Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Simple Good and Tasty Pig Roast

Last Sunday, after a weekend spent camping, our family went to a pig roast held by fellow (and more frequent) blogger Lee from Simple Good and Tasty. The pig roast and potluck was enjoyed by around 150 guests who all share the same thought that food is best when it's local. The roasted pig, while amazing, in my opinion was outshone by the insane spread of side dishes featuring ingredients from back yards all around the twin cities. Mike may disagree and say the pig was better. Certainly, our children seemed to enjoy crunching down on crispy pigskin more than trying all the sides which ranged from pasta salads, tabbouleh, tomato dishes, and potato salads. My own salad of roasted sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, edamame, and green and yellow snap beans with a garlic vinaigrette seemed to go fast. The meal also featured sausages from Kramarczuks and pulled chicken from Brasa. It was all so good. I can't wait until next year!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

OK, We suck. It's been a while.

OK, so in no particular order, here is what we have done with our time...

We stand in awe of the park, dubbed "Chutes and Ladders", in Bloomington.

We visit Como Town, where we discover that we are allowed to fly solo on the rides.

So we practiced driving.... (and did better than most adult drivers)

...and rode on the swings. (Which is odd as they don't like regular swings)

Got some more CSA goodness from Harmony Valley Farms.

Visited our local zoos, where we saw LIONS...




(I cannot confirm that a Bear sh*ts in the woods, but have photographic evidence that Tigers sh*t in grassy areas.)

We also discovered that the MN Zoo sells beer.

We now have a membership to the zoo.

We also visited Buffalo, NY, where we swam in Great Grandma's pool...

...entered into a MMA cage match with a chinchilla...

...and tapped out the the reigning champion....

...and rode a carousel at Ella's Deli in Madison, WI on the way home from Buffalo.

We also said Good Bye to a friend by baking a cake that took 5 hours to make (OK, I had little to do with the cake, that's all my dear wife's doing), and intentionally Cake Wrecked it.

OK folks, that about sums it up...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

First raspberries of the season and the last of the peas

This week brought 90 degree days which effectively stopped the growth of our peas. I noticed a few days ago that the remaining flower buds were starting to whither. Today I pulled down most of the pea vines to make way for the green beans which are starting to climb.

The big surprise of the day was the abundance of raspberries ready to pick on our bushes. I'd like to show you how many we pulled. I would. But, my kids got to them first. And, apparently they like them a whole lot more this year than they did last year because there's only a handful left. This is the second year we've been in the house and the raspberries have lived here much longer. I need to research the growing habits of raspberries because this year the berries are HUGE and so much better than last year. I pulled out the stems that had died last fall and this year the bushes are so much fuller. We even ate some of the golden raspberries and last year they weren't ready until closer to August. I see raspberry pie in the very near future!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

CSA Report

This weeks CSA featured our first squash of the year...

Red Leaf Lettuce


Garlic Scapes
Sugar Snap Peas

Napa Cabbage
Summer Squash

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Harmony Valley Farms Strawberry Day


...so we had every intention of attending, but the weather was iffy, the kids were less than well behaved and the thought of traveling 3+ hours with them kvetching in the backseat was less than appealing.

Looks like we missed a really good time.

You can see what we missed here- Simple Good and Tasty

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New CSA Box

So we picked up our new CSA box from Harmony Valley Farms, and much to our delight, we got the first Strawberries of the season... We love them with a touch of sugar and Balsamic Vinegar, but I want to try this recipe.

Here is the rest of the contents...
Red leaf lettuce
Red radish
Garlic scapes
Salad mix
Napa cabbage
Red Komatsuna

Dear wife made this fantastic Potato Au Gratin with some potatoes we had laying around, and added the garlic scapes, the scallions and used the rest of the Cheddar we got in the Cheese CSA last week.

In other news, our garden is starting to show some life!

A few tomatoes starting to grow...

And a couple of the peas that are starting to form...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Radishes with salt and butter

Have you tried this yet? I first heard about it from watching Anthony Bourdain and I've been wanting to try it ever since. We got French Breakfast Radishes in our CSA box this week and I decided this would be the perfect excuse to try this recipe. Just slice your radishes into thin rounds, sprinkle with sea salt, spread good butter on some high quality french bread and enjoy. We toasted the bread on the grill first and the crunch of the bread and radishes went beautifully with the creaminess of the butter.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another really cool place to take your kids

My husband discovered the coolest park totally by accident. He'd been itching to take the kids and I for days. So, we picked up some sammies from Nelson Cheese and Deli and then let the kids run wild at the Treasure Island playground between Hamline and Snelling in the Highland Park area. They have a drinking fountain, a port-a-potty, (all very important amenities when you're towing 2 small children) some picnic tables and plenty of shaded area so it's a great place to take lunch and set up camp for a couple of hours. Which is exactly what we did! Enjoy the photos!

Friday, June 12, 2009

CSA Box June 11th

So sorry about not posting last week's CSA box. The pictures didn't turn out very good and we learned a valuable lesson about taking photos outside vs. inside. This week we started getting more summery vegetables and the twinadoes ate kohlrabi for the first time. They have dubbed them "crabby radishes" in part because they can't pronounce kohlrabi and also because they have the crunch of a radish and I guess they do kind of look like crabs to a preschooler who doesn't know any differently. So, this week we got a head of red leaf lettuce, 2 heads of green kohlrabi and one purple kohlrabi, spinach, french breakfast radishes (which we are going to serve raw with butter and sea salt on french bread), purple scallions, garlic scapes, yukina savoy, asparagus, rhubarb, and arugula. We've been very committed to buying our eggs, milk, and meat each week at the Saint Paul Farmer's Market and we've had nothing but great experiences and great food as a result.

