cook fresh food. be sassy.

Posts tagged as corner table

Twin Cities Chef’s Table: Part I

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 13, 2013 at 9:32am

Birchwood CafeAs I’ve mentioned several times already, I’m writing and photographing a cookbook called Twin Cities Chef’s Table (TCCT), to be published by Globe Pequot in spring 2014. The book will be part of a well-established series of lovely Chef’s Table books, featuring cities and regions from around the country. TCCT will of course include recipes from a wide variety of local chefs and restaurants, but is also meant to provide a snapshot of the entire Twin Cities food scene, including farms, markets, purveyors, breweries, food trucks, and more. I am honored to be sharing the stories of the talented, passionate people who feed us in their establishments and inspire us to cook at home. As you might imagine, I am taking many (!) more photographs than I can include in the book, so I thought I’d share some of my out takes here on Fresh Tart, Facebook, and Instagram, hoping you discover new places to eat and shop as I go along. What a ride!Mary & Greg Reynolds of Riverbend FarmMary & Greg Reynolds of Riverbend FarmA couple of weeks ago Angie Zirngible – who is fabulously assisting me with the book – and I spent an afternoon with Mary and Greg Reynolds of stunning Riverbend Farm and proprietor Tracy Singleton and chef Marshall Paulsen of Birchwood Cafe. We tagged along as a Birchwood-organized crop mob picked squash and pumpkins, while Marshall made wood-fired pizzas for the group. (If Mary and Greg look familiar, it’s perhaps because I’ve taken loads of pictures at their picture-perfect farm!) Mette and LilyRiverbend Farm Crop MobTracy Singleton & chef Marshall Paulsen of Birchwood CafeBirchwood Cafe is very special in our community, supporting farms and schools while serving deliciously prepared, locally-sourced food in one of the most family-friends settings in the Twin Cities. It’s not unusual to spot Tracy’s daughter Lily, and Marshall’s daughter Liesel, playing outside with other children while diners sip coffee and down savory waffles.

Birchwood is celebrating their 18th (!) anniversary and launching a Kickstarter campaign October 27. Stop by the launch party and support this neighborhood gem!Chef Thomas Boemer & Nick Rancone of Corner TableI want to say a special thank you to chef Thomas Boemer and proprietor Nick Rancone of Corner Table. Not only have I had some of the best meals of my life in their cozy establishment, but they were the first to chime in and say, We’re in! when I started contacting people about the book. To borrow a term from my friend Stephanie March, they are hospitalitarians of the highest order. Nick RanconeAnd in case you only consider eating at Sea Change when you’re catching a show at the Guthrie, you are missing one of the finest dining experiences in the country. Sea Change raw barSea Change Belly up to the raw bar, settle into a sexy banquette in the main dining room, or hurry and catch one of the last warm days on the stunning patio that overlooks St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge. Jamie Malone of Sea ChangeChef de cuisine Jamie Malone was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best Chefs 2013. I can’t wait to share her recipe with you all.

Morel Flan

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jun 2, 2013 at 9:48pm

morel flanSometimes, when the weather is dark and cold, and so is life in general, one just needs to get the hell out of town. Both circumstances were true back in April, when my lovely friend Kathy Yerich suggested a road-trip down to southern Indiana for the Brown County Morel Mushroom Festival. I’ve written about Kathy before and the glorious treats that she and her husband Fred forage and pass along to friends. She’d heard through her mycological grapevine about Brown County’s morel haven status and given our mutual love of devouring morels, and my desperate need to steal time away with a good friend, off we went.morelfestwoodsWe drove away from sheets of sleet, and through sheets of rain, to cross the winter-spring transition line, somewhere around central Illinois. As green slowly sneaked into the landscape, we grew positively giddy with the anticipation of tromping through leafy woods, gathering enough morels to smother scrambled eggs (Kathy brought farm-fresh eggs) and to haul back home to share with friends like you.morelfestcups2Devil’s UrnmorelfestkathyphotoKathy snapping Devil’s UrnmorelfestturkeytailTurkey TailmorelfeststumptGnome Home (Right?)

