Archive for June, 2007

Buon Giorno Italia

After our weekly trip to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market, we took a detour through the little town of Lilydale and stopped at a great little deli for some lunch. We found what we were looking for on Hwy 13. A place I’ve been reading a lot about, The Buon Giorno Italia. What a great little find. The deli is huge, with ample seating and a selection that left us wandering in circles for the first 10 minutes were were there. There’s a cooler in the back that was loaded with homemade pastas and raviolis. We grabbed a tub of Spumoni because I’ve always wanted to try it. More on it later.

There are shelves loaded with great italian finds, including all sorts of dried pasta and gnocchi, sauces, dried herbs, canned tuna imported from italy and the list goes on. We were already hungry, so we went to the deli counter where, again, the options were endless. There were a dozen sandwich choices, the traditional deli salads, a huge case of traditional Italian meats and olives, a pizza bar, a pasta bar, and of course a whole cooler full of cheese. We decided on a couple of sandwiches, one called a Calebrese (or something like that) for Husband, and a roasted vegetable sandwich for me. We also bought a small container of their tortellini pasta salad and two mushrooms stuffed with crab.

The cheese I just had to try, was an cow’s milk cheese aged in saffron. The wrapper read, Toma Elvo Valley, and I take it to be where it is from. It was beautiful and the texture was silky and rich. We didnt, however, pick up any scent or taste of the saffron, which was a shame, but the cheese was still quite delicious. We pulled out our little bottle of truffle oil and had a pre-dinner treat along with a chilled pinot grigio.


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The Taste #7

“The succulent mango” teased the headline on the blackboard hanging above the produce department at the Seward Co-op Grocery & Deli. As always, that attention-getter was chased by a highly readable history, buyer’s guide and how-to-use tutorial on the delectable fruit. Such literary license might be an anomaly for supermarket shoppers, but it’s business as usual at the Seward, where a knowledgeable and obviously well-read staff presides over one of the Twin Cities’ most appealing fruit and vegetable selections.

It reads…

REGULATE… YOUR BODY TEMP! Whatever the season, the weather and your own body will tell you what food to eat for their thermal properties. Watermelon and Cucumbers are the ultimate hot-weather goods – they cool the body. Butternut squash, on the other hand, warms you up on brisk fall days. Rebecca Wood (Whole Foods Encyclopedia) writes that slow-growing foods like cabbage are more warming than fast-growing lettuce. Also, foods that are slow-cooked or cooked with more oil/fat are more warming. In general, raw foods are more cooling than cooked, but also require more energy to digest. So your body may love you for gorging on Melons on summer mornings, but it would not say no to some nice steamed kale splashed with tamari and vinegar at the end of the long day.

I stopped by the Seward Co-op the other day for lunch, and in addition to enjoying a lovely Vegetable Korma, I learned a little something in the produce section.

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Off on a little tangent…

Sorry folks, but in an effort to encourage everyone to start supporting local agriculture, I though I’d provide a link to check out your own personal ecological footprint. It allows individuals to measure the impact on natural resource use. Take a look. It’s very humbling. Click here to go to www.myfootprint.org. Oh, and not sure how accurate it really is as it makes a lot of assumptions.

I’d be interested to hear (read) what you think of it. (that’s a hint).

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Things are growing fast… a garden update.

With the temperatures in the 60s and 70s and lots of lots of rain, the garden is green and happily growing. The sugar snap peas, there in the back, are at spots over three feet high.

The lettuce, in the next row, is going nuts and I’m having a heard time keeping up. I’ve been distributing to friends, so if you’re in the mood for some fresh lettuce that needs to be washed thoroughly, let me know. There’s red leaf, romaine, grand rapids and bibb.

The rest of the garden, the tomatoes, peppers and herbs, are coming along nicely, and quite tall for the first week of June. I planed early this year, and am really glad I did. There were only two cold nights where I was cutting it close, but it’s been a really nice month. With lots, and lots of rain.

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Back to Basics.

Flour, eggs, salt and a touch of water. It really doesn’t get more basic than that. We threw it all into the dandy Mixer and out came a dough. Of course it did. But what we did to it next is what gave it identity. We made fettuccine.

We made the dough.

We rolled the dough.

We cut the dough.
We added the pasta to a pot of boiling water just until tender and then tossed it with a rich Muir Glen sun-dried tomato sauce. A handful of fresh basil from the garden finished it off.

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The Taste # 43

St. Paul’s Pearson’s Candy Co. goes through about 200 tons of peanuts a month, the lion’s share presumably forming the basis of its Salted Nut Roll. This company stalwart — a toothsome peanut-caramel-nougat calibration of soft and crunchy, sweet and salty — has been a candy-counter staple since 1933. Today it’s the region’s most popular non-chocolate candy bar.

Today, hunger got the best of me. Since the new deli in our building is still not open, and the Italian market down the street was closed for the short week, I was limited to the vending machine for something to stop my rumbling stomach. I perused my options, checking out the candy bars and cookies and no-trans fat animal crackers when my eyes landed on the classic #43. I threw 7 dimes into the machine, punched number 144 and out popped a childhood favorite, the Pearsons Salted Nut Roll.

I remembering pulling these out of vending machines as a kid, and people always told me, “that’s not a candy bar.” But it is, really it is. I’ve always loved the unique combination of sweet and salty. The peanuts crunch, while the nougat wraps around my teeth like liquid sugar. The hardest part is pulling the carmelly (is that a word) bottom from the waxed cardboard. But then suddenly it’s gone.

I noticed there’s a burst on the wrapper that reads, “Good source of protein.” That’s great, for all those atkins-ihatecarbs-afraid of eating bread people, but for me, its all about the memories, that tasty nougat and the fact that they’re made less than 3.5 miles from my home.

Now that’s eating local!

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