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Posts tagged as entertaining

Spiced Fresh Cranberry Relish Mold

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 26, 2013 at 1:12pm

Spiced Fresh Cranberry MoldPoor cranberries. No one really ever eats them, despite tradition, even when made from scratch. I think it’s because Americans are unaccustomed to the delights of chutney-eque condiments. Which is a shame, given the palate-cleansing powers of a tangy, acidic punch on a plate of buttery, rich foods.Spiced Fresh Cranberry Mold | Fresh TartThis recipe is as old school as I possess. My mom’s been surprising guests with her famous cranberry relish mold forever. Why surprising? Well, much like my mom, it’s got a spicy kick that sneaks up on you, in this case a surprising zing of horseradish that eliminates all worries of cloying sweetness. Think mostarda and you’ll have exactly the right idea.Spiced Fresh Cranberry Mold | Fresh TartAs a bonus, the mold is stunning on a holiday buffet table. My mom’s original recipe calls for raspberry Jello and canned cranberries, so I reworked it a bit to include fresh cranberries and fruit juice. The end result has more texture, and a fresher taste, without losing the surprising spicy kick. Pretty perfect, I think.

I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Recipe for Spiced Fresh Cranberry Relish Mold at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 22, 2013 at 7:38pm

Brussels Sprouts Gratin | Fresh TartI’m always trying to find things to douse in Cedar Summit cream, because let’s face it, I’m obsessed with the gloriously grass-fed stuff. Given a giant bag of darling little baby Brussels from the farmers market, and a hankering for my fave cauliflower gratin, I present the easiest, coziest Brussels dish in the world. I have a vision of setting this on a holiday table (particularly next to a roast beast), nestled among candles and pine boughs…although until the holidays roll around, I simply made it my dinner, with toast and a glass of wine.

Note: I am thoroughly enjoying the occasional slice of St. Paul’s own Thuro Sourdough Gluten-Free Teff bread. The Thuro folks have no idea who I am, I just happened to pick up a loaf in the freezer at The Wedge, in my quest for tasty GF breads made without weird fillers and nasty vegetables oils, which is no easy task. It’s seriously sour, which I love, and makes a flavorful, chewy piece of toast, toast that in fact makes me pine – again – for dearly departed, grass-fed Pastureland butter, which used to be made from Cedar Summit Cream.

Obsessed, I tell you.Brussels Sprouts Gratin | Fresh TartAnd another note: I recently devoured the book Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Catherine Shanahan, MD. I understand completely if you are not in the mood for yet another book about nutrition but…I still think you should read it, especially if you’re considering a pregnancy. I found myself reading several passages aloud to Puppy Louis, who now knows more about genetics than the average fluffy pup. I also found myself snapping iPhone pics of pages off my Kindle, for a potentially annoying way of sharing passages that blew my mind. Dr. Shanahan describes what she calls The Four Pillars of traditional diets around the world, the ways of eating that have produced the genetically healthiest people over millenia: meat cooked on the bone, a combination of raw and cooked plants, offal/organ meats, and fermented foods. She makes a strong case for avoiding vegetable oils and sugar in particular – a very strong case. Dr. Shanahan recently revamped the training diet of the injury-plagued LA Lakers and has helped several players heal nagging injuries. Good stuff.

Recipe for Brussels Sprouts Gratin at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Clafoutis

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jul 3, 2013 at 10:09am

ClafoutisAll-American pie is always perfect, but consider warm, fruity, French clafoutis for this 4th of July celebration. For one, clafoutis is faster to pull together. Can you mix pancake batter? In a blender? Then you can make clafoutis, which is in effect a giant crepe, scattered with fruit, and eaten hot out of the oven with whipped cream or creme fraiche or ice cream. Kids can definitely help pull this together – or make it all by themselves!Clafoutis: Cherry, Rhubarb-Raspberry, PeachI made three quick versions – peach, cherry, and rhurbarb-raspberry – to demonstrate how adaptable clafoutis can be. Plums, nectaries, blueberries – any fruit that marries well with crumbles, buckles, crisps, cobblers – can have an affair with clafoutis. If you can’t bear to serve anything but pie on the 4th, make clafoutis for breakfast. Melty creme fraiche and warm maple syrup are awesome together, for the record. Sexy even. It’s all bon.ClafoutisInspired by my friend Zoe Francois of Zoe Bakes (cornbread and peaches baked on the grill, oh my!), you could try baking clafoutis on the grill after you pull off the burgers and/or ribs. It’s hard to mess up a clafoutis which makes it experiment worthy. If you give it a try, let me know.

Happy Independence Day, Minnesota!

Recipe for Clafoutis at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 4.20.18 PMPS If you’re searching for 4th of July entertaining inspiration (or recipe ideas any day), bookmark or follow the Fortify: A Food Community Pinterest page! Formerly the Minnesota Food Bloggers, Fortify is a group of food lovers, many of whom have popular food blogs and write stunning, delicious recipes. Check out the page, I know your mouth will water. We have a Fortify: A Food Community Facebook group page too; join us!

