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.
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.
It is cold. There’s no denying that we’ve been experiencing some cold temperatures lately, causing our bodies to crave warm comfort food.
If the recent snowfall hasn’t caused you to start thinking of the holidays, the calendar will.
There’s a new pop-up in town and it has one focus: pie. Yep, it’s that simple. Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart (read more about her here in WCCO’s Chef Profile) has partnered with Hola Arepa to host Power Pie Monday each Monday in November from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. I was one of the lucky ones to score a whole pie on Monday, so we delighted in malted banana cream pie all week.
As an adult, I was able to add many more bacon recipes to my repertoire and I just found another winner: bacon jam. I tested out a half batch over the weekend and regretted that I didn’t make more. However, I have a dinner party coming up and since I learned my lesson, I’ll be making a full batch this time.
Every so often, I visit the U of M Dairy Salesroom and pick up a few cheeses. Last time, I purchased a tub of Nuworld cheese spread. Nuworld is a cheese developed at the U of M and is considered a white “blue” cheese instead of the more traditional blue veined blue cheese.
Have a hankering for hot sauce but can’t seem to find a brand you like? Have you tried making your own? We grew habaneros in our container garden this year with the hopes of creating a hot sauce.
Does your family ever fight over the crispy edges of a casserole, especially when cheese is involved?
I knew I had to make eggplant parmesan. It’s something I ate for the first time in college, when it was prepared by my roommate’s Italian aunt. While her fried version is delicious, I went for a baked version instead, hoping to save some fat and calories.
Cheese curds always have a spot in my stomach at the fair no matter how full I am from other foods.
I read somewhere that it is National Peach Month. I’m not one for insignificant holidays, but it does coincide with peach season, so I’m going with it. And since I just ordered 25 pounds of organic peaches, it’s officially peach week in my house.
Let me share my blueberry picking struggles from this past Saturday. Don’t worry, it isn’t too dramatic or long, but it was a good reminder of how flexible one needs to be when seeking out seasonal produce.
I’m always on the hunt for hidden food gems throughout the Twin Cities. Whether it’s a farmer’s market in the dead of winter or a roadside farm stand, I like to share my good finds. One such find is the University of Minnesota’s dairy salesroom.
At a recent barbecue, we threw slices of summer squash in a plastic bag with some herbs to quickly marinate before grilling. It’s easy to transport and easy to dispose of when finished. You don’t need a recipe for this but I’ve included instructions below.
On Sunday morning I made a mad dash for Lorence’s Berry Farm in Northfield and picked 16 pounds of strawberries just before a storm came through. The fields had plenty of berries to pick and they were large, juicy, and delicious.
Turns out I went herb shopping just in thyme (time, I mean time) to make an herby cocktail with bourbon, lemon juice, and thyme. It requires making simple syrup and while you’ll have to wash a saucepan, I swear the syrup is truly simple to make.
Last week I talked about a few dishes using ramps that I’ve made over the years. The mild garlic and onion flavor of ramps help boost the flavor profile and make them an easy addition to most recipes. I’m sad when the season ends so I’ve been looking for ways to prolong their life in the form of butters, salts, and seasonings.
Recently I spent some time in Negril, Jamaica for a friend’s wedding. This was my first time at an all-inclusive vacation spot and my first time doing a beachy resort vacation as we typically go for city explorations.
One of my favorite things to make is French onion soup. I enjoy watching the onions slowly caramelize, and fragrant herbs rosemary and thyme fill the house with warm and familiar scents. Luckily at this time of year, we can keep the windows open to avoid having the house smell like onions for days afterward.
I’m pretty sure I’m recovering from a magazine subscription addiction. Most of my subscriptions were to food or lifestyle magazines and it was a comforting feeling to know that new information is coming to my mailbox once a month.
With snow piles melting and puddles to dodge, there have certainly been signs of spring in the recent days. After a long winter, even a couple days of sunshine are a welcome break those gloomy and cold days.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I like to freeze soups, fruit, and other goodies to have at the ready.
For the last couple of summers, we’ve been receiving a salmon share from Sitka Salmon and it has been wonderful. Not only do we receive five pounds of salmon each month, we also received an early registration gift of smoked salmon belly, which I was quite excited about and had never tried before.
Like many others, my big meal prep day is Sunday. It’s the day that I crank out soups, work on cooking projects, and make sure the fridge is prepped for the week by using the old stuff and replenishing it with new items.
When I first came across the idea of a pumpkin pie parfait, it was meant to be eaten for dessert and the idea was pretty simple: alternate layers of leftover pumpkin pie, apple pie, and whipped cream in a jar. While this sounds absolutely delightful, it’s certainly not what my waistline needs.