Downtown Blues

TABLEHOPPING

SPEAKING OF WHICH: A new buffet restaurant, the Heartland Cafe, recently opened on the ground floor of the Medical Arts Building, 825 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Chef Pat Wysocki promises "a non-boring buffet with different entrées--including vegetarian dishes--every day," along with grilled items, soups, and sandwiches...

SEASON OF THE CRAB: The first rousing breezes of spring, ridiculously late as they are, bring with them the first softshell crabs of the season. The blue claw crabs have wriggled out of their tough winter shells only to be trapped and swept off to markets all over the world; for the next couple of weeks, give them a try at Café Un Deux Troisin Minneapolis. Try them sautéed in butter, fried tempura style, marinated with onions and peppers and served cold, or cloistered in a brioche toast sandwich with chipotle and lemon aïoli.

MARRY ME AGAIN AND I'LL BUY YOU SOME STEAK: If you are married 50 years or more in 1996, maybe you'd like to take part in Murray's 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, where you can renew your vows with Judge Patrick Fitzgerald presiding. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception. Then, speak your love piece at 5 p.m. and get down to dinner (your choice of prime rib, baked walleye, or broiled chicken breast) featuring champagne and anniversary cake. The experience will set you back $17.95, and set your children under 12 back $10.95. Call 339-0909 for reservations.

GRILL FILL: Planning on dragging the grill out of the garage this week? Here's an idea to spare your friends from having to eat your burned renditions of hot dogs and burgers, compliments of Jane Butel's latest, fittingly titled Jane Butel's Southwestern Grill, available in stores June 1.

Grilled Pork Steak with Apples and Onions

* 4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) pork
shoulder steaks, trimmed of excess fat

* 4 sprigs fresh sage, minced,
or 1 tsp. ground dried sage

* 1 tsp. vegetable oil

* 1 large onion, cut crosswise
into 1/2-inch thick rounds

* 4 cooking apples, peeled,
cored and cut into 1/2-inch
thick slices

* 1/2 cup sherry or applejack

* Freshly ground nutmeg

* Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat grill to medium or 350. Place rack 4 inches above heat. Season steaks with sage. Lightly brush onion and apples with oil.

Arrange steaks and onion on rack; grill 12 to 15 minutes or until onion and apples are tender and steaks are browned with centers light pink or 160.

As foods are done, place in large skillet that can be used on the grill. When everything is done, pour sherry over contents, cover, and steam 5-7 minutes over low heat of grill. Serve steaks smothered with onion and apple slices. Makes 4 servings. CP

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