Tag Archives: demo

New Demo Videos

Check out these little videos!  Thanks to Lane Rapp of Growing West Side, here I am captured for all eternity at last Sat’s cooking demonstration at their “Bean Summit”.

It was a terrifically educational session, starting with a show-and-tell of many kinds of heirloom beans, followed by growing tips from heirloom bean farmer Paula Foreman of Encore Farms, and lastly, my demo, where I made 3 different organic bean dishes (all vegan and gluten-free, no added sugars and no soy, of course).

  1.  Jacob’s Cattle Bean & Veg Salad in Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette
  2. Cassoulet of Black Beans, Green Kale & Cherry Tomatoes in Red Pepper Sauce
  3. Smashed Garlicky Black-eyed Peas with Spinach & Sage (great as bruschetta topping or sandwich filler)
Paula Foreman of Encore Farms on bean irrigation

Paula Foreman of Encore Farms on bean irrigation

Growing West Side’s mission is “Building community by supporting local gardening and sustaining a healthy neighborhood” in St Paul’s funky West Side. Among its many activities, it

  • runs a small Sat morn Farmers Market in the Icy Cup parking lot at corner of George and Stryker Sts, so you can buy veg and eat ice cream simultaneously (very smart);
  • offers free Scarlet Runner bean seeds for “Beans on the Boulevard”, a program to beautify the ‘hood;
  • offers classes on topics from Growing Small Fruit Orchards to Chickens 101;
  • has established a free Seed Library at the Riverside Library on George St.

Another fab organization that offers similar programs & resources in St Paul is Frogtown Gardens in the Frogtown neighborhood that stretches north of University Ave between Lexington and Western Aves. 



Classy Kale

Right now I’m teaching classes which highlight fresh kale in ‘classy’ ways.

Here are photos from a free cooking class I led at Baker Community Center in Westside St Paul on Feb 1st. With the help of young volunteers, I threw together 2 easy healthful salads: Kale Salad in Avocado Dressing and Asian Veggie “Pasta” in Ginger Peanut Dressing. 

I made a Kale salad with Tahini dressing at a class last Friday and am reprising the Kale Avocado Salad in another one this Tues at Mazopiya Natural Foods Market in Prior Lake. I’ll report on that session later this week.

The fresh kale leaves are vigorously massaged with chunks of avocado and a little balsamic vinaigrette, then left to marinate a bit. Think Swedish massage. Really work it like stiff clay. Treating the greens this way wilts them down, reduces the bitterness and permeates sauce into every leaf. Besides, the more compacted the greens, the more you end up eating. You can use prepared guacamole, too. But, either way, be prepared to get your hands all goopy!

At Baker, I also showed folks how to use a Spiralizer gizmo, with which you can crank (literally) out long noodles’, “corkscrews” and thin slices from many veggies & fruits!  We made zucchini & carrot noodles for a carb-less salad, Asian style. The texture of the zucchini is like a slightly crunchy noodle. When I programmed a Zucchini “Linguine” in fresh tomato salsa for Delivered Dish of the Week (DDoW), several clients thought they were eating real pasta.

This gadget is a boon to anybody who wants to get more veggies into their diet — that’s everybody — and especially useful if you are trying out a Paleo, vegan or raw diet. It just makes it more fun. You could do apples and pear noodles like my nephew & niece; or try root veg curly fries and root veg chips. It’s inexpensive and available on Amazon.com.


Upcoming Sampling & Catering


Art Fair at Swede Hollow Park, St Paul (photo Brad Griffith)

Art Fair at Swede Hollow Park, St Paul (photo Brad Griffith). My tent was right behind the music stage.

During Art in the Hollow Festival on June 1st, my stalwart demo dish, Firecracker Slaw, converted more skeptics to raw beets in salad. Ha! Mainly, I just want to share this photo of Swede Hollow park all decked out.

Sat June 15th:  Aunty Oxidant will be demoing with samples at the MN Horticultural Society’s Open House. 9am-1pm @ 2705 Lincoln Drive, Roseville (just north of Cty Rd C). Plant sale, master gardeners, crepe truck, coffee… a perfect morning.  I’ll bring Minty Radish Salad, made with farmers market veg and fresh spearmint. 

Ambiente Gallerie with privacy pods down.

Ambiente Gallerie with privacy pods down.

Ambiente Gallerie's "boomerang" doors.

Ambiente Gallerie with privacy pods up, view of side “boomerang” doors.

Fri June 21st: I’ll be one of two caterers handing out samples at a Wedding & Wellness Expo at Ambiente Gallerie, a chic, unique office, gallery & event venue in NE Mpls.  6pm – 9pm @ 505 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis, smack next door to the Red Stag. I catered a large gathering in this striking architectural space in May.

