Greeting Text

Following twenty years of selling locally grown vegetables, native fruits, preserved and pickled products and local honey at local farmer's markets Linda moved indoors. In honor of many days in her aunt's West St. Paul kitchen, she opened Marianne's Kitchen in Shoreview, MN. Operating from 2011-2017 the cafe offered home made soups, fresh bread baked daily, great sandwiches and treats and a complete line of gluten-free soups, pickled products (e.g. Pickled Beets) and jams and jellies (e.g. Hot Apricot Jelly).

Marianne's Kitchen has been sold. The goal was to be a oasis of good food, conversation and laughter in a suburban food desert for five years. It was fun so the commitment was stretched to seven years.

The Marianne's Kitchen public face will continue with ongoing commentary, food reviews and food finds as we continue to grow, cook and eat our food as well as others.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Savory Seeded Bread - A Saturday Evening Treat

...stopped to watch an episode of Martha Bakes on Twin Cities PBS this morning.  What caught my eye was the presentation by Simo Kuusisto on grains that he's using to bake Nordic breads in NYC.  He talked about emmer, spelt, freshly ground whole wheat flours.....all things I like to play around with.

Then Martha went on to bake a loaf of Seeded Savory Quick Bread, containing whole wheat pastry flour and spelt flour.   It looked delicious but seemed to bake up in a somewhat uneven, lopsided way.   I thought....I wonder if you could dock that bread and make it come out more evenly?????

...and as always, I moved ahead.....not knowing for sure if I had most of the ingredients I needed....but lack of ingredients is also the mother of invention : )

I did pretty well...I couldn't find any whole wheat pastry flour (can't remember what I used that up on) and didn't have any sunflower seeds....but many flours and seeds could be substituted, so I went for it.

Here's Martha's Recipe:
Matha's Bread

Seeded Savory Quick Bread


No kneading or yeast required for this easy loaf! Two types of better-for-you flour -- whole-wheat pastry and spelt -- plus an array of seeds make it super flavorful. Martha made this recipe on "Martha Bakes" episode 805.
Total Time Prep Yield

Ingredients


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with oil. Line with parchment, leaving a 1-inch overhang on long sides. Oil parchment.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, 1/2 cup each sunflower and black sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons each caraway and flax seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

3. In another large bowl, stir together milk, buttermilk, honey, and oil until honey is dissolved. Add flour mixture; beat until combined, about 1 minute. Transfer to prepared pan; sprinkle with remaining seeds, pressing gently to adhere.

4. Bake, rotating pan halfway though, until a tester inserted in center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour, 5 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes, then turn out bread and let cool completely. (Bread can be tightly wrapped and stored at room temperature up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.)

Cook's Notes

Whole-wheat pastry flour has less protein than regular whole-wheat flour, resulting in a lighter, more tender bread. You can substitute regular whole-wheat flour, but the bread will be slightly more coarse and dense.


Another photo of Martha's somewhat 'lopsided' loaf:

Seeded Savory Quickbread

Martha's
I substituted a freshly ground whole wheat bread flour (one with a protein content at the low end of the scale to more closely approximate the pastry flour) for the whole wheat pastry flour, and I decided that a little fennel seed might be delish, so I could forego the sunflower seeds (although those bigger seeds would be an interesting textural element).

Otherwise I followed Martha's recipe, with one exception.  Before I put the pan in the preheated oven, I docked the loaf to see if I could prevent that odd-shape that was the result of her baking technique.

What do you think???
 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Part 2: Seed Catalog Addiction

Part II  How to get through a cold spell in Minnesota in January without eating...




It's January and the seed catalogs are arriving every day.



I've fallen off a few mailing lists....just not enough time to buy something from all of these companies the last seven years.  A few seed companies have given up on me.  Trust me...that won't last long now that I have a minute of free time : )



But, I've received catalogs  to fill up several hours of looking at pictures foods without eating.  Try it to reach your annual New Year's Resolution.



Territorial Seed from Cottage Grove, OR, produces a
wonderful ALL COLOR catalog!    A family-owned company, they are charter signers of the Safe Seed Pledge...vowing that they will NOT knowingly buy or sell any genetically engineered seeds or plants.  You can buy products from this company with peace of mind.  

The hard-to-find French sorrel, a wonderful
soup ingredient is high on my list.  For the last few years, I've been obsessed with planting cardoons...big in Italy (even cooked on TV by Mary Ann Esposito on Ciao Italia) but pretty much unknown here (gee, I wonder if 'they're any good?').  Let's see if I can find a soil where these will work.


