Archive for the 'Food' Category

Holiday Photos

Posted by Karen in Family, Food, Friends, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc, Isla.
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Family Portait

Family portrait

Punky Brewster shoes

This was the one and only time Isla got to wear her Punky Brewster shoes, because they fit her for this one day only.


A lot of shortbread was made, and as the official shortbread judge, I declare this particular batch of Quentin’s was the best.

schpeck bread

For some reason, there were several equally odd pics of Quentin and I at Christmas dinner enjoying the bread made with speck (yummy bacon-like stuff Q brought back with him from Italy).

Ricky Story

Isla still really loves to have stories read to her!  Grandpa Ricky read to her all about a very hungry caterpillar.

making poutine

Nate & I decided sort of last-minute like to invite a few friends over for poutine & pints on New Year’s day.  Here he is making the delicious gravy, which we poured over plates of homemade fries topped with cheese curds.  Yummmm.

Poutine & Pints 2010

It ended up sort of being Babypalooza!  Look at all those kids!

lady friends & kids

We’re outnumbered ladies!

little bird

My favorite new outfit of Isla’s, which she was working on drenching in drool.


Isla’s first sled ride!  Well, actually, the snow was so wet and heavy that we really couldn’t pull it anywhere, so we just sat her in it in her waaaay too big snowsuit and took pictures of her.


Isla’s first snow man!

And the making of her first snowman:

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.

Fungus Amongus!

Posted by Karen in Food, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Monday, August 25th, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I turned the big 31 yesterday!  I’m pretty happy about it actually.  I turned 30 and was pretty sure my entire body was falling apart, but I’m happy to report that at 31 I feel much more held together. 

I pondered several options for celebrating being so well held together.  Nate and I had been hoping to visit my brother in Ghana this October, and when we finally came to the difficult decision that we just couldn’t afford it, we decided instead to make this weekend our one big trip, celebrating not just my birthday but also the one year anniversary of our wedding!!

Nate and I stayed in a little cottage in Grand Marais, and took a class at the North House Folk School in identifying wild mushrooms!  We got to spend the day with Mr. Mushroom, Mike McCall, a fungus expert.  We started out in the classroom going over some boomer basics, then20080825174114_k_shroom.jpg headed out to the Kadunce River section of the Superior Hiking Trail.  That alone was exciting for me – I’ve spent a lot of time on that trail, but had never been north of Grand Marais on it. 

In spite of how dry it had been, we were able to find lots of mushrooms!  Ready… go.  20080825174145_lobster_mushroom.jpg This here is one kind of fungus parasitizing another.  Whoa.  It is some kind of common russula, which normally looks like a regular white capped mushroom, that has been parasitized by a Lobster Hypomyces lactifluorem, which alters the shape and consistency of the original mushroom.  Mike told us that although it’s kind of nasty on it’s own, once it has been parasitized, it is pretty yummy to eat!  20080825174025_coral.jpg

This is a coral mushroom that Nate found!  Coooool.  But is it as cool as this slime mold that I found?  That’s right, I said slime mold!  The thing about mushrooms is that the part you see is just the fruitin20080825174345_slime_mold.jpgg body of a whole mess of stuff below the surface.  In the case of this slime mold, mycelia have been living inside that rotting log, and they just decided conditions were right to send out their… uh… slime wad.  the slime wad then traveled up, up, up as far as it could get on that log to give its spores the best chance of disseminating. So cool, and gross, all at the same time.

Nate was maybe most excited about the chanterelles Mike found, 20080825174049_chanterelle.jpgone of the yummiest of all wild mushrooms!  They supposedly have an apricot scent, but none of us really got that. 

We saw lots and lots of a couple kinds of mushrooms that like to grow on birch trees:the Piptoporus betulinus, or Birch polypore, and the Fomes fomentarius, or Tinder polypore.  I kind of flipped when I read in my guide book that the freaking Iceman had one of each of these kinds of fungi with20080825174449_tinder.jpg him!  The first likely for its antibacterial properties, the second as part of a fire-starting kit (the innards can be used as tinder, or to hold a small flame for a long period of time).

