restaurant: joe’s garage

Joe’s Garage is one of those Minneapolis institutions that does just what us Midwesterners want in food. They keep it basic while keeping it exciting, and they keep the meat. Yes, this is a generalization but I know it is at least somewhat substantiated – I’ve got live-in proof.

This was the #2 and final stop for restaurant week – sadly. Between work dinners, wedding dinners and rehearsal dinners not to mention a desire to not eat out every single dinner, restaurant week had to come to an end. Joe’s Garage has been on the ever-growing restaurant list for quite some time now and we thought restaurant week would be the perfect opportunity to try a wide variety of what they had to offer.

Appetizer Course: Smoked Liver Pate Crostini with Caramelized Onions and Chipotle Fried Oysters. The liver crostini was nothing new, the taster enjoys liver pate on a regular basis, but it was delicious nonetheless. I even had a bite which is a rare occurance when it comes to liver pate but those caramelized onions lured me in! The fried oysters were ok but I wouldn’t order them again (I don’t think they are on the regular menu anyway).

Main Course: Salmon with Greek Risotto and Lemon Caper Butter and Beef Shortribs with Mashed Potatoes. The salmon (mine) was perfectly cooked and crispy on the outside, smooth as butter on the inside. The risotto was the perfect accompaniment, I can’t wait to try to recreate this one! The short ribs were also delicious, although I only had but one bite. My meat-loving dinner companion was hoarding…

Dessert Course: Strawberry Shortcake with Mascarpone Caramelized Cream and Homemade Chocolate Pudding. The shortcake was delicious and absolutely perfect considering I’ve been craving shortcake recently, but I just wasn’t impressed with the pudding. It did have a deep chocolate flavor, like a dark chocolate pudding which I appreciated, but I wasn’t wowed.

The food at Joe’s was great, the prices are reasonable and the roof-top patio is perfect for enjoying those short-lived Minnesota warm nights. Winter is quickly approaching…and we’ve got meat to eat.

pepper & sausage pasta

The taster loves it when I make pasta and often watches over me when I’m adding the pasta to the salted, bubbling water. “One more handful,” he’ll request and I must, although shamelessly, admit that I usually add one more handful for him.

The only redeeming factor we have is that we add every vegetable possible to the pasta. The thought process is that if we are eating a bit more pasta than we should, at least it is full of vegetables.

Originally this recipe came from Martha’s Everyday Food and my friends who have raved about it for quite some time now. Even with my best intentions of keeping it to peppers and sausage, my parents sent me home with leeks fresh from their garden, we had a 5 pound bag of red onions to use, and I think you can see where this is going. Before I knew it there were more vegetables than pasta and that thought process (ridiculous or not) of the vegetable to pasta ratio comes right into play. :)

Pepper & Sausage Pasta - 2-3 servings

  • 2 servings bow-tie pasta
  • 3 tomato basil chicken sausages, sliced into 1/2″ slices
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup leeks, sliced
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red, yellow, orange and green pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 4 cups spinach
  • Parmesan cheese
Prepare pasta as directed. Set aside.

Heat large pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add chicken sausages, cooking until lightly browned. Set aside.

Add olive oil to pan and when hot add leeks and onion, cooking for about 2 minutes. Add in peppers and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in spinach, sausage and pasta to pepper mixture and toss until spinach has wilted.

Grate Parmesan over top if desired.

mini smoked salmon quiches

Every bride needs some nourishment on her big day, even if she is a little too nervous to eat much. I thought my bride needed something special. Something filling, something full of nutritious foods and something delicious for Saturday morning primping on her wedding day.

Congratulations Morgan & Ryan!!

Mini Smoked Salmon Quiches - makes 24

  • 6 organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 oz smoked salmon

Pre-heat oven to 400°.

Whisk together the eggs, water and salt & pepper.

Cut salmon into small pieces. Spray mini muffin tin with lots of cooking spray and place a piece of salmon in each tin. Pour egg mixture over top, filling almost to the top.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

review: terra chips & giveaway!

Blue potato chips need more than just your run of the mill Dean’s French Onion Dip. No offense Dean’s, but they need something with a little more depth, something with a little more class and definitely something with a little more flavor. They need caramelized leek dip.

I usually find potato chips on the boring side. But when eaten with this dip, I had to practice my potato-eating self constraint, they are extra thick and crunchy – which in my world means they are just begging to be dipped. Terra also has an Exotic Harvest variety of chips with carrots, kabocha squash and blue potatoes that I enjoy – anything but boring. Now squash in a chip form doesn’t mean it’s healthy, but you know my food philosophy, there is room for every food in a balanced diet, chips included. :)

Caramelized Leek Dip - makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • green onions for garnish

Heat pan and 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. When hot add leeks and cook for about 2 minutes until golden brown. Pour balsamic vinegar into pan and stir frequently until all liquid has evaporated, another 2-3 minutes.

Stir leek mixture and dijon mustard into sour cream, seasoning salt and pepper to taste.

Let chill for at least 30 minutes. Spread a spoonful onto chip and garnish with a few green onion slices.

Want to try out this dip with your own Terra Chips? Terra Chips is sending one reader a Fire up the Flavor Prize Pack which includes four bags of TERRA Chips, TERRA coupons, a martini glass inspired serving bowl and printed Summer Entertaining Guide.

Ways to enter:

  • Leave a comment about how you want to eat your chips (plain, with a dip, etc.) or your favorite Terra variety
  • Tweet about the give-away (including @nutritionisteat) and then leave an additional comment letting me know you did so
  • Subscribe to my blog and leave me a message letting me know you did so

I will randomly choose a winner on August 15th. Good Luck!

Edited to Add:

Congratulations #17 : Kristin - Send me your mailing address!

“I think the Crinkles jalapeno chili blue potato chips sound amazing and I would pair them with either homemade guac or salsa!”