Crystal Grobe is a Minneapolis-based food writer who enjoys exploring seasonal and local foods. She can be found wandering farmers markets, picking produce at local farms (a lot of it), and enjoying the fantastic food community in Minnesota.
Crystal has spent over a decade writing about food for outlets like WCCO, City Pages, and Twin Cities Food Finds. She has developed recipes for General Mills, tested recipes for chefs, and had a very short-lived morning show segment on WCCO-TV talking about ingredients at the farmers market.
When she’s not writing about food, she’s working as a corporate content strategist and freelance social media consultant while trying to travel the world as much as possible.
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.
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.