Whole Fish Baked in a Salt Crust with Fennel & Olives

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Apr 24, 2013 at 12:30pm

I had the pleasure just a few short weeks ago of doing a cooking demo at the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show with Sea Change executive chef Jamie Malone. Since the show, Malone was named to Food & Wine Magazine’s list of Best New Chefs 2013! Very exciting for her, and for Minneapolis. If you’re waiting for a show at the Guthrie to enjoy a meal at Sea Change, you’re so missing out. Very soon, when spring arrives, make your way over to their stunning patio, overlooking the Stone Arch Bridge, and feast upon oysters and perfectly cooked, sustainable fish, washed down with beautiful wine. A night to remember, for sure.

And for a night at home in front of a roaring fire, because that’s just where we’re still at, make this simple, elegant fish. I hadn’t baked fish in a salt crust before doing the demo with Malone, but I sure will now. First of all, it’s really fun. The crust is just egg whites and kosher salt, mixed until it feels like wet sand.

It takes just a couple of minutes to pat it around the fish – and draw on a smiley face, per Malone’s suggestion – which can be done ahead by a few hours if you like. After a brief bake, crack open the crust (very impressive) to reveal moist, silky fish, not salty at all but perfectly seasoned, ready to eat alongside spring vegetables with a drizzle of best olive oil. You can’t beat if for elegance and simplicity.

I made the version in the picture with whole snapper because I hadn’t called ahead for striped bass. After having both (the striped bass at the Home & Garden Show with Malone vs. the snapper I made) call Coastal Seafoods ahead for the striped bass (they can order it but don’t stock it); it’s meatier flesh is a perfect fit for baking inside the crust.

Chef Jamie Malone’s recipe for Whole Fish Baked in a Salt Crust with Fennel & Olives at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Gremolata

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Apr 3, 2013 at 6:40am

I know, I know, I should have posted this before Easter, but lamb with gremolata is lovely all spring (year) long, so make it this week instead! I had let gremolata – a relish of minced lemon zest, garlic, and parsley – slip out of my rotation but it’s back with a vengeance, thanks to helping out at a Cooking the Market class at Kitchen in the Market last week.

Have you ever taken a Cooking the Market class? Led by co-owner chef Molly Herrmann, the classes are pure improvisation, cooking with imagination and instinct, the perfect cooking class in my mind because it captures exactly the joy (and reality!) of cooking at home. Molly leads the class through a tour of Midtown Global Market, pointing out potential ingredients from The Salty Tart, Holy Land Market, Grassroots Gourmet, Produce Exchange, and El Burrito Mercado. The goal is to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with new ingredients while a chef provides guidance and assistance. Add music and wine and you’ve got a winning evening out with friends, coworkers, or family.

 

Last week’s gremolata topped a dish our group named Mediterranean Tacos: socca (chickpea flour pancakes) topped with harissa, crispy Brussels sprouts, fried haloumi cheese, and preserved lemon gremolata. So lovely! And a pretty terrific Meatless Monday dinner if you need ideas…

You may have had gremolata atop osso bucco, where its bright, fresh zing is a traditional contrast to silky braised meat. But you don’t have to think hard to imagine that it is just fabulous tossed with warm (or cold) new potatoes with olive oil, or spooned over a pan of sauteed peas, or swirled into soup, or sprinkled over seared fish…on and on. Add mint if you like – terrific with lamb, of course – or shallots instead of garlic. Some recipes call for adding anchovies which would probably make the best egg salad sandwich ever (still have Easter eggs to use up?) For me, when spring is frustratingly near but not yet quite here, punches of color and zest are not just welcome, but essential.

Recipe for Grilled Lamb Chops with Gremolata at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Muffuletta Sandwich: Make-Ahead Sandwich Perfection

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 20, 2013 at 9:41am

Make-ahead sandwiches are a terrific way to feed a crowd and muffuletta sandwiches are the best way of all. First of all, the fresh-spicy giardiniera relish is ridiculously addictive – in fact, make a double batch, put half the vegetables in a jar to enjoy on as pickles, puree the other half to smear on the sandwiches. And what meat eater doesn’t love a pile of salami, ham, AND mortadella smothered in melty provolone cheese? (Even if you don’t eat meat, a grilled cheese with giardineira relish is a mighty fine thing…perhaps add a fried egg…you know the drill.)

The trick is to choose crusty bread that isn’t impossible to bite through. The traditional New Orleans-style muffuletta bread isn’t easy to lay your hands on here in the Midwest, but choose your favorite fresh, hearty bread or rolls and your sandwich will be fantastic. This baby actually improves with sitting for a bit – the relish really soaks into the bread, mmm – so absolutely make sandwiches a day ahead, wrap them in foil, then heat them to eat them the next day or even two days later.

