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Posts about Locally-produced food

Looking for wild rice recipes? You're not alone

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: November 25, 2014 - 4:29 PM

Wild rice casserole is the No. 1 recipe that Minnesota online searchers look for the week of Thanksgiving, says a report in the New York Times, prompted by the recent #grapegate controversy.

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

Lefse ..........................8x

Scallopped corn ...........7x

Spritz cookies .............6x

French silk pie .............5x

Dinner for 2,000 in St. Paul

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: September 15, 2014 - 1:18 PM
Locally grown produce was featured at a meal for 2,000 in St. Paul. Photos by Richard Tsong-Taatarii/ Star Tribune

Locally grown produce was featured at a meal for 2,000 in St. Paul. Photos by Richard Tsong-Taatarii/ Star Tribune

The dinner table was the gathering place Sunday on Victoria Street in St. Paul. A half-mile dinner table, at that, which ran down the middle of the street between University and Minnehaha avenues as part of a project called "Create: The Community Meal."

The meal was intended to be both a piece of art -- "a big piece of social sculpture," as artist and organizer Seitu Jones described it -- and a reminder that mealtime should be about healthy food, with an emphasis on local fare.

"Everyone has a story written in proteins and carbohydrates and culture and family traditions," said Jones, who was inspired to create this "artwork" after watching people walk by his St. Paul studio in Frogtown with bags of groceries from the local convenience store. "At the heart of the project, it's really about food access, food justice and healthy eating," Jones told staff writer Rick Nelson in an interview.

A majority of the food came from within 50 miles of the Twin Cities, and the event itself brought farmers to the table to meet with those who ate their food.

 

Eric Avery and Martha Kaemmer await the bell to signal the start of the event.

Eric Avery and Martha Kaemmer await the bell to signal the start of the event.

A parade of hosts brought out the food to the guests.

A parade of hosts brought out the food to the guests.

 

 

 

Rick Nelson interviewed Seitu Jones in advance about the event. Jones spoke with photographer Richard Tsong-Taatarii in this video.

 

 

 

Recipes: Re-creating the Create meal at home

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: September 3, 2014 - 3:15 PM

For those who won't be among the 2,000 sitting down to dinner on St. Paul's Victoria Street on Sept. 14 for Create: The Community Meal (read the story here), consider re-creating the meal at home with these recipes, adapted from the chefs behind the event.

HONEY-GINGER-SOY CHICKEN

Serves 4.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. Adapted from SunnySide Cafe chef/owner James Baker for Create: The Community Meal.

1 tbsp. paprika

1 chicken, cut into pieces

1/4 c. low-salt soy sauce

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger

1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

1/4 c. honey

Directions

Rinse chicken in water and pat dry, using paper towels. Rub paprika on chicken. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, ginger, pepper and Old Bay seasoning. Arrange chicken in a non-metallic baking dish (using one that just fits the chicken), pour marinade over chicken, cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Remove cover from chicken and bake 40 minutes. Remove chicken from oven, brush with honey and bake an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer baking dish to a wire rack to cool chicken for five minutes, and serve.

FOSOLIA

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: Adapted from Shegitu Kebede, co-owner Flamingo Restaurant in St. Paul. “The Flamingo Restaurant only serves this dish when green beans are in season,” writes Seitu Jones of Create: The Community Meal. “The green beans in the Fosolia for Create: The Community Meal will come from the Hmong American Farmers Association.”

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

2 1/2 lbs. green beans, halved and ends trimmed

1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and julienned

1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

1/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, slowly saute onions until caramelized. Add green beans, carrots, green pepper, red pepper, jalapeno and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have slightly softened. Season with salt and pepper, transfer vegetables to a platter and serve.

Landon Schoenefeld named Master of the Market

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: August 19, 2014 - 12:29 PM
Landon Schoenefeld. Photos by Lee Svitak Dean

Landon Schoenefeld. Photos by Lee Svitak Dean

Officially, Landon Schoenefeld of HauteDish in Minneapolis is the winner of this year's Chef Challenge at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. He earned the title of Master of the Market with his Chilled Cream of Tomato Soup, with layers of flavor that included an eggplant puree and a medley of gorgeous summer mini-vegetables that was the backbone of a ratatouille, to be blanketed with a luscious cream of tomato puree.

But the real winner is the home cook, who can make this deceptively simple recipe for dinner -- as well as the one from his competitor, Drew Yancey, executive chef of Borough. Drew prepared his take on the classic Spanish sauce romesco and served it as part of a carefully plated display of beautiful fresh, carefully prepared vegetables. 

