Archive | May, 2013

Asparagus Salad: First Taste of the Growing Season

24 May

By Deanne

Photo of Asparagus SaladSnow was the norm for April this year so we have been eagerly waiting for asparagus to do its duty and signal the start of the growing season.  Asparagus season was already over by this time last year.  We made our first post on April 5th in 2013.

This year, we are excited to have guest FarmerChefs again. For this recipe we are fortunate to learn and share a family favorite of Ellen’s.  She works with me at our restaurant

Ellen says:

We first got the recipe after my Aunt made the salad for my brother’s baptism.  After we tasted it, not surprisingly, we asked her for the recipe and have received rave reviews every time we’ve made it.  As soon as we take the first bite after making it you can almost hear the sigh of contentment around the dinner table as everyone in their own turn remarks:  “I love this salad, I could eat this everyday”, or simply, “wow!”

I feel honored to have been given permission to share this family treat. I like the picture Ellen painted in our minds in how she described their family table.  Join us on our FarmerChef journey and cook with local and seasonal food. You can suggest ideas and we will feature your recipe.

Asparagus Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb pasta cooked and drained  (we used gluten free pasta)
  • 1/2 med red onion chopped
  • 1/2 oz. fresh basil  (we used 1 teaspoon dried basil)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 can baby artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • 6 oz grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley chopped  (we used 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus hand chopped
  • 2 1/2 oz black olives sliced


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Camelina: Seed to Oil

8 May
by Deanne

Last March, after looking in the Minnesota Grown directory, Francine and I drove out to a little farm just south of Lamberton and met Kathleen Smith.  You might have read our posts about this local grower’s product.  From that original meeting we have created some great tasting recipes like the Sunshine Grilled Chicken Salad, Rhubarb Scones, and Two Sister’s and a Friend Salad in a Jar.  The one ingredient these recipes have in common is an American grown oil that comes from a tiny little reddish brown seed called the camelina seed. 


Last summer our son/brother, Lucas Bryce decided to capture their family’s story.  While editing the production he got excited about their message and the beauty of their family farm and decided to submit it to the 2013 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.  It was selected as a film to be shown for their Earth Day, Minnesota Made category.

When you submit a film to a festival you are not able to show it publicly until it premiers during the festival.    Now we are finally able to make it available here.  It is titled Camelina: Seed to OilWe hope you enjoy watching the film.

Maple Walnut Biscotti

7 May

By Deanne

Tapping maple trees is something people in Vermont do…right?  And they tap the trees in the fall or early winter… or so I thought.

Two weeks ago a friend mentioned they had to get home to take care of the maple sap they were boiling to make syrup.  I was surprised and ask her about it.  Then a few days later her daughter and son-in-law arrived with jar of maple syrup as a gift.  I learned that the best time to collect the sap from the maple trees is when the temperature is in the 30’s to 40’s with overnight lows below freezing.  According the a website maintained by the Minnesota DNR:

Sometimes sap flows as early as January or as late as May, but in Minnesota, sap usually runs from about March 15 to April 20.

I hope you have had a chance to taste real maple syrup.  It is very different than what most of us have grown up knowing as maple flavored syrup.  It’s a mild and sweet taste to be honored for the work one puts in the effort of collecting and boiling the sap to make it thick enough to be a syrup.  It usually takes 30-40 gallons of sugar maple sap to produce one gallon of pure maple syrup.

maple walnut sconesI wanted to do  something special with my gift.  Therefore, I made my all time favorite baked treat: scones.  They turned out heavenly.  I used fresh eggs that I purchased from Seifert Poultry’s Farm-Fresh Eggs.  I love the color of these eggs, they look so beautiful.

However,  I realized that I have already done two posts about scones, so I did a little research on bicsotti.  I learned that biscotti is twice baked.  Twice Baked

Perhaps it is the original convenience food, made for sailors who needed something to provide nourishment without molding.  From what I understand, Italians call these  biscotti cantucci, and use the term biscotti to refer to any type of crunchy cookie, round, square and otherwise.  It reminds me of how cookies in Britain are referred to as biscuits.

Some people actually visit Italy (like Francine, who is traveling there this week) and some people stay at home and make biscotti, (like boring old me.)

The biscotti recipe I used comes from King Arthur flours.  The only change I made was to leave out the optional maple flavoring and I did not add a topping of maple sugar.

Maple Walnut Biscotti

  • 2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped, toasted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon maple flavor, optional
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple sugar, for topping; optional

For more information and pictures check out the King Arthur Flours blog post.