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Best chilaquiles in Twin Cities?

Resurrecting this thread to note that Sonora Grill on Lake and 33rd has started serving brunch Saturdays and Sundays, and has red and green chilaquiles on its brunch menu. I had the green this morning with two perfectly done over easy eggs, slow roasted pork guajillo, and a red sangria. It was a lovely, unhurried breakfast.

Jun 28, 2014
clepro in Minneapolis-St. Paul

A few days in Minneapolis area - did my CH homework

If you end up at Ngon, they have an excellent pork belly appetizer.

A few days in Minneapolis area - did my CH homework

Brasserie Zentral popped immediately into my mind too when I saw the reference to Central European, buttressed by the later mention of pork. Check out the pork cheeks on Zentral's menu

Asparagus with sauce

I mostly roast my asparagus, but I also love a steamed, chilled asparagus with a tangy mustard lemon sauce, prepared according to a recipe in my much-used Green on Greens cookbook.

Jun 03, 2014
clepro in Home Cooking

Sad to report the passing of Veggo

We'll miss him, even those of us who only knew him by his writing here. Thank you for letting us know, and condolences to you and the rest of Veggo's family, and to what I am sure must be a wide, wide circle of friends.

May 28, 2014
clepro in Site Talk

Brasserie Zentral

Thanks for pointing that out!

Apr 24, 2014
clepro in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Brasserie Zentral

I went this evening and also had a wonderful experience. There were four of us and Zentral offers a number of small plates, so we were able to try a good variety. Don't know if they will all remain on the menu next week when they open, but I can highly recommend the outstanding white asparagus & hazelnut cream soup, whole halibut tail, gnocchi (light, billowy, among the best I've ever had), ravioli stuffed with nettle and served with spring peas, spaetzle with roasted rabbit and mushrooms, the whole roasted chicken stuffed with foie gras and an inspired foie gras sampler that I personally can't report on but my dining companions loved. We also had an artichoke gratin that was very good, altho richer than I would prefer for a side dish. The menu is fascinating; offerings that are fresh, intriguing, and unlike anything else here in the cities.

There's a vast wine list, including wines from Croatia and Hungary. I'd report in detail on our delicious cocktails if only I could remember what was in them... our favorites were the Lawnmower and something-something Lena. Be warned--the Lena packs a real punch.

Deserts all round were excellent, in particular a tangy black current sorbet and an incredibly delicious, clean and fresh tasting pear sorbet.

The environment is lovely but relaxed, and service was excellent. The train runs right outside its windows, or if you prefer to drive, parking is easy, with lots in the building and across the street on the other side of 5th ($4 for the entire evening). I'm very excited about this new venture, and looking forward to many more dinners there. And lunches, because lucky me, it's just two blocks from where I work.

A bakery adventure, in which our heroine tries to go to Mojo Monkey but ends up at Rebecca's instead

I did end up at Verdant Tea and it was fantastic. I had one of their special drinks--orange juice, sparkling water, bitters and kombucha, and for lunch perfectly cooked soba noodles in a clean tasting broth with a few green onions, topped with mildly spicy, maybe curried(?) carrot ginger puree, alongside a bowl of fresh tasting, crisp, lightly pickled vegetables. Carrots, cucumbers, and white radishes, I think. It may be because I've been going through chemo and so certain foods appeal to me more than they would normally, but this is one of my top 10 meals of the past year. I loved it.

A bakery adventure, in which our heroine tries to go to Mojo Monkey but ends up at Rebecca's instead

Anne, I've got to meet someone in that neighborhood for lunch next week and am now considering Rebecca's. Their website doesn't indicate a lunch menu, but I saw references to soups, sandwiches elsewhere. Did you notice if they had lunch items? And is there any seating?

Mar 23, 2014
clepro in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP: Poutine

I just heard today that Ward Six over on the East Side has a version going that's great.

Feb 09, 2014
clepro in Minneapolis-St. Paul

What's for Christmas Breakfast?

