Monday, November 30, 2009

Food Spotlight: Thanksgiving

My first shot at hosting Thanksgiving was a tremendous success! It was a wonderful day full of food, wine, friends, laughter and memories, and I cherished the opportunity to host it in my home. I made each of the recipes in my previous post, and have posted my reviews below, along with a couple new recipes. All in all, it was a fantastic and unforgettable holiday!

Recipe Reviews (See previous post for recipes)

Corn Pudding

The corn pudding stole the day as one of my guests' favorite dishes. It was creamy, sweet and fluffy, with whole corn kernels adding to the excellent texture. The best part? It was by far the easiest dish to make! Simply mix the ingredients in a bowl, pour them in a pan, and bake for 50 minutes. This recipe is definitely a keeper and will appear on my Thanksgiving table for years to come!

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

 The sweet potatoes were also a favorite. They were chewy and rich with earthy sweetness. I changed the recipe I posted in my last post in one way. Instead of boiling the potatoes as the recipe instructed, I roasted my potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. I made this change because roasting sweet potatoes brings out more depth of flavor and caramelization, whereas boiling them simply softens the potatoes. I definitely recommend making this change, as the potatoes were fork-tender with creamy caramelization and tons of flavor! 

Coconut Green Beans

The green beans were not "Thanksgiving food" but they certainly were tasty! They added a ton of new flavor to the traditional menu, including chillies, coconut, cashews and mustard seeds. I preferred their exotic flavor to a regular old green bean casserole. The recipe is excellent, the only change I'd make is not to sizzle the mustard seeds first, as they cracked immediately and popped all over the stove! It'd be best just to add them when you add the green beans. I absolutely recommend this recipe any time of the year! 

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
My oh my were these easy and delicious! I don't bake often because I do not like to measure ingredients (it feels like chemistry class!), but this was a worthwhile exception. The ingredients were easy to assemble and the biscuits turned out golden and soft. They were excellent plain or would be yummy with a squirt of honey or jam. I will be making these little delights again!


Mashed Potatoes
Ina Garten's buttermilk mashed potatoes recipe produced creamy, buttery potatoes with classic flavor. Alas, I didn't make the gravy, as our turkey breast did not produce enough drippings, but these potatoes provided a nice home for store bought gravy anyway. Personally, while classic, these aren't my kind of potatoes. I prefer skin-on, garlicky, cheesy spuds with so much flavor there is no need for gravy. However, I purposefully chose a different recipe for Thanksgiving because I wanted the traditional flavor and texture that complements gravy. If that's what you're looking for this recipe is for you!

New Recipe: Brussel Sprouts
My friend Zach made brussel sprouts, and they were phenomenal. I'm new to brussel sprouts, but I've never met a vegetable I didn't like, and these were no exception! Zach made these tender morsels by blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes, draining them, and then adding them to a big skillet with garlic and prosciutto sizzling in olive oil. He crisped them up in the skillet, then added some chicken stock, which boiled off in a couple minutes. That's it- they were easy, healthful, different and delicious! Welcome to my life brussel sprouts!

New Recipe: Turkey Breast
Zach also made the turkey breast, and it was a star. Underneath the skin he stuffed fresh sage, oregano and pomegranate seeds, and then baked the bird in a roasting pan. It produced delicious and tender white meat that keeps on giving. (In the form of turkey sandwiches!)

New Recipe: Pomegranate Salad
I saved the best for last. This salad is so amazing that it was my favorite food of the day. My friend Meredith created the salad by combining arugula, pomegranate seeds, pecans and goat cheese in a pomegranate dressing.

To make the dressing saute 1 shallot, 1 garlic clove and 1 T. olive oil in a skillet, then add 1 cup pomegranate juice and cook it until it reduces to 1/4 cup. Let cool. Once cooled whisk in 2 T. white wine vinegar, 1 T. honey, 1/4 c. olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss dressing with arugula, goat cheese, pomegranate seeds and toasted pecans.

