A picnic in the park. Love. Culture. Determination.

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imageRe-creating a picnic I have had in another country is impossible, the setting, the company or the events surrounding.  The food, however; very possible.

Now, I was in my early twenties when I left on an adventure of a lifetime and took the giant leap to study abroad through the University of Minnesota’s Global Studies program. Travel to Spain and earn college credit. I had been taking Spanish since the 6th grade albeit not doing well, having Mexican blood fueled a fire within me to educate myself so that I would learn the language of my father’s family even though I had not grown up with him or around the language or culture. I was determined to speak it, live it and understand.  Once in Spain, within two weeks I was on the phone begging my mom to come home. Yup. She said no. Culture shock hit hard. Immediately soothed by sweet jamón Serrano, salty lonchas de queso Manchego (slices of Manchego cheese), pan fresca (fresh bread), a glass of Rioja and an extremely handsome Spaniard named Carlos.

3 months later I was on the phone begging to stay. My parents did come visit me while I “learned” the language over Semana Santa right after I was released from the hospital for having my appendix only minutes from bursting. Most of it was blocked from my memory. We spent several days wandering, exploring, and eating while having a blast. The best memory I have was when the three of us took a flight to Barcelona from Madrid, I was in school in Toledo about 45 minutes from Madrid. We took a train to Figueres to tour La Casa de Salvador Dalí. Amazingly creepy, wonderfully disturbing man, he was. Afterwards, we purchased several mouth-watering meats, fresh cheese, wine and bread and sat in a park nearby waiting for the train back to Barcelona. It was beautiful and perfect. That adventure has made my current life all the more full love and magic.image

Recently the Lake Harriet bandshell played The Princess Bride outdoors. #1 favorite movie. A Spanish picnic was re-born. Jámon Serrano, Queso Manchego, Anejo y Ibérico, fresh bread, dark chocolate and many other sweet and savory additions. Mostly purchased from the local Trader Joe’s, thank you TJ’s. I was in a state of los recuerdos de España (Spanish memories). Smiling, eating and thinking of el Último de la Fila. An 80’s Spanish band. They’re pretty good.

On that note, ¡Buen Provecho!

Señorita Tijerina

“Whatever it is you are looking for, I hope you can eat it.”

http://wp.me/p4pMxj-2a

@senoritatijerin

My Alma Mater Matters. Michael Pollan at Northrop

I was elated…no scratch that. I was excited…no scratch that. I was ecstatic…no scratch that one too. I was over the top jumping and squealing for joy when given the opportunity to attend a Center for Spirituality and Healing — Wellbeing Lecture Series event featuring one of my very favorite literary heroes Michael Pollan. He spoke at my alma mater The University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus at Northrop. You may have heard of his books;  The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Cooked, The Botany of Desire, In Defense of Food (Also a Netflix documentary). https://michaelpollan.com/

It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Nosebleed section or not, it was an event to remember.  He has a new book release on May 15th titled; How to Change Your Mind – What the new science of psychedelics teaches us about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression and transcendence. Wow!  That was a mouthful.

Mr. Pollan has a site dedicated to recipes and one of them is a parsley potato recipe — https://michaelpollan.com/books/cooked/parsley-potatoes-recipe/

I was introduced to a recipe many many years ago that is similar to this, but using mint. Mr. Pollan’s lecture was all about healthy eating for the body and mind. I recently taught a class titled “Seafood Made Simple” and besides the healthy fish recipes for spring and summer I had a side dish of mint potatoes. I thought it was relevant to this post. A nice side note:  you can bring this to any event or summer BBQ and since there is no mayo it can stay fresh for a longer period of time.

Thank you for reading.

“Whatever it is you are searching for…I hope you can eat it.”

Garlic and Mint Potatoes
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoons Kosher salt

½ teaspoon + 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

3 garlic cloves, minced

 Method
Preheat oven to 450°
  1. In a sealable jar (i.e. small Mason), combine ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mint, and garlic, shake and set aside
  2. Combine potatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl: toss well to coat
  3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray
  4. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden; stirring after 10 minutes
  5. Remove potatoes from baking sheet and put into a large bowl, let cool
  6. Toss with mint mixture previously set aside
  7. Serve immediately
This recipe first appeared on Senorita Tijerina May 22, 2018

 

 

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“Artists in the Kitchen” Textiles + Food = Art (It’s True)

Artists in the Kitchen

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a public reception at the Textile Center in St. Paul. Eh hem… I freely admit I had never heard of the Textile Center before and I have lived in MN my entire life and spent over 4 years trekking the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.  IT’S RIGHT THERE!  I know now and I plan to visit more frequently. It is a smaller gallery, but the center also has an abundance of rooms for classes, teaching and even fabric dying (once you’ve taken a safety course, of course—I am fairly certain I would end up resembling an oompa loompa without any instruction.)