Finnish oven pancake (Dutch baby, pannukakku) with a squeeze of fresh lemon, then topped with lingonberries and maple syrup from back home. Thick cut bacon on the side, orange juice, and lots of coffee.

Potica - where can I find some?

Did you get there? What do you think? I do love Andre's but remember you saying several years back here that it wasn't the real Iron Range deal. Rats.

Dec 08, 2013
clepro in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Fine Dining in St. Paul?

Wrote a long recommendation for MOTH before reading down and seeing you'd already made it there. What did you order?

Nov 23, 2013
clepro in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Fine Dining in St. Paul?

I've become progressively more and more pleased with MOTH over the past year. I think they've really stepped up their kitchen, the drinks are excellent, and the environment both relaxing or invigorating, so it works whatever mood we're in. I've especially enjoyed the big shared appetizers platter, which varies from week to week. One week it included a little crock of a savory bean and tomato stew, topped with a perfectly cooked quail's egg, that was one of the best things I've eaten this year. They make a very good Moscow Mule, although due to theft it's no longer served in the traditional copper cup, alas. I would recommend their vodka flights, borscht, the marinated red cabbage and the beet salad, pickled vegetables, cheboureki, pate or russian herring appetizers, the Siberian pelmeni and the vareniki, and duck breast ekaterina. I've friends who love their wild rice cabbage rolls and beef stroganoff too, although I can't speak to them myself. The poached pear salad is a nice, light alternative too, with pears that are crisp and spicy.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Madison, WI

Thank you!

We were considering Layla's Persian, but glad to have these additional options.

Nov 21, 2013
clepro in Great Lakes

NPR: See How Food Stamp Cuts Are Hitting Across The U.S.

Also, this infrastructure you're talking about? Did the government not play a role in its development?

The government is not necessarily just an entity apart from us that TAKES. It is also the way in which we collectively act.

NPR: See How Food Stamp Cuts Are Hitting Across The U.S.

Yes. Previous generations, the people who helped establish social security and medicare, who built powerful labor unions, who fought in the streets over politics, who engaged in labor unrest, who lived with upheavals caused by economic unrest, who were a motley crew including radicals and visionaries of all stripes, somehow also are the same people in this simplistic, sentimental image you have of people who took any job they could find, kept their mouths shut, expected nothing, and would never never never expect help from any quarter but be immensely and virtuously grateful if any were doled out.

You might want to read a little public welfare history, labor union history or heck, just any kind of history, and fill out that picture you're painting a little bit.

For instance, maybe start with good old Thomas Paine and his Agrarian Justice (1795). A pamphlet, not a book, so a quick read:

Here's something interesting he had to say:

"Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally. Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came."

NPR: See How Food Stamp Cuts Are Hitting Across The U.S.

Indeed. Know what else is a problem? When mathematically speaking, a small percentage of a population captures an increasingly larger proportion of the wealth.

NPR: See How Food Stamp Cuts Are Hitting Across The U.S.

One of the problems is access. I too would hope and prefer SNAP recipients shop wisely, both for their sakes and for all taxpayers (which, do not forget, many SNAP recipients are also). I am not fool enough to imagine that everyone who receives SNAP shops wisely. However, it's just as unwise to neglect the barriers that can make that "wise shopping" very difficult if not impossible. Easy for us with our cars and our time and well-stocked grocery stores, and our ability to stockpile and select and feed our hungers however we may choose to sit back and chide; not always possible to do the same in different circumstances.

What Christmas cookies are you baking this year?

Buttertart, have you ever made ma'amouls? I had my first taste of them at a coffeeshop in Madison, WI several weeks back. They were so delicious and I was so elated with them that the owner pulled 12 from the freezer and sent them home with me. A buttery crust wrapped around ground spices, nuts and dates, dusted with confectioner's sugar. So rich, but not overly sweet, and perfect with bitter coffee. One cookie served three of us. Not because it was huge, but because it was so delicious only tiny bites were needed.

This recipe looks promising:

Does anyone else have experience with this cookie and a trusted recipe to share?

Nov 19, 2013
clepro in Home Cooking

What Christmas cookies are you baking this year?

