Friday, August 26, 2011

Les Dames in Duluth- Edible Gardens

Last weekend my husband and I joined several members (and husbands) of the Twin Cities Les Dames d'Escoffier on an outing to Duluth. We were hosted by the Duluth Dames and they treated us to a delightful weekend! We had a catered dinner along the shore of Lake Superior including a visit from the local fox, who looks well nourished! and then live music by the campfire. The second night our hosts prepared pizza on their a wood-fired outdoor oven and from the top of the hill, we gazed at the Port of Duluth and the reflection of the sunset as we devoured the pizza. Briefly we rushed indoors as the rain fell and the sky lit up with double rainbows! Besides great food and lots of fun we also toured several edible gardens.

The Duluth Grill (featured on Diners, Drive-in and Dives on the Food Network) has an urban garden where they are also building a koi pond. There has been a lot of discussion about the kind of fish to stock and if the fish will eventually be added to the menu. Francois, the farm manager, said that carp is a good choice for the pond but Americans need to be educated to eat it- it is a very popular fish in Europe and has high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Plants will grow in buckets suspended above the pond. They also grow edible flowers and herbs and seasonal vegetables in large planters outside the restaurant. We enjoyed a amazing lunch at Lake Superior Brewing, catered by the Duluth Grill featuring local foods. The photos are from the catered luncheon. It was almost too pretty to eat! But there was little left when we departed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Scandinavian Classic Baking Book Signings

I'll be doing two book signings in Duluth this weekend. Today is the Point Park Food Festival, a benefit for the Lafayette Community Garden. I'll have Spritz and Desert Sand Cookies and lot so books, Scandinavian Classic Baking and Baking Basics and Beyond. Either book is a thoughtful gift.

Sunday I'll be at the Blue Heron Trading Company in the DeWitt Seitz Marketplace in Canal Park from 11:30 to 1:30. More cookies and lots of books. Join me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Can-it-Forward Day. Really?

Can-It-Forward Day was supposedly August 13. Of course, I've never heard of it before today but it spotlights an important trend. With the current interest in buying local sustainable produce it naturally follows that consumers want to take advantage and capture the peak of freshness. Often local produce is also organic so that another important consideration. However, unless you grow your own produce, it's probably not economical but you will certainly enjoy the results of your labor in January.

I used to do a lot of canning in the summer but only of acidic fruits and vegetables. The reason for concentrating on these foods was my concern about food safety for my family. With all the current interest in food preservation by canning, I am concerned that novices aren't taking the time to follow the proper procedures. Acidic fruits and vegetables packed in vinegar can be safely canned using a boiling water bath but most vegetables require processing in a pressure food canner. Botulism can be the result of improperly processed vegetables.

Get directions from a reliable source before taking on a canning project. The USDA, state extension services and manufacturers such as Ball Jars are good resources. Preserving tomatoes as a sauce, sweet and sour or dill pickles or dilly green beans are all ways to capture the freshness of summer so you can enjoy it in winter.

Use recipes that have been developed in the last 15 years, don't take a chance with Grandma's recipes.

Here's a good resource.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Baking Together

This week I baked as a part of #baketogether on Abby Dodge's blog. The recipe selected for this week was a Summer Fruit Cake. Abby encourages bakers to try variations which I think is fun!
I substituted peaches for the berries and flavored the cake with cardamom. I also baked the cake in a springform pan because I don't have a 9 inch cake pan that is 2 inches deep. The cake was tender and buttery, an easy summer dessert. Topped with whipped cream it highlighted the ripe summer peaches.
Here's the address for the recipe and comments!
Summer Fruit Cake Your Way #baketogether
The cake was better than the photo but I still wanted you to see it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

KARE11 Today

Yesterday I appeared on KARE 11 Today in Minneapolis. Peaches are my favorite summer fruit so I decided to do two desserts with fresh ripe peaches. When ripe, a peach should yield to gentle pressure. I almost always allow fresh peaches to sit in a paper bag (not plastic) for a day or two to fully ripen. The best peaches we get in Minneapolis come from Colorado and are expected to arrive in the stores this week. I can't wait!

Here's the link and the recipe:

Summer Fruit Cobbler


1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups sliced fresh peaches (about 3 medium)
2 plums, sliced
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur or 1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 large egg, beaten

Heat oven to 375°F with oven rack in middle.
Mix sugar and 2 tablespoons flour in large bowl. Add fruit and toss gently to coat. Add Amaretto and lemon juice. Spoon mixture into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish or 1 1/2 quart casserole.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl.
Beat whipping cream and egg in small bowl. Add mixture to the flour mixture and stir until a soft, sticky dough forms.
Drop dough over the fruit along edges of pan, leaving the center open.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream. Store any remaining in refrigerator.

Copyright Pat Sinclair for Baking Basics and Beyond (Surrey Books, 2006)