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Smithy

Foodblog: Smithy - Notes from the land of Cheap Refrigeration

164 posts in this topic

I'm with Anna. Jerusalem artichokes don't like me, either.

I haven't actually tried them because of their reputation and a friend of mine suffered their wrath!

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Smithy, Jerusalem artichokes make nice crisps (ie chips). You can serve like this them as an accompaniment to game fowl, or to add a crunchy element to a salad for example; I had a very nice meal once of a slow-cooked, deep-fried egg with braised bitter greens, hazelnuts, hazelnut oil and the crisps on top.

Otherwise you can turn them into a pureed soup with some sherry, mushrooms, onion, rosemary and creme fraiche, or batter and deep-fry them in slices; roasted to go with a lemon chicken dish is a good call too, and I've also had them poached in olive oil as a tapa.

I am curious about something; how do you and DH divide the kitchen work? What is your process for deciding what to eat?

Thanks!

Thank you for all those ideas for the Jerusalem artichokes! I bought 2 bag's worth yesterday, so now I'll have fun figuring out more options to try.

Our process for deciding what to eat goes something like this:

(a) "What's for dinner tonight?"

..."I have a hankering to try this new recipe"

or

(b) "What's for dinner tonight?"

..."We need to something with that chicken. What shall we do?"

or

© "What's for dinner tonight?"

..."I dunno, what sounds good to you?"

or

(d) "What's for dinner tonight?"

..."Gotta be something easy. We'll be busy all day."

pretty random, in other words. He generally prepares 1 or 2 dinners a week, counting leftovers. He is the king of easy but tasty cookery, relying heavily on the crockpot and microwave. If it takes more than 2 pots or 2 steps he isn't going to make it. Tomorrow night will be crockpot pork roast and potatoes with sauerkraut. (We had leftovers from the last such batch one evening this week.) The roast is already out thawing. Tomorrow he'll chop the potatoes and microwave them to get them started, throw the meat and potatoes into the crockpot, and add the sauerkraut about an hour before we want to eat. He'll probably microwave some brussels sprouts or peas to round things out.

Cleanup generally falls to the cook. I am a bit envious of those married couples who have an alternating arrangement in which one person cooks and the other cleans, but my darling made it clear early in our marriage that our cooking styles are too imbalanced for that to work: while he loves my cooking, he doesn't think any meal is worth a bunch of putzing around and then having a lot of cleanup. When I'm away he often does everything in a single dish that he microwaves, then eats from, then washes and stows. The dishwasher can go for over a week without being run.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'm with Anna. Jerusalem artichokes don't like me, either.

I'm with Anna. Jerusalem artichokes don't like me, either.

I haven't actually tried them because of their reputation and a friend of mine suffered their wrath!

Huh. I think I'm glad I read this after we ate some, instead of before. Does it matter whether they're cooked or raw?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Duluth overview.jpgDewitt Seitz exterior.jpg

Near the base of the Lift Bridge, peeking over the building in the middle ground (follow the line of the pier toward the bridge), sits the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, home of my favorite shop in all Duluth:

Blue Heron Counter.jpg

The Blue Heron Trading Company. They've been in business for 28 years, and for at least a decade were the only kitchen shop in Duluth.

They offer cooking classes, taught by local chefs and covering a broad range of topics from pastries to savory soups to various cuisines. The classes fill quickly, usually within a day or two of the new schedule announcement being sent out.

Blue Heron Kitchen.jpg

There are beautiful textiles

Blue Heron Textiles.jpg

and fun decorations and dishes

Blue Heron Wall Detail.jpg

and Le Creuset and Viking cookware

Blue Heron Le Creuset.jpg

and kitchen gadgets and bakeware and glassware galore

Blue Heron General.jpg

and a lot of jarred sauces, coffees, spices. This is where I pick up a lot of my jarred sauces, although as noted uptopic I also take advantage of Cub Foods' offerings. The left-hand photo didn't come out well, but one of my favorite brands of Indian simmering sauce is Maya Kaimal.

Blue Heron Asian.jpg Maya Kaimal Tikka Masala sauce.jpg

The stock turns over quickly enough that there's almost always something new to see. This shop was such an outlier from the working-class Duluth waterfront area when it first opened, that I was surprised it survived. However, it's flourished and still goes strong in its small little shop.

I visited with my friends there and then bought four custard cups. We joked that it's the least expensive visit I've made there in years.

Blue Heron Custard.jpg


Edited by Smithy (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Right around the corner, still in the Dewitt Seitz Building, sits another great local source of charcuterie and smoked fish: Northern Waters Smokehaus. When they first started they had a huge cheese counter in addition to the smoked fish and cured meats, but eventually decided to cut back on the cheese (it's there, but not as abundant) and start offering sandwiches.

