Monday, July 27, 2009

Canning Demo #1

They just posted my canning demo on Kare 11!
I think it turned out really well, especially considering that my car had a flap of plastic/rubber under the bumper come loose on the way to the studio and I couldn't get it fixed in time. It sounded like my wheel was falling off if I went above 20 mph! Luckily Nikki came to the rescue and picked me up. {Thanks!!}

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Mustards

I'm a huge fan of most condiments, but mustard is one of my favorites. I love it sweet or hot or Dijon or stoneground...Just about any kind. In preparation for the Eat Local America Challenge in August, I'm getting my local mustard selection in order (Because a month without mustard would be a sad month indeed).

Silver Spring mustard is made by family owned business in Wisconsin and is really tasty. Last year I got a bottle of the dill mustard from either Lakewinds or Linden Hills Co-op for the Eat Local Challenge, but this year I wanted to try making my own. I was super excited to see a few recipes included in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving!

I couldn't decide between making the Ginger Garlic Mustard (p.272) and the Oktoberfest Beer Mustard (P. 274), so I made both. I ended up with a dozen 4 oz. jars of mustard in my pantry!

Mustard seeds soaking in Ginger-Garlic brine (L) and Mai Bock beer from Vine Park Brewing(R)

Sidenote: Anyone who lives in the Twin Cities should go to Vine Park Brewing Co. on West 7th street. You can go there to brew your own beer! And they make root beer, too! (It has honey, so beware if you're not a "bee-gan" vegan.).

And they sell their beer in refillable growler bottles. Pretty awesome.

Back to the mustard:

Here they are, boiling away!

I ended up with a little extra mustard to keep in the fridge to use right away, plus 6 jars of each canned.

Vine Park Beer Mustard

Ginger-Garlic Mustard

The beer mustard needed a bit more salt and sugar, but then I liked it a lot. I thought the flavor of the beer mustard was way better than the Ginger-Garlic one. The Ginger-Garlic mustard was REALLY spicy and a lacking in garlic flavor. Very horseradish-y. But maybe it mellowed a bit during processing, though- I'll have to wait to see because I have a lot of mustard to use up before opening a new jar!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Canning and Cake

This morning was pretty awesome- one of my stepsons agreed to can something with me! They're not usually interested in cooking with me, so this was suprising.

We had about 4 lbs. of green, wax, and purple beans to use, so we made Dilly Beans (big surprise). He did a pretty good job of participating- He did everything but use the knife or pour boiling brine! The purple beans lost their color during processing, so you can't really see them.

Stepson even said, "Canning is fun"! What more couple I ask for?!

Last night we had some friends over to play games and eat good food. I forgot to take a picture, of anything but the cake, though!

Strawberry filled peach cake (Hannah Kaminsky's Peach Melba Cake with strawberry instead of raspberry) made with last year's canned peaches.
We also had rockin' strawberry lemonade made with strawberries that Sarah picked the previous day; Last year's corn/squash salsa with Whole Grain Milling Co. chips; Basil Pickled green beans; Potato salad with local potatoes, garden herbs, and homemade pickles. It was all pretty delicious, I must say.

Herb Garden Tour

The garden tour continues...

Hopefully you can read the little labels.
The Left Side

The Right Side

The Deck

Next up is the berry patch

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Little Tour of the Garden

I think I'm in love with my garden.
I was so scared that things wouldn't grow as good as they used to before swapping my soil. I never did much besides weed and occasionally spread some composted manure in my old garden and it miraculously grew huge quantities of food. I feel like it was magic- totally not due to any gardening skill or training on my part. So I was nervous that this new soil, while not contaminated, might not be very good or would require a lot of time and attention. But now I'm not too worried. Here's a tour of my main garden:

The cucumbers are going crazy. I cleaned out the last of the radishes from the cuke bed, so now they have a little more room. I pulled in 2 pounds of pickling cucumbers today. On the right there are peas, a purple cayenne chile plant, tomatillos and then lots of tomatoes.

Here's a view of the green bean bed on the left and the basil/cuke bed on the right. This year I planted some purple, wax, and green beans- This is my first picking of them because they got such a late start. I got nearly three pounds of beans today.

In the back of this view you can see the other tomato bed and one of the broccoli/cauliflower beds. The mulberry tree is in the far back.

