My editor at Simple Good and Tasty asked all of the writers to submit what their fave local or homemade holiday gifts would be. It’s a good list. I sent my contribution on a day when I was feeling a little Zack Galifiniakis, which, is not a rarity for me, I’m afraid. In any event, if you’d like some ideas for some yummies and pretties you can pick up around town, go check it out.
I’ve got a thing for knives. I love and require a good, sharp knife in order to be happy in the kitchen. I often travel with a knife if I’m going to a rented cabin or home. Supergirl got mad at me once because she found a paring knife in her backpack – I had brought it along to cut an apple at a soccer game and forgot about it. Ya, I know. Not good. In addition to knives, I like things that are handmade, I like writers, I like people who talk about their art, I like the communities that spring up out of unlikely common interests, I like people who lead an examined life and all of that is wrapped up in this very cool short film about Brooklyn knife-maker, Joel Bukiewicz, of Cut Brooklyn. You need a few minutes to watch this, but it’s very inspiring and makes me feel hopeful.
It snowed last night and now our little corner of the world is tucked under a wooly white blanket. As I type, I hear buzzing snow blowers and yelling children from the sledding hill out front. Snowbound on a Sunday (but not really) – it’s a lovely place to be and way to be. I can’t quite decide if I want to build a fire and huddle up in the house for the rest of the day, or run around outside in my pajamas. Likely, I’ll do a little of both. The only thing I know for certain is that I won’t be changing out of the flannel shirt and longjohns I wore to bed last night. So don’t come visit. Or do. I won’t mind.
Today is the day, in fact, that we had planned to kick off our season of merry-making. This is the day I make empanadas and we put up our Christmas tree. Mama Nature just happened to oblige with a little ground bling.
Right around four o’clock, when the last child is home from the birthday parties and soccer practices of the day, we will shut the door, make a fire, crank the tunes and put up our Christmas tree. We’ll eat dinner on the rug in front of the fire while we admire our handiwork and bask in the twinkly glow of Christmas lights. Oh, man. Christmas lights. Just. One of the best things ever. Right?
Enjoy the snow, friends.
(Photo of Buddy and his wooly friends taken by Mike Braucher of Braucher’s Sunshine Harvest Farm)
what all the vendors at the farmers market do after the markets close for the season? Well, I decided to find out and boy, was it ever inspiring to chat with and get to know my fave farmers, fishmongers, bakers, ranchers, cheesemakers and chefs from the Kingfield Farmers Market. I know some of you are Kingfield luvahs like me, so you’ll find this little sneak peak behind the curtains especially interesting. Check it out!
So hey, looking through my list, I’m thinking not too shabby. We had a great weekend and for the first time in a long time, I feel kinda sorta on top of things, although I’m sure I’ll be back on that hamster wheel as soon as the school bell rings tomorrow morning. The week-end stretched and yawned, accommodating new plans, unexpected rain and the yen to be still.
get our pumpkins One is even shaped like a Frankenstein head!
2. go to an apple orchard. We left this until Sunday and it was just too damp and intermittently rainy to go. Maybe next week end. Or next year.
ake the damn leaves Go Dash, Go!
5. square away Halloween costumes for the little peeps. Anyone know where I can get a chicken costume that doesn’t cost 70 bucks?
work on Supergirl’s book puppet project Done. Cutest Ralph the Motorcycle Mouse ever.
go see the Minnesota Stars play in the Championship Series on Saturday night – along with the pre-game Joy of the People soccer frolic and tailgating. We bundled up, brought tons of blankets and had a blast watching the Stars dominate the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. Score was 3-1 and the Stars scored all the goals, even their own. Eeek! You guys, there are a lot of soccer people in this town. Lovely to huddle into bleachers with all of them. Shine On, Stars!
make pizzas Go Dash, Go!
go to the farmers market (always) Since it was so damp on Sunday morning, I buzzed over by myself. Red kale, regular kale, garlic, squash, skirt steak, eggs, spinach, donuts, done.
have people over Sometimes a last minute, impromptu fest is the best way to go. Mixed up some peeps who didn’t know each other, included the chitlins, and braised up a big pork butt from Clancy’s. It was a hilarious night (and delicious, I think).
