[FHCx262] National Cheeseburger Day

Deja vu…


Well on Thursday we celebrated double cheeseburger day. Today celebrates the singular. The original. But we aren’t going to do your regular old McDonald’s.

We’re Minnesotans. We believe in the Juicy Lucy. We went to Blue Door Pub.

The Juicy Lucy is a Minnesota invention, where cheese is stuffed into the burger. Techniques vary, and there is dispute regarding what restaurant actually created it. But Blue Door has one of SP‘s favorite burgers, so we had to do it.

Behold, the Merriam Park burger. Burger stuffed with blue cheese, bacon, and garlic, and topped with a red currant jelly.





Look at all that good stuff inside.


Oh, and here’s AK‘s burger, the NeuFrenchy: swiss cheese, prime rib, mushrooms, swiss mornay sauce, and onion jam. Served with au jus!

Horribly unkosher and horribly delicious. It’s like we’ve taken everything we can from the cow and made it tasty together.

Tomorrow is National Butterscotch Pudding Day!


[FHCx260] National Guacamole Day/National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day

Holy guacamole!


It’s Friday night, and so we made cinnamon raisin bread a special moment. Thanks to Lund’s & Byerly’s, we got ourselves a cinnamon raisin challah! Challah is the traditional Shabbat (Friday night/Saturday) food: a braided bread. And theirs is very tasty.


Dinner itself had to involve some guacamole. Both SP and AK are fans of getting guac on their Chipotle bowls, and we like recreating that at home. We’ve shown you a whole bunch of SP‘s steak bowls over the last year. Tonight was no different.


Steak in a pan, cooked a la AK (rare, with lots of garlic, onion, and pepper)


Steak on rice is step one.


Next up is to take one of these amazing guacamole pouches…


And plop it on!

We really like Wholly Guacamole‘s minis. Their spicy guacamole is the real deal. Since avocados are running out of season in September, it’s hard to find good ones. And we are certainly happy to have these pre-portioned minis around to help us out.

Tomorrow is National Apple Dumpling Day!


[FHCx226] National Filet Mignon Day



Filet is one of the best cuts of steak. It doesn’t have the marbling and dry age flavor of a ribeye, but its tenderness beats out all other cuts.


Right there in the tenderloin.

This evening, we went to Mancini’s in St. Paul to have this dainty steak. The Char House has some great steak and also great garlic toast, so we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight it for this particular steak holiday.

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Garlic toast, grilled on the same grill as the steaks, comes in white and pumpernickel varieties.

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Medium rare.

Happy SPAK full of steak. Tomorrow is National Creamsicle Day!


[FHCx211] National Lasagna Day/National Chicken Wing Day

It is so hard to pick which of these we liked better today…


For our lunch today, we headed out to Oakdale for the undisputed king of chicken wings in the Twin Cities: D-Spot. In the past year, they moved out of their former tiny space into a really amazing new lot about a quarter mile away. These wings are capital G Good. They clock in at 85 different flavors in multiple categories, including Savory, Sweet, and Spicy (ranging from “spicy” to “death row”).

Do yourself a favor and go read their menu for a bit. It’s very difficult to make choices. Do I want something really extravagant? Maybe the “Snackers” – peanut butter, caramel, crushed nuts, chocolate, and sea salt? (Yes, it’s amazing.) Or maybe I want to burn my tongue off? Well we picked three:

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Frenchy: Caramelized onion with a sweet balsamic reduction

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SP‘s favorite, Tarantula: Soy glaze, roasted garlic, chili, dry rub, fried garlic

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Bathala’s Bliss: Ginger, honey, chili, peanut butter, lime, cilantro

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It’s hard to characterize these fries but they are SO good. Seasoned and served with a “special yellow sauce.”

We could barely walk after eating these delicious wings. SP had wing glaze all over his moustache. However, we did manage to get ourselves up enough to go bowling and push some of the calories out. That was before we got home to make Lasagna.

Picture time!

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2 cups part-skim cheese

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Mix with 1 container of part-skim Ricotta

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93% lean ground beef and some hot italian sausage

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Lay down about a cup of sauce first

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A few lasagna sheets

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Spread on more sauce

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3/4 cup of the cheese mixture, and then spread it!

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Some meat…

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Repeat, repeat, repeat, and then top off with some more sauce and cheese.

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Bake at 375. Boom.

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Garfield would have a fit.

We love pasta as it is, and making stuff like this at home is a lot of fun! Next time we could lighten it up even more, but it was really tasty as is. The hot italian sausage kept things interestingly spicy, and the ricotta was smooth and creamy. Mmmm.

Tomorrow is National Cheesecake Day!


[FHCx208] National Coffee Milkshake Day/National Bagelfest Day

Ice cream ahoy!


Well, it’s not the date for Bagelfest this year. See, Lender’s Bagels moved in to Mattoon, Illinois and proclaimed the city the Bagel Capital of the World. Ridiculous. Then they started this annual festival at the end of July called Bagelfest, which has had parades and performances from the likes of 38 Special and Zac Brown Band. This year, the festival was held this past weekend, but all of our sources (we shouldn’t just trust everything we initially read, eh?) told us today was the day. Even news outlets were reporting that it was Bagelfest Day and nobody was the wiser.

Before work this morning, SP and AK took a trip to Bruegger’s to get some bagel action.