The Wellness & Wedding theme is a good fit for One Dish, since I specialize in tasty wholesome food that just happens to be healthful! In particular, I offer lots of vegan and gluten-free options. I think it’s safe to say many caterers do not.

In fact, I am catering a 200-guest wedding reception dinner next month, as well as a smaller BBQ in a couple weeks. Both clients want to make sure there will be good food for all their guests, from the vegans to the meat-lovers and those in between!

By the way, the wedding meal will feature a smorgasbord of desserts brought by the couple’s family & friends. This is a brilliant, practical solution to the “my big fat wedding cake” dilemma. Seems more couples these days want both more variety and a better bang-for-buck dessert than one expensive monolithic cake.

Next post:  Cooking Classes for Adults, Kids and Launchpad Young Adults.

Designing with Food and Plants

This past Tue I was fortunate enough to meet the force of nature that is Richard Moody, local go-to fashion maven and man about town. I provided a light repast for the monthly meet & greet of the Twin Cities’ chapter of Fashion Group Int’l, a design networking association. Richard serves on its board.

FGI event 4-16-13 at Phillips Garden.

Guests at FGI “Kick Off Your Heels and Come Into the Garden”  4-16-13. I’m way in the back, top left. Richard in green teeshirt is in front of me and Matt is next to him. Photo by Phillips Garden.

He brought the event to the gorgeous tropical-industrial office of Phillips Garden, winner of Minnesota Monthly magazine’s 2012 Best of the Twin Cities – Landscaping award, in the heart of Mpls’ Phillips neighborhood. [Full disclosure: I’ve been a close friend of Matt the general manager at Phillips for decades.]


The brightly colored marinated salads, full of oranges, reds and greens, perfectly complemented Phillips’ incredible table display. Photo by Phillips Garden.

Guests enjoyed some lovely herb-infused wine (courtesy of Phillips) and the gluten-free whole-foods spread I brought:  Kalamata Olive Polenta Squares, Roast Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad in Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette, SuperFood Slaw in Grapefruit Ginger Vinaigrette, roast almonds, gluten-free crackers and fresh organic Pink Lady apples and navel oranges. I chose not to serve sweets or cookies this time. Feel free to use this menu for your next party!

Until I figure out how to snatch pix from Instagram, for close-ups of dishes, see Richard’s http://instagram.com/p/YLyfS8wXNX/  and  http://instagram.com/p/YLs5Q7QXGZ/ .

Incredibly lush, and partially edible table display. See how many edibles you can spot.

Incredibly lush, and partially edible table display. See how many edibles you can spot. Photo by Phillips Garden.

Phillips Garden staff discussed their aesthetic, their design process, and how its business is based on listening carefully to its clients. They also talked about how to bring the garden inside your home with terrariums and using herbs & veggies decoratively indoors, as well as in outdoor landscaping.

In fact, Phillips Garden and I make a great team. We share an aesthetic of ‘clean’, high-contrast and sustainable creations. We’re not into masking with embellishment, which often devolves into kitsch. (Sugar, cheese, and creamy dressings & sauces can all mask flavors & textures).

Tracy presenting at Phillips Garden 4-16-13.

Tracy presenting at Phillips Garden 4-16-13.

When it was my turn to talk about One Dish at A Time, I related my mission to connect people to real food, my whole-foods & 5-senses aesthetic, and how I customize for clients with different needs. Since the theme was a look forward into summer, I recommended marinated salads as the perfect summer meal — fresh, locally available, inexpensive ingredients in endless combinations that are easy to make in bulk for the whole week. (Easy, that is, if you maintain a sharp knife. See below.)

Pretty in Pink: assembled salad of sliced cauliflower, cooked beets, kohlrabi that was marinated with beet, and albacore tuna, on romaine/spinach, with fresh mint vinaigrette. Any vinaigrette will do.

Pretty in Pink: assembled salad of raw cauliflower, sliced cooked beets, kohlrabi marinated with beets and albacore tuna, on bed of romaine & spinach, drizzled with fresh mint vinaigrette (any vinaigrette will do.)

Designing with Food.  Every time you make a meal or a dish, you are designing.  What results depends on your goal and priorities: ease, quickness, comforting vs “new” tastes, nutritional value, and purpose (family dinner vs cocktail party). We’re not on a reality TV show, so don’t worry about being judged harshly.

For FGI, I started with a goal of serving a healthful, light meal that is all gluten-free and mostly vegan, and, not too much work. 