12. go for a hike.
pull the dead flowers out of the damn window boxes I was a BEAST in the garden on Saturday. I pointed some speakers out the windows and went to town. Not only did I clean out the window boxes, I weeded the whole garden and planted 70 tulip bulbs. I did it people! I finally did it! But listen, planting bulbs is some hard-ass work! Now I’ll need to watch Bravo TV for two days to recover. Phew.
All the kids got a couple play dates each and we also finally tried out The Anchor Fish and Chips before the soccer game on Saturday night and fell head over heels. Cool vibe, great food. And on Sunday, after a lazy brunch at Sun Street Breads (we are all crazy for the egg, bacon and cheese biscuits) I took the brood on a surprise visit to Sugar Sugar at the suggestion of Supergirlfan. What an adorable candy shop! I’m not even a candy person, but the owner has such a beautiful aesthetic and collection of old-timey and pretty candy, that I was completely charmed. This place is a little jewel, so if you haven’t been, Go! and go often, so she sticks around. Lovely.
Here’s that handsome Ralph.
All these years in, and I still manage to be taken unawares by MEA weekend. The kids have four days off – most people go somewhere. Me, I just wake up surprised to not have to make lunches. In fairness to myself, usually Dash is working so trips aren’t an option. This time, however, he’s got time off too. We briefly entertained a jaunt to a cabin – somewhere we could take Foxy, but we didn’t get our acts together. And you know what? I’m happy to be sticking here. We’ve been going going going – no time to breathe, no time for anything, so to be here with four days yawning before us feels as luxurious as a spa. Well, that’s overstating it for sure, but it feels good. Here’s what’s on my very loose, open to tampering list:
1. get our pumpkins
2. go to an apple orchard
3. rake the damn leaves
4. make waffles
5. square away Halloween costumes for the little peeps
7. work on Supergirl’s book puppet project
9. make pizzas
10. go to the farmers market (always)
11. have people over
12. go for a hike
13. pull the dead flowers out of the damn window boxes
Lucky 13. We’ll see how much of this we actually do, but it helps to have a list. Happy long weekend, all. May it be as busy or restful as you need it to be.
When someone asks me why I continue to write for Simple Good and Tasty, I’ve got lots of reasons, but one of the big ones is that my editors have always been awesome. I wrote a post about roasting ugly ass tomatoes for soup and I wasn’t sure whether that was going to fly. It flew and it makes me chuckle to have written what is by all other accounts a straight piece on using up late season tomatoes with the term ugly ass sprinkled throughout. Like a little kid who just got away with something, it just kind of makes me happy. I love all words equally, and sometimes those black sheep are just what you need to make a point.
Hey ho! After being the shadiest writer alive all summer, I managed to squeak out a post for Simple Good and Tasty about the beautiful bodacious eggplant. Check it out here, homeys.
Hey, yo! I’ve got a new post over at Simple Good and Tasty which includes all of my favorite things á la Julie Andrews. Sigh. I love her. I love spring. I love farmers markets. I love puttanesca sauce. And when you put it all together? Double, no – triple sigh. The recipe is a keeper, so scurry on over there to check it out!
Since spring seems to be feeling a little sheepish this year (yes, the pun was completely and shamelessly, intended. You’ll see just how shameless in a moment), we hardy folk of the north must figure out ways to survive these last dregs of winter. I stumbled into one such coping mechanism last week and turned it into a little ditty for Simple Good and Tasty. Essentially, Doctor Dash and I conjured a lamb feast for ourselves at the lovely and kick-ass Barbette and biked away feeling oh, so much better. A long, indulgent lunch a deux was just what we needed on that particular day. Now, this many days later, after a week in Florida, I’m afraid I need more than a lunch. I need spring. Real spring. As in no more scarf spring. So let’s get on that, shall we?
