(oatmeal, buttermilk) biscuits and (mushroom) gravy

breakfast is pretty much my favorite meal of the day. in our household there is a lot of breakfast for breakfast, lunch and dinner. last month the mister and i went to cake eater bakery for breakfast and i had really fantastic biscuits and gravy. i almost never order biscuits and gravy but had heard such rave reviews from so many friends that i had to try it. and it was really great. go check it out if you’re ever in seward.

in fact, i liked it so much, i decided to try my hand at making biscuits and gravy at home – which i’ve never done before. i had marion cunningham’s the breakfast book for inspiration.

pictured: oatmeal, buttermilk biscuits (from the breakfast book)

i wasn’t able to find an entire recipe for mushroom gravy that sounded appealing to me, so i made up my own and think it worked out wonderfully. i will definitely make this again. a lot. also, i apologize for not taking a photo of the gravy, but, well, mushroom gravy – use your imagination.MUSHROOM GRAVY
8-10 oz mushrooms, chopped into small pieces (i used plain old white ones)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T butter
2-3 T flour
1 t dried thyme (or 1 T fresh, if you have it)
1 T fresh ground black pepper
14 oz chicken broth (or veg, if you want it to be vegetarian gravy)
2-3 T heavy cream
salt to taste

in a big pan, melt the butter and add the garlic, cook until fragrant.

add the mushrooms and saute until they are soft and brown, about 5-10 minutes.

add the flour, thyme and black pepper and stir, coating all the mushrooms.

whisk in the broth, add cream and cook on low-medium for 10-12 minutes, whisking every once and awhile and salting to taste as you go along.

eat with biscuits and a couple eggs. have a good rest of your day because of a good breakfast.


MNFoodBloggers #3 – The Local & Green Ox

you know it’s going to be a fun night when you’re handed a big ol’ sample of 2 Gingers whiskey upon arriving at a get-together, before you’ve even managed to take your coat off. i have been to the local many times before, but other than indulging in too many big gingers, i’d never eaten any of the food.

enter the gang at the local and mike philips of green ox (here’s a little profile of green ox on heavy table). not only was everyone extremely friendly and excited to have us food bloggers there, but also very gracious and charming, especially that kieran folliard, geez 🙂 i really enjoyed hearing everyone’s thoughts on the business and how truly excited each person was about reviving the reputation of irish food (ha!). one of the big perks of belonging to this MN Food Bloggers group is getting so many opportunities to spend time with people who are so passionate and so in love with what they do. it’s really inspiring and i always the events with spirits buoyed. or was that more because of the bubbly drinks?! a little of both maybe!

without further adieu, the spead:

the local’s bite-sized play on their veggie burger – black bean and wild rice.

beef and pork sausages with housemade pretzel buns. i had two and snuck one home for the mister.

trotters. OMG. tender, melty meat and a crispy chewy skin. stuffed with pickled ramps. you know spring really is here when there are ramps everywhere.

the MASSIVE charcuterie platter. i maybe sampled a third of these offerings. so. much. meat.

Align Centermy second plate 🙂 also pictured, a cute sample of fish and chips. i also never got around to photographing the spicy chicken shots (or eat any of them) and the carrot cake bits (i did eat about 5 of those, though).

thanks again to the local, green ox and of course the ever lovely stephanie – our hostess with the mostess! can’t wait for next month.

opening night at Masu in northeast

unless you’ve been living under a rock or have been experimenting with being amish, you may have heard there is a new japanese food game in town – Masu, in northeast minneapolis (by lund’s). normally i am not one of those people who rushes out to try a brand new restaurant right away, but masu hosted a few days worth of preview dinners and after hearing the raves and seeing other people’s ridiculous photos of the food – well, i just couldn’t help myself. the mister and i scored 6:30 reservations for opening night, last night. aaaand (drum roll) you can believe all the hype because we had a fantastic time. the food was wonderful – salty, tangy, spicey, buttery textured meat – everything asian food should be. always. get ready for some cell phone pictures!

ginger duck gyoza with spicy plum soy sauce. gyoza (potstickers, dumplings, etc) is one of our all-time favorite food things. we’ve gotten it at every japanese place we have ever been to. the duck filling was great, the wrapper was perfectly steamed and had a very nice pan-fried crunch to the bottom. total win.

