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 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.
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.