Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mulberry and Currant Italian Cream Soda

Beautiful red currants! They are quite tart but are wonderful as a garnish.

I got a bunch of berries a couple weekends ago  - some from the farmer's market and mulberries from my parents' neighbors' tree. Mulberries are sweeter than raspberries so they pair well with the tart red currants. Originally, I was going to make a pie but we just went through a horrible heat wave. This drink with its homemade syrup is a perfect way to use those berries or other fruits when it is just too hot to bake.

Italian Cream Soda

Mulberry Currant Syrup
Sparking Water (Lemon-flavored La Croix in this case) 
Heavy Cream Or Half and Half

To make the syrup: 
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
About 2 cups of berries

Boil sugar and water together until sugar is dissolved. Add berries and boil for another ten minutes or so. Turn down the heat and let them simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Take off heat and strain to remove the berries. You can either continue to boil to reduce to a thicker, more concentrated syrup OR you can cool and use as is (you might want to use a little more syrup in your drink)

To make the drink:
Pour syrup in tall glass  - fill about a third of the way up. Next pour your sparkling water. Last pour your cream or half and half. After admiring, stir to combine well.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Surprise in the Garden

Look what I found popping up in my gnome garden the other day - toadstools! Aren't they cute? Like most mushrooms, they didn't last long but it made me smile to see them there. Especially surprising since the gnome garden is located in a screened-in porch. I guess the spores were in the soil?

Also, I wanted to post this beautiful pic of the flower bouquet that my sister got as part of her flower and herb CSA from Humble Pie Farm.  Even though I think of it as a weed, I still love Queen Anne's Lace.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Dessert at W.A. Frost

“Kit Kat Bar” with maldon sea salt caramel, hazelnut praline, house made Chai ice cream.

Over the weekend, I went to brunch at W.A. Frost in Saint Paul. My friend and I sat out on their beautiful patio. It really is one of the best patio dining experiences in the Twin Cities (Side note: Black Forest Inn in Minneapolis is another beautiful patio, although smaller). We decided to be extra indulgent and get dessert!

It was definitely worth it. So many restaurants - even really fancy places - have boring desserts. W.A. Frost obviously puts some thought and effort into the dessert course (they also have an extensive offering of cheeses for a cheese course, if that's your thing). Both of these had a balance  - the crunch praline or nougatine, the smooth and creamy ice cream, a good balance of salt and sweet, and lovely flavor combinations.

 Green Tea and Lemon Roulade Raspberry Blossom Honey, Almond Nougatine, Ginger Ice Cream

Here are the links to the restaurant's website and photos of the patio. You can read all about the history of the building and restaurant on their website, too.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

This is Northfield

I visited Northfield a couple weeks ago for my college reunion. I had a great time! While I was there, I noticed these posters (above) up all over the campus. They're part of Northfield's new marketing campaign. The posters are not avialable for purchase yet but I'm told it is in the works.

You can see better images of the "This is Northfield" posters on their website. It also lays out all the different attractions in an easy-to-navigate way:

Lyman Lakes at Carleton College in Northfield

Historic Archer House on Division Street

Goodbye Blue Monday Coffee House - an institution in Northfield. 

The clock tower on Willis Hall (Carleton Campus)

First National Bank in Northfield. This is the one that the James Gang robbed.

The Chapel at Carleton College