The March magazine cover of Mpls.St. Paul magazine, where no women were included in its "Best Restaurants" photo, prompted local women chefs and restaurateurs to respond in unprecedented ways that included a letter to the public, as well as a film to be presented this weekend at the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs conference in New York City.
Filmmaker Joanna Kohler talked with four Minneapolis chef/restaurateurs to create "Women Chefs of the North": Kim Bartmann, who owns eight restaurants, including The Third Bird and Tiny Diner; Brenda Langton of Spoonriver; and Carrie Summer and Lisa Carlson, both of Chef Shack in Bay City, Wis., and Chef Shack Ranch and the Chef Shack food trucks. The film, "Women Chefs of the North," offers these recommendations for the media and for other women in the industry to improve the lives of their peers in the restaurant business.
1. A redefinition of what's called "best food," possibly to include an acknowledgement of different styles, ethnicities and price points.
2. A change in the media's presentation of the restaurant community to reflect its breadth and diversity.
3. The creation of a local network of women chefs and restaurateurs.
4. The support of young female chefs through a fast-track program with other women in the restaurant business around the country.
Find out more at Women Chefs and Restaurateurs of the Twin Cities. The Minneapolis women are proposing to bring the 2017 conference to the Twin Cities, says Lisa Carlson.
Sad news out of Cedar Summit Farm: As of Friday, the Minar family is ceasing dairy production.
When Dave and Florence Minar and their family converted their New Prague, Minn., to a farmstead dairy, they brought a dairy case revolution to the Twin Cities, returning cream-top milk from grass-fed cows – sold in returnable glass bottles – to nearly 75 supermarkets, natural foods coops and other retail outlets.
The farm’s thick, pearly cream is a thing of wonder (it’s the cream of choice for countless Twin Cities chefs); ditto the line of pourable yogurts. (That's the farm's creamery, with co-owner Florence Minar, above, in a 2002 Star Tribune file photo).
There's one ray of hope: The family said that it hopes that its products "will return to the marketplace again in the near future."
Here’s the announcement, posted on the farm’s website:
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Cedar Summit Farm will cease production of our dairy products on Friday, January 16, 2015. Our farm store will continue operation through January 31, 2015, though we may run out of milk earlier. We will accept bottle returns through the end of January at our farm store, and through February 6, 2015 at the coops and natural food stores where our product is sold.
Thank you for your continued support of our family farm. It has been an honor to provide you with our 100% grass-fed, organic meat and dairy products for nearly 13 years. It would not have been possible for us to succeed without your unwavering support for local, sustainable and organic food.
We will continue to sell our beef halves and quarters. We hope that Cedar Summit Farm dairy products will return to the marketplace again in the near future.
The Dave and Florence Minar Family
In a Q&A with Stephanie Meyer, author of the recently released "Twin Cities Chef's Table," I asked if there was a recipe in the book that she was happiest to have for her own kitchen (I was pleased to see the dill pickle fried chicken from chef Beth Fisher at Wise Acre Eatery, and the Crusher Cookies from Sun Street Breads baker/co-owner Solveig Tofte). Her immediate response: the chicken liver mousse with pickled blueberries from chef Erick Harcey at Victory 44.
Including the recipe in the story's print edition wasn't possible, so I'm including it here (the photo is by Meyer). Enjoy.
CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE
Makes 6 4-oz. servings.
Splash of olive oil
4 shallots, minced
4 strips bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 thyme sprigs
1 lb. cleaned chicken livers
1/4 c. bourbon
3/4 lb. (3 sticks) plus 6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3/4 c. heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add shallots, bacon, garlic and thyme and sauté, stirring frequently, until caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Add chicken livers and sauté, stirring a few times, until livers are cooked halfway through, about 5 minutes. Carefully add bourbon (noting that it is flammable) and cooked until almost dry, about 5 minutes.
Discard thyme sprigs and transfer mixture to a blender. With blender on low speed, slowly add 3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, a few tablespoons at a time. When fully incorporated, add cream and mix until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and transfer to 4-ounce jars or ramekins and cool to room temperature.
Melt remaining 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter and top each jar or ramekin with 1/4-inch melted butter. Cover and chill until cold.
Serve with crackers and pickled blueberries (see Recipe). Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Makes about 4 cups.
1 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1 3/4 tbsp. salt
2 thyme sprigs
1 qt. (4 c.) fresh blueberries
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine vinegar, sugar, salt and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Stir in blueberries and shallots, then set aside to cool completely before serving.
No surprise there, but at least it's official. The folks at the NYT who do data research asked Google to analyze the recipe searches prior to the holiday and compare the results to searches in the rest of the country.
It's a fascinating report with some unexpected twists, and worth a visit to browse among the states, if you have time to spare before cooking the big meal.
The authors caution that the recipes mentioned are not the most iconic state recipes (which cooks may already know how to cook and have no need to look for). But they are the recipes that pop up as being most searched.
Surprising on the Minnesota list is the number of sweet salads -- which makes me wonder if this recipe has appeared recently on a cooking show. "Snicker Salad" and "Cookie Salad" and "Apple Snicker Salad" are all in the top five recipes and, if you added up their search frequency, would top the number of searches for wild rice casserole.
The most popular recipes listed for each state include reference numbers that reflect how much more popular a search was in one state than in the rest of the country. Wild rice casserole, for example, has 16 times more searches in MInnesota than elsewhere.
In Wisconsin, it's Brownberry stuffing and pistachio fluff that tie for top of its list, followed by beer cheese dip (the Brownberry company roots are in Oconomowoc, Wis.). Snicker apple salad also appears on its list, along with taffy apple salad.
Iowa also has a sweet tooth, with Snicker apple salad and Snicker salad at the top of its list.
South Dakota has Snicker salad at the top of its list, with a whopping 34 times the national average.
UPDATE: To clarify, Google analyzed searches done the week of Thanksgiving for the past 10 years. The story says that the most popular dish for each state was not the focus of the analysis because, given the searches were conducted around Thanksgiving, that would have resulted in "turkey" for all the states. Instead, the researchers "looked for the most distinct" recipe searches, which is reflected in the lists that are part of the report.
Here's the complete list for Minnesota, as reported in Upshot at the NYT, researched by Google.
Wild rice casserole ... .16x
Snicker salad .............13x
Broccoli bacon salad ...11x
Cookie salad ..............11x
Apple Snicker salad ...10x
Scallopped corn ...........7x
Spritz cookies .............6x
French silk pie .............5x
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