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Archive for April, 2008

It was Husband’s birthday last Friday, and we were fortunate to get two tickets to the Minnesota Wild Playoff Game from a great vendor. Now we just had to find someplace to grab a bite before the big game. And because we love it and don’t get to eat it enough, he chose Sushi. There are a couple of good sushi places in downtown St. Paul, but one really stands out above the others, and that’s Fuji-ya on 7th and Wabasha. I’ve been there a couple times, and haven’t been disappointed. And it’s withing walking distance of the Xcel center, so that’s a bonus.

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Enough of my singing.

A recipe I posted the a while ago that called for Cardamom Pods. I’ve heard of these, I’d even seen them, but at my neighborhood Lunds they were really expensive. And at my humble little Rainbow market they didn’t even have them. So Husband and went on a field trip out to the suburbs to the Indian Market. Not only did I find them, but they were oh so much cheaper than the ones at fancy Lunds.

I obviously haven’t worked with these little guys, but they really are pods and inside the little pods there are little black spices. When I first held the pod I noticed the intense citrus flavor. Later I read that the pods are similar to fresh ginger. And fresh ginger is citrusy, so I guess that makes sense. Regardless, I have a whole spice jar full of the little guys now, so I guess I’ll be cooking more indian.

I had been storing my fancy little Cardamom Pods way at the top of my spice cupboard. As I reached up to grab the bottle of crushed red pepper the container of pods flew down the shelves and crashed all over the floor. Crap. These little pods are small, and they went e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. As I swept them up and poured them into the garbage I noticed how absolutely beautiful they smelled. Like citrus. And fresh Ginger. And they smelled clean. They really should bottle that scent. Huh, an idea.

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I just finished The Tenth Muse: My Life Food, by Judith Jones. I had to wait a few months for this one from the library, but it was well worth the wait. Jones is the editor who published many amazing cookbooks, most notably, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Simone Beck. She published many other books, including those by Madhur Jaffrey and Claudia Roden. It’s a wonderful, quick read that takes you from one end of the food world to another. I found one thing to be curious, though. For years Jones helped cookbook authors piece together their stories to be presented in an orderly way, but I felt this book could have used some of that editing. There were few references to the year, and the chapters skipped from one topic to the next. Sometimes it was hard to keep up. Regardless, I recommend it. And at the end, she provides a number of fascinating recipes that she writes about. This woman really helped to change the way we cook at home in America. And to that I say, Thank You.

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Years ago, when Chino Latino first opened, I found a recipe for their delicious Coconut Curry Shrimp Dish. I was just getting to know Curries, and this is a great introduction, as well as a great, lively dish. It’s great for a weeknight dinner, and also impressive enough to serve to a dinner party.

At the restaurant it’s pretty spicy. The first time I made it it was almost too hot. The recipe calls for three tablespoons of red curry paste. If you’re curry paste is from an Indian market or something similar, I’d use just one. If it’s from the normal grocery store, I’d add a bit more.

There’s also fresh pineapple, red pepper and a generous dollop of cilantro. It’s a great dish in the depths of winter because it will warm you up, but it’s refreshing and light enough for a summer supper.

Enjoy!


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Hooray!!

After a long, dreary, cold, snowy and downright depressing winter, our favorite summer restaurant is open again. They opened on Friday, and we actually waited until Saturday evening to have our first taste of spring. And I’m not the only one excited about it.

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San Diego is known for serving really fresh, really good fish. Do I started off my San Diego dining adventure with some beautiful Salmon Tacos from a casual place called The Tin Fish. It sounded awfully familiar when I got there, with counter ordering and outdoor seating. But the tacos were great. Loaded with lots of salmon and corn and tomatoes. The cole slaw was a real surprise in that it had a vinegar base rather than a mayo base. I was excited about finding the little gem until I googled it and realized its a chain. And not only a chain, but that there’s a location not too far from me on Lake Calhoun. It made my stomach turn, because if you know me, I do not eat at chain restaurants. So that’s all I’m going to say. For a chain, I’ve already said enough. Moving on…

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I met a couple friends for lunch last week and this really adorable cafe just down the highway from my office. When I meet these two, we try to pick a central location, and someplace with easy/free parking. The Good Day Cafe, just off of Hwys 100 and 394, in St. Louis Park is the perfect spot for us to convene. Not only is a great location, they serve great food.

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Open for breakfast and lunch, they serve real food in a fun, friendly atmosphere. I ordered a favorite, a BLT with Avocado. The bacon was crisp and thick and had very little fat on it, but actual meat. The bread was perfectly toasted and the french fries, well, these were real fries, made from potatoes and probably fried twice. Fries this good DO NOT make me feel guilty because you can taste the love that went into each and every one of the them. And I ate each and every fry I found on my plate. (more…)

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