Except. It was just as damn cold in southern Indiana as it was in Minnesota! Spring was two weeks or more late in Brown County too and despite our cute wellies and contagiously good spirits, morels did not come out to play.morelfestsign2morelfestgraffititreeNot that we cared. Oh my gosh we had so much fun hiking, chatting with morel enthusiasts, wandering sort of accidentally into the Story Inn for restorative bubbles and a blessedly hot meal, and adventuring our way home with unplanned stops at Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington, IN, for lunch, and the Mark Twain Hotel in Peoria for dinner and a good night’s sleep.morelflanvertAfter arriving home morel-less yet refreshed, I decided to postpone this post until morels made their appearance in Minnesota. Which they most certainly have! I’ve been feasting for a week on a combination of a Minneapolis Farmers Market haul, not one but two glorious morel tasting dinners at Corner Table, and a generous gift from Kathy and Fred. I made the Morel Burger with Ramps below, and finally got to prepare this Morel Flan, which I’d been dreaming about since Indiana.morelflanvert2So here it is! This baby is uber-rich, eggy and creamy and a gorgeously decadent way to showcase our favorite spring treat. Bonus: when morel season is over, which is probably in a few minutes, move on to other mushrooms. This flan works all year long. I do hope you get a chance to enjoy it with morels, though, in honor of road trips and dear friends.

With bubbles.

Cheers!

Morel Flan
Serves 6

4 Tbsp. soft butter, divided
1 oz. package dried morels
4 ramps, chopped (substitute one large shallot if you can’t find ramps)
1 c. cream
1 c. whole milk
1 large egg
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. sea salt
generous grating of fresh nutmeg
1/4 lb. (or more) fresh morels, cleaned
1 Tbsp. sherry
freshly ground black pepper

Butter 6 4-oz. ramekins with 1 Tbsp. of the soft butter. Set aside. Set out a large glass baking pan, large enough to hold ramekins without touching.

Put dried morels in a plastic bag and crush into small pieces with a rolling pin. Pour cream and milk into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot but not simmering. Remove from heat and stir in crushed morels and chopped ramps. Let morels and ramps steep for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Strain cream into a clean, medium bowl, pressing down on solids to extract all the liquid. Discard crushed morels and ramps.

Whisk egg, yolks, salt, and nutmeg into the morel cream. Taste and adjust seasoning (add perhaps a bit more salt if you like). Pour mixture into buttered ramekins. Set ramekins in large glass baking pan and fill pan with hot tap water until water reaches half-way up ramekins. Place pan in oven and bake for 40 minutes or until flans are just set.

Remove pan from oven and using tongs, remove ramekins from water. Let flans cool for a few minutes while you saute the morels.

Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is bubbling and hot, add sherry and stir for a minute until sherry has boiled away. Add morels to the pan. Add a pinch of salt to the morels and saute until just starting to brown, turning a few times, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

To serve, run a knife around the edges of each ramekin. Invert the flans onto serving plates. Holding the ramekin firmly down on the plate, give the ramekin and plate together a good side-to-side shake until flan releases. Divide warm, fresh morels over and next to flans. Top with a grind of freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Merry Christmas! Happy 2012!

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 24, 2011 at 8:25am

pasta amatriciana scott pampuch

Most-viewed Fresh Tart recipe in 2011…Pasta Amatriciana from the Muir Glen Vine Dining Tour dinner I attended at Corner Table Restaurant back in February. Chef Scott Pampuch shared his recipe, I made it at home and included it with my post about the event, and kablam.

You all LOVE pasta! And pork! I don’t blame you one bit!

Coincidentally (or not!), that was a very special event for me. I met so many new friends, all on the same night, I look back and shake my head at the evil food fun that has spun out of that night. Joy! Dave! Minnesota Food Bloggers! Not kidding.

I didn’t realize it then, but 2011 was just starting to simmer. I couldn’t possibly have known that it would boil over into the most significant year of my life, short of the year that Nathan was born. (I chat about a few highlights in my recent Twitterview with Joel Carlson for Minnesota Monthly Magazine.) I am in awe of the friends I’ve met, the relationships that have blossomed, the work that has come my way, the food I’ve been able to cook/photograph/write about, the opportunities to grow and push and do crazy shit that blow my mind from the moment I open my eyes each morning.

