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Minnesota Cup kicks off new food division

A festive group of nearly 200 gathered Thursday night at the Mill City Museum for the Minnesota Cup Food, Agriculture & Beverage Division Kickoff event, designed as a way for our region’s food community to support and foster our industry’s entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas.

Ten invited exhibitors, including small businesses such as Nots, Red Head Creamer20131114_185755y and Far20131114_181411 North Spirits, offered samples of their products, and General Mills, the lead sponsor for this new division of the Minnesota Cup, made a presentation on innovation in the food industry.

The Minnesota Cup encourages the development of breakthrough ideas from across the state. Since 2005, the Minnesota Cup has attracted more than 7,000 entries and is now the largest new venture competition in the country. However, previously, Minnesota’s entrepreneurs, inventors and small business people could only submit ideas in divisions such as High Tech, Social Entrepreneur and Life Science & Health IT, among others. The Cup did not have a separate food  division. With last night’s kickoff, that now has changed. Several speakers during the presentation noted that this was long overdue, given the state’s heritage in the food industry. Those speakers made a point of quoting University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, who has said that “Minnesota is the Silicon Valley of the food industry.”Read the rest

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A Wild Thanksgiving

The editors at Field & Stream magazine call Thanksgiving the “hunter’s holiday,” referring to the fall hunting season for wild turkeys. Yet some hunters say that the best time to hunt for turkeys is actually in the spring, not fall. And, as local cookbook author and frequent Edible Twin Cities contributor Beth Dooley recently pointed out, who really knows what those Pilgrims ate at Thanksgiving: turkey, geese, ducks, pheasant, quail?

With these thoughts of wild game in mind, we offer two alternative recipes to the traditional, store-bought Thanksgiving turkey. The first, from those same Field & Stream editors, is for a grilled wild turkey breast. The second, from Beth Dooley, is for venison, a Minnesota favorite.

Wild Turkey Breast with a Coffee-Coriander Rub

From Field & Stream magazine

Serves 6

Ground coffee has been a “secret” barbecue rub ingredient for years. Mixed with ground coriander seed, it’ll give your grilled turkey breast a smoky, exotic, and eye-opening kick.

2 wild turkey breasts

2 tsp. finely ground coffee

2 tsp. ground coriander

1 Tbsp. freshly ground pepper

4 Tbsp. kosher salt

1. Using a whisk, a fork, or (best) your fingers, combine the coffee, coriander, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture into the turkey breasts, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.

2. Set up for indirect grilling. For gas grills, this means heating one side of the grill and cooking on the other side. For charcoal grills, divide your red-hot coals into two piles on the sides and cook in the middle. Lightly oil the grates. Place your gas grill’s drip pan directly below the cooking area. If it doesn’t have one, or if you’re grilling with charcoal, use a disposable aluminum roasting pan. Pour 3/4 inch of water into your pan. (This will help moisten the mean. It’s an optional step but a worthwhile one.) When the grill is ready, set the breasts on the grate and cover the grill.

3. The size of the turkey breasts will determine cooking time, so have your meat thermometer handy. Remove them when the meat thermometer reads 150 degrees. Cut into 1/4-inch slices.

 

Venison Loin in Pancetta with Cranberries

By Beth Dooley, from Edible Twin Cities: The Cookbook

Serves 4

¼  teaspoon coarse salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 pounds venison, silver skin removed

8 ounces pancetta, cut into strips

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, coarsely chopped

¼  cup orange juice

½ cup fresh cranberries

1 tablespoon honey

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix together the salt, pepper, and thyme in a small bowl and rub into the meat.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the venison and brown on all sides, then transfer to a baking dish (Reserve the skillet). When the venison is cool enough to handle wrap the pancetta strips around the middle and ends of the meat and secure with toothpicks.

4. Roast the meat until the internal temperature registers 135 degrees F. on an instant read thermometer, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the meat from the oven to let rest while you make the sauce.

5. Return the skillet to the stove and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the orange juice and cranberries and cook until the cranberries begin to pop, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the honey.

6. Slice the meat into ½-inch slices and arrange them on a serving platter or individual plates. Drizzle some of the cranberry sauce over the meat and pass the rest of it.Read the rest

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Thanksgiving: Vegetarian alternatives to turkey

By Amanda Lillie

Not many people will argue that Thanksgiving is the most food-centric holiday of the year—hence why we will all inevitably gain five pounds this month.

But Thanksgiving is geared toward carnivores, considering the main course is typically turkey. So what can vegans and vegetarians choose?

