Soup’s on with Ojakangas

Thanks to Duluth cookbook author Beatrice Ojakangas, we can look ahead to a particularly delicious winter. Her latest effort is “The Soup & Bread Cookbook: More Than 100 Seasonal Pairings for Simple, Satisfying Meals” (Rodale, $23.99), a collection of soups, broths, chowders, bisques and more from around the world, from Swedish Pea to Asian Lemon Ginger to Russian Borscht.

Ojakangas also brings to the table her extensive knowledge of breads, with recipes for a range of loaves along with instructions for pretzels, pitas and others, all paired to a soup. She’ll be in the Twin Cities for two book-signing events on Oct. 12: 12:30-1:30 p.m. at Cooks of Crocus Hill, 3925 W. 50th St., Edina, and 3-4 p.m. at Cooks of Crocus Hill, 877 Grand Av., St. Paul. Samples, too!


Congrats to local Emmy winners

Congratulations to all involved in winning a regional Emmy Award for “best cultural documentary” for “Asian Flavors,” a project narrated by Ragahavan Iyer, a local cookbook author with an international following. It was based on a book by Phyllis Louise Harris, who traced how several local Asian restaurateurs used the power of food to re-create and reconnect with their homelands.

Among those profiled are Supenn Harrison, founder of Sawatdee; Reiko Weston of Fuji Ya; Mhonpaj Lee and her mother, May Yia Lee, operators of Mhonpaj’s Garden; Ann Kim of Pizzeria Lola; Thom Pham; and Harry Singh. Described as “a kind of cookbook with context,” the documentary was produced in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society Press.


Pretzel power

As you may have suspected, we’re in the midst of pretzelmania. A record 160 pretzel products were introduced last year, compared with fewer than 60 back in 2009, according to research specialist Mintel, as reported by USA Today. Even 7-Eleven rolled out its first pretzel sandwich last month.

Other recent additions to the market include stuffed pretzel bread sandwiches from Aldi, garlic-flavored pretzel balls by Wal-Mart and a chocolate pretzel nut granola bar by Nature Valley. Mintel looks for a pretzel doggie treat to hit the market soon.

But you also know you can make your own pretzel rolls, right? Here’s the step-by-step recipe published earlier this year in Baking Central. Visit


Arboretum cooks in the fall

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s popular “4x4 Culinary Minnesota Wine Series” continues into January, featuring a chef creating a four-course meal around wines by vintners of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association. Upcoming sessions include: Nov. 7, “Harvest Abundance” with Beth Jones; Dec. 12, “Winter Magic” with Joan Donatelle, and Jan. 9, “Ringing in the New Year” with Amalia Moreno-Damgaard. Cost per class is $55 members/$65 nonmembers.

Also of note: A class for mushroom lovers from 9-11 a.m. Oct. 19. Mycology expert Kevin Doyle of Forest Mushrooms will talk about both wild and cultivated mushrooms, while chef Kris James, owner of Artful Brew Tea, will demonstrate how to cook with them. Cost is $35 members/$45 nonmembers.

To register for any class, visit, or call 952-443-1422.