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Posts about Minnesota newsmakers

Take a honey of a challenge

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: April 10, 2014 - 11:27 AM

 

Photo by the Star Tribune

Photo by the Star Tribune

 

It's a honey of a tasting tonight as local professional chefs present their best pastries featuring dandelion honey. Come for a sample -- many samples -- from Spoonriver, Lucia’s, Restaurant Alma, Andoyne, Gigi’s Café Uptown, Mason Restaurant Barre, Open Arms, Seward Co-Op Bakery, Treat, Mademoiselle Miel and Jenny Breen. Proceeds go to support Healthy Bees, Healthy Lives initiative.

When: Thursday, April 10
Time:6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Nicollet Island Pavillion, 40 Power Street, Minneapolis
Cost: $35

 

Music and movies at Taste Night at the Heights

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: March 21, 2014 - 12:06 PM

It was a sold-out crowd that settled into the seats at the Heights Theatre last night to watch the Audrey Hepburn classic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and to hum along to the melody of "Moon River." The movie showing was sponsored by the Star Tribune's Taste section, the fourth in an occasional movie presentation that celebrates food in the movies (however briefly it appears!).

Prior to showtime, Harvey Gustafson was at the mighty Wurlitzer, pumping out old-time favorites, including such food classics as "Tea for Two."

One enthusiastic film buff included Veronica Min Wotipka, who came dressed in the manner of Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly: in short white fur stole and elaborate updo with a braid where Audrey's tiara would have been.

The three shows we've presented in the past include "Mildred Pierce," "Moonstruck" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Have any favorite food moments in the movies or suggestions for future movies? Send them our way to  taste@startribune.com/taste. We will show another movie in October.

Best cookbooks of year get nod from IACP

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: March 18, 2014 - 10:35 AM

Award season has begun in the cookbook world as the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) bestowed its nod to volumes that are particularly noteworthy over the weekend. Among the new designations in the contest this year are awards for classic, historical and e-cookbooks. 

The envelope (and categories), please …  


Book of the year: “Stone Edge Farm Cookbook,” by John McReynolds (Stone Edge Farm)


American: “The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen,” by Matt Lee & Ted Lee (Clarkson Potter)
Baking/ savory or sweet: “The Art of French Pastry,” by Jacquy Pfeiffer (Random House)
Beverage/ reference/ technical: “The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America, Second Edition,” by Andrew F. Smith (Oxford University Press)
Chefs and restaurants: “The A.O.C. Cookbook,” by Suzanne Goin (Random House)
Children, youth and family: “ChopChop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family,” by Sally Sampson (Simon & Schuster)
Compilations: “The Chelsea Market Cookbook: 100 Recipes From New York’s Premier Indoor Food Hall,” by Michael Phillips with Rick Rodgers (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)
Culinary history: “Cuisine & Empire: Cooking in World History,” by Rachel Laudan (University of California Press)
Culinary travel: “The Perfect Meal,” by John Baxter (HarperCollins Publishers)
First book: “Stone Edge Farm Cookbook,” by John McReynolds (Stone Edge Farm)
Food matters: “Eat, Drink, Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics,” by Marion Nestle (Rodale) and “Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health,” by Jo Robinson (Hachette Book Group)
General: “Keepers,” by Kathy Brennan & Caroline Campion (Rodale)
Health and special diet: “Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening With Twelve Families From the Edible Plant Kingdom,” by Deborah Madison (Ten Speed Press)
International: “Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way,” by Oretta Zanini De Vita & Maureen B. Fant (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Literary food writing: “One Soufflé at a Time,” by Anne Willan and Amy Friedman (St. Martin’s Press)
Photography: “I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes,” by Daniel Humm & Will Guidara (Francesco Tonelli, photographer) (Ten Speed Press)
Professional kitchens: “Elements of Dessert,” by Francisco Migoya and the Culinary Institute of America (Wiley)
Single subject: “Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook,” by Rick Mast and Michael Mast (Hachette Book Group)
Wine, beer and spirits: “Wine Grapes,” by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding & Jose Vouillamoz (HarperCollins Publishers)
Global design: “Manresa: An Edible Reflection,” by David Kinch & Christine Muhlke (Ten Speed Press)
E-cookbook: “The Journey,” by Katy Sparks, Alex Raij, Maneet Chauhan, Rita Sodi and Kathleen Squires (Alta Editions)
Jane Grigson award: “Wine Grapes,” by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding & Jose Vouillamoz (HarperCollins Publishers)
Design award: “Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Garden,” by Matt Wilkinson (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers)
Judges’ choice: “The Drunken Botanist,” by Amy Stewart (Workman Publishing Co.) and “ Lark – Cooking Against the Grain,” by John Sundstrom (Community Supported Cookbooks)
Historical cookbook award: “American Cookery,” by Amelia Simmons (1796)