bacon wrapped shrimp and bacon wrapped quail egg. the quail eggs were actually one of my all time favorite items of the night. they were cooked just right and the slightly creamy yolk was the perfect compliment to the crispy edges and chewiness of the bacon. i’ll take 12, please! and c’mon, bacon wrapped shrimp?! in the words of ron swanson, “it is my #1 favorite food wrapped around my #3 favorite food.”

funny and awesome story related to the robata (grilled skewered things) – tim mckee himself brought out our robata. he set the plate down, we thanked him, he took a second look at me and goes, “is your name lisa?” me (proverbial jaw on the floor), “yeah!” tim, “i follow you on twitter!” boy, do i love the internet sometimes.

pork belly ramen that also came with roasted pork shoulder and a poached egg. the noodle bowl was much more beautifully arranged when it arrived at the table, but we were so excited that we ate about 4 bites before i realized i did not take a photo (being a food blogger is hard), so there you have it. would it be weird to say that this dish is simple but complex in a very pleasant way? the pork belly just melted on your tongue and the texture of it contrasted beautifully with the slighty crunchy bits of the roasted pork shoulder. throw in the ramen wrapped around a soft egg yolk and you’ve got yourself some noodle heaven right there. the mister and i were fighting for the last sips of broth.

sushi! masu also has plenty of sushi/sashimi/nigri options, if you’re into that. and i am. we got a poke roll and a spicy arctic char roll and both were fresh and light and impeccably rolled. fun fact – they only use sustainable fish and i think that’s pretty neat.

dessert time. japanese pancakes with mochi (red bean paste) and black sesame caramel. the pancakes were fluffy with just a tiny bit amount of chew, just way i like them. the mochi was sublimely sweet, but the star of this dessert was definitely the house made caramel. it was thick and velvety, almost like a mousse. i wanted to lick the plate, but contained myself, we were in a full restaurant after all.

we did not take photos of any of our drinks…oops. the mister had a ginger infused whiskey that was wonderful, talk about warming up your belly on a cold night. i had a dance party punch which was lychee and aloe vera juice mixed together with a kiwi garnish, umm, delightful. i drank two.

pachinko machines line the wall back by the bar/bathrooms. we played for awhile before leaving even though we had no idea how and all the words were in japanese. but don’t worry, i looked up the instructions on wikipedia after we got home.

other notes: our service was spot on and two smoking hot asian ladies were the hostesses. bonus points! dania, kate and i will be hitting up masu for lunch in a couple weeks. yes, please.

sunday breakfast

you may remember my mentioning going to the corner table for a food blogger event and learning about their CSK program. well, the mister and i signed up for 4 weeks of boxes and are really loving it so far. the quality of the meat is excellent and you can’t really beat farm fresh eggs and bread from sun street breads. you can sign up on a rolling basis, so we will probably renew our membership after the 4 weeks is up. also, what’s better than going to pick up our box at the corner table on a friday night and sitting down for some drinks and dessert?!

in this week’s (and last week’s) box, we got bacon and eggs – additionally, we also got mint basil pesto and a sesame wheat ciabatta – HELLO BREAKFAST SANDWICH!

the mister throwing some pesto on the lightly toasted slices of ciabatta.

pesto, fried egg, sharp cheddar and crispy bacon. i am so in love.

cute finds

on monday i went shopping for some new food styling props and found lots of really terrific things at the value village in richfield (one of my personal favorites for thrifting). i got five little plates, five doiles and a few candlesticks that are to be turned into cupcake stands, for only $8. what a steal. picture above is one of the new plates with a gingerbread cupcake (vanilla frosting with gingerbread cookie crumbles). the mister and i polished off 12 cupcakes in three days. eep.

happy saturday!

crab cakes

i love seafood. i could eat, eat, eat it all day long. i usually prefer it in its purest form – broiled, steamed, lightly fried – without a lot of filler or breading, etc, but i have to say, i love me a good crab cake, and the little bit of heat i added to these babies. these are pretty quick and you most likely have the ingredients already hanging out in your fridge/pantry.