Bill Williams, deli manager at Seward Co-op in Minneapolis, says plenty of meat-free options are available that are the veg equivalent of Thanksgiving turkey.

Mushroom-walnut loaves are a popular choice because the texture and flavor of mushrooms is very meaty.

“When you think about mushrooms, they lend themselves to meaty flavors,” Williams says. “That is the meat of the dish.”

Lentil loaves are also an option, but Williams cautions that they fall apart easier than the mushroom-walnut loaves.

If you plan to make something from scratch, make sure to have sage and thyme handy as those are popular Thanksgiving spices. Thyme-roasted beets may be a good option as a side dish to complement the flavor of whatever loaf you choose.

If Thanksgiving isn’t complete for you without gravy, consider making mushroom gravy to go with the meal. It’s veg-friendly and adds a delicious flavor to the meal.

“Mushroom gravy is great,” says Williams. “It’s got some soy in it and is very savory.”

Thanksgiving meals are relatively easy to alter and make veg-friendly, according to Williams. For instance, pumpkin pie recipes can be made with soy milk and organic, raw sugar. “A lot of these (dishes) lend themselves to being vegan.”Read the rest

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Nov.-Dec. issue is here: Holiday ‘Spirits’

Our Nov.-Dec. issue is now available throughout the Twin Cities area. Click here to view a list of our magazine outlets.edibleTwinCitiesNov-Dec2013.indd

http://edibletwincities.com/find-a-copy/where-to-find-us/

We focus on a theme of holiday “spirits,” showcasing our area’s “liquid assets,” an assortment of holiday drinks and libations. So, among a number of articles, you’ll find a story on holiday cocktails that includes recipes; features on gin, vodka, and aquavit, all distilled my local artisans; and a profile of a brew pub that features organic food. We also do a couple of food pairings with local beers—recipes are from our book Edible Twin Cities: The Cookbook. Plus, veteran food writer and cookbook author Beth Dooley shares some Edible Holiday Traditions.

 Happy Holidays, everyone. Cheers!Read the rest

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Re-Discover Your Kitchen

edibleTwinCitiesSept-Oct2013.indd[NOTE: This story and recipe first appeared in our Sept.-Oct. print edition.]

BY CAROL J. BUTLER

Many of today’s contemporary cooking shows stress the importance of quick-n-easy, with a focus on getting you out of the kitchen as soon as possible, as if the kitchen were a terrible place to be.

Michael Pollan, author of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, says Americans are spending less and less time in their kitchens, a trend that studies correlate to our growing waistlines, because, apparently, the less work we do to prepare our meals, the more we tend to eat. In an interview with Tracie McMillan for The Slate Book Review, Pollan concludes that not cooking causes a ripple effect of troubles, affecting “the health of our bodies, our families, our communities, and our land.”

It’s clear that cooking gives us many benefits, but perhaps what we need to adjust is our expectations about what cooking requires of us. Real cooking using real ingredients – whole vegetables, meat, legumes, and grains not processed in jars, packages, or cans – takes both mind and muscle, but here’s the thing: That’s what makes it fun. There is a certain thrill that comes from rising to a challenge, breaking a sweat, making it yourself, and doing it well. I’d like to help reverse the idea that being in the kitchen is some kind of medieval punishment. Here are several suggestions on how we can get more out of cooking—not by spending less time in the kitchen, but by enjoying more the time that we are there.

Obstacle #1: I’m too tired

I am of the belief that happy cooks make better food. If you are a working parent like me, sometimes coming home to make dinner is the last thing in the world you feel like doing. My solution is to begin with Happy Hour. Start with small appetizers such as a salad or set out vegetables with hummus. I usually don’t prepare anything too elaborate, but I always come up with something, either beverage or snack or both, to serve myself and entice the kitchen help. I suggest limiting the snacks to plants, such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds, as the goal here isn’t to fill up, but simply to take the edge off the hunger—and maybe the edge of your day, as well! I like to serve raw vegetables (and red wine) because they are both healthy and easy to prepare. My husband installed a pair of kitchen speakers for me, and the music I hear goes a long way toward keeping me light both on my feet and in heart.

Obstacle #2: It’s just so easy to order take-out

Yes, take-out is easy, but it can also get boring, and in my experience, even pre-packaged food items can hinder creativity. Instead of re-lying on the same old bag of pre-shaped carrots, give a weird vegetable a try. Visiting farmers’ markets and joining a CSA are easy ways to expose yourself to an adventure in produce. Food coops also do a great job of offering variety. Bringing home just one new item or trying one new recipe a week can go a long way toward building anticipation and excitement in the kitchen.