My design tool box consists of 

  1. Whole (unprocessed) foods: beans, grains, tubers, veggies, meats, nuts, fruits and a bit of dairy. Butter & small amounts of good cheese to enhance, but not to take main stage. Same with cream and sugars. (That’s what desserts are for.)
  2. Palette of flavor, texture, color and seasonality. Velvety polenta and a crunchy slaw. Soft sweet potatoes, black beans and crisp bell peppers all spiked with tart lime juice offers sweet and savory in the same bite.  Deep green kale and bright orange carrot.
  3. Nutritional factors: total complementary proteins, complex carbs, fiber, and good fats. Lots and lots of fiber.
Another marinated salad, Broccoli Edamame Salad, paired with Sesame Roasted Eggplant & Black Rice. (my photo)

Another marinated salad, Broccoli Edamame Salad, paired with Sesame Roasted Eggplant & Black Rice. (my photo)

The great thing about whole foods is that which pleases all our 5 senses also happens to be the most nutritious!  So just go for the color and texture and it will be fine.


I also talked about my literal tool box: sharp knives and wide wok spatulas (to toss those marinated salads). Brandishing my $5 Asian chef’s knife, I sliced a raw beet very thinly and peeled a grapefruit. Then, I told everybody to take those cheap coarse-grained tubular sharpeners that come in the block sets and STICK ’em… in the ground as stakes for straggly seedlings. Or tents. More about knives and sharpener recommendations in my post “Tools Make the Man (Person)”.

Aunty Oxidant and friends at Moving Planet 9-24-11

Demoing slaw at Moving Planet event 9-24-11

To see these me in action with knives, sharpeners and boldly colored vegetables, come to the Brooklyn Center EarthFest this Sat, 1-4pm, at Brooklyn Center High School; and at East-Side St Paul Neighborhood Green Fair on April 27, 12-4pm outside City Academy school.  I’ll be demoing and handing out samples of my famous superfood Firecracker Slaw (see recipe). More on my community demos.

Thanks again to Richard Moody & Hazel Matthys of FGI-Mpls and to Phillips Garden for a lovely evening. That greenery is balm for the soul — especially now that it’s snowing again.

Aunty Oxidant Coming Near You

Tracy at MPS’ Farm 2 School community BBQ 9-21-12













Aunty Oxidant is going to be all over the metro in the next 3 weeks, doing demos and teaching various classes. 


  • Sat Oct 13th, MN Food Assoc. Harvest Party, Marine-in-St-Croix (near Stillwater)
  • Sat Nov 3rd, GIA Kitchens Food Fair, St Paul.
  • Sat Nov 10th, Resource Fair, Food Allergy Support Group MN (FASGMN), Hopkins
    [Alas, demos at Farmers Markets are over, since the satellite markets will be closing soon. Boo hoo! ]


  • Oct-Nov: basics with teens of St Paul East Side Boys & Girls Club, thru Free Arts MN program.
  • Oct 29th, Meatless Monday Garden Supper, at Harvest Moon Co-op, Long Lake.
  • Nov 3rd, Healthful Holiday Sides, at Inver Grove Hts Community & Fitness Center.
  • Nov 7th, Healthful Holiday Sides, Robbinsdale Community Ed at Robbinsdale Middle School.

I’ll be posting more details about these events and classes shortly.

Meanwhile, I just had to share these great photos I received today of me, handing out samples at last month’s Farm 2 School Community BBQ hosted by Mpls Public Schools’ Dept of Culinary & Nutrition Services. (See Sep blog posts.) Since Aunty Oxidant has no sidekick*, I rarely get photos of myself despite doing these events all the time.

Pic #1: prepping samples of Blanched Carrot & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette. The other tray on left side displayed cups of Roast Ratatouille — on the table is the big tub I had brought.

Blanched Carrot & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free.

Pic #2: lovely close up of the beautiful, super-food Carrot Kale Salad. A perfect autumn side dish that keeps a week and can be extended w/ beans or quinoa, etc. See Recipe page.

[Thanks to MN Dept of Health and Family Support for the photos!]





*I did rope a friend into a sidekick gig once, and had her wear a giant 7 ft corn costume at the farmers’ market. It proved hard for her to hand out samples without knocking people on the head. Note to self: make smaller costumes.


Carrots and Kale and Collards, Oh My

Blanched Carrot & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette.

These last few weeks I’ve been featuring a lovely seasonal dish, Carrot Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette, which I first made with cooking camp students (see late Aug posts). I handed it out at the Farm 2 School Community BBQ last week, at the little Farmers’ Market which pops up in the parking lot of the Inver Grove Hts Community Center, and at a Health & Wellness fair.

I will also be teaching this and 3 other kale dishes in Super Food classes @ Robbinsdale and Inver Grove Hts community education next week. More on that in next post.

This salad rocks! Everybody loves it. The full recipe for salad and the vinaigrette is now on the Recipe page. It’s all about Complementarity. As any art students will tell you, the color orange’s opposite is the color green. Similarly, the natural sweetness of carrots balances the earthy ‘green’ taste of kale, and, orange juice enlivens them both. And you know that brightly colored food are the most healthful; antioxidants are what make them colorful in the first place.

