Thursday, June 30, 2011

Food Truck Review: Smack Shack

Food trucks are definitely the latest it thing in the foodie world and as of last summer have taken over the streets of downtown Minneapolis. I'm all for this, I think food trucks are brilliant and a great way for chefs to get their food to the masses at a low overhead cost.

This afternoon my co-worker Lizzy and I took off on our bikes for downtown in search of the Smack Shack (@Smack_Shack), a food truck serving what Bon Appetit has named one of the 50 best lobster rolls in the country. Yeah take that east coast!

The line was totally worth it (and moved extremely efficiently! They take cards and cash) and at $8 for lunch (you can't get out of Noodles for under that) it was a total steal and lovely departure from the typical lunch menu items.

If you're going, grab a friend and split the lobster roll (its super decadent and one half with shared fries is plenty for lunch) and take the hour away from the office you deserve by eating outside and enjoying summer weather while its still here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

5 minute lunches

I'm a firm believer in delicious lunches. Just because you're at work without a full kitchen does not mean you should have to sacrifice on flavor and freshness during a crucial meal in your day.

That said with my work's current temporary space (Ala plastic silverware and one microwave) my grandiose cooking skills have hit the skids. Over are the days of whipping up a croque madame in the office.

So what's a girl, who is not big on salad, soups or sandwiches to do without blowing the bank on take out lunches everyday? Learn to improvise and get creative.

This morning with scarce ingredients around after a weekend away I threw together a quick Mediterranean couscous salad. (Whoever invented that pasta and quinoa deserves a medal!).

The result was a delicious light lunch, exactly what a busy working girl needs! I also took a trip down nostalgia lane this morning when I stopped at the market to get the feta I found Koala cookies from my childhood and just couldn't resist (pardon the mess on my desk, its Monday.)

Mediterranean Couscous Salad
Servings: 1 1/2 lunch servings
Time: 5-7 minutes

1/3 cup plain couscous (could use Mediterranean/Greek flavor also)
1/4 cup water
1/2 chopped cucumber (preferably seedless, but won't make or break the dish)
1/3 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper

Cook couscous according to directions
Chop cucumber and basil
Whisk together olive oil and lemon juice (season slightly with salt)
Mix together couscous, cucumber, basil
When you pull out for lunch mix in feta and lemon oil dressing

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Room update!

So after my small redecorating project over the winter I determined I was missing something. I needed another canvas print above my bed to balance out the room. Couldn't be happier with the results!

The photo on the left is in Cabo San Lucas on Christmas and the photo on the right is in Savannah this past March. I'm really proud of both photos and of course represent two places I love and times with friends and family.

What do you think? 
Thanks to Groupon and Canvas on Demand for the help with the project on a budget!

Favorite Things: Summer BBQs

The joy of living in Minneapolis during the summer is the amazingness of having a house with a backyard, grill, patio set and fire pit. You could pretty much camp in your backyard every night if you wanted.

I love hosting BBQs at my house all summer long. Having friends over, introducing new people to each other and getting to cook for all my friends makes me feel like life couldn't get any better.

The first BBQ of the season was on Friday and I can't wait for our 4th of July one!

 Mojitos are the perfect summer drink for a night of grilling!

My florist, aka my parents, dropped off my bouquets of fresh peonies that evening!
I follow Ina Garten's advice when it comes to dinner parties: make dishes ahead of time, have lots of booze and fresh cut flowers from your garden (ok my parents' garden).

Side dish: Grilled peppers and onion with olive oil and salt and pepper. Super easy and fresh!

Because it wouldn't be an event without something entertaining happening.
Friday night's main event: Katie spying into the downstairs neighbor's kitchen to see who had the better kitchen in the unit.

They have a bigger one, ours has way better lighting. I'll take ours in practice for my Food Network show.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Comforts

Nothing better during a thunderstorm than to be home cooking a comforting meal (shrimp, basil, tomato pasta see recipe below) and blaring Adele. Now off to yoga to burn it off!

Shrimp, Basil, Tomato Pasta

Serves 2

1/2 lb linguine
7-8 pieces of shrimp
1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 can of diced tomatoes in juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup of basil, torn apart
3/4 cup of water
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook shrimp 2-3 minutes remove from pan and set aside

In the same skillet heat olive oil and cook garlic for one minute then add diced tomatoes and water. For extra heat add a dash of red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes and then remove from heat and add grape tomatoes

Meanwhile bring a pot of water to boil and add linguine. Cook per instructions. Strain pasta and return to pot. Add tomato sauce and then add shrimp and basil and mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe: Everyday Food

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Some tips for the boys...

I don't normally discuss my dating life on here but after a few months back on the scene there are a few things I've noticed about the opposite sex's behavior that needs to be addressed. So to the boys of my generation listen up:

1. You text to confirm a lunch with friend not to ask a girl out on a date
-Hiding behind a screen is not a winning quality. If the girl gave you her number have enough faith in that gesture to pick up the phone and call her to set up a legitimate date. It will beyond earn you points from the start.

2. If you have to cancel or reschedule don't wait until the day of
-Now I'm not saying all boys do this, I even know girls who've done this, but either way its a No No. That person, girl or guy, made time for you in their schedule and you should be respectful of that.

3. Do not fall off the face of the earth after a few great dates
-I know it was tough for you to pick up the phone in the first place when you had something great to tell us, and after a few great dates us the girl thinks everything is ok, but maybe you had a change of heart. Maybe you decided to move across the country, focus on your job, found another more interesting girl, blah blah blah. Whatever it is, or whatever code you want to use, be an adult and pick up that phone and tell it to that nice girl you wined and dined. Your future dating karma and her baggage will thank you down the road.

All is not fair in love and war, but that gives no excuse to throw out all social decency and manners that we know your mother raised you on. Treat the girl you're starting to date with class, kindness and fairness and I guarantee your rate of "attracting the crazies" will decrease dramatically. We only bring that out when you've given us reason to be.

P.S I've confirmed all of this with my amazing lady friends and they're in total agreement