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.
As with many others in the Twin Cities, a new year in the dead of winter warrants a freezer and pantry clean out. I’m sure I’m not alone in the amount of items that have been passed up over the past year (or years, in my case).
Finding and making truly simple recipes doesn’t come easily (for me). It seems that I tend to pick highly involved dishes and insist on making most if not all of the components myself. Heck, if I were more adept at making cheese, I’m sure I’d complicate things even more.
Happy holidays! My Christmas was a bit non-traditional as it was spent in Miami where the weather was sunny and the temperatures were in the 80s. Instead of rushing around buying last-minute gifts and prepping copious amounts of food, we relaxed on the beach and sipped fruity cocktails.
On cold winter days it can be hard to balance cravings of rich comfort food with the need to eat healthier so I try to start by day right with a healthy breakfast to allow for indulgences at other times. Keeping a stock of frozen berries to add to yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies not only serves as a health boost but as a day brightener as well.
Happy Holidays! Thanksgiving went off without a hitch and was full of food and family. We did two Thanksgivings this year — one with turkey and one with ham so that offered some variety over the two days of heavy eating.
Once all those lovely luscious berries are gone, we still have a fruit option to turn to: the apple. A few weeks ago I bought a large bag of Haralson apples from the Minneapolis Farmers Market and promptly made applesauce, apple butter, and an apple pie. The applesauce was divided into wide mouth 8 oz. jars for lunches and while I reserved a cup for baking, that was quickly eaten for lunch, too.
If you’ve been reading this blog over the past month or so, I wouldn’t be surprised if you are under the impression that I eat a lot of cheese platters and preserve a decent amount of produce through freezing and canning.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, the weather dictates a lot of what I do. It affects the way I dress, my daily schedule, my eating habits, and of course it affects my mood.
Last year I talked about the new salmon share offering from Sitka Salmon Shares and we loved it so much that we renewed again this year and have been enjoying our monthly salmon deliveries throughout the summer.
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.