Category Archives: Food

Who’s Choosing the Menu?

After the great naan breakfast recipe last week, we had ricotta cheese left.  I hate throwing out food so I bought some lasagna noodles and told YA what I was going to make.

The morning I started to make the dish, YA wandered into the kitchen.  “Make lasagna rolls instead of regular lasagna” she said.  I whined and said this was a lot more work than just quickly layering stuff into one pan.  She whined a bit more and I told her (as I was putting the noodles into the boiling water) that I would think about it.  This is straight-up parent-speak for “No, but I want you to quit bugging me about it.”

She left me in the kitchen and a few minutes later, I heard the vacuum running upstairs.  I made the lasagna rolls.

Is there anybody who can push your buttons this well?

Nothing on a Stick

Well, we did it.  We found a fair food truck that had three of our favorite things and that wasn’t too far!  It was up in the Costco parking lot in north Minneapolis, so if you don’t count my having to backtrack because it turns out the 46th street ramp onto 35W is closed, it only took about 15 minutes to get up there.

We shared an order of cheese curds, an order of French fries and a bag of mini donuts (although I probably had more than half… YA likes them but not as much as the other things).  We sat in the car to eat and watched other folks wander up to the truck for their orders.

It was quite pleasant except for the fact that seven hours later I was still not interested in food – still not hungry.  If a half order of three items filled me up that much, how in heavens’ name do people eat so much at the fair?  I never get cheese curds or French fries on my solo fair days since I don’t have anyone to share it with, but even so, if you add up what I do consume on my own, it’s quite a bit.  I expect that the increased exercise from walking all over the fair is what keeps me from getting too full.  Since my only exercise yesterday consisted of the stationary bike for 30 minutes and the dog walk for just 20 minutes, my fair food kept me full all day.  Guess that means that without the whole state fair experience, I should probably stay away from too many food trucks this summer!

How are you getting your exercise in this summer?

Breakfast Naan

Even though I have a strict rule about cookbooks (if I buy one, I have to get rid of one), it doesn’t stop me from checking them out from the library.  I love reading through cookbooks, seeing what different chefs/authors do, with new or old ingredients and techniques.  It’s been a while since a cookbook has been tempting enough for me to want my own copy, but I usually find one or two recipes that I like.

I found a Naan Breakfast Pizza recipe recently that I thought would be fun to adapt to my kitchen.  It turned out great.  Here is how I made my version:

(this is for one, but you can certainly make more at one time)

½ naan bread (I’m only socializing w/ the dog these days so I used garlic naan)
1 tablespoon ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 strips vegetarian bacon
2 tablespoons grated gruyere cheese
1 scallion, chopped
4-5 grape tomatoes (or any other kind of tomato you like, or have on hand), chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

  • Grease a pan (or spray it).
  • Spread the ricotta over the naan, making a slight “well” in the middle
  • Crack the egg into the “well”
  • Arrange the bacon around the egg
  • Sprinkle the gruyere, scallion and tomatoes over the naan
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Stick in a 400 F oven for about 10 minutes – until the egg is the way you like it.
  • Enjoy!

Have you tried anything new lately?

Groceries

When Child was little, I occasionally paid one of the tweens in the neighborhood to watch her for an hour so I could go to the grocery store BY MYSELF.  It felt like a luxury to not have to deal with groceries and carts and Child all at the same time.

Then Child got older, was in child care, then latchkey, then high school, then college, then jobs and grad school.  Just stopping by the store to pick up one or two items was just routine and no longer a luxury.  And she never wanted to go with me any longer.

Now that we’re in a new normal, I only go grocery shopping every couple of weeks, keeping a list of what I need and making due until it’s time to shop.  YA is also interested in grocery shopping, although I’m not sure if it’s just to get out of the house or if she doesn’t trust me to get the right shredded lettuce, but whatever the reason, she now wants to go with me.