The gallery exhibit runs March 21st-May 19th, 2018. It is 50 works by 50 women artists inspired by 50 women chefs and restaurateurs. The event I attended was a moderator lead panel of 4 of the teams.

The discussion was around how the teams were paired, how they worked together, how the ideas for the art became inspiration and how the art became a final product of two to five creative minds. Upon closing the questions came in and they were fun, inventive and inspiring.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper (American Food Writer, co-creator of The Splendid Table, Radio Journalist, James Beard Award Winner for Best National Radio Show and Cookbook of the Year, etc.) was on the panel paired with Carolyn Halliday. Lynne reminded us that “Chef” literally means chief or boss. Not necessarily having to do with solely the culinary world. Too often we forget or may not even know. She told an amazing story of how her mother would always have coffee and a pastry made when guests would come to her house. The pastry would always begin with dough, butter, cinnamon, sugar and seasonal fruit. In less than fifteen minutes the aromatics of a freshly baked sweet was filling the air. They called these “four miles of bad road”, as the look of the oblong pastries with fruit scattered about resembled this landscape fairly accurately. 🙂

Jenny Breen (Culinary Nutritionist and Professional Chef) paired with her sister Rachel Breen, reminded us that taking a deep breathe before eating actually kick starts your digestive system. I personally find it calming to pause before eating regardless, but now I will certainly be taking a deep breathe with this little nugget of information.

I am a firm believer that food is art. I am a firm believer that you eat with your eyes first. Although these pieces of art were not to be eaten as they were made of textiles, their inspiration was through pieces of food, their elements, plated meals, etc. It was quite lovely to see how each artist’s final piece came together based on who they were paired with and what the subject matter came to be. Quite lovely indeed.

Art, food, culture, sustainability, social justice, you name it, they touched on it. It was an honor to be a part of this experience.

You must take a walk through!

For more information follow this link:

https://textilecentermn.org/coming-soon-artists-in-the-kitchen-exhibition/

A short list of some of the restaurants these artists recommend that they believe do not have the notoriety they deserve:

  1. The Wedge Table
  2. Mill City Farmer’s Market
  3. Quang
  4. Sift
  5. Sunstreet Breads
  6. Linden Hills Sunday Farmer’s Market
  7. Kado no Mise

My short list:

  1. Victor’s 1959 Cafe
  2. Emily’s Lebanese Deli
  3. Gardens of Salonica
  4. Main Street Farmer Eatery
  5. Rainbow Chinese (for the egg roll, which can also be purchased at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market)IMG_2792

“Whatever it is you are searching for…I hope you can eat it!”

It was a brown bag lunch opportunity, so I made a cold summer salad for my cousin Ali and I…

Spring Fresh Lime-Mint Grain Salad
Yield: 3-4 cups
1/2 cup each dry farro, bulgur, red quinoa, brown rice
4 cups water
1 cup fresh mint, chiffonade
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 large sweet potato, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 medium size white onion, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 leek, rinsed, cleaned, cut in half and 1/2″ sliced
1 ripe avocado, diced into 1/4″ cubes
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Toss sweet potato, onion and leek in 2 tablespoons olive/avocado oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until tender enough to pierce with a fork about 15-20 minutes.
Bring 4 cups of water to boil and add grain. Cover and simmer until al dente, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Chiffonade mint leaves, zest and juice 1 lime. Combine in a medium size mixing bowl with remaining oil.
Remove grain from heat and let cool or place in refrigerator to cool.
Remove vegetables from stove and let cool.
Once both cool, add to mixing bowl and fold until combined. Add avocado, salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy!