Thanksgiving Wines
We enjoyed one of my favorite wines of all time with our Thanksgiving dinner- Benziger Te Coelo Quintus Vineyard 2006 Pinot Noir. In Italian "te coelo" means "from heaven," and that is a perfect description for this wine. Kevin and I tasted this wine at the Benziger reserve tasting room in Sonoma Valley, and we both felt weak in the knees afterward. It is simply the most delicious Pinot Noir I've ever had, and it perfectly complemented the meal. Honestly, this wine is so good it would complement just about anything! If you ever have the opportunity to try this wine, or, better yet, visit Benziger, you will absolutely love it! (Retail value $85)

Other wines of the nights included:

Kenwood 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This is a tasty and affordable bottle that is full-bodied yet smooth, and serves up an array of raspberry and plum flavors with a lingering finish.(Retail value $15)

Cosentino 2006 Daredevil

We are wine club members at Cosentino, and this fun bottle was part of our December shipment. Cosentino is a progressive Napa Valley vineyard, and the owner (Mitch Cosentino) is known for producing bold and different wines. Daredevil is the first release of an exceptional proprietary cellar selection blend that is aged for 30 months in oak barrels.It was fun and interesting! (Retail value $40)

BV Coastal Estates Pinot Noir

Kevin and I visited Beaulieu (BV) Vineyard in Napa, and we specifically enjoyed their reserve tasting room. When we shopped for Thanksgiving wine we came across this bottle of Pinot Noir for $10. We were shocked to find a BV Pinot for this price, and we had to give it a try. It was delicious, and for the price it can't be beat!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Planning Ahead: Thanksgiving Day Menu

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it encompasses the four F's- food, football, friends and family! This year, for the first time, I am hosting Thanksgiving and making the majority of the meal. I will be cooking for my boyfriend Kevin, sister Lisa, and my dear friends Meredith, Zach and Stefan. Thankfully, as this is my first time as a Holiday Hostess and my kitchen is definitely not equipped to churn out the entire meal, I am sharing responsibilities with my guests. Kevin will make appetizers and provide special bottles of wine that he purchased in Napa Valley, Zach will bring the turkey breast and ham, Stefan will bring the dessert, and Meredith will bring a salad. Lisa is traveling from Wisconsin so won't be bringing anything- she'll just be in charge of cleaning up! :)

I am making my favorite part of the meal- the side dishes! At Thanksgivings past I would always put a little bit of meat on my plate and pile the rest high with the delicious accompaniments. This year I am thrilled to be able to make my favorite part of the meal, and I've done extensive research for fantastic recipes. And don't worry, I will be honest and upfront about how these dishes turn out- check back after Thanksgiving for my personal pictures and notes on the recipes!

Thanksgiving Day Side Dish Menu

1. Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
2. Turkey Gravy
3. Coconut Green Beans
4. Corn Pudding
5. Citrus Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
6. Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten,
Serves 6

Kosher salt
3 pounds boiling potatoes, such as Yukon gold, peeled
1/2 cup milk
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into 1 1/2-inch cubes and add them to the boiling water. Bring the water to a boil again, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done.

As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place a food mill fitted with a small disc/blade over a heatproof bowl. Process the potatoes through the food mill, turning the handle back and forth. As soon as the potatoes are mashed, stir in the hot milk-and-butter mixture with a whisk or rubber spatula. Add enough buttermilk to make the potatoes creamy. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper, to taste, and serve hot.

Turkey Gravy
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home
Yield: 2 cups

Drippings from 1 roasted turkey
1.5 cups turkey or chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour turkey drippings into a 2-cup measuring cup. Skim fat, reserving 2 tblsp.; set aside. Add enough broth to the drippings to measure 2 cups.

In a small saucepan, combine flour and reserved fat until smooth. Gradually stir in the drippings mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Gravy will thicken upon standing.

Coconut Green Beans
Recipe courtesy of Padma Lakshmi for Glamour magazine
Serves 4-6

2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
2 tbsp. cashew pieces
4 whole dried red chilies
11/2 lbs. green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Salt, to taste

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add mustard seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add cashews and chilies. Once the cashews are toasted, add green beans and stir. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut and salt. Cook another 8 to 10 minutes while stirring. When green beans are cooked through but still crisp, remove from heat.