Aren't the beans beautiful?! I haven't decided how to preserve the broccoli- I got about 2 3/4 pounds today. Probably I'll freeze it. The beans are destined to be pickled.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I'm feeling just a little bit famous, ya'll. Really, it's Mississippi Market that's famous, but I get to be a spokesperson on TV 3 times next week!

On Monday, July 27th I'll be on Showcase MN on Kare11 doing a canning demo. Later that day I'll be filmed for the "Cheap Chick" segment on Fox 9 at our new store on West 7th St- Talking about how buying in bulk is thrifty. Then on Friday I'll be on the "In the Kitchen" segment on Fox 9 with more canning.

Tomorrow I'm being interviewed for an article on canning for Body + Soul Magazine, which in my mind means I'll be forever linked to Martha Stewart (and that's a good thing).

On August 29th I'll be on Fresh and Local KTNF950 talking about canning and local foods. This is my first media-thing that is for me, rather than through the co-op.

So I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at all this, especially since it all arose rather quickly. But I'm really excited to get to share canning information with so many people and spread the word about good food!

PS- Thanks to the folks at Haberman for making darn near all this happen!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tasty summer salad

After enjoying some super cool weather the last few days, we actually got some sunshine today. That means my bread baking and soup making plans were nixed in favor of a cold rice noodle salad with carrot, green onion, basil, cilantro, mint, lime, and seitan. Yum!
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Friday, July 17, 2009

2 Quick Projects

This week has been insanely busy, but I've been wanting to make spicy sauerkraut and pickled basil green beans since a week and a half ago. I just got two new preserving books: The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich and the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I'm not sure anyone ever needs more than these two books for food preserving. They are both amazing!

Mike's pretty sure no one needs a whole book about pickles, but I'm sure that it will enhance my quality of preserving and, therefore, life. So there. Really- you should get these books.

I've made 3 recipes from The Joy of Pickling in the past 2 days!

Locally grown cabbage was under a dollar per pound at the Co-op this week, so it was time to make some kraut. But I also wanted to make kimchi. So I compromised with the Kimchi Kraut on page 189. Spicy, garlicky, gingery...It'll be awesome in 2 weeks!

(The plastic bags are filled with brine and work to contain the cabbage under the brine.)

Tonight I really needed to use up about 2 lbs of pickling cukes from the garden. Most pickle recipes call for large quantities of cucumbers, but the Really Quick Dill Pickles on page 86 gives quantities for pickles by the quart. I did 1 quart and 2 pints. These truly are quick- so quick that I decided to keep the canner boiling and pickle some green beans, too!

The Basil Beans on page 114 called out to me. I LOVE dilly beans, but want to branch out so that I don't end up hating them after canning a gazillion jars. Basil beans are basically the same, but with basil instead of dill. There's certainly no shortage of basil in the garden, so this recipe is perfect for tonight!

Now we'll see how long I can wait before trying these...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Butternut squash ravioli with green beans

I'm not sure that I could be more exhausted than I am right now. We opened our new West 7th location of Mississippi Market today and it was CRAZY busy!

I'm sitting back with a quick dinner of frozen ravioli with green beans and garden herbs. The sauce is just earth balance and lemon juice, but it's darn tasty.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Against My Usual Judgement...

I'm not exactly the type to go on spontaneous trips. I savor each moment of planning that goes into preparing for a camping trip, a road trip, hell... even a trip to the co-op. I have nightmares where I only have anywhere from 10 minutes to one day to pack for a trip. It's terrifying.

So when my friend Crystal asked if I wanted to leave the co-op and drive to Iowa for a Greg Brown concert at Seed Savers' Exchange that night, every instinct in me said, "Surely there is a
good reason you shouldn't do this...Surely you would need to prepare more for this." But on that day for commemorating change (We were at the closing ceremony for the long-standing
Randolph Ave. location of Mississippi Market), I decided to go for it. I headed home and packed my bag with the essentials you grab when you have just a few minutes: Sleeping bag, shorts, pickled green beans, sunscreen and Ryvita crackers.

I've wanted to visit Seed Savers' Exchange for a long time. I always buy their seeds from the Co-op or order them directly from the farm. They always have the most amazing selection of heirloom and organic seeds and they're close to MN, too!

Just look how beautiful this is! And this is just one small part of their gardens and land. It was so much fun to see the actual plants from seed varieties that I've drooled over for ages in their catalogue.

After the concert that night it was pitch black and we hadn't set up our tents yet. Luckily the Seed Savers cabin was open and we got permission to sleep there.