Northern Waters lines and menu.jpg

Northern Waters ordering.jpg

I like their smoked salmon best of any in Duluth - it's more moist and tender than any of the other locally smoked fish. Better still, they ship!1

Northern Waters fish.jpg

I had intended to pick up some sort of cured meat to include with the rest of my squash pasta stuffing. However, the line was slow and then suddenly the place became so crowded I couldn't even get in the door.

Northern Waters clamor.jpg

They usually do a good business, but I think some crowd had all come in together. I decided to go elsewhere.

1 Northern Waters Smokehaus, Blue Heron Trading Company, and the Duluth Kitchen Company (still to come) all have web sites for more information. Northern Waters is the only one that ships, as far as I know.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Another wonderful shopping complex in downtown Duluth is the Fitger's building. Fitger's was originally a brewery and the old brick building has been converted to house shops, restaurants, a theater, a hotel, meeting rooms, and even a spa. Last year I was amazed to find that a new kitchen company had sprouted late in 2012, conveniently close to the parking ramp.

DKS store fruit.jpg

The Duluth Kitchen Company is astonishing for our area. Think Sur la Table, or Williams-Sonoma, for size and complexity. They also have a wonderful selection of cookware, bakeware, glassware (get your Reidel here)

DKC windonq display.jpg

and cutlery.

DKC knives.jpg

They have a lot more appliances than the Blue Heron, and I was only mildly surprised to see that they're expanding into the sous vide technology. Sorry the photos are blurry.

DKC Sous vide eqpt.jpg

DKX adventronics.jpg

They have user-friendly displays that allow some gear to be tested.

DKC does testing.jpg

Across the hall is their shop with the jarred sauces, oils, salts, vinegars, and other edibles.

DKC sauces and fromagier.jpg

DKC sauces 1.jpg

Almost anything can be tasted there.

DKC salt tasting.jpg

Woe is me, I just went in to get another small set of Charles Viancin lids

DKC Si covers and Glugg pitchers.jpg

(some day I'm going to break down and get one of those glugg fish pitchers)

but discovered a sale table. It's the winter clearance going on.

DKC sale.jpg

I came home with these:

DKC Purchases.jpg

DKC Cup Pie Set.jpg

I've worried a bit that this store might cut into the Blue Heron's business. So far, both stores say no; they try not to overlap on what they carry, and they seem to communicate well. The Duluth Kitchen Company is much larger and can carry more stock, but they do have a different feel. I think Blue Heron carries more locally-made goods (Epicurean cutting boards and certain of the jams and jellies), and I like their selection of textiles better. But oh, those Cuisinart skillets at Duluth Kitchen!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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We have a Whole Foods Coop, but it is not to be confused with the Whole Foods chain about which so much has been posted on eGullet. This little member-owned cooperative has expanded from one small shop to a very large one, and I see in their newsletter that they're considering opening another branch. You don't have to be a member/owner to shop there, but you get price breaks if you do.

Whole Foods Exterior.jpg

They focus on local produce whenever possible, but they're no more purists about it than I. What they do focus on is high quality.

Whole Food produce 1.jpg

They have a very few kitchen gadgets

Whole Foods Gadget.jpg

and this is the place where you'd buy, say, a composting bucket.

I get most of my spices and bulk grains here. It's an especially good price for those, because you can bring your own container and take just as much or as little as you need. Prices are by the pound.

Whole Foods Bulk.jpg

Their meat selection has expanded to include a good variety of grass-fed beef, bison, free-range chicken, sausages, and otherwise good fresh animal products.

Whole Foods Meat 1.jpgWhole Foods meat.jpg

You can actually get milk or cream in glass bottles with a deposit

Whole Foods Milk.jpg

There's a hot-meal bar, and a nice selection of cheeses. They can't find my Egyptian feta cheese either, more's the pity.

Their deli counter offers a nice selection of salads, and you can get a sandwich made or buy one pre-made.

Whole Foods Deli.jpg

In addition to the sunchokes, half-and-half, and some other odds and ends (didn't need spices), I bought lunch here: tuna melt made of Tuscan tuna salad on sourdough bread, with garlic-herb cheese. Wonderful! :wub: Fresh veggies and coffee rounded off the meal, and allowed me to make my way on through the cold.

Brunch.jpgBrunch 1.jpg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I made 2 more stops, and have photos of one of them.

Mount Royal Fine Foods raised the bar for all the other grocery stores when it came into town. My darling prefers not to shop there when he can help it, because its selection of fine fresh foods is irresistable to me; I like to shop there for precisely the same reason. Their aisles are broad, their produce and meat are fresh, and their people are attentive and helpful. Last fall I accidentally left a package of fish behind. The next day when I couldn't find the fish, I called. They'd been waiting for me. The fish had accidentally been put into someone else's bag. That person had returned the fish (welcome to Duluth), and they'd set it aside for me in cold storage.

They have some of the best fried chicken in town. In addition to the rotisserie they have a wood-fired oven

Mt Royal Oven.jpg

in which they'll cook your personal pizzas or flatbread sandwiches while you wait.

