Let's talk food, from restaurants and recipes to farmers markets, food issues and wine. Lee Svitak Dean, Rick Nelson, Kim Ode and Bill Ward will start the conversation.

Posts about Farmers and foraging

TPT looks at Minnesota food in "Farm Fresh Road"

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: October 4, 2013 - 4:59 PM

Ready for a road trip? Public television is.

"Farm Fresh Road" -- a 30-minute show about Minnesota foods from farm to table -- premieres at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, on TPT's Minnesota channel.

The program features Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities Public Television as she wanders the state in a progressive meal kind of trip looking for food experiences that are the equivalent of "courses" -- an appetizer in Minneapolis through dessert in St.Peter.

Not free on Sunday? Be assured the show will reappear many times in the scheduling at TPT.

TPT films at Spanky's Stone Hearth in Frazee, Minn.

TPT films at Spanky's Stone Hearth in Frazee, Minn.

Meet Locally Laid's Jason Amundsen

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: September 12, 2013 - 10:50 AM

Farmer Jason Amundsen -- the egg producer from Wrenshall, Minn., featured in last week's Taste -- is headed to the Twin Cities area on Friday, for a pair of meet-and-greets at two natural foods co-ops. 

From noon to 2 p.m., Amundsen (that's him, pictured above, at his farm in mid-June, during one of the farm's twice-daily feedings) will be talking pasture-raised eggs from his Locally Laid Egg Co. at the City Center Market in Cambridge. From 2:45 to 5 p.m., shoppers can get a face-to-face with Amundsen at the Linden Hills Co-op in southwest Minneapolis. Both events are free and open to the public.

By the way, the farm's eggs debut today at the Wedge Co-op, Seward Co-op and Eastside Food Co-op in Minneapolis.

Meet Hank Shaw

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: September 9, 2013 - 12:10 PM



Hank Shaw isn't a Food Network-level brand name. Well, at least not yet.

But the highly engaging voice behind the blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (winner of the James Beard Foundation's 2013 Best Food Blog award) and the author of the well-received 2012 cookbook "Hunt, Gather Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast" embodies a rapidly growing segment of the American cooking population, that of the self-sufficient, eating-off-the-grid forager, farmer, fisherman and hunter.

Shaw's latest work, "Duck, Duck, Goose: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfowl, Both Farmed and Wild" is debuting next month, and the Sacramento, Calif.-based writer is making an appearance at the Bachelor Farmer on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.

Expect a family-style tasting menu -- created by Shaw and Bachelor Farmer chef Paul Berglund -- along with wine pairings and cocktails by Marvel Bar mixmaster Pip Hanson. Oh, and plenty of conversation with Shaw. Cost is $145 per person, reservations (starting after 2 p.m. Monday) at 612-206-3920.


The Perennial Plate joins the MAD food conference in Denmark

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: September 4, 2013 - 2:36 PM


The MAD circus tent for speakers. Photo from The Perennial Plate

The MAD circus tent for speakers. Photo from The Perennial Plate

EDITOR'S NOTE: Local filmmakers Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine of The Perennial Plate webstie were speakers at the MAD Symposium in Denmark last week, where they showed their favorite episodes. Daniel offers his notes from the event below. 


It's difficult to sum up a weekend of such epic food proportions as the MAD Symposium put on by the team at Noma restaurant in Copenhagen.

I've been pretty lucky in my eating and cooking experiences. Through our sustainable food-focused web series, we've gotten to travel the U.S. and the world meeting incredible people, tasting street food and Michelin dining alike. It's a dream job, but still, this weekend was special.

For those unfamiliar, MAD means "food" in Danish and for the last three years, Rene Redzepi and his team at the formerly heralded "best restaurant in the world" (recently placed as the second best) have been putting on THE culinary conference. It's a "for cooks, by cooks" event, so no demos, no big sponsors, no paying hand and foot for bite sized portions from different restaurants. You come to MAD to learn... and to eat.

We came to do just that -- and also to speak at the event and show some of our films -- which we were super honored and amazed to be a part of. But let's start with the eating, because that's what most of my photos (all on the iPhone) entail.

An hour from the time we landed in Denmark, we were sitting at a table at Noma. I'm not going to rub it in, but the restaurant deserves all the acclaim it gets and then some -- not only for the food, but also for service that is unparalleled. The staff is like a cult (a good one) that wants you to be a member, and you happily drink the Kool-Aid, or as is the case at Noma, the wild sorrel-aid.

After 24 courses and a good night's sleep, we woke up Friday morning, and (along with the 30+ other individuals speaking at the event) we were whisked off to the small Danish Island of Bornholm for a day of bonding on the beach. It didn't hurt that the organizers had set up a room full of wild produce, as well as a pig and a lamb for some of the best chefs in the world to cook up for dinner. Imagine Alex Atala, David Kinch, David Chang, Pascal Barbot and the Franks from Frankies (all speakers at the event) cooking you a BBQ overlooking the Baltic sea, with flowing natural wine. I know, I'm bragging again.


Dinner on the Danish island. Photo by The Perennial Plate.

Dinner on the Danish island. Photo by The Perennial Plate.



















The next morning the conference began, but not before Copenhagen's best coffee roasters treated the crowd to the fanciest coffee you've seen. Pour over, cold press, machiatto, the choice was yours. Caffeinated to the max, we entered the circus tent where over the next two days we were to experience an amazing array of talks.

