project food blog #4: an omelette in pictures

I cannot thank you all enough for helping to get me to round 4 of the project food blog. I was shocked and so flattered to find out that I made it to round 4! I also started to immediately panic, wondering what I would do for the next challenge.

Challenge #4 was to create step-by-step instructions on how to make or prepare something – but it is pictures, not words that need to guide the readers through the steps. I wanted to show you all how to prepare something that is simple, healthy and should be a staple in all households – although many people are intimidated by them – omelettes.

Omelettes are something, much like risotto, that once the basics are mastered, the possibilities are endless. You can serve your omelet plain, with cheese or get really fancy and add things like fresh herbs, bacon, vegetables, etc. Often thought of as simply a breakfast food, an omelette is an outstanding meal, anytime of the day.

It is also a dish that almost every culture has a variation on, truly making it a universal food. There are Iranian, Chinese, Italian, French, Thai, Spanish, Moroccan, Indian versions and a number of others that aren’t mentioned.  Next time you’re out traveling? Make sure you try the local “omelette.” There’s a world of omelettes that go beyond the “Denver.”

Now, let’s get to the omelette!

Gather ingredients: 1 Tbsp butter, 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp milk, salt & pepper


Whisk eggs


Add milk, salt & pepper. Beat eggs for about 1 minute


Heat pan over medium-low heat. Add butter and when melted, swirl to coat entire pan


 

When hot, add egg mixture. Swirl pan and use spatula to loosen and round edges


When almost completely set, fold over in half, tilting pan to help. Let sit on heat for another 30 seconds to cook through


I can’t tell you that folding an omelette is exactly an easy thing to do, it takes some practice and I certainly don’t have it mastered. What I can tell you is that no matter what it looks like, it is going to taste amazing. Just make sure you use real butter – it makes all the difference in this simple dish.

restaurant: Pho79

I don’t know what it is about Pho (actually pronounced fuh), but I’ve been beyond obsessed. My post for Project Food Blog Challenge #2 was all about Pho, but it started long before that challenge.

My first experience was in Boston, where thankfully we had a pro guiding us along. And then a more recent amazing bowl at Pho Nam in Madison, WI. If you live in Wisconsin, visit this restaurant – it opened a few weeks ago, but the Pho was amazing!

So I’ve decided, that much like Lynn’s BVSLA quest, I’m on a quest for the best pho in Minneapolis. Or maybe the world, I’m not going to close any doors. Let’s begin with Pho79, shall we?

Pho79 is a restaurant that clearly focuses more on the food than the decor. I love a fancy restaurant with contemporary bathrooms as much as the next person, but there are instances when it’s just not necessary. Slurping pho is a perfect example. Located on the popular “Eat Street” neighborhood (free parking!) of Minneapolis, authentic and ethnic restaurants populate the streets.

It wasn’t very busy, on a cloudy Thursday evening, but it was early in the night. The fact that one of the other tables brought the staff cupcakes from a local bakery spoke more to what we were in store for than the fact that it was quite empty at 6:00pm. The service was quick and the prices worth smiling about – $8/meal. (I took half of my pho home too)

The menu is extensive, and could be a bit overwhelming, but when it comes to Pho, I need only one page and tend to narrow it down pretty quickly. Tripe and soft tendon? No thanks! The taster has been sticking with Bún Rice Vermicelli Salads, in particular, #38, which is topped with grilled, marinated pork and jumbo shrimp. The pork was delicious and the shrimp? Calling them jumbo is a bit of an exaggeration, but still delicious. I was more focused on the pho, sticking wtih pho tai, sach which comes with well done flank and skirt steak.

I always add all of the bean sprouts, jalapeños and lemongrass leaves, along with a heavy squirt of sriracha. It makes for a fiery, salty, steaming bowl of what can only be described as the most comforting, yet exciting bowl of soups I’ve ever found. How does the Pho at Pho79 rank? Considering I have no Twin Cities restaurants to compare it to yet, it’s #1 and would require an extra-delicious bowl of Pho to beat it.