Mt Royal Pizzas.jpg

Mt Royal Menu.jpg

They have the most extensive delicatessen counters of any of the stores here in town.

Mt Royal Deli Counter.jpg

You can taste any of their meats or cheese before buying. None of the charcuterie is made in-house, but Boar's Head is usually a good brand.

Mt Royal Deli.jpg

Their cheese selection is apparently what made Northern Waters Smokehaus decide to cut back on its cheese offerings. i didn't get a picture of the cheese counter, but it's huge.

Produce: I'm more likely to find something unusual like Meyer lemons here than anywhere else in town.

Mt Royal Produce.jpg

What really gets me is their fish and seafood area. It's all good, it's all fresh, and they always tell its source. If you want wild-caught, you can have it; if farmed Vietnamese shrimp doesn't bother you, you can get that too.

Mt Royal Fish.jpgMt Royal Seafood.jpgMt Royal Seafood 1.jpg

Their meat counter is similarly good. I like giving my red-meat business to Old World Meats whenever possible, but Mt. Royal is also staffed with knowledgeable, helpful people. I found pig's feet there yesterday! They also offer convenience foods of prepared meats ready to be cooked.

Mt Royal Prepped meats.jpg

(Old World Meats also has such offerings.)

They offer a variety of upscale dairy products

Mt Royal butters.jpg

and a bakery area with gorgeous cakes (sorry, no photos) and good bread. La Brea Bakery has offerings here.

Mt Royal La Brea Bread.jpg

One of the many wonderful things about shopping here is that they watch the line length at the checkout counters. If the lines are getting long they'll call for another checker to come help. It's rare to be in line behind more than 2 people. Someone bags the groceries, and there's a drive-up area outside where someone will load your groceries into the car while you loaf in heated comfort. The guys who load the car are, happily, not worried about dogs. It can be startling to open a hatchback and be greeted by a 70-pound Siberian Husky. :laugh:

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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You have some amazing-looking places to shop. Here, about an hour east of Los Angeles, it's either Williams-Sonoma or my favorite restaurant supply store for cookware and knives. We do have a Bed Bath and Beyond but unless I have a 20% coupon I don't spend money there. IMHO BB&B's main claim to fame is selection.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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You lucky gal! Here I am in the middle of cattle country and only one gourmet shop that doesn't even sell food.

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" La Brea Bakery "

fine bread and an interesting story to it. We have it a few stores away.

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" La Brea Bakery "

fine bread and an interesting story to it. We have it a few stores away.

What's the story, rotuts? I have her cookbook but don't remember any sort of story in there.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'm surprised your Whole Foods hasn't been forced to change their name by t he big chain.

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Started the business in LA, single bakery/store. sold it for a bundle w the 'franchise' idea: bread is baked/risen elsewhere, frozen, shipped, then baked in stores that meet the La Brea 'standard'

bundle lost to Madoff. started again from scratch.

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I'm surprised your Whole Foods hasn't been forced to change their name by t he big chain.

Maybe it hasn't been an issue because the full name is "The Whole Foods Coop". Cooperatives have been a big deal in northern Minnesota for a long time, and this particular cooperative easily predates the grocery chain.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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real COOPs are great. there were two where I grew up ( same coop, two locations )

does this one have a symbol of two green trees? same symbol for a set of Coops in N.H. these still ongoing, I think.

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" La Brea Bakery "

fine bread and an interesting story to it. We have it a few stores away.

The have a cafe that also sells some bread in the Anaheim Downtown Disney. Eaten there a few times. Food is reasonably good - not great - but I will eat there again. Their bread is sometimes to be found in our local Costcos.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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real COOPs are great. there were two where I grew up ( same coop, two locations )

does this one have a symbol of two green trees? same symbol for a set of Coops in N.H. these still ongoing, I think.

This one uses a double leaf, like a newly germinating seedling.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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" La Brea Bakery "

fine bread and an interesting story to it. We have it a few stores away.

The have a cafe that also sells some bread in the Anaheim Downtown Disney. Eaten there a few times. Food is reasonably good - not great - but I will eat there again. Their bread is sometimes to be found in our local Costcos.

I'd love to be able to turn out bread like that. Got a way to go, though.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Quick bread is the only type I make. When I make my corned beef I make a loaf of James Beard's Irish Soda Bread to go with it.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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in CA where I first was able to try the LaBrea 'clonned' brread ( N.CA ) there were many other choices some delivered 2 x / D still warm

I used most of these breads when friends came over ...

the LaBrea bread was the most popular. I loved it

looked at the ingredients : its had more salt then all the rest.

just saying. not a critique. I get it sometimes here.

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I find many breads undersalted.

Not that they should actually be salty

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I'd rather have bread salty than sweet. Salt bagels are my favorites.

What I'd really love is to have a freakin' bakery in town.

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