Raclette at Home – Interactive Cheese!

Have you had raclette yet? Do you know what it is?

In my experience, not many people have had it or are familiar with it so I’m here to help! Raclette is a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland which melts easily and is also a dish that originated in the Alps. The traditional cheese meal is served with boiled potatoes, cornichons, pickled pearl onions (cocktail onions) and white pepper. It’s a simple and delicious meal that is best enjoyed in the company of others with lots of wine.

Raclette meal

I first had raclette in a restaurant in Switzerland, then at a friend’s house shortly after our return. Both experiences were fun and delicious, though the serving style was very different. I loved the home version because it was participatory and an event. We bought a raclette grill a couple of years later and love hosting dinner at our house during the winter months. If you enjoy fondue or anything  that encourages playing with food, this is for you.

Even though I love to cook, I will tell you this is my favorite dinner to host because: 1. It’s fun to introduce people to new foods 2. It’s EASY to pull off (opening jars and pre-sliced meats and cheeses for the win!) 3. Lots of wine (it helps with digestion!) 4. It’s INTERACTIVE CHEESE!

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Farmers Market Find: Turkish Eggplant

Last week’s visit to the Minneapolis Farmers Market felt like cheating when I came home with bagfuls of produce. I loaded up on so many fresh (and dried) items which is a bit rare this late in the season, but this warm Minnesota fall has treated us well. I picked up carrots, kale, Brussels spouts, lettuce, potatoes, onions, herbs galore, and more!

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Turkish Eggplants hanging out at the farmers market.

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Volunteering for the Superior Hiking Trail Association

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View of Lake Agnes from Hunters Rock.

I know the blog says it’s about Minneapolis and this post isn’t, but this story is about a place near and dear to my heart, the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT). The trail is approximately 310 miles of beautiful terrain that overlooks Lake Superior from Duluth to the Canadian border. It is a gem of a resource that I hope you all get to visit sometime.  Continue reading

Beer Tourism – Northern California and Oregon

I’ve been sitting on this post for way too long so I’m just going to give you the short version of our road trip from Malibu to Portland. There were beautiful sights and beer – lots of both.

Rich and I attended a wedding in Malibu last fall so thought it would be fun to make it a big trip. We had never been north of San Francisco and had always wanted to drive the coast so it was a no-brainer to take some time and road trip. And let’s not forget about the beer. Did you know there’s good beer up in them parts? I had a lot of fun taking these photos and like to look at my Instagram feed just to relive the moments. I thought you might like to check them out too. Have any questions on the places we visited? Ask away and I’ll figure out where we were.

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Volunteering at Open Arms of Minnesota

Photo from Open Arms of Minnesota's website.

Photo from Open Arms of Minnesota’s website.

Volunteer work has become a part of my life in one form or another since I moved to Minnesota, a very important one for that matter. I’ve recently become more active with Open Arms of Minnesota in Minneapolis, “the only non-profit organization in Minnesota that cooks and delivers free meals specifically tailored to meet the nutrition needs of individuals living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, MS, and ALS.” Helping to nourish others while they are sick (and their families) is a cause I care about and am glad to be able to support. Continue reading

The Best Chicken Is Berbere Roasted Chicken

1-IMG_6886 Berbere spice is an aromatic and flavorful spice blend from Ethiopia that I love to cook with. You can add it to anything; meats, vegetables, rice, lentils, etc. It was so good I bought some immediately after trying it for the first time. Berbere is available online, specialty food markets, spice stores or you can make your own. I’m not that ambitious (yet!) so have my trusty jar.

I roast a chicken every other week because it provides so many meals beyond a single chicken dinner. I had the butcher remove the backbone on this one which I will save to make stock later. Continue reading

Hummus with Parsley Recipe

1-IMG_6665Hummus is one of the most delicious and healthy snacks you can have on hand and is extremely easy to make.  Use it as a dip with pitas or veggies, as a spread for sandwiches or on a salad, it is a great staple to have around. Here’s my go-to recipe. Continue reading

Lamb Patties with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce Recipe

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Lamb is a favorite protein of mine that I don’t make often enough. My local co-op had ground lamb on sale so it was a no-brainer as to what I would be making for dinner. The sauce is my attempt at tzatziki without using a recipe – remember I am an off the top of my head cook sometimes! I did go back to check on tzatziki recipes before writing this post to see if I was close and noticed several called for the peeling and seeding of cucumbers. I think that is a waste of perfectly good produce. I am all about nose-to-tail vegetable cooking, or something in that vein. Continue reading

Easy Chicken Stock

I try to always have chicken stock in the freezer because it’s so easy to make and makes everything better. Everything.IMG_6617-0

Here’s my tip – keep a gallon size Ziploc bag or two in the freezer and add vegetable scraps and chicken parts/bones when you have them. Once the bag is full, make stock. Continue reading

Eastlake Brewery & Taproom Opens in Minneapolis Midtown

This post originally appeared on Minnesota Beer Activists.

Eastlake Brewery & Taproom opened Thursday in the Midtown Global Market after a busy preview night. Wednesday was full of energy with staff and neighboring businesses passing out hearty food samples to accompany the beers. IMG_0370.PNGManny’s Tortas, anyone? Owner Ryan Pitman was running around pouring, bussing and welcoming friends. I was lucky to get a few minutes with him to talk about his venture which has been in the works for a year.

The taproom is perfectly positioned on the south side of the building with windows facing Lake Street so there is no missing that a good time is being had inside. Long tables and ample bar and window seating make the space very welcoming. This bodes well for Eastlake as they are probably the only business that people can see from outside.

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Eastlake Brewery opened with four taps out of eight: Saison, American Rye Stout, Belgian Pale Ale, and a black IPA. Ryan says he definitely has an affinity for Belgian beers as we can see from his taplist. An American Pale Ale and a Belgian IPA will be on tap next week and the additional two will follow. I asked him about what style he wants to put on the map, Ryan says it’s the Nicollet Mauler, the Black IPA. He is particularly fond of his recipe because of its maltier backbone and his use of rye. Continue reading