A really cool place to take your kids

So, for a cool place to bring your kids this summer check out Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis. It's an indie book store designed with kids in mind. Since most of the early part of the week was rainy and cool I decided it would be a great time to take the kiddos to the book store then Punch Pizza for lunch. I knew we were in for good things when I noticed that built into the standard size door was a smaller door for the kids. They were elated as they walked inside their very own door and things just got better from there. It's such a kid-friendly place. In fact, I should probably classify it as grown-up tolerant as it's really a store for kids. The book selection was vast and eclectic and I was drawn into the books even more than my children. There were nooks and crannies and all kinds of wonderful places to sit and read for awhile. There were birds, two very friendly ferrets, two amazingly patient cats, a scared silly chicken (frantically running around the store, I might add), a tarantula (in his cage), a lizard (also in a cage) and a really cool in-floor viewing area for the rat. My kids were truly beside themselves as they discovered books, animals, posters, and an environment that brings out the magic of reading.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Our first Farmer's Market Saturday!

We've been a little late getting to the St. Paul Farmer's Market this season because of the abundance of veggies we get through our CSA each week. However, we were getting low on chicken, wanted to start buying milk from a dairy farmer, and the kids ate all the radishes before I got any. So, to market we went. We got there around 10:00 and it was really packed. Parking was tough, but there's a free lot just to the east of the market on E. 5th and Broadway that usually has some spots if you have some patience.

If you are looking for plants to add to your own veggie garden, please consider the market. I saw every herb imaginable, tomato plants (from seedlings to huge potted monsters complete with cages) rhubarb plants, blueberry bushes, squash, well, just about everything including flowers and vines.
Our first stop was the Lovetree Farmstead Cheese stand. They have goat's milk cheese that you MUST try and they always have samples of their cheeses available for you to try. We always make a few laps around to see what grabs our attention and there were certainly some gorgeous veggies this morning. We immediately bought some snow pea pods then spent the rest of the morning snacking on them as we found our chicken and eggs, milk, radishes, onions, bean sprouts, and tomatoes (hot house grown from someone in Wisconsin. We were weak. We couldn't resist.) Then, we bought the kids some kettle corn, dropped the food off at home, and spent the rest of the morning at the park. DH has a pork loin smoking in the grill that we're having with grilled asparagus, grilled onions, and Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blend made with the saute greens blend from our CSA. Can't wait.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Why I love being a part of a CSA

So, I know. It's only the fourth week of being in our CSA through Harmony Valley Farms, but I am already in love with it. Given the opportunity, I would not willingly purchase sorrel, burdock, ramps, sunchokes, or black radish. It's not that I don't love veggies having briefly flirted with vegetarianism before falling in love with a hard core meat-eater. I just probably wouldn't spend the money on so many untried items on a whim. Enter the CSA. Each week I get the produce that they've grown. I've already bought the share so I feel very obligated to try and find ways to use things I've never cooked with before. I learned a few weeks ago that sunchokes are excellent when tossed with parsnips, potatoes, olive oil, and seasonings and roasted. They're even better eaten raw with ranch dressing. My kids ate them tonight and loved them. I also learned that I don't like sorrel. At all. Like, I won't even swallow it. Fortunately, however, a neighbor loved it in the chicken and Minnesota wild rice soup I made. Burdock is excellent when shaved with a vegetable peeler and deep fried like chips, but not as good thicker like fries. Ramps are so freaking good I can hardly stand it. They taste like a cross between onions and garlic. You can chop up the leaves and throw them into your salad, you can saute the white part too. Mac made a dish with spaghetti and ramps from a Mario Batali recipe that made the house smell incredible long after the dishes had been licked clean. And, truly, happiness is hearing your 3-year old say as he bites into the first asparagus of the season, "Mommy, I like this tree!" In times when french fries are the most recognized vegetable to preschoolers, we owe it to our families and to our farms to teach children (and adults) to eat their veggies. The added benefit of belonging to a CSA is that you get the chance to visit the farm and see how they grow your food. How refreshing for food to go from the ground, into a box, then onto the grill. That's fine dining, in my opinion.

Here we go folks...

Well ladies and gents, here it is. M&M's random musings on all that is occurring in our lives. Just the information that you all needed to survive another day. In order to differentiate who will be posting, I am thinking that there will be a color and/or font change indicating who is posting. I am posting first, so I get dibs on Trebuchet.

We originally wanted to start this to keep tra
ck of our CSA shares, but it has taken 4 weeks to get this going. Here are the pictures of the ones that we have received so far...

Week One
Overwintered Parsnips
Red Sunchokes

Overwintered Spinach



Black Radish

Decorative Dogwood Bunches

Week Two...This included our Week 1 of our 4 week Cheese CSA which Included a Cheddar, Blue and Mozzarella



Black radish
Salad mix and


Week Three

Green garlic
Egyptian Walking onion


Spring radish
Salad mix

Sauté Mix

Garden Herb Pack-Replantable Herbs that contained Rosemary, Thyme, Savory, Oregano, Sage, Giant of Italy Parsley, Basil (x2) and Krausa Parsley.

Week Four- Including our second week of the Cheese CSA (Mozzarella, Roasted Carrot-Spanish Onion and Dill Cheddar and a Fresh Brebis with Garlic)...
Green garlic
Green onion

Salad mix

Spring radish
Pea vine
Hon tsai tai

That's it for now folks. I cannot promise that this will be a regular thing for us, it will probably be infrequent@best.