So glad it’s the long weekend. My brother-in-law and his girlfriend are coming to stay with us for the holiday weekend. We’ll be wandering around the State Fair together and you can bet cheese curds will be involved! Last year during fair week I posted my State Fair Strawberry Shake inspired by my Dairy Building favorite. This year the raspberry sundae has been at the top of my list. Although I couldn’t sneak to the fair every day this week to have an extra treat, I did make some raspberry frozen yogurt at home to carry me over until tomorrow’s visit.
Let’s be honest…my frozen yogurt and State Fair raspberry sundaes are not the same. No full-fat creamy soft serve (I still need to fit into my shorts a few more times this summer!) and the raspberries have just a hint of added sugar instead of the sweet, gooey red pile at the bottom of the dish. I swoon over raspberry sundaes but know my homemade substitute will do just as well. Besides, this frozen yogurt is full of locavore goodies and a tangy raspberry flavor worthy of a blue-ribbon. It’s perfect for sneaking late-night spoonfuls or for piling on top of a sugar cone. And with only three ingredients, there’s enough time and money left over to ride the ferris wheel on your next trip to the midway.
Where’d I get the berries you ask?
Minnesota fall-bearing raspberry season is in full swing with pick-your-own and pre-pick farms open statewide. Search the Minnesota Grown Directory for your local grower, or check out these Twin Cities Metro sites:
Red Raspberry Frozen Yogurt
Adapted from the Betty Crocker Bridal Edition
4 cups raspberries
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup sugar (to taste depending on how tart you like the final product)
4 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt
1. Prepare 1 quart ice-cream maker. Place a large bowl with cover into the freezer for the finished ice cream. This prevents the extra melting that happens if poured into a room-temperature bowl.
2. Sort and wash raspberries being sure to carefully remove any stems or damaged berries.
3. Place berries in a large bowl and crush using a potato masher until berries are broken apart.
4. Add in sugar and stir 3-4 minutes or until dissolved.
5. Stir in yogurt and pour entire contents into the ice cream maker.
6. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for ice cream. Pour into frozen bowl and allow to cure in the freezer for 4-6 hours before serving.
The kitchen partner and I had a fantastic weekend. I canned 25 pounds of tomatoes for mid-winter and he had some quality time to work on his MBA application. Yesterday, our friends Simon from 20Food.net and his girlfriend Anya asked us to tag along raspberry picking. We headed to Lorence’s Berry Farm in Northfield, MN (about 40 miles south of St. Paul) for a gorgeous afternoon of picking followed by a picnic of fresh local food. Did I mention how cool my friends are?
Keep your eyes out for more raspberry recipes here this week and a list of local patches for pick your own berries. The fall season is just getting started; there’s plenty of time to fill your freezer and stock the pantry full of jam!
We may all be roasted, toasted, and wilted in this heat but there’s one happy camper in Minnesota right now: the blueberry crop. With all the warm weather, blueberry season has started in the Metro and pick-your-own locations are waiting for anyone willing to brave the muggy mess we’re in. The kitchen partner and I will be celebrating our 4th of July holiday with cool vanilla ice cream topped with fresh local berries. Search Pinterest for red, white, and blue desserts if you need some patriotic inspiration of your own! Here’s a re-post of Find it Local Friday: Blueberries from last season with all the best Metro picking locations. And always remember to call ahead for picking info!
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.http://www.blueberryfieldsofstillwater.com/
Covered Bridge Farm also in Forest Lake was where we picked last year. 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! https://sites.google.com/a/coveredbridgefarm.net/www/home
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. http://www.bauerberry.com/
Blue Heaven Berry Farm in Stacy MN 29 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! http://www.blueheavenberryfarm.com/
If you live out of the Twin Cities area, search the Minnesota Grown’s blueberry listings for one of the 29 growers in your area.
If you’re wondering what to do with all of those gorgeous berries when you get home (Do you really need ideas? Who doesn’t want to just eat them by the handful anyway!?!), here’s two of my favorite blueberry recipes from last season:
Strawberry season has arrived Minnesota. Bet you weren’t expecting it this early! Picking started almost a full two weeks ahead of last year and average seasons. Today the kitchen partner and I are processing a flat of berries from our picking on the weekend. It’s a much cooler day to be making jam than yesterday!
