Archive for November, 2008

Birthday Dog

Posted by Karen in Bruno, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Tuesday, November 25th, 2008 at 11:09 am

Bruno’s 4th birthday was 2 Saturdays ago.  This is how he demonstrated his maturity earlier in the week:



That would be our bedroom garbage, emptied, spread out, and partially consumed. 

Bruno rarely does naughty things, and when he does it’s usually fairly easy to figure out why.  I’m pretty certain this was his way of expressing his displeasure with the short walks and reduced amount of attention he’s been getting lately.  Sorry bud.  Little does he know he’s getting a road trip and long hikes on the north shore in a couple days.  All will be well again.

For Bruno’s birthday, he got the best bone ever, complete with bloody meat scraps still attached.  We gave it to him the day before Justin & Juliana’s baby shower, so he could get a little work done on it and make it less gross.  We took it away that night and gave it back to him the next day just as guests were arriving for the shower, and while he still insisted on being in the center of the room at all times, he didn’t try to steal food off of anyone’s plate even once.  He just chewed on his bone, and occasionally licked a baby.

Bruno also got a new chicken!  Here is what was left of his old chicken:






And here is his new chicken:






And now I would very much like for him to stop getting older.  4 years old is plenty.

Tomorrow we are off to the north shore, where we will hole up in a cabin on the Baptism River with Bruno, lots of good food, and our friend Mike Robrew (get it?).  We supposedly have internets, so we may just post a Thanksgiving report!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Latest Adventures in Local Foods

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Food, Friends.
Saturday, November 15th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Pedro gave us the most beeeeautiful pumpkin in the whole world 20081114164834_punkin.jpgon the last day of selling.  Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of it.  But I did get a picture of the aftermath of cooking that sucker up. 

It’s interesting what a disconnect there is in America when it comes to pumpkins as food.  We carve pumpkins, we decorate with them, we even chuck them, but very few actually consider cooking them.  When a recipe calls for pumpkin puree, we automatically think of canned pumpkin.  It’s true that cooking a pumpkin is no small endeavor – this particular specimen took a good 4 or 5 hours – but man is it gratifying, and so worth it.  Because this guy was so big it was a bit challenging to cut, and then wouldn’t all fit in the oven so had to be baked in a few rounds.  Then we let it cool, scooped and scraped all the flesh into our new totally kick-ass food processor, and blended it up.  The result was 8 pint glasses and a bit.  We froze the puree in the pint glasses, and will then warm them up enough to slide the puree out into a freezer bag or container for storing.  (We chose pint glasses because they are roughly the same size as a can of pumpkin puree, which is what most recipes call for – 16 oz. vs 15 oz.)

What, you20081114164907_punkin_martini.jpg ask, do we make with all that punkin puree?  Well, for starters, to celebrate the fruits of our labors (literally), I tried out Marianne’s pumpkin martini recipe.  I do love a good martini, and this one was a winner.  Thanks Mom Schroeder!  Nate made a pumpkin carrot soup that was pretty awesome, and is as we speak in the process of trying out a new pumpkin bread recipe that we hope to serve up at Justin & Juliana’s shower on Sunday.  We are also planning on making some kind of pumpkin cookie, or bar, or pie, or cheesecake for the shower.  We actually have a cookbook devoted entirely to squash and pumpkins, so I don’t think we will run out of ideas! The seeds of this guy were also big and perfect and beautiful, and I cooked them up in the iron skillet with some oil, sea salt and cumin.  Yummy.20081114173810_from_scratch_pizza.jpg

We’ve also had some new adventures in homemade pizza making, one of our faves. We made a pizza entirely from scratch a couple months ago – Nate made the crust, I made the sauce with tomatoes from our garden and CSA, we made the mozzarella, put veggies on it from our CSA, and venison sausage from a deer Peter shot at his grandma’s farm.  Wh20081114164815_pizza.jpgoa.

Then we stole an idea and a super easy slow roasted roma tomato recipe from the Kastlers and have now made our new  favorite pizza, with buffalo mozzarella and basil. Thank you, thank you, thank you Madeline for sharing this recipe, it has changed my life.  In fact, on the chance it will change yours too, I’ll put it below.

I had the intention of canning a whole mess of salsa, because we eatalotta salsa and this would be a good money saver, in a20081114173822_salsa.jpgddition to not going through all those jars.  But the recipes for canned salsa call for a ton of vinegar or lemon juice to  make sure it’s acidic enough to be safe, and after a couple of test batches, we decided the tang was too much.  So I ended up just making one large jar at a time that we’ve kept in our fridge and ate right away, and that’s kept us in salsa heaven for a few months straight!  Note to Karen’s Secret Santa: I want a pressure canner so I will be able to can salsa without all the vinegar or lemon juice! 

And the last thing I would like to discuss is all the usage I’ve been getting as of late from our dehydrator, handed down to us by Mom Phillips – thanks Ma!  Faithful readers may recall that earlier in the season I spent way too much time drying an insane amount of dill in the dehydrator.  I was kind of over the contraption for awhile after that. But lately I’ve been drying lots and lots of apples and cranberries and I’m kind of in love with the thing.  I can now reasonably declare that Honey Crisp apples are hands down, without a doubt, the greatest apples in the entire world.  It does not matter what you do with them – eat them raw, dry them, bake them, roast them with fall vegetables –20081115095155_dehydrating_cranbizzles.jpg they are astoundingly delicious every time.  I vow to one day buy them by the bushel and dry and can and whatever else I have to do to them so that I can eat them non-stop, year-round to my heart and tummy’s delight.  Ohhh Honey Crisp.

