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Archive for November, 2011

Shop Local, and With a Cause!

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Santa (from Magers & Quinn website)What could be better than visiting with Santa at a bookstore? Magers & Quinn has teamed up with Way to Grow, one of the preeminent early childhood learning programs in the Twin Cities, for an evening of refreshments and Sharing with Santa this Saturday, December 3, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. David LaRochelle, author of Minnesota’s Hidden Alphabet, will be at the store with Santa to share his books. Do your shopping and 10 percent of your sale will benefit Way to Grow.

On Sunday, December 4, at 2:00 p.m., Red Balloon Bookshop is hosting an event to celebrate Libraries in Minnesota with photographer Doug Ohman and contributors to the book, including some of Minnesota’s best-known writers of books for children and young adults: Will Weaver, Pete Hautman, John Coy, Nancy Carlson, Marsha Wilson Chall, and David LaRochelle. The authors will sign copies of their books, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Libraries of Minnesota during the event will be donated to the Minnesota Library Foundation.

And here at the Minnesota History Center Stores during Minnesota Historical Society Member Double Discount Days,  Kim Heikkila, author of Sisterhood of War, will be signing Friday, December 2, at 11:00 a.m, and Brett Laidlaw, author of Trout Caviar, will sign on Sunday, December 4, at 2:00 p.m.

Congrats to the store for making the USA Today list of best museum shops!

Minnesota\'s Hidden Alphabet Libraries of Minnesota Sisterhood of War Laidlaw

“When you’re in the car long enough with your family, people start to crack.”

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Remember riding in the back seat of the car with your family on road trips? Imagine having these two guys (Kevin Kling and his big little brother Steven) in your back seat when they were kids! Did your Mom or Dad “do the claw?”

Kevin will be signing his new book, Big Little Brother at Birchbark Books on Black Friday from 3-4 pm and Kevin and illustrator Chris Monroe will be reading, signing, and sharing donuts at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul on Sunday Nov. 27th at 2 p.m.

Safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving!

Illus. by Chris Monroe from Big Little Brother by Kevin Kling Illus. by Chris Monroe from Big Little Brother by Kevin Kling

You Spell Doughnut, I Spell Donut

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

By Chris Monroe from Big Little BrotherDoughnut fever has hit the Twin Cities. Earlier this year several food blogs, including Eater, declared “donuts the next cupcake.” The Heavy Table recently featured a handy “Let’s Eat Doughnuts Flow Chart,” the Twin Cities Metro Magazine blog has a roundup of local donut shops, and the November print edition features a recipe for pumpkin cake donuts courtesy of Dawn Otwell of the newly opened Donut Cooperative.

Why not join in the fun? Here’s a recipe for donuts from Minnesota Eats Out. Looking back to fifties travel, the authors noted, “long bus trips were broken by short stops at roadside stations where passengers quickly purchased something to eat and drink. A donut and a cup of coffee were the usual choice, and some stops, such as the original Tobie’s in Hinkley, were famous for their old-fashioned fried dunkers such as these.”

3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
6 cups sifted flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Fat for deep frying

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk to the creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla. Chill for 1 hour or longer. Roll dough out onto a lightly floured board to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a floured donut cutter. Fry in oil or lard heated to 370 degrees in a deep-fat fryer until golden brown on both sides, turning only once. Drain on paper towels. Makes about 40 donuts.

Donut illustration by Chris Monroe from Big Little Brother by Kevin Kling.

Thanksgiving for Two

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

phpUZrFKgIf your Thanksgiving does not entail putting extra leaves in the table, think about eschewing the giant turkey for one of its smaller brethren in a simple and tasty recipe from Brett Laidlaw’s new cookbook, Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager.

Baked Pheasant with Wild Mushrooms and Cream

Any kind of fowl, from grouse to game hens, quail, or chicken, will shine in this easy treatment, which beats the canned cream of mushroom soup approach soundly.

1 pheasant, quartered

Salt and freshly ground pepper


1 1/2 cups chopped wild mushrooms (chanterelles, hedgehogs, hen of the woods, or an assortment)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup dry white wine

Rice or buttered noodles

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Season the pheasant with salt and pepper, and toss it in flour to coat. Layer the mushrooms in the bottom of a baking dish. Place the pheasant on top of the mushrooms and scatter the onions over the pheasant. Combine the cream and the wine and pour over the pheasant. Bake for 15 minutes, baste pheasant with cream. Continue to bake, basting every 10 minutes, until the pheasant is brown and the cream well reduced, about 45 minutes or so. Add a bit of water if the cream reduces too quickly. Serve with rice or buttered noodles.

Meet Brett Laidlaw!

You can meet Brett and buy a signed copy of his book this Saturday, November 19, 11-5:30 at the Alexis Bailly Vineyard’s Chocolate, Cheese, and Wine Tasting just south of Hastings. There is a $10 fee for this event.

