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Kim Ode at Chum Rhubarb Festival

Posted bylucia.randle on 19 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Cooking, Event, Fairs, MHS press

phpedrcAdThis Saturday, June 23, will mark the 8th Annual Chum Rhubarb Festival in Duluth, Minnesota. From 9 am to 4 pm enjoy games, crafts, musical performances, silent auctions, and of course delicious rhubarb delicacies.

Food booths around the festival will showcase all the different–and tasty!–ways to utilize rhubarb, including rhubarb lemonade, rhubarb brats and burritos, and various pastries and pies. Gardeners will be available to answer questions about growing rhubarb and to judge contests. Families will enjoy food and activities as well as learn new ways of preparing rhubarb.

Kim Ode, author of Rhubarb Renaissance, will be featured in an onstage cooking demonstration starting at noon, teaching guests how to make Confetti Salad. Before and after the demonstration, Ode will be selling and signing her book.

Admission is free for the festival, so make the trip to Duluth this weekend for the 8th Annual Chum Rhubarb Festival!

Stewart Woodman’s Birdhouse Opening

Posted bylucia.randle on 12 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Authors, Cooking, Food, Uncategorized

phpU30b82Stewart Woodman, author of Shefzilla, will soon debut his second restaurant in the Twin Cities. The chef-owner of Heidi’s Minneapolis is ready to launch Birdhouse in Uptown. Starting with a soft opening this week, Birdhouse will serve breakfast, lunch, and brunch inside the restaurant as well as on the patio. The official opening of the restaurant is scheduled for late June.

The new restaurant, in the former Duplex space, will have a healthy menu focusing on “a lot of vegetables” and “a lot of vegetarian and vegan offerings,” Woodman told Minnesota Monthly. The restaurant will feature Ben Mauk as executive chef as well as other Heidi’s employees who have joined the Birdhouse team.

Stewart and his wife, Heidi, are extremely excited for their new venture. Be sure to keep an eye out for the new healthy food spot next time you’re in Uptown.

Also visit Woodman’s blog for more news about his activities in the city.

Fulton Brewery Hosts Tap Room and Food Trucks

Posted bylucia.randle on 05 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Cooking, Event, Food, Uncategorized

Fulton BreweryFulton Brewery, located in downtown Minneapolis, opened last fall in a 1950s warehouse converted into a brewery and tap room for everyone to enjoy.

This local beer was created in 2006 by four Minnesota men working out of a home-made brewery in their garage. They have turned their fun hobby into a thriving business, offering four custom Minnesota brews. The Fulton boys believe in bringing the community together. Their beers are now making their way into bars and restaurants around the city, including the stands at Target Field.

This summer, the brewery is taking advantage of its location and working with local food trucks to become a fun stop for fans on their way to and from Twins games. Every game day a different food truck will be parked outside the brewery. For a complete schedule, visit the Fulton website.

Additionally, the brewery tap room is open on Fulton BreweryFridays from 3 pm to 10 pm and on Saturdays from noon until 10 pm. Enjoy the Minneapolis-made Fulton beer on their new deck. Visit on a food truck day and enjoy great local food with your beer.

Make your way to the brewery this weekend to enjoy good beer and food, a great atmosphere, and perhaps even a Twins game.

La Belle Vie: One of the 25 Best Bars in America

Posted byAlison Aten on 15 May 2012 | Tagged as: Cooking

North Star Cocktails Parlez-Vous cocktail by Johnny Michaels, photo by Kate N.G. Sommers

Men’s Fitness recently deemed La Belle Vie as one of the 25 Best Bars in America. The  Parlez-Vous cocktail is noted as a standout. Bar manager Johnny Michaels, author of North Star Cocktails, calls it “a real favorite with the ladies.” For more information about Johnny and the North Star Bartenders’ Guild, visit their website.

Other midwestern bars that made the list are The Old Fashioned in Madison, Wisconsin, and The Aviary and The Violet Hour in Chicago.


