by Maria Faust
Leaving Homer, we turned left onto Highway 61, heading as far north as a day could take us. Nearly eight hours and 375 miles later, we turned right off Highway 61, arriving at a small cabin on a bay of Lake Superior, just outside Hovland, Minnesota. We were sure that our trip would give us some relief from what had been, up to that point, a long, wet and hot summer in Winona County.
We left home with an arsenal of fresh produce from friends’ gardens, the farmers markets and our own herb garden. The space available for luggage was sparse, and my husband joked that it may take the “Jaws of Life” to remove me and my local food loot from the car.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with cool, invigorating breezes and the chance to pair local fare from our neck of the woods with theirs. Grilled fresh caught lake trout, herring and whitefish with our fennel, potatoes, eggplant and beans, were perfect. Then there were nights we craved some of our local chicken or lamb with their hand harvested wild rice. The week was full of freshness, and was refreshing!
As we made the return trip and the big lake receded in the rear view mirror, I became eager to see farmland and the river valley again. I also wondered what might be awaiting us in the gardens and markets; sweet bell peppers? melons? heirloom tomatoes? I turned to my husband and declared, “It will be good to get back home”.
Glazed Peppers with Almonds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water 20 minutes and drained
2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 medium orange bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add raisins and cook 1 minute. Stir in bell peppers, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Cover and cook 20 minutes. Remove cover and cook until peppers are very tender and slightly glazed, 10-15 minutes, occasionally stirring gently. If peppers begin to stick to pan add 1-2 tablespoons warm water. Remove from heat, and serve warm or at
From: Colorado Collage Cookbook, 1995
* A dash of curry powder transforms this cool fruit soup into a sweetly savory first course.
2 pound ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (3 cups)
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup chilled sparkling apple cider (nonalcoholic)
1/8 teaspoon Madras curry powder
Garnish: Madras curry powder; lemon slices
Puree cantaloupe with 3 tablespoons lemon juice in a blender until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cider and curry. Season with salt and additional lemon juice. Serve immediately, at room temperature.
Serves: 4 (first course)
From: Gourmet August 2003
4 cups coarsely chopped seeded watermelon (from a 3-lb. piece, rind discarded)
1 cup ( 1/2 pint) vanilla ice cream
Blend watermelon and ice cream in a blender until smooth. Pour into 2 (20-ounce) glasses.
From: Gourmet, July 2004
Green Beans and Heirloom Tomatoes with Creme Fraiche Vinaigrette
*Sour cream may be substituted for creme fraiche.
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
7 ounces creme fraiche
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the green beans and cook until tender (not al dente), about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and refresh in iced water.
Put almonds on a cookie sheet and bake them until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent scorching. Put creme fraiche in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Marinate the tomatoes in a third of the vinaigrette. Toss the green beans with a third of the vinaigrette, and divide the green beans evenly among 4 plates. Top with drained tomatoes, toasted almonds and chives. Drizzle remaining third of vinaigrette around plate.
From: Chef Vincent Francoual, Vincent’s Restaurant - Minneapolis
* This column of good eating is brought to you by members and friends of the Winona County EDA Local Foods Committee and UM Master Gardeners. Questions or comments? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org