November 2014

Cure for Black Friday: White turkey chili

turkey chili

Maybe you’ve been standing in line since 4:30 a.m. and you’ve returned home with the flu and bags and bags of merchandise that you purchased because you wanted a good deal.  You’re hungry, tired, and thirsty. So, it's time to grab a beer and dig into those leftovers.


Or maybe you've been lounging at home all morning (our favorite Black Friday activity) but you're really not too keen on preparing T-Day 2.0 as another round for dinner. We understand completely — we love the big T-Day supper, but when it comes to the day after, we want leftovers that are more creative, instead of being a rerun.


This chili does the trick.  Make it first thing in the morning so it sits all day, awaiting your hungry return from the mall or the couch.



White Turkey Chili

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Brava, Birchwood: Roasted pumpkin hand pie

hand pie

In honor of local Thanksgiving feasts, we present this excerpt from The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook, with a recipe for the exquisite roasted pumpkin hand pie from Birchwood Cafe. 


Birchwood Cafe owner Tracy Singleton explains it this way: “We're not just in the neighborhood, we're for the neighborhood.” 


That neighborhood is the Seward area of Minneapolis, where it’s easy to concur with the cafe’s website description of what you’ll find: “A crossroads of hot food and cool comfort, Birchwood Cafe is one part funky coffee house, one part neighborhood cafe, and two parts eclectic organic kitchen.” The cafe’s motto is “Good Real Food,” and everything on the menu typifies this slogan in the most creative way.


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Vino 101: It’s (relatively) easy buying green

organic wine sign

In my last post, I wrote about how difficult it is to grow grapes and make wine in an environmentally responsible manner, and how rare organic and biodynamic winemaking remains today. 


Now I want to focus on the brighter side: while “green” wine still accounts for a small share of the industry, that share is growing quickly, and it isn’t terribly hard to find wines from makers who are genuinely trying to be responsible environmental stewards. 


But first, it’s important to nail down the terminology used by winemakers to indicate environmentally friendly juice. 



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Kitchen DIY: Homemade enchilada sauce

enchilada sauce

Lately, my mind has been drifting towards cool-weather comfort food. You know, those meals that you can settle in to and cozy up with in the evening. 


I’m ready for less running about, more family meals at the table, and that smell that you greets you at the door and permeates the house, when you know something delicious awaits you for dinner. Yes, I’m ready to eat hot soups and sip hot drinks. I’m ready to braise things again.


Enchiladas may seem like an odd place to start, but for me, it’s a perfect seasonal-transition meal. It’s warm, substantial, and very much a comfort food. I’m a big proponent of making homemade sauces since it takes just a little extra effort, and the results are almost always worth it.  


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Hunting for Dinner: Fried panfish spring rolls

spring rolls

For many fishermen, visions of a 30-inch walleye or a 50-inch musky are what drive them to get out there and fish. I love catching a big fish just as much as the next guy, but for me the real trophy is what ends up on the plate. A huge walleye would look great hanging above the fireplace, but more than likely it wouldn’t be that great to eat. Here in Minnesota the walleye is king, everybody loves catching them and most everybody loves eating them. I am the exception to that rule. I would rather catch a stringer full of perch or sunfish. 


There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, they are usually easier to catch. Small pan fish like perch, sunfish, bluegills and rock bass are usually the first fish we catch when we are little. When you get into a school of pan fish, the action is usually nonstop and you can catch them one after another and end up with a limit of good eaters in no time at all. 


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