Ode on Rhubarb

Posted byAlison Aten on 10 Apr 2012 | Tagged as: Cooking

Eating, Reading and Living Well

Today’s blog post is a poem by Kim Ode, author of Rhubarb Renaissance.

Meet her Wednesday, April 11,  at 7:00 p.m. at the Merriam Park Library as part of the Eating, Reading & Living Well program hosted by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and sponsored by Mississippi Market.


Come midmorning, my sister and I

Would be shooed from the sandbox

To pick a dozen stalks of rhubarb

For that day’s pie.

There is a knack to picking rhubarb.

Grab too high and you snap the stalk.

Grab too low and you lose the leverage

For that crucial tug from the root,

Like pulling a boot from spring’s muddy gumbo.

Then we would take our lives in our hands

Lopping off leaves coursing with enough poison

To kill a congregation –

Or so we’d come to believe

Given the stern order never to taste them.

The work was both gratifying and disconcerting,

Entrusted to wield foliage so deadly

We could not feed it even to the hogs,

Bur heaved the leaves into the ditch

Onto a wilting mound that grew with every pie.

So, if I hesitate over that first bite,

It’s only a flicker of remembering how it felt

To bring those stalks into the house,

Hoping we had not been trusted too much.

–Kim Ode

Rhubarb Renaissance

For recipes and rhubarb inspiration, see:

Star Tribune feature

Spiced Couscous with Rhubarb and Figs recipe featured on

Kim on Wisconsin Public Radio (Archive 4/9/12 @ 11:45)

Eat More Vegetables!

Posted byAlison Aten on 03 Apr 2012 | Tagged as: Cooking, Event

Eat More VegetablesFarmers’ market and CSA season is upon us! Find out what to do with the readily available bounty of veggies from veteran CSA subscriber and food writer Tricia Cornell at The Eating, Reading and Living Well series at the Merriam Park Library on Wednesday, April 4, at 7:00 p.m. The program is presented by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and sponsored by Mississippi Market. Tricia will share her new cookbook, Eat More Vegetables: Making the Most of Your Seasonal Produce.

What can you do with all those mustard greens? How about making Midwestern Bibimbap? Tricia’s recipe, below.

Midwestern Bibimbap

My favorite use for pickled mustard greens is in my own simplified version of bibimbap. Classic Korean comfort food, bibimbap is “all mixed up.” It comes to the table as a lovely composition of pickled vegetables and rice, and then the diner gets to do the mixing up. If you’re lucky, a Korean restaurant will serve it in a hot stone bowl—dolsot bibimbap—that cooks the rice and egg to form a tasty crunchy crust on the bottom. Many versions include sautéed beef or chicken, but for a quick supper for one, I stick with just the egg.

1 cup cooked brown rice

¼ cup pickled mustard greens

¼ cup finely grated carrot

¼ cup bean sprouts

¼ cup steamed spinach, squeezed dry

1 egg

hoisin sauce, optional

Place rice in a deep, single-serving bowl. Arrange vegetables in wedge shapes on top. Fry egg sunny-side up. Slide it onto your pile of vegetables and stir with chopsticks or fork, breaking up the yolk. Add hoisin sauce to taste, if desired. Serves 1.

Pickled Mustard Greens

At my local markets, these beloved Hmong greens (zaub ntsuab) are labeled “mustard greens,” “mustard cabbage,” “bamboo cabbage,” and about a half a dozen other things. Look for long, thin, dark green leaves with relatively thick stems and tiny yellowish flower buds. They are among the first green things to show up in the market and are available well into the fall. They’re great in a stir-fry, and their slightly bitter flavor works well with all kinds of pork.

This is a fermented pickle that will keep in the refrigerator for several months (this recipe has not been tested for home canning).

4 cups water

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 dried red pepper

1 large bunch mustard greens, rinsed, dried, and cut into 1-inch pieces (to yield 4 cups)

Mix together first 4 ingredients (water through pepper), being sure to dissolve sugar and salt. Stir in mustard greens. Place mixture in a scrupulously clean opaque bowl and cover with a plate, weighted down if necessary. You don’t want an airtight seal, but you do want to be sure that all of the mustard greens stay submerged. (A pickling crock is, of course, ideal, but you can approximate one with a bowl and plate.) Keep in a cool, dark place for 3 days. Transfer to jars with tight-fitting lids and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Makes about 4 cups.