Thank you for reading what I write, cooking my recipes and letting me know (truly, nothing makes me happier, nothing), chatting on Twitter, sharing your pictures and stories on Facebook and your own blogs. We are very lucky here in Minnesota that we’ve been able to turn our social media connections into real and lasting friendships, good work, delicious food, charitable contributions, and the energy of connecting with people who love what they do.

There’s so much more coming! Amazing. Cheers to 2012, much love, Stephanie

Tour de Farm/Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner, Blogger Etiquette & Sweet Corn Panna Cotta: Part I

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Sep 6, 2011 at 9:12am

I inhaled the gorgeous plate of food above two weeks ago, which feels like two years ago, given that between now and then my mom had major emergency surgery and time has sped up and stopped both at the same time. It’s almost impossible to imagine that I was ever running around stunning Star Prairie Trout Farm, at the Tour de Farm/Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner, in a sun dress, laughing with my friends, snapping too many pictures, eating perfect food perfectly paired with perfect wine…

tour de farm, molly mcneil, joy summers, shaina olmanson, stephanie meyer

…but there I am. I’m so grateful that I have the pictures to remember that I was there, having an awfully good time, with my lovely friends Molly McNeil, Joy Summers, and Shaina Olmanson.

About those pictures. There were seven of us bloggers at the event, all with big cameras and a passion for taking pictures of food and chefs and pretty things, and we were…overwhelming.

While it was a rather perfect storm of elements not likely to recur anytime soon – a very special event, a gorgeous setting, an unsual mass of photographers, a level of comfort with chefs that we all know and like and have photographed before, lots and lots o’ wine – we did have a long discussion on the Minnesota Food Bloggers Facebook page about blogger etiquette, as it were, concluding with a general consensus  to 1) be aware of our impact as a whole (to avoid a paparazzi effect), 2) be respectful of chefs and staff and their space, 3) not bother other diners/guests, 4) ask permission to take photographs, and 5) remember to sit back and enjoy the food and setting.

mike phillips, barton seaver, scott pampuch, tour de farm

tour de farm volunteers

When deciding if it’s appropriate to bring a big camera, it’s obviously important to bear in mind the mission of the event. I worked on the Eat Ramen Help Japan event held earlier this summer, and our stated goal was to raise awareness and money to help feed Japanese families affected by the March earthquake and tsunami.

In that case – bring on the paparazzi, right? We courted as much media and social media coverage as possible.

tour de farm, star prairie trout farm

In the case of Tour de Farm, the stated goal, via the TDF website, is “…to gather people with their family, friends and new friends to share an experience that generations of farm families experience all the time. By celebrating the harvest, the goodness it provides and the toil at the hands of those who provide it, we hope people are inspired to consciously live and eat the way we should, naturally, healthy and as a family and community.  We want people to escape the city to unwind in a tranquil setting and appreciate the wonderful farms where our food is produced.”

Click click click click click. Not particularly tranquil. As someone who loves to take pictures, pretty much all the time, I confess that I didn’t even consider not bringing my camera. I was so excited to be away with my friends, in a lovely place, with so many people that I respect and admire, that I couldn’t wait to photograph the farm, guests, food, chefs, all of it. While I’ve so enjoyed looking at and sharing my images, I’ll never go to an event like this again expecting to document it from beginning to end, unless I’m hired to do exactly that.

What do you think?

Details about the evening, including a recipe for one of my favorite parts of an overall breathtaking meal, in Tour de Farm/Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner, Blogger Etiquette & Sweet Corn Panna Cotta: Part II.

Don’t miss my colleagues’ beautiful and varied spins on the same evening:

Amy Peterson at Green Your Plate
Joy Summers at City Pages Hot Dish Blog and Eating the Minneapple Part I and Part II
Shaina Olmanson at Babble Network’s The Family Kitchen

Make sure to see the results of the long and scrumptious panna cotta discussion I had with web designer/photographer/cook/Tour de Farm organizer Kris Hase, including her recipes for Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Honey & Berries and Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Bacon & Blue Cheese, at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Roast Chicken Sandwich with Pickled Marmalade

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Mar 29, 2011 at 2:43pm

Roast Chicken Sandwich with Pickled Marmalade

Corner Table Restaurant chef/owner Scott Pampuch’s recipe for Roast Chicken Sandwich with Pickled Marmalade, on Sunstreet Breads baguette, from Corner Table’s Farm & Table Community Supported Kitchen (CSK) box, at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Corner Table CSK

Say that 20 times after a glass of champagne…

Minnesota Food Bloggers Unite Part II: Corner Table Restaurant

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Mar 21, 2011 at 8:55pm

These Minnesota Food Bloggers events must end! They’re just so damn fun that the next day is a bit of a let-down. Who’s making me dinner? Pouring me glasses of prosecco? Making me laugh maniacally? Chatting endlessly about food, cooking, ingredients, restaurants, events, new projects, and when we should next have dinner?