Have any Pho recommendations for me?


kale & eggs

Most of the time, I like to think that my cooking style is simple with a touch of elegance. (Never underestimate the power of 2 drops of truffle oil) While I love some of the “fancy” ingredients that I may use from time to time, I really have an appreciation for simple food. Quality food doesn’t need much, which is certainly the case in this meal.

The last few times I’ve visited my parents, I’ve come home with grocery bags full of kale – fresh from my Dad’s garden. The first time, the Taster and I ate almost the entire bag in one sitting – by simply sauteing it with some olive oil and salt. I received another bag last weekend and once again wanted nothing more than sautéed kale. Topping it with an egg upgrades this from side dish to main dish status and in my opinion, gives it that elegant edge.

Kale & Eggs - 1 serving

  • Fresh kale (I used about 8 cups)
  • Organic Egg

Clean kale and remove thick stem. Cut into about 2″ squares. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add kale to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile heat small pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray and crack egg into pan. Cover with lid and cook for about 3 minutes, until whites are set. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve egg over kale.

project food blog #3: luxury dinner party

All good meals start with prosecco. Don’t believe me? Try it.

Luxury Dinner Parties conjure up an array of memories – I think of my Aunt Frances whose parties always included champagne and caviar. I think of Dinner Club, my parents group of 4 couples who have dinner together once a month and have been doing so for almost 30 years. I’d say they know a thing or two about dinner parties. I think of my friend Mercedes who always has the perfect place settings and exceptional desserts.

But I haven’t hosted many dinner parties on my own. I generally fall back on cocktail party type get togethers. I’m not sure why – maybe because our table only seats 4, our dishes are terrible and honestly, I don’t particularly like having to leave the party to finish a meal in the kitchen!

Challenge #3 was about to change that. Hosting a Luxury Dinner Party for at least 4 was the challenge and I have to say that planning, preparing and enjoying the company of family over dinner was just that – enjoyable. You can expect to see more dinner parties from me!

Planning Ahead:

  • Theme: pick a theme and carry it out throughout all courses, drinks and decor
  • Timing: dinner parties require time management and planning ahead. Sure I would have loved to make the gnocchi from scratch but yoga, work and a drive to Wisconsin did not allow that time – my meal needed to come together quickly. I also know that not everyone has full days to spend on dinner parties. I had about an hour to prep for my meal, and sometimes you may only have an hour (or worse!) but you can make it work!
  • Place Settings: I prefer white plates and cloth napkins with simple decor. Fresh flowers are always a nice touch.

The Menu:

  • Courses: I rarely make a dessert but this occasion called for one. Decide how many courses you will serve.
  • Food: I started with the gnocchi to go along with my Italian theme and since that would be somewhat rich, I wanted the other courses to remain light. Feeling stuffed may mean the food was fantastic but it certainly isn’t an enjoyable way to end the evening. Let’s also not forget that I’m a Nutritionist and a strong believer in portion control. :)
  • Drinks: I always like to start with prosecco, whether the meal is an Italian one or not. I also served Italian Red & White wines as well as beer.

Antipasti: Antipasto Platter: Olives, Artichokes, Roasted Red Peppers, Prosciutto & Pecorino Romano

Insalata: Garden Lettuce & Parsley Salad with Lemon Viniagrette

Gnocchi: Potato Gnocchi with Olive Oil & Parmesan

Dolci: Cannoli Cream with Fresh Berries

Most importantly however is that the host should never be stuck in the kitchen the whole night. You should choose dishes that can easily be made ahead of time, or can be thrown together rather quickly at the end. It’s imperative that the majority of the prep is complete by the time your guests arrive. Oh, and have fun! That’s what it’s all about anyway – sure lucious food makes for a great party, but it all comes down to the company you share it with!

Buon Appetito!

Thanks for your support in getting me to the next round! Voting starts tomorrow for Challenge #3!