Linden Hills Farmers Market draws makers

The Linden Hills Farmers Market is up and running, and on the verge of becoming as much a maker's market as a source of produce. Witness the lineup of new vendors this season — many of them trying their first farmers market — joining many of the veterans. Among them:

• Calvit's Drinking Shrubs offers traditional elixirs made from steeping vinegar, sugar and produce to mix with club soda or spirits. Flavors are tomatillo/tamarind, beet/ginger and ginger/lemongrass.

• Twin Cities Paella features chef Frank Machado, late of Barrio, with his immense paella pan serving portions of the rice and saffron-based dish with additions that vary from week to week.

• Whole Sum Kitchen offers fresh-pressed juices and smoothies and an intensely flavored açai bowl smoothie.

• North Mallow & Co. lets you create gourmet s'mores with all-natural marshmallows that are made without corn syrup, colorings or artificial ingredients that cause them to catch on fire while roasting. Packages of marshmallows are also for sale.

• Ommie Snacks are energy bars that bypass nuts and get their punch from fruit and seeds.

• Superior Switchel Co. is another throwback, making an apple-cider-vinegar-based, ginger-infused beverage that haymakers drank during the 19th century because it was thirst-quenching, but also gave them nourishment and energy.

• Green Bee Juicery has fresh cold-pressed juices and power shots of ginger, lemon, honey and cayenne.

The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays in the parking lot of Settergren Hardware, 2813 W. 43rd St., Mpls.; ­

Blend is the trend

Our appetite for burgers shows no sign of abating, with chefs and home cooks trying to perfect their patties. Now comes another idea, replacing about 25 percent of the protein with mushrooms — and it comes with the imprimatur of the James Beard Foundation. The Blended Burger Project contends that adding mushrooms makes burgers juicier, tastier and lower in calories and fat, while also supporting more sustainable food practices amid environmental concerns about some livestock production methods.

Mushrooms have become the blendee of choice because of their high umami factor, said project representatives who recently were in Minneapolis. Mushrooms blend well with proteins, such as ground beef, turkey, veal, lamb and pork, and different mushrooms also add different flavors.

The project understandably has the support of the Mushroom Council, but spokesman Bart Minor was realistic, noting that diners don't always respond well to mention of mushrooms on a menu. "So you may not want to call them mushroom burgers," he said, laughing, to several chefs who were part of a demonstration.

And that's OK. "We're not selling mushrooms," Minor said. "We're selling solutions."

From Memorial Day through July 31, the Blended Burger Project is sponsoring a contest in which chefs will promote their blended burgers for online voting at ­ The five top chefs in the country win a trip to cook at the James Beard House in New York City. Locally, participating restaurants are Blue Birch at the Marriott Minneapolis Southwest in Minnetonka, Bryant Lake Bowl, Bulldog Northeast, Chef Shack, Eurest Dining in Eagan, Marin Restaurant & Bar, Mill Valley Kitchen, Rock Elm Tavern in Plymouth, Red Cow, Spoonriver and Tado Steakhouse at Treasure Island Casino.

For home cooks, there's a recipe above.


Blended Burgers

Serves 4.

Note: From the Blended Burger Project.

• 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided

• 1/2 lb. cremini or white button mushrooms

• 1 lb. ground beef

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 4 buns


Finely dice mushrooms or pulse in a food processor.

In a skillet, warm 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high heat and add mushrooms, sautéing 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine cooled mushrooms, ground beef and salt. Make 4 patties. Add remaining olive oil to pan and cook patties on medium-high heat until they reach desired doneness, flipping once. Place on buns and serve with condiments of choice.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories375Fat20 gSodium560 mg

Carbohydrates24 gSaturated fat6 gTotal sugars4 g

Protein26 gCholesterol70 mgDietary fiber1 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 ½ carb, 3 medium-fat protein, 1 fat.