I’ve also been making craisins, which, as it turns out, is not as easy as just throwing a bunch of cranberries in the dehydrator.  Here’s the method I’ve been using:

1. Put the cranberries in a pot of boiling water so they pop (this allows the moisture to escape in the dehydrator).  Poke any that do not pop with the end of a knife.

2. Soak overnight in a bowl of orange juice mixed with honey or maple syrup.

3. Drain the cranberries, reserving the liquid, and spread them out on the racks of the dehydrator, then plug the thing in and let them dry for what seems like forever.  (You could also use an oven on low heat.)

4. Very important step: Make the reserved soaking juice into a martini using a 2:1 ratio of juice to vodka. Or mix it with soda water (and vodka) for a yummy sparkling juice (cocktail).

I made one pint of these (craisins, not cocktails) last week and have been eating them with granola and yogurt for breakfast.  They also added a perfect punch to a breakfast dish of cooked cracked barley, cream, and maple syrup that Nate made. I imagine they would be awesome on a salad with some goat or bleu cheese and walnuts and a nice vinaigrette.  Mmmm.  I have 3 pints currently drying which will hopefully last a few months.

And now we’re off on a round of errands to start getting ready for the shower tomorrow and get a certain wonderdog a birthday present – Seward co-op, Green Gifts Fair, Urbanimal!

Slow Roasted Roma Tomatoes a la Mad-dog

Prep a shallow baking pan with two tablespoons of olive oil.  

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and lay them cut side up in the pan.

Brush another tablespoon of olive oil over the cut side of the tomatoes and sprinkle with chopped garlic and herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano, whatever you have.  

Put it in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.  Voila!  

Use immediately on a pizza or in a pasta dish, or freeze and store.  Freeze them right in the pan and then put them in a baggie or container so they will be easier to separate when you want to use them.

Mama Afrika

Posted by Karen in Politics.
Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 10:09 am


My brother Steve introduced me to the music of Miriam Makeba when I was in high school.  I enjoyed it for a long time before I learned what an important role she and her music had in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. She was one of the many musicians who made me realize what a powerful force music can be beyond just helping you get through teenage angst, or celebrate being in love, or get over a break-up.  How music can provide a sense of hope, inspire people toward action, and build a sense of community among those who are fighting for justice – how it can affect real change.

Miriam Makeba died today at the age of 76, hours after performing at an anti-mafia concert in Italy. She was doing what she did best to fight for freedom up until the very end, what an amazing life. 








It’s a New Day

Posted by Karen in Politics.
Saturday, November 8th, 2008 at 9:50 am


Posted by Nate in Politics.
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 at 10:29 pm


Vote Yes on the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment!

Posted by Karen in Politics, Soapbox.
Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 at 11:55 am

Hey Minnesotans – this Tuesday, November 4th you will have the opportunity t20081102095331_vote_yes_logo.gifo vote on the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment.  Dutoeam asks you to consider the following information, and please vote yes on the amendment.

All is not well in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Forty percent of the waters we have tested are polluted, and most of our lakes and streams have not even been tested. Funding for water, parks, and wildlife habitat remains near historic lows, and we are losing access for swimming, fishing, and wildlife watching. We have to act now, with this amendment, to protect our state’s many water sources—-for our own health, and for that of our wildlife, before they are lost forever.

The amendment would increase the State sales tax
by three-eighths of one percent. This amounts to only about $1 a week and $56 a year for the average Minnesota household – a small price to pay for protecting our clean water, wildlife habitat, and natural areas.

While the latest polls show that Minnesotans are strongly supportive of t
he amendment — 59% say they will vote yes — we also know that many people who haven’t heard about the amendment may leave that question blank, and anyone who doesn’t vote on this question gets counted as a "no" vote. As a result, it appears the vote will be VERY close.

This amendment is about protecting our WATER RESOURCES, LAND, AND NATURAL AREAS.
There is tremend
ous growth in Minnesota: over 1 million acres of wooded lands, natural areas and farmland will be lost over the next 25 years, as Minnesota continues growing faster than any other state in the Midwest. We want to make sure that while we grow, we are protecting and preserving our natural areas for recreation, which is so much a part of why we love it here, and protecting our lands for game habitat, wildlife, fishing, hunting, and hiking. The amendment will also help to fight global warming by protecting forest lands in Minnesota.

This amendment is about preserving our CULTURAL RESOURCES.
Minnesota has a long and proud tradition and history of arts and culture. A
20081102100321_spoon_bridge.jpgrts and cultural education are critical not only to our children’s future but also to our state’s economic well-being. Like our natural resources, our states cultural resources are an important part of our tourism industry and our great Minnesota quality of life.

This amendment is about FUTURE GENERATIONS.
Things as important as clean water are well worth protecting in our Constitution, and worth creating a permanent funding source for – especially when future generations rely on our actions today.
Acting now to ensure that we properly protect our water, parks, wildlife, and arts and cultural resources for our children and grandchildren is an investment well worth making.

For more information about the the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment, check out the Vote Yes! website at Click on "FAQ’s" at the bottom of the page for some great information about the amendment.

Thanks in advance for your help in seizing this incredible opportunity to leave a healthy Minnesota to future generations! Please spread the word!