Archive for September, 2008

It started to feel like fall this past weekend, so we figured the crowds would be sparse at Sea Salt. I know that’s not good for their business, but as a neighbor and a regular of the Best Seafood Restaurant in the Twin Cities, it meant that we wouldn’t have to wait in an hour long line to order and wait another 45 minutes for our fish tacos. We wandered over to the park, and sure enough, no line. We were in heaven. And then we heard that we still have a month before Sea Salt closes for the season. Could we be happier?

I ordered my usual, the Shrimp Po-Boy. Husband ordered the Marlin Tacos, and together we devoured an order of the Shrimp Cocktail. Again, they did not disappoint. The Po-Boy was loaded with shrimp and just enough hot sauce for me to notice. The shrimp were fresh and along with the cocktail sauce there was a large pile of horseradish. The taco’s, in husband’s words, were “pretty good.”. They looked great, full of fresh fish, cilantro and Sea Salt’s own sauce.

I always get a little blue at the end of summer, but just knowing that we have another four weeks of fresh fish and seafood will make the transition a little easier.

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Brie Baker

As promised, here’s a photo of the Brie Baker I picked up in St. Croix Falls. I haven’t had the chance to try it out, but it’s beautiful, ain’t it? And you can’t go wrong with Brie, espeically baked on a cold winter day while you sip wine and watch the snow fall. Ah…..

And here’s a recipe for Baked Brie.

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A couple weeks ago a friend asked me what the difference is between Sorbet and Sherbet. We talked about it, and decided, based on texture and consistency alone, that sherbet must have some form of dairy or fat in it. We were right. I found the following explanation on Dr. Gourmet (drgourmet.com):

“The difference between sorbet and sherbet is that sherbets contain milk or another fat, making it similar to ice cream. Generally thought of as being fruit based, sorbets can be made with any ingredient.

Sorbets are technically ices (as in Italian ice) and are also referred to as granitas. They were actually the first iced dessert, probably having been invented by the Asians and then introduced to the Middle East and Italy. They are generally granular in texture where sherbet is creamy as a result of the added fat.

The smoothness of a sorbet is also dependent on the secondary ingredients because of how they can change the structure of the frozen recipe. More or less sugar or alcohol or even the amount of water will make a big difference in the texture of the recipe.”

All of that learning made me hungry, so I’m headed to Izzy’s to pick up some sorbet, and if a pint of ice cream happens to come home with me, well, I’ll adjust.

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My sister-in-law introduced me to Knoke’s Chocolates by bringing them to showers, etc for the last couple of years. And then last week on a trip to St. Croix Falls, we happened to park just shy of their front door. Huh. A chocolate shop. Think we best go in, eh? And we did. I tried to control myself and got a dark chocolate covered caramel with sea salt along with two caramel apples for the Hubby. And man, that caramel is still haunting me. I should have/could have bought a box or two. But best to know that its a good 30+ miles away so there are no emergency trips east. The photo shows the most adorable little truffles from my sister’s baby shower.

Sis-in-law made the boxes, which were fabulous and just perfect for the occasion. If you’re ever in Hudson, park on Locust and follow the scent of fresh chocolate. You’ll thank me.

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After a long day last week, the last thing I wanted to think about was what to make for dinner. Fortunately, Jen told me about one of her favorite, easy meals. Pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil. Considering the garden keeps spitting all sorts of tomatoes at me, and the basil has taken over, it was a perfect solution for a quick, weeknight meal.

And boy was it delicious. So fresh and colorful. I hope those tomato plants produce for a few more weeks.

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The weather in these parts has been absolutely beautiful. Sunny and low 70’s with a light breeze, we couldn’t ask for me on these last few days of summer. Saturday we took advantage of the weather and sat on the amazing patio over at W. A. Frost. I’ve written about this place before, but this experience really topped the others, beginning with the weather. Then we started to eat…

I started with a cup of the soup of the day, a spicy, chilled peach soup. It was truly delicious, unexpectedly so. There was just enough spice to balance the sweet and the fizz was a nice surprise.

I then moved on to a sandwich that can’t be beat, a BLT with Avocado.Perfectly prepared, with thick bacon and a siracha aioli to spice things up. The fries were made from real potatoes and had just enough salt to keep them interesting.


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Two months ago, Jen and I drove up the St. Croix River and found a potter (Lief Bjornson) in St. Croix Falls. Back then we each ordered a brie baker and a garlic plate. Last week we found out our custom orders were ready, so we hopped back in the MIni and hit the road. That night, I used one of the pieces, a garlic plate, for the first time. I admit I was unsure what to expect, but really, what a great idea. Essentially, it’s just a simple plate, but in the center is a texture that you rub a fresh clove of garlic on. The texture chews up the garlic and the natural juices from the garlic pour out. Then, you add some good olive oil and dip some good bread in it. And man, you really can taste the garlic. I was so pleasantly surprised.

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Every fall I get the urge to make a big pot of something that simmers for awhile and makes the house smell really, really good. So, we made a big ‘ol pot of chili. I used some ground turkey from the St. Paul Farmers Market and a whole lot of fresh vegetables in this great recipe from Cooking Light, Spicy Turkey Chili. The recipe also calls for black beans, kidney beans and loads of tomatoes. It could have used a bit more spice, but that’s easy to add later. Regardless, this is a recipe we’ll keep and make often. Very often.

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I gave in. A new reader left a comment on last week’s Key Lime Pie post that I had to try the same from the Birchwood Cafe. Considering that I’m a huge fan of the nieghborhood place, and it’s just a few steps (miles) from my house, I did try it. And I loved it. However, I have a hard time comparing it to the pie from M&S because it was really very different. This pie was smooth and tart, the crust was thinner but had more flavor. Both were absolutely delicious. And if someone put a piece of both in front of me, there would be little but crumbs left on the plate. If I had to choose, I’d go with the Birchwoods, but more for the atmosphere and the support of a local business. Either way, I think I won. Anyone care to meet me at the Birchwod for lunch, or maybe a piece of pie?

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I’ve been craving pasta lately, and was really craving an alfredo sauce. Not wanting the calories that come with the famous dish, I turned to cooking light and found the recipe for their Ricotta Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli. The recipe sounded easy enough and the reviews were pretty good, but well, it was a bit disappointed. It was, frankly, boring and bland. I added some more salt and some crushed red pepper and it was still a bit boring. I think some garlic or onions (easily sauted in the butter at the begining) would have made a huge improvement. Regardless, I got my pasta and an okay meal. But maybe next time, we’ll go with the genuine thing and the extra calories.

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