Four years later, and I just noticed this. But had to laugh, because when I saw your name, and then saw the description, I wondered if you would be touting MY ginger spice cookies. And indeed you are. Yes, they are seriously delicious! I think I'll make up a batch this weekend.

Nov 19, 2013
clepro in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving Dinner in Madison, WI

I too am in search of a place for Thanksgiving dinner in Madison. Just called the Dayton Street Grille and they aren't serving this year, alas.

Madison on the Cheap has yet to update their list for 2013.

This is getting a little frustrating. I will return with news of what I find later today and tomorrow.

Nov 18, 2013
clepro in Great Lakes

100 Recipes Every Mom (or Dad) Should Know, Chowhound edition

Thanks! Excellent advice; I'll take it.

Nov 17, 2013
clepro in Home Cooking

100 Recipes Every Mom (or Dad) Should Know, Chowhound edition

Now, for the rest.

The real name for the cake is Walnut and Prune Cake Perigord Style. http://domesticintelligence.files.wor... I am obsessive when I make this. I blanch, skin and toast the walnuts. Dice the prunes and dust them with flour so they suspend properly, and bake it in a fluted tube pan. It's an outstanding cake.

The other two...I'm sorry, but once again, I just make them by the seat of my pants.

Whether it's the Spanakopita or spinach/goat cheese pie, I usually start by sauteing a good amount of leeks and green onions if possible, otherwise some yellow or white onions thinly sliced or diced, in olive oil. One or two minced garlic cloves is good too, but not essential, IMO. Salt, pepper. Cool down. Get the spinach ready...if frozen, a couple of boxes, thawed and very, very well squeezed of all moisture. If fresh, which is preferred, a couple of pounds roughly chopped, then sauteed in a little bit of boiling water, just long enough to turn the leaves limp. Chop again after cooking. To the cooled spinach I add the onions and a bunch of parsley, chopped. I also like to add chopped fresh dill (or tiny bit of dried dill...go light on the dill, regardless). Some people really like a little chopped fresh mint, but I'm not one of them.

Then beat up a couple of eggs, and add that to the greens with whatever amount of feta or chevre you like, crumbled. Taste, salt and pepper again. Don't skimp on the pepper.

Layer a few leaves of filo, each one brushed with melted butter or olive oil, pour in the spinach mixture, and top with more buttered filo leaves and bake. Or take a prepared pie shell (we like whole wheat for these) and simply spoon in the filling, smooth and bake. The top will crack a little bit on the open pie generally, once it's cooked through. These are delicious warm or cold, and always held up well packed in school lunches.

For the miso soup, I follow the same basic pattern as these instructions. You can use any type of miso; white, brown, red. Note the part about how to temper in the miso at the end; if you've ever made a Greek lemon soup, where you pulled out some hot broth to mix with your beaten eggs and THEN added that mixture back into the hot soup, this is the same idea, I highly recommend doing that, as it allows you to control better the amount of miso as you go, and ensure it all dissolves properly.

Nov 17, 2013
clepro in Home Cooking

100 Recipes Every Mom (or Dad) Should Know, Chowhound edition

Blaming mine on the Prednisone.

Nov 17, 2013
clepro in Home Cooking

100 Recipes Every Mom (or Dad) Should Know, Chowhound edition

Oh, I would love to share my Welsh cakes recipe with you! It was my mother's; she made them every year for Christmas so they're particularly special to us.

Rather than typing Mom's in, I'm going to link you to a recipe/directions almost exactly the same as her's. The only difference is Mom added 2-3 tablespoons of whole milk, depending on the flour's absorption. And she used only a pinch of salt, not a heaping teaspoon. (The self-raising flour already has salt...)

And here're your directions for making self-raising flour:

Lard is excellent in these (but only if you can get the really good lard, not the oldish stuff sold in most grocery stores), but you can replace with half Crisco/half butter, half butter/half lard, according to my Mom. All butter does not work well in my experience; they're too flat. But some people swear by it, so give it a whirl if you'd rather. Whatever shortening you use, make sure it's cold when you add it.

Do NOT ever use anything except raisins please. Don't even think of eliminating or replacing the nutmeg. But if you must, use mace. Or a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

We always cooked ours on an ungreased or extremely lightly greased cast iron griddle.

I rub/cut in the lard/butter until crumbly, then mix in the currants, then work in the eggs for a soft but still stiff dough. You want the dough to feel sort of like a pastry dough, so don't overdo the milk nor the mixing. It's best to do by hand, for that reason. It may take you a few times to get these right. The cooked cakes should be soft and tender, with no more than at the most a bit of a crisp around their brown edges.

I chill the dough for an hour or so before rolling them out. When you roll them out, make them about 1/4 thick. This will help you make sure your center gets cooked by the time the surface is golden, abt 3-3 1/2 minutes per side. (Flour rolling area and pin a bit, but dough should not be sticky.)

I am not particularly skilled at these. My mom's were the best, and my sister's are a close runner up. But they're worth any effort it might take, because done right, these are delectable.

Nov 16, 2013
clepro in Home Cooking

100 Recipes Every Mom (or Dad) Should Know, Chowhound edition

I've been giving her the requested directions/recipes bit by bit. I did put together a cookbook for my sister years and years ago, that was enormous fun to make and give. So long ago that I typed it on a typewriter. It was comprised of favorite recipes from our family, me and our friends, adorned with photographs, quotes, stories. I should dig that out and make another copy for my daughter.

Just went out looking for the recipe card that started the brown rice salad craze, but couldn't find that old wooden card box off the bat. Will dig it out later this week, if I remember.

That card goes way back. When Johanna was about 6 or 7, we were back East visiting my old college roommate. She'd made a brown rice salad for our visit and had it ready for us in one of those lovely hand thrown pottery casserole dishes. I can't remember exactly what all was in it, except that it was spiked with little bits of raw cauliflower, hot peppers, olives and walnuts, and my girl had something like three helpings. So I went home with the recipe on a card, and have been riffing off that start for years. Mine are all over the map, and I don't track what I do (as I think you might remember from cooking with me, DQ).

Basically, just start with a good sturdy brown rice, cooked in broth or white wine and broth. I like a particular oval brown rice available in the bulk bins of our coop. Sometimes I mix in other rice or grains. Then add whatever vegetables you're in the mood for and look good. At least one crunchy option; carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers. Arugula, spinach, chard or other greens are excellent, shredded or full leaf, raw. Olives add a lot, as do dried or raw cranberries, dried apricots, currents, golden raisins, tiny green onions, fennel, sauteed almonds or walnuts, whole basil leaves, parsley, cilantro. Crushed garlic, shallots, chopped red onion, fresh herbs, spices...vinegar and oil dressing. I never ever use meat or fish in these salads, always just vegetables. They're really just elaborated room temp pilafs, you know?

Yes, a Finnish pannukakku, aka Dutch baby. I use the recipe from the Minnesota Ethnic Food book. Just eggs, milk (I use skim), butter, flour, salt, and a touch of sugar.
I always put the pan the oven and melt the butter in it to crackling hot before pouring in the batter. As soon as I take it out of the oven, I squeeze a half lemon over it, then cut into big squares. Top each square with a spoonful or two of high quality lingonberries (not the jam, the whole lingonberries) and drizzle on some maple syrup. Excellent holiday breakfast, served with thick cut bacon and very strong coffee.

I'd be happy to share "my" banana bread recipe, but aren't we constrained from doing that here on CH? I mostly use the one from a cookbook written about the places and people where I grew up, Cooking from a Country Farmhouse, by Susan Wyler. As she writes, key is to have your bananas be exceedingly ripe, although I use more than she calls for. She uses all buttermilk in her's, but I like to use half buttermilk and half yogurt. I follow her lead and use dark brown sugar, but I also like to grate a little nutmeg in mine, while her recipes calls for no spices at all. Sometime I add cinnamon too.

An interesting side to perusing that book back when she first wrote it was learning that the apple cider vinegar and buttermilk flavors I was so familiar with were somewhat unique to the region.

