Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Food Find: OOBA!

What in the world is OOBA, you ask? Why, it is a refreshing, all-natural sparkling beverage made with hibiscus flowers. And it's muy tasty!

Hibiscus was making it's presence known about 2 years ago in our fair country. I even blogged about using dried hibiscus flowers in salads and champagne (oo-la-la!). Now it seems that the tropical flower has firm footing in he healthy foods niche. Packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, it makes a fair case for a tasty, healthier soda alternative.

Annnnd, just in time for July 4th, Linden Hills Co-Op will be sampling OOBA on Friday, July 3rd from 10-Noon. How cool! Give it a taste and then buy a case.

Find out more about Ooba

Have a Happy 4th of July!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ingredient + Recipe: Tamari

n. [tuh-MAH-ree] a type of Japanese soy sauce (or shoyu) that has a rich, dark color and complex flavor; made from the liquid drained from fermenting miso (soybean paste); naturally wheat-free

Tamari is a wonderful addition to your pantry for a number of reasons:
-the taste is richer and more rounded than your regular soy sauce
-it is naturally wheat-free for those on a gluten or wheat free diet (traditional soy sauce contains wheat)
-it is easy to use as a dip, marinade or replacement for table salt
-it blends well with other flavors

I've been using Tamari quite a bit lately to plow through our CSA veggies. It's great on stir-fried grrens, added to rice or pasta and makes a super quick + easy 'refrigerator sauce'. What the heck is a refrigerator sauce? It's what happens when I look in the fridge, throw some ingredients together and create a sauce that requires no cooking or extra effort. I love it when a plan comes together! Here's the fridge sauce we've been using lately for veggies and spring rolls...

Measurements are VERY approximate, just mix to taste. It's hard to mess this one up!
Asian Fridge Sauce

approx. 1/4c

1T orange marmalade

1T tamari (or more to taste)
2t brown rice vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lime

whisk all ingredients together and start dipping!

The recipe is a bonus today, as we'll all be celebrating the start of a long weekend on Friday. Happy 4th of July! (geesh, that was fast!)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Recipe: Arugula + Green Garlic Pesto

We're on our 3rd CSA box this week and it just keeps gettin' better! We even had some strawberries today!

Last week we had a bunch of arugula, so I made a pesto with green garlic. Please forgive the informality of the recipe. I was flyin' by the seat of my pants a bit. :-)

We used some on grilled quesadillas. Very niiiice...

Arugula Green Garlic Pesto

1 bunch arugula (1-2 handfuls)

1T green garlic, chopped (more if oyu like it garlicky!)

juice of 1 lemon
about 1/4c grated parmesan cheese

salt + pepper

olive oil

place arugula, green garlic + cheese in a food processor
pulse until finely chopped

add lemon juice + pulse to combine
with processor running, slowly add olive oil until desired consistency is reached
season with salt + pepper

Copyright 2009, Molly L. Herrmann

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Food Find: Bounce (yup, the fabric softener)

You know those emails you get from friends and family, forwarded over and over again? Usually some sort of list or heartbreaking story that you are asked to pass along? I typically delete them, but I was sent an email a few weeks ago by two different members of my family. Titled simply BOUNCE, I skimmed before hitting the delete button.

Fast forward to an event I was catering at a personal home. Long story short, pork loin, maple syrup, foil + pan. The pork loin was delicious, the pan was a wreck. As my assistant was shaking her head (that pan is a goner!), I suddenly remembered that skimmed email. I visited the laundry room, came back with a fabric softener sheet, placed it on the pan and covered with water. Fifteen minutes later, the foil + goop were lifting themselves off of the pan. Seriously. I washed the pan and showed my assistant who immediately declared, "That's not the same pan!". Yup, it was. Unbelievable. So, while I will still delete most viral emails, this one provided an awesome little tip for the kitchen. Try it with your next pan/pot disaster and let me know how goes...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ingredient: Arugula

n. [uh-roo-guh-luh] edible plant native to the Mediterranean; blongs to the mustard family; leaves have a pungent, peppery flavor

I do love me some arugula! Good thing Driftless Organics keeps sending some in our CSA box! I really love the peppery flavor that it adds to salads + pasta, as well as making one heck of a pesto. My affinity may also stem from the fact that it is one of the few vegetables I have had some success in growing. Perhaps. If you have never tried it, start with adding it to your salad greens. It punches it up nicely. Sauteed (quickly) with a little garlic, it makes a great side or addition to pasta.In fact, you can just stir it into just cooked pasta, as it wilts quickly. And that pesto I mentioned? I'll be posting a recipe on Friday. Good stuff.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Recipe: Grilled Vegetable Cobb Salad

Our CSA box was awash with Blue Potatoes, Onions, Rosemary + Lettuce this past week. I also had some parsnips hanging around, so I decided to grill up the veggies + potatoes and make a sort of 'Cobb' salad. I have to say, it was pretty tasty....

