I ate a TON of great food while on vacation. Minneapolis/St. Paul has some incredible restaurants. I grabbed a bite of many of my favorite joints, multiple times. I meant to take more pictures as I ate my way though, but most of the space on the camera went to the kids!
I love Punch Pizza. They serve Neapolitan style pizzas
MEATLESS MONDAY: Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola
• 1/4 cup good olive oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3 cloves of garlic, diced
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 1 cup vodka
• 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
• 3/4 pound penne pasta
• 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
• 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
• Grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.
TUESDAY: Chicken with Cocoa Tomato Sauce
• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 pint tomato sauce
• 1 pint diced tomatoes
• 1/2 cup chicken broth
• 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• Yellow rice, cooked and kept warm
Season both sides of chicken breasts with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 10 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from pan to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, and garlic to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, cocoa, oregano, basil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir until well blended. Return the chicken to pan, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn chicken over and continue cooking, covered for 15 minutes. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and serve over rice.
WEDNESDAY: Braised Beef Brisket
• 1 (6-pound) beef brisket, trimmed of fat
• 1/2 cup BBQ spice blend, be sure and check sodium levels
• 4 cups water (1 cup cold, 3 cups hot)
• 1 tablespoon very finely ground coffee
• 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
• Freshly cracked black pepper
• 1/4 cup cider vinegar, preferably unfiltered
• 6 potato or dinner rolls, split
Rub the brisket generously with spice blend, cover with plastic wrap and let marinate overnight in refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Put the roast, fat cap up, in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup water to the pan and roast the brisket uncovered for 1 hour.
In a medium bowl, combine the coffee, brown sugar, pepper, to taste, 3 cups hot water and cider vinegar. Remove the brisket from the oven, pour the coffee mixture over the brisket, cover with foil and braise until brisket reaches an internal temperature of 185 and is fork tender, about 3 hours. Remove to a carving board to let rest.
Simmer the braising liquid in the roasting pan on the stovetop, skimming fat and allow to reduce just slightly or to desired consistency. Thinly slice beef across the grain. Dip the meat slices or the cut sides of the rolls in the reduced sauce. Make sandwiches with the meat and serve. Pour the remaining sauce into a small bowl and serve it with the sandwiches.
Serve with Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Roast Vegetables.
THURSDAY: Manestra (Hot Greek Salad)
1 box orzo, cooked
3/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
3 Tbs. fresh chopped dill
1 package baby spinach
2 shallots, diced
juice of 1/2 a lemon + zest
1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
In a large skillet heat about 2-3 Tbs olive oil. Add shallot and cook till translucent, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and salt and pepper. Cook till spinach is wilted and add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and its zest and dill. Toss. Add pine nuts and orzo. Toss. Place into a bowl and top with feta.
Can be served with a grilled chicken breast.
* I like to take left over salad dressing or the end of my balsamic vinegar and olive oil and place into freezer bags. Ad 2 chicken breasts and then through into the freezer, you then have marinated chicken ready to go!
FRIDAY: Short Ribs with Chipotle Cherries
- 5 pounds beef ribs, English style, cut into single ribs
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 (14.9-ounce) bottle dark beer (recommended: Guinness)
- 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch rounds
- 3 shallots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon cream sherry
- 1/4 cup molasses
Cherry Chipotle Sauce:
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
- 1 (15-ounce) can tart cherries
- 1 (15-ounce) can cherries (sweet in light syrup)
- 1 tablespoon chipotle paste, or pureed chipotle with a little adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Short Ribs: Pat the ribs dry and season generously with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.
In a large braising pot, preferably an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. Add the ribs in batches, so as not to crowd. Brown them deeply on each side and when all have been seared, remove them from the pot and add 1/3 of the beer to deglaze. Turn off the heat and scrape the fond from the bottom of the pan.
Sauce: Strain the fat from the Dutch oven, leaving the juices and return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2 minutes more, then add both cans of the drained cherries. Bring to a simmer, add the chipotle paste and molasses and adjust seasonings, if needed. Reduce the mixture for 10 minutes at a simmer. At this point you can strain for a more elegant sauce, then add the butter, or just add the butter and leave rustic.
Put the beef ribs back in the pot, stir to combine with the onions and shallots, and pout in the remaining beer and sherry. Cover and roast, turning the ribs every 40 minutes. After 3 hours, drizzle in the molasses, return the lid and roast for 1 hour more.
Transfer the ribs and the sauce to a serving dish and serve.
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 3 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
• 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour (2) 9 by 5-inch loaf pans.In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla at medium-low speed with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the chocolate morsels and pecans. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Shield the bread with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with rich Chocolate Butter, if desired.
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 2 tablespoons hot fudge topping
In a small bowl, beat the butter and fudge topping at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Cover, and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.