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Archive for April, 2015

Sue Doeden’s Honey Balsamic Black Bean and Mango Salsa

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

9780873519571Sue DoedenSue Doeden is as busy as a bee with a wide variety of culinary-related endeavors. She teaches cooking classes, writes food stories, develops recipes for food companies, conducts workplace wellness education, appears on a weekly television news segment called Good Food, Good Life, 365, and is a hobbyist beekeeper. Her new book, Homemade with Honey—the sixth book in the Northern Plate series, celebrating the bounty of the Upper Midwest—brings together all these activities.

In today’s post, Sue describes how she got her start in beekeeping.

“A beekeeper friend of mine invited me to watch as he introduced a wooden box of at least 30,000 bees and one queen to their new home–a hive positioned on a grassy space near basswood trees across the road from his house. Wearing a baggy white jumpsuit and a headpiece with a screen covering my face for protection, I cautiously looked on as the beekeeper expertly went through the annual spring process of getting a buzzing batch of bees into the hive.

“Before I headed home that evening, I dipped my finger into a frame of thick, sticky golden honey. Sweet and delicate, the natural substance produced by honey bees melted on my tongue. It was that one ambrosial taste of local honey that began my obsession with what honey lovers refer to as ‘liquid gold.’

“A couple of years after that first introduction to beekeeping, I had my own hives–and my own honey.”

Sue shares her tips on keeping bees happy and healthy as well as 75 recipes to entice all cooks, from beginners through the well seasoned, to spend time in their kitchen with honey. Recipes in the book range from savory starters to dreamy desserts and from quick and easy ways to enjoy honey to impressive gourmet delights. Check out her recipe for a salsa that’s excellent with grilled chicken or beef.

Honey Balsamic Black Bean and Mango Salsa

My younger son brought this salsa recipe home from college. Over the years, I’ve added some ingredients and taken away others to create a salsa that has just the right amount of heat, fresh crunch, color, and balance of sweet and tart. And you can do the same. Feel free to customize the salsa to suit your own taste buds. Just don’t leave out the honey.

Makes 3 1/2–4 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

1 chubby clove garlic, minced

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 jalapeño, minced (you decide whether or not to remove the seeds)

1 firm, ripe mango, peeled and diced

1/2 cup finely chopped orange bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1–2 plum tomatoes, seeds removed, diced

1 avocado, diced

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

tortilla chips

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, honey, and garlic. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine black beans, jalapeño, mango, orange and yellow peppers, red onion, and tomatoes. Stir in oil and vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. At serving time, add avocado. Sprinkle with cilantro or offer cilantro on the side. Serve with tortilla chips.

Urban Coyotes

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

http://discussions.mnhs.org/10000books/hungry-coyote/

Coyotes are smart, curious, and adaptable. They live on prairies, in forests, and on farmland. They even live in cities such as Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York. City coyotes might make their homes in parks or in nature preserves or on golf courses—all places where they can find plenty of food and shelter. Sometimes they live in small family groups, and sometimes they live alone.

Hungry Coyote by Cheryl Blackford with illustrations by Laurie Caple offers kids a glimpse into the life of an urban coyote as he struggles to feed himself and his famished family.

We asked Cheryl and Laurie to share some of their inspiration for the book.

From Cheryl: cherylblackford

“The idea for this picture book came to me as I watched a lone coyote trot across a frozen lake one January morning. He turned his head to look at me, decided I was no threat, and continued on his way. Although we don’t often see the coyotes themselves, just signs of their presence such as scat on the trails, I saw him twice more. I wondered what he ate and how he lived. I did some research and became interested in urban coyotes and their success at living beside humans in many American cities. While many people are suspicious of coyotes (probably based upon their reputation as ‘tricksters’), or think of them as vermin, I admire the intelligence and adaptability of these animals. They thrive in many different natural habitats ranging from desert to lush grasslands, and now they’re also thriving in our cities. How could you not admire such a smart, successful creature?”

caple-with-coyote-pup_smallFrom Laurie:

“A fondness for nature provides the inspiration behind my artwork. I had the fascinating opportunity to spend time with one of only two known domesticated coyotes in the United States.  ’Wiley’ lives with Rick Hanestad and his family in western Wisconsin, about an hour’s drive from St. Paul. A National Geographic film crew recently spent a number of hours documenting his behavior.

“Wiley is very tame and handles well on a leash, just like a friendly pup.  He has never shown any type of aggressive behavior to humans and sleeps on a favorite recliner in the Hanestads’ living room!”

Cheryl and Laurie hope Hungry Coyote encourages readers to look at our own surroundings with fresh eyes and develop curiosity and respect for wildlife in our cities. They recommend the following links about urban coyotes:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Urban Coyotes

Project Coyote

Urban Coyote Research

The Humane Society

Readers and writers, take note!

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

AWP-photo-by-Robb-CohenBook-loving Minnesotans, here’s a word to the wise and a great opportunity: AWP—the Association of Writers and Writing Programs—is holding its annual meeting at the Convention Center in Minneapolis next week, April 9-11. This is a Very Big Deal: more than 12,000 attendees, 1,900 presenters, 550 sessions, scores of free offsite events, and—best of all—a book fair with 700 publishers and literary organizations strutting their stuff. You can register for a day pass here.

AWP is an overwhelming experience, with so many delicious options. Thousands of energetic teachers and writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are gathered to talk about what we’re doing, where we’ve been, where we’re going with books and literature. The program is tantalizing, and you can’t be everywhere at once. Laura I. Miller, a seasoned attendee, has compiled a helpful list of tips for doing AWP.  Me? I often retreat to our book table, where every person stopping by has a good story.

At the MNHS Press exhibit, we’re proudly showing off books by our fine authors. But my colleagues and I are also on a mission—a treasure hunt for books-to-be on the history and culture of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. We’re searching for manuscripts with strong Midwestern themes and a strong sense of place: Well-researched and well-written stories that use the best tools of narrative journalism to tell history for general audiences. Narrative nonfiction on food, adventure and travel, true crime, war and conflict, Native American studies, environment and the land, popular culture, and women’s and ethnic histories.  Good books to help people live richer lives in Minnesota and beyond.

Thursday, April 9 from 10:00-11:30 we’re hosting a signing with Bruce Joshua Miller and Ned Stuckey-French, editor and contributor to Curiosity’s Cats: Writers on Research. Contributors to Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota will be dropping by to sign on Saturday morning. Stop by to say hello and get a copy!

MNHS press director, Pam McClanahan, editors Shannon Pennefeather and Josh Leventhal, and sales manager Jerry Bilek and I look forward to seeing you at Booth 412—and hearing what you’re writing about.

Ann Regan, MNHS Editor-in-Chief