After a couple hours of collecting, we took our spoils back to the classrooom to eat lunch while Mike officially IDed them, to talk more and ask lots of questions.  Mike dispelled a myth that I had thought to be true, that every edible mushroom has a poisonous look-a20080825174242_mike_mccall.jpglike.  He said that there are actually relatively few poisonous mushrooms, and that with even just a bit of training, you can tell at a glance whether a boomer is poisonous or not, with only one exception for this region.  I still feel kind of leery of the whole thing, but not Nate.  He hasn’t stopped mushroom hunting everywhere he’s been since the class, and even identified a mushroom growing in our backyard as soon as we got home, determined it was an edible ash bolete, and though the internets said it wouldn’t be that good, cooked it up and ate it anyway! 
After our class, we had an early dinner at one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, the Angry Trout.  Here was my awesome view:  handsome fella and beautiful, Lake Superior!  Here’s what we con20080825184803_angry_trout_food.jpgsumed: locally caught and smoked herring and lake trout, local cheese, fresh green beans, and blueberries, washed down with a Minnesota raspberry honeywine and a Lake Superior Oatmeal Stout. Mmm. 

We had sto20080825184919_pie.jpgpped on our way up the shore at Betty’s Pies for a birthday pie.  I had been dreaming for days about a banana cream pie, but alas, when we got there, they only had a "French" banana cream pie, made with cream cheese instead of whipped cream.  Blasphemous.   So I was forced to settle for this toffee cream pie, which Nate and I devoured over the next 3 days! 
We had signed up to go sailing on the Folk School’s schooner Hjordis, but because of high winds the trip was canceled.  So instead I made Nate ride the Alpine Slide with me in Lutsen!  It turned out Nate was actually kind of scared of the alpine slide.  So on the incredibly long ski lift ride to the top of the "mountain", I comforted him by telling20080825185007_ski_lift.jpg him how safe it was.  Just then, on the track below us – the slow track, mind you – a dad and his little boy came flying around the corner, flew off the track, flipped around in the air, and crashed horribly.  Those of us on the ski lift just gasped and stared, not being able to do anything, 20 feet above them in the air.  I was certain they were unconscious, if not dead.  But then the kid started wailing and screaming. 20080825184732_alpine_slide.jpg The dad managed to get him back on the sled and continue to the bottom of the hill, and we don’t know what happened then, because we were at the top of the hill, waiting in a long line – for the fast track no less! – for a chance to plummet to our own deaths!  I’m pretty sure Nate rode the brake the whole way down, and I started out that way… until this guy in the slow track started to pass me.  Then I opened her up. 

20080825202316_indian_pipe.jpgWe also stopped at the Cascade Lodge to take a walk around and reminisce about the epic wedding we had there just one year ago.  We hiked around in the woods looking for mushrooms, and found these.  I was very excited to realize it was Indian Pipe, a very unique native plant I’ve been wanting to see!   It lacks chlorophyll, and 20080825194122_sleepy_b_day_girl.jpggets nourishment from a beneficial relationship with mycorrhiza – fungus!

And finally, the true sign of a good fun and food-filled weekend: not being able to stay awake in the car on the ride home!

Food, glorious food!

Posted by Karen in Food, Recycling.
Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at 2:58 pm

We haven’t posted in forever because we’ve been crazy busy, so where to start?  With food of course.
Our farm share through the Community Supported Agriculture program is in full effect, so we have been buried in veggies since June.  It’s always a challenge using all of them up each week, in spite of only having half a share.  But it also means we eat some pretty kick-ass stuff and learn to make fun new things.

At the beginning of spring I often crave20080816124058_cobb_salad_melon.jpg salads after the long root-vegetable-filled winter, but I try to wait to actually eat them until the veggie share starts, because I know we will have truckloads of greens for about a month straight.  We try to be creative and eat lots of different kinds of salads, but no matter what, after a month of daily salads my body kind of stages a protest. Luckily that’s about the time the20080816124030_biscuits_ber_butter.jpg greens start to run out.  Phew.  This year we made cobb salads for the first time, and I made a super yummy fennel-yogurt-dill dressing.  I was determined to use all the dill from the farm share and our out-of-control garden crop, so I also made a d20080816124119_dehydrated_dill.jpgelicious dill scallion butter (in the little container by the beer and homemade dog-biscuits), froze some dill, and then dehydrated the rest in our dehydrator (which, by the way, was about the most noxious smelling thing EVER – Nate put it outside with an extension cord.  Blech.).  So everyone, be expecting to get dill for Christmas.
In other culinary adventures, we’ve been making our own yogurt.  With my ever-increasing obsession to reduce our waste, yogurt was really bugging me, because we kind of go through a lot of it, and Minneapolis doesn’t recycle the plastic containers.  The Kastlers had recently started making their own yogurt, so Madeline got me started, and we’ve been making it ever since.  It goes something like this: heat a bunch of milk to a certain temperature, cool it to a certain temperature, add a yogurt starter to a portion of it, add that back to the rest of it, mix it all up, put it in jars, and put it in a cooler and keep it a certain temperature for several hours after that.  Voila. Delici20080816124146_pain_depi.jpgous, organic yogurt in reusable jars, and the whole process costs us half as much as buying already made yogurt. 

Nate’s also been expanding his bread-making repertoire, which I fully support.  Ch20080816124043_chocolate_brioche.jpgeck this out:  pain d’epi and chocolate ganache brioche!  Num num num.  We’ve also been taking big ole containers to the co-op and buying tons of flour in bulk, which makes me happy.

So while we’re on the subject, indulge me for a moment as I brag about some of the things we now either make for ourselves or take our own containers for and buy in bulk, thereby eliminating the need for packaging:  yogurt, dog biscuits, eggs, flour, milk, soy sauce, olive oil, canola oil, granola, hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent , pasta, beans, oats, and nuts.  I already have my sights set on more things to add to that list soon, and can’t wait for our co-op to open it’s new store, which will have an expanded bulk section! 

Of summer colds, artisan bread, doggie mischief, and scrap metal

Posted by Karen in Bruno, Food, Home Improvements, Landscaping, Projects.
Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 at 7:15 pm

I woke up Friday morning feeling, as Juliana would put it, trundle-bundled.  I kept telling myself it was just allergies, but by the time I biked my sorry self in to work, I realized I was actually feeling pretty miserable.  So I grabbed my laptop and turned around and biked home.  And proceeded to rapidly deteriorate till Nate was left with a whining, sniffling, sneezing Jabba the Hutt-like blob on his hands.  He was a real champ, even bought me ice cream and cheezy poofs!  Aww. 

So my big plans to get everything in the world done on Friday didn’t happen, grr.  With all the weekend work events I have, my free weekends are like gold to me and I pack them full of yard and house projects, hiking, bike riding, and other ways of making the most out of being healthy and living in a kick-ass city.  A summer cold has no place in these plans.  Sigh.  At least I had the weekend off and didn’t have to be tromping around a prairie or something, but why does it seem like colds often wait for the weekend to rear their ugly head? 

20080622174055_brioche.jpgIn spite of feeling pretty crappy, today was a good day.  Wanna hear about it?  Ok.  Nate started us off right by making these crazy delicious fresh fruit brioche muffins

On a side note, we are watching C20080622172320_attack_dogs.jpgasey Jones the black lab this weekend.  Long-time readers may recall that the last time we watched him, the overall mood was something like this: 

Well, these boys are much older and wiser now… and lazi20080622173050_lazy_puppies.jpger!  I mean, they still have some of the rough and tumble in them, but last time there was no sleeping!  It was non-stop Wrestle-Mania!  It’s actually kind of nice.  We had hoped this would also mean that Casey had grown out of some of his naughtiness.  But the first night he ate the rest of the loaf of spinach parmesan bread Nate had made off the counter.  And last night he somehow opened the container of brioche dough Nate had just made and ate a big chunk of it!  You do not mess with a man and his brioche dough.  Seriously.  Luckily we caught him before he ate it all, or Nate might hav20080622165804_lunch.jpge taken inspiration from the movie we were watching, Sweeney Todd, and turned him into a meat pie! 

Ok, moving on.  For lunch I made us these delicious salads with spinach from our first CSA veggie delivery!  I also used chives, nasturtium flowers , and lime mint from our window box.  And we had cheese and crackers, with cheese Nate made from one of our batches of yogurt.  It’s been a good food day so far.

I did my best to not be a total slug and ended up getting quite a bit of yard and garden work done, but Nate worked20080622175203_no_more_shed.jpg his boo-tay off today and tore down our freaking shed!  Brother Dean recently gave us a sawzall, you know, because he had an extra one (?!?).  We had explored the idea of trying to give the thing away, but it was so old and all the bolts were so rusted that it wasn’t really take-apart-able.  In the20080622175340_shedless_possibilities.jpg end Nate decided there were enough people on Craigs List looking for scrap metal that he would just cut the thing apart, stick it in the alley, and post it.  And now behold, the shedless zone.  Oh, the possibilities…  It may not look like much right now, but just you wait! 

And one more thing – HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEVE!