A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

North Woods, meet Italy

I got the idea for this recipe from Chuck, Chuck Williams. You know, of Williams-Sonoma fame. No, I've never met him, but I feel I know him because many of his cookbooks repose on my shelves. These cookbooks are among the best of my collection, and the dishes are beautifully photographed. I rarely purchase anything at the rather pricey stores operating under his name, but I keep buying his cookbooks. In one of these, there is a pasta recipe which involves wild rice and cranberries. I live in the Minneapolis-St Paul area, so my thoughts turned to the northern part of the state where real, natural wild rice (closer to a grass than to common rice) has been harvested for centuries by the Ojibwe and now others. The neighboring state of Wisconsin is the largest producer of cranberries, which are very good for the recipe, but I thought lingonberries would give it a particularly Scandinavian twist, which would be consistent with our large ancestral Scandinavian population. I've also added some other ingredients such as bacon and leeks, so my version bears a passing resemblance to Chuck's but is still distinct from it. So what we have here is the Italian pasta (no offense to Chinese) combined with northern Minnesota and Scandinavian influences.

Flat pasta such as pappardelle or wide noodles, 1 pound
Natural Minnesota wild rice, 3/4 c
Leeks, 2 or 3, cleaned and chopped
Walnut oil, 2 Tbs
Walnuts, 1 c., toasted and chopped
Thick-cut bacon, 7-8 slices
Lingonberries, 1-2 c. (available in jars)

1. Cook the pasta, drain, return to the pot, and add 1 Tbs walnut oil to keep it from sticking together.
2. Cook the bacon and remove from the pan, retaining the fat. Crumble when it cools off.
3. Cook the wild rice and drain.
4. Sauté the leeks in the bacon fat. Add the walnuts and wild rice to the pan, keeping warm.
5. Add the leek, walnuts, and wild rice mixture to the pot with the pasta and combine.
         Warm up if needed.
6. Warm the lingonberries just a bit.
7. Put the finished pasta on plates (this makes roughly six servings). scatter the bacon over the pasta, and top with the lingonberries.

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