Brett will also be at the Minnesota History Center’s Double Discount Days on Sunday, December 4, from 2 to 3 . MHS Members will receive 20% off of their purchase of Trout Caviar.

MCAD Art Sale November 17-19

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

MCAD Art SaleLooking for something stunning to fill that empty wall space, a unique piece of jewelry for a friend, a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture? Then head on over to the 14th Annual MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art & Design) Art Sale this weekend. Thousands of original pieces by MCAD students and recent graduates will be on sale, including everything from paintings, prints, and photographs to sculpture, furniture, toys, clothing, jewelry, accessories, and more. Some of the filmmaking, animation, and multimedia students sell DVDs of their work, too. Artists receive most of the proceeds from the sale of their art.

The opening reception is 6 to 9 Thursday night ($150), and Friday evening the sale is on from 6 to 9 for $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Admission is free on Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm.

To view some of the artwork in this year’s show, visit the sale’s Facebook page.

Big Little Brother–A Book of Fact

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Big Little BrotherBig Little Brother, a new children’s picture book and iPad app by Kevin Kling and Chris Monroe, was just honored by a wonderful, thoughtful review in the New York Times Online.

The article describes it as  “an exceptionally funny and bittersweet book that any reader, young or old, who has been an older sibling will warm to.”

But there is another passage we would like to address: “The book rests on the slightly absurdist premise of a 2-year-old child growing larger than his 4-year-old brother.”

We understand why some might find this hard to believe, but, as Kevin Kling has said, Big Little Brother is “a book of fact,” and we have a video of Kevin and his actual big little brother, Steve, to prove it:

Everything you ever wanted to know about Big Little Brother--including upcoming events and another video!

North Star Cocktails

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

North Star CocktailsJohnny MichaelsRecognized as one of the Twin Cities’ best drink makers, Johnny Michaels is the cocktail connoisseur’s answer to a gourmet chef. His home base is the James Beard award–winning La Belle Vie, but he’s designed the cocktail menus for several of its sister restaurants and other top metro eateries. Together with premiere bartenders such as Pip Hanson, Nick Kosevich, Jesse Held, Thea Sheffert, and others in the North Star Bartenders’ Guild, Michaels shares nearly 200 original, crafted cocktail recipes utilizing fresh fruits and vegetables, tips on barkeep techniques and tools, and guides to artisanal liquors and bitters.

Join us Thursday evening at the Mill City Museum to sample craft cocktails and meet Johnny Michaels and members of the North Star Bartenders’ Guild to celebrate the publication of North Star Cocktails.  Johnny Michaels and five other members of the guild will be on hand to mix their cocktail recipes featured in the book. Participants will receive a voucher for three half-size cocktails with paid admission and can purchase vouchers for additional cocktails. Pip Hanson of Marvel Bar will conduct a demonstration of hand ice chipping. Nick Kosevich of Bittercube will deliver a tutorial on the art of handcrafting artisanal bitters. (See today’s feature on The Heavy Table for more on Bittercube.) Dean Phillips will have a memorabilia display highlighting the history of Phillips Distilling Company and its deep Minnesota roots. Complimentary light hors d’oeuvres will be served. North Star Bartenders’ Guild members will sign copies of the book, which will be for sale in the museum store. All author royalties earned from the sale of the book will be donated to SPCA International, an organization committed to advancing the safety and well-being of animals.

For more insider tips, check out the School of Drinks series with MplsStPaul magazine.

Minneapolis Indie Xpo Nov. 5-6

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Minneapolis Indie Xpo 2011Superheroes, Strip Artists, & TalkingThe second-annual Minneapolis Indie Xpo takes place this weekend at The Soap Factory in Minneapolis. Festival founders Sarah Morean and Andy Krueger created the event to celebrate independent comics and midwestern cartoonists. They explain: “Minneapolis is a great place for comics. As one of the most literate cities in the nation, Minneapolis supports several large book and comics festivals each year. The Minneapolis Indie Xpo is proud to call it home.  The Twin Cities metro area is home to at least 11 different comic shops, including a few Will Eisner Spirit of Retail Award winners.  The Minneapolis Indie Xpo welcomes independent cartoonists and publishers, the people whose sweat and cash directly support their creative habits. Admission is free. ”

Check out their lineup of exhibitors, including Danno Klonowski, Zander and Kevin Cannon, Reynold Kissling, Bob Lipski, Brittney Sabo, Barbara Schulz, Tim Sievert, Andy Singer, and Steven Stwalley, a few of the many talented artists featured in Superheroes, Strip Artists, & Talking Animals by Britt Aamodt.  Chris Monroe, illustrator of the new children’s book by Kevin Kling, Big Little Brother, will also be there, displaying her Violet Days comic. Check out an interview with Chris over on the Minnesota Reads blog to find out what fictional character she had a crush on and her favorite book as a kid.