I see that Seed Savers Exchange is thinking like me!!  Years ago, I noticed mangels in the Shumway's catalog (more about that catalog later).     Mangels are sugar beets (you know, the origin of the cheap sugar in MN...sugar that's not from sugar cane..like Crystal Sugar...most of the generic sugar brands are beet sugar grown in the Red River Valley in NW MN).  Yes, you can use mangels to make your own sugar---if you're nuts enough to do THAT kind of work (trust me, I'm nuts enough to have thought about doing it one year; luckily sanity prevailed).

Mangels of often used as cattle feed, but some are small enough or tender enough when young to be used like the beets you're used to eating (like pickled beets).  

This year, in Seed Savers' new seed offerings, they have a yellow intermediate mangel.
It looks like a yellow chioggia-style beet (a beet that has rings like a bullseye).   They have a wonderful sweet flavor and can be used like the traditional beets we're all used to.   I may have to think like a farm animal and taste these babies.




Oh, Shumway's.  They've used some of their black
and white pictures in their catalog for decades (how do I know---besides being old?).  In the 1980s, when we owned "Today's Paper" greeting card and gift stores, we sold a tee shirt that said 'Give Peas A Chance'...and the artwork on that tee was the same picture that's on page 44 of Shumway's catalog this year for Little Marvel peas.....the same picture that's been there as long as I can remember.  

The first and last 8 pages are color and the middle of the catalog is black and white.   They've been doing this for 148 years.  The color pages have great old-fashioned drawings of veggies and flowers--I'm particularly fond of the kitchy drawing of the Moon and Stars watermelon that we first grew in the early
1990s.  This year they're selling seeds for Red Warty Thing for the first time...a fun orange Hubbard-style squash that we used to grow because it can get to 20 pounds (I don't think we reached that in Zone 3...but we did manage to ripen some of them).  


And, if you like to garden, everyone should, at least
once in their life, plant #08216 Grandmother's Old-Fashioned Flower Garden (page 60---a color page--this year) that they've sold since 1938....a mixture of more than 20 varieties of old fashioned flowers all in one neat little package.



I highly recommend seed catalogs.   They're the kind of publication that grandma or grandpa should peruse with the grandkids....get away from the electronic devices for a few hours and spend some time talking about where food comes from, looking at the different kinds of food or flowers that they might grow, and maybe order a packet of green bean seeds.  

When they arrive (at the grandkid's house--because I think kids still like to get real mail)---grab some paper cups and potting soil and plant some bean seeds and watch them grow and then put some outside when the weather is ready.  

This would also be a good time to explain that pizza does NOT come from seeds : )



Other good catalogs include Jung's from Wisconsin, John Scheepers Kitchen Garden seeds (the first place I ever ordered seeds for Florence fennel; they have cardoons this year, too), and if you like to grow unusual and tasty fruit, try Raintree Nursery in Washington State or One Green World in Portland Oregon.  They brought me seaberries, many varieties of lingonberries, honeyberries, fruiting Shipova ash trees and much, much more---but note the zones for these because they have a 'milder' climate than we do.

Seaberries

This is how I get through cold days in January...perusing the catalogs, reminding myself of what good food is and where it comes from and what it takes to grow it.  

Days of enriching the soil, turning soil, planting, weeding, watering...picking that first fresh produce from the garden...eating it raw right on the spot!!!  Warm days are coming! Spring planting, summer tending, harvest and standing in a garden that showcases the fruits of your labor are not far off.

There are days of standing over a canner so that next January, as the seed catalogs are arriving in the mailbox....when you get hungry--you can open a jar of jam and remember the flavors of last summer....as you plan for the spring that is just around the corner.


Late Lunch at Hazel's NE in MPLS 1/12/2018


I don't know where the time goes.  Delivering products to stores, John driving back from working 'up north'...it's now after 3 p.m., surely a late lunch.

Leaving Shoreview, predominated by corporate food venues,  is step #1 in 'finding something tasty.'    

We're starving and decide to head to a corner where if one place is not open, the other one will be. Without a specific destination, having a Plan B is critical in the search for food.  You can't find a good team of horses in a one-horse town, so Northeast...here we come!

One of our favorite go-to places when out of time and ideas is Coffee Shop NE.  Consistently good coffee, a variety of salads, basic decent quality sandwiches and bars and cookies...how can you miss?   I've told Jenny, the owner, that we've come to rely on Coffee Shop NE as a regular stop for something quick and tasty in a friendly neighborhood setting.

But our quest today was Hazel's Northeast.   And, YES, they were open.  

