Big River Pizza

Go eat some of the best pizza in Minnesota. Steve and his crew start with nothing but the best ingredients which are sourced from the farmers market across the street regularly. The crust is a perfect balance of crispy, chewy and smokey from the wood fire oven. The sauce is a perfect “role player” that does a great job of showcasing the beautiful ingredients used. If you are looking for a place to grab a great meal before an event in Mears Park, Xcel Energy Center, Saints Stadium or the Farmers market this would be my recommendation to you.

P.S. The Bacon Jam Slam with an egg or the 10,000 Leeks are my personal favorites but you really can’t go wrong.

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Powderhorn Taco Popup

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It all started with an instagram post: “@theminnesotaspoon The package is in place! Come join @jorgeguzman1 and I for some smoked pork shoulder tacos outside of 500 E. 36th st. today! We should have some ready around 2 pm and we will be here till they’re gone!”

The Surly beer was abundant as was the juicy slow smoked pork shoulder and ribs. They were simply seasoned with salt, coarse ground pepper, hickory wood and finished with a little cherry wood. The massive smoker has a large cutting surface where Jon Wipfli a local personal chef was masterfully chopping these tender hunks of pork into a blend of lean and fatty bits. While Jorge Guzman Executive Chef at Surly Brewing Company was keeping an eye on the ribs, shoulders and heating up the corn tortillas. There was a beautiful spread of salsas and other taco condiments along with some crisp, bright and fresh summery salads. If there is anything I have learned from this amazing surprise  (which was FREE by the way) is not to sleep on an opportunity for a pop up because you really never know what you will find. I cannot thank these fine gentleman and the Surly Brewing Company enough for the incredible food. You are truly doing God’s work.

 

Tomato Salad

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Really nice extra virgin olive oil, high quality salt (I used Maldon), freshly cracked black pepper and some herbs (basil, parsley, chives etc). The secret to this salad is REALLY HIGH QUALITY TOMATOES. The season is short so make sure you go out and embrace it.

Fried Chicken Sandwich

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Who doesn’t like a fried chicken sandwich? I keep it pretty simple here and a little spicy. I am going to explain my process as more of a technique rather than an exact recipe so that you can adjust the flavors to your liking.

I started off by getting some boneless skinless chicken. You can use breasts or thighs. I pound them out a little bit (after covering them with some plastic wrap) to tenderize and get a more uniform thickness. Then I liberally season the chicken with salt and drop it in a bowl with some buttermilk. I then generously season the buttermilk with cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, coarsely ground black pepper and some hot sauce. I let it marinate at least 20 minutes but overnight works too. While the chicken marinates I make a flour dredge of all-purpose flour and all of the same dried seasonings I used in the buttermilk. I usually just throw this mixture in a paper bag for easier clean up. I like to go from buttermilk to flour back to buttermilk to flour. At this point if you want to eat, the chicken is ready to fry. However, if you have some time, put this chicken in the fridge and the crust will adhere better to the chicken. A cool trick I learned form a Joel Robuchon recipe for making really easy fries is to cut them (however you would like) and simply place them in a pan/pot with cold oil. So I did that and turned the stove to high and waited roughly 15 minutes until the fries looked golden brown and delicious. At this point take the fries out and season them with salt. Now your oil is hot and your chicken is ready to fry. I don’t use a thermometer to check the oil temp but you are shooting for 350 degrees. If your oil is smoking it is definitely too hot. I just dropped the chicken in and let it cook until it looked golden brown and delicious and then threw it on a sheet pan in the oven which was set to 250 degrees to keep it warm, crispy and ensure that it is fully cooked. Finally I assemble the sandwiches with some peppercorn chive mayonnaise, spicy pickles, tomato, lettuce and lil hot sauce. Like I said adjust all flavors to your liking. There is a million versions of fried chicken and its pretty hard to screw it up. Enjoy.

 

Andale Taqueria

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Minnesota is finally stepping up their taco game. Andale is located at 7700 Nicollet Avenue South in Richfield. Yes I know that seems like a strange location for some of the best tacos in town, however, it is what it is. Situated across the street from Menards you will find a bustling parking lot of people constantly coming and going. Andale has already gained quite the following after being on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. They have a large menu and serve Mexican style breakfast all day. My personal favorites include the fish tacos, carne asada, carnitas and al pastor. They make some good salsas and virtually everything is made from scratch. Whether eating in or taking out if you are craving real deal tacos and other Mexican delights this is the first direction I would point you in.

The Quest for TC’s Best Burger: Saint Dinette

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There is no question this is one of the best burgers in town. They start off by grinding their own chuck in house and add a healthy amount of butter while they are grinding the beef. The next step would be creating their own scratch made “American” cheese. They use fancy cheeses, shallots, Cava (think champagne from Spain) and more goodies to create the best of both worlds. You have the gorgeous meltability of American cheese with a more sophisticated flavor profile. The bun is from Saint Agnes Bakery which is one my personal favorites for making burgers at home. Great sharp acidic pickles round out this debauchery. If you haven’t tried this burger you are in for quite a treat.

