Monthly Archives: February 2012

Sea Change

Sea Change, which is located on south 2nd street in Minneapolis (attached to the Guthrie Theater), is one of those places where food and art begin to blend together, but definitely not in an off-putting way. While the culinary artistry is on display with each dish, the seafood and flavors take center stage. And they are excellent.

TunaPokeSeaChange

Tasty tuna with spicy mayo, masago, and a great seaweed salad.

We started with something that we’ve come to love, and almost always end up getting it when we go, Tuna Poke. The well-proportioned cubes of Hawaiian ahi tuna are covered in a great spicy mayo, but the addition of crunchy, slightly salty masago and raw scallions provides that textural balance that I’m a really big fan of. The accompanying seaweed salad doesn’t have that overpowering fishy, briny, seafoody taste that seaweed can sometimes have. It’s very clean tasting, with a good al dente texture without being slimy at all. The sesame oil they use as part of the dressing really brings it all together. The key for this dish is to get a bite of all the elements together. Pretty amazing.

LambSamosasSeaChange

Crispy yet light samosas filled with lamb. Not gamy, just delicious.

Aside from the tuna, we tried a starter that we’ve never had at Sea Change before – lamb samosas. I’m usually a little hesitant with samosas because they can often be over fried, which makes them dry and tough at the same time. However, given the quality of the food at Sea Change, I wasn’t worried, nor disappointed. The samosas are, well, delicious. The outer dough is perfectly balanced in terms of how much they use and how long they fry it. This results in a crispy and light outer shell that gives way to the decadent lamb inside. The lamb is not at all gamy and the spice mixture, which I couldn’t really identify, enhances the lamb meat with the right amount of salt and earthy flavors. The mint yogurt is pretty standard fare – it adds a nice temperature and textural contrast. The cucumber salad, however, is under utilized and I would have loved to have had a little more of that. The cucumbers are still crisp and the citrus in the dressing balances out the yogurt. I could have eaten an entire side of just that, to be honest.

BarramundiSeaChange

Barramundi with crispy skin in a miso, mushroom broth with egg. Oh. My. God.

For the main course, I went with the barramundi, a flaky white fish. The barramundi is cooked to perfection, with the fish staying moist and flaky while the descaled skin was crispy. It is served in a bowl that contains a poached egg, bok choy, watermelon radish , and sunchoke chips. Upon arrival, a rich, brown, mushroom broth is poured into the bowl. Now, I’m a big fan of sauces and broths, and this one is awesome. The broth has that great mushroom flavor, and turns the dish into a pseudo bouillabaisse. The barramundi is perfect for this dish because it has a tendency to fall apart, which allows you to get a little bit of the fish to pair with all the other elements in every single bite.

ScallopsSeaChange

If you want perfectly cooked scallops, look no further.

For her main course, H went with the scallops. I tried only one small bite – it was so good that she didn’t really want to share – but I can tell you this: the scallops are amazing. They are perfectly cooked – seared on the outside, buttery and creamy on the inside. And, no grit whatsoever. The cauliflower and bacon croquette that it comes served with is fantastic. The bacon is very subtle and its natural smokiness brings out the delicate flavor of the scallops. Next time, I may have to get this one for myself. Also, do not skip the side of Brussels sprouts. Caramelized to perfection.

CaramelCoffeePotdeCremeSeaChange

I think we're going to need a bigger plate ... because this is a heavy dessert.

And that all brings us to dessert. We had two. First, the Caramel Coffee Pot de Creme. It comes served with a dollop of pear sorbet. The caramel coffee pot de creme is very rich and very creamy. The coffee doesn’t overpower the caramel, and that to me is the key to the dish. The pear sorbet helps to add that bit of fruit and acidity to cut through the sweetness of the caramel and coffee. And, it really does taste like pear. This is a dessert that I really like but not sure how often I would want to eat it. It’s that rich.

CalamansiNapoleonSeaChange

Sweet. Creamy. Crispy. Citrusy. An exemplary dessert.

The other dessert we went with was the Calamansi Napoleon. In between the crisps, which included a sesame brittle in the middle (heh, that basically rhymes) is a lemon ice cream or sorbet or something. Whatever it is, it’s very, very good. The coconut sorbet goes really well here. The milky, sweet, and soft coconut flavor mixes really well with the citrus. I’m hoping this stays on the menu for a long time.