Culinary classics awards:
• “The Art of Mexican Cooking,” by Diana Kennedy (Clarkson Potter, 1989)
• “Invitation to Indian Cookery,” by Madhur Jaffrey (Knopf, 1973)
• “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook” (originally “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book”), by Betty Crocker (1950)
• “The Moosewood Cookbook,” by Mollie Katzen (Ten Speed, 1977)
• “The Silver Palate Cookbook,” by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins (Workman, 1982)
 

For details on the digital, journalism and other IACP awards, see the posting in full. 

But the big news from Taste is that freelancer Steve Hoffman won the award for Culinary Narrative Writing with his story for the food section, "From the wild: meals from a hunter," that ran on Thanksgiving Day. Find it here.

Follow Lee Svitak Dean on Twitter: @StribTaste

The Bachelor Farmer serves up a meal for the Vice President

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: February 20, 2014 - 10:50 AM

What do you serve when you've got a Vice President at the dinner table? The Bachelor Farmer delivered when Joe Biden stopped by Wednesday night for a fundraising event, after stopping earlier for a press moment at nearby Moose & Sadie's coffee shop.

TBF offered a three-course meal, starting with bibb lettuce and goat's cheese, offering a choice of a main course (roasted haddock or beef short ribs) and finishing with a brown butter lemon cake.

It was a heady day for the staff at TBF, which had received two James Beard Award semifinalist nominations in the morning, one for chef Paul Berglund in the category of Best Chef Midwest and the other for the Marvel Bar, TBF's downstairs lounge, which was nominated for Outstanding Bar Program.

See the full menu below, which was designed by local calligrapher Crystal Kluge, who also designed the Marvel Bar's logo.

A culinary song-and-dance from Alton Brown

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean Updated: February 11, 2014 - 10:24 AM
Photo by David Allen, from Alton Brown Live!

Photo by David Allen, from Alton Brown Live!

Have to say it was the first time I've seen burping and farting take center stage at any theater.

And hopefully the last.

The sounds, as presented by sock puppets on a large monitor, opened Alton Brown's "Edible Inedible Tour" at the State Theatre last Friday, an event that played to a multi-age full house who was clearly enthusiastic about his long-running "Good Eats" TV show, now in reruns on the Cooking Channel. (The sound effects, repeated during the intermission and at the close of the show, depicted the action of yeast molecules releasing gas.)

Alton Brown was his madcap self, a grand storyteller with a sly sense of humor, during the 2 hour, 45 minute culinary variety show, which celebrated what he said were "things you're not allowed to do on TV -- you can't rant, rave or pontificate or you'll piss off advertisers." (The excess "sound effects" reflected him thumbing his nose at the Food Network, which he said enforced a burp-to-fart ratio on "Good Eats.")

The puppets that provided the sound effects. Photo by Lee Svitak Dean.

The puppets that provided the sound effects. Photo by Lee Svitak Dean.