But first, there hung a dead pig, right in the middle of the tent for all to see. Blood ran from its neck. As the crowd came in, snapping their instagrams and imagining what would come next, we took our seats, Mirra shielding her vegetarian eyes. Then ACDC blared and in came Dario Cecchini -- Tuscan butcher extraordinaire. The crowd cheered. I felt sick. Maybe it's Mirra's animal loving spirit that overcame me, but the splitting open of this recently alive animal to the sound of cheers and rock and roll seemed a bit disrespectful. But the music stopped, the guts had been spilled, and Dario began to speak.

From that moment, he won us over, he jumped into his love of animals, the respect he has, the need to honor a slaughtered beast. It was dramatic, it was romantic and as he cut open the pig, he waxed poetic about being a butcher. "We are losing our race..." he declared. He was preaching the butcher gospel, and he ended with a minute long recitation of Dante. A stunning way to start the event that made me twice as nervous for my impending talk.


Darrio Cecchini and his pig. Photo by The Perennial Plate

Darrio Cecchini and his pig. Photo by The Perennial Plate





















I can't go into all of the speakers like that, as there were too many, and they were all so good. Really, as far as conferences go, my expectations are usually pretty low. But here they had speakers like nowhere else. To run through a few:

Vandana Shiva: The anti-Gmo anti-pesticide activist from India who we covered in a recent video. She shared her story and challenged the world's best chefs to adopt GMO free menus.

Ahmed Jama: A Somali chef and refugee in London, who moved back to Mogadishu to open a restaurant in support of rebuilding his country. The restaurant has been bombed twice, killing 6 of his staff. He is currently rebuilding again.

Martha Payne: An 11- year old from Scotland who became famous for her blog that posted pictures of her school lunch to the shame of the school board. As a result of her blog, she's raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for children's school lunches in Malawi.

Sandor Katz: The author of "The Art of Fermentation" has given sauerkraut inspiration to thousands and made us rethink our relationship to bacteria.

These were just a few of the dozens of speakers that shared their take on "guts." In between the speakers there was food by a group of Lebanese women, who were Christians, Jews and Arabs. This trip to Denmark was the first time any of them had been out of their native country. Besides their peaceful coexistence philosophy, they made delicious baba ganoush, flatbread with zatar and lambs testicles.


Beer made for Mission Chinese lunch. Photo by The Perennial Plate

Beer made for Mission Chinese lunch. Photo by The Perennial Plate


The next day Mission Chinese from San Francisco and New York City burned everyone's mouths with their MaPo Tofu and Cumin Lamb. The Szechuan peppercorns and endless chiles gave pleasure and pain to the northern European clientele.

The first night consisted of a secret after-party complete with a pop-up dinner on the street from David Chang and the rest of the Momofuku team who made their famous bo-ssam. We spent the following two days trying out some new and acclaimed restaurants (Amass and Bror) headed by recent alums of Noma (Matt Orlando and Samuel Nutter/Victor Wagman, respectively), and stopped by our old favorites Relae and Manfreds (also by a Noma alum, Christian Puglisi), and our favorite wine bar, Ved Stranden.

We were reminded, time and time again, of the kindness, generosity and community created by Noma and the people from whence it came. They made us feel a part of the family. I applaud team Noma and team MAD for such an incredible and mind bending event. I hope to go again next year.

Daniel Klein


Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine. Photo provided by The Perennial Plate.

Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine. Photo provided by The Perennial Plate.


Lenny Russo in Slovenia #6: Of olive oil, truffles and fish (oh my!)

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: April 9, 2013 - 7:56 PM


Photos by Christopher Wurst

Photos by Christopher Wurst


The first day out began with truffle hunting in Belvedur. It is spring black truffle season here. Gina, the amazing truffle hunting dog, led us to an oak tree where I able to dig out the truffles.














Next we headed to Franc Morgan's olive groves. Franc (below) is a gold medal winner in an international olive oil competition held in Italy every year. His awards are too numerous to mention, but, sadly, his production so small that it is consumed exclusively here in Slovenia. It might be the best olive oil I have ever tasted, and it is ubiquitous in the finest restaurants across Slovenia.















We tasted several varieties including orange-infused oil that is pressed with whole oranges. It was poured over vanilla gelato and a lemon-infused variety made in the same way I later used at a dinner prepared the next evening. We also tasted an olive based digestif.















Then we headed to Klenart vineyard situated on a hill overlookin Trieste on one side and the Bay of Piran on the other side.














 We tasted all of his wines including a pinot noir rose that I served at the same dinner.















The next day began with securing a fish from a fisher named Momo in the port side town of Piran. He brought a rare catch. The folks there were declaring it salmon, but it looked a steelhead trout to me. Once I cut into it, it turned out I was right. Nonetheless, catching a fish of the species in the Bay of Piran is extremely unusual. It must have traveled down a river on it's way to open water and made a wrong turn.

The we headed to the famous Istrian salt flats where there is now a nature preserve and salt has been produced since medieval times when it was the primary source of revenue for the region and a major source of revenue for the Venetian city state. There I picked up some amazing fleur de sel that has an almost sweet finish to it.













After that, we headed into the uplands of Istria where I prepared a meal from that morning's trout cooked over an open fire along with potatoes mashed with the black truffles and a garnish of variegated radicchio with fresh fennel tossed in lemon juice and Franc's lemon-infused olive oil.














I finished the dish with the fleur de sel. It was served en brodo with a broth made from the trout bones and aromatic vegetables with some Klenart Ribula white wine. We started with some Klenart sparkling wine made from chardonnay and pinot noir (They call the pinot noir modri pinot ). I served Klenart rose with the meal and we finished with the olive-oil digestif from Morgan.

Today I have several interviews. Then I am preparing a meal of heirloom beans with klobasa and duck eggs in a "black kitchen."  More later.-- Lenny Russo


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