College Kitchen: Minnesota bites

Come on, baby, do the local-motion!

A simple smoothie with peach, yogurt, and honey topped with a dash of cardamom.

Ichigo Takikawa

A simple smoothie with peach, yogurt, and honey topped with a dash of cardamom.

Lucy Nieboer

Georgia is the Peach State, and Nebraska the Cornhusker State. Even if our nickname doesn’t imply it, the North Star State has plenty of culinary prowess to offer.

This weekend, the Savor Minnesota food festival brings together vendors from across the state. Unfortunately for those of us living on the college student’s budget, the ticket’s price tag — upwards of $30 — is enough to scare off even the most dedicated foodies.

The College Kitchenista has taken the freshest and finest foodstuffs from around the state and concocted three delightful dishes. Pick up some local ingredients, and savor Minnesota from the comfort of your own kitchen.

 

Faribault Caves Cheesy Chicken

Made in the deep, dark caves of Faribault, the blue cheese used in this dish is ripe and savory. Stuffed in the middle of rich chicken breasts with a pinch of sweet apples, this dinner deserves a blue ribbon in flavor combinations.

 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup St. Pete’s Select Blue Cheese Crumbles

1/2 granny smith apple

2 green onions

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup apple juice

1/2 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup instant rice

Paprika

Pepper

Salt

1 handful pecans (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make a slice in the sides of the chicken breasts to create a cavity. Dice the apple very finely. Slice the onion into small rounds. Stuff the breasts with the cheese, apples and one of the onions. Close the cavity with toothpicks.

Rub the meat with olive oil, and sprinkle with a dusting of paprika, pepper and salt.

Place the chicken pieces into an ungreased baking dish. Pour the cider and broth into the pan. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Place the chicken onto a serving platter, and cover to keep warm. Add the rice and the remaining onion to the liquid in the dish. Cover the dish, and bake for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice to the serving dish. If you wish, chop the pecans and add them to the dish as a crunchy topping.

Adapted from Pillsbury’s “Blue Cheese and Apple-Stuffed Chicken Breasts.”

 

Pair with: Falconer Vineyards’ Chambourcin

Sweet wines go the best with salty cheese. This light red is uncomplicated and fruity. It will keep the focus on the main course but delicately balance those rich flavors.

 

Cannon Falls Turkey Balls

These meatballs take fresh, free-range ground turkey up a notch with a punchy citrus twist. A perfectly light appetizer or first course, these meatballs are sure to be gobbled up quickly.

 

1 pound Ferndale Market ground turkey

1/4 cup orange juice (fresh or bottled)

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon mild paprika

1 egg

1/4 cup crushed Saltine crackers

Pepper

Salt

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat, juice, zest, egg, spices and cracker crumbs. Using your hands, thoroughly mix the ingredients. Break off a golf-ball sized glob of the mixture, and roll into a spherical shape.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the meatballs until they are browned on both sides. Put them in the oven for 15 minutes to ensure they are cooked all the way through.

 

Pair with: Saint Croix Vineyards’ Frontenac Gris.

Developed at the University of Minnesota, this white wine variety has a light citrus aroma which will go wonderfully with the underlying fruity flavor of the meatballs.

 

New Prague Summer Smoothie

A twist on a traditional Indian mango lassi, this refreshing drink combines tangy, local yogurt with sweet peaches and a touch of honey for a cool, creamy treat that’s great for battling the sweltering heat of Minnesota summers.

 

2 cups Cedar Summit Farm Plain Drinkable Yogurt

1 cup frozen peach chunks

1 tablespoon honey

1 dash cardamom

 

Put all the ingredients except the cardamom into a blender. Blend on high until the drink reaches a smooth consistency. Pour the mixture into a tall glass. Finish it off with a dash of cardamom and a crazy straw.