Jorge Guzman of Solera: Chef Chat, Part 3 [RECIPE]

Categories: Interview, Recipes

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​This week we've been chatting with chef Jorge Guzman, executive chef at Solera. Thus far we've covered his growing years and career. (Get caught up here and here). Today we wrap up our conversation talking about what really matters: food--Spanish food, Mexican food, comfort food, and shrimp heads. 

What was the first food you learned how to cook?

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Strip Club hosts Joia All-Natural soda reception [RECIPE]

Categories: Cocktails, Recipes
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Joy Summers
Joia Sodas premieres at Strip Club Meat & Fish
Monday evening Tim Niver and staff hosted a party to celebrate the launch of Joia sodas, the new effervescent beverage with all-natural ingredients developed by resident mixologist and onetime City Pages Best Bartender Dan Oskey. The kitchen created dishes to pair with each of the distinctively flavored sodas. 

Niver poured glass after glass of the sodas straight, as well as a few cocktails spiked with the Strip Club's usual flair, using recipes authored by Oskey.

The four sodas came about when Boundary Water Brand founder Bob Safford mused that while mixologists were infusing alcohols with herbs and tinkering with bitters, nonalcoholic offerings floundered in the wasteland of high-fructose corn syrup and coffee sludge. After testing over 100 herb, spice, and fruit flavor combinations, they decided on four flavors of sodas.

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Il Gatto chef Jim Christiansen suggests 5 ways to eat beets

Categories: Recipes

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Minnesota beets on Minnesota soil
​These aren't the sad pickled beets of your Sizzler salad bar, circa 1985. The fresh, area beets from farmers markets, roadside stands, and your nearby co-op are full of flavor and can be used in a variety of ways. Il Gatto, the Italian darling at Calhoun Square has two (yes, two) beet dishes on its regular dinner menu, proving that chef Jim Christiansen is well aware of the power of the purple (or golden).

When asked to share some of his favorite beet preparations, Christiansen said, "Beets would be a great idea--they are coming into season right now locally."

We couldn't agree more. Eschew the California varieties offered at your supermarket and go for the local beet roots and greens. Then you can try out some of the recipes that Christiansen shared with the Hot Dish. Or, you can stop into Il Gatto for dinner and have them prepare the Barbabietole for you.

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Rhubarb Ginger Lemonade from Hola Arepa [RECIPE]

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Zingy rhubarb lemonade with just a smidge of gin and Aperol
​After a long, soggy, cold spring, the weather turned on us. It's like Mother Nature is giving us the ol' "Oh, yeah? You don't like sweatshirts in summer? Well how do you like me know?" 

The best way to combat our sweltering environs is by staying plenty hydrated. We asked Christina Nguyen and Birk Stefan Grudem, the team in the cheerfully colored Hola Arepa food truck, for the recipe to one of their outstanding lemonades.  Here we have a large dose of sweet, tart summer heat relief with or without the booze. A perfect way to utilize those last cherry-colored stalks of rhubarb at the farmers markets.

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Peas, please: Minty, sweet garden beauty in a bowl [RECIPE]

Is there anything more optimistic than a sweet little pea? Imbued with all an early season's fleeting sweetness, best at their fresh peak, a pea ought to be coddled and cared for, rather than abused in frozen potpies.

Chef Jason Blair of Red Stag Supperclub, a supporter of seasonal cooking, created this bright and easy-to-assemble dish. Blair's approach to food is often to create a simple stage for seasonal and, whenever possible, locally sourced ingredients to shine. A small bowl of beautiful and flavorful peas dressed with a few ripped leaves of mint, crumbles of salty ricotta salata, and a sweet shallot sauce is all any summer side dish could hope to be.

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Wise Acre Eatery chef Beth Fisher suggests 5 ways to eat strawberries

Categories: Recipes

Strawberry season is upon us!
Strawberry season is here! And fresh-from-the-field, locally grown strawberries are a different animal entirely than their commodity, bred-to-ship brethren.

Dean Engelmann, co-owner of Wise Acre Eatery, grows tons of the former for the restaurant, and his partner, Scott Endres, explains why skips the year-round, supermarket fruit in favor of in-season strawberries: "Why bother," he says of the former. "They're flavorless, waterlogged, and don't taste anything like a strawberry should."

Whether you buy 'em from Wise Acre's retail case like we did, purchase at the local farmers markets, or pick-your-own, now's the time to stock up. The Hot Dish asked Wise Acre's chef Beth Fisher for some suggestions on how to serve strawberries:

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Watermelon: It's not just for seed spitting anymore [RECIPE]

Categories: Recipes

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Watermelon salad from Gather: A sweet, salty, tart, spicy slice of summer
​Is there anything better than golden sun on bare skin and a juicy wedge of watermelon cradled in sticky hands? As the fruit finally comes into season, we were considering more creative outlets for the fruit. Why not something a bit more elegant? That was when when remembered the salad served at Gather, the restaurant run by D'Amico at the Walker Art Center by executive chef Josh Brown. Slices of succulent fruit are anointed with tangy, salty cheese and dressed in a slow-burn, bright vinaigrette.

Lucky for us, Brown was more than happy to share his take on this summertime treat.

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Cocktail recipe: Strawberry Rosemary Rum Fizz

Categories: Cocktails, Recipes
Strawberry rosemary shrub
An ideal blend of sweet and sour
All the rage in the mixology world right now is the use of shrubs in cocktails. No, you don't want to add yard trimmings to your drink, but you do want to create vinegar-and-sugar-based syrups that are the perfect blend of sweet and sour. The shrub used in this recipe is geared toward the upcoming strawberry harvest, but you can mix and match fruits and herbs all season long.

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Oceanaire's Rick Kimmes talks Copper River salmon plus a recipe

Categories: Recipes

Oceanaire's Rick Kimmes
​So what's the big deal about this Copper River Salmon we've been hearing about? To get the scoop, the Hot Dish went to Oceanaire general manager Rick Kimmes to find out more about the bounty from this Alaska river and what makes it so delish. He not only educated us but graciously gave us some preparation tips and a bona fide Oceanaire recipe from the home office.

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National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day--make a batch to celebrate [RECIPE]

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Mrs. Fields Secrets
Oatmeal cookies get skinny.
We're happy for any type of nationally recognized excuse to gorge on sweets. Chocolate Cake Day was a big hit, and National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day may be a bit more obscure but promises to be just as delicious. March 18 is the official day of celebration, but there's no rule that you can't start the party a little early. 

While the origins of the day are unknown, it's still recognized every year. But what the heck is a lacy oatmeal cookie anyway?

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