8 oz lump crab meat
1/4 cup chipotle mayo
1 egg
1 cup panko crumbs (gives the cakes a really nice crunchy outside!)
1 t worcestershire sauce
2 t hot sauce (i used this kind)
1 t old bay seasoning
a sprinkle of thyme, salt and pepper
1 T butter

throw all the ingredients in a bowl and gently fold together with a big flat spoon or your hand – you don’t want the crab to break a part into tiny pieces, having the full hunks of it is so much more delicious!

form the mixture into 4 patties, 6 if you want them small, place in between two pieces of parchment paper and stick into the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

heat up a cast iron pan with the butter, when the butter has melted and is gently bubbling, gently transfer the crab cakes from the parchment to the pan. fry for about 8 minutes on each side, until they are nicely browned.

serve with a chipotle aioli (pictured above) or over a nice bed of greens. tasty!

cookie cookie cookies (are a sometimes food)

not too many things get me more excited than the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. i made these to send in a care package and was REALLY happy the recipe made so many cookies because after i tried the first one, i didn’t want to part with more than i had to (please don’t judge me). the best part? if any of them last after the first couple days, they get EVEN BETTER after they’ve been sitting around for awhile. peanut butter+chewy+creamy fudge – i mean, c’mon people.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
1 1/2 cups all-natural creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

preheat oven to 350°F and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

in a bowl, mix the butter, peanut butter, and sugars. mix in eggs and vanilla until it looks like a big liquidy mess. add the oats, baking soda, and salt, and mix thoroughly, make sure to get all the ingredients that like to segregate and hang out under the top layer of the actually mixed up stuff. refrigerate the dough while preparing the fudge.

*i ended up refrigerating the dough overnight because i started to make these and then had to leave the house. the next day i just let the bowl sit at room temp for a few minutes and could work with it fine*

pour the sweetened condensed milk into a sauce pan and add chocolate chips. turn the heat on low and continually stir until all the chocolate chips are melted and completely mixed in with the condensed milk. set aside.

take the dough and form into half balls. i used a tablespoon and pressed chunks of dough into that so it gave me a flat bottom. then pushed craters into the tops so that the cookie would be a fudge holder of sorts (you can just spoon it on top of a flattened cookie if you want, but i loved the big bite of gooey fudge in the center of the cookie). spoon the fudge into all the craters – if it gets too hard to work with, heat it back up on the stove for a few minutes (don’t forget to stir), i had to do this once.

bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until golden around the edges. they will be very fragile when they come out of the oven so leave them on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes or so. then slide the cookies, while still on the parchment, onto a wire rack and let cool for another 10-15 minutes.

the mysteriously appearing pepper mill

one afternoon, last month, the mister sent me an email while i was at work (he works from home) saying that a package came in the mail for me. i wasn’t expecting anything and the return address was from PSP LLC. i told him to open it – i couldn’t handle the suspense – and inside was the following pepper mill:

made by Peugot – a french company that makes cars. and bicycles. and salt and pepper mills. there was no note in the box, not even a packing slip. we were totally perplexed and a bit creeped out because only days earlier, we had been shopping around crate and barrel and enthusiastically discussing pepper grinders and how we needed a new one soon. i guess the pepper gods heard us? i have yet to figure it out.

this pepper mill, though, is no joke folks (it costs $100 on amazon!). it works like a dream and is the seriously the best one i’ve ever used. and it looks awesome.

soooo. thanks. whoever you are for sending this my way!

birthday week

birthday week has included:
-dim sum with my parents
-date night at cafe lurcat
-a new umbrella that i love!
-a massage and spa mani/pedi
-doggy play date with friends – 3 dogs romping in the living room is a sight to see
-homemade, by the mister, brioche on my actual birthday (wednesday)
-we went jogging together every day (except thursday because he had class)
-joint birthday dinner with t. hoff
the continuance of birthday week will include:
-dinner with my parents tonight
-more jogging, hot tub and a cardio class
-dinner at restaurant alma (sooooo excited!!!) with grant and sarah – i’ve already decided there will be bubbles because they just got engaged and there should always be bubbles for that
-true grit at the riverview

it’s true, i do love my birthday. and i love throwing a great party for the mister’s birthday every year too. he got lucky, we were in vietnam for his birthday this year and i think that’s pretty much the ultimate party. here we are at the beach on his actual birthday day: