Tag Archives: travel

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.


Deanne’s Favorites of 2012

1 Jan
by Deanne

This Real Local Cooking journey has been a fun way to record the things I learned in 2012 and having a blog to chronicle all this learning allows for many moments of reflection.bagel

2012 was a year of change in terms of my awareness about food (something I’d previously never thought much about).  It was also a year in which I (and my husband) put our values into action and  decided to close our drive-in restaurant in August. 

Cooking is where it all began .  I took an interest in cooking again after many years of seeing it as a chore.  I cracked open my Joy of Cooking book and made Chicken Cacciatore and learned how bagels are made by making a batch in our kitchen.

In March I reached out to meet people who care about local food.  I discovered that Kathleen and her family live nearby and they grow and produce Omega Maiden Camelina Oil onA photo of the oil used in the dressing their farm. We’ve enjoyed creating recipes, like scones and dressings, with camelina oil.  We’ve also enjoyed the friendship of Kathleen, her husband Justin, and their sweet daughter, Amana and we got to know the rest of her family when we held our first Veg-In in September.

Saying good bye to Francine in April was a difficult but an important step in my growth as a mother of adult children. 

When Francine moved to England, I had a chance to learn about another culture in many of her posts…this snapshot post stands out as an early memory for me or her first month in her new home.  I also learning about cobnuts in her A What Nut post.

A photo of the granola

In August, the Minnesota Cooks event at the Minnesota State Fair turned out to be educational when I unexpectedly learned more the importance of adding Omega 3 to our diets.  Go Omega Maiden!  (It is a great source of Omega 3.)Photo of 2012-13 Mn Cooks Calandar

As Steve and I dream about the future of our business and clarify our vision for opening a new restaurant this summer, we remember the visits we made at various UK Farm Shops in November.  It was wonderful to  discover that the English have found a nice marriage between restaurants and locally grown products.  

Photo of Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop

Now, as the new year begins, Steve and I visiting family in California.  We peeled our first pomegranate and made a toast to our dreams for 2013.   

Cheers everyone and here’s to a wonderful 2013!A photo of a pomegranate

Pomegranate Cocktail

(from the book we purchased yesterday, The Art of Real Food)
  • 1 bottle sparkling wine
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Francine’s Five Favorites of 2012

31 Dec
by Francine

This year was a big one for me…I moved to England, got married, became a UK resident and started a job in marketing…phew! 

But in between those huge milestones, life was really pretty normal and filled with boring (and A photo of the castlesometimes stressful things)…things like heaps of paperwork, cover letters and a never-ending, slowly drying pile of laundry (we don’t have a dryer in our flat).

Thankfully sprinkled amongst all of those stressful things were heaps of delicious food, sunshine-y memories and a few castles. ;)

I thought I’d take a moment to share five of my Real Local Cooking favorites from this past year.  It was hard to narrow it down when there are 105 posts (!!) from which to choose, but here they are…

1.  Making a Watermelon Radish Salad was really fun because it allowed me introduce my family to a vegetable I discovered in China and it brought some vibrant color to a cold MN winter.

A photo of the inside

2.  Since moving to England, I’ve enjoyed many store bought oatcakes, but before moving here, I made my own oatcakes after discovering the recipe in a River Cottage cookbook.  It was fun to create something different and many of you also enjoyed finding out about this recipe. 

A photo of Oatcakes

3. Early in 2012, I began making FarmerChef specials with seasonal and local products/produce.  Once a week, we put these specials on the menu at my parents’ restaurant.  I enjoyed the challenge and creativity involved in coming up with dishes. 

After moving to England, my parents continued preparing and serving FarmerChef specials, and I loved finding out about all the creative dishes they were coming up with.  I thought their Kohlslaw…coleslaw from kohlrabis was especially fun.  I made this salad in September when we picked our own Kohlrabi.

Photo of Kohlslaw

4.  In England, the summer of 2012 was very cool, wet and un-sunny; perhaps that’s why it made me so happy to see the Garden Tours of the raised bed garden throughout the MN summer.

photo of a tomato

5. Last month, mom, dad and Luke came to visit us in England.  We discovered the beauty of the Lake District…oh my!

A photo of Littletown Farmphoto of salad in a jar

And some runner-ups…

Having my first scone with clotted cream and plum jam, picking strawberries, trying out this FarmerChef quiche (and making it many times since…any time I have eggs, vegetables and no idea what to fix for dinner), making both strawberry+rhubarb crumble and cobbler and seeing that mom made an oh-so pretty layered salad.

