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A trio of grill-worthy veggie burgers

veggie burger

Let's face it: soy burgers and tofu hot dogs might be tasty if prepared just right, but they're not exactly perfect for grilling. Unlike their meaty counterparts, the vegetarian options don't boast that juicy-inside-grilled-exterior combination that makes everyone swoon. Plus, the aroma? Meh. 

 

During my long stretch of vegetarian living, I often forgot this, and thought that maybe this time the Boca burger would magically transform into a succulent dinner worth all the charcoal-heat-up time. Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. He was also a vegetarian for a time, so maybe that insight stemmed from his own grilling experiences.

 

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Sage fritters

sage fritters

Several years ago, my mom loaned me her little cookbook called The Herb Cookery for ideas on different ways to use fresh herbs. Needless to say, that cookbook is still on loan, and as my herb garden grows bigger every year, I need more ideas than ever.

 

When my sage was growing like crazy and threatening to take over the neighboring herbs, I sought some advice from the cookbook and this recipe for sage fritters caught my eye. While I was leery of eating sage leaves pretty much on their own, I was amazed at how the cooking process really neutralized the otherwise overpowering flavor of the leaves.

 

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Seasonal Pick: Garlic scape chimichurri

garlic scape chimichurrie

Ah, summer. Farmers markets are hopping, CSAs start up again, and access to über fresh and local produce is finally easy once more. Except that in the first days of summer, the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and squash we love to gobble up aren’t ready yet. Instead, vegetables and herbs that may be less familiar — pak choi, fiddleheads, ramps, and garlic scapes — still grace the stands. 

 

I’ve learned two tricks over the years when it comes to approaching cooking with new foods and both have served me well. First, ask the vendor. What is this? To what is it similar? How do you like to cook with it? They almost always steer you in the right direction.

 

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Teamwork and Tomatoes: Haberman's employee garden continues to thrive, providing a model for others to follow

haberman garden chickens

Some companies strive to provide healthy snacks for employees, but Minneapolis-based Haberman & Associates goes about 10 steps further, with an employee garden that abounds with organically grown vegetables. 

 

Started in 2009, the plot of land in Delano — nicknamed The Dude Ranch — allows any staff members and their families to work the soil and harvest the bounty, with vegetables distributed free. (check out SGT's previous coverage here). 

 

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Kitchen DIY: Pickled eggs

pickled eggs

A few years ago, I made the long drive across the entire state of North Dakota to my hometown with my four-year-old and my two-year-old. Two small kids, in a car, for over 8 hours. I was so proud of myself for having arrived with my little kids and sanity intact that you’d have thought I split the atom. 

 

While heading back to my roots, I had plenty of time to think about the treasured moments from my own childhood, and one memory that kept coming up was pickled eggs. I grew up with jars of these treats sitting on our counter. While pouring over childhood pictures recently, I noticed that there was an egg jar in the background in so many photos, and that's because my mom made the best pickled eggs — we absolutely loved ‘em.

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Junior Year: Starting its third season, Linden Hills Farmers Market embarks on some big changes

turnips

Every weekend from June to October, there are almost 20 farmers markets within a five-mile radius of Southwest Minneapolis, says Linden Hills Farmers Market manager Libby Wyrum. That can make it challenging for even established markets to draw traffic, but for a newer market like Linden Hills, it can mean the difference between thriving and tanking.

 

"At this point, the market's board of directors could see that we needed to do something new, or close up the whole venture," Wyrum says. "They've been phenomenal in trying to take on a visionary approach for this year."

 

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Hunting for Dinner: Netting the elusive smelt, with beer batter as a reward

smelt

As a hunter and fisherman, I understand that not every day is going to be a success in terms of putting meat on the table. I spend way more time in the field pursuing game and fish than I do catching or killing something. That said, I do have successful days and almost always bag my intended quarry, eventually. This is not the case with smelt; nothing has eluded me more than these tiny little fish. On my most successful smelt fishing excursion, I only managed to catch fourteen smelt. Fourteen, which is barely enough for an appetizer, and there were four of us out netting that night. 

 

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Kitchen DIY: Homemade harissa

homemade harissa

If you’ve spent much time reading food blogs or magazines, you probably know what harissa is, but for those of you that don’t (hi Dad!), let me fill you in.  

 

Harissa is a North African condiment made mostly from peppers and spices. And it is amazing. Like, a punch-of-flavor-to-your-tongue amazing. It’s often found on Moroccan tagines, but I’ve found so many more day-to-day uses for it. I love to slather it on sandwiches. Try it on meatloaf with a bit of mayonnaise and some hot peppers. Heavenly. It’s also fantastic on an egg sandwich where the yolk is still a bit oozy. Crunchy salads, or paired with carrots — harissa transforms an ordinary meal into something divine.

 

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