Overall, Sea Change continues to impress. Having been there a number of times, I’m always pleasantly surprised by the quality and consistency of their food, although I don’t know why I should be. It’s one of our very favorite restaurant in Minneapolis, and for very good reason.

Oh, and be sure to check out the drinks from Sea Change on Drink Aesthetic.

Happy fooding.

– C

Skillet Beef Tenderloin

Beef Tenderloin

I could get used to this

Alert: It’s not tough to cook steak during winter. Either brave the cold – depending on where you live – and grill outside, or use a cast iron skillet. Last night, we did the latter.

The meal, which allowed us to indulge in steak, also kept us aligned with our healthy-eating resolution (we calculated this entire meal to be around 450 calories). The key? Lean beef tenderloin and fresh vegetables. The tenderloin was 4.5 lb originally, but for last night’s meal I cut off three filets that were around 6 ounces each. The rest we froze for later , which I’ll be honest, may be tomorrow given how good everything turned out. The beef I seasoned with a dry rub that I altered just a bit from Weber’s Real Grilling book. And for the vegetables, we kept it simple – sauteed onions and mushrooms, and in a separate pan, green and yellow beans. Definitely alter the rub or vegetable sides to your choosing. And dress the steak however you wish – H likes blue cheese and A1, I like mine as-is. Happy fooding! – C

Um. Yeah. Steak. Delicious, delicious steak.

Ingredients:

  • 3 beef tenderloin filets, trimmed of any visible fat, 6 ounces each
  • 2 cups of fresh green beans
  • 1.5 cups of fresh yellow beans
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion
  • 1 cup of sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Palm-full of fresh thyme

For the dry rub (again, slightly altered from Weber’s Real Grilling book):

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure chile powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced, dried garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions for the beef:

  1. Let the beef stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  2. Prepare the dry rub, and lightly coat each side of the beef with olive oil.
  3. Apply the dry rub and then follow The Kitchn’s directions on how to cook steak in the oven (skip to step 4 if you are using our dry rub recipe – and be sure to alter the cooking time depending on the type and thickness of your steaks). Nice and easy.

Directions for onions and mushrooms:

  1. Dice the onion and slice the mushrooms (or buy pre-sliced mushrooms)
  2. Put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat
  3. Add the onions and mushrooms
  4. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper
  5. Once onions begin to turn translucent, add the fresh thyme

Directions for beans:

  1. Wash the beans and remove any stems
  2. Over medium heat, add the beans to a non-stick skillet
  3. Season with kosher salt and pepper
  4. Add the lemon juice
  5. Cook until desired tenderness – we prefer our beans more on the crispy / crunchy side

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Found this recipe one day while randomly surfing websites for new recipes.  I’ve always loved chicken cordon bleu but have never found a recipe I really liked.  Most recipes either required a lot of work (stuffing chicken breasts) or were quite unhealthy.  Well this recipe totally fit the bill!  We loved it so much the first night we are literally making it again tonight – two days in a row!  The leftovers held up as well – the panko topping stayed crunchy and the flavors were spot on.  What makes this recipe so easy is all the traditional cordon bleu flavors are just piled on top of the chicken breasts and put in the oven.  A cream cheese and swiss cheese mixture adds a delicious creaminess and the ham chunks just enough salt.  We served it with a side a polenta as to not overshadow how awesome this chicken is. This recipe is so tasty, I promise you will enjoy!

-H

Recipe adapted from EatingWell

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Should have four breasts – we cut two large ones in half)

Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt to taste

1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese plus a sprinkle more for topping

2 Tbs reduced-fat cream cheese

1/4 c panko crumbs

1 Tbs Italian breadcrumbs

1 tsp fresh chopped thyme

4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/4 c chopped ham

 

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

2) Heat 2 tsp oil in a large, ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to skillet.  Cook chicken until browned on both sides – approximately 2 minutes per side.

3) While chicken is cooking, in a small bowl combine: cream cheese and swiss cheese.  In a second small bowl combine: pank0, bread crumbs, thyme and remaining oil.