Spoiled food blogger brat, me.

scott pampuch

Wednesday’s event was hosted by chef/owner Scott Pampuch, his right-hand-otherwise-known-as Meghan Likes, sous chef Dan Zeroth, and the rest of the awesome staff at Corner Table Restaurant. I put up the event registration a couple of weeks ago and within hours it was sold out with a long waiting list to boot.

Minnesota Food Bloggers Unite! Wow.

I think we have something amazing going on here, friends. Very exciting. (More coming soon, so stay tuned…)

shaina ole olmanson

In the end, 40 lucky bloggers arrived to find the dreamy spread pictured up top: Corner Table-cured meats, pickled vegetables, eggs, mustard, butter… Crostini with goat cheese and roasted beets… Perhaps other treats but I was talking, talking…

Needless to say, beautiful, local, delicious things.

Mmmm.

kate selner, kate sommers

As crazy-fun as we food bloggers are, Pampuch didn’t invite us to Corner Table (CT) for the sole pleasure of watching us empty his kitchen and drain his bar. He had a pitch to make, and he picked a good group to toss it to. As the cocktail hour wound down and he pulled together chairs to speak to the group, out came the cameras and phones: Twitter lit up with #MNFoodBloggers @CTKitchenTable @ScottPampuch; Andrew Zimmern tweeted in that he wished he could be there; and I had people from all over the world tweet-asking me what party they were missing.

Turns out, we kind of rock.

stephanie march

Pampuch welcomed the group and introduced CT’s latest endeavor, Farm & Table Community Supported Kitchen (CSK). All of the lovely treats everyone had just inhaled? Similar items will be available in CT’s single purchase or 4-, 6-, or 8-week CSK membership boxes, to be picked up at the restaurant on Friday evenings, starting April 1.

The contents of the boxes will vary each week, but will contain the ingredients for serious meals at home: Seasoned (marinated, brined, stuffed…) meats (pork, chicken, beef, duck…), ready for the oven or grill. Seasonal produce (radishes, carrots, ramps, beets…), cleaned, peeled, and ready to cook. Sides, stocks, seasonings, cured pork, cheeses, preserves or other good and lovely things to set in your empty fridge.

(For CSA veterans, the idea of a box of a few pretty, clean vegetables alongside the makings of an entire meal is kind of mind-blowing, right? I don’t know how many cabbage recipes I wrote the year of my first CSA share, but I pushed my marriage to the edge. I think John finally drew the line at a cabbage tart, although I thought it was pretty fabulous.)

CT had given out CSK test boxes to three busy couples a week before the event, then invited the group to chat with us about how easy it was to pull together meals from the box and even better – how much they enjoyed what they had prepared.

meghan likes

dania miwa virginia corbett

And then…

All hell broke loose when two real-live sample boxes made an appearance and we bloggers were invited to dig in and get cooking in CT’s kitchen. Whoosh, the dining room emptied, the kitchen filled, and things got wild. It turns out that food bloggers like to cook!

Or talk and eat and drink and watch and photograph each other cook.

kate selner

dania miwa ole olmanson

scott pamuch daniel klein

In a flash there was marinated chicken stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in bacon, and fried until crispy and melty and bacon-y ridiculous. I heard a rumor about sauteed cabbage, apples, and sausage (actually, I saw the pictures from my own camera, kindly taken by Dania Miwa – thanks dear) which I’m sorry that I missed.

.

The women in the kitchen swooned at the sight of a sunny-side-up egg sandwich, layered with bacon into a Rustica Bakery miche roll, topped with CT’s housemade kimchi…someone cut it in half (Pampuch?), eyelids fluttered, and I could not stop laughing.

Stephanie Meyer

Ditto the smoked trout cake topped with bacon, topped with pickled cabbage and carrots, topped with an egg poached in chicken broth, topped with sauce remoulade (photo by Amy B. Peterson).