Corn Pudding
Recipe courtesy of
Serves 4

Beat 4 ounces softened cream cheese, a 15-ounce can creamed corn, 3/4 cup thawed frozen corn, 1/2 cup cornmeal and 1/2 chopped onion. Stir in 2/3 cup milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 beaten egg, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, and salt and pepper. Spread in a buttered 1-quart casserole dish and bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Citrus Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home
Serves 2 (I plan to triple the recipe)

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

In a saucepan, cook sweet potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until tender; drain. Transfer to a greased 1-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Drizzle with orange juice and dot with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 15 minutes. Top with marshmallows. Bake 2 minutes longer or until marshmallows are puffed and golden brown.

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
Recipe courtesy of (Great article!

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits: Combine 3 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves. Use your fingers to rub in 1 1/2 sticks of butter until the mixture resembles small peas. Add 1 cup buttermilk and stir until just combined. Drop large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees until golden, about 15 minutes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recipe Spotlight: Cheesy Chicken Noodle Skillet

The term "comfort food" means something different to everyone. To me, comfort food is reminiscent of foods I enjoyed as a child; foods that remind me of home and nourish both my body and my soul. I've been feeling under the weather this week, but I'm never one to lose my appetite. (That would be serious!) Instead, I make a large batch of a delicious comfort food to get me through the week. This week I cooked up a big Cheesy Chicken Noodle Skillet. I don't know if my mom ever made this for me, but it reminds me of the 80's. In fact, everything about this dish reminds me of being a kid, from the retro egg noodles to the frozen broccoli to the mayo and sour cream-infused cheese sauce. After eating it I may as well watch Little House on the Prairie while folding washcloths! It may not be health food, but a piping hot bowl of cheesy noodles and chicken makes me feel better every time.

Cheesy Chicken Noodle Skillet 
Creamy comfort food sure to transport you back to the days of Nintendo and Nickelodeon.

Serves 4
1 package egg noodles (I used whole wheat to up the fiber)
1 lb. raw boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 package (about 2 cups) frozen chopped broccoli
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Bring large saucepan of water to boil on high heat. Add noodles and chicken.
Cook 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and noodles are tender, adding broccoli to saucepan after 6 minutes. Drain noodle mixture; return to saucepan.

Add broth, cream cheese and mayo. Heat just to simmer on medium-low heat. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and sauce is well blended, stirring constantly. Add shredded cheese and stir until blended. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from

I paired my steaming bowl of noodley comfort with a simple side salad. It rounded the meal and made it feel (almost) healthful!

Italian Side Salad
Romaine lettuce
Mild banana peppers
Red onion, slivered
Green pepper, diced
Soy nuts
Italian dressing, to taste

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Food Spotlight: Washington D.C.

I work for the School of Journalism at the University of Minnesota, and every year I travel to a college fair for high school students interested in journalism. Last year's conference was in St. Louis - yawn - but this year's was in Washington D.C.! I had a wonderful time in our Nation's capitol as I visited the monuments, explored the museums, strolled through the beautiful old neighborhoods and, not surprisingly, sampled the food! I stayed at the Hotel Monticello, an adorable boutique hotel in Georgetown. Georgetown is a well known and loved neighborhood, one that I believe is a juxtaposition- both historic and haute, artsy and aristocratic, and laid back but hectic. I loved the energy, and the restaurants alone were worth a weekend in D.C. Here are some of my favorite meals!

Happy hour tapas and sangria at Bodega, an adorable Spanish restaurant in Georgetown. The front tapa is endive leaves with blue cheese foam and walnuts. It was interesting but not something I'd eat again. The other tapa was Spanish goat cheese on toasted bread drizzled with honey. It was ammmazing, and would be so very easy to make at home!