The dueling efforts show how technique, great ingredients and a good eye are important in the prep of not only restaurant-quality dishes, but those we prepare for the ones who gather at our table. 

Here's how the competition worked: With 20 minutes and $50, each chef raced to buy their ingredients among the stalls at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Then, with a 30-minute limit for prep, the chefs served up their dishes to four judges: Lynne Rossetto Kasper of the radio show “The Splendid Table;” Ragahvan Iyer, cookbook author; Stephanie Meyer of Minnesota Monthly, and me.

The North Loop Neighborhood Association donated $500 to YouthLink Homeless Shelter, in honor of the competition. The funds will be used to continue cooking lessons that emphasize quick and easy meals with local ingredients. For the recipes, see below.

The competition is sponsored by Country Financial. 

Drew Yancey of Borough

Drew Yancey of Borough

 


Romesco with Market Vegetables
Makes about 2 cups sauce.
Note: From Drew Yancey, executive chef at Borough, in Minneapolis.
• 4 red bell peppers
• 3 fresno or red chiles
• 1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, chopped
• 2 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only)
• Olive oil
• Salt
• 2 tbsp. hazelnuts, toasted
• 2 tbsp. breadcrumbs, toasted
• Red wine vinegar
• Fresh mint or parsley, chopped, optional
• Variety of vegetables
• Lemon juice 
• Herbs of choice
Directions
Start by roasting the bell peppers and chile peppers over your grill. (If a grill is not accessible, roast at 450 degrees until the skins have blistered.) Allow the skins to become black and charred. Place peppers in a container and allow to sweat for a few minutes. Under cold water, rub the blistered skin off and take the seeds out of the peppers.  
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a roasting pan, place peeled peppers, tomato, garlic, thyme, 1/8 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Place pan in oven and roast for about 45 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes. This mixture should be lightly colored and dry of excess vegetable juices in the pan.
Transfer this mixture to a food processor. Add the toasted hazelnuts and toasted breadcrumbs. Process for about 2 minutes. Check seasoning. Add more salt and red wine vinegar to season to taste. If you would like, fold in parsley or mint. 
Serve the romesco sauce with your favorite market/garden vegetables. Vegetables may be roasted, seared, grilled or raw. Finish with fresh lemon juice and fresh herbs.

 

Cream of Tomato Soup by Landon Schoenefeld

Cream of Tomato Soup by Landon Schoenefeld

 

Chilled Cream of Tomato Soup
Serves many.
Note: This was the winning recipe, from Landon Schoenefeld, chef/co-owner of HauteDish in Minneapolis, from the Master of the Market competition at the Minneapolis Farmers Market.
• Eggplant purée (see recipe)
• Ratatouille (see recipe)
• Garnishes: Sliced heirloom cherry tomatoes (the more variety and color the better), pickled teardrop peppers (or substitute peppadew), tiny fresh basil leaves, sea salt, olive oil
• Cream of Tomato Soup base (see recipe)
Directions
Put a pool of the charred eggplant purée on the bottom of each soup bowl. Add a nice scoop of the ratatouille on top. Arrange the sliced heirloom tomatoes and peppers artfully around the ratatouille and eggplant purée. Carefully top with the tiny basil leaves and flecks of sea salt. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Let your guests bask in the wonder and glory of the season, before you pour the soup base over the vegetables. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Charred Eggplant Puree
Makes about 1 1/2 cups. 
Note: From Landon Schoenefeld, chef/co-owner of HauteDish in Minneapolis.
• 1 large eggplant
• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
• Salt to taste
Directions
Char the eggplant over an open flame until it is completely black and burnt. Purée with the olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt.

Ratatouille 
Makes about 4 cups.
Note: From Landon Schoenefeld, chef/co-owner of HauteDish in Minneapolis.
• 1 medium eggplant, fine diced
• Olive oil
• 1 zucchini, fine diced
• 1 summer squash, fine diced
• 1/2 red onion, fine diced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 c. finely chopped sweet pickled peppers
• 8 fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (in thin strips)
• 1/4 finely chopped tomato
• Salt
Directions
In a sauté pan over medium heat, sweat the eggplant in olive oil until golden brown; drain in a colander. In the same sauté pan over medium heat, sweat the zucchini and summer squash together in more olive oil until softened; drain in a colander. 
In the same pan, sweat the red onion in more olive oil until soft. At the last second, add the garlic and sweat for a moment more before draining in a colander. At this point you can combine all the sautéed vegetables together in a mixing bowl and add the pickled peppers, basil, tomato and enough olive oil to dress the vegetables. Season with salt. 

