May 2011

Food Tastes Better With Care and Company

“Pesto only tastes good when my friends are here!”

That’s what my daughter said one night when she turned up her nose at a plate of pesto spaghetti -- the same food she and her friend each ate two helpings of the night before. Our visiting friends had just left, and while I argued that the pesto still tasted good, I couldn’t argue with the feeling behind my daughter’s words.

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The CamelBak Groove is No Mere Water Bottle: Win One and See for Yourself!

The note I received from Camelbak's PR team called their new Groove "a portable filtration device that promotes a healthy and hydrated lifestyle." By way of explanation, they wrote:

[The Groove allows you to] eliminate the purchase of disposable plastic water bottles and still get freshly filtered water – anywhere. Plus, Groove features CamelBak’s exclusive bite valve – also used by astronauts in space!

Fancy things like "portable filtration devices" make sense for astronauts, of course -- they need something to help them wash down all that freeze dried ice cream. But for the rest of us, is it possible that a plain old water bottle would suffice?

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Feeding the Family: Spring Asparagus Recipes

It's been a rough "spring" here in Minnesota. There have been a few peeks of sunshine, followed by gray rainy days, and even snow. While we're fortunate not to have tornadoes, everyone looks a little glum, save on those few, lovely days that have been far too infrequent of late.

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The Bitter Melon Truth

“Why so blue, Red?” Spinach asked ironically.

“They called me a vegetable wannabe,” replied a less-than-cheery Cherry Tomato, pointing to a group of gourds nearby.

“Ignore them,” Rhubarb tartly advised. “They’re just Bitter Melons.”

You’ve probably come across them at the farmers’ market - strange produce that look like cucumbers with a bad case of warts. Perhaps you stopped to examine them, wondering how they would taste. Maybe you even asked the friendly vendor what they were, only to turn away at the word ‘bitter’, leaving behind those lonely knobby gourds for another curious shopper to find.

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Judith Fertig's "Heartland" Cookbook Celebrates Local Food in the Midwest

Judith Fertig's Heartland: The Cookbook is big and beautiful, filled with lovely farm photos (like the one on its cover) and cozy stories from cities and towns across the Midwest. It's the kind of book that anyone with an interest in farm-to-table food in the Midwest would be happy to give -- or get -- as a gift. Just having it on my kitchen counter makes me feel good.

Heartland's terrific photos and engaging stories would make it a perfect coffee table book, if it were just that. But at its core Heartland is a cookbook, and an excellent one at that.

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Minnesota's Living Green Expo Features Local Foods and Chefs

Minnesota's Living Green Expo, taking place this weekend, May 7 and 8, celebrates ways to live and eat while supporting the sustainability and health of our planet. According to the email I received from the Living Green Expo:

The Living Green Expo is quickly becoming the place for Minnesotans to learn more about healthy and local foods. By eating locally grown products, we often get fresher, better tasting food, and we help stimulate economic development in our state. A sampling of Living Green Expo Local Food offerings include (more information follows):

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Landscaping Lunch: Tangletown Gardens' New Wise Acre Eatery

It never makes Minnesota Monthly's getaways list, but when the sun is high and the budget's low, a person could pass a lovely summer weekend right down on Nicollet Avenue in south Minneapolis. Check it out:

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Cookus Interruptus: Simple Cooking for Busy Lives

Cookus Interruptus is a website out of the Pacific Northwest that aims to educate viewers on how to cook fresh, local, organic, whole foods despite life's interruptions. Every week the show features a new recipe and short (five minutes or less) video on how to prepare it. Their mission is:

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Making Spring Happen at Barbette

I won’t even begin to discuss the weather this past week -- gray, cold, spitting rain, and even (gasp) snow? Is this fair for Minnesotans? No. Is this normal for Minnesotans? Well, I hate to say it, but yes. And yet, every year we seem to forget what we should never forget: April isn’t really spring. It can be lovely, in bits and snatches here and there with the longer days and the ever-so-slightly warmer sun, but mostly, April reserves the right to be cold and ornery.


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