No sponsors, no advertisers means all fun, right? Well, as we say in the news biz, everyone needs an editor. And this show could have used a scalpel at times, starting with the interminable burping and farting. You know the little kid in kindergarten who would do that and get a laugh, and then wouldn't stop doing it? Well....

The show ran 45 minutes longer than expected, in part because Alton got chatty (often commenting snarkily, in good fun, on the cold weather and other Minnesota-related tangents) and, at the end, because he chose a volunteer in the audience who liked being center stage (she talked almost as much as he did).

But the unwieldy length was more than someone not watching the clock: His musical trio (with Alton on both electric and acoustic guitar, then saxophone) really didn't add much to the evening with food songs that were, well, half-baked, worth a smile but not much more. And some of his TV antics didn't hold up on a theater stage (breezing through a science lesson, for example, had to cross more eyes than just mine).

Two cooking "demos" were delightfully quirky, though took far too long to complete. In one he makes carbonated ice cream using a fire extinguisher (the only single-use piece of kitchen equipment that has his approval).

Making ice cream with a volunteer from the audience. Photo by Lee Svitak Dean

Making ice cream with a volunteer from the audience. Photo by Lee Svitak Dean

The other was what turned out to be a long-winded demonstration of his Mega-Bake Oven, a variation on the girls-only Easy Bake Oven of his youth. Though the store version uses a single 100-watt bulb, his monstrous variation, presumably built in his garage or so he implied, gathers power from 54,000 watts of stage lights. "You can see this from space," he chortled as the blinding lights were turned on.

From this powerhouse of light, he and a volunteer (the Chatty Kathy aforementioned), cooked a pizza topped with (what else?) lutefisk and pepperoni.

What 54,000 watts looks like. Hot enough to cook a pizza. Photo by Lee Svitak Dean

What 54,000 watts looks like. Hot enough to cook a pizza. Photo by Lee Svitak Dean

The best part of the show was his rant on "10 Things I'm Pretty Sure That I'm Sure About Food," an eclectic list that apparently changes from time to time, Here's the Minnesota version:

1. Chickens don't have fingers (where he tells the tale of shocking his daughter's friends with chicken feet).

2. The most critical cooking skill is to use salt (from here he goes on to talk about the bakery dough he discarded in an outdoor dumpster on a very hot day, resulting in an oozing Son-of-Blob scenario that needed commercial trucks to remedy). 

Alton Brown's high-tech version of Power Point, illustrating the trout ice cream. Photo by Lee Svitak Dean.

Alton Brown's high-tech version of Power Point, illustrating the trout ice cream. Photo by Lee Svitak Dean.

3. Trout doesn't belong in ice cream (he tells the story of chef Sakai who did just that on "Iron Chef America").

4. The best cook on Earth is your wife, and the sooner you accept it, the happier you'll be (as he relates a story on making the mistake of "correcting" the seasoning in his wife's dish).3. Trout doesn't belong in ice cream (he relates an episode of "Iron Chef America" in which chef Sakai does just that).

5. The best ingredient to learn to cook is eggs. ("It's liquid meat, premeasured, cheap, and even if you mess them up you can eat them. Conquer eggs and the rest of the culinary world follows.")

6. The most important tool in the kitchen is the dinner table. This follows his comments in an earlier interview that, "The most magical thing about food is its ability to connect human beings to one another. That's the real miracle of food." As for the food? "In 12 hours, it's poo." 

7. Wash mushrooms.( "That's not dirt they're grown in; it's horse poop.") 

8. Buy American. ("We have the best farmers, the best fish, the best laws overseeing food. Odds are you can't do worse than that.")

9. Raisins are always optional. (Who can disagree with that, says this writer?)

10. Never eat a shrimp cocktail in an airport. (Enough said. Though that led to a very long song about what happens when food poisoning hits.)

For more on Alton, see my earlier interview with him in the Star Tribune.

Follow Lee Svitak Dean on Twitter: @StribTaste

The State Theatre audience. Photo by Alton Brown.

The State Theatre audience. Photo by Alton Brown.


 

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