Summertime, Sticky Fingers, and Ice Cream

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I spend a great deal of time thinking about food and memory. I sit and think about past meals, cocktails, glasses of wine. I think about where I was when I last had a lobster roll and who I was with and what the weather was like. I think about the first meal I ever ate with Chef Boyfriend and what music was playing and how he stood over that stupid glass stovetop sprinkling the ravioli with fresh sage.

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Cocktail Roundup

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Gin & tonic with rhubarb simple syrup.

I’m primarily a wine drinker. Red in the winter. Rosé in the spring. White in the summer. Sparkling all year ’round.

But there’s something about warm weather and patio sitting that screams “cocktail time”. After getting home from work and walking the dog, I’ve been making myself a cocktail and going out to the patio. Sipping a drink in the sunshine has become one of my favorite parts of the day and I look forward to trying out new cocktail recipes. So here we go: Rhubarb gin & tonics, Negroni Radlers, and cucumber margaritas.  Continue reading

Saturday at Revival

Drinks at Revival

Drinks at Revival

Saturday was the first day Chef Boyfriend didn’t work in weeks. And it was glorious.

We slept in, drank coffee, had drinks with lunch and took an afternoon nap. It may not sound like much, but for two people who’s schedules rarely align, a whole Saturday together is amazing and just being together is better than anything.

Though the whole day was nice, far and away the best part was lunch at Revival. If you’re in the Twin Cities and haven’t checked out Revival yet, get off the internet right now and jump in the car or on your bike and get there. Seriously.

Revival opened earlier this year and is the quirky little sister of Corner Table and Chef Thomas Boemer gets it right. It’s hoity-toity Southern cuisine and it hits the spot. Fried chicken, a solid selection of sauces, grits, beans and biscuits…I loved everything we ordered.

And the wine list? Fantastic. Created by people who get that nothing pairs better with fried food than sparkling wine. Five by the glass and 11 by the bottle; this girl couldn’t have been happier (though I’m curious as to who is ordering the $210 a bottle Pierre Gimmonet “Special Club” Chardonnay from Champagne, France with their fried chicken).

We started with fried chicken livers and the pigs ear salad.

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As I pierced the delicate coating on the fried chicken livers with my fork, I thought about how lucky I am to have found someone who enjoys food as much as I do. Someone willing to order the weird stuff on the menu: pigs ears, chicken liver, sea urchin, headcheese, offals. Someone who isn’t afraid of any animal, any cut, any part. We are exploratory eaters and we’re on a journey together.

We have our favorites, sure. And sometimes they’re safe. But if there’s an unusual charcuterie option on the menu, we’re ordering it. If sweetbreads are in something, we’re ordering it. And I will eat absolutely any animal’s liver. Which made the fried chicken livers my favorite menu time at Revival. The batter is delicious, the livers, tender and they’re served with sweet potato barbecue sauce. Go ahead and use extra sweet potato barbecue sauce.

The fried chicken itself is tender and juicy and wonderful. The white cheddar grits are unctuous. The banana cream pie, perfection. All served with three glasses of Spanish Muscat with the slightest effervescence.

It was a wonderful lunch and we will absolutely be returning. And if you’re planning a trip, invite us along.

Stressed

I baked last night for the first time in weeks.

I haven’t been happy lately. Work isn’t going well and I come home each night feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I have been overlooking the things I know will help me feel better in favor of sitting on my couch with my dog watching Netflix.

I know cooking will make me feel better. As will writing. As will yoga. But it’s so hard to find the motivation when you feel down. I’ve struggled with depression for years and it comes and goes. And right now, I’m firmly in a depressive episode. I know I am and this weekend I made the conscious effort to engage in the activities I know will make me happier. I went to yoga. I baked a cake. I took longer walks with my dog. And I feel better.

And I’m making a new commitment to writing. I’m writing to you now and I took pictures of my weekend food activities and will write about them later in the week. Because sharing my passion is motivation. Talking about food and wine and my kitchen always make me happy. The more I talk about cooking, the more I cook. The more I cook, the happier I feel.

I need to remind myself of the pleasure I find in preparing food. Chopping is therapeutic. Stirring a pot garners results. And I desperately need results. Positive results. These past few weeks at work have felt futile. Like I’m bailing water out of a sinking canoe and everyone around me is just watching from the shore. But time spent in the kitchen always results in food. This weekend it was a caramel apple cake. Later this week there will be pasta. And I will find comfort in it.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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I don’t know Karen Christensen, but I’ve loved her coffee cake for 20 some years now. Her recipe is dog-eared in my copy of the Zion Lutheran Church Cookbook from Denison, Iowa. It’s the perfect Monday morning baked-good. You mix the batter the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Pop it in the oven the next morning while you’re in the shower and 30 minutes later, you’re greeted with a spicy, tender crumb. The perfect side dish to a mug of strong coffee. Continue reading

Gardening: a new beginning


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I am a neglectful gardener. I love the planning process. The reading gardening books. Shopping for seeds. Drawing plans out on graph paper. Researching what will grow best in my 4×6 raised bed. I am very good at these things. I check out all the right books from the library. Ask all the right questions of the Master Gardeners at the South Minneapolis Gardening Hub. I take detailed notes and am an excellent gardener. On paper. Continue reading

Give me clear liquor or give me death

It took me a long time to have a drink that was “my drink”. A drink that I could order in any bar, anywhere, without a menu. At some point in time, I told myself I would be a real adult when I had a cocktail to call my own and not a moment before. Once I had “my drink” I would instantly be sophisticated, worldly and able to afford more than the happy hour beer that was on special. So imagine my surprise when I discovered “my drink” at the Mall of America, during happy hour. But we’ll get to that in a bit. Continue reading

Food Police

I work in hunger relief. Part of my job is stay up-to-date on hunger related issues, food news and public policy. I read this article last week and this one and this one too. Basically, I have a lot of feelings about recent food policy news. And after a 20 minute rant at Chef Boyfriend, who calmly reminded me that he’s not a politician and doesn’t care what people buy with SNAP benefits, I thought I’d work on processing my feelings by writing about them. Continue reading