Tony and Sarah Nasello
Recently I came into a set of cast-iron pans, right around the same time that a friend gave me a carton of beautiful, farm-fresh eggs. Cast iron is ideal when you have a dish that needs to go directly from the stove top to the oven, and since they had a previous owner before me, they came already seasoned and ready to use.
Our Fourth of July celebration today takes us back to some of our most popular summer recipes from the past five years, with four courses of favorites and even a boozy tropical slush to keep you cool throughout the weekend.
Even though we no longer own a restaurant, I still enjoy connections to some of the area's best chefs thanks to Tony's role as the general manager of the legendary Hotel Donaldson in downtown Fargo. Pastry Chef Dana Swanson has become a great source in helping me build my repertoire of HoDo favorites, and in addition to making beautiful pastries and desserts, she is also responsible for preparing the salad dressings, all of which are made from scratch. The HoDo's signature blue cheese dressing is one of my all-time favorite salad dressings and I've ordered it nearly every time I've dined there in the past 15 years. The dressing features St. Pete's Select Blue Cheese, a wonderfully creamy blue that is aged in the famous St. Peter Sandstone caves in Faribault, Minn.
Pesto is one of our favorite "no-cook" sauces, meaning that there is no cooking required and once it's made, it's ready to use. In the past five years, we've shared a variety of pesto recipes, including traditional basil pesto, pistachio pesto and sun-dried tomato pesto, and this week I'm adding Arugula Walnut Pesto to that list.
One of my son Gio's favorite Southern specialties is biscuits and gravy, but up until last week, I'd always made it for him using a tin of pre-made biscuits with a homemade sausage gravy that was featured in this column in January 2017. But when he requested biscuits and gravy for his celebratory first-day-of-summer-break breakfast, I decided it was time to revisit an old favorite from Alton Brown: Southern Biscuits.
My grandmother, Sunny Mathison, turns 100 this Sunday, June 10, and our family and friends will be gathering at Pelican Lake in Minnesota this weekend to celebrate her amazing life.
Summer is the time for what we like to call "big-batch salads," hearty dishes that are large enough to serve about 12 to 16 people, making them ideal for picnics and barbecues.
If you've checked the forecast for this Memorial Day weekend, I hope you're doing the same little happy dance that I am because it looks like grilling season has finally arrived.
Come tomorrow, Norwegians around the world will join in the celebration of Syttende Mai, the 17th of May and Constitution Day, Norway's greatest national holiday. Cities, town and villages across Norway and throughout the Norwegian diaspora will showcase their pride with parades, flags and bløtkake, a deliciously sweet Norwegian cream layer cake. I have a few Norwegian specialties in my culinary repertoire, and I love to look for new dishes to add each year.
Scones are one of my favorite pastries to make, and if you look in my deep-freeze on any given day, you'll almost always find a bag of scones just waiting to be popped into the oven. I love the simplicity and versatility of scones, which can be made in just about any flavor, including sweet and savory variations.