September 2011

Commercial Composting--What Is It?

Thanks to the resurgence in gardening and food in general, most of us know about compost. Many of us have even taken a shot at a backyard compost bin or even a vermicomposter. Now, Minneapolis is taking composting to the next level--commercial composting. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, perhaps you have seen signs promoting composting at restaurants and farmers markets. The Birchwood Cafe, Mill City Farmers Market, Bryant Lake Bowl, Bread and Pickle, and Anodyne are just some of the folks taking the initiative to compost everything from paper products to food waste.

Read more »

Back to School with Healthy Lunches

Pepperoni pizza. Macaroni and cheese. Chicken fingers. If your school cafeteria looked anything like mine, these were probably staples of the lunch menu. Many elementary and high schools deserve praise for their efforts to incorporate healthier options into the school day but there is still a long way to go. One way to ensure you and your child know what’s in their food is to pack a lunch for them (if they are young) or have them pack their own lunch (if they are older). 

Even though most of the following tips refer to school lunches, they can also be applicable to adults who are tired of fast food or vending options at work and would like to save money and eat healthier. Packing a lunch is also helpful (or even critical) for those who have food allergies or need to follow specific diets. 

Read more »

Garden Tour, Love Story, Culinary Delight: A Picnic Operetta

As we wrap up our State Fair coverage here at SGT, as these once endless evenings get undeniably a little shorter and a little chillier, we Minnesotans must admit that our short-lived summer is on its way out. But, I propose that we buck our Minnesotans tendencies and rather than despair over our impending doom, let’s make the most of what’s left! We’ve still got a few good weeks of outdoor activities, and one thing you must do, if you haven’t already, is go see Mixed Precipitation’s Alcina’s Island: A Picnic Operetta. Part Twin Cities community garden tour, part love story, part culinary delight; combining classic Italian opera with old time Americana; blurring the boundaries of art, eating and growing - the show is a feast for all the senses.  

Read more »

Your CSA: Warm Flavors in a Cool Melon Soup

I hesitate to celebrate the recent drop in temperature that September brought. I don't want to jinx us. It was a rough summer in the Twin Cities this year, with weeks of scorching temperatures right in the middle of outdoor entertaining season. MPR even nicknamed it Humigeddon 2011. During one of the heat waves, I enjoyed a chilled melon soup made by chef Joe Hatch-Surisook, of Sen Yai Sen Lek. On one of the hottest, more airless days of summer, he brought a sweet, cold, cantaloupe soup to a potluck and served it in cups for spooning or sipping.

Read more »

Good Food for Everyone!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

- Confucius

I live in Minneapolis, where eating lots of local food is not at all strange. Many of my neighbors are CSA members, and we have been known to share ingredients, recipes, and restaurant recommendations. On my block, nearly everyone seems to know how to cook kale and how to grow tomatoes. It's easy for me to think that this is normal. It isn't.

In the past two weeks, I've had the opportunity to attend two events focused on good food. Both were excellent, and left lasting impressions.

Read more »

Minnesota Cooks (and Eats, State Fair Style)

Your must see places may be pig barns and Fine Arts buildings. Or perhaps you're more of the Butterfly House and Minnesota Wine Bar type. One of my State Fair must-do events each year is the day when local farmers and talented chefs get together to create their little vignettes of deliciousness known as Minnesota Cooks. Each segment features two local chefs who partner up with two local/regional farmers to highlight their wonderful ingredients...what could be better?

It may sound a little boring if you're not into cooking shows, but I assure you this isn't just about the chef presentations. If you have time next year and are looking for a good excuse to sit down and rest your legs, this is the place. Not only will you walk away with a better understanding of the farmers and their work, but there's also the added benefit of free samples!

Read more »

State Fair Baptism

Despite the familiarity of the following story, I promise, it is fiction...kind of...


It all began early one morning with the idealism that comes from a good nights sleep, a cup of coffee and a good book. I'm pretty sure that the haze of quixotism carried over into the heat of the day, all the way to the amassing of humanity called a "state fair". What finally broke the spell was something akin to a compost sandwich, which eventually my olfactory receptors tied to grease, humanity and manure. I had arrived.

Read more »

The Unofficial SGT Best and Worst Of The Fair

Imagine, if you can - six hours at the Minnesota State Fair without a single crispy, glistening Fresh French Fry or cheese curd; deprived of even one warm, melty Sweet Martha’s chocolate cookie; nary a sweet, cool lick of an ice cream cone from the long line at the Dairy Building. I know, impossible. But it was done, for you, readers. Armed with a friend, a pile of cash, and an empty stomach, I set off on a quest to skip the usual suspects and try some of the Fair’s most unique foods. Here is what we found… 


Hands-down Loser: Chocolate Covered Jalapeno from Andre’s Watermelon Fit for the trashFit for the trash

Read more »