Cream of Tomato Soup Base
Makes about 8 1/2 cups. 
Note: From Landon Schoenefeld, chef/co-owner of HauteDish in Minneapolis.
• 6 large ripe heirloom tomatoes (he used a mixture of Brandywine, Candy Old Yellow and Black Krim)
• 2 to 3 garlic cloves
• 20 leaves of basil
• 1 1/2 tbsp. sea salt 
• 1/2 c. local honey
• 1 c. cream
• 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
Directions
Cut the tomatoes up in large chunks and toss with garlic, basil, salt and honey. Allow the tomato mixture to macerate for 15 to 20 minutes. 
Purée the tomatoes in a blender for up to 5 minutes or until completely smooth. Add the cream and olive oil with the blender running and purée for a minute more. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt and honey if needed.

A blueberry bumper crop

Posted by: Rick Nelson Updated: July 28, 2014 - 1:57 PM

After our unusually wet June, blueberry season is finally here, with a vengeance. At least that's the case at Rush River Produce in Maiden Rock, Wis., the absurdly scenic destination for blueberry (and currant and gooseberry) lovers.

Unpredictable weather kept me away from my original Friday morning blueberry picking plans. When I called the farm on Saturday to inquire about the day's conditions, I got the one-word response that every U-pick-er wants to hear: "Awesome."

That was an understatement. When we arrived an hour later, the parking lot was jammed, and the farm's nine miles of blueberry bushes were lined with pickers of all ages. My good side was happy to see so many fellow blueberry enthusiasts patronizing the farm, my not-so-generous side could think of only one thing: Competition. When we were instructed to head to the far end of the farm, I became slightly discouraged. Were we too late? Were the best berries already in someone else's hands?

Hardly. I've been visiting the farm for a decade, and I've never seen such abundance. Not all of the farm's 14 varieties of blueberries are having a banner year, but many "are as good as we've seen," said co-owner John Cuddy. No kidding. Up and down the row I was working, the bushes were heavy with berries, and the task was so easy that it became the U-pick version of shooting fish in a barrel. In less than an hour we picked more than we know what to do with.

The farm's landscape, tucked into the wooded curves of the Rush River valley, couldn't have a more breathtaking setting, and John and his wife Terry -- who treat their customers like long-lost friends -- do everything in their power to make the setting even more beautiful. Horticulturalists specializing in hollyhocks, clematis and coneflowers could make a study of the couple's lushly planted gardens. Pack a picnic and spread it out on one of the garden's tables.

A few housekeeping details: The farm is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Because the season is so unpredictable, always -- always -- call before setting out. This year's blueberry price is $4.75 per pound. There's a limited supply of pre-picked berries, priced at $9 per pound; best to call ahead and pre-order. 

Post-picking, we zipped into nearby Maiden Rock, a tiny town that hugs the dramatic bluffs ringing Lake Pepin. It's probably five minutes south from Blueberry Valhalla, and so worth the quick diversion. For two reasons.

First, I can't imagine being in the neighborhood and not stopping in to survey the counter at the Smiling Pelican Bakeshop. Baker/owner Sandra Thielman's handicraft sells fast -- another motivation for making an early start to the farm -- and whatever you purchase (if there's quiche, or a berry pie, buy it, by the slice or the whole pie), it's best enjoyed on the bakery's welcoming front porch, which overlooks Thielman's well-tended flower garden. We arrived mid-afternoon and found a fairly picked-over inventory.

The shop's signature lavender-ginger sugar cookies were already gone, but we did luck into a handful of the chewy, raisin-filled oatmeal cookies (a steal at $1) and a few of the cardamom rolls (pictured, above), a new addition to the Smiling Pelican but familiar to old-timers who remember them from the Jenny Lind Cafe in Stockholm, Wis., the next town down the river. Jenny Lind owner Ruth Raich is now giving Thielman a much-needed hand, and one of her contributions is the revival of these tender, not-too-sweet and better-than-cinnamon-pull-apart rolls, with their bracing cardamom bite. I can't believe they're only $2.50. By the time we returned home, I was consumed with regret: Why didn't we buy more cardamom rolls? And that last (and gorgeous) quiche that was sitting on the counter and calling our names?

