I’ve been on vacation. For one week, I had an apartment in south Minneapolis. It was listed on a site that offers vacation rentals by owner. Up to this point, I hadn’t spent much time exploring south Minneapolis. It turned out I was in for a real treat.
Although I had my bike along (my apartment was just 3 blocks from one of the wonderful Minneapolis trails), several dark, cloudy, soggy rainy days prevented me from spending any time on my pedal-powered two-wheeler. As it turned out, that wasn’t such a bad thing. By car, I was available to explore neighborhoods I probably wouldn’t have gotten to by bike.
My discovery highlights wound up taking on unexpected themes of bakeries and farmers markets. I had planned to take in the downtown St. Paul farmers market, the oldest in Minnesota. It never disappoints with all of the fresh flowers, herbs to take home to plant, fresh vegetables, honey, meats and this time, even fresh-picked strawberries.
The next morning, a Sunday, I paid a visit to the Kingfield farmers market, a relatively new but charming small neighborhood market. I’d read that a person could find plenty for breakfast at this market and it was definitely true. A strawberry-rhubarb turnover from Sun Street Breads was devoured before I could even snap a picture. A smoothie is always a good breakfast and at this market you could purchase an organic smoothie for 50 cents off the regular price if you pedaled a stationary bike to power the blender.
Look at that huge basket of garlic scapes and the fresh romaine. I liked the idea of the salad baskets, a collection of greens and vegetables that could be tossed together to create a complete salad. Fun.
The Kingfield Farmers Market is every Sunday from
23 May – 31 October
8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
43rd & Nicollet Ave. S. in Minneapolis
And then there were the bakeries I happened upon. My hands-down favorite was Butter Bakery Cafe. Reggae music wafting through the door was a welcoming sound as I entered the neighborhood place that seemed a combination cafe-coffeehouse-bakery. My tummy was telling me it was just about time for lunch, but when I checked out the menu it was hard to decide between breakfast or lunch. Everything sounded tempting and of course, there were all the delicious-looking sweet stuff in the bakery case beckoning me. I finally decided on the beet/cheddar burger. I highly recommend it. As the clock moved closer to noon, the place really started to fill up. All ages welcome here. Don’t leave your dog at home, either. It’s a pet-friendly place with a bowl of water out on the sidewalk and a bucket of doggie treats inside.
I’m anxious to get back to Butter for breakfast. Don’t you just love that name? Butter. And by the way, Hope creamery is where the butter at Butter comes from. The folks at Butter focus on providing fresh, local, natural, and organic ingredients by getting as many ingredients from local sources as possible.
Butter Bakery Cafe is located at 3544 GRAND AVE in MINNEAPOLIS.
At the end of my vacation I stepped into A Baker’s Wife’s Pastry Shop.
Quaint, with a slight feeling of chaos, this pastry- and bread-packed shop is warm inside and smells just like a bakery should. I chose a loaf of whole grain bread. Remember, it was the end of a vacation filled with food. I had to start eating a little more sensibly.
A Baker’s Wife’s Pastry Shop is located at the corner of 42nd Street E and 28th Avenue S in Minneapolis (4200 28th Ave S.).
Hours: Tue-Sat 6:30 am – 6 pm; Sun 6:30 am – 3 pm; closed Monday
Phone: (612) 729-6898
It felt good to be back home. My own bed, the quiet of the woods, the hummingbirds ouside my window, my own kitchen and my friends and neighbors — just a week away made me appreciate all those things a little bit more.
This evening I went next door to borrow some cornstarch from my neighbor and baker extraordinaire, Alice. She sent me home with a box of cornstarch and two plates holding several pieces of a rhubarb dessert she had made for the weekend. One bite immediately brought two thoughts to my mind:
1. The best rhubarb dessert is right next door. I don’t need a neighborhood bakery when there is Alice creating all kinds of great sweet treats. As long as she is willing to share.
2. I must share the recipe for Alice’s dessert with those who visit my blog. Alice agreed. She says she got the recipe in 1996 from Rachelle Hayes who always made the dessert for their church circle get-togethers. It was a favorite. Alice says the dessert does take a little time to make, but it’s well worth the effort.
There’s no place like home for this rhubarb dessert.
Good Neighbor’s Rhubarb Dessert
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
Mix as for pie crust or put butter, flour and brown sugar in food processor and pulse until mixture becomes coarse crumbs. Pat mixture into a 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.
- 5 cups chopped rhubarb
- 6 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups sugar plus 2/3 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup flaked coconut
Separate yolks from whites of 6 eggs. Set the egg whites aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat 6 egg yolks until pale and thick. Add 1 3/4 cups sugar and 6 tablespoons flour and blend well. Add milk and mix.
Spread rhubarb over baked crust in glass baking dish. Pour egg yolk mixture over the rhubarb. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake 45 to 50 minutes.
Beat reserved egg whites in a glass mixing bowl until peaks form. Add 2/3 cup sugar, salt and vanilla and continue beating until mixture is stiff. Spread egg white mixture over baked rhubarb. Sprinkle with coconut. Return to oven and bake 8 to 10 more minutes until coconut is brown.