This vinaigrette is fairly tangy at first, perhaps a bit sour for some kids unused to vinegar — but it mellows after a day. It also depends on the sweetness of orange juice concentrate you use and whether you use white wine vinegar or cider vinegar. It’s excellent on mixed green salads and grain salads. Combine this carrot kale salad with Quinoa, for instance.

“Dinosaur” lacinato kale (back) and regular curly kale (front).

Quite a few people told me they liked kale in this salad more than they expected. Perhaps because blanching fresh kale takes off the bitter edge while producing a chewy texture. Blanching leafy greens like kale or collards is a great way to keep their deep green color & nutrients. It’s also really fast. As you & yours come to like blanched kale, use more kale and fewer carrots in this salad.

Blanching is also the first step in freezing these hardy leafy greens. Anytime you plan a dish with kale/collards, blanch 2 batches and freeze one in a ziploc for later. Right now, they’re a dollar/bunch at the farmers’ market, where they’ll be available thru Dec.

About stalks: you can chop up the upper stalks with the leaves or strip them off, depending on the dish. For a stew or soup, leave them on, since they’ll get soft during simmering. For a salad, a saute or a quick braised dish, strip them off. (If you wish, chop stalks finely and save for that stew/soup.) 

Chopped kale ready to be blanched.

TECHNIQUE TIP: Strip leaves off kale or collards easily with a ‘corn-shucking’ motion. Grab a stalk in one hand, leaves pointing down. Fold the 2 sides of leaves together with your other hand, with rib facing the opposite way. Pull down sharply like you are shucking corn, and then only the rib remains. Roll 4-5 of the rib-less leaves together like a cigar, then chop into shreds.

Now what?
1. Add raw shreds to cabbage or mixed green salad.
2. Add raw shreds to ramen noodle or Posole soup.
3. Blanch, drain, squeeze out water & freeze.
4. Blanch for salads. Drizzle w/ sesame dressing (ala co-op deli) or peanut dressing.
6. Saute w/ garlic, olive oil, lemon juice; or, add sesame oil, soy sauce & chilli pepper flakes.
7. Add to quiche, casseroles, ratatouille. Throw into pasta sauce, cassoulets, curry, soup. Nice in chili & any bean dish. (Use ‘search” to find past posts on Beans & Greens.)

Kale shreds, blanched. My favorite long-handled sieve.

Back to the Carrots & Kale salad. Like 90% of my salads, it keeps for a week+. When you’re tired of it as a salad, simmer with a little water or broth — or coconut milk —  6-8 min til tender and serve hot.

UTENSIL TIP: go to Asian grocery and buy a sieve with long handle for scooping out blanched or boiled veggies, noodles, potatoes, etc. This handy utensil saves time, since it’s bigger than a slotted spoon. Not pouring out the hot water means you can re-use it for multiple veggie-blanching batches and soup, too.
The sieve comes in different bowl sizes and handle lengths and range from $3 – 7. Don’t bother getting a small one.

See me @Farm 2 School Community BBQ

Breaking news:  yes, I will be handing out delish samples at the Farm2School Community BBQ next FRIDAY Sept 21st. Come say Hi!

This celebration of Farm to School month is being held 4pm – 7pm at the Minneapolis Public School’s Culinary & Nutrition Services Headquarters, at 812 North Plymouth Ave. (5 min from exit off Hwy 94 West.)

Enjoy a dinner of Turkey Sliders, Coleslaw, Cucumber Salsa, Roasted Corn!  Meet local farmers!  Fun family activities include farm animals; face painting; gardening & compost demo; corn shucking contest. It’ll be like the State Fair, but free.

This is me, taking a cleansing breath, during a Little Locavores cooking demo at the Mpls Farmers Market. My sous-chefs were so ably snipping away at greens with their craft scissors that I decided to meditate for a bit. Photo by Sharon Ramirez.

As for me, I will be serving up samples of Carrots & Kale Salad in Orange Ginger Vinaigrette. A very colorful and tasty dish especially with the locally grown super-fresh veggies I’ll use. Kids will recognize by its bright colors that it’s chock-full of nutrients, too. A mega Vitamin A booster.

It is an easy, versatile dish for both adults and kids to make and cheap to boot.

In fact, I think I will have craft scissors on hand and ask for volunteers to snip kale. With these scissors, kids as young as 3 can help in the kitchen.*

These 6-yr olds in the photo at left were very proud of their handiwork and rightly so. They made a gourmet salad: roast beet, raw beet & beet greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, topped with a chiffonade of basil. Craft scissors are excellent for chiffonade, did you know?

*Youngsters don’t slice & dice as fast as you or I can, obviously, but that is not the point. The point is to get them positively involved.

See you next Friday at the Community BBQ!