Lamb for Easter? Of course.

Lamb for Easter? Of course.

Kofta is a family of foods consisting of ground up or minced meat, seasoned and made into meatballs, patties and/or meatloaf.  Kofta recipes can be found originating from the Middle East to Southern Asia and while 85% of the recipes I’ve come across are meat focused, there are a handful of Indian recipes that substitute paneer, potato or starchy plantain to be vegetarian.  The protein used can be beef, lamb, pork, mutton, poultry and/or blend.  I love the flavor of good clean lamb, but pork’s ability to take on flavor is unmatched, and the gamey taste of lamb can turn people off.  I like to use a blend of lamb and pork.  This way I get the strong clean flavors I want of the lamb and spices but can easily please a hesitant crowd. We then we eat this with Raita (recipe below),  a cucumber-yogurt sauce that dances with the spiced lamb on your palate and creates a subtle tingle of love and harmony in your soul.   Lamb Kofta with Raita Yield: 4 servings Ingredients: 1 1/4lbs ground lamb 1lb ground pork 1/2c packed Fresh basil, medium chop 1 lemon, zested and zest chopped fine 1t cinnamon, ground 1t black pepper, ground 1t cumin, ground 1t clove, ground 2T onion powder 2T garlic powder 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1/2c breadcrumbs 2t salt   Directions: Preheat grill, fire up coals or warm oven at 450f.  (these are best grilled over charcoal or wood) In a non reactive mixing bowl or kitchen aid mixer combine meats, spices, salt, zest, eggs and then breadcrumbs.  Mix until spices are fully incorporated and...
Freshwater fish cakes: Honoring every piece of your catch

Freshwater fish cakes: Honoring every piece of your catch

Got any of last summer’s catch in the freezer?  Here is a great fish cake or burger recipe: A very simple base that you can incorporate into meatballs, burgers, fish cakes, and serve it with endless ingredients (from a burger bun and french fries to fresh Chinese broccoli and kimchi).  It’s a surefire way to utilize every piece of the fish you caught and honor its life. I go through a lot of Minnesotan Walleye at my day job, so  I started saving the belly meat or any small scrap and freezing it. After a few months, I would have 2lbs or so stocked up.  It really adds up! Don’t be a jerk and waste it.  #fishlipstotail   Freshwater fish cakes yield: 2 servings Ingredients: 1lb Walleye, Pike, Sunfish, Trout, Perch, or any other freshwater fish you enjoy 1 egg, lightly beaten 3/4c breadcrumbs, finely ground 1 lemon, zested 1T dill, chopped 1T tarragon, chopped 1T parsley, chopped 2t onion powder 2t garlic powder 1t black Pepper 1t sea salt 1/4c grape seed oil for frying (local option) Directions: Using a filet knife, clean the fish and discard any bones, scales, or white sinew in the flesh. Use your fingers to feel for any of this in the meat.  Then cut into 1/2 in pieces. Place all ingredients in a non-reactive mixing bowl and combine with your hands for 2min, or until everything is incorporated evenly. You can also use a kitchen aid mixer or food processor for this step. Once forcemeat is completely mixed, make a little tester meatball and cook it. Taste it for salt.  Does it...
Beer cheese soup with spiced popcorn, bacon, and more beer

Beer cheese soup with spiced popcorn, bacon, and more beer

Is there ever a bad time for beer cheese soup? Not when you can make it yourself. This simple recipe captures the addictingly-rich flavor, the oh-so-smooth texture (with a perfect crunch from the popcorn), and the simple, soul-hugging goodness of a Midwestern classic. Beer cheese soup with spiced popcorn, bacon, and more beer yield: 1 gallon Ingredients: 4lbs russet potatoes, peeled and chopped 2 yellow onions, chopped 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed 8C vegetable stock 3C milk 6 pack beer (Summit Pilsner) 2T Worcestershire sauce 2T Dijon mustard 1C shredded cheddar cheese 1C shredded Muenster cheese 1t nutmeg, ground 2T fresh sage, chopped TT salt TT white pepper   Directions: Place the potatoes, onion, celery, garlic, sage, 2 beers, milk, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and vegetable stock in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat; cool slightly (do not drain). In a blender, cover and blend mixture in batches until smooth. Return all to the pan and heat through. Stir in cheese just until melted. Season with salt and white pepper. Taste. Season with more salt and white pepper? Fry up some bacon and chop it up to top with spicy popcorn for an added...
What I ate when I was under the weather

What I ate when I was under the weather

Broth is the common cure for almost anything which ails you.  At least that’s my go to.  We all know grandmas have been taking care of business with their homemade soups and broths since the dawn of the soup bowl.  But more importantly I’m taking about spiced broth.  Spice gets the blood flowing, bringing more oxygen to all parts of your body.  Capsaicin, which puts the spice in spicy, can clear your sinuses, help against ulcers and get your metabolism running stronger.  Also can be a solid colon cleanse in large amounts. This is what I ate as I was laid up in bed for 48 hours craving nothing but spicy broth.   Pho ’79  (Nicollet Ave) Restaurant Grade: B Maybe it’s because I was dealing with a sinus infection, maybe it’s because we got it to go, or maybe the lazy cousin was working that day and forgot to put flavor in the broth, whatever the reason: this was the blandest Pho I’ve had in Minnesota.  Lacking on the spices and umami, only after adding the typical hoisin and chili sauce did it become appealing.  Pho broth is supposed to be this tried and true corner stone of depth that comes from hours of slow simmering and mélange of spices, so once you are given the necessary accompaniments you can tweak it how you’d like.  The lime, Thai basil, chili sauce, hoisin, bean sprouts, smoked chili oil, and scallions are all necessary and available for you to add the appropriate amounts.  These things are great but it doesn’t fix the missing layer of flavor from a boring broth....
Meatballs.

Meatballs.

If you like balls, especially when made out of meat and served for dinner, then look no further: This simple, delicious and incredibly versatile recipe for meatballs will hit the spot every time. Make this anytime of year and serve it with your favorite pasta, veggies, potatoes, or do the right thing and make my Boomer Gravy, with some braised kale or bok choy. These balls are also great skewered and grilled over charcoal or hot wood.   Classic Minnesota Meatballs, yield: 6 servings Ingredients: 2lb ground pork 1lb ground grass fed beef 80%-85% lean 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1T Onion granulated powder 2t Garlic granulated powder 1T Dried basil 1T Dried oregano 1/2t ground nutmeg 2t Black pepper 2T Salt Directions: Place all ingredients in kitchen-aid mixer or non-reactive mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.  First put in eggs and meat and then sprinkle in spices to prevent them from clumping.  Cook a small piece of the mixture to check for salt content.  You may need to add more salt, depending on the fat content of the meat used. Once mixture is amazingly mixed because my instructions are flawless, begin to portion it for balls.  I use a small ice cream scoop to portion and then make sure to roll each portion into a nice tight and smooth ball about 1.5”- 2” in diameter.  Just the right size to cup two of them say, in your hand, for example. Now, you can either lay these out on a sheet tray with an oven rack, equally distanced apart and roast at 425f until the internal temperature of the...