Monday, November 28, 2011

Home is where the Heartland is.

OK- So I am always going on and on about how wonderful buying local is and how great is it to incorporate it into your life, but the Heartland Restaurant in St.paul has taken this to a completely different level...a completely different level of awesome that is!  

It was our last night in MN. We tried to get a dinner going with all the kids, but it didn't end up working. Nathan wasn't feeling great and we would be leaving early the next morning, but still I wanted to go out and try something exciting and new.

I googled "best prix fixe in Minnesota, and Heartland came up. I was perusing the menu and Chris said to me, "I heard that place is supposed to be amazing."

Works for me.

We made an open table reservation at about 7:10 for a 7:30 reservation. So, we hauled ass to St. Paul.

After a little confusion about the parking situation, we went it. It was huge in there!

And of course. Priorities, we first took a gander at the drink menu.

Chris wanted a Hendricks Marttini. But listen to this.. They didnt have it. Why? Because their hard alcohol is ...ta-dah! Local!

So, he got some local gin instead.
I tried a sip, but since gin isn't really my cup of tea,
or my cup of anything- I am a poor judge.

I wanted a Kir Royale, and what they brought me was a prosecco with Creme de Violette. It was very tart, and very yummy.

We sipped and perused

I am sure you can imagine my excitement when our Amuse Bouche arrived.

Not something I am accustomed to here.

A little something from the kitchen, our server said.

It was a wild rice and squash gougere
filled with mascarpone mousse
served with apple raspberry jam.

It was a perfect start to the meal.

For bread service we have the choice between a blue cheese and nut roll, and a goat milk roll.

We each ordered a small plate first.

I was hellbent on getting the Pheasant rillettes.
It was served with Turnip Mostarda (Almost like soft candied turnip.)
and Apple Sourdough croustades.

Christopher ordered the Duck Breast Proscuitto
with Arugula Pistou
Pickled cranberries
and Beet sprouts.

Now, I shit you  not when I say that
every element of this dish was completely

The flavour of the sprouts, the saltiness of the duck.
it was all so balanced and

Nathan's whitefish fritters
disappeared while me and Chris were monkeying
with the camera.

He said they were fantastic though
served with cucumber salad,
sour cream dressing
and chili pepper oil.

And then came time for the mains.

See, aren't you giddy with anticipation!?

I ordered the midwestern cassoulet.
There were 4 kinds of meat in it!
I mean,
most hot dogs can't even claim that!

Smoked lamb, pork, beef sausage,
and pheasant confit.
So flavourful! But, it got a little salty for me after a while.

Both of the guys got the pheasant breast.

of course

Men and their breasts... geez.

They were served with a lovely apple turnip dressing,
braised greens and preserved plum glace de viande (which is a demi-glace that has been even further reduced, for concentrated and brilliant flavour) .

What a really fantastic meal.

I was exceptionally happy, when I was reading and found
that the Chef used to be the Exec. Chef at W.A.Frost and Co!
Which some of you may know, I adore!

Anyhow. If you are looking for a place with
truly fantastic food
prepared by talented (and hopefully washed) hands,
you must check this place out.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lori's B day Dinner

Bloody Mary Shooter and Garlic Steamed Mussels

Pear Ravioli with a crap ton of alfredo sauce

Stacy making the spaetzle

Maple Salmon and Spinach Spaetzle

I just liked this picture

Pumpkin white chocolate creme brulee with lots of white chocolate on the top

Happy Birthday, Lori! 

Bleu Cheese Fettuccine

Weeknight dinners are always a bit of a challenge, 
Mostly because of the time constraints.

I get off of work at 5, and Felix goes to bed at 7. 
So, I have 2 hours to commute, 
cook, eat, and get the kids ready for bed. 

The other challenge is cooking a meal that is delicious, 
healthy, and something both the adults and
the kids will enjoy. 

Last week, I was in the mood for bleu cheese,
but not sure how I was going to put it into a 
meal that we would all like.

But, I gave it a shot, and here is what I came up with. 

Bleu Cheese Fettuccine

Olive oil
Half of a purple onion, sliced
1 cup of baby carrots, halved lengthwise
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
bleu cheese
2T of butter
2T of flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of grated parmesan
1/2 cup of crumbled bleu cheese
Package of fettuccine
8oz. top sirloin 

First, get a pot of water started on the backburner, for the fettuccine. 

Heat a few T's of Olive oil in a pan, and throw in the onions and the carrots, 
Saute for a few minutes until the veggies start to soften a bit,
and get some color. 

Then add the garlic and zucchini, and cook for about 5 more minutes. 

Heat oven to 425. 

Put your fettuccine in to cook, following the directions
on the package. 

In a small saucepan melt the butter, 
whisk in the flour, and
slowly add the milk.
When the sauce is thickened, 
remove from heat and stir in 
the parmesan, and half of the bleu cheese. 

Heat a cast iron pan on the stove, and add a little olive oil. 
Cook your steak for about 3 minutes, 
Flip over and cook for another, and then pop it into
the hot oven. 

While it is finishing off, 
Drain your noodles. 

Put the veggies back on the heat, and toss with the noodles, 
and the cheese sauce. 

Check on your steak. If it is done to your liking, 
take it out of the oven, and cover with a piece of foil 
and let it rest. 

Dish the pasta out into bowls, 
cut your steak into thin slices and put on top of the pasta. 

(Sorry about the shadow)

Garnish with the rest of the bleu cheese, and serve.

Fall Pork Roast

On the weekends it is great to get to enjoy a slow cooked meal. 
Especially one that you can put into the oven
and forget about for a few hours. 