Grilled Vegetable Cobb Salad

serves 4

3 medium to large blue potatoes, sliced into 1/4" thin rounds
1 onion, sliced into 1/4" rounds
6 small parsnips, peeled and halved lengthwise

6 small sweet peppers, stems + seeds removed

1 head green leaf lettuce

1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained + rinsed
1 6oz can oil-packed tuna

1 sprig fresh rosemary

Parmesan cheese

olive oil


salt + pepper

dressing of choice (optional)

-pre-heat grill to med-high heat

-toss potatoes, parsnips, onion + peppers with olive oil, salt + pepper, rosemary
-place on grill and cook over med-high heat until just tender and beginning to brown (about 3-4 minutes per side)
-set aside and let cool
-meanwhile, toss lettuce with a squeeze lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and salt + pepper and place on a platter -begin to top lettuce with remaining ingredients + grilled vegetables, layering them in rows across the platter
-Top with shaved Parmesan

Copyright 2009, Molly Herrmann


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Food Find: Baby Bananas

n. [buh-nan-uh] small, plump banana; subtropical variety grown at higher altitudes; also known as Lady Finger, Oritos or Manzanos.

I bought some baby bananas for the kids at a party we were hosting, and they were a big hit! Small enough to fit into the littlest hand, they are a perfect snack. I get tired of my little guy wanting a banana and then not finishing the whole thing. These are just right. They have a slightly sweeter taste, but otherwise taste just like their larger cousin. Freeze them for a frosty treat, eat them out of hand or use them in smaller doses for kiddie smoothies. Baby bananas are available year-round. I purchased mine at the Produce Exchange.

Since we are already going bananas, I'm excited to pick up a book recommended a friend. Bananas: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel chronicles the history of this seemingly harmless fruit and the havoc it has wrought for over a century. From Adam + Eve to labor wars, and a killer disease threatening to wipe out it's very existence, the banana is steeped in drama. Thanks for the tip, Mike!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cooking Away My CSA Challenge

I've been invited to participate with food bloggers across the country in a challenge for the most creative recipes using the produce you receive in your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share.
Cooking Away My CSA should be a fun way to utilize this year's produce!

This is our second year with Driftless Organics, and our first box arrived last week! I was super impressed with the haul this time, because last year the crops were WAY down due to flooding in the upper Mid-West.

One of the challenges with a CSA is using all of your lovely vegetables + fruit without having them go to waste. We've solved a bit of this dilemma by sharing our weekly box with another family. It works out really well!

This week's box included:

blue potatoes
green leaf lettuce
green onions
green garlic

I'm working on a few new recipes, and I'm excited to share them with you! I'll have some posted on Friday. Happy Summer!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Recipe: Chive Blossom Rice Balls

While this recipe is not a traditional way to make sticky rice (steaming is the usual method), it is quite effective, requires no special bamboo steamer and is quick. Also, a crowd pleaser for the kid set!

Chive Blossom Rice Balls

serves 6-8

2C sticky rice

water to cover

chive blossoms
cold water

-soak rice in large pot of cool water for about 30 minutes

-drain rice and return to pot. add water to cover by about 1 inch
-bring water to boil, reduce heat and cover. cook until water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes
-remove cover and allow rice to cool slightly

-pluck petals from chive blossoms and add to rice
-gently stir
-using cold water, wet your hands (this will help prevent the rice sticking to your hands)
-grabbing small amounts of rice, gently roll the rice in your hands until a ball forms
-continue until all rice is ‘balled’

-serve with stir fry, as a pretty side dish or even with meatballs!

Copyright, Molly L. Herrmann 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Food Find: Neighborhood Fruit

Wow! This week deserves two' food finds', 'cause I just couldn't wait to share this with everyone!

From the New York Times (via friend Tammy), an article about ways folks are finding + sharing fruit + veggies with their neighbors. You can't get more local than that!