I don’t really mean that, but I’ll be damned if Kingfield isn’t getting WAY more than its share of restaurant awesomeness lately. Meanwhile, we in Lynhurst limp along, starving, moaning and casting deflated glances at the giant hole in the ground that used to be Blackbird Cafe and Heidi’s before the fire, keeping fingers and toes crossed that the two restaurants slated to go into that space (who knows when?) are going to be good. On Thursday night, feeling springish and famished, we took a hot tip (LOVE a hot tip) from Red Vogue and Salt and Pepper Polymath and headed over to The LowBrow on 42nd and Nicollet. My burger loving brood gave it a resounding thumbs up. It’s cool, arty and retro with a giant paint by numbers mural on one wall and the food really is scratch-made comfort food using locally farmed sustainably grown ingredients. Kids are totally welcomed and entertained by the hustle and bustle, grown ups are quickly transported to a happy place: seventies basement inspired chic with great drinks and food. The burgers and fries were amazing and I kinda can’t get the bison chili at the next table out of my head. So, yes, we’ll be back. Probably many, many times. Damn!
As if that weren’t enough salt in our wounds, Doctor Dash and I ended up at Corner Table on Saturday night after some yummy saki at Moto-I. We opted for the 3 course tasting menu, which is basically Chef Scott Pampuch going all bananas and sending out brilliant off-the-menu riffs of deliciousness. I loved not knowing exactly what was heading our way and being shocked and delighted each time. I actually said to Dash, This guy is just like DJ Jake! He’s psychic! He knows just what I want to eat next! Looking at our entree of pig insanity (pork belly AND pork sausage! with parsnip puree and some heavenly sweet moutarda of some sort and egads, were there capers?) I stage whispered, How does he know? How does he know? Seriously, it’s a little freaky. How did he know I am such a luvuh of the pig? If he spied us walking through the door, I’m not sure HUNGRY LIKE A WOLF FOR PORK BELLY is exactly stamped on my brow, but shit, it might as well be. I can’t believe it has taken us this long to get over there (it’s because normally we flee these parts for date night). Aside from the lights being way too bright at first (what can I say? It’s a THING, for us), our experience was perfection. Having had a little taste of the Kitchen Table experience, which Pampuch describes as “a gastronomic feast of gluttonous enjoyment”, I’m going to make it my business to go back for that sometime. We were blown away. Blown. Away.
Damn you, Kingfield!!!
Farmers Markets! Woo hoo! I’m all frothy for farmers markets, especially after going to the Spring Preview Party for the Mill City Farmers Market this past Monday with Creeper Bud. It was a delicious night and I must say, really inspiring. What can I say? Passionate people are inspiring. It’s just a fact of life. I wrote about it for Simple Good and Tasty, so check it out. Promise, it’ll make you all frothy too!
I’ve posted a recipe for Irish Rebel Stew over at Simple Good and Tasty. It’s made with beef and Guinness and it’s delicious. Of course. How could it not be? Beef? Beer? Come on. Speaking of beer, my plans for St. Paul shenanigans with da girls had to be cancelled for today – this glorious, sunny, warm, perfect St. Patrick’s Day. Alas. Doctor Dash is coming off a week of nights, so a few beers might be in order this evening. Hope you all get a little green today, in whatever form that takes!
This is the text I received from Supergirl (using Doctor Dash’s phone, of course) yesterday on her way back from soccer:
“Hey mom! What we having for dinner?????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? I’m starving how about meat oh I love meat juicy meat on the grill YUM!!!! I love meat GIVE ME MEAT MEAT sweet meat. Love ya smooch bye P.S. I LOVE MEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Give me meat :-p”
I’d say that girl had the hungah! She’s a protein girl through and through. Just like her mama. And guess what we had for dinner?