blueberry cream tart √

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: From “The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook” by Tim King and Alice Tanghe (Voyageur Press, $29.95).

• 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 1 c. powdered sugar, divided

• 2 c. flour

• Pinch of salt

• 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

• 1/2 c. sour cream

• 1 c. water

• 1 c. granulated sugar

• 3 c. fresh blueberries


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, flour and salt, and mix until just crumbly. Press dough into bottom and sides an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake until slightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar and sour cream and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Pour into cooled tart shell, smooth top with a rubber spatula and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 cup water and granulated sugar to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Place blueberries in a strainer and place strainer over a large bowl. Pour sugar water over berries. Then place strainer over sink and pour sugar water over berries a second time. Drain berries completely, then evenly distribute over top of refrigerated tart. Refrigerate.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 530 Fat 33 g Sodium 153 mg

Carbohydrates 55 g Saturated fat 20 g Calcium 73 mg

Protein 6 g Cholesterol 92 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ fruit, 2 bread/starch, 1 other carb, 6 ½ fat.


minnesota ice √

Serves 6.

Note: Ratafia is Alexis Bailly Vineyard’s fortified dessert wine. From “The Minnesota Table” by Shelley N.C. Holl and B.J. Carpenter (Voyageur Press, $25).

• 2 tbsp. Ratafia or other dessert wine (see Note)

• 1 c. prepared ginger tea

• 1 c. apple juice

• 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

• 6 sprigs fresh mint, for garnish


In a medium bowl, combine wine, ginger tea, apple juice and granulated sugar. Pour mixture into a shallow metal or glass dish and freeze for 1 hour.

Stir mixture with a whisk, making sure to scrape sides of dish. Freeze an additional 30 minutes, then whisk again. Continue freezing for half-hour intervals, scraping with a fork until large fluffy ice crystals are formed, about 2 to 3 hours. Scoop into dessert dishes, garnish with mint and serve.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 43 Fat 0 g Sodium 3 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 5 mg

Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 other carb.


asparagus and greens with pesto quenelle √

Serves 6.

Note: “Gather a bouquet of asparagus and Belgian endive, garnish it with an honest-to-goodness flower, and this green salad becomes a springtime showstopper — edible proof that we ‘eat’ with our eyes,” writes Lee Svitak Dean in “Come One, Come All: Easy Entertaining With Seasonal Menus” (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $29.95).

For pesto:

• 1 c. firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed

• 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

• 3 tbsp. olive oil

• 2 tbsp. pine nuts

• 2 garlic cloves

For vinaigrette:

• 1/3 c. olive oil

• 1/2 c. white wine vinegar

• Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

For salad:

• 36 thin stalks (about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs.) asparagus

• 18 Belgian endive leaves

• 3 c. mixed baby greens

• 6 edible flowers, for garnish

• Pine nuts, for garnish

• Lemon zest, for garnish


To prepare pesto: Using a blender or food processor, purée cilantro, Parmesan, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic into a smooth paste. The finer the paste, the more successful the shaping of the quenelles will be.

To prepare vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil and vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To prepare salad: Using a steamer, steam asparagus until crisp-tender, about 2 to 4 minutes, then immediately plunge into cold water; drain (if preparing in advance, refrigerate cooked asparagus until about an hour before serving, then set it out to reach room temperature).

On each serving plate, fan out 3 Belgian endive leaves and place 2 asparagus stalks in each of the leaves. Add about 1/2 cup baby greens at base of endive on each plate and garnish with an edible flower.

Prepare a quenelle by using two spoons to shape about 1 to 1½ tablespoons pesto into an oval shape. Place the quenelle next to the endive on plate.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette across each plate of asparagus and greens. Top each salad with a sprinkle of pine nuts and some lemon zest and serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 162 Fat 13 g Sodium 92 mg

Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 120 mg

Protein 6 g Cholesterol 3 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, ½ medium-fat meat, 2 fat.


Makes 12 (3-inch) or 24 (2-inch) corncakes.

Note: Use these fragrant cakes as a base for strawberry shortcake, or garnish with rhubarb curd. Author Nancy Silverton suggests using extra-large eggs. From “Pastries from the La Brea Bakery” (Villard Books, $35).

• 3 3/4 c. unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping dough

• 1 3/4 c. yellow cornmeal

• 1 tbsp. plus 1/4 tsp. baking powder

• 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary

• 3/4 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed

• 1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes and frozen

• 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

• 2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. mild-flavored honey, such as clover

• 1/2 c. plus 2 tsp. heavy cream, plus extra for brushing tops of scones

• 24 small tufts of fresh rosemary for garnish, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade (or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, chopped rosemary and brown sugar, and process (or mix) on low until incorporated. Add butter and pulse on and off a few times (or mix on low), until mixture is pale yellow and the consistency of fine meal.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in eggs, honey and cream and whisk together the liquids. Using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour. On a lightly floured work surface, turn out dough and knead a few times to gather it together into a ball. Roll or pat dough into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Using a 2-inch or 3-inch round cutter, cut out scones, cutting as closely as possible and keeping trimmings intact.

Gather scraps, pat and press the pieces back together and cut out remaining dough. Place scones 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with cream and poke 2 small tufts of rosemary into the center of each (optional).

Bake until slightly browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before transferring scones to a wire rack to cool.

