Crystal Grobe is a local food writer who truly enjoys creating new dishes using fresh and local ingredients. Although she likes trying new restaurants for inspiration, the best dishes come from her own kitchen and she wants to share them with her readers.
Crystal created Café Cyan in 2006 as a way to share recipes and inspire others to try new foods. In early 2009, she created a food blog for WCCO called Bite of Minnesota, which focuses on local food in Minnesota and the surrounding area.
Crystal loves Minnesota and its vibrant community of interactive and innovative people. She is constantly on the go in search of new foods, events, music, and friends. She lives in the south metro with her husband, Ryan, which gives them easy access to both the bustling cities and the local farms.
I’m pretty sure I grew up never seeing a fig or even knowing what they were. When I did start to notice figs, they appeared to be a strange fruit with squishy insides and deemed too expensive to try on a college student’s budget.
This time of year is great for wandering around the neighborhood and taking in the sounds and scents of the approaching fall season. A little leaf crunch here and the waft of grilling there, it makes me want to throw open my windows and let all of the fresh air in. We don’t grill too often at our house, but on occasion we’ll buy a steak or come across some brats that are grill worthy. In most cases, we leave the grilling up to friends and family but did have occasion to fire it up recently to char some peaches.
Last weekend I had my 4-year-old niece tag along with me to two farmers markets: Mill City & Minneapolis, with an ice cream stop in between, of course. The girl loves her ice cream and orders it by its color rather than its flavor, totally kid style.
Yep, it’s here … well, almost here. The Minnesota State Fair opens on Thursday and I am not prepared at all. Typically I have lists upon lists that cross reference new foods, old favorites and the best route to try it all in one day (or two or three). This year I’m taking a more laid-back approach and instead of rushing from booth to booth, I’m going for the Minnesota Cooks event on Sunday, Aug. 30.
The last 10 years have been filled with blogging, trying out new recipes and spending a lot of time in the kitchen. My life has revolved around food, gathering ideas and listening to others talk about food. When I dine at a new restaurant with a fellow food lover, we’re often bellied up to the bar to get the inside scoop on what’s good, what’s new and what’s happening.
When we hit the dog days of summer (you know, those summer days with unusually-warm temperatures), frozen treats are oh-so-craveable. Popsicles, fudge bars, ice cream sandwiches, you name it. If it comes from the freezer, count me in. Heck, even snacking on frozen fruit will do the job.
“Refresh, replenish, and rehydrate” has been mantra over the last couple of weeks with temperatures in the 80s and the humidity reaching uncomfortable levels. Chugging water is typically my first choice (and healthiest option), but sometimes other beverages are a little more exciting.
I hope your 4th of July weekend was as fun and food-filled as mine was. We kicked off the weekend by heading down to Cherry Leaf Farm in Northfield to do some cherry picking.
While it’s tempting to pop over to a patio for some small bites, sometimes it’s nice to settle in at home and leisurely nibble and sip on your own time. No servers to interrupt, no meters to feed, and no one to judge you when you spill on yourself.
If this beautifully sunny and warm weekend wasn’t enough proof that summer is in full effect, then the emergence of strawberry season surely serves as a giant clue from mother nature that summer in Minnesota is here.
Last time I talked about a unique fermentation bar off Eat Street in Minneapolis, Gyst Fermentation Bar. If you travel further south on Nicollet, you’ll run into another one of my new favorite restaurants, Revival. Continuing with the theme of highlighting a few local eateries, this is a new place you will want to visit.
There are times when a restaurant opens and upon first visit, I vow to eat my way through the menu. Over the past year, there have been several restaurants that had me singing their praises from day one. While I typically write about recipes here on Bite of Minnesota, truth is, I eat out just as much as I cook at home, so why not highlight a few local eateries?
Wouldn’t it be glorious to have treats delivered to you all of the time? Imagine my excitement when I got a text from the WCCO offices saying I had an edible package from Swedish Crown Bakery.
As soon as we start to have warm weather and sunshine, the talk turns to farmers markets and we start to get antsy about cooking fresh and local again. Typically at this time, the abundance of produce hasn’t quite hit us yet – it is Minnesota after all! However, thanks to an early spring the first markets will likely offer more than in years prior.
Another sign of warmer weather is the arrival of ramps, a wild leek that tastes a little like onion and garlic. Its scent is certainly pungent but because of its short season and limited availability, people go crazy for ramps while they can.
Do you ever come across an ingredient that looks intriguing but you have no clue how to use it? If you’re anything like me, you buy the ingredient and store it for what seems like an eternity. It happened with the plantain cups that were made into a Super Bowl appetizer a couple of months back.
After the cold depths of winter, it’s delightful to throw open the windows and get some fresh air circulating through the house. There’s something about the smell of fresh spring air that brings feelings of hope. Maybe it’s the snow melting or the trees blooming, but whatever it is, it’s nice to smell the outdoors once again.
By now you’ve likely heard of Travail, the popular chef driven restaurant in Robbinsdale. You’ve probably read stories both about the long lines and the amazing dining experience. Perhaps you even read about their new ticketing system, where tickets are purchased well in advance, something I’m a huge fan of.
As a somewhat experienced home cook, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like I know what I’m doing in the kitchen. I’ve dealt with my share of lengthy and difficult recipes and I don’t typically shy away from learning something new. Case in point: whole wheat blue cheese crackers, pretzel crusted cheese eggs, and bacon jam.
Looking for more ways to infuse vegetables into your diet? A stir-fry is a quick and easy way to do it. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to use bits and pieces of vegetables left in the crisper drawer.
If you haven’t heard already, the big game is on Sunday. Yes, the Super Bowl. Otherwise known as a perfect excuse to grab friends and throw a fantastic food party.
Simplicity is a major focus for many after the New Year. Less plans, less stuff and less work. It’s almost like spring cleaning but without the chirping birds and spring thaw. Since the days are short and the winter is long, there is plenty of time to figure out ways to simplify before summer hits.
New year, new you? It doesn’t quite work that way, but now is as good of a time as any to implement changes in your life. I’m never been one for resolutions and didn’t make any this year, but I do believe in always striving for better. So, for the first couple weeks of January, we’re doing a bit of a “cleanse” through Bon Appetit.
Celebrating the new year traditionally happens with a bang. Whether it’s the pop of the champagne cork or the boom of fireworks, a new beginning is something to celebrate. After years of less-than-satisfactory celebrations, I now prefer to celebrate with a small group of friends at dinner.
It seems that people are in one of two camps: early shoppers or last-minute shoppers. I grew up in a family of last-minute shoppers. My mom would be finishing her shopping list on Christmas Eve, and still be wrapping as we arrived. As an adult, I have retained some of those last-minute tendencies, but certainly not in the gift-buying department.