The other reason: A leisurely browse through the gallery-like Cultural Cloth, a wowser of a store that showcases hand-crafted textiles, all imported by women artists from around the world. To say that there is no other place like it is an understatement. (Note to Thursday blueberry harvesters: both the Smiling Pelican and Cultural Cloth are open Friday through Sunday).

Back to blueberries. Because I've been an annual visitor for more than a decade, my brain habitually associates "U-pick blueberries" with "Rush River Produce." But there are of course many pick-them-yourself blueberry farms in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Here's a list, offered with unsolicited advice: Don't make the journey without calling first.

BLUEBERRIES -- MINNESOTA

Anoka County: Roselawn Heritage Farms, 24069 Rum River Blvd., St. Francis, 763-753-5517

Crow Wing County: Wallin's Berry Farm, 8214 Cty. Rd. 18, Nisswa, 218-963-7456,

Hennepin County: Bauer Berry Farm, 10830 French Lake Rd., Champlin, 763-421-4384

Isanti County: Dew Fresh Produce, 404 375th Av. NE., Stanchfield, 763-689-2282

Meeker County: Leafblad Produce, 67784 330 St., Watkins, 320-693-2486

Sherburne County: Grayson’s Berryland, 6705 Cty. Rd. 8 SE., Clear Lake, 320-743-3384; and J.Q. Fruit Farm & Orchard, 8082 33rd St., Princeton, 763-389-2567

Wadena County: Carman Berry Farm, 19168 145th Av., Wadena, 218-631-4613

Washington County: The Berry Patch, 19221 Keystone Av. N., Forest Lake, 651-433-3448; and Blueberry Fields of Stillwater, 9450 Mendel Rd. N., Stillwater, 651-351-0492

Wright County: Strawberry Basket, 2591 Aetna Av. NE., Monticello, 763-878-2875

BLUEBERRIES -- WESTERN WISCONSIN

Dunn County: Blueberry Hills Farm, N7900 County Rd. J, Menomonie, 651-303-3372

Eau Claire County: Appledore Woods, W3865 Cty. Rd. HH, Brunswick, 715-834-5697

Pierce County: Rush River Produce, W4098 200th Av., Maiden Rock, 715-594-3648 (pictured, above)

St. Croix County: Blue Ridge Growers, 246 Carlson Lane, River Falls, 715-425-8289

Taylor County: Nelson's Berry Farm, W4929 Gunnar Rd., Westboro, 715-427-3440

Trempealeau County: Blueberry Ridge, E2795 Hageness Rd., Eleva, 715-287-3366

As for what we plan to do with our bounty, that's easy: Bake. I'm sure that this impressive blueberry-lemon-sour cream coffee cake is part of our not-so-distant future, along with this uncomplicated blueberry-pecan coffee cake. My colleague Kim Ode's formula for blueberry pierogi has caught my attention. Oh, I'll definitely spend a few mornings with these blueberry-cornmeal pancakes, an oldie-but-goodie recipe that always comes to mind when I see a box of Rush River Produce berries in our refrigerator.

CORNMEAL BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

Serves 4.

Note: I've always loved this pancakes recipe, and pull out my batter-spattered copy when blueberry season rolls around. They're from a 2007 Taste story featuring Scott Rosenbaum, who was then the chef at Wilde Roast Cafe in Minneapolis. "When I was growing up in Nebraska, my granddad would make these when we would spend the weekend with him," said Rosenbaum. "They're so good we would eat them plain off the griddle, with lots of butter and maybe a little sorghum molasses." Rosenbaum suggests preparing the batter the night before and refrigerating it in a tightly sealed container. "That way the cornmeal softens a bit more," he said. "Although they're just fine if you use the batter right away, they'll have a nice little crunch. That's why the recipe calls for boiling water, because it begins that softening process." To use frozen berries, place them in a strainer and rinse until water runs clear. Spread on a paper towel to dry.

1/2 c. flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. cornmeal

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

1/2 c. boiling water

1/4 c. whole milk

4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1 c. fresh blueberries, or thawed frozen berries

Directions

Preheat griddle over medium-high heat (350 degrees if using an electric griddle). In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder and reserve. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, salt and sugar. Add boiling water, stir and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in milk, butter and egg. Add flour mixture and stir until smooth. Pour batter onto a hot griddle. Sprinkle pancakes with blueberries and cook until pancake is bubbly all over and edges are crisp. Turn pancakes and cook an additional 2 minutes, until pancake is golden brown. Serve with butter and pure maple syrup.

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