Category Archives: Food

This is what May tastes like

If it’s May, that means it’s time for baking with rhubarb! I still don’t have my own rhubarb plant, which means that around this time of year I have to hope that friends with better gardening skills than I are generous enough to share a bit of their bounty.

When my husband brought back a bag of freshly cut rhubarb from a friend’s house last weekend, it got chopped up and tossed in the oven within the hour. Maybe even faster.

This recipe for rhubarb crisp that ran in the New York Times earlier this month is about as simple as it gets. Chop up some rhubarb; toss it with some sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest; spread it in a baking dish; and top it with a basic crisp topping.

Simple, but oh so tasty. So much better than pie. Really.

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Nanaimo bars

I was browsing food blogs looking for inspiration for Olympic-themed cookies or cupcakes to take with me to an Opening Ceremonies gathering, when I saw a treat that looked awfully familiar.

Nanaimo bars!

Or, at least, that’s what the blogs were calling them.

To me, they looked suspiciously like Prayer Bars, one of my favorite holiday treats growing up. My mom made them every Christmas, adding green food die, and sometimes mint flavoring, to that middle buttery-sugar layer. My only two attempts to make them ended in disaster — a crumbly mess. So I gave up on Prayer Bars and kind of forgot about them.

Until these turned up. Get the whole story »

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Merry Christmas

One great cookie recipe + one set of Fred ABC Cookie Cutters =

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Party mix

The number of hits on my homemade thin mints post must mean I’m not the only one in the midst of a week-long marathon of holiday baking. All week I’ve been making and freezing dough for lemon cream cheese meltaways (a new recipe for me), thin mints (yum!), snickerdoodle pinwheels (a disastrous sticky dough experience that led me to toss the recipe immediately) and peanut butter blossoms.

No photos, because I haven’t baked a single cookie yet. That comes this weekend.

In the meantime, I thought I’d post my favorite savory holiday/party recipe. I love variation on Chex Mix. I think it’s the Goldfish crackers and croutons that win me over.

This recipe makes a really big batch. As in, I don’t have a bowl big enough to mix it all in, or pan big enough to bake it all at once. I have to divide it up between two bowls and two to four pans, and bake it in batches. The hassle is worth it though, because this snack mix goes quickly!

One note about the recipe: The packaging sizes have changed since the cookbook it came from was published. I just buy whatever size box the cereal and crackers and pretzels are sold in now.

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i like you, Minneapolis

I love traveling on the weekend when Daylight Savings ends. It’s like a free hour of vacation.

So, Halloween weekend, (I know, I’m about two weeks behind here), we drove up to Minneapolis for:

1. A lot of great food, including breakfast tacos at Moose &  Sadies (below); burgers, tots, and beer at Bulldog Northeast (they had me at “tots”);  contemporary Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine at Saffron Lounge (I almost always go for good Mediterranean food while traveling to a big city, because you can’t find much of it here at home); and an amazing pile of huevos rancheros and delicious vegetable benedict at Hell’s Kitchen (could I eat brunch there every Sunday, please?).

2. A Ben Folds show featuring Sonny and Cher costumes, a ghost drummer, and an auditorium full of fans wearing dark-rimmed Ben Folds glasses. (We got there a half-hour before the show and were still too late to snag a pair!)

3. Shopping, including a stop at i like you, a fantastic local shop full of fun handmade items including prints, silk-screened t-shirts, jewelry, soaps, hats and scarfs, and softies, like this upcycled sweater cat that I couldn’t resist bringing home with me:

The store reminded me of Anthology in Madison, which I wrote about a couple of months ago, but with a Minneapolis flavor. You can find a bunch of photos of the store on its Facebook page here and read a little more about it here.

These sorts of shops, which are like little brick-and-mortar estys, are quickly becoming my favorite things to seek out in other cities. I can’t wait to have one in my very own hometown.

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August in Madison. Part 1.

It’s fair to say that around here the last couple of weeks have been a little something like this:

little cloud

Lucky for me, my husband knows that the best cure for such times is a roadtrip, so he swept me off to Madison for my first ever (finally!) trip to the Dane County Farmers Market.

The Dane County Farmers Market claims to be the largest producer-only farmers market in the country. I’d heard that it was big, that it was stocked full of fruits and vegetables and flowers and breads and cheeses (Oh, Wisconsin, how I love your cheeses!),  that it could easily take up an entire morning… yet I still wasn’t prepared for sheer size and variety of foods for sale. It was amazing. I was in heaven.

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