While I fall into the "simpler is better" category with most food preparations, I do not with sushi. I love rolls that are filled with different and interesting ingredients and drizzled with sweet and spicy sauces. My sushi at Bangkok Thai was incredible. The front row is tempura tuna with avocado and topped with salmon. The back roll is filled with everything I love- crab, shrimp, avocado, cream cheese and mango, and drizzled with sweet soy glaze and spicy mayo. Oh the joy!

There aren't many words I can say to describe this pizza except "Yes, it tasted as good as it looks!" This is from Pizzeria Paradiso, a Naples-style pizzeria in Georgetown. I am obsessed with Naples pizza, and this one was up there on the best ever list. The perfectly charred crust is topped with zucchini, red peppers, onions, capers and fresh mozzarella. Magnifico!

(Wine note: I recommend Montepulciano d'Abruzzo with pizza. The light body and smooth finish equal a phenomenal pairing!)

My dining partner at Pizzeria Paradiso ordered this plate, and though the photo is fuzzy I have to tell you about it- Crispy garlic bread spread thick with creamy goat cheese and topped with sliced prosciutto, sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. Make this at home- you will LOVE it!

A plethora of Indian dishes at Aditi- a surprisingly affordable Indian restaurant in Georgetown. I'm new to Indian food, but everything I've had so far has been delicious. The best way to experience new cuisines is to go with a group and order a variety of items to share! We went for chicken tikka masala, daal, curry and lamb. Of course we'd already devoured the naan before I took the photo!

I enjoyed a tantalizingly unique martini with my Indian dinner. It was a citrus vodka base with ginger and green curry. Sounds weird, yes, but it was sweet, spicy and refreshing. A beautiful pairing!

More sushi! The roll on the right features fresh salmon and avocado (simple and delicious) and the roll on the left has tempura shrimp and cucumber topped with tuna and chili sauce- spicy!

I loved my hotel's continental breakfast- no store-bought muffins and boring toast here! It featured fresh pastries, muffins and bread from a French bakery across the street. I was partial to the blueberry scones and cinnamon glazed croissants. What a fabulous way to start the day!

And finally, I've saved the best for last. My traveling partner and I received a recommendation to have lunch at the cafeteria at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. You're probably thinking, "Why would you eat at a cafeteria?" and I wondered the same thing. But check this out- the cafeteria contains regional Native American specialties from across North and South America. We spent lots of time visiting each region, including South America, Northern Woodlands, Northwest Coast, Meso America and Great Plains. The food was traditionally prepared and was incredibly different and unique. I only wish I could have tried everything! I recommend this cafeteria to anyone near D.C., it was a highlight of the trip!

The South America counter at the American Indian cafeteria. Oh the choices!

Homemade tortillas in a variety of flavors.

Selections at the Northern Woodlands buffet.

Final decision- Chicken Mole Tacos from Meso America, Sunchoke Soup from the Great Plains, Butternut Squash from the Northwest Coast and Quinoa from South America. What a deliciously unique meal!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Recipe Spotlight: Fettuccine Alfredo and Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Pasta has always been my ideal comfort food. Red sauce is my typical go-to topping, but sometimes a white sauce can really up the comfort factor. Fettuccine Alfredo is an extremely popular Italian- American restaurant entree. It seems that someone in the group always orders it. Maybe it's the thought that "I could never make this at home," maybe it's the delectable creaminess, or maybe it's the knowledge that it's slightly sinful, but clearly Fettuccine Alfredo is a real treat. Traditional Alfredo sauce is made with only two ingredients- butter and Parmesan cheese. This lightened-up version trades most of the butter for milk, and is easy enough to make at home any night of the week!

Fettuccine Alfredo
A plate of creamy hot pasta- mmmm. 
Serves 2-3

1/2 lb. Fettuccine noodles
1 tblsp. butter
1 tblsp. flour
1/4 sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. whole milk, 2% milk, or half and half (I used whole)
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles to al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt butter and add flour, whisking to combine. Add onions and garlic and cook for two minutes until softened. (If the pan seems dry add a little more butter.) Add milk and cook for 3-4 minutes to reduce slightly. Do not allow it to boil. Stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and turn heat to low to keep warm.

When noodles are finished cooking drain and add to milk mixture. Use tongs to work the noodles to fully coat in sauce. Serve on warmed plates and top with extra Parmesan, pepper and salt if desired. I served my fettuccine with garlic breadsticks and pre-cooked chicken meatballs. It would also be delicious with grilled chicken, sliced Italian sausage, or grilled vegetables.

Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
A healthy and delicious side salad. 

Serves 2

For the salad:
Baby spinach leaves
Sliced red onion
Fresh chopped tomato
Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Diced avocado

For the dressing:
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
2 tblsp. white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
4 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

To make the dressing whisk Dijon, honey and vinegar together in a small bowl. Slowly pour in extra virgin olive oil while briskly whisking to combine dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Combine the salad ingredients and toss with dressing.

Recipes by Sarah Saubert

Wine of the Night

Protocolo, a 100% tempranillo wine from Spain, was a delightful accompaniment to the creamy fettuccine and fresh salad. Protocolo is a smooth, mild and satisfying dry red with cherry undertones that lend enough sweetness to avoid overshadowing the food. It is also delicious on its own and at $8/bottle it's affordable enough to drink any night of the week!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Food Spotlight: Mexico; Recipe: Steak Enchiladas and Guacamole with Goat Cheese

I love to cook Mexican cuisine at home. While I have had some fantastic meals at Mexican restaurants, I find that I often feel overburdened with the grease and oil that is unfortunately overused at many Mexican-American restaurants. I also can't seem to refuse their margaritas, a very unhealthy, Americanized way to drink Tequila. (Mexicans drink it straight up!) Real Mexican food is actually quite healthy, featuring a variety of vegetables, spices and fresh ingredients. My sister Lisa studied in Guadalajara, Mexico, and her photos of "real" Mexican food make me excited to visit someday! Here are a few delicious meals that she enjoyed during her travels, followed by my best shot at enchiladas and guacamole.

Meat, quesadillas, chile relleno, rice, beans, guacamole and salad. What a beautiful meal!

Chilaquiles- Fried eggs over tortilla strips with salsa and cheese. A delicious breakfast! 

Rich chocolate Mole with stewed meat, served with rice and fresh avocado.

Enchiladas with rice and chicken. Look at that delicious queso fresco on top! Mmmm mmm!

Meat with roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, beans and avocado. Fantastic wrapped up in a fresh tortilla!

Cactus- A Mexican specialty. (Don't try this at home!)

Ribs, beans, rice, salad, french fries and avocado- $4!


Recipe Spotlight: Steak Enchiladas and Guacamole
Those pictures of beautiful, fresh Mexican food made me hungry, so I made a little Mexican feast for two at home. These recipes are incredibly easy, and while they may not be authentic, they are delicious and good for you. Enjoy a little Latin flavor tonight- tequila is optional! Recipes by Sarah Saubert

Steak Enchiladas
Tortillas filled with fresh and delicious flavors. Just as good with chicken or vegetarian!
Serves 2-3

5-6 medium-size flour tortillas
1/2 c. enchilada sauce
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced (optional)
1/2 cup refried beans (optional)
Shredded cheese (I used Pepper Jack and Cheddar)
8-10 oz. flank steak or 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Paprika (optional)
Salt and Pepper
1 tblsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers, and zucchini, sprinkle with salt, cumin and paprika, and sautee for 5 minutes until softened. Remove from heat.

Spread enchilada sauce over large plate. Dip both sides of each tortilla in sauce until lightly coated. Fill tortillas with meat, sauteed veggies, a spoonful of refried beans, and some shredded cheese. Roll up and place in 8x8 casserole dish. When all tortillas are in dish top with extra cheese and enchilada sauce. (I also topped mine with some salsa verde.) Cover with foil and bake in oven for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling. Serve with chips, guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

Everyone loves guacamole, and it is so fun to make and serve at home! I sometimes add goat cheese to the avocado, and have included it in the recipe below. It adds a tangy creaminess that is oh so yummy. The guacamole is delicious without it, though, and is so easy to make you can have it every night!