If you’d like to get in on the short berry season (3-4 weeks depending on weather), it’s best to pick this week or next. With the heat we’ve had, berries will ripen quickly and be less stable once picked. Here’s info from a Find it Local Friday: Strawberry Post from last year about Twin Cities Metro picking spots:
Strawberry season is remarkably short, but incredibly abundant in Minnesota. When it begins this week, venture out to a pick-your-own patch and start making your own strawberry memories. Bake a pie or shortcakes topped with local whipped cream. Grab some spinach at the farmers’ market this weekend and toss it with berries and a vinaigrette for an easy salad. Drop a few in a glass of local white wine.
Don’t let anyone to fool you. Learning to cook like a gourmet genius is hard work. Learning to love vegetables and whole grains if you’re not a fan takes even more. Ever wish there was a cookbook that could help you do both? Meet The Spoonriver Cookbook. Written by Twin Cities local food pioneer Brenda Langton, this book is a must-add to all Minnesota locavore cookbook shelves. Langton is the award-winning chef and owner of Spoonriver restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. The new cookbook adds to a large body of work promoting local and sustainable food, begun in the co-op movement of the 1970′s. Not only do the recipes and photos make you want to lick the pages (try sautéed walleye in a poppy-seed cornmeal crust and butternut squash-chipotle quesadillas…swoon!), the ingredients and instructions are simple and easy enough for the amateur.
Last week I had the opportunity to chat with Langton about her new book (co-written with Margaret Stuart, released Spring 2012 from University of Minnesota Press), about buying local, and about her passion for teaching others about healthy eating. “I love when people tell me ‘you turned my diet around.’ And because it’s food, the rewards they see are fairly quick,” says Langton of her philosophy in creating simple, practical meals. The Spoonriver Cookbook is all about getting people engaged in the kitchen, steering them away from highly processed food, and providing a gateway to a healthy, sustainable diet.
Success with Whole Grains
Most of the recipes have 10 or fewer ingredients, with instructions written to keep new, inexperienced cooks successful. When people fail with recipe after recipe, eventually they’ll leave the kitchen. One of the largest sections of the book describes how to include more whole grains, a special consideration for Langton. She regularly encounters people who turn away from whole grains, almost always because they were poorly prepared. “There’s nothing worse than mushy or hard grains. They’re no good, ” Langton says. The book promotes a better experience. One with perfectly cooked grains. One that can change a whole grain doubter’s mind. Properly cooked grains are delicious, healthy and a simple pairing for a variety of meals throughout the week. Langton’s tip for introducing whole grains slowly: cook brown rice with another grain together in the same pot. Cook times are similar and the rice can help prevent a mushy or undercooked mess.
Grains aren’t the only thing Langton is passionate about. She’s also the founder/CEO of the Mill City Farmers’ Market in Minneapolis. Open since 2006, the market continues to attract more visitors, all looking for fresh, organic and local choices. It’s a chance for Langton to share and educate about the health benefits of eating better. She says eating fresh fruits and vegetables “is the best insurance policy for a healthy life.” How true is that!
In honor of my chat with Langton (and because I’m in love with the new cookbook!), I’m sharing two special things today. One of Langton’s recommendations from the book, a recipe for buckwheat and rice pilaf. It was fantastic with Whole Grain Milling buckwheat groats from Welcome, MN and fresh herbs from my garden. Second, I’m sharing a copy of the cookbook!
That’s right! A giveaway! To enter, post a comment on this post about your favorite way to prepare whole grains and you’ll be entered to win. Comments will close on Saturday June 9 at midnight. I’ll announce the winner Sunday June 10. Want a better chance at landing your own copy? Hop on over to Minnesota Locavore’s Facebook page. You’ll get one extra entry when you like our page and then a second when you share this post!
Buckwheat and Rice Pilaf
Reprinted with permission from The Spoonriver Cookbook
3/4 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup jasmine rice or another white rice
3 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Dry roast the groats in a frying pan. To do this, heat a pan over medium heat, and the groats, and stir or shake the pan. Roast the grains until they are slightly browned and smell toasty, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Wash the rice in a strainer until the water is clear.
Combine the rice, buckwheat groats, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan and reduce the heat. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, approximately 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit, still covered, for 15 minutes. For added flavor and texture, you can top the grains with sliced green onions, chives, parsley, or nuts.
The fine print about giveaways: I love free stuff from blogs, I don’t love dishonesty. All of the opinions on this blog are my own, I wasn’t paid or offered any compensation in any way. The thoughts about this cookbook are all my own and I wasn’t provided with a copy of the cookbook for review or giveaway. I purchased a copy on my own to share with you. It’s just that good!