Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This is my niece, Colette, in the Twins dugout.

My birthday is in October but my niece, Colette, and I finally were able to share her birthday gift to me - a "Girlfriends' Mystery Tour." The plan was to have Cole stay overnight on Friday so that we could catch the bus in Apple Valley first thing on Saturday morning. So, the fun began on Friday when she arrived. We made a simple dinner together consisting of pork tenderloin, sauteed zucchini "spaghetti", and toasted nut bread. Here's the recipe (from Lunds "Real Food") for the pork tenderloin:

Dry Rub:
* 1 tablespoon turbinado or brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
* 2 teaspoons coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt
* 1 teaspoon ground pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
Stir all of the above ingredients together in a small bowl and massage mixture into:
* 2 pork tenderloins, about 14 ounces each
Let sit, covered, at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
Prepare grill.
Spray tenderloins with oil and arrange them on the grill over high initial, then medium, heat. Grill tenderloins, rolling to cook on all sides, until internal temperature reaches 155º, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, as the tenderloins are cooking, make:
Worcestershire-Pecan Butter:
In a dry skillet lightly toast
* 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, stirring continuously, about 5 minutes. Add
* 1 stick (8 tablespoons) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in several chunks. When melted, add
* 2 tablespoons minced white onion
* Pinch of coarse salt
Cook until onion turns translucent and limp. Remove from heat and stir in
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
When the tenderloins are done, remove them from the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes, covered with foil, before carving into thin slices. Give butter sauce a quick stir, over heat if necessary, and spoon over the tenderloin slices.

We were at the bus at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and proceeded to make six stops on the Mystery Tour.
1) The Depot in downtown Minneapolis for an historical tour followed by a delicious breakfast buffet.
2) The new Target Field (Twins Stadium) for a thorough tour of the stadium including the field, dugouts, changing rooms, boxes, etc.
3) AAA in St. Louis Park. At AAA (American Automobile Association) we went to a lecture on how to pack most efficiently.
4) OM restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. This restaurant has awesome Indian food. At this stop we got appetizers and had our "Angel Cards" read. My Angel Card was "Vibrations" and Cole's card was "Creative Power."
5) Dance Studio on Snelling in St. Paul. Here we got a 20-minute lesson on the salsa. What fun!!!
6) Mediterrean Cruise Cafe in Burnsville for dinner, complete with an '80's band and dancing. They were great!

To summarize, Cole and I both concluded we loved sharing the day in this way. What a great gift! If you want more info, check out

Pic of me in the dug-out. 

Friday, May 14, 2010


Today the sun is finally out after days of rain.  Is summer here?  Regardless, every day and every season is great for salads.  This salad recipe comes from Christian Bertrand, Glen Ellen Inn Restaurant.  It serves 10.

* 2 apples, diced
* 2 pears, diced
* 1/2 jalapeno, diced very fine
* 1/4 cup diced red onions
* Salt & Pepper
* 1/8 cup lemon juice
* 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Toss all ingredients together; let marinate for 6 hours.
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1-1/2 cups sweet pecans
* 1 pound mixed greens
* 2 ounces goat cheese crumbles
Heat sugar over low heat until it turns to a caramel-colored liquid; spread pecans on cookie sheet and drizzle caramel over top.  Let cool.  Chop pecans in fourths.  Place mixed greens on chilled salad plate; top with fruit salsa, a healthy sprinkling of goat cheese and a handful of sweet pecans.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Yesterday, despite the cold and heavy rain, my friend Jeanne came over for a garden tour and lunch. Only the best of friends would be willing to take a long walk through a garden under the circumstances.

For lunch we had:

* Green Goddess Dressing (recipe below)
* 2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced (I used store-bought broasted chicken. Could also substitute cooked peeled shrimp or fresh crabmeat.)
* Mixed greens (I used mostly arugula, my favorite.)
* 1 ripe avocado, sliced
* Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
* Sliced almonds, toasted
* Garnish: edible flowers, tarragon sprigs, snipped chive, etc. (I used lovage for an added flavor boost.)
In a large mixing bowl, toss the salad greens with some of the dressing until well coated. Divide the greens among 2 dinner plates. Arrange the slices of chicken on top of the greens in a fan shape and fan the avocado slices beside the chicken. Sprinkle cherry tomatoes and almonds over all. Drizzle salads with additional dressing and garnish. Pass the remaining dressing at the table.

* 1/4 cup (gently packed) fresh French tarragon leaves
* 1/4 cup (gently packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
* 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
* 2 anchovy fillets (I used anchovy paste.)
* 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
* Dash of garlic salt
* 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt (whole or fat free)
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Puree the herbs, anchovies, lemon juice and salt in a food processor or blender. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow stream. Scrape down the sides. Add the sour cream and pepper; process until smooth. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Now is the time to get out in your garden to pull rhubarb. I have two Chipman's Red Rhubarb plants which are sweeter than the more common varieties. The following recipe is from Penzeys Spices (THE best place to buy your herbs and spices!).

Preheat oven to 350º. In a mixing bowl, combine the following:
* 1 cup flour
* 3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup melted butter
Mix well and press half of the mixture into an 8x8 baking pan for the crust.
In a saucepan, combine the following:
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup water
* 3 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cook over medium heat until very thick and transparent, stirring frequently, about 4-6 minutes. Add:
* 4 cups chopped rhubarb
Stir, then spread over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal mixture over the top. Bake at 350º for 1 hour.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Best eaten first day.