Spring Mostly Full Awakening Moon
Drove out to Hopkins, through it on Excelsior, then made a left on Shady Oak Road and apparently crossed the line just into Minnetonka. Rothburg Distributing, who are the manufacturer’s rep for Sub-Zero, Asko and Wolf kitchen appliances, open their kitchen classroom up to the UofM once a year and Brenda Langston teaches a three evening course on healthy eating. This is fancy digs for quinoa, tofu and various other healthy dishes, but there they were, boiling and getting chopped and sauteed by none other than the proprietor of (formerly) Brenda’s and now Spoonriver. (pic: Brenda cooking at Spoonriver)
40 + of us sat in tiered seating watching Brenda work, assisted by the chef who has worked with her for 23 years. She says, Oh my gosh a lot, usually when referring to some food horror, like the genetically modified grapeseed used to make canola oil or the quality of non-grass fed, non-free range beef. Her cooking approach is pretty pragmatic, though it leans toward ingredients that most Americans don’t use often. Tonight’s examples: quinoa, tofu, sesame oil, parsnips, a huge radish (tender heart?), burdock and Arrowhead pancake mix.
She suggests making a particular dish, like a pot of grains, early in the week, then using them as an entree by themselves, the next night with pasta and the third night in a soup. A good idea. She also makes up items ahead like croquettes of tofu, walnut, garlic, green onion. Surprisingly good.
This course costs $285 for three nights. It includes a cookbook, the presence of Brenda, a breakfast, lunch and dinner with menus prepared in front of your very eyes and the inspiration that comes from being with other upper middle class people who can afford the course, probably know how to eat healthy but have a tough time doing like you do.
Definitely worthwhile. Will there be a sea change at Chez Ellis-Olson because of it? Stay tuned.
Here’s a few items from the dinner menu at Spoonriver:
Fresh Seafood • Vegetarian Specials
Sunshine Harvest Grass-Fed Beef • Daily Special, Vegetable Open
Broiled Salmon Okisuki • Savory Japanese Ginger Broth, Fresh Udon Noodles, Vegetarian Option with Tofu 22 / 15
Slow Roasted Minnesota Lamb & Vegetable Stew • Cous Cous Pilaf, Minted Yogurt 22
House Made Ravioli • Indian Spiced Potato & Sweet Pea Ravioli, Thai Green Curry, Vegetables. Vegan Option 16.5
Warm Duck Confit • Salad Greens • Fruit, Stewed White Beans • Fennel 15.5
salads and light entrees
Udon Chicken Salad • Sliced Free Range Chicken, Udon Noodles, Greens, Vegetables, 15
Peanut • Lemongrass Dressing. Vegetarian Option with Mock Duck
Greek Salad • Greens, Cucumber, Olives, Tomato’s, Pepperoncini, French Sheep Feta, Red Onion 9 / 12
Greek or Caesar available with Free Range Chicken Breast + 5
Caesar Salad 9 / 12
Local Charcuterie Plate • Bison Sausage, Fischer Farms Ham, Wild Acres Duck & Chicken Liver Paté, 15
Prairie Breeze Cheddar, Pickled Vegetables
Spoon Burger • Minnesota Farm Lamb, House Ketchup, Corn Chips / or substitute salad + 2 13
Mahi Mahi Sandwich • House Tartar, Lettuce, Tomato on Bun. Corn Chips / or substitute salad + 2 13