Guacamole with Goat Cheese
Creamy avocado and tangy goat cheese make an amazing side!

Serves 2

1 avocado
2 oz. goat cheese
2 tblsp. red onion, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
1 tbslp. fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
Dash Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Cut avocado in half and remove pit by striking with a knife. Scoop out flesh into a bowl. Add goat cheese and lime juice and mash with the back of a fork until combined. Stir in onion, tomato, and a dash of Worstershire sauce. Sprinkle with salt and serve with tortilla chips.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recipe Spotlight: Balsamic Glazed Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Gnocchi

I love an occasional steak, and one of my favorite things about it is the side dishes. I enjoy creating side dishes that make the meat look and taste even more delectable. To do this I think about two things- Color and Texture. Color is not only important to the visual aspect of the plate, but it also denotes nutrition. A good way to eat healthy is to try and eat as many colors as possible. Think about carrots, broccoli, peppers, eggplant, squash, etc.- so colorful! Texture is equally important, as it adds to your sensory enjoyment and turns food into a sensual experience. Imagine a tender, robust bite of steak followed by a soft, pillowy bite of creamy gnocchi, followed by chewy garlic bread dripping with thick, rich balsamic sauce... Yes, it is heaven! Why not make a meal that is a mind and body experience? Take your sensory enjoyment to a whole new level with this easy and delicious dinner!

Recipes by Sarah Saubert

Balsamic Glazed Steak
Rich balsamic vinegar, honey and butter make a sweet and savory steak sauce!
Serves 2

Two 8 oz. steaks
Steak seasoning
Kosher salt
2 tblsp. butter
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. honey

Take out steaks and sprinkle steak seasoning and kosher salt on each side. (Bring up to room temperature before cooking.) Combine balsamic vinegar and honey in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter, and when butter is melted add steak. Sear first side for 3-4 minutes then flip and cook second side until it reaches desired temperature. Cooking time will be dependent on size and style of meat. For medium well to well done lower heat to medium after searing each side to prevent meat from overcooking on the outside. Toward the end of cooking add the vinegar/honey mixture and cook for a couple minutes until it reduces to a syrup. Set meat aside to rest, drizzle with any remaining vinegar, and cover with tin foil to keep warm until ready to serve.

Creamy Gorgonzola Gnocchi
Creamy bites of pillowy gnocchi are the perfect accompaniment to the steak!
Serves 2-3

One package gnocchi
1 tblsp. butter
1 tbslp. flour
1/4 c. white wine
3/4 c. whole milk
3 oz. Gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Cracked black pepper

Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Melt butter then add flour and whisk for one minute to combine. Add white wine and whisk for two minutes to slightly reduce. Whisk in whole milk, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 3-4 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced and beginning to thicken. Crumble in Gorgonzola cheese and allow to melt. Stir to combine. Add fresh nutmeg and cracked black pepper to taste. 

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of salted water, add gnocchi and cook for 2-3 minutes until they float to the top. Drain immediately and toss with cream sauce. YUM!

Lemon roasted broccoli and crusty rosemary bread beautifully compliment the steak and gnocchi.

Roast the broccoli tossed in extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on broccoli just before serving.

Sprinkle bread with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and a generous amount of dried rosemary and heat in oven with broccoli for 4-5 minutes until warm and chewy.

Wine of the Night
We enjoyed a surprisingly fabulous Minnesota wine with our meal- Saint Croix Vineyards Frontenac. Frontenac is an exciting grape variety recently released from the University of Minnesota viticulture program. This wine has a beautiful garnet color, a robust earthy body, and a distinctive cherry aroma. I loved it because of the rich, fruity mouthfeel that beautifully complimented the rich steak and creamy gnocchi. You can find this wine online, or if you're ever in Minnesota you can visit the vineyard to buy it in person. I always feel good supporting local agriculture, especially when it's wine!