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...
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...
Comfort food to get you through the cold

Comfort food to get you through the cold

Wet, warm and cloudy. Not ideal weather for Minnesota in December. Although it hasn’t been as cold as normal due to climate change, I still crave some wholesome, warm, eat-until-you-want-to-hibernate type of food to make the serotonin flow. This recipe is just that, but with a little fresh zest; a spice and brightness that makes you tell yourself (or your partner), “don’t stop.”  So cozy up this weekend, cook in your underwear, crack a bottle and make something from scratch. Egg pasta, yield: 5 servings Ingredients: 4 large eggs 1c OO flour 3c semolina flour 1t salt   Directions: In a large sized bowl, combine flours and salt. Make a well in the flour, add the slightly beaten egg, and mix. Mixture should form stiff dough. If needed, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Knead for 10 minutes and let rest for 30 minutes. Cut the dough in 4 pieces and cover with a damp towel. Grab one of the pieces of dough and smash it down with your hands until its about 1/4in thick. Then using a pasta roller, start at the thickest setting and roll the past through it (you may want to do this setting twice). Then, lower the setting by one notch and roll the pasta through. Continue until you reach the thinnest setting. You should have a rather long sheet of pasta. Cut into 10in lengths and layer them on top of each other, making sure there is a fair amount of semolina flour between the layers so it doesn’t stick. Once they are stacked nicely, cut pasta every 1in and set aside with plastic wrap or damp towel over...
The ultimate Thanksgiving compilation, by Brandon Randolph

The ultimate Thanksgiving compilation, by Brandon Randolph

Ah, Thanksgiving. It’s that time of year again; a time of family, friends, and lots of food. In honor of this most food-friendly holiday (especially local food when you live in Minnesota), here are some last minute recipes to spice up your Thanksgiving table. Whether you’re hosting or visiting, these simple recipes will make you look like a genius in the kitchen. First, of course, the bird:   Thanksgiving maple turkey The secret to any moist white meat poultry is to brine it.  This recipe is particularly great with smoked or slow grilled turkey.  The sweat earthy maple syrup creates a skin that is to die for while keeping the flesh moist and succulent, even the boring white meat. Ingredients: 13-20lb free range, local turkey 3 yellow onions, chopped 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally 8 sprigs fresh thyme 5 sprigs fresh rosemary 1gal maple brine 1 5gal bucket, clean as a whistle   Directions: Place the turkey in the brine for at least 12 hours and up to 36 hours.  The sweet spot is probably around 28 hours.   Remove turkey from the brine and let it sit at room temperature and air dry for 2 hours.   Stuff the bird with onions, garlic and fresh herbs (or my wild rice stuffing, see below). Roast or grill at 350f until the internal temperature reaches 150f. A slow roast in a green egg is the money shot here. Let the bird rest in an off oven or on the counter wrapped in foil for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving. This should bring the internal temperature up to 160f...