Boneless Pork Loin Roast

1 boneless pork roast
2 apples, cut into about 8 pieces each
maple syrup
sage leaves
bottle of Innis and Gunn
2T olive oil
salt and pepper

heat oven to 300 degrees
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven, or pan.

Put the roast, apples and sage into the pan, 
searing both sides of the roast. 

Season with salt and pepper

Remove from heat.

Drizzle with maple syrup, and pour the beer into 
the pan. 

Put into the oven and cook until 
the internal temperature reaches 160, about 
25-30 minutes per pound. 

Remove and let rest covered for a few minutes. 

Slice and serve with roasted potatoes. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Autumn Menu

Pumpkin Soup anyone?  This time of the year is absolutely phenomenal. With the slight chill in the air and the trees dressed in their bright foliage, the days brim with festive flair!

A great way to really get in the spirit of the season is with soup. 

Pumpkin Pear Soup 

Roast a pumpkin or squash in a 400 degree oven, put your pears in there as well. 
When it is all softened, peel and put it in a pot and cover with water. Add 1 cup of apple juice and simmer. Once everything is falling apart, puree with an immersion blender. Add a few whole sage leaves, pepper,  a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cloves.

Simmer, adjust spices and serve with a splash of cream, maple syrup and garnish with a sage leaf. 


As a second course we de up some whitefish cakes
with saffron sauce.
- I was very happy with how they turned out.

I made the sauce by mincing a shallot and sauteeing it in butter
when it was softened, add a pinch of saffron.
 Cook for a minute
and add the juice of 1 lemon  a cup of rose.
reduce by half, add a splash whipping cream
and your sauce is ready to go!


I'm not really certain, but I think the recipe was as follows
1/2 cup of flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup of Thunder Oak dill gouda
an extra pinch of gouda
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
1/2 cup of cooked squash
(I used purple ones- if you do this,
soak them in hot water for a few hours,
or they will turn your cakes purple!)
Whitefish- I used 3 fillets, and chopped them into cubes.

Heat up some oil for frying, about 1/2 inch should do it.

When your oil is hot, drip a scant 1/4 cup into the oil.

when it is nice and browned,
 flip and cook the other side.

Put a pool of the saffron sauce and top with 2 cakes
garnish with scallions-


And I forgot to take pictures by the time I got here.
A wedge of mozzarella in oil and balsamic-
I heated grape tomaties in a 400 degree oven on a cookiesheet
just to the point before they exploded
so when you bite into the tomato
Like garden caviar!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I went out to B and B Farms

Here is the tractor picking up the spuds.

They were all neatly placed every few rows so that it is easier to pick them all up.  
Into the truck!

Looking at the pictures makes me think of Scrooge McDuck, swimming in his vault full of coins. Can you imagine having this many of anything?

Potatoes being unloaded and moved into their storage area.

Needless to say we are richer in potatoes than when I left that morning

I decided to make Lefse.

Have you ever tried it?

Lefse is a think Scandinavian tortilla type thing, you can find them at almost any grocery store in Minnesota, and you will often find them served on holidays.

My grandma gave me some lefse making equipment, which is pretty specialized,
 though you can get the job done
 with things that you have in your own kitchen.

To make lefse you should have a big grooved rolling pin, a large round board covered with canvas
and this cool long stick.

There is even a lefse cozy to keep it nice and warm.

you will also need a large round nonstick grill.

To make lefse you will need to boil potatoes, rice them and then let them cool.

The recipe varies depending on the cook, but the recipe I like best is

4 cups of riced potatoes, cooled
1 stick of butter - melted
2 cups of flour

Mix the butter, potatoes and salt.

Knead in the flour. just using enough so the dough is no longer sticky.

Break off egg sized pieces, and roll them into balls and put into the fridge.

Take one out at a time

Flour your work space, and roll out the lefse very thin. When it is ready, you will need to use your stick to pick it up, otherwise it will tear.

Starting at the edge, roll your lefse around the stick.

When you are to the center, bring it over to your grill.

Slowly unroll it.

Let it cook until you start to see bubbles, flip over with your stick and cook the other side.


I like to fold them into fourths and stack them up- that way they stay nice and warm!

Serve with butter and cinnamon sugar or lingonberry jam.

I brought this batch to book club- it was wonderful!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dinner Party


I was so excited about this dinner party
I seriously deliberated all week about what to make.

We usually have dinners where all of the food is served at once, and we have to eat early
so the kids can partake.

but we said, "nay."

This was served course by course- preparing each after the previous one had been

First we had a bit of cheese.

Fab Fromage for Quebec
(served on ceramic coasters)

The avocado and cucumber soup we learned to make in Quebec,
topped with serrano pepper whipped cream.

Fried green tomatoes, roasted beets and remoulade!

Served over polenta

The main course was Osso Buco

I don't have photos

The dessert was a caramel apple pecan cheesecake

Also, no photos.

We were having fun...we must have forgotten :P

Freshly Picked Dinner!

All ready to go!

Choke Cherries

Felix likes to help pick

Though amazingly not much of what he picked
ended up in the bowl.

They're pretty tart, arent they?

He didn't seem to care- he ate handfulls of them- pits and all.

Choke Cherries, before they were cooked for the sauce

Delcious Cretons from Charlevoix!

Garlic that looked like a butt!

(This is why the farmers market is awesome- you get cool surprises like this!)

Elk Steaks

Fingerlings- Just a few pats of butter and a drizzle of maple

Waiting for the potatoes to be done.

Elk steaks with chokecherry veal sauce, Beet tops (from the previous days golden beets,) d maple roasted fingerlings.

Except for the butter and the maple syrup, this meal was
made from all local ingredients!