Cheers to Duluth-Made Lake Superior Kayak Kölsch - Dara & Co. - October 2011 - Minnesota

When I’m in the mood for a light, refreshing beer, I grab a Lake Superior Kayak Kölsch, brewed in Duluth.

Yes, I know, wet hopped beers are all the rage this time of year, and for good reason—they’re awesome. But sometimes, I need a break from hoppy beers, and when I’m in the mood for a light, balanced, refreshing beer, I grab a Lake Superior Kayak Kölsch.

The folks at Lake Superior Brewing Company started in the 1990s as homebrewers. Today, they craft a variety of regular, seasonal, and specialty beers at their brewery in Duluth. Although German law dictates that only a few breweries in and around Cologne can legally call their beers “Kölsches,” the Lake Superior version is a worthy homage. Lighter than a lager, straw yellow, slightly grainy in the nose, crisp and smooth on the palate, with moderate levels of German hops and carbonation, Lake Superior Kayak Kölsch is an ideal session beer.

Lake Superior Kayak Kölsch pairs well with all kinds of food, but can be overwhelmed easily. I'd recommend serving it with fruit, cheese, grilled vegetables, and delicately spiced meat. And when you’re ready to share your love of Lake Superior Kayak Kölsch with several people, kegs are available by special order from Surdyk’s and St. Anthony Village Liquor Warehouse.

Cheers to Duluth-Made Lake Superior Kayak Kölsch - Dara & Co. - October 2011 - Minnesota

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

Apple Cider Donuts

Behold the autumnal tradition known as the apple cider donut!

Donuts, donuts everywhere! The donut craze in the Twin Cities has been well documented by Dara, and indeed, many bakeries in the Twin Cities are cranking out good donuts. But this time of year, I scout out a donut of a different variety: Behold the autumnal tradition known as the apple cider donut.

Apple cider donuts are dense cake donuts made with apple cider and buttermilk. Deep fried until golden brown, the tender morsels are usually coated generously with cinnamon and sugar. Depending on the maker, the apple cider flavor can be more or less pronounced, and cinnamon and nutmeg levels vary by maker as well. Although coated in sugar, they’re not cloyingly sweet. My guess is that it has something to do with the tanginess of the cider and buttermilk in the batter.

Finding a cider donut can be tricky. You likely won’t find them at a bakery. They seem to take up residence among piles of apples at farmers market apple stands.

Local Apple Cider Donut Spottings:
• McDougall's Apple Junction - Hastings
• Sweetland Orchard stand - NE Farmers' Market, Mill City, Bloomington, Fulton, and Kingfield.

So get thee to a fall farmers' market! Upon arrival, grab a coffee, milk, or hot apple cider before you get in line for your donut. Then, find your cider donut, take a bite, and smile.

And just in case you’re interested in making your own cider donuts, here’s a recipe that pumps up the apple flavor by reducing the cider.

Apple Cider Donuts

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 18 donuts, and 18 donut holes

1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil for frying

Cinnamon sugar (1 cup granulated sugar + 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon)

In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, until the eggs are completely incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto one of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Using a 3-inch or 3 1/2-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the sheet pans. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes.

Add enough oil to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F*. Place a couple of cooling racks on a jellyroll pan.

While the cut doughnut shapes are in the refrigerator, make the cinnamon sugar by mixing the two together. Set aside.

Fry and top the doughnuts: Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Let them settle on the cooling rack for a minute after the doughnuts are fried. Dip them into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Serve with coffee, hot cider, or milk.

Apple Cider Donuts—Heaven! - Dara & Co. - October 2011 - Minnesota

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

Food Lover's Must Read: Lapham's Quarterly Food Issue

Why must you read the Lapham's Quarterly food issue? Because it rules.

Lapham's Quarterly threw all of its weight behind the topic of food, and created one hell of a charming magazine issue.

Lapham's Quarterly is a quarterly magazine that devotes each issue to a single topic. This past summer's issue was "Food." Lewis Lapham is the man behind the magazine. Former editor of Harper's Magazine, he is now the editor and eponym of the magazine. Lapham and his team assembled the issue by scouring thousands of pieces from the literary and art world, and piled them into a not-too-cohesive collection with food as their theme.

From food-related scenes lifted from Shakespeare and Dickens to snippets by Anthony Bourdain and Patton Oswalt, Lapham's Food issue tackles the topic of food with silliness and serious contemplation via excerpts, poems, trivia, artwork, essays, charts, and jokes. View the contents of the food issue here.

From Lapham's blog:
"In the issue, Charles Dickens asks for just a little more, Annie Dillard participates in the food chain, William Carlos Williams raids the refrigerator, Roland Barthes fiddles with chopsticks, H.L. Mencken worships the hot dog, and Erasmus teaches us how to have good table manners.

The issue also includes charts and graphs of history's top chefs, a sampling of dos and don't for table manners all over the world, the calorie counts of military rations, and major historical party fouls. Our essays include Daniel Mason on earth-eating, science writer Deborah Blum on food poisoning, and Brent Cunningham on the bourgeois desire to return to the farm."

I only wish they could have included my favorite scene from Uncle Buck (surely they would have if they could have):

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]