 

 

Easter Bunny Roll—-ing For 8 Hours

BUNNY ROLLS!  I have had the opportunity to participate in and manage the Kitchen Stage at the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show for 3 years in a row. Each year Marjorie Johnson, our beloved MN Blue Ribbon Baker http://www.blueribbonbaking.com/marjorie puts on a grand show with delightful stories and winning baking tips (For Free!) She is an absolute riot and fun to be around. She exudes a kind and genuine demeanor. She is a small, but mighty woman, who is fiercely in love with baking. Marjorie allows me one glorious moment of feeling tall-ish. One of the few people in my life that I don’t have to stand on my tippy toes to hug.  Each year she chooses 1-3 baking items from her cookbook for our team to prepare as she demonstrates the recipes on stage at the show. In recent years, she has done banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, date bars and many other popular (yet easy) baked goods. This year?  Well, it is over Easter Sunday, soooooooo… How do I put this…We were given the opportunity to spend the entire Saturday prior to Easter Sunday (8 hours) mixing, rising, punching, rising, rolling and baking Bunny Rolls. I was under the impression that homemade dinner rolls were time consuming only having to roll a few dozen balls to let rise and bake. OH No No No… a ball for the head, a ball for the body, ball for right arm, ball for left arm, ball for left leg, ball for right leg…ball with pointed tip for left ear and ball with pointed tip for right ear. Not stopping there we added eyes, nose and a mouth. Yikes!  We eliminated the mouth and nose and went with an anime looking face with vertical eyes. That…my friends was only 1 bunny.  99 more to go, plus a large bunny for stage and 8 hours later, I still had a friend who is genuinely still my friend. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if they went on vacation next March/April. 🙂  All in all a wonderful experience and fantastic challenge to a newly formed friendship, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world!  Enjoy the recipe below for Marjorie Johnson’s Bunny Rolls found also in her cookbook, https://www.amazon.com/dp/159298195X?m=A7PPF8FN7ARF4

If you do in fact make these funny little characters, please post a photo and any tips you may have for other bakers and readers…Thank you in advance.

Happy Baking!

“Whatever it is you are searching for…I hope you can eat it!”

Jessica Tijerina

Bunny Rolls

Ingredients:

Batter
  • 1 cup water (105F-115 F. degrees)
  • 1/3 cup dry milk
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2-4 cups flour
  • 1 egg slightly beaten (to brush over bunny rolls just before baking)

Place in an electric mixer bowl the water and yeast. Let stand for a few minutes till the yeast is dissolved. Add dry milk, butter, sugar, salt, eggs and 2 cups of the flour. Blend together on low speed then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Add rest of flour and knead with bread hooks or by hand to make a soft smooth elastic dough. Place in a greased bowl, cover, let rise in a warm place about 80 degrees till double in bulk.

Punch down, let rise again till double. Punch down and make into bunnies.

Take about 3 oz. of the dough and take part of it and make a ball and press down for the body on a greased cooking sheet. Take a smaller piece of the dough for the head. Take 6 smaller pieces of dough, make balls and use two for the front paws and put next to the side of the body part. Put 2 at the end of the body part and then put 2 by the head to form the ears, shaping the pieces of dough to point at one end to look like bunny ears.

Currants or raisins may be used for the eyes and nose. A small piece of candied cherry for the mouth. Cover and let rise till double Just before baking brush with the beaten egg. That gives it a golden brown color when baked. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from baking sheet. Brush with butter and place on wire rack to cool..

Makes about 1 dozen bunnies.

Spring Pizza! Parsnip, Garlic, Feta, Onion and Arugula. Caramelized. Minneapolis Home and Garden Show 2018

Here we are again!  The 2018 Minneapolis Home and Garden Show. So many cool things to see and do. I wander through the Minneapolis Convention Center following the aromas of freshly baked bread, simmering soup, fresh vinaigrette or a parsnip pizza?? That’s right. I will be showing all of the wonderful Home and Garden Goers what a spring pizza is all about on Easter Sunday at 2pm.

Don’t miss Marjorie Johnson just after with her famous Bunny Rolls!

What do I always say?  “Whatever it is you are searching for…I hope you can eat it.”  Chefs and celebrities alike will join us this weekend and next. First up, Spring Pizza.

No red sauce here, thank you.  Still warm roasted garlic heads are smashed into a mortar and pestle with coarse ground salt, freshly ground black pepper and only the slightest bit of extra virgin olive oil. The first turn of the pestle releases a mouth-watering aroma of sweet, caramel, buttery roasted garlic.  This is the sauce. (lip smack)

I use ready-made crusts to speed up to the part where I eat. I pre-cook the crusts about 10 minutes while gleefully smashing around the garlic for the sauce, often resembling The Swedish Chef from The Muppets…Flurbidy Durpin…arlicky slurpin…

I use leftover roasted parsnips from  a meal prior, as well as caramelized onions that I have frozen. (See recipe for Crock-Pot caramelized onions……………………………………………….)

