Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pork Tacos

 My family loves tacos. . .bean, beef, fish, pork.  They are so simple, yet satisfying.  Here's a recipe for pork tacos that is super easy, healthy, and great for leftovers.  It cooks all day long in the crockpot-no heating up the house and smells great when you get home in the evening.  Recipe should be doubled if serving more than 4-5 people. 
Pork Tacos

1 pork tenderloin
1/2 jar of pepperoncini (banana) peppers with juices
1/2 cup water
cumin, chili pepper to taste

Wash, dry and trim fat from pork tenderloin.  Rub tenderloin with cumin and chili powder .  Put pork in a crock pot and dump peppers with juice on top.  Can use whole jar if you like it spicy.  Add a bit of water (1/2 cup or so).  Cover and cook all day long (6-8 hours on low).  Shred with 2 forks when done. 
Serve pork on top of corn tortillas (warmed), with cotija or feta cheese, avocado slices or guacamole, salsa, and cilantro.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CSA box

We are sharing a CSA box from Featherstone Farm  with our neighbors for the first time this year.  Like many others who join a CSA,  we are enjoying freshness at it's best right now.  Here are a few recipes that I've come up with so far:

Roasted Beets (recipe adapted from

3 medium beets-red/golden
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt, pepper

Rinse beets and trim off any leafy tops.  Drizzle beets with oil; season with salt and pepper. Wrap beets in foil and place in oven on middle rack.  Roast 1 hour until tender and easily pierced with a fork. 
Let cool for a few minutes, then cut with knife. I leave the skin on for extra nutritional value, but it can be rubbed off if you prefer.  Season again with salt, pepper to taste. 

Roasted Blue Potatoes with Feta and Parsley

Small blue potatoes
olive oil
sea salt, pepper
feta cheese
fresh parsley

Wash and cut potatoes in half or thirds.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees until a pierced easily with a fork.  Sprinkle with feta cheese and parsley and broil for few minutes until cheese browns a bit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Courtland and I celebrated our 6th year anniversary on Saturday.  Can't believe how fast years have gone by already since I married this man.

He's funny. He's smart. He's a rock star dad.  He likes to travel.  He enjoys good food and spirits.  I'm one lucky girl:)

Each year, we treat ourselves to a fine-dining restaurant to celebrate our anniversary.  We've been to 112 eatery,, and La Belle Vie,, in the past.  Both are lovely settings with great service and food.   Piccolo,,  opened within the last year, and we were anxious to try it.  Thank goodness we made reservations over a month ago.  The restaurant was featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations "Heartland" episode this week and got rave reviews.
Since our table wasn't quite ready and in honor of our anniversary, the hostess gave each of us a glass of champagne on the house.  Great way to start off our dining experience!  Once seated, we ordered a bottle of wine and were served a basket of bread (which I suspect was from Rustica Bakery).  Piccolo's philosophy is "taste more, eat better," so the dishes are small/medium-sized proportions.   Our waiter suggested we order 3-5 dishes each.   We decided to share, which allowed us both to each have a variety of food.   We ordered:
Green grape gazpacho with compressed melon, lomo Iberico and summer flowers
Spanish mojama with fried artichokes, radishes, fennel puree, and arugula
Bone marrow gnocchi with veal heart, italian parsley puree, and bread crumbs
Scrambled brown eggs with pickled pigs feet, truffle butter and parmigiano
Ocean trout with english shell peas, sea beans, and king crab stuffed pasta
Seared tuna with salt packed anchovies, swiss chard, black olive puree and onion "tart tatin"
Stone Bridge Farms veal with fava beans, potato and miso pave and white shoyu

Everything was delicious.   My favorites were the gnocchi, scrambled brown eggs, trout, and the veal.

For dessert, we had the Coconut Cake with white chocolate, bergamot marscarpone and buttered almond ice cream.  An incredible, light treat to end our meal. 

I didn't take any pictures, since we wanted to enjoy each other's company and the setting is quite intimate.  Service was efficient,  friendly, and not rushed.  For a fine-dining experience, Piccolo rates right up there with La Belle Vie and 112eatery.  It was a unique dining experience that clearly lived up to our expectations.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chef Shack, Mpls

Oh how I love Chef Shack  Our family has been to this mobile truck at the Mills City Farmer's Market and Kingsfield Farmers Market within the last year.  Every time we've gone, we've devoured an order of mini donuts.  Now I'm not one to waste calories on donuts, but these are incredible. . .spicy, sweet, fresh, yum. 

When Chef Shack got a license for their truck to set up shop downtown on 5th/Hennepin, Jack and I were waiting and ready to meet Courtland for lunch.  Jack decided the city bus was the preferred form of transportation, and off we went.  Of course, no bus ride would be complete witnessing two grown women arguing while on our ride, but I digress. . .back to lunch.

When we arrived, the Chef Shack ladies recognized us as regulars (always an added bonus).  I ordered the sweet potato taco, and the boys ordered brats.  The tacos were delicious. . .pureed sweet potato with spices, black beans, pickled red cabbage, and a sauce on top.  Perfect healthy summer lunch.

 I had a bite of Jack's brat and it was very flavorful.  He ate the whole thing.

The best part--the ladies gave us an order of mini donuts and a t-shirt for Jack!

  Even Mayor R.T. Rybak was there. . .he sat right next to me:) 

If you want an economical lunch downtown, that offers fresh ingredients with a smile,  Chef Shack is your place.  Can't go wrong with anything coming off this cart!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Independence Holiday

We traveled to Bismarck, ND for the 4th of July holiday weekend.  Like many other families, our holidays almost always revolve around food in addition to socializing.  My mom and step-dad are truly wonderful cooks and went out of their way to make our meals special. 

My favorite meal on our trip:

Seriously, how pretty and simple is that?  My mom boiled up some eggs and served them on top of toasted bread from Bread Poets with fruit on the side.  We enjoyed our breakfast on her deck with the sun shining on us and  birds singing in the background.  Just lovely.

This was our spread for July 4th:

Ribs, chicken "in the rear," baked beans,  fruit salad, coleslaw, spinach and strawberry salad, and cheesy potatoes. What a feast!

We did venture out to eat at some of our favorite local mom and pops as well.  Bismarck is full of chain restaurants, but the true gems are the joints that have been open forever and keep things simple.   A lot of Bismarck folks are obsessed with Big Boy. Don't get me wrong, I like pizza burgers (flying style) too, but I'm partial to the cheeseburgers at The Wood House.  Their burgers and fries are consistently good, and the onion rings are the best I've ever had.  Plus, they've still got the phones to place your order at the tables.  The place has not changed since I was a kid.  Love it.

Cheeseburger Platter

We normally eat breakfast out at Krolls Diner, but decided to try Little Cottage Cafe on this trip.  It's a cute little place with just a handful of tables and was full of locals.  Food was quite similiar to Krolls Diner-comfort food at a reasonable price.

Vegetarian Omelette (substitute swiss cheese)