Ooh, ahh, attack, inhale. (Guys, here’s a tip – poach an egg for your girl and be very glad. It takes 3 minutes.)

In case you’re too busy to cook anything at all, th
ere’s also a membership for what CT is calling Farm Dinner in a Box, in effect a box of fully cooked, scratch-made meals, ready to heat-n-eat. Menus will be posted weekly on the CT blog. As with the CSK box, order one at a time or subscribe for the summer. All good.

And if you can’t commit to a whole box of food, or you’re in CT having a fab din, or you’re picking up your box and decide you need more, more, more…there’s now a deli case full of bacon, sausages, preserves, eggs, butter, chicken liver pate, and other treats.

In addition to the Farm & Table CSK offerings, Pampuch also announced that beginning Sunday, April 3, CT will be offering breakfast-not-brunch. I predict bacon on the menu. Likely eggs too. If I weren’t going to be eating bacon & eggs in NYC that very day, I’d be there. You should go in my place.

He also announced that CT plans to soon close on Tuesday nights and instead offer cooking classes, including for children, details forthcoming.

keane amdahl

Needless to say, huge thanks to CT for hosting us crazy bloggers. To say that the group had fun is like saying cured pork is amazing. I confess that I stood back and watched everyone food-geeking out and thought: I am never going to top this night.

It was a good feeling.

For more and other fun takes on the evening, check out:

Eating the Minneapple
FoodStoned
Green Your Plate
Joel’s Views
She Said She Said
Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine Foodie File
Twin Cities Foodie

Vegetable Soup with Wild Rice, Ham & Cream

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 20, 2011 at 6:50pm

vegetable soup with ham wild rice cream

When it snows, I make soup.  And complain.  And take ridiculously long baths.  And pretend like I’m still on vacation.

John and I were in Costa Rica last week and it was…heavenly.  Too heavenly.  I have been in a massive funk ever since we returned.

The lovely view out of our home bedroom window that I normally love?  Hideous to me.  Who wants to see colorless snow after a week of blue-green ocean views?  I was blessedly, easily warm the whole time we were there.  I basked (too much) in the sun, swam in the ocean, listened to music, read two great books, and messed around on Twitter (the hotel had perfect wifi and ATT service, even on the beach) with my foodie friends while John surfed.

I had a blast.

It does make me wonder if I’m the type that should just grind through the winter and save the escape for the end of the season?  Apparently I’m not very good at changing gears.  It if were late March instead of February, I might be handling it all better…

A first-day-home dinner with Debbie & Stu The Wine Genius Williams at Corner Table Restaurant in Minneapolis helped.  A double course of fresh eggs (poached over polenta, softly scrambled, rarrr) helped.  As did the pork three-ways entree I inhaled (braised shoulder, belly, & sausage).  Plenty of wine, serious laughs, a reason to go out with my minor tan – all good.

This soup helped too.  It’s got a bit of wild rice, plus is quick to pull together while pleasantly smoky from ham.  A splash of cream at the end makes it all snowstorm worthy (we’re receiving 8-10 inches as I write, sigh) without adding too much richness.

On a completely separate note, I did this short interview with Twin Cities Spark a few weeks ago.  Fun!

Vegetable Soup with Wild Rice, Ham & Cream
Serves 6

1 Tbsp. butter
1 c. diced ham
1/2 c. each of sliced leeks, diced carrots, diced celery, diced parsnips, diced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 c. raw wild rice
6 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. whipping cream
salt & freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Stir in ham and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in leeks, carrot, celery, parsnips, mushrooms, garlic, and thyme and saute for another 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are softening.  Stir in rice, then broth, and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until rice is tender, 45-50 minutes.

Stir in cream and season with salt & pepper.

Pasta Amatriciana from Muir Glen Vine Dining Tour Dinner at Corner Table

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 11, 2011 at 5:07pm

pasta amatriciana

It’s no secret that Corner Table Restaurant is one of my favorite spots in town – I wouldn’t have chosen to spend my birthday dinner there several weeks ago if it weren’t.  So when I received an invitation for a promotional cooking demonstration and dinner at Corner Table, for the Muir Glen Tomato Vine Dining Tour, I was happy to accept.

scott pampuch

I suspect that local foods advocate and chef/owner Scott Pampuch was well aware that he’d raise a few eyebrows when he signed on for the tour.  Even though Muir Glen – a division of General Mills – is locally owned, the tomatoes are grown in California.