It’s been a fun year of blogging, filled with many good memories and tasty recipes

Thanks for stopping by our little corner of the internet and sharing your own memories. thoughts and recommendations in the comments! It’s always so great to hear from you!

My First Fig

26 Dec
by Francine

Growing up in the midwest and always living in places with cold winters, the only fig I ever encountered where those of the Newton variety which I’ve always found found to be delightfully crunchy.  When I moved to England I started noticing figs from faraway places in the supermarket, but I wanted to hold off on having a fig until I was in a place that had figs growing on a tree. Since it might be that figs are one of the last fruits I’ll get to have for the first time in my lifetime…

I tasted bright pink dragon fruit for the first time in Vietnam and saw the cactus-like way it grows; I was introduced to the very smelly durian by Chinese friends, and I bought fragrant mangosteens from a smiling Chinese fruit vendor after seeing the very cute fruit piled high in all the street market stalls (more on mangosteens in a future post because they are just so delightful).

Anyway, I promised myself that I’d wait to have figs until I was in a place that had figs on their list of local seasonal fruits.A photo of a fig tree  Thankfully this happened sooner than I expected.  We went to Macedonia (the Former Yugoslav Republic) back in September and as we drove from Skopje (the capital) to Lake Ohrid we were amazed at the beauty of this tiny mountainous country. We also noticed its bounty…vines heavy with grapes, watermelons everywhere, and the ripest tomatoes of our lives crowning every dish. 

We arrived at our guesthouse on the shore of Lake Ohrid just as the sun was going down and we sounded like a crazy flock of seagulls muttering ‘wow, wow, wow’ over and over.  It was SO beautiful, seriously one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever visited. 

A photo of the Sunset over lake Ohrid

Our private balcony was framed by creeping vines, purple flowers and an unobstructed view of the lake.  Just when I was thinking that things couldn’t get any better, the jolly and very kind guesthouse owner, Pavel, leaned over our balcony and presented us with a bowl of perfectly ripe figs, asking us if we liked them.  He then pointed to a nearby tree that was completely heavy with ripe figs!A photo of figs

I immediately had one; and as the juice dripped down my chin, I was so glad that I waited to have a fig that was so ripe it would fall of the tree into your hand.  A photo of a figI was pleased to find out that the crunchyness of fig newtons comes from the seeds which are interemingled with the delicate flesh.  And how pretty that tangled flesh is…upon close inspection it looks like a the center of a rose.

I had no idea that Macedonia would have ripe figs, but it was such a wonderful surprise.  If you ever get a chance to visit Lake Ohrid, you must! And if you ever find yourself in Ohrid you must stay at Pavel’s guesthouse (Grebnos Stonehouse Apartments); he was a wonderful and welcoming host with a deep love and pride for his beautiful country of Macedonia.

Do you remember the first time you had a fig?  Have you ever plucked one from the tree?  I’d love to hear!

ps. Sorry it took me 3 months to get this post up…I’ve been wanting to share this figgy tale with you since it happened. ;)  Hope you’re all well…thanks for reading!

Questions Upon a Castle:Two Days in Edinburgh

14 Dec
by Deanne

Edinburgh Castle: The guidebooks told me it was there but it didn’t capture my attention.  Then I wandered in and out, up and down seeing Mons Meg, a deep dark dungeon, and the precise room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to the future king, James I of England.Photo of Edinburgh Castle


Traveling and adventure gives me time to ponder.  Since this is my first visit to a castle, I wondered:

Photo of a Knight

Where did my own childhood fantasy take shape?  How I did I know to imagine sitting on a throne and  tossing evil doers into the dungeon?

Why did my brother, and most of the young boys I have known, pretend they were knights protecting a kingdom?

Photo of Gate at Edinburgh CastleMy most important question is…

Why does this towering relic, a symbol of so much collective human suffering, captivate my imagination?

Besides the castle, here are a few places we’d recommend:

Edinburgh City Hotel:  Built in 1879, the original Memorial Hospital dedicated to Sir James Young Simpson.  It is a lovely building, now transformed into a modern, very appealing, central yet quietly located 3 star comfortable hotel.

The Elephant House:  Famed as one of the places that JK Rowling sat writing much of her early novels about a boy named Harry Potter in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle.  We ate lunch there after a tour of the castle and before a trip to the National Museum of Scotland.

Dusit Thai:  Tucked away on Thistle Street, a unique Thai restaurant.

Caffe Nero:  A chain coffee place, with two very friendly baristas.  It is one of the few places open for an early morning breakfast before our bus tour.

Tour Guide Mike of Rabbie’s Trail Burners:  He proved to be an excellent storyteller and made our tour of the Scottish Highlands memorable.

The photos are compliments of Luke Bryce who toured Edinburgh Castle twelve days prior to me on a sunny day. For more pictures of Edinburgh check out Luke’s Flicker album.

Photo of a View of Edinburgh from the castle


Visiting Herriot Country

11 Dec
by Deanne

Growing up, Francine heard a few stories from her Dad (Steve) about a young veterinary surgeon and his work among the farming community of North Yorkshire. Because of Steve’s fondness for James Herriot,  we shared some of his books for children, like Moses_the_Kitten Moses the Kitten, during Francine’s childhood.  When planning our trip to visit her in the UK, she was sure to include a trip to Yorkshire. She sought out the area that is now called Herriot Country.

Steve was a boy in 1973, when James Herriot became an overnight sensation in the United States. Herriot’s first two books, If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet were combined into one volume called All Creatures Great and Small

Reading these books helped to shape Steve’s decision to study animal science.  Later, as a young married couple, Steve and I often watched the BBC television series starring Robert Hardy and Christopher Timothy.

James Alfred Wight used the pen name of James Herriot in accordance with veterinarian professionalism and changed the names and details of his clients, the source of inspiration for the characters he brought to life.  The real location of his practice is in the market town of Thirsk and we decided to seek out the visitor attraction called The World of James Herriot.

The visitor attraction located in a house at 23 Kirkgate has been restored to its original 1940’s decor.  This allowed us to visualize what it might have been like to live and work in this space as a veterinary surgeon during that time.  The upstairs has been converted to a museum.  There we learned about how the original veterinarians were farriers who made and fitted horseshoes.  They combined some blacksmith‘s skills (fabricating, adapting, and adjusting metal shoes) with knowledge of anatomy and physiology of horse’s limbs and hooves.

Visiting Yorkshire, with it’s seemingly endless landscape and unique beauty was a dream come true for both Steve and I.  We thank Francine for planning it and Luke for capturing the memories  through his photographs.  We had the opportunity to experience for ourselves this quote:

And the peace which I always found in the silence and emptiness of the moors filled me utterly.James Herriot


Black and White Photo of Yorkshire

The Magic of Yorkshire and a Proper Pot of Tea

6 Dec
by Deanne

Photo of Bridge

It’s as if a magic wand has been cast over the surrounding countryside to make it so beautiful. Rolling hills, crystal-clear rivers, butterflies taking flight from meadows, fiery sunsets over the moors and quaint, sleepy villages mesmerise outdoor lovers, ramblers and artists alike.

This quote, pulled from a travel article, speaks to the magical transformation we felt as we left the Lake District and drove across Yorkshire Dales Park before the early winter sunset.  The Lake District fells were wild and untamed and what we saw unfolding before our eyes was sweeping and panoramic.  Both are beautiful in their unique ways and make a person want to get outdoors even in the cold month of November and then huddle by the fire with a cup of tea at the end of the day. Photo of Yorkshire Dales

After the sun went down we found our way to a sweet bed and breakfast and had some Yorkshire Tea in front of a roaring fire made with coal.  We also had a tea lesson and learned that in Yorkshire it is proper to have a pot of tea with another pot for hot water if the tea is too strong. Milk of course is necessary.

In the morning we checked out the livestock in the barn and the other surroundings around Mt. Pleasant Farm near Richmond.

Photo of Cattle at Mount Pleasant

To summarize this aspect of our trip, we drove through the Yorkshire Dales, stayed in Vale of York, and got a tiny peek of the Yorkshire Moors Park with a visit to the market town of Helmsley.

Photo of Helmsley

 Another BIG THANKS to Luke Bryce for all the pictures