Clean the Fridge Out Fish Tacos

We have all been there. You are leaving work and trying to figure out dinner. You know you have some vegetables that are past their prime and are planning your attack on a quick weeknight meal. I knew I had some frozen pieces of cod in the fridge and I knew I had some old corn tortillas. I have found when it comes to making a good fish taco there are several elements that must be achieved for fish taco greatness.

  1. Texture: You don’t have to fry the fish to make a great fish taco but you must have some sort of crunchy element. Whether that be through a slaw, crunchy tortilla chips or frying your piece of fish.
  2. Acidity: Gotta have some citrus pop form lemon, lime, pickled things etc.
  3. Creamy: I like to double down in this area and do some sort of spicy mayo/crema and also have some sort of avocado element but one while suffice.

What I did

  1. Seasoned my thawed out fish (that I cut into strips to fit the taco) with a little spice rub: cumin, chipotle powder, onion/garlic powder, cayenne, coriander, salt/pepper and whatever else you got laying around and lightly dredged it in all purpose flour.
  2. Pulled my knife out and sliced red cabbage thinly, finely diced carrots, chopped some cilantro, zested some lime zest, charred a poblano and fresno chili right on the open flame and diced it and finely sliced some radish. I then tossed this all with some lime juice, salt/pepper and a little olive oil.
  3. I mashed an avocado with salt and lime and threw in a little chopped tomato.
  4. I took a couple tablespoons of mayo and mixed it some Sriracha and lime juice.
  5. I pan fried the pieces of fish in a little oil until golden brown delicious on both sides and drained them on some paper towels.
  6. I charred the corn tortillas until slightly blackened and tender on both sides.
  7. Assemble by starting with a schmear of avocado on the tortilla put your fish on then your slaw and finish with the spicy mayo.
  8. Squeeze a little lemon/lime and enjoy.

These are just the ingredients I happened to have in my fridge but just work with what you got. You can make fish tacos as simple and or as complicated as you’d like.

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Roasted Beets

I love beets. They have a beautiful texture and flavor and not to mention are very healthy for you. I think a lot of people get scared about cooking beets at home because they assume it is going involve making the kitchen/your hands look like a the scene at a murder. With these very simple few steps you can easily roast beets and not have to worry about crazy clean up and have a delicious side dish/snack for whenever you want.

  1. Go buy some beets and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Trim off both ends IDEALLY on a plastic/cheap cutting board (not your John Boos).
  3. Take out your aluminum foil and make a make a little package with your beets.
  4. Season them with a little oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Toss em around.
  6. Depending on the size of your beets they should take 45-60 minutes.
  7. Stab them with a knife to make sure they are tender.
  8. Let them cool.
  9. If you really want to keep your hands clean at this point I would use gloves.
  10. Trim off the outer skin with a knife or peeler.
  11. Cut into any size you’d like.
  12. Toss with your choice of seasonings.
  13. I like jalapeño, scallion, lemon zest/juice, crumbled goat cheese and olive oil. However, even with just a little salt they are delicious.
  14. These beets will last in the fridge for quite a while which makes them a great starter salad/cold side dish/healthy snack.
  15. Enjoy.IMG_1125IMG_1245

Roasted Purple Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts

Take beautiful local organic produce. Wash and dry. Slice relatively thin and make sure that you cut to get as much surface area as possible. Take a big pan and drizzle some olive oil over the bottom heat to medium high and sprinkle salt on the bottom of the pan. Place your vegetables on the pan so that every piece is touching the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes flipping once until nice and roasted. Enjoy.IMG_2507 IMG_2509 IMG_2511

How to make perfect Hashbrowns

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Something so simple but usually underwhelming. The goal of a hashbrown is a cracker crispy exterior with a soft potatoeey center. The biggest problem I often see is a lack of patience. People usually have a pan that is too hot. The shredded potatoes either turn out burned on the outside and raw in the middle or they are not crispy and greasy.

It’s really pretty simple take a couple of large potatoes (I like Russet or Yukon Gold) but pretty much anything will work. Russets are crispier while Yukon Golds are creamier. Take out your box grater and get to shredding. I leave the skin on but do whatever you feel is appropriate. Heat up a well seasoned cast iron skillet or non stick pan with about 4 tablespoons of olive oil or clarified butter on medium heat. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the bottom of the pan and evenly spread out the potatoes. Then sprinkle some salt and pepper on top of the potatoes. Now I want you to set a timer for 12 minutes and DON’T TOUCH. Once the timer goes off gently take a flexible spatula and take a peek. If they are not totally GBD (Golden Brown Delicious) let them continue. Once you have reached GBD you should be able to flip the entire Hashbrown with relative ease. Continue crisping on the other side for roughly 5 minutes and enjoy.