I baked something! Unbelievable, right? From left, apples, carrot cake jam, chocolate bread, cream cheese, crusty bread and manchengo cheese.
Because nothing says holiday cooking like lard, am I right?
Top the chocolate bread with cream cheese and carrot cake jam. Trust me on this one.
The Advent House in the window. Celebrating the Christmas season.
Those things that look like file cabinets hold honeycombs. Honeycomb holders? No bees. They were keeping warm in their hives, which can get up to 78 degrees. Who knew?
Honey bon bons, honey sticks and on the far left, her honey tasting collection.
Can you guess where this quote is from? I'll give you a hint. It's from a famous children's story about a group of French schoolgirls.
It's not often that I go somewhere and get an education. Ever hear the quote about not wanting to meet people whose work you admire for fear their personality doesn't match? I caught the proprietor of Mademoiselle Miel, (Miel being French for honey) a tiny shop in St. Paul known for their honey-infused concoctions, at slow point on a Friday afternoon all to myself and she is really one of the most enjoyable and knowledgeable people I've met. Not only does she make the chocolates, but she is beekeeper to some very urban honeybees. With hives atop buildings in both downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis, she was a wealth of information about everything from bees being responsible to our sources of food to the fact that where a bee forages determines the flavor of the honey. Which is ironic because I had just learned the EXACT same fact about sheep from my buddy Andreas Viestad on New Scandinavian Cooking THAT morning. The definition of kismet. She even let me sample some of the honeys in her personal collection from bees in such places as Brooklyn (smooth as silk) and the top of the Paris Opera House (spicy) which proved that honeys can be about as complex in flavor as wine. Anyway, she made me want to come home and start planting bee-friendly plants. (you can find more info on her website blog) Bees are apparently responsible for pollinating a quarter of the foods we eat. If you hadn't heard in the news, the bee population has dropped due to disease and lack of a healthy environment. I know I am going to bring my son back to see her to educate the young on how we need to treat bees.
Back to her chocolates - using the bare bones, raw cacao, honey, and perhaps a flavor such as orange or juniper, I tasted and left with a combination of the signature honey bon-bons and the highly unusual smoked honey bon-bons with scotch. (the man's chocolate she called it) Definitely a departure from the stereotypical box of sweet milk chocolates. I can't even describe it properly. I just have to suggest you pick some up. Her wares are available not only at her shop, but at places like the Golden Fig in St. Paul, Seward Café, you can view the complete list here.
The only disappointment the entire time is that they were sold out of her honey hot cocoa bombs, which you drop into a cup of hot, steaming milk and stir for a cup of honey-infused hot cocoa. I think she promised more next year after her bees get to work after their winter nap. I can't wait.
Did you guess where the quotation is from? It is from Ludwig Bemelman's 1939 book Madeline.
342 Kellogg Blvd West St. Paul, MN 55102 Open Friday 3-9
What Depth of Field have to do with food? Well nothing really except the back parking lot had the most delectable smells coming from the back parking lot from Dillas Ethopian Restaurant. But the store is so lovely and it is a local small business. So I try to pitch for them when I have a chance. Depth of Field Futon carries Otis Futon which is made in the USA. And it's definitely not your college futon which was one step above a sleeping bag.
Depth of Field yarn has the best selection of yarn I have ever seen. Alpaca, Baby Alpaca, Turkish wool. They even have knitting and crocheting classes which seem to becoming a lost art. Not here. Plus, you can just come here on Sundays and hang out and knit while watching the big game. You will never want to buy yarn anywhere else. Free parking in the back for customers.
Depth of Field Futon & Depth of Field Yarn
405 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454
'Twas the morning of Christmas and all through the house, there was no pumpkin pie spice for the pumpkin pancakes.
Not a big deal, I thought. I can make my own with my vast collection of spices. Unbelievable to me, there was no cinnamon either. What kind of a cook am I? Luckily, there was stick cinnamon for the pumpkin pancakes. And hot coffee and M&M's for the chef.
But alas, no coconut flour either. There was almond flour, however.
They did not stick together, not enough egg, perhaps? I was the only one who ate them. I guess I am known for my non-paleo dishes, that is, breakfast burritos. But I ate the pancakes, and honestly, I'll try these again.
My son did this Gingerbread House in school. Not bad for a kid who hates art class. But I'm stoked because he now wants to make gingerbread men cookies at home. And hence, my secret wish he'll be a chef one day and cook for me.
I have cooked entire Thanksgiving dinners. Pity that hasn't happen since 1996. Now, as a perennial guest, I am only tasked with finding an open florist on the big day and bringing dessert. Thank goodness for the florist down the street and my new stove. Last year's Pecan Pie out of The Cajun Gourmet: Afloat and on the Road ended up a soupy mess on the carseat. This year I am trying cupcakes. Naturally, that didn't stop me from having to go to Williams-Sonoma, credit card in hand. I purchased a wire rack, cupcake boxes, a candy thermometer, a 9-piece cake decorating kit, a Marvel Heroes cupcake kit and a jar of Italian Braising Gravy for my BIL. Which he will tell me is good, but not as good as his own. I really can't stop in that store. So my agenda tomorrow is to try the cupcakes. Just in case, you can see, I have a backup bag of Betty Crocker pumpkin spice cookies and cream cheese frosting. For my sister I got a jar of mulling spices from Prairie Berry Winery. Here's a close up.
Hmmm. I'll need to take a better picture. Anyway, you add Mulling Spices to heated wine along with brown sugar for a festive holiday drink. It's nostalgic for me. My sis & BIL took mulled wine in a thermos one Christmas Eve as we journey about looking at the spectacular lights in Chicago.
(Incidentally, I am still waiting for someone to bring me a case of Prairie Berry Phat Hogg red, which would go perfect with the mulling spices...)
Speaking of waiting, as you can also see from the top picture of my goodies, I am still waiting for the last wall in the kitchen to be painted...but being the delicate flower I am, I can't possibly move the appliances by myself. BUT once again, I digress. What else is in the picture, crepes for dad, one of his favorite things, (not an altruistic move on my part, I'm hoping he''ll make crepes on Saturday and I can blog about it). Milk Chocolate Raspberry sticks for my mother. She's always on the lookout for the frosted round jelly circles (I don't know what they are called). I googled images for "frosted jelly circles" and it returned mostly pictures of those gel phone covers. (Such is the digital age we live in). If you know where I can find them. please please let me know.
So that's it for tonight. The real cooking fun begins tomorrow. We'll see where my ambition takes me. Good thing I'm a morning person.
A Minnesota native returns after 13 years away discovering a whole new food landscape.