July 29th, 2011 § § permalink
Last week I posted about some of the delicious food writing that was pushing me back into the kitchen. Not only am I a happier foodie again, I am also knee-deep in planning a big August blogging project for Eat Local, America! month. Starting next week I’ll be posting 31 entirely local recipes in 31 days. Yup, you read it. No sugar, salt or non-local ingredients for an entire month! If we don’t grow it in Minnesota, it won’t be on my plate. The kitchen partner and I are going cold turkey. (**Sidebar: I’d love to know where that food idiom comes from????)
This will be the last Find it Local Friday until after the challenge. So today I want to share the gratitude again for all the kind Minnesotans who inspire me to have new food adventures, to eat locally, and to share it with the world. Here’s where to find the best Minnesota food blogging and a great group of food-loving folks:
Minnesota Food Bloggers Launched earlier this month, MN Food Bloggers is a newly developed website headed up by Stephanie Meyer at Fresh Tart. Not only does it have links to food events around the metro, but it also rocks my world with a blog roll of over 100 Minnesota-based sites. It’s the place to find the big, and not so big names in MN food writing. I strongly suggest a good cup of coffee and a free afternoon to meander through the list. So much out there to eat, read and enjoy.
Minnesota Food Bloggers on Facebook If you like what you see on the website, or if you are a Minnesota food writer, check out the Facebook group as well. It keeps me up-to-date on new posts and big local food events. Warning: scrolling through the newsfeed may cause excessive drooling and slight pangs of jealousy. How do they get their photos to look so good?!?
Minnesota Food Bloggers on Twitter Sense a social-media trend? We are one well-networked (and hip!) community here in the North Star state. If you happen to be tweeting about the amazing photos you’ve seen while cruising the sites above, you can now use #MNFoodBloggers and @MNFoodBloggers to share the love. Follow them both.
July 27th, 2011 § § permalink
The air is so thick with vinegar, my nose and eyes are burning. There’s dirty dishes everywhere. A tiny “pop” can be heard every few minutes. It can only mean one thing: it’s pickle time! Tonight I canned my very first batch of dill pickles ever. 15 shiny jars on the counter. Cucumbers are running rampant in our garden; I picked over 4 pounds today alone. I want to remember the abundance in mid-February, so I decided to take my luck at the classic cucumber dill pickle.
Although I wont reproduce the recipe here, (I copied it straight from the Ball Blue Bookand I haven’t tried them yet to know if it’s worthy of your time!) I will say a few things about weeknight canning:
1. Ambition is a tricky thing. I had tons of it all day today at work, ‘Can’t wait to get at those pickles!’ The excitement lasted until just after the jars and cucumbers were all washed. Ambition disappeared. The jars and cucumbers didn’t.
2. Canning itself is not particularly hard, but as a rookie it should probably demand my full attention. Trying to balance the Twins game, laundry, scrolling through Facebook, and the kitchen partner’s car repairs may not have been the best way to go about my first batch of pickles. I will remember this if any of the jars fail to seal or if I get botulism.
3. I really like projects that result in something yummy on my plate. The pickles will have to sit for 4-6 weeks before they are really ready to go. After all that work, having to wait is especially difficult.
4. There is something classy and beautiful about canning jars resting on the counter. One weeknight well spent.
July 26th, 2011 § § permalink
Just enough time for some photos of the community garden plot. I’ve got dill pickles and pickled beets calling me this week. Things are coming along beautifully in the garden though. I’d love to hear what is growing well for you this summer. Post a comment here, or hop over to the Minnesota Locavore Facebook or Twitter pages and share your garden triumphs.
“One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.” ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show
“If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden.” -Robert Brault
“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” -Henry David Thoreau
Happy gardening y’all!
July 22nd, 2011 § § permalink
I am so excited to post that blueberry season has begun in Minnesota. There’s something simple and sacred about blueberries to me. They are small but certainly not understated. Picking them requires patience and an appreciation for the raw potential of a single plant to produce one of the planet’s healthiest foods. My favorite part is the first few minutes in the patch when everyone settles into quiet labor. You can only hear the tiny “plunk, plunk-plunk, plunk” of each berry hitting the bottom of the pail. Simple and sacred.
Here are 4 places for some blueberry adoration this weekend:
Blueberry Fields of Stillwater in Stillwater, roughly 18 miles from St. Paul offers early morning and early evening picking hours, dependent upon how quickly the berries ripen. Their website and phone line have up-to-date information on picking times. $3.10 per pound.
Covered Bridge Farm in Forest Lake 19 miles from St. Paul, had just opened on our visit last weekend. Hours and picking conditions are also updated online and by phone. I would recommend coming early as the field was full by 9 AM. The berries were top-notch! $3.00 per pound.
Bauer Berry Farm in Champlin, MN 29 miles from St. Paul offers morning picking from 8 AM to 11 AM on low-bush variety plants (3-4 feet tall), established in 1985. All of the 1500 bushes are pruned and maintained by hand with no chemical treatment. $3.10 per pound. http://www.bauerberry.com/
Blue Heaven Berry Farm in Stacy MN 39 miles from St. Paul just opened for picking this week. Picking times are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends both AM and PM. Their website says to plan ahead as they will likely pick-out quickly this year! $3.00 per pound.
Grow your Own
Blueberries are a terrific addition to any patio or landscape. The garden partner and I have two low-bush varieties planted in containers on our patio. In spring, the bushes have small fragrant white blooms, the foliage is a pretty green all summer and a bright red in the fall. And who could forget, there are berries! Locavore’s can further support Minnesota food by purchasing a variety produced by the University of Minnesota’s breeding program. 6 cold-hearty varieties from the U are now available for our hot summers and sub-zero winters. Something not to be missed in the grow-your-own department: blueberries grow best in acidic soil, an organic supplement is necessary in most gardens to give them the right pH level.
July 20th, 2011 § § permalink
Car troubles and the heat have dominated my week and dissolved my appetite. Stressors either drive me straight to the kitchen for some fierce beat-chop-whip-it-to-death-cooking, or straight to the couch for re-runs of How I Met Your Mother. Judging from the lack of posts these past two weeks, I’ll bet you can guess where I’ve spent my time.
In between griping about fuel pumps and the heat index, my stint on the couch has at least allowed me to catch up on what the rest of the Minnesota food blogging world is up to. We have so many talented writers in our state piping out recipe after recipe. Thought I’d share today some of the blogs that serve as my motivational reading. When my apron has been stashed for more than three days, it only takes a run through my GoogleReader before I’m itching for a measuring spoon and my camera. Here’s 5 recent posts that I bet will send you to the kitchen:
Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake from A Farm Girl’s Dabbles
Ice Cream Sandwiches from Zoe Bakes
July 4th at Fresh Tart
The Perennial Plate Episode 62: A day in the Life from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.
The Most Amazing Photos on Shooting the Kitchen’s Visit to Piccolo