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.
Each year we have a garden (a patio container garden), and each year we rush to use or preserve everything at the end of the season. This year we’ve been pretty good about preserving as we go along: using basil in pepper jelly, drying herbs while at their peak flavor, and being diligent about picking cherry tomatoes as soon as they are ripe. It’s been a great season.
We’re just a couple of weeks into football season, so it’s time to think about dishes that are easy to eat while watching the game. Football season or not, we tend to graze in our house on Sundays, using up odds and ends of what is left in the fridge and pantry, so we’re well conditioned for the graze-fest that the football season brings.
If you’re like me, workweeks are hectic so breakfast has to be easy. As much as I’d love a hot breakfast in the morning, my hot options are oatmeal at my desk or grabbing a breakfast sandwich from the cafeteria.
It was a busy weekend at the market with an abundance of colorful produce at every turn. Crates of melons, bushels of tomatoes and peppers, and plenty of green made up the color palate as I walked the aisles of the Minneapolis Farmers Market. After making the roasted sun gold tomato sauce last week, I had to make another batch for my upcoming book club/birthday celebration and was on the hunt for sun gold tomatoes. Luckily I found them at Rolf’s Produce and dashed home to make more sauce for one of my favorite zucchini recipes from 101 Cookbooks.
After counting chips, Twinkies, and random slices of fruit and tomatoes as meals over the long weekend, it was time to return to normal meals and refocus on the ingredients from our salad share and our small garden.
The beauty of a weekly crop share is that there is never a shortage of produce in our fridge. Even our smaller salad share keeps us eating fresh meals through the week. I look forward to receiving the box each week so I can dig in and start meal-planning.
Are you ready to spice up your grilling routine? Tired of burgers, hot dogs and brats? Let me suggest a fun and flavorful alternative from the Mexican market: marinated carne asada or carne al pastor.
Remember all those strawberries I picked a few weeks back? While most went into the freezer for future storage, I used a few cups to make a variety of simple syrups for drinks. It’s a simple way to spruce up beverages (hence the term “simple syrup”) and so easy to make.
Do you ever have a discussion with your partner or spouse that goes a little something like this?
Recently, a group of food bloggers, photographers and general food lovers got together in downtown Minneapolis to tour the food trucks. It is amazing to see how many new trucks keep popping up and we were eager to try a few of the new offerings.
My garden is growing fast and I’m amazed at how big my tomato and pepper plants have gotten over the last few weeks. My herbs have shot up too and taken over their containers, causing me to be more diligent about harvesting the leaves for things like basil-mint water, dried herbs, and sauces.
Getting started is sometimes the most difficult part of a cycle. Take this year’s growing season for example. It was so tough to get started, not for lack of trying, but for lack of warmth. Now that the temperatures have risen and the ground has enough (and sometimes too much) moisture, the familiar produce of our growing season has started to pop up in both fields and markets.
Last week, I had a happy hour date set up with some friends from a previous job. Plenty of time was spent discussing available dates and possible locations. Babysitters were secured, work tasks were prioritized, and three hours before go time, someone backed out, followed by another, and yet another.
Over the weekend, I visited the farmer’s market for the first time this season. What a beautiful day to be outside! Kingfield Market was busy and pickings were slim when it came to fresh produce. While hoping for asparagus, I walked away with radishes, rhubarb, and mushrooms instead.
Each year I look forward to spring, not just for the warmer temperatures and chirping birds, but also for the start of our food cycle. Typically ramps and morels kick it off but with the severe fluctuation in temperature I was afraid all hope was lost for these foraged goodies. Luckily I was wrong and with the cool Memorial Weekend, foragers were out in full force gathering up bunches of ramps and bags of morels for our enjoyment.
Hosting a party can be a lot of work and is also quite rewarding to see your hard work pay off. The key is to allow time to enjoy it yourself. To cut down on busywork during the party I try to prep as much as I can ahead of time so I can get out of the kitchen and mingle.
Last week I shared a delicious tri-colored salad on this blog that appears to be just in time for some 90-degree temperatures this week. It wasn’t anything fancy, just arugula, radicchio, and endive with an equally un-fancy dressing of red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
With spring gatherings and summer picnics approaching quickly, I’m often on the hunt for something healthy and flavorful to bring to the party.
It’s officially garage sale season! I saw my first sale of the season over the weekend and got quite giddy with excitement.
Recently I fell off the pizza train. On purpose. My pizza intake was reaching an all time high: that stuff is addicting!
Since it seems that spring is reluctant to show its face in Minnesota, there’s no need to turn off our ovens quite yet.
A few years ago I was a guest on the Fresh and Local Show on AM950 along with a talented blogger and photographer, Susan Powers.
From the posts on this blog, it’s easy to assume that I cook healthy all of the time and for the most part, it’s true. Most of the unhealthy food I consume comes from takeout joints and restaurant visits but from time to time I’ll whip up an indulgent appetizer or two.
Throughout the years I’ve both developed my own recipes and altered already existing recipes. It’s rare that I make a recipe exactly as written, and it’s a fun creative outlet to play around in the kitchen and make something that tastes great.
Is it spring yet? Winter sure is dragging on, but that’s nothing new for Minnesota. As we adjust to Daylight Savings Time and yearn for blue skies, sunlight, and warmer weather, it’s a good time to strengthen our resolve and start preparing for those exciting spring days.