Wash down the loveliness with this recommendation from my beer-fiend friend Mark Dewes: Choose a rich, malty brew to stand up to all that glorious meat, cheese, and relish, such as local craft brew Boom Island Belgian Dubbel, or NOLA’s Abita Mardi Gras Boch. Cheers!

Recipe for Muffuletta Sandwiches at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Baked Garlic with Rosemary & Blue Cheese

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jan 15, 2013 at 1:31pm

Roasted Garlic with Rosemary & Blue Cheese

I’ll confess, I meant to get this recipe to you before New Year’s Eve. But in the crush of the holidays, and illness, it did not happen and…well, Happy New Year? The good news is that New Year’s Eve is not the only winter night to invite friends for dinner, and this easy appetizer is meant to share with friends.

This is a pretty old school recipe at this point, given roasted garlic’s heyday (perhaps even Kardashian-level overexposure?) around the turn of this century. I think it’s fair to say that we all know that garlic becomes gorgeously sweet and spreadable when roasted; but add fresh herbs, tangy cheese, and a splash of broth and you create a rich swiping sauce that elevates the whole to party food that stands the test of time.

I first copied this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine, onto a recipe card, as a newlywed party thrower and it quickly became a much-passed-around favorite. Forgive me the nostalgia of feeling like my mom, circa 1972, sharing her recipe for her creamy dried beef dip. Except that my mom had way cool hostess kimonos and I tend to entertain in jeans. (I definitely need a hostess kimono…)

You can roast the garlic ahead by a couple of hours and hold it at room temperature. Then, when your guests threaten imminent arrival, crumble on the cheese and set it in the oven to melt. You’ll want to serve this warm, with good bread, and a glass of bubbles.

Recipe for Baked Garlic with Rosemary & Blue Cheese at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Almond Triangle Cookies

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 19, 2012 at 6:03am

Almond Triangle Cookies

What to bake when you prefer the salty over the sweet? And you’re busy? (And you can’t eat gluten?) These easy beauties, which have become everyone’s favorite Christmas cookie, including mine.

The original recipe caught my eye a few years ago as the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s 2009 Cookie Contest Winner. If you love almonds and caramel and butter and Christmas, you’ll be as smitten by these decadent cookies as the Strib’stasting panel clearly was (their verdict: “love” and “beautiful”).

As a gift to the baker, these are bar cookies, which Minnesotans know are the most magical (and easy!) of all. Other than allowing time for the shortbread crust to chill before baking, they come together in minutes. After they cool for awhile, cut them into tidy triangles, pour yourself a glass of milk, and dig in.

Despite their simplicity, the triangles are elegant on a cookie plate AND disappear blessedly quickly. You can focus on how nutritious almonds are to lull yourself into cookie complacency, but a cookie isn’t Christmas without a hearty dose of butter and sugar, and these are no exception.

Thank goodness!

Recipe for Almond Triangles at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Magical Boozy Eggnog

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:51pm

Fabulously Boozy Eggnog

As a kid, I loved eggnog so much I could down a carton all by myself. I thought it was truly insane that anyone would blemish its creamy dreamy nutmeginess with stupid booze. Do not mess with perfection!

I no longer feel that way. I read this recipe in the December/January issue of (the fabulous!) Garden & Gun Magazine and it jumped right out at me 1) because the accompanying article is fantastic, and 2) because THIS is recipe writing: decadent, hysterical, and easy to follow.

Magical Boozy Eggnog

So if you too are charmed by the idea of a blast of bourbon in your eggnog, this recipe is for you. Two sips in, my tree sparkled magically, my family looked perfect, and The Little Drummer Boy didn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out. Suffice it to say this is a bracing ratio of bourbon to cream, so depending on the tolerance of your guests, adjust accordingly. (I think you could start with half the recommended bourbon and add more to taste. Kablam.)

Cheers!

Recipe for World’s Greatest Eggnog via Julia Reed, Garden & Gun Magazine at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Party Popcorn!

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 6, 2012 at 2:59pm

popcorn fresh tart stephanie meyer

As we head into holiday entertaining and craziness, don’t forget about popcorn! I am NOT talking about microwave popcorn, I’m talking about the real deal, popped in a pan, which takes about 5 minutes to make and tastes 50 million times – maybe 100 million times – better. When you’re done, you have a bowlful of fragrant crunchiness ready to be tarted up for a party (or plopped in front of the TV with a glass of wine aka dinner).

When I was a kid, we were butter-and-salt purists, preferring plenty of both. Don’t get me wrong – browned butter with sea salt to this day makes up 80% of my popcorn consumption. I make it for my son’s friends, I set it out at our pool for swim parties, I make a batch after a night out with the girls. But it’s great fun, and almost as easy, to play around a bit with creative flavor combinations, which are both addictive and gorgeous, and tend to blow guests away for very little effort.

popcorn fresh tart stephanie meyer

Recipe(s) for Pumpkin Seed/Brown Butter/Crispy Sage, Bacon/Caraway Seed/Bay Leaf, and Curry Powder/Honey/Lime Zest popcorn (and other ideas too) at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.