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).

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 —

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
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

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



“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:

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.



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 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,

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


  • 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.

Comfort food to boost your mood…iViva México!


photo 3 photo 2 (2)Mexican!






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

Serves 6

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


  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


Señorita Tijerina

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


From the “Edge of the wilderness”…Smoked fish

Growing up I remember the many trips up north to grandma’s house in the Northeastern portion of MN so rightly named, “Edge of the Wilderness” Big Fork, MN to be exact and within the Chippewa National Forest. I remember the long drives and in particular the part where each and every one of us would get sick due to the “windy road”. No, not wind with air, but twisty with curves. Although we did open the windows to see if that helped. Oh man there was nothing any of us could do, but hold on tight and listen to our parents tell us to “stare out the window and breathe”. Never helped, it was inevitable one, if not all of us were green in the face. In the end, it was definitely worth it. A favorite memory of mine, unlike the aforementioned, was reaching the dirt road that lead directly to grandma’s house, several miles long, beautiful scenery. Describing or photos would not do it justice. It was breathtaking. Another not so favorite memory of mine was when my step-dad thought it would be a good idea to teach me to drive (when I was 6 or 7) in this big ‘ol rickety truck down the dirt road and he told me to “grab the wheel” and I did and then we hit a tree. Not my favorite memory. Going up to grandma’s we did a lot of crazy things as kids. ATV’s, guns, mouse traps and small animals included, even large ones’ like beavers and bears had a run in with us a few times. Oh no, we did not hurt them. I don’t think. I may have blocked it from my memory.
The smell of grandma’s house always hit me just as we could see the dome house approaching. It was the smell of a wood burning stove, the woods, the cedar sauna and to me smoked fish. It must have been the combination, but to this day when I smell smoked fish my mind immediately snaps a photo of Grandma Mary’s dome house. Smoked fish is a favorite of my family and when we can get it we devour it. Right out of the newspaper is ideal, but sometimes we cheat and it just might come on foam wrapped in plastic. Hey! I am just sayin’. As I have grown older and traveled much around the state of MN exploring I have come to love the smoked fish from Kendall’s Fish house along the scenic byway headed through Duluth towards Two Harbors. They have never failed me and I have always recommended them to anyone up in that area. Their smoked salmon is to salivate for and their smoked trout is divine with crackers and bit of, that’s right, Tabasco or just simply plain right out of that day’s local newspaper.
I hadn’t been able to get smoked fish lately that I am head over heels for, until we had a tasting at work and someone made a smoked trout dish that almost made me cry. I will ask her permission to post the recipe and get back to you, but until then I have not been able to stop making dishes with it. Guess what? It comes in a tin can. I know! I couldn’t believe it. It is the smoked trout in oil found at Trader Joe’s, about $3 a can and most certainly worth every penny.
I submitted a recipe in a recipe contest for favorite breakfast meals and posted this (Trout Hash) as it is one of my new favorites that I wish I could eat everyday. Follow this link and “like” the recipe if you made and enjoyed. I welcome comments too!


Smoked Trout Hash
Serves: 4

• 2-3 sweet potato, peeled, diced cut into 1/2″ cubes
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon large shallot, peeled and diced
• 2 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 can trout in oil (Trader Joe’s, smoked trout in oil)
• 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons capers
• 2 green onion, diced, green only
1. In a sauté pan over medium heat add 1/2 T of oil and the sweet potato, sauté until sweet potato is tender 6-8 minutes
2. Add shallot and garlic and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes
3. Add trout and oil from trout into the sauté pan and stir
4. Let sit for about 4 minutes until it begins to brown and becomes crisp and then flip
5. Let this side sit for an additional 4 minutes until brown and crisp, then add salt, fresh ground pepper and capers and stir
6. Let both sides crisp up once more only about 2 minutes per side and then add in green onion and serve
7. Add additional salt to taste, serve with toast

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

Señorita Tijerina