For those of you who pay attention to where your food comes from, buy the highest quality food you can afford, shop farmers markets and local co-ops when you can, and happily eat canned organic California tomatoes in the middle of a Minnesota winter – I’m with you.  I received a few cans of tomatoes as a parting gift after the dinner, but it’s not like I don’t have a cupboard full of – as it turns out – Muir Glen tomatoes anyhow.

I do not have, however, the Muir Glen Reserve tomatoes, a limited-edition variety available only online, which The Vine Dining Tour specifically promotes.  Pampuch and four other national chefs toured the 3-acre field where the tomatoes are grown, picked at peak ripeness, and canned within hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressed with the operation as well as with the quality of the Reserve tomatoes, he returned to Minnesota, dug his can opener out of the basement, and developed recipes for Muir Glen to distribute with the tomatoes (one of which is the Fire-Roasted Tomato Burger with Aioli recipe I posted a few days ago at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine), as well as for the promotional dinner at Corner Table.

As the restaurant filled with guests, happy bread-eaters (of which I am no longer, sigh) dunked golden little grilled cheese sandwiches into cups of creamy tomato soup.  I enjoyed watching everyone angle for seconds…and perhaps thirds?

Perhaps.

The silky-rich Amatriciana sauce, however, was all mine.  CT kindly served the sauce (recipe below) over fried polenta, while the gluten-eating majority enjoyed theirs over pillows of sofrito-stuffed fresh pasta. (Honestly, I’ve always preferred polenta over pasta anyhow, so major score for me.)

And so began the collective raving and sighing.  Man, there are few things as truly fun as sharing a meal with a room full of food lovers.  We all enjoyed the same courses, at the same time, in effect a big, cozy, dinner party.  The wine flowed, the room grew loud, there was happiness.

Good food with friends new and old: Do that, as often as you can.

corner table pancetta

The main course lamb terrine – served alongside fried potato crisps, a smear of tomato gastrique (homemade ketchup!), a dash of pretty-in-pink tomato salt, and a crunchy, housemade pickle relish – came off as a fabulously deconstructed, sophisticated burger-n-fries.  I briefly considered a wine-enhanced request for a wax-paper lined basket of the potatoes with a squeeze bottle of gastrique and a shaker of tomato salt…but I successfully resisted.

I had to skip the olive oil cake and fennel tuille cookie (both so pretty), but I dug the nod-to-summer tomato and strawberry-basil sorbets together, especially with the bacon granola – bacon granola! – that I was kindly offered in lieu of the cake.

tomato salt

Pre-dinner, Joy Summers from CityPages Hot Dish blog, James Norton and Katie Cannon from The Heavy Table, and I chatted with Pampuch (and snapped pics) while he talked about his decision to participate in the Vine Dining Tour and demonstrated the preparation of the sofrito and Amatriciana sauce featured in the first-course pasta.  (Check out both of their posts for their takes on the dinner and to admire Katie Cannon’s lovely photos.)

Pampuch kindly shared the recipes for the sofrito and Amatriciana sauce (the pasta pics up top and directly above are those I snapped at home after prepping the sauces).

Sofrito
Recipe by Scott Pampuch, Corner Table Restaurant
Makes 2 cups

2 medium carrots
1 medium onion
1 medium parsnip
1 1/2 c. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Muir Glen Fire Roasted organic tomatoes, slow simmered to a chunky paste consistency
2 cloves garlic, minced

Peel and grate the onions, carrots, and parsnips.  In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Stir in grated vegetables, tomatoes, and garlic, and simmer gently for 45-60 minutes.  Note: At first, olive oil will appear cloudy, the result of water evaporating from the vegetables.  When the olive oil appears to be clear again (vegetables will be very tender) the sofrito is done.  Be patient: “Good things come to those who wait.”

Remove from heat and strain vegetables from oil.  Stir tomatoes into vegetables.  Reserve oil for garnish or to roast garlic.

