Cooking MN: It ain’t all hot dish and lutefisk up here.


I’m so impressed with my cooks that I have to share. I’m sorry if you don’t care, but we are doing some good cookery up in this tundra, pardon-my-french, please.

First off, in case you don’t know, I have a group now. (Hello group!) They can cook. (I love that they can cook!) So I set them up with Scott Pampuch at Corner Table, who happens to be able to cook as well, in fact he’s a James Beard semi-finalist-for-best-chef-in-the-Midwest-cook. And then he and my cooks went to town making a really nice meal.

We divided them up – color circles on name tags mean something sometimes. They were given leaders and joined; team meat, team starch, team veggie, team dessert and team egg. (Once the people knew what was going on… they couldn’t help but make a team egg to be coached by Chef Pampuch. The man knows his way around an egg.)

And this is what happened (approximately) – recipes (not even close) for apple caramel bread pudding and eggs on toast to follow.


Okay, so in my opinion, Team Egg won. There were no winners here, but my god, Team Egg won. I love the duck, I soooooooo love the duck. But Team Egg’s dish was simple, delicious and frankly, eloquent. Really yummy.


Hey, Kyndell! This is my friend Kyndell. Kyndell did not stay as she had to go report the news, but she did make appreciative sounds while eating Scott’s breakfast for her. (Seriously, he made her breakfast before work.)


This is Troy, the leader of Team Meat. Ignore his name tag, it lies. Team meat made Duck confit on some roasted potatoes and onions. Way good, if you ask me. They also made some seared duck breasts, way even better, if you ask me. Oh, how I love the duck.

This is Veronica, a member of Team Meat working away.

This is Chef Scott, making sure nobody burns his restaurant down.

This is Kathy, leader of Team Dessert. She is being heckled by Scott for only making one dessert.  (But if he had let her make cupcakes I’m pretty sure she would have happily made a trio of mini cupcakes for everyone.  She is Queen Cupcake.)

Team Dessert, glowing. They are making bread pudding with apples and browned butter, there’s a reason to glow.

Team Starch hard at work making a gratin that will never be seen.

Tourist Jody looks on to all of the industry.

Team Egg hard at work. Go Team Egg! (Nina, the leader of Team Egg is in the patterned shirt.)

Kathy with a uniform malfunction! Oh no!

Scott coaching Team Veggie, while Team Dessert cuts up apples.

Duck breasts for Team Meat.

Cookery going on right there.

Team Egg made scrambled eggs on toast.  Toast was some lovely crostini Nina is oiling right here.

Yoon He, one of our new members.

Scott and Ann creaming the unseen gratin.

Salad, don’t really know what was in it, but it was good.

Tourist Jody relaxes in the sun.


Matt helps himself to a bit of this and a bit of that.

Harkness displays his usual plating prowess.

Kathy munches.

Tourist Jody in her bubble of joy.

Super-Fast Carmel Apple Bread Pudding

Okay, so it’s not really super fast, but it is faster than normal.   Team Dessert, really took too long – but it sooo wasn’t their fault, it was mine.  When they said they wanted to do bread pudding, I imagined it in ramekins; smaller space in water bath means that it would be done quicker than in a huge pan.  They had other ideas, but I was right and should have said so.  Doesn’t make it any less tasty. Yum, yum.

Kathy had her own stuff to say about the day.

1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter
1 – 2 t vanilla
pinch salt

2/3 loaf buttermilk bread (or other good bread)
2 small granny smith apples, chopped into chunks
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c sugar
3/4 c cream
1 c milk
2 t vanilla

1c more cream
2 T sugar
vanilla bean


Melt butter in pan, add in sugar and cook until dissolved.  Add in salt and vanilla. Distribute amongst ramekins.

Pre-heat oven to 375°f. Break up bread into bits and disperse it into ramekins with apples.

Mix together eggs, sugar, cream milk and vanilla. Disperse between ramekins. Place in a larger pan and put into pre-heated oven for 35 min (in other words, way less than the hour 10 it normally takes) or until set up in the middle.

Let cool for a bit. Put cream in mixer bowl. Split vanilla bean down the center, flap sides out, scrape insides out with the flat of the knife. Add to cream. Add in Sugar and mix on medium high speed until peaks form.

Scrape around the perimeter of ramekins and invert onto serving dish. Top with whipped cream. Serve with a smile.

Scrambled eggs on toast

I know there’s no need for this recipe and yet I feel compelled. It was really good.

bread, something in a rustic sourdough would be nice
olive oil

4 eggs
2 T butter
1 – 2 oz chevre

more olive oil

orange zest

Preheat oven to 400°f. Slice bread into slices, brush with olive oil and toast until brown.

Slice and saute mushrooms in olive oil over high heat until tender.

Put eggs and some butter into a cold pan over medium high heat. Start stirring with a spatula. When the bottom begins to cook all over remove from heat and stir until eggs cool again. Return to heat – and keep doing the heat/no heat rotation until they’re cooked through. Add in chevre and salt/pepper and stir until creamy.

Top crostini with some of the eggs. Sprinkle on some chives. Grate a bit of orange zest on top. Top with some mushroom slices.


3 thoughts on “Cooking MN: It ain’t all hot dish and lutefisk up here.

  1. Nice! You should try my version, it comes with it’s own sauce! But there weren’t any figs. Figs would have been nice.

    (I thought it was linked. Going to go check now! Thanks!)

  2. Hello Kris, Appreciate the yummy sounding recipes here in your Blog. I have not had the priviledge to learn about some terms etc.
    What is chevre?
    and re: the Super-Fast Carmel Apple Bread Pudding
    you say:I imagined it in ramekins; smaller space “in water bath” means that it would be done quicker than in a huge pan. “in water bath??? <please explain.
    Thanks, Carole Nelson email:

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