Yesterday was the day slotted for shopping.  We wrote out a list the night before and YA ate before we left (a requirement as I’m not going out with a hungry co-shopper).  We had two stops planned, first Trader Joe’s and then Cub and as we were thinking about leaving, I realized I wanted to change my clothes. I had on my perennial jersey knit shorts and a t-shirt that had already seen the exercise bike and a long dog walk.  I put on khaki shorts, a nice top, even brushed my hair.  Then at the last minute I also put on one of my favorite rings and a pair of dangly earrings.  I felt really dolled up.

Of course, no one mentioned how nice I looked, especially not YA, but I felt great and was excited to be going out.  Truly, my big event for the past two weeks – grocery shopping.   Well, at least I didn’t have to pay a babysitter!

What staples are on your grocery list?

Raspberry Gratitude

I’ve been picking raspberries every afternoon for the past week.  About a cup each time; the first day they hardly made it into the house.  Now I have a few in the freezer and few in the fridge.  Whipped some cream yesterday.  Yum-O!   Picking raspberries always makes me think about my baboon community.  I’ve told the story before of how Linda brought me two raspberry canes on the day we gathered at PJs to help out with her spring gardening while she was recuperating.  I had always thought having raspberries would be fun, but left on my own, I doubt I would have ever done anything about it without Linda’s encouragement.  The canes have now taken over the south garden with vigor and we really enjoy the berries.

As much as I’m grateful for the raspberries, I’m more grateful for this community.  Spring gardening at PJs, Museum of Russian Art, Rock Bend, Liberty Custard, spring bales and chicken poo, Swedish American Institute, Jim Ed’s memorial service, St. Agnes Bakery, chainsaw party at Steve’s, LJB’s memorial and, of course, Blevin’s book Club.  I’m sure I’m missing some.  I love that we’ve built friendships and support systems in our ten+ years together.

Last week when I ran Dale’s initial Trail offering, I ran his question… but the question I really wanted to ask was:

What fond memories to you have of our ten years on the Trail?

 

Fair Food

I didn’t make a big deal about it last month but you all know that I wasn’t happy about the announcement that there won’t be a State Fair this year.  I certainly understand the decision and actually agree with it, but it’s still sad for me. I’ll miss the animals and the people-watching, the entertainment and so some extent, the food.  However I’m not one of those folks who “has” to have fair food (well, except for the Hawaiian Shave Ice).

Over the last couple of weeks a Facebook group for Fair Food Finds has popped up; lots of the fair food vendors are setting up in various places around the Twin Cities and there are lots of posts about when and where you can go get your pronto pups, cheese curds, mini-donuts and lots of other yummies.

At first I was excited about this and thought it might be a fun road trip for YA and me.  But it seems like everything is REALLY far away from us – Stillwater, Elk River, Elko and the like.  I somehow can’t get worked up about driving quite that far for fair food.  A two-hour roundtrip for mini donuts doesn’t pass muster as a good use of time and gas.  I’ll keep watching the posts but I’m not confident that I’ll be eating any fair food favorites any time soon.  Rats.

Any foods that would get you to take a roadtrip?

Go Fourth!

With 4th of July events cancelled all over the country and the current political unrest and unhappiness, it seems hard to celebrate Independence Day with enthusiasm.

For many years, Child and I took part in two parades every 4th – the Tangletown Parade and the Richfield Parade.  The Tangletown is a homegrown parade in which kids dress up their bikes and dogs sport their best red, white and blue bandannas in order to follow a firetruck through the neighborhood, followed by a big party at Fuller Park with games, music, face painting and a big picnic.  The last few years I’ve gone up to the high school parking lot where the parade starts to see everybody in their finery and then I head home.  Then later, YA and I go down to Richfield to watch their more traditional, candy-throwing parade.  I got hooked on this parade when YA was in gymnastics and her team was part of the parade line-up.

