Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tasty Travels: Munich

The German breakfast at the Hotel Uhland was fantastic!
The Hotel Uhland gave us a nice Christmas basket of cookies and clementines.

We ate a lot of meals at the Hofbraühaus since it was always open even when other places were closed for the holidays.

Grill-sausages (on the left) and "Hofbraühaus Style" sausage (on the right).
Cheese Spätzle.
Roast Pork
The cabbage salad (coleslaw) was awesome!
And the yeast dumpling was amazing. I describe it as tasting like a melted donut.

Bratwurst at the Weisses Brauhaus.

We had dinner at Haxnbauer. In Saint Paul, our favorite German restaurant is the Glockenspiel, where Tim likes to have schweinehaxe. Since the Haxnbauer is famous for theirs, we decided to try it out!
Here are the schweinehaxe on the spit.
The dining roomMy Bavarian radish appetizer
My sliced pork knuckle entrée served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes topped with fried onions.
Tim's entrée of pork knuckle (schweinehaxe), mixed salad, and green beans with bacon.
The other entrées: veal and pork knuckle with potato dumplings, and roasted suckling pig with potato dumplings.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tasty Travels: Amsterdam

I had an eight-hour layover in Amsterdam, which was just enough time to revisit some favorite sights.

Along the way, I ran across a beautiful local market. We don't have markets like this in Minnesota during the winter!
I also had time to stop at De Passage for a cheese pancake. The Dutch eat pancakes for lunch or dinner, and they are often topped with savory items. I chose cheese, of course!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, Spinach, and Cream

In process

Finished product

Cara Brunetti Hillyard
Featured in Bon Appétit, January 2006

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage (casings removed, if necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 1 14.5-ounce diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound whole wheat corkscrew or farfalle pasta
  • Optional: 1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh basil
    and/or freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add sausage and crushed red pepper. Sauté until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes.
  • Add onion, spinach and garlic; sauté until onion is tender and sausage is browned, about 3 minutes longer.
  • Add tomatoes and cream.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausage mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite.
  • Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to same pot.
  • Add sausage mixture and toss over medium-low heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry.
  • Transfer pasta to serving dish. Sprinkle with basil. Serve, passing cheese separately.

Tim's Rating:7/10 (doesn't like chunky meat sauce)
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Curried Chicken Pasta Salad


  • 2 cups whole wheat corkscrew pasta
  • 2 cups chopped poached chicken breast meat
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless green grapes, halved
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  2. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, celery, grapes, cooked pasta, salt, and white pepper; mix well and reserve.
  4. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, curry powder, cumin, rice vinegar, and sugar; whisk ingredients together and toss with chicken mixture.
  5. Cover salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 to 4 hours before serving.

Tim's Rating: 6/10
Liz's Rating: 7/10

Bean and Chicken Crockpot Tacos

In the crockpot

Finished product


  • 1-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
  • 4-oz. can chopped green chilies, undrained
  • 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 19-oz. can cannellini beans, drained
  • 12-24 taco shells
  • shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, salsa

  1. In 3-4 quart crockpot, place chicken thighs and sprinkle with taco seasoning mix.
  2. Top with chilies, tomato sauce, onion, chili powder, and drained beans.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Remove chicken from crockpot and shred with two forks.
  5. Using potato masher, mash some of the beans in the crockpot.
  6. Return chicken to crockpot and mix well to blend.
  7. Make tacos with chicken filing, taco shells, and toppings.

Tim's Rating: 10/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Vegetable Barley Soup


  • 3 quarts vegetable or beef broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked barley
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 8 ounces baby Portabella mushrooms
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  1. Pour the broth into a large pot. Add the barley, carrots, celery, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, onion, and bay leaves. Season with garlic powder, sugar, salt, pepper, parsley, curry powder, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 70 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and simmer 20 additional minutes.
  4. The soup will be very thick. You may adjust by adding more broth or less barley if desired. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 7/10

Friday, December 7, 2007

Product Rave: Frozen Door County Berries

These berries are super good.
They are available at Kowalski's in the frozen fruit section.
Tim has a mixture of these berries, yogurt, and granola for breakfast most mornings.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


(not my photo)

Cold-Weather Cooking

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and minced
  • 4 ribs celery, minced
  • 1 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 ounces beet greens or Swiss chard, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 10 ounces fresh or frozen spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 slices (each 1 inch thick) stale French or Italian bread
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnishes: olive oil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, minced scallions

  1. The day before serving, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stockpot.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, parsley, and thyme. Saute 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, tomatoes, beet greens, and spinach; toss to combine with the other vegetables.
  4. Stir in the chicken (or vegetable) broth and red wine.
  5. Simmer the soup uncovered until the vegetables are very tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Fifteen minutes before the soup is done, stir in cannellini beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Ladle one-third of the soup into a clean stockpot. Cover with 4 slices of the bread and 3/4 cup Parmesan. Cover the bread layer with another third of the soup. Make a layer of the remaining bread and 3/4 cup Parmesan. Cover with the remaining soup. Refrigerate overnight.
  8. About 30 minutes before serving, reheat the soup over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot.
  9. Ladle the soup into large soup bowls and garnish each serving with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan and scallions. Serve at once.