Do You Watch Mad Men?

Posted byAlison Aten on 22 Mar 2012 | Tagged as: Cooking

Screen shot of “Mad Men: The Game” (The Fine Brothers - Via YouTube)Today’s blog post is by Ann L. Burckhardt, a former reporter, columnist, and editor for the Taste section of the Star Tribune.  She has written or edited over twenty-five books on food, including the original edition of the popular Betty Crocker Cooky Book as well as A Cook’s Tour of Minnesota and Hot Dish Heaven.

Many thanks to the creators of the marvelous Mad Men series for focusing attention on the 1960s, sometimes called the Soaring Sixties.  In the early part of the decade, especially, our country’s optimism was soaring and Americans were merrily buying houses and cars and having babies.

My own memories of the era are clear. Married three years, we bought a house in 1960. It was a bungalow with a well-equipped kitchen just steps from the dining end of the living room.  At last I could entertain friends for dinner, something impossible in our previous home, an apartment with a kitchen I could barely turn around in.

Also in 1960, I was promoted to Cookbook Editor at Betty Crocker Kitchens, General Mills, Inc. I traveled to national meetings , which featured one groaning board after another as new products by the likes of Kraft  and General Foods  were presented. Best of all was my annual trip to New York City to approve the pages of the latest cookbook before it went to press. The editors took it upon themselves to introduce this daughter of small-town Iowa to the best of New York’s eateries—on the expense account, of course. Most spectacular was the fabled Forum of the Twelve Caesars.

My then-husband and I formed a  gourmet dinner club with three other couples. Not gourmets in the caviar-on-toast sense, we savored an excellent meal and squeezed our budgets to sample the foreign (German and French) food at well-known downtown restaurants. The club met every third month, with one pair hosting a sit-down dinner: crystal, china, the works. Unlike Don Draper and friends, we served neither pre-dinner cocktails nor wine with dinner. The hosts prepared the main course; others filled out the meal: appetizer, vegetable and/or salad, and dessert. The main course was often a nice big roast. Vegetables were gussied up with sauces. Whipped cream–laden desserts were the climax.

Dinners for four or six at home alternated with potluck suppers at our church and with coworkers at our local theater group. We sought potluck recipes that were economical while being portable, hot dishes we could keep warm in a low oven (this being pre-microwave days) til serving time.

Occasionally, on weekends, there were luncheons planned to fete a bride-to-be or an expectant mother. At these, we served what the men (not included!) called “ladies food.” This meant ribbon sandwiches, creamy mixtures in ramekins, fancy salads, fruit in melon boats, tiny tarts or petit fours, and cups and cups of tea.

For a taste of the sixties, please try these two recipes from my Hot Dish Heaven, one of the 2006 New York Times notable holiday cookbooks.

Hot Dish Heaven by Ann L. Burckhardt

Squash Gourmet

A delicious vegetable for a dinner of roast beef, pork, or chicken.

Hubbard squash large enough to provide 2 cups cubed squash

¼ cup sliced green onions, including some green tops

2 to 3 tablespoons cream or milk

1 cup sour cream

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half; remove seeds and pith. Bake squash cut side down in shallow pan 45 to 60 minutes or until fork tender but not soft. Remove squash skin and cut into 1-inch cubes; store rest of squash for later use. Place squash cubes in 1-quart casserole.  Sprinkle with onions. Stir cream into sour cream to thin it. Pour cream mixture over squash; toss to distribute evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes, until steaming hot. Makes 4 servings.

Ladies-Who-Lunch Hot Salad

Perfect for a shower or bridge party or your own “Return of the Mad Men Series” viewing party.