Read article here


Thanks to Tammy ( who has delicious radishes to share) for sending it my way....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Food Find: Stabby's Cafe

Okay. So we are pretty excited to have a new neighborhood joint. Especially excited that they serve breakfast all day (open until 3PM), the portions are huge, and it is very kid friendly. What's not to like?

I also have to admit that my two forays to Stabby's Cafe have only included sampling breakfast items. I'm a breakfast gal. Eggs anytime of the day. So, while I have not comprehensively tasted their menu, I can give you a few observations....

1) Their omelets are good and HUGE. Great bang for your buck. They also have as much meat and terrific veggie options you could want.

2) Their gingerbread pancakes rock and are HUGE. Really, really good pancakes. However, I recommend trying the gingerbread sans banana. It lost a little something for me.

3) The kids meals are HUGE. you could totally split this between 2 kids. Or perhaps, order yourself an omelet and snag some of your kid's pancakes. Not that we would ever do that.

4) The burgers looked great and HUGE. Lots o' folks were ordering the burgers and seemed pretty darn happy.

5) Stabby's specialty is something called a Flint Style Coney Island. I am not a hot dog fan, and therefore have not tried it. But, it really doesn't matter because I'm happy to have omelets, hashbrowns and pancakes in my 'hood at a reasonable price. Oh, and good coffee. Very important.

Stabby's Cafe

corner of 42nd Street and Cedar Ave
South Minneapolis

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ingredient: Chive Blossoms

n. edible flower of the chive plant; a member of the allium family

One of my favorite things about Spring: Chive Blossoms!
They're pretty, they're springy and they are delicious! It's a super easy way to add a little pep and color to almost any dish. Their flavor is a little bit pepper, a little bit garlic and a whole lot of rockin'. I clip my blossoms (and shamelessly clip friends blossoms, too!) and place them in a mason jar or plastic bag with a slightly damp towel without washing them and store them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will keep like this for at least 2 weeks. When you are ready to use, simply rinse, pat dry and pull the petals off to scatter in your dish. Or use the whole blossom to jazz up a salad. Chive blossoms make for an impressive garnish, too.

Check back on Friday for a chive blossom recipe...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Recipe: Roasted Salmon

Salmon at this time of the year needs no special prep or even sauce, for that matter. I'm not even going to give you a real recipe. You won't need it! Just turn your oven on 425˚. Lightly oil a baking pan and place the salmon, skin side down. Season with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil. That's it. Put it in the oven and roast about 15 minutes or until the fish springs back to the touch. Let sit another 10 minutes before serving. Add to pasta or top a salad. Perfect, fresh and light enough for a summer meal.

If you'd like to amp it up a bit, you can borrow a page from Bon Appetit's Molly Wizenberg. Use the same method but slather a little creme fraiche on top of the salmon before roasting. It seals in all of the juices nicely!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Food Finds:Michael Pollen + Food Allergy Walk

Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan, author of many books including the recent 'In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto', spoke today at the Barnes & Noble at the Galleria in Edina. MPR aired the broadcast on Tuesday during their Midday program, and I found myself entranced listening to this man with so many sound ideas on food and the way we live. 'In Defense of Food' has been on my book list for a little while, and now I'm moving it to the top. Take a listen. This guy is full of common sense and a history of how we got where we are....

MPR: Michael Pollan

Food Allergy Walk

The Inaugural Food Allergy Awareness Walk is being held this Saturday, June 6th at the Mall of America at 8AM. Sponsored by the Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota, the walk's goal is to raise money and awareness for a growing problem in our society. There will be singing by Kyle Dine and the Twins own T.C. Bear will be the Grand Marshal!
Click here for more info or to register.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ingredient: Copper River Salmon

n. species of migratory fish that can live in both salt + fresh water, found in the Copper River of Alaska

Right now, and I mean NOW, is the time to get some Copper River Salmon. It is only available for about 1 month per year, and the time is nigh. The season typically runs from mid-May to mid-June.

I purchased some very fine specimens at our local fishmonger this past week. So very tasty. What makes Copper River Salmon so special? The Copper River is a chilly, rapid filled river that runs through Alaska and produces a particularly strong and hearty salmon, chock full of healthy oils and fat. The meat has a distinctive deep, rich orangey-pink color... much more vibrant than other varieties of salmon. Copper River Salmon is also wild-caught, which makes it a better choice for you and the environment. Try it. You'll love it.