This adorable cabin was built long, long ago, but has been remodeled to have running water and electricity.

Don't you wish you lived here?

We "camped" in the loft and hiked through the pastures to the stream the next morning. I haven't had much experience climbing over barbed wire, but Crystal can make nearly anything look cool in a picture.

Later we visited Oneota Co-op, which is ridiculously cute. I'll forever wish I had gotten more than a tiny bag of their chocolate covered coconut curry cashews. Yep, you heard me right. Chocolate covered coconut curry cashews.

I made it out of the Seed Savers gift shop with only 2 bags of heirloom beans, 1 seed packet, and one book: The Joy of Pickling. Tonight I've perused the recipes twice, marking each one that I want to try with a pink Post-It. It would have been simpler to mark the recipes I DON'T want to try!

Overall: Awesome trip! I'll definitely be visiting Seed Savers again and will try to embrace spontaneity more often.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Easy Peasy

Sometimes I just want comfort foods- Even when it's not the most convenient thing to make or the easiest. Pea Salad, though, couldn't be simpler.

The English Pea Salad that I remember from my youth was made with canned peas, mayonnaise, chunks of cheddar (or Velveeta). And it was good as hell. I might be too snobby now to make pea salad this way, but I won't pretend like it wasn't ridiculously delicious or that I don't get warm fuzzy feelings every time I see a can of peas.

My pea salad starts with a garden, a co-op, a farmer's market or a CSA share. You'll need fresh peas for this. And you'll also need a few minutes to sit down and shell those peas. It's not hard, it just takes a few minutes. Just make your kids do it. Or do like I did and plop down at the table and shell peas while chatting with your sweetie.

I used a little over a 1/2 pound of peas in the shell for a salad for myself. So you'll need a big bag of shell peas for a crowd. I know it's selfish, but I never make fresh peas for my whole family. I wait until I'm cooking just for me and then get out the peas. Sorry, kids.

Here's what I like in my pea salad:

1/2 pound of shelling peas or "English peas", shelled
1 Tbsp. Veganaise
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1-2 tsp. grated or minced red onion (sweet onion would be awesome)
A few drops of rice vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam the shelled peas for maybe a minute- really just enough to turn them bright green. Taste one and you'll know when they're ready. Just please, whatever you do...Don't overcook them! Rinse in cool water to stop the cooking process. Add to a little bowl with remaining ingredients and stir until peas are coated in the creamy dressing. That's it!

You can add other veggies to this, but I'm a purist when it comes to pea salad. I don't like much else in there but peas.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Oh, yeah. The Recipe.

As requested, here's the recipe we used for the Dilly Beans and the Pickled Beets at our ExtravaCANza. We did add an extra chile to each jar of the beans and used a rockin homemade pickling spice for the beets.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


This is what happens when 4 super cool ladies gather together to celebrate the Fourth of July. We took a different angle from barbecue and fireworks and decided to honor our foremothers and the independence that comes from a healthy local food economy and full pantry. We're not a traditionally patiotic bunch.

Oscar helped.

We started at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market (outside of my 'hood, yes, but worth it for these biking babes). Morgen carted 21 pounds of beets and greens and 12 pounds of green beans back to her house for us.
Heather, Jessie and Morgen

We got back and immediately got to work on prepping ingredients. We snapped the end of the beans, peeled the garlic, sliced the onions and cooked the beets enough to peel them.

Peeling and slicing beets made Heather and Morgen's hands look pretty brutal.

Our set up started out really neat and tidy and deteriorated from that point until all of Morgen's linens were covered in beet juice and I had lost a couple of garlic cloves behind her bookshelf somewhere.

Once we got into a rhythm, though, everything went really smoothly. We'd each have a job and fill the jars assembly-line style: Fill with beets/beans, brine, remove bubbles, wipe rims & seal. It was a regular sweatshop in there with all the steaming pots on the stove and the 9 hour workdays. [Yeah, I shouldn't make light of sweatshops. I know they're much worse that what we experienced. Sweatshop workers don't usually get hummus, crackers, and cold beer delivered to them while working]

At the end of the day we had (I believe) 28 pints of dilly beans and 6 pints and 6 quarts of pickled beets. Wait, maybe more beets. Probably more and I lost count.

There's not much sexier than a classy lady with a full canning pantry, right?

We're left with about a million bags of washed, roughly chopped, frozen beet greens for the next canning project. Spicy Lentil Rasam with Beet Greens, anyone?