Minnesota Spoon: Back to base camp with J.D. Fratzke

J.D. Fratzke tucks a brown paper bag under a small teepee of sticks. It’s been raining here, last night and early this morning. He searches for drier kindling, finding only a little. The chef will make do. We’re perched at a campsite above the St. Croix River, surrounded by scraggly trees and a cool wind … [ Read more]

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Minnesota Spoon: Anaerobic exercises with Matti Sprague

Matti Sprague and I appear to be talking about fermentation. We are standing in Jon Wipfli’s well-lighted kitchen, and we are using all the words that you use when you talk about fermentation. We are talking about salting down vegetables, creating anaerobic environments, and encouraging the right kinds of microbial life while discouraging the wrong … [ Read more]

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Minnesota Spoon: Making peace with beef

The case for a more sustainable steak with Jon Wipfli and Erik Sather I suffer from a chronic condition that I keep mostly under control. You haven’t heard of it. It’s called Sustainability Exhaustion. Most days I live just like you. I stand blinking in the fluorescent glare of the pre-wrapped meat section, trying to … [ Read more]

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Cold Weather Cooking with Beth Dooley: Not Your Mom’s Mac ‘N Cheese

Admit it. You love mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort food because: A) It’s so damn familiar; B) It calls for stuff you already have in the pantry and fridge; and C) You really don’t need a recipe to make a good one. Really, you can make it however the heck you want—blue cheese … [ Read more]

Cold Weather Cooking with Beth Dooley: Chicken & Dumpling Soup

This time of year when the tips of our noses are drippy and cold, and we’re tired, achy, and chilled to the bone, who doesn’t crave chicken soup? It’s brothy and light, satisfyingly simple, and innocently good. It’s the global go-to for those wintery blues, and just about every cuisine has its own version. Here’s … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Sameh Wadi’s last meal

“First you pour the arak,” insists Sameh Wadi. “Then you add the water. And only then do you add the ice.” Outside the windows of Jon Wipfli’s kitchen, the first big winter snow sits thick on a pair of spruce trees. It is an unexpected setting for a round of arak—a Middle Eastern version of … [ Read more]

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Kimchee and KFC: Young Joni’s Ann Kim and Adam Gorski on new American food traditions

So there’s Young, and there’s Joni. Two moms. One attentive and skillful Korean family cook: Young. One affectionate and bibulous North Dakota family host: Joni. Right? Okay, so there’s this restaurant: Young Joni. Coming soon. Northeast Minneapolis. Front dining room in the spirit of Young: Wood-fired ovens, open grill, shareable meals, generosity. Back bar in … [ Read more]

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Cold Weather Cooking with Beth Dooley: Autumn Salads

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a monthly series of recipes in which Beth Dooley, author of “In Winter’s Kitchen”, will talk about enjoying the bounty of the Upper Midwest even in the cold, barren months ahead. Who says salad season ends with Labor Day? Come late in the season, the farmers markets are … [ Read more]

Slay to Gourmet: Alaska moose hunt

A year ago, my Uncle Mark called me with an invitation to go to Fairbanks, Alaska, for a week of moose hunting and a getaway from the city. Thankfully I agreed, despite not knowing much about moose, or moose hunting, or Fairbanks, or what the hell I was about to get myself into. I won’t … [ Read more]

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Minnesota Spoon: Halibut with Mike DeCamp of Monello

The beard is magnificent. Untended and unfashionable. The anti-hipster beard. It streams down from his jaw in uneven rust-colored rivulets, and spreads high up his cheeks and toward his ears in a way that is tempting to compare to a blush, if we weren’t talking about maybe the least blushful person in this zip code. … [ Read more]

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Minnesota Spoon: Smoked brisket recipe from Thomas Boemer of Revival and Corner Table

The brisket hit the smoker at 8am. The whiskey was open by 11am. An early start is important. It’s well established that good barbecue should begin around dawn. It needs the better part of a day to drip, blacken, and break down into tender perfection. That’s why Thomas Boemer, chef at Revival and Corner Table, … [ Read more]

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Slay to Gourmet: Cassoulet with Spoon and Stable chef-owner Gavin Kaysen

It’s the time of year where most of my game is coming out of the freezer again. Not that it’s a bad thing, but eating through 400 venison sausages could get a little redundant if I simply grilled them every night. To break the monotony, I find that it helps to get a second opinion. … [ Read more]

The Minnesota Spoon: Marinated skirt steak fry bread sliders

I’ve always struggled with winters in Minnesota. But even though there are at least 100 reasons to hibernate and avoid human contact, I’ve found that becoming a hermit isn’t the best way to attack winter. One thing that’s always gotten me out of the house and limping back into society is cooking and hosting parties. … [ Read more]

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Slay to Gourmet: Venison Choucroute Garni

Another deer season has come and gone, and so, too, has the mixed bag of emotions with which it comes. Successful hunts, missed opportunities, good company, and the peace and quiet found sitting in the stand will all be put on the shelf until next September. If you were lucky, you probably have venison in … [ Read more]

Slay to Gourmet: Fried Woodcock

Upland hunters may be reluctant to spend their limited time in the field to hunt woodcock due to the small bag limit, or perhaps they just don’t know how good they taste. For whatever reason, woodcock has remained an afterthought in the fall hunting cycle dominated by pheasant and ducks—that is, until now. Fluttering through … [ Read more]

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