4) Move chicken breasts to center of pan so all pieces are touching.  Top with cheese mixture and then ham.  Sprinkle a small amount of additional swiss cheese on top of ham.  Finish off with bread crumb mixture.  Bake in oven 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

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Turkey Burgers with a Spicy Red Onion & Cucumber Slaw

When we cook the same dinner two weeks in a row, you know we found something we love.  This recipe for Asian turkey burgers is awesome.  Bulgur acts as the binder in this dish as opposed to breadcrumbs and eggs – this cuts down on some unnecessary calories and adds additional nutrition.  Along with bulgur, cilantro, ginger, garlic and scallions are combined to create the patty.  A homemade, spicy spread created with yogurt and chili garlic sauce adds just the right amount of zip and the cucumber and red onion slaw provides great texture and crunch.  Cooked on a grill pan for only a few minutes this meal is incredibly easy and filling.  I’m sure you will enjoy.

-H

Recipe adapted of Food Network

Ingredients:

1/4 cup bulgur wheat (we have also substituted quinoa)

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/4 seedless cucumber, sliced thin

1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 tsp chili, garlic sauce (found in the Asian food isle)

12 oz lean ground turkey

2 Tbs hoisin sauce

2 scallions, chopped

1 tsp grated ginger

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 Tbs chopped, fresh cilantro

2 tsp vegetable oil

4 whole wheat hamburger rolls

Directions:

1. Create the slaw.  In a bowl combine the vinegar, sugar and generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Add cucumber and onion and toss.  Marinate 30 minutes.

2. Cook the bulger according to package directions – ours said combine 1/2 cup of water with 1/4 bulgur.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover 15 minutes.

3. Create spread. Combine yogurt and chili garlic sauce. Season with salt/pepper to taste.

4. In a large bowl combine: bulgur, turkey, hoisin, scallions, ginger, garlic and cilantro.  Form into four equal sized patties.

5. Heat a nonstick grill pan (or skillet) over medium heat.  Lightly brush both sides of patty with oil and place in pan.  Cook, turning only once – 3-4 minutes per size.

6. Drain the pickled vegetables and toss with extra cilantro if desired.  Spread the yogurt sauce on the top and bottom of each bun and top with patties and cucumbers/onions.

Nutrition

Serves – 4 (does not include bun)

Calories – 186 g

Fat – 4 g

Protein – 18 g

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Pineapple and Green Pepper Chicken

 

I grew up eating this recipe at home.  Growing up I hated it – I hated anything with actual vegetables in it.  Needless to say, regardless of my hatred for this dish as a child my mom kept making it and soon I grew to love it.  This meal is now one of the staple dishes around our house.  A great mixture of flavors and textures this dish is simply awesome.  For this post I took my mom’s original recipe and changed it slightly to reduce the calories and add some additional whole grain/fiber.  I reduced the amount of sugar in half and substituted bulgur for white rice.  After my husband and I sampled the recipe this week, we ended up liking it better than the original.  The reduction in sugar made it less sweet – which we liked because the pineapple itself adds its own natural sweetness.  And the change to bulgur is just awesome – it’s texture and ability to soak up the delicious sauce made it a great accompaniment.  I really hope you enjoy.

-H

 

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided

3 Tbs cooking sherry

6 Tbs soy sauce, divided

1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares

1 can pineapple chunks in juice, separated

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 Tbs cornstarch

1/2 cup chicken broth

 

 

Directions:

1. Combine: sherry, 4 Tbs soy sauce, ginger, garlic and diced chicken breasts.  Marinate at room temperature 20 minutes.

2. While marinating – combine: cornstarch, sugar, 2 Tbs soy sauce, vinegar, pineapple juice and chicken broth.  Set aside

3. Heat 1.5 Tbs oil in non-stick skillet.  Add the chicken and saute until cooked through.  Remove the chicken.  Add remaining oil, bell pepper and pineapple.  Cook until tender and pineapple starts to brown.

4. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan (note – you may have to re-stir the mixture until the cornstarch dissolves).  Bring to a boil and cook until sauce thickens.  Stir in the chicken.

Serve with 3/4 cup cooked bulgur wheat

 

Nutrition:

Servings 4 (does not include bulgur)

Calories: 344 g

Fat: 10 g

Protein: 23 g

 

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