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 10/10

Chicken and Broccoli Hotdish

Cindy, my mother-in-law!

  • 1/4-1/3 lbs. ham
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 jars Heinz chicken gravy
  • 5 or 6 pieces of bread, crumbed.
  • Fresh broccoli
  • 1 bag shredded mozzarella
  • Croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 9x13 pan.
  3. Put uncooked broccoli on bottom.
  4. Cover with ham and chicken breasts.
  5. Add breadcrumbs.
  6. Mix two jars of gravy with can of soup; pour over mixture in pan.
  7. Cover with mozzarella cheese and croutons.
  8. Bake 30-40 minutes, uncovered.

Tim's Rating: ?/10

Orecchiette with Toasted Breadcrumbs

(not my photo)

Giada De Laurentiis

  • 1 pound dried orecchiette or other small shaped pasta
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup Italian-seasoned dried bread crumbs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup finely chopped prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  1. In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized saute pan, heat the oil until warm. Since the bread crumbs will cook quickly, you don't want to add them into a hot pan, otherwise they can burn.
  4. Add the breadcrumbs and stir constantly. Season lightly with salt and pepper since flavored bread crumbs may already have seasoning. Saute for about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Drain pasta in a colander.
  7. Working quickly, add pasta to the saute pan and stir to combine. Add Parmesan and the chopped prosciutto. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Pour into large serving bowl and garnish with chopped parsley.

Tim's Rating: ?/10
Liz's Rating: 10/10

Beef Barley Stew

(not my photo)


  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup uncooked medium pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Minced fresh parsley

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook beef in oil until meat is no longer pink.
  2. Add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic; cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, water, wine, broth, bay leaves, salt, thyme and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  6. Add barley; cover and simmer 45 minutes longer or until barley and meat are tender.
  7. Combine flour and cold water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan.
  8. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  9. Remove from the heat. Discard bay leaves.
  10. Stir in balsamic vinegar just before serving. Sprinkle each serving with parsley.

Tim's Rating: 7/10
Liz's Rating: 6/10

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

(not my photo)


  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
  • 8 ounces raspberries
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • Melted butter
  • 2 cups cinnamon sugar

  1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves.
  2. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Brush one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter.
  5. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Brush again with melted butter.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges.
  8. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes.
  9. Serve with chilled fruit and spice mixture.

Tim's Rating: ?/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Hot Bean Dip

(not my photo)


  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans refried beans
  • 1/2 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 5 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Tortilla chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese and sour cream.
  3. Mix in the refried beans, taco seasoning, hot pepper sauce, parsley, green onions, 1/2 the Cheddar cheese and 1/2 the Monterey Jack cheese.
  4. Transfer the mixture to an 8x12 inch baking dish, and top with remaining Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned.

Tim's Rating: 11/10

Beer Dip


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup beer (preferably pale ale or stout)
  • Pretzel rods

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and dressing mix.
  2. Stir in Cheddar cheese, and then beer. The mixture will appear mushy.
  3. Cover bowl, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight if possible.
  4. Serve with pretzel rods.

Tim's Rating: ?/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Brown Butter and Balsamic Ravioli

(not my photo)

Rachael Ray

  • 1 package, 12 to 16 ounces, fresh ravioli, any flavor filling
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Salt water and drop ravioli in water.
  3. Cook 8 minutes or until raviolis expand, float to top of water, and are al dente.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-low to medium heat.
  5. Add butter to the pan and let it begin to brown.
  6. When the butter has browned, add cooked ravioli to the pan and turn in butter to heat through.
  7. Add balsamic vinegar to the ravioli and cook a minute or 2 longer to reduce the vinegar and glaze the ravioli. The vinegar will become thick and syrup like.
  8. Add cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to the pasta and remove the pan from the heat.

Tim's Rating: ?/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Rosemary-Balsamic Chicken Breasts

(not my photo)

Rachael Ray

  • 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, just enough to coat chicken lightly
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 stems rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped, about 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and coarse black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

  1. Coat chicken in balsamic vinegar, then olive oil.
  2. Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper and let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Add chicken breasts and cracked garlic to the pan.
  5. Cook chicken 12 minutes, or until juices run clear, turning occasionally. The balsamic vinegar will produce a deep brown, sweet finish on the chicken as it cooks.

Tim's Rating: ?/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Scalloped Corn

Cindy, my mother-in-law!

  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can whole-kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 10-20 saltine crackers
  • butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain whole kernel corn.
  3. Crush soda crackers.
  4. Mix together drained whole kernel corn, creamed corn, milk, eggs, and crushed soda crackers.
  5. Pour into 1.5-quart casserole dish and top with pads of butter.
  6. Bake for approximately 2 hours, until top is nicely browned.

Tim's Rating: 10/10