Good time of day for a quick lunch/brunch....only 1 other table of diners, so immediate seating and quick service.

The menus arrived and I asked about the quiche of the day.  Clearly, we had made the right decision today--the quiche was duck with currants.  Didn't have to look any further.  John debated a few great sounding choices...and chose the Rachel (he likes to compare to Anne's expertly crafted Rachel at Marianne's and to The Local, a standard destination during his downtown MPLS gig).  Both of our orders were served promptly with a mixed greens salad dressed with vinaigrette.

The food was terrific.   The salads were perfectly dressed and in my case, how can you beat quiche with duck?  We sometimes served duck at Marianne's---people always did a double-take that our little place could serve up house-made duck soup or other fun ducky dishes. 

John said his Rachel was really, really good--I don't know---he didn't share : (   The turkey had great flavor and texture, excellent kraut and tasty bread.   He compared it favorably to Marianne's Kitchen offering, but Anne served our Rachel on a house-baked roll...black rye or caraway or pumpernickel...and you know that we're suckers for decent bread.  We felt that Marianne's offered a slight upside on the bread over Hazel's.

Our server, Colleen, with a great amount of food service experience, was very good.  We had a great conversation sharing food destinations. She updated us on a few things in the MN food world that we'd lost track of...like Sarah Master closed her lakeside restaurant up north on Swan Lake.....she made great food (and many of you saw her during many TV appearances on "The Taste") but apparently the local crowd was looking for deep-fried cheese curds. Too bad when such talent goes so unappreciated.  I would eat a Sara Master meal any time, any place...including in a fish house (not my first choice of places to go...but I would 'sacrifice' my seating standards).  Now that Sarah Master chefs at the Red Stag Supper Club we're putting that venue on our 'next' list.

Hazel's was a truly nice afternoon adventure.   I've sworn I'm not going to eat corporate junk food if I can drive, walk, crawl to a place that makes decent food and hopefully has local ties.   Hazel's fit the bill today and we'll certainly keep it on our 'A' list.


Part 1: Seed Catalog Addiction to Farmer to Restaurant Adventure

Part I:  My addiction to seed catalogs (or how I became an heirloom, organic food farmer which resulted in a restaurant adventure)

 




It's that time of year.  Frigid cold weather...makes you want to stay inside by the fireplace.  John likes this because he's about ten years ahead on cutting, splitting and drying his firewood supply.



It's also the time when the mailbox overflows with seed catalogs, lots of them.  At our old house, the mailman knocked one day in January and asked "Could you please purchase a larger mailbox ?" He could not get everything in our 'regular size' mailbox.  Our replacement...that giant rural delivery box...was ALMOST big enough 😊



I've missed a number of 'seed opportunities' in the last few years while busy with our cafe adventure.   Our recent plantings have been low-care...shallots, fingerling potatoes, zucchini (you don't need many plants to fill someone's car in August).   

This is the year to start digging in the dirt again in a
big way, adding more raised beds, carving a bit more 'veggie space' out of 'big field' (John is looking for an opportunity to use his 1950 Ford 8N tractor).



Open-pollination, heirloom, hybrid...SEEDS!
As life members of Seed Savers Exchange  (SSE) in
Decorah, Iowa, we receive their gorgeous color catalog of heirloom seeds and a reminder of the 'seed exchange' on their website (it replaces the gigantic annual black and white book...fun for highlighting everything and then paring it down to a humanly possible quantity (I'll miss the big book which was probably not very environmental).   



We support SSE because the giant agri-business corporations want to control seeds the way that
Nestle wants to have control over fresh water as it becomes a scarce commodity worldwide.  Historically farmers saved seeds from their own crops for the next season.  Large ag corps patent and 'own' seed and prohibit saving crop seeds for re-planting (they sue and win) and force farmers to buy seed each year.  



SSE has an enormous array of open-pollinated heirloom seed....seed that can be saved and planted year after year after year.  Seeds from hybrid plants will not produce what you grew and may not grow. We believe in the right to save and share open-pollinated seed. That freedom is under assault from large agribusiness.



Let's get to the fun part.




I've scanned about 4 catalogs of 20 or so,highlighting fun things to plant.  This 'scanning' started more than twenty years ago which led us to being charter vendors at the Shoreview Farmer's Market and being the first to offer...

