant everyday for lunch and dinner. We figured it would be our best chance at getting a good traditional meal.
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
We made a reservation for 7:15 on Friday night. We probably could have walked in but wanted to be sure on a weekend. The view from the restaurant over the harbor and Gamla Stan could not have been nicer. The restaurant gives you a little booklet with guidelines on how to best enjoy a smörgåsbord which we followed...
1. Think of it as a 4 to 6 course meal. Pace yourself by only taking a little of everything.
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
2. Start with the herring dishes paired with a traditional snaps and cold beer.
We counted 9 different ways to have herring on the buffet! I loved them all, pickled, with onions, with beets, with cream, with mustard, baked and so on.. Matt liked most of them with mustard being his favorite. He did not care for the beet, onion or cream. We ordered the 1874 Grand Aquavit, which was produced for the hotel's 125th anniversary in 1999, homemade aquavit flavored with cumin, aniseed, fennel and a dash of sherry. Wow, that went right to my head!
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
3. Now move on to another Swedish specialty, the salmon dishes.
Here was counted 6 different dishes, poached (which neither of us cared for), cold smoked, hot smoked, baked, gravad lax... We snuck a few other things on our plates like seafood terrine and prawns on a hardboiled egg. The salmon here is just wonderful.
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
4. This course is salads, cold cuts and egg dishes.
Oops, we jumped ahead with our prawns on hardboiled eggs, oh well. There is also egg and anchovy salad (quite good), Swedish sausage (a lot like summer sausage), cold roast lamb leg and a few other things I just don't remember.
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
5. Finally, it is time to move on the the hot foods.
At this point Matt & I were stuffed even though we had taken small portions. That wasn't such a bad thing as we found this to be the weakest of the courses. The Swedish meatballs were no where are good as the one's I had earlier in the week made of moose. Other than that there was a chicken and morel dish (which seemed like something we could get at home), a corned beef in cream sauce, baked salmon, baked herring and a prawn omelette. The one dish I did enjoy and most wanted to taste anyway was the Jansson's Frestelse, a dish I had tried making at home. Basically, it is a pickled sardine with potatoes and onions. I made it with regular sardines to mixed reviews. The pickled was much better!
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
6. Next is the dessert course.
We are loving Swedish sweets, maybe a little too much. Little cream puffs, blueberry crisp, peach melba mousse, almond cake, raspberry crisp, chocolates an fresh fruit all filled this course.
Smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel
Dessert is eaten with strong Swedish coffee and punsch, a traditional Swedish liquor made from arrack, neutral spirits, sugar, water, and various flavorings. It reminded us a bit of St. Germain though not quite as flowery.

The smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel is served everyday for lunch and dinner most of the year unless there is a theme menu. Reservations are recommended. The cost is 475 SEK, drinks not included (at writing that is about 76.60 USD). You can order off the menu if you prefer not to do the whole buffet and still get things like a herring sampler. We were dressed pretty casually in cotton pants and summer shirts. Most people were much more dressed up in dressed and suits though there were one or two people in shorts. The lunch crowd seems more casual.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski
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