Spices can also liven things up. The Coop spices available in bulk allow home cooks to try just a little bit of this or that; Penzeys Spices offers larger quantities in bags with a variety of blends; Wayzata Bay Spice Co. is a local distributor of bottled spices available at Kitchen Window, Lund’s, and Coastal Seafood. You can also broaden your horizons by trying combinations from other countries, or visiting spe-cialty markets such as Holy Land or Pooja. 

Obstacle #3: I don’t have time

Lack of time is the number one reason most people cite for why they can’t cook. Ironically, the more time you spend in the kitchen, the faster you will get at cooking. Most of the work done preparing meals involves chopping or cutting of one kind or another. Learning how to wield a big knife is the most important thing you can do to improve your efficiency in the kitchen. If you don’t have a chef knife, get one, and get chopping. The better your skill, the more enjoyable cooking will become. Learning other skills such as sautéing, whisking, flipping, and frying can also broaden your horizons and add variety to the list of things you can comfortably prepare. Watching a cooking show can give you a few tips and pointers here, but practice is the only way to develop the skill yourself. To quote Julia Child, “You get good at flipping it by flipping it!”

AMMA’S VEGETABLE STEW

By Carol J. Butler

 “Amma” is Icelandic for Grandma, and when it comes to cooking fresh in our family, she leads the way. This recipe utilizes many of the fall finds for the season, though you can make substitutions, add onions, and try other kinds of beans. A vegetarian dish, it can be made ahead of time and frozen for an easy meal on a busy night, as the flavors will only meld and improve. It is also thick enough to serve over whole grains such as rice or quinoa for a change of pace. Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients:

1lb pinto beans soaked overnight (1lb dry beans = 6 cups cooked)

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

Assorted vegetables:

rutabaga, 1 medium

turnip, 1 medium

parsnips, 3 to 4

zucchini, 2 to 3

celery, 4 to 5 stalks

garlic (two to four cloves)

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

1 orange pepper

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (or half jalapeno, depending)

One bunch of kale, Swiss chard, or other greens, chopped

2 small cans or 1 big can diced tomatoes with their juice

1 box organic vegetable broth

1teaspoon cumin

1tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon turmeric (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Drain water from your soaking beans and cover with fresh water, allowing at least two inches of liquid to cover the legumes. Boil for 1 ½ hours, check-ing water level. When tender, drain into a colander, rinse, and set aside. Meanwhile, wash, your vegetables. Peel, slice, and cut rutabaga, turnips, and pars-nips into chunks. Slice your celery, and dice your zucchini and peppers. Mince your garlic and jalapeno (if using.) In a Dutch oven or large pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter or oil, and sauté your vegetables to soften, starting with garlic first, and going from your smallest to largest vegetable pieces. Add water to cover, salt, and cook over low heat, allowing the vegetables to create a flavorful broth. When tender, add your cooked and drained beans, spices, and canned tomatoes with their juice. Lastly, chop your greens and add to the pot with the broth, (you do not have to add all the broth if you prefer a thicker stew) stir to combine, and simmer about 20 minutes to meld flavors.

Taste and correct seasonings. Ladle into bowls, and serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream. For vegans or for a dash of color, garnish with fresh ci-lantro or chopped green onions.

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Sept.-Oct. issue is here: Cooks and Cooking!

edibleTwinCitiesSept-Oct2013.inddOur Sept.-Oct. issue is now available throughout the Twin Cities area. Click here to view a list of our magazine outlets. http://edibletwincities.com/find-a-copy/where-to-find-us/ We focus on a theme of Cooks and Cooking, so, among other stories, you’ll read about ways to “re-discover” your kitchen, the Cooking Matters education program, and Zen and the art of intuitive cooking. In addition, two local chefs are profiled, and you’ll get a fun glimpse behind the scenes at Lucia’s. Plus, read about several flourishing food coops that are adding locations. Beth Dooley writes about meat, beer, and food fests, just in time for the fall season. Finally, you’ll find some tasty ideas from Becky Poss for enjoying all of those apples that will soon be available. For more apple recipes, click here: http://edibletwincities.com/category/recipes-2013/. And enjoy!Read the rest

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Minnesota schools expand fresh, local offerings during Farm to School Month

September is Farm to School Month in Minnesota, designed to highlight partnerships between school districts and local farmers that bring fresh, local food to K-12 students and children in childcare. Weekly themes that put the spotlight on certain local foods and activities for students help schools build on the momentum that has established Minnesota as a national leader in the National Farm to School Network.

