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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Getting our Fill of Minneapolis

We had been looking forward to this week for quite awhile.  Back in January we were able to get tickets for Snow Patrol‘s North America tour, and I had just recently found out that Ed Sheeran was touring with and opening for them.  Being able to catch great British bands is pretty rare here in the Midwest, so we were looking forward to the opportunity to see these musicians live.

And the concert certainly did not disappoint.  Ed Sheeran is still a relative new comer to America’s music scene (his album doesn’t even release until next month), but he is a fantastic performer and a very talented musician.  A lot of the comments around us transformed from  “Who is this guy? I’ve never heard of him,” to “This is great!  I love this guy!”

And Snow Patrol was a treat to see live.  Apparently the lead singer, Gary Lightbody, is having issues with his voice and throat and he wasn’t able to sing a number of the songs planned for their set, but they really made up for it by playing more of the songs from their older albums, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Hopefully his voice will recover as the tour progresses, it would be sad if they had to cancel any of the future shows.

Plus, an evening in Minneapolis is always going to mean a good meal out, and as my cousin Mike recently joined the team of chefs at HauteDish we were looking forward to reconnecting with him over a good meal.  I had some fun making these silly HauteDish pig cookies for him to share with the staff.  Mike actually had the evening off work, so he and his girlfriend Jen were able to sit down and join us for the meal, rather than preparing it.  We had such a good time talking “shop” with them, about restaurants, food preparations, cookbooks, great meals, etc.  And we really had our socks blown off by the incredible food that found its way to our table.  We had enjoyed a meal here last year with Trav and Emily, but the exceptionally skilled staff is really starting to show off (in a good way!).

Mike ordered off the menu for us, plus the kitchen sent out a few extra dishes for us to try and enjoy.  The starter salad was a take on a classic wedge salad, but was super fresh and crisp, with the best bleu cheese and french dressings ever.  He also requested the Char-Cuts plate, but the chef definitely went overboard and sent out the most impressive 2 foot long board of charcuterie we have ever seen.  There were even a few items on the board that Mike hadn’t seen yet.  We all devoured it, exclaiming over different bites as we went.  HauteDish definitely deserves its title as the best place in Minneapolis for charcuterie.

The kitchen then sent out a few warm appetizers, Green Noodles (pictured above) and Peas and Toast.  The homemade noodles married beautifully with the ricotta salata spheres, which burst open with the pressure of your fork, oozing the milkiness through the noodles, similar to a poached egg.  And never have mashed peas on a piece of toast tasted like what they prepare at HauteDish.  Granted, I can swear to you that I have never thought mashed peas on anything would be considered “good,” but these fresh, super sweet green peas were excellent with asparagus, pecorino cheese and foam, and house-smoked sturgeon on a slice of toasted brioche bread.

Mike had also ordered us two entrees to share, knowing the size of these dished would be impossible to tackle on one’s own.  And wow-za!  These two plates nearly took up the width of the table!  Mike and Jen shared the Rabbit and Carrots (and made sure we tried a few bites as well!) and Justin and I shared the Colorado Lamb Three Ways.  Mike had been telling us this was the best lamb he had ever had, and after taking a bite, we were quick to agree.  The meat on the chops was like the finest filet mignon we’ve had, except the fact that it wasn’t beef!  The care and attention that is going into all of the components of these dishes is really remarkable.  We had to pass on dessert for two reasons, yes, we had a concert to go to, but also because our stomachs might have exploded.  HauteDish doesn’t promise you an easy, light meal.  But a dinner that is uber rich, spectacularly delicious, and pushing the boundaries of what “classic Midwestern fare” is?  Absolutely.

 

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Bakeshop Life.

I have been busy busy busy in the shop since our return home.  Going through gallons of milk, pounds (and pounds and pounds) of butter, and dozens of eggs.

I love getting fresh, local eggs. Though, I imagine the poor hen had a tough time laying this egg!

I taught a few sessions on working with fondant this past Saturday at a Girl Scout Conference.  It was nutso.  And Maureen took full advantage of the perks of being a helper.

Nom nom nom!

Here’s the latest order of sugar cookies, done for a class field trip.  The third graders were touring the downtown area, the bank, library, and riding the City bus, learning the important parts of a community.  It was fun to have them stop by the shop for a few minutes and see cupcakes coming out of the oven.

Cookies filled with knowledge (and sugar)!

Heading out to the dairy in just a little bit.  Less than a pound of butter left in my fridge.  Inconceivable!

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in A Dash of Delicious, Baking, Julie

 

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Diving Back In.

So much fun to decorate these cute cookies, especially when working with a great friend! Thanks, Jenn!

After three months away it has been a hectic two weeks getting the shop back in order, cleaned and stocked and ready to open this Saturday.  I already have a nice load of orders and lists coming out of my ears to ensure everything gets done!  And I already have the first order of sugar cookies decorated, and such a cute, springy order at that!

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in A Dash of Delicious, Baking, Friends, Julie

 

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Stevens Point “River Walk”

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Good to be back to our own river walk, even if it is nice and chilly today.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Justin, Photography, Random Life

 

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A Milestone.

Justin and I were married 10 years ago today.  It feels substantial, a milestone.  We’re happy, and content, which feels successful, in a way.  I’m so thankful that love, forgiveness, grace, and humor are still such integral factors in our relationship.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Julie, Justin

 

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Back in Stevens Point

We made it back to Stevens Point last night at around 11.  We left Kansas City at about 9 and started towards Minneapolis, where we had dinner reservations at Piccolo.  We arrived early, and I had coincidentally seen on Facebook that the chef Piccolo was competing at the Mall of America in the finals of the annual Minnesota Monthly Local Chef Challenge, so we dropped by to check it out.  It was super interesting to watch the two chefs compete at a dessert challenge with malted barley syrup, philo dough, dried blueberries, and Thai basil.  Chef Flicker from Piccolo won, taking home a giant check (literally) for $10,000, and we headed off to his restaurant for dinner before coming home.

Competing

Dinner at Piccolo was amazing, as usual.  Standouts for me were the razor clam chowder, the camembert and apple tortelloni, and the bone marrow rice pudding.  Julie’s favorites were the cauliflower terrine and the pork jowls.  The desserts, especially the pine needle panna cotta were exceptional as well.

Once dinner was done, we headed straight home and fell into bed.

In my happy place

Razor clam chowder with compressed celery, crispy sweetbreads, and tapioca

Cauliflower terrine with golden raisins, asparagus, and Marcona almonds

Burrata with fresh hearts of palm, lardo, miner's lettuce, and chili oil

Duck gizzard "braunschweiger" with radishes, watercress, and rhubarb

Camembert and apple tortelloni, with rabbit "pancetta", spring onions, and sorrel

Scrambled brown eggs with pickled pig's feet, truffle butter, and Parmigiano

White shrimp with kumquats, baby fennel, wild salad greens, and ginger

Monkfish and crab roulade with poached egg, asparagus, and arugula

Callistor Farms chicken with spring onions, potato, beech mushrooms, buttermilk and chicory (and crispy skin on top)

Veal breast with tarragon, radishes, peas, and bone marrow rice pudding

Lam shoulder with black olives, cardamom bread, chevre oil emulsion and Pedro Ximenez vinegar. (I forgot to take a picture and took a bite first)

Smoked pork jowls with boiled peanuts, ramps, ham and celery root

Pine needle panna cotta with pine nut brittle and mugolio

Marcona almod Rice Krispy bar with sea salt meringue and apple butter

Chocolate pound cake with blood orange, medjool date, and cocoa nibs

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Justin, Restaurant Reviews, Travel