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Open-facing a bagel makes it take twice as long to get through and lets you enjoy each bite a little more. However, more cream cheese is likely to get in SP‘s moustache that way.

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Red onion and lox are also not optional for most bagel outings.

This evening we had to spoil the amazingness of today’s bagel morning with a coffee-flavored something-or-other. Neither of us like coffee very much at all. Blame our parents? Could be worse. We could be weirdos who hate bananas.

We landed our coffee milkshake thanks to Conny’s Cream Cone, which we’ve written about before. We got a mocha milkshake which we consumed about 1/3 of. Coffee. Not even once.

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They make really good ice cream, so it wasn’t all for naught.

Tomorrow is a triple day again: Chicken Finger Day, Creme Brulee Day, and Scotch Day.


[FHCx156] National Cheese Day/National Cognac Day

Fancy pants day…


We celebrated Cheese Lover’s Day not long ago. We went all out on different kinds of cheeses because we are, indeed, cheese lovers. Tonight we opted for a more simple option to celebrate cheese: Tuna Specialy. Invented by cousin SParles, the tuna specialy is just an open-faced tuna melt.

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Tuna! We add a tbsp of light mayo for each can we use. Then some garlic powder, onion powder, and celery salt to season.

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Tuna on bread. About 2 oz each.

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Cheddar. Which is also the name of our neighbor’s cat who likes to play in our yard. He’s cute.

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About 1/2 oz on each.

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It’s something truly special…y! Then again, DadAK thinks hot tuna is an abomination. Not in this house!

Also, it’s cognac day. Great for cooking, great for cocktails, you should always keep some around.

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Tomorrow is National Gingerbread Day! Doesn’t that belong in December…?


[FHCx153] National Olive Day/National Hazelnut Cake Day


Another very interesting holiday celebrating two very different foods.

First up, the olive. It’s perhaps the most Mediterranean thing we can think of. They just represent the flavors of the whole region, whether Greek or Italian or Persian… And from its amazing use as olive oil (you should always have some on hand) to stuffing them with stuff, you can do a lot with olives.

Luckily enough for us, our local Lund’s & Byerly’s has an olive bar that is uncontested in the area. Be wowed:

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Look at olive ’em!

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Here was our pick of the olives. Feta stuffed, garlic stuffed, Italian, and Kalamata. About to go sailing on a journey across the ocean to our stomachs.

After an easy dinner at home, we were able to celebrate the second part of today thanks to Target. Here’s the thing about hazelnuts. We’re fairly positive that if not for Ferrero, most of the US would not really know much about hazelnuts. Not like we know that much about the nuts, but as soon as you mention the word, people start dreaming up the flavor of Nutella. Well, Nutella or no Nutella, we had our hazelnut cake. In fact, we would recommend it. It’s very tasty and easy to share!

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Cute, right?

Tomorrow is National Rotisserie Chicken Day and National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day.


[FHCx145] National Escargot Day

From France with slug!


Neither of us are even slightly grossed out by eating snails. That’s kind of a wonder in itself. SP used to eat basically only chicken fingers when he was a kid, but he grew out of that level of pickiness. AK, well… Spaghetti.

Well what these things have in common with today’s holiday is that while the item itself is tasty, it is in fact the vehicle for even more tasty things. In this case, garlicky butter. And lots of it. And something else you may not know – usually the snails are taken out of their shells and cooked, and then placed back into their shells for the presentation. It’s like Lobster Thermidor! We took a trip to Salut Bar Americain in St. Paul for their escargot bourguignonne.

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A true French-style is to give you these tong thingies with which to grab the shells.

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Look at all that parsley-garlic-butter!

The texture of a snail is similar to that of an oyster or mussel. And like oysters and mussels, there’s a lot of slurping that goes on with escargot. Don’t be grossed out; it’s really, really good.

Tomorrow is National Wine Day! Not to be confused with National Drink Wine Day. I guess every day is wine day now…


[FHCx131] National Shrimp Day



Bubba is right: there are a hell of a lot of ways to prepare shrimp. And thas about it. There’s something very satisfying about the texture of shrimp and how well it picks up flavors from things around it whether that’s cocktail sauce or seafood etouffee.

We made a shrimp stir-fry tonight in honor of Shrimp Day!

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A hell of a lot of garlic, and some onions.

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A good stir-fry sauce for shrimp: 1 cup of vegetable broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp corn starch, 1 tbsp sugar, and some Huy Fong (who else?) chili-garlic sauce

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The best chili oil ever made.

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Fry up the garlic and onions in a tbsp of the oil.

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Toss in mushrooms, bamboo shoots, baby corn, and shrimp

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Serve over rice noodles!

A delicious shrimpy dinner.

Tomorrow is National Eat What You Want Day!


[FHCx120] National Shrimp Scampi Day

Everybody scamper!


And oh man what a day it was. It’s nice to have something that’s easy and fun to make at home. It’s also nice to have something where SP can triple the amount of garlic for. We used this Food Network recipe to make our scampi.

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A pound of shrimp with some salt and pepper

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Parsley and garlic. The more garlic, the better.

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2 Tbsp of butter in a hot skillet.

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Toss in the shrimp, and then the garlic. Let it all foam for a while. Not pictured is the “sauce” made afterwards of sherry, parsley, and lemon juice.

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It was really, really good. We had fun!

Tomorrow is National Oatmeal Cookie Day and National Raisin Day.