1 cup real mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups chopped cooked turkey or chicken

2 cups chopped celery

1 cup toasted bread cubes

½ cup sliced water chestnuts, optional

½ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup diced onion

crushed corn flakes or Wheaties for topping

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and salt; mix well. Combine the turkey, celery, bread cubes, water chestnuts (if using), almonds, and onion in a large mixing bowl; add mayonnaise mixture and toss well. Transfer mixture to a buttered 1 ½-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle crushed cereal around periphery of the dish. Bake uncovered 40 minutes, until hot through. Makes 6 lady-like servings.

Minnesota’s Bizarre Foods

Posted byAlison Aten on 31 Jan 2012 | Tagged as: Authors, Cooking, Travel, Videos

Ann Burckhardt and Andrew Zimmern

Elk and Wild Rice Hot Dish, Turtle Tots, and Raspberry Jell-O Chilled with Liquid Nitrogen are just a few of the bizarre foods found in our own backyard.

Last July, Ann Burckhardt, author of Hot Dish Heaven, was invited by Andrew Zimmern to judge a hot dish and Jell-o salad cook-off at a local VFW for his Travel Channel show, Bizarre Foods. The episode aired earlier this week, but you can view a few clips online.

Who said the Midwest was bland?

(Zimmern is known for consuming “interestingly appalling food”: click with care!)

Bizarre Jell-O Salad Contest

Tastes of Minnesota

Check out Andrew’s blog for more on bizarre Minnesota foods.

Super Bowl Potluck

Posted byAlison Aten on 25 Jan 2012 | Tagged as: Cooking

Potluck ParadiseGiant\'s Lean-Mean Lemon Cheesecake/Rae Katherine EighmeyPlanning or participating in a Super Bowl potluck? Wondering what to make or take?

Look no further! Rae Katherine Eighmey, one of the authors of Potluck Paradise, has created dishes specifically for the Super Bowl teams two years in a row. They are healthy, easy, and delicious.

This year, how about Giant’s Lean-Mean Lemon Cheesecake, a no-bake, low-fat treat that will give even the Patriots their just desserts.

For Patriots fans, she shares the recipe for historic New England Corn Cakes topped with Cranberry-Sauced Beef and Tangy Apple Slaw. It packs a giant taste in a small mouthful, more than enough to wave the flag about.

Last year she shared her recipes for Steelers Chocolate and Orange Pound Cake, in honor of their legendary defensive line; Steelers Sweet and Sour Meatballs, with spinach and raisins as part of the mix; and  Green Bay Sacked Potatoes.

Check out the Potluck Paradise blog for more inspiration and ideas for her self-declared second-annual “February is National Potluck Month”!

You Spell Doughnut, I Spell Donut

Posted byAlison Aten on 22 Nov 2011 | Tagged as: Cooking, Kevin Kling

By Chris Monroe from Big Little BrotherDoughnut fever has hit the Twin Cities. Earlier this year several food blogs, including Eater, declared “donuts the next cupcake.” The Heavy Table recently featured a handy “Let’s Eat Doughnuts Flow Chart,” the Twin Cities Metro Magazine blog has a roundup of local donut shops, and the November print edition features a recipe for pumpkin cake donuts courtesy of Dawn Otwell of the newly opened Donut Cooperative.

Why not join in the fun? Here’s a recipe for donuts from Minnesota Eats Out. Looking back to fifties travel, the authors noted, “long bus trips were broken by short stops at roadside stations where passengers quickly purchased something to eat and drink. A donut and a cup of coffee were the usual choice, and some stops, such as the original Tobie’s in Hinkley, were famous for their old-fashioned fried dunkers such as these.”

3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
6 cups sifted flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Fat for deep frying

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk to the creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla. Chill for 1 hour or longer. Roll dough out onto a lightly floured board to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a floured donut cutter. Fry in oil or lard heated to 370 degrees in a deep-fat fryer until golden brown on both sides, turning only once. Drain on paper towels. Makes about 40 donuts.

Donut illustration by Chris Monroe from Big Little Brother by Kevin Kling.

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