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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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Community Effort: 5 tips on dealing with food restrictions

cupcakes

I have long prided myself in having no dietary restrictions. After spending half of my life limiting what I could eat and eliminating all pleasure that eating could bring, removing all restrictions was the most therapeutic way for me to approach my relationship with food. When my friends and colleagues identified as vegan, Paleo, raw foodists, and gluten-free, I gladly enjoyed all foods. Honestly, for a while, cooking for and going out to eat with people with food restrictions kind of irritated me.  

 

Oh how humbling life lessons can be!

 

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Flower Power: Make the most of lilac season by turning the petals into tasty ingredients

lilac simple syrup

I found a few recipes recently that call for lilacs. Who knew lilacs were edible? I certainly didn’t. And what great timing to discover these culinary uses the same week mine bloomed!

 

To prepare lilacs for recipes, first you need to go pick a whole bunch of them. Get them from a trusted source, where you are sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. Pick some extra to put in a vase in the house.

 

Rinse them really well (I dunk them in a bowl of water and swish them around) and then gently shake off excess water. Pick them apart a bit into tiny clumps, and put them in a bowl. Get another bowl for "discards" and a third bolw for the picked blossoms and buds. Here is my discard bowl in the "picked blossoms" bowl.  

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Arctic Char Challenge: Being in a landlocked state doesn't mean skipping new seafood choices

arctic char

When it comes to beef, chicken, and pork, it's fairly easy in the Twin Cities to find local vendors. Whether it's buying a quarter of a cow, fresh pork sausage, or a carton of eggs at the farmers market, or even at some local grocery stores, it's within reach with a little bit of effort. It's also pretty simple to decipher the labels and figure out if you're buying quality meat or not. Seafood, on the other hand, can be a bit trickier. 

 

Since it's difficult (um, impossible?) to find a local tuna or salmon farmer in Minnesota, instead we have to look at labels and talk directly with the source who buys the fish to ensure we are buying sustainable fish.  

 

Seafood can be considered sustainable if the species is abundant naturally or through responsible practice (farm-raised), and the harvesting methods aren't harming natural habitats with pollutants or destroying the habitats in which the species lives. 

 

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Curing Picky Eater Syndrome: Hand over some meal planning to your new junior sous chef

kid chef

Cooking with your kids is one of the best ways to get them to eat healthy real food, and a great way to boost their excitement is by involving them in meal planning. 

 

When children can take ownership of breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, they tend to really think about what they’ll be eating. When you first start giving your children a voice in meal planning they may provide outlandish ideas such as cheeseburgers with cookies for buns or string cheese for every meal, but you can curb this by showing them how you do your own meal planning, and what you take into account (nutrition, budgets, what’s on hand) so they understand how meal plans work. And of course, do your best to make meal planning fun!

 

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Way Beyond Brown Rice: A chat with vegetarian cook and cookbook author Martha Rose Shulman

Renowned cookbook author and New York Times writer Martha Rose Shulman will be in the Twin Cities signing her newest book and doing a cooking demo on Saturday, May 24th, so we thought we'd lob a few questions her way in advance. 

 

The author writes the Recipes for Health column for NYT, and is the author of over 20 cookbooks, many of them vegetarian and all of them geared toward inspiring home cooks. Her newest, The Simple Art of Vegetarian Cooking, gives a fresh take on the topic, and she tells us why.

 

What got you started as a recipe writer, particularly your focus on vegetarian cuisine? 

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