Ah. Found an online copy of Wyler's recipe. Buttermilk Banana Bread. http://michelle-fromthekitchen.blogsp...

We also love Maida Heatter's Cuban banana bread, to which I add dark rum and sometimes swap out the raisins for chopped dates.

Nov 16, 2013
clepro in Home Cooking

100 Recipes Every Mom (or Dad) Should Know, Chowhound edition

Huh. My daughter and I were talking about this just recently, and she ran down the list just as quickly as I could write them down (she was asking me to provide recipes/directions, so she could duplicate, now that she's living away from home). So I have the real deal answer here, not just what I imagine she might say. It will be a pleasure to type these in. I think the mix of items is hilarious.

Most I just do, without recipes. I'll list them as she refers to them, so you'll see some indefinable things, like 'Middle Eastern carrots," which are just carrots cooked, then tossed with lemon, olive oil, cumin and paprika and served at room temp.

Spaghetti carbonara (per Marcella Hazan's recipe)
Spaghettini with scallops and breadcrumbs (ditto)
Meatloaf, the way my husband makes it
Lemon, garlic and rosemary roasted chicken
Mashed potatoes with herbs and/or garlic
Cucumbers and onions in vinegar
Lemon garlic green beans
Roasted cauliflower and Brussel's sprouts
"Indian chicken" per Madjur Jaffrey (real name Spicy Baked Chicken/Masaledar Murghi), plus her cauliflower and potatoes or rice with peas and onions
Pickles (half sours)
Scrambled eggs
Middle Eastern carrots
Grilled salmon with sesame
Miso soup
Split pea soup with cornbread
Chicken noodle soup
Smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and red onions on bagels (memories...sometime we just assemble them!)
Chicken pot pie
Greek lemon soup
Spinach & goat cheese whole wheat pie
Potato, onion and garlic frittata
Warm milk with vanilla
Salad of bitter greens with toasted walnuts
Chilled asparagus with mustard sauce
"Those brown rice salads you make"
Baked rice with chickpeas and currants (Claudia Roden)
Banana bread
Oven pancake with lingonberries
Pumpkin pie
Peach pie
Armagnac and prune cake
Welsh cakes
Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Nov 16, 2013
clepro in Home Cooking

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking: Pasta and Other Starches [CoTM Sept 2006 and Nov 2013]

This has been our traditional Christmas Eve dinner for almost two decades, starting from the days when my now 22-year-old daughter called it "white 'paghetti." It is the best carbonara recipe, heck, the best carbonara, I have ever made or eaten. Delicious, simple, with the slightly sharp bite of the cheeses tempered by the silky mellowness of the eggs and wine.

We use always one particular brand of pancetta purchased from an Italian market here in St. Paul, and always both the pecorino romano and parmigiano. I personally love guanciale in it, but my family prefers the pancetta. Whichever you choose, make sure you cook the meat long enough to crisp the edges a bit. I like slightly long, skinny oblong cuts better than squares or blocks.

It's important in my opinion to cut the parsley finely, and to have your eggs at room temperature. I beat the eggs well with a fork prior to adding the parsley, cheeses and pepper, and have never had them curdle on us.

The beating occurs in a large, shallow platter rather than in a bowl; that gives the pasta plenty of surface contact when I dump it in, and makes the tossing easier. It's also gorgeous to serve from a platter, all those lovely golden tangles with rose and bits of green.

The choice of wine can really alter the flavor too. I really should start keeping track and making notes, but in general we do prefer a drier white, although I've also successfully used soft, slightly sweet whites that simply add a different overtone.

Nov 16, 2013
clepro in Home Cooking

Where are the donuts?

Which reminds me. Several weeks ago I had my first experience with a bag of mini donuts, the apple cider donuts at Apple Junction in Hastings. HIGHLY recommended... sticking your hand into a bag filled with still warm donut holes, the smell of apples and autumn all around, and then popping little nuggets of sweet spiciness into your mouth, is pretty much Minnesota perfect.

Nov 15, 2013
clepro in Minneapolis-St. Paul