Oh Sorry!  I was swept back to the night I put raw onions, butter and love into a Crock-Pot and awoke to perfectly caramelized onions!  Seriously like magic.  But, not.

Crust.  Roasted Garlic.  Caramelized Onion.  Roasted Parsnip. Feta “is betta” and Arugula.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately as much time as you need before “hangry” turns into “HANGRY!”

Cut and enjoy.

Fold and inhale.

Open mouth wide enough to place said pizza in and swallow. (pretty much my go-to)

See you soon!

“Whatever it is you are searching for…I hope you can eat it.”

Comfort food to boost your mood…iViva México!

 

photo 3 photo 2 (2)Mexican!

Food…

Love…

Comfort…

Culture…

 

In my experience, Mexican food elicits the most definitive reaction from people.  A typical response from my fellow co-workers prior to a tasting I organized at work was, “I love Mexican food” or “I will eat the heck out of some enchiladas, don’t dare me” or “I love guacamole,” all with a toothy grin and a lingering look of euphoria in their eyes.

General consensus from family, friends, co-workers, friends of friends, etc is that it is quick, easy, filling and makes you feel happy.  Once devoured, the rice, tortilla and bean begin to expand.  A miniscule bead of sweat forms along your hairline, both from over indulgence and for those adventurous Minnesotans, el fuego or spice. It may be Tabasco, pico de gallo or a family favorite, Scorned Woman. Yes, it is a hot sauce and it is HOT with a very beautiful flavor and I highly recommend it. Great with eggs.  (Consume with caution)

Mexican food is a beautiful thing and has evolved over the years from hamburger hard shell taco night to tamale pie, tinga de pollo (chicken tinga) and sopa de tortilla (tortilla soup).

For me, it has always been a comfort food.  The nasal euphoria of fresh cut onion, garlic and cilantro fills my kitchen along with the thick aroma of meat stewing in dried chiles. I lose myself in Mexican cooking. At times I believe I am in a trance, then, I end up with a delicious and memorable soup. It’s magic I tell you.

Tamales take a whole day, but I am never too exhausted to eat at least 3 when they finally come leaping out of the steamer onto a plate full of frijoles borrachos (drunken beans) and Elote (Mexican street corn). My next blog will be from a class I taught on Mexican food as well as a tasting I did for my co-workers based solely on ingredients purchased from Trader Joe’s. They do not sell dried chiles! It was a challenging adventure.

Today, I am in desperate need of a bowl of homemade tortilla soup. Tortilla soup is my go to when feeling sick, cold, down or just really hungry for Mexican soul food.

My brother loves to eat this as though it will never be made again and I need to buy him his own bag of tortilla chips. (see photo below) I love him dearly and I know he will always and forever love Mexican. To you my brother, I love you. iViva México!

Señorita Tijerina’s Sopa de Tortilla con Pollo

(recipe first published 6/26/2014 on http://www.senoritatijerina.com)

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 lb. chicken thigh
1 T canola oil or other high heat oil (not coconut, too much flavor)
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade, no salt)
2 T cumin
2 T paprika
1 T celery salt
3 T Kosher salt
1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce
2 dried guajillo peppers, seeds removed (may want to use gloves)
1 dried ancho pepper, seeds removed (may want to use gloves)
Tortilla chips
Sour cream
Queso Fresco
Avocado
Cilantro
Lime

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven and sauté onion until translucent
  2. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute
  3. Add 2 T stock, cumin, paprika, celery salt and Kosher salt, stir 1 minute
  4. Add 6 cups stock, bring to a boil and add dried peppers and chipotles in adobo sauce, these are very spicy as are the dried peppers, so use sparingly, start with 1 and taste after simmering for 2 minutes
  5. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer until chiles are re-hydrated 10-12 minutes
  6. Remove chiles, onion and garlic with a mini strainer and pureé with 1 T of broth
  7. Add chicken to dutch oven and boil over medium high heat 6-8 minutes
  8. Add pureé mixture to chicken in broth and reduce heat to low
  9. Remove from heat
  10. Season to taste with salt and additional chipotle

Serve with crema (sour cream), queso fresco (mozzarella works as a replacement), avocado, freshly chopped cilantro, lime juice and chips

Enjoy!

Señorita Tijerina

“Whatever it is you are searching for, I hope you can eat it.”

www.senoritatijerina.wordpress.com

@senoritatijerin