No parades this year.  Richfield unilaterally cancelled all the 4th of July stuff and Tangletown cancelled the parade and party, but is doing a decoration contest and neighborhood scavenger hunt.  I hadn’t though about decorating (besides putting out all my flags) because I didn’t really want to put any money into it but then something I saw yesterday changed my mind.  In walking Guinevere, we found a house up on the water tower hill that had outdone themselves with their chalk decorations.  Their entire driveway was filled with a huge chalked American flag and then the sidewalk all long their property was covered in fireworks.  Such a low-cost and low-tech way to decorate – I think I’ll get my chalks out in the morning (before it gets too hot).  And I might even have enough Independence Day spirit left over to do the scavenger hunt with Guinevere on our morning walk!

How have you traditionally celebrated the 4th?  What’s different this year?

Biscuits And Gravy

Husband, as a rule, has excellent taste in food. There are  exceptions,  like cornmeal mush, that I won’t touch.  That is traditional to his mother’s family who came from southeastern Ohio.  I don’t understand it. I like polenta,  but the mush his family makes isn’t like that at all. He also likes fried clams. My nonexistent gallbladder, which rebels over fried food, can’t tolerate it.  The main  food disagreement we have is over biscuits and gravy.

He never started eating biscuits and gravy until we moved to North Dakota. Don’t ask me why.  I like biscuits. I like sausage. I just don’t like glutinous, gloppy gravy on top of them. Husband has taken to making it in secret. He says the combination of softness (from the biscuits) and the  spiciness (from the sausage), all held together with the comforting gravy, is too appealing to him to give up. I noticed this week that there were bags of biscuits in the freezer I hadn’t noticed before, and he admitted he had made biscuits and gravy for breakfast, and tossed out the leftovers before I got home.

I think part of this has to do with his diabetes, and his feelings of hunger when he wakes up in the morning.  He says there isn’t really isn’t anything I like that he doesn’t like, but that he finds biscuits and gravy so comforting.  He blames it on the diners and truck stop cafes that he ate in while he worked on the Rez for six years.

What do you eat that your housemates won’t eat? Do you eat anything in secret? What are your comfort foods?

Socially Distant Strawberries

The alarm clock went off at the crack of dawn.  The woman who answered the phone at the berry farm the day before had said that they had been very busy the first week that the strawberries were ready for picking.  (I guess strawberries are the new toilet paper.)  I wanted to be there when they opened so threw on my shorts and shirt and got a move on.

The berry farm was doing a good job with the covid restrictions: everyone got a good spray of sanitizer on their hands before and after going into the field, masks were strongly encouraged, containers brought from home were strictly forbidden and they put us in every other row of berries.  And we were told in no uncertain terms that this year we could not sample berries as we picked.   I had thought I would be irritated by wearing a mask while picking berries, but soon my knees and ankles took my mind off it.  It was a beautiful morning and I found that none of the restrictions bothered me at all – although I will admit that with folks in every other row, I wasn’t able to eavesdrop on other folks’ berry patch conversations like usual!

The berries were great and I managed to overfill my two flats just as I got to the end of my row.  Having gotten there so early, I got home early and had 14 jars of jam and 8 quarts of frozen berries processed by 10:30!  I had been worried that the pandemic would wreck my annual strawberry routine, but the berry farm did a great job of getting safely on with business!

When was the last time you set your alarm clock?  Do you even HAVE an alarm clock?  What kind?

Successful Combinations

In 1892, on this date, macadamia nuts were first planted in Hawaii.  They are native to Australia. This was a rather a successful combination, and Hawaii was a leader in macadamia nuts until South Africa took over that role in 2010.

I am not a great fan of macadamias, preferring pecans and pistachios.  When I think about successful combinations, I think about hazelnuts in Oregon, wine grapes in France, and potatoes in Ireland. I suppose there could be successful combinations with people, too, such as Julia Child in Paris.

What is your favorite nut? What are some successful combinations that you can think of?