Use a teaspoon or two of sofrito when making pasta dishes, as a base for a simple pan sauce with a steak or chop, in soup, or as a topping
for bruschetta.  Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Pasta Amatriciana
Recipe by Scott Pampuch, Corner Table Restaurant
Serves 4

Note: Corner Table sells housemade pancetta – and bacon, lardo, pork rilletes – from their meatcase during regular restaurant hours.  In addition, you can order fresh pork belly to make your own (do it!).  Tel: 612.823.0011

1 lb. dry spaghetti
6 oz. thinly sliced pancetta (cut on bias so when rendered, the pieces will curl up; do not use smoked bacon)
1 clove garlic, sliced paper thin to melt
1 14.5-oz. can Muir Glen Meridian Ruby tomatoes
salt & pepper
dry-aged cheese for grating
2 oz. toasted, seasoned breadcrumbs (toasted in a dry pan, whirred in processor with fresh herbs and salt to taste)

Set a large pot of cold water on to boil.  When the water boils, add enough salt for the water to taste salty.  Add the pasta and cook over medium heat, stirring once or twice.

While the water boils and pasta cooks, puree tomatoes in a blender until smooth.  Heat a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the pancetta to the pan.  Once a little bit of the fat has rendered from the pancetta, add the garlic.  Stir in 1 teaspoon of the sofrito, then the pureed tomatoes.  Simmer over low heat until sauce begins to coat the back of a spoon.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce, gently stirring until coated.

Serve pasta with grated cheese and a small pinch of bread crumbs.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Burgers with Aioli Sauce

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 8, 2011 at 3:57pm

fire roasted tomato burger muir glen

Corner Table Restaurant Chef Scott Pampuch’s recipe for Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Tomato Burgers with Aioli Sauce at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Corner Table Restaurant: Kitchen Table Birthday Celebration

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jan 15, 2011 at 11:07am

wild mushroom broth with fresh and pickled vegetables

Even though my (and Fresh Tart’s!) birthday was last week, the celebrating goes on.

And on.

scott pampuch corner table

lardo

Thursday night John & I enjoyed an epic meal, at the kitchen table at Corner Table Restaurant, with Ana Scofield & Rudy Maxa and Debbie & Stu The Wine Genius Williams.

When you reserve the kitchen table, you actually reserve local food advocate, Tour de Farm founder, and chef/proprietor Scott Pampuch, all to yourself.

From a station right next to the table, Chef Scott gets a feel for what everyone likes, then starts riffing course after course of gorgeous food, perfectly paired with wine.  Even our rambunctiously verbal, wine drinking group grew (occasionally) quiet, marveling at the delicious talent it takes to seriously pair food with wine.

Seriously.

coppa, crostini

Show up early and eat as many courses as you can hold – I believe that Scott said the record is 24.  Hey, by my (admittedly blurry as the night drew to a close) count, we put back a cool 16 courses, not bad.

We covered my four major food groups: pork (warm lardo, coppa, crispy belly), rabbit (poached in butter), eggs (softly scrambled in browned butter), and mushrooms (an ethereal, chicken-of-the-woods wild mushroom broth with pickled and fresh vegetables, I can’t stop thinking about it), as well as duck, beef, foie gras, hummus with smoked trout (yes!), chocolate, and a dreamy sweet polenta pudding topped with sweet corn ice cream.

eggs scrambled in brown butter

Our conversation covered pig skulls, Larry Flynt, Napa Valley, lap dances, lipstick, cheese rinds, gluttony, scrambled egg technique, Vegas, writing on deadline, surgery vs. butchery…

I laughed so hard that I lost my voice.

Thank goodness for chef-client privilege.

hummus with smoked trout and apple

minnesota spring roll with turnip

Thank goodness for great friends, lovely restaurants, talented chefs, delicious wine, sublime food, and loving husbands.

Thank goodness for bitterly cold Minnesota winters that make a warm, cozy kitchen seem more perfect than a white-sand beach.

foie gras

duck breast with apple parsnip

Thank goodness for an utterly unforgettable birthday celebration.

My huge thanks to Corner Table, Chef Scott, and his fantastic staff, as well as Debbie, Stu, Ana, and Rudy, for sharing the evening with us.

polenta pudding with sweet corn ice cream

Do you have a special celebration approaching?  Are you needing a mid-winter’s escape?  Are you hungry?

I have a recommendation for you…