Friday, August 22, 2008

Guest Cook in Bemidji and on TV

Last week when I was in Bemidji to teach a couple of cooking classes with my friends Sue Doeden and Carmela Hobbins, I taped a segment with Sue for her cooking spot on PBS, Lakeland Cooks. You can view it using the following link. I made Lemon Mascarpone Tarts and the segment went well, mainly because Sue is a gracious host and easy to chat with. The tarts were also a hit at the lunch class topped with fresh fruit and berries from the farmer's market. You can view it with the following link:

Monday night I attended a class at The Kitchen Window in Minneapolis. I will be teaching a baking class there on October 4 and this was a good way to get familiar with the kitchen. The class was "Pizza on the Grill" with Dan Darnell, their executive chef. We made two pizza doughs and baked them several ways on the grill. The thin crust dough was baked in the grill and served with hummus and a yogurt dip. Other possibilities were topping it with a marinara sauce or a slightly sweet tomato sauce. The sweeter sauce was then topped with dates and goat cheese for a dessert pizza. I think I'd prefer a dessert pizza without a tomato sauce but I really like the combination and it was unusual.

We also made a pan pizza which was fabulous and cooked quickly on the grill. (I'm going to develop a recipe for two individual pan pizzas because deep pan pizza is my favorite.)The "secrets" to success were preheating a pizza stone on the grill, having the grill very hot and not loading too many toppings on the dough. I will definitely do pizza on the grill at home. It would be fun for a casual supper with friends- everyone could pick their own favorite toppings and we could visit while dinner bakes!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Stars of the North

I returned yesterday from Bemidji, MN, which is about 250 miles north of the Twin Cities. Carmela Hobbins (Carmela's Cucina) and I were invited to teach a class with our friend Sue Doden (All About Food). She lives in Bemidji and writes a column for the Bemidji Pioneer. Three cooks in the kitchen makes for a lot of fun, a lot of confusion and a lot of dishes! We were lucky to have Sue's friend, Diane, as an assistant. The students in our two classes (lunch and dinner) made us feel very welcome and a little like celebrities.I demonstrated Honey Orange Scones,Lemon Mascarpone Tarts with Fresh Berries, Easy Herb Dinner Rolls and Tres Leches Cake. I think the biggest hit was the Tres Leches Cake because it is perfect for entertaining and can be made ahead. In the summer fresh berries are the ideal garnish and Sue had gone to the Farmers' Market to purchase local berries, greens and tomatoes.It was fun to observe two other teachers and sample their food, and I think we all learned something from each other.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Stars for Porter & Frye

This week my husband and I had dinner at Porter & Frye in the Hotel Ivy. The hotel lobby is very modern, filled with white marble and shiny surfaces. The restaurant has high ceilings and exposed pipes but still is intimate and comfortable. Seated in a comfy booth, we had outstanding service. On a Monday night the restaurant had few customers, and we could probably have had a little less service and been happy. We started with Tuna Sliders to share. A curried tuna salad with mango chutney was served in small buns and fragrant with curry. Both of us ordered seafood and weren't disappointed. My striped sea bass had a Parmesan crust and was served with lobster risotto. In addition there was a lobster foam in keeping with hot trends, but I didn't think it added anything. My husband had the prawns and they were fabulous, tender and sweet, and served with pear ravioli. They were the highlight of the evening- small pockets of tender pasta filled with a pear puree. The only sweetness was the from the pears and it complimented the prawns. After ordering (and eating dessert) the waiter brought a tray of tiny bites. It included a raspberry jelly, chocolate truffle, blackberry financier and chocolate cake. I love it when restaurants do the unexpected- these bites were better than the desserts.