Nutrition information per each of 12 (3-inch) corncakes:

Calories 560 Fat 29 g Sodium 152 mg

Carbohydrates 70 g Saturated fat 17 g Calcium 111 mg

Protein 6 g Cholesterol 110 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 2 ½ other carb, 6 fat.


maple baked beans with bacon √

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. “Bottled spring water works great for cooking beans, and it’s what I use in this recipe,” writes Teresa Marrone in “Modern Maple” (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $16.95).


• 1 lb. navy beans (also called pea beans)

• 8 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-in. wide strips

• 2 c. diced onion

• 1 c. chopped Granny Smith or other tart apple

• 1 c. maple syrup (preferably grade B)

• 2 tsp. dry mustard

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Sort through beans, discarding any stones or weird-looking shriveled-up beans. Rinse beans, then put them in a large bowl or pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Set aside overnight at room temperature.

When ready to cook beans, drain them and transfer to an enameled Dutch oven or large ceramic bean pot and set aside.

In a heavy skillet over medium-low heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until barely crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; blot with another paper towel and add to beans, along with onion and apple.

In a medium bowl, combine maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Add mixture to beans, stirring to combine. Add enough water to cover beans by 1/4 inch. Cover casserole and place in oven.

Heat oven to 300 degrees and bake until beans are just tender but not mushy, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, checking about midway through and adding water if beans are becoming dry; they should always have at least a small amount of water covering them during this stage. Uncover casserole and bake an additional 30 minutes longer.

Remove from oven and stir beans, poking most of bacon (which tends to float to the top) down into beans so only a few bacon pieces remain on the surface. Bake an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours; beans should be moist but not runny and should be somewhat browned on top.

Nutrition information per each of 10 servings:

Calories 283 Fat 4 g Sodium 270 mg

Carbohydrates 53 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 114 mg

Protein 11 g Cholesterol 7 mg Dietary fiber 12 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1 ½ other carb, 1 lean meat.


spring pea and Lettuce soup √

Serves 4.

Note: Frozen green peas (about 10 oz.) also work in this easy-to-prepare soup. From “Edible Twin Cities: The Cookbook,” edited by Angelo Gentile (Sterling Epicure, $19.95).

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 large leek, diced (white and light green parts only)

• 1 large or 2 small heads Bibb lettuce, cored and coarsely chopped (about 6 c.)

• 1/4 c. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

• 4 c. chicken stock

• 2 c. fresh green peas

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 c. heavy cream

• Chives and sour cream for garnish, optional


In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil. When foam subsides, add leek and cook slowly until soft but not browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add lettuce and parsley and cook, stirring constantly, until completely wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and peas, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and, using an immersion blender, purée until smooth (or use a blender and, working in batches, purée until smooth and strain soup through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired). Return soup to heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in cream. Heat soup to hot but not boiling. Garnish with chives and sour cream (optional) and serve hot or at room temperature.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 333 Fat 25 g Sodium 155 mg

Carbohydrates 19 g Saturated fat 12 g Calcium 86 mg

Protein 11 g Cholesterol 56 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 bread/starch, 1 lean meat, 4½ fat.


spinach and gruyÈre tart √

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: “Serve it for brunch, a light supper, or cut into thin wedges for a starter,” writes Beth Dooley in “Minnesota’s Bounty” (University of Minnesota Press, $29.95).

• 2 tbsp. butter

• 1/4 c. toasted bread crumbs

• 1 c. milk

• 1/4 c. strained whole-milk or Greek-style yogurt

• 3 eggs


• Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

• Several dashes hot sauce

• 8 oz. Gruyère, grated

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 lb. spinach, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter an 8- or 9-inch square glass baking dish or pie pan and sprinkle in the bread crumbs, making sure bottom and sides are thoroughly coated.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, yogurt, eggs, nutmeg, hot sauce, cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently spoon the mixture over the bread crumbs, being careful not to dislodge too many from the pan. Sprinkle spinach on top. Bake until tart is firm, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 290 Fat 20 g Sodium 310 mg

Carbohydrates 9 g Saturated fat 11 g Calcium 540 mg

Protein 19 g Cholesterol 150 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ other carb, 3 medium-fat meat, 1 fat.


rhubarb curd √

Makes about 1½ cups.

Note: “Like more traditional lemon curd, this rhubarb variation can be used in a variety of ways,” writes Kim Ode in “Rhubarb Renaissance” (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $16.95). “It’s great on warm scones or toast or dolloped alongside a slice of angel food cake or on a bowlful of fresh strawberries.”

• 2 1/2 c. rhubarb, cut in 1/2-in. pieces

• 1/3 c. plus 1/2 c. sugar, divided

• 1/3 c. cranberry juice

• 4 egg yolks

• Pinch salt

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces


In a saucepan over medium heat, combine rhubarb, 1/3 cup sugar and cranberry juice and cook, stirring frequently, until rhubarb breaks down into a sauce, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a saucepan (large enough over which a medium bowl might fit) over medium-high heat, bring about 2 inches of water to a boil. While water is heating, whisk egg yolks, remaining ½ cup sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Reduce heat to keep water at a simmer and place bowl over saucepan, whisking constantly until yolk mixture begins to thicken. When yolks are quite warm, whisk in rhubarb mixture, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking well, then remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container for up to 1 week.

Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons:

Calories 97 Fat 3 g Sodium 16 mg

Carbohydrates 16 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 30 mg

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 65 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 other carb, ½ fat.