 

What started in 2006, with 10 districts engaged in Farm to School has expanded to more than 150 districts around the state and more than a half million students.

“We’re thrilled to see such dramatic growth in Farm to School,” said Erin McKee VanSlooten, Local Foods senior program associate with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). “Small- and mid-sized farmers connecting with the lunch plate means more local dollars stay in Minnesota, strengthening our economy, while at the same time offering good food to our students and an opportunity to learn how their food is grown.”

IATP’s past work on helping build Minnesota’s Farm to School Network has included conducting surveys, working with schools and local farmers to remove roadblocks to Farm to School and strengthen Minnesota’s network. IATP continues to work in partnership with current state lead organization University of Minnesota Extension to strengthen Minnesota’s Farm to School movement.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota has provided funding to build the foundation for the future expansion of Farm to School in Minnesota.

To learn more about this year’s Farm to School Month, visit http://www.farm2schoolmn.org.Read the rest

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Urban ag tour set for Sept. 27

Mark your calendar for Friday, Sept. 27 for the 5th Urban Agriculture Bus Tour, coordinated by University of Minnesota Extension.

The event is sponsored by University of Minnesota Extension, NRC SARE in Minnesota, and Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.

This year’s tour focuses on urban agriculture sites in Minneapolis with a theme of  “What happens because of urban agriculture activities?”

The tour will explore what changes happen in a community when urban agriculture activities occur, according to a university news release. The tour stops have seen changes in employment, nutrient flow, policy, physical activity, eating habits, community engagement and more.  Some of these sites and groups have been tour stops before, but the group will discuss how and why they have evolved over time.

The tour begins and ends at Harriet Brewing in South Minneapolis. Stops include Beez Kneez Honey House, McKinley Community CSA, California St. Farm, Project Sweetie Pie, Gandhi Mahal restaurant and urban farming project, and YEA Corps headquarters.

This tour is designed for learning about urban agriculture in Minnesota and the impact of urban agriculture on a community, discovering how tour attendees can support urban agriculture of all kinds, and networking with others working in urban agriculture.

For more information, contact Betsy Wieland, Extension Educator with questions at 612-596-1175 or eliza003@umn.edu.

 

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School lunches: The local angle

At Minneapolis Public Schools, students these days are dining on grass-fed beef, fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and school-made Italian sausages using free-range turkey meat.

This good news was reported recently by Foodservice News, a publication that covers the region’s restaurants and food service industry. The publication featured an article focusing on how students at Minneapolis schools are finding more locally sourced food in their school lunches, thanks in large part to the efforts of Bertrand Weber, director of culinary and nutrition services for the district. The district includes 71 schools with 32,263 enrolled students. Weber is a vocal advocate for local-food sourcing for schools and has quickly built a reputation for making this happen in the school district he serves.

His ideas, the article states, “are changing the way food is prepared, served and consumed.” Gone is the prepackaged food of the old days. Meals are now created from scratch. The idea, Weber tells Foodservice News, is to let kids know what they’re eating, so there’s no more infamous “mystery meat.”

Bertrand buys food items from a number of area farmers and growers, such as Ferndale Market, which raises free-range turkeys near Cannon Falls. Ferndale was featured in the March-April issue of Edible Twin Cities.

To find out more about what’s cooking at Minneapolis public schools, visit this website:

http://nutritionservices.mpls.k12.mn.us/ Read the rest

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Garlic fest heats up Hutchinson Aug. 10

Get ready for the 8th Annual Minnesota Garlic Festival, set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Minn.

Coordinated by the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, ticket prices are as follows: Adults: $5, Kids under 12: $3, stroller/carried babies free; $1 Parking per vehicle.

The Minnesota Garlic Festival, according to the festival’s website, is the “premier event for lovers of garlic, great local foods and good times!” Family friendly, fun filled and fragrant, the event features fantastic foods, celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations, marvelous music, area artisans, goofy games…and lots of GARLIC – all in support of a healthy environment, sustainable farms and vital rural communities in Minnesota.

Warners Stellian, Minnesota’s home and kitchen appliance store and Garlic Festival sponsor, will be giving away a top-of-the-line gas grill at this year’s festival. This will be the very same grill used by Mary Jane Miller for the Chef Demo Stage, and she will be awarding it to some lucky festival fan.

For more information and details, visit www.mngarlicfest.com.

 … Read the rest

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