  • Green zebra tomatoes
  • Thelma Sanders sweet potato squash
  • Pink banana squash
  • Dragon tongue beans
  • Ground cherries 
  • Bulgarian carrot peppers
  • Many other veggies from heirloom seed 
And chemical-free fruits...
  • Aronia 
  • Honeyberry 
  • Antique apples   

At the Shoreview market we frequently heard "I've never heard of that!" and "Are they any good?" Everyone...address your food fears!  

Ground cherries were big. Many remembered eating them as kid's on at a family member's farm.  I persisted in my pursuit of opening peoples minds (and mouths).



Times have changed.  At the end of our twenty year market run people were lining up for...
  • Heirloom fingerling potatoes
  • Pattypan squash (one notable day more than 100 patty pan squash sold at the St. Anthony Village market in an hour and a half)
  • Wapsipinicon peach tomatoes (a fuzzy, peachy tomato--don't miss this taste experience)
  • Speckled Roman tomatoes
  • Country gentleman sweet corn  


People started to realize that grocery store pickles are boring and not very tasteful, and strawberry jam, the commercial store-bought type is lacking in fruit and sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.  This is not your grandmother's jam. 

Pickling and canning began...piccalilli, jardiniere and giardiniara, interesting cucumber pickles, aronia jam, crabapple jelly...all grown in big quantities in three different gardens (diversification so that one woodchuck family didn't eat ALL your produce). Opening a jar was opening the memory of your favorite aunt's or grandmother's homemade jam.  In my case it was at my aunt's West St. Paul kitchen table.  That is a story for another time.


These decades of experiences growing veggies, fruits, herbs (I had a French tarragon plant the size of a small tree!)... laid the groundwork for some of the out-of-the ordinary foods we were able to offer at Marianne's.  

It was a joy when customers eating blue heirloom potatoes in their soup changed from "What's this?" or "I've never seen anything like that!" to "I love these! I'd eat blue potatoes every day!"  and "Not had it..I'd like to try."


So, that's the short history of our involvement in the heirloom, open-pollinated seed world.  

Part II coming soon.

P.S.  If you read enough seed catalogs in this cold weather, you, too, may end up in the cafe business!


Friday, January 12, 2018

Workhorse Coffee for coffee and no work 1/7/18



This turned out to be a throwback day!!

We grabbed a quick coffee, croissant & salad at Workhorse Coffee in the Security Bldg at University & Raymond (i think this has been the Edge, Susie's, the Grind, Racer.....maybe more).

My roots go way back in this building. In the 1980s I was a principal in Caardvark Greeting Card & Gift stores. I took over management of the company when there was just 1 store--on Lake St near Hennepin behind the former Rainbow Cafe (later Chino Latino). As
we expanded...next to the Apache Mall in Rochester...it was time to get an offsite office for my accumulating piles of work.
 
I lived in Lauderdale & had a store in uptown & 1 in Rochester----where to office???
 
A convenient (& really cheap) place was the Security Bldg owned by Joe Brown....of Raymond Ave Gallery. A great office suite at a really reasonable price. 
 
That's when Barb Hunn had just the Keys on Raymond--before they expanded to many locations (& I've eaten at all of them!!)

So here we are today at Workhorse Coffee on the first floor of the Security Bldg!!!

Great little coffee place....they exposed a lot of brick on the east wall and tiled the bottom half with shiny black subway tile. Nice counter that fits the Workhorse concept to a tee.

We had a cold brew & a mocha plus a spinach & feta croissant & a very tasty salad with mixed greens, craisins, almonds & a slightly sweet poppy seed dressing. All lovely. Great staff, too.

Very nice space...a couple of very large tables for big groups or to spread out your work if you're camping there for awhile. Smaller tables & cute nook & cranny spaces & places to watch the light rail buzz by.

So, of course I had to ask ... Who owns the bldg now?

Yup....Joe Brown!
 

Dinner at Los Ocampo While Selling a Car 1/9/2018


Anne is selling her car, so we were meeting some potential buyers in East St. Paul...at dinner time. We grabbed a quick bite at Los Ocampo on I 94 & White Bear Ave.
Not crowded, so immediate seating.

We sat in the 'greenhouse' and had great service from the guy Anne sez is the best server in the place (older, with greying hair [John believes old & grey, like him, is a pinnacle of success and cool]).
The waiter brought out ALL of the sauce choices (& we ate most of them!!)

John had his standard alambre, Anne opted for the corn tortilla quesadilla, & I had 2 traditional tacos with a side of
veggies...see, it's possible to eat your veggies almost anywhere ; )

Pretty standard Los O fare tonight-- nothing outstanding, nothing bad. Great service, decent food, and a pleasant environment.

Nice quick dinner after the evening's test drive.