Sue Z.'s Finds

Mix family and friends with good food and you have a perfect recipe for the holidays.

Start by making some quick treats from Weeknight Desserts ($15, Sellers Publishing). Written by Duluth’s James Beard hall-of-fame author Beatrice Ojakangas, it’s full of great ideas. Be sure to try her saucepan brownie recipe.

For an original main dish, turn to Robin Asbell’s new cookbook, Big Vegan (Chronicle Books, $30). Of the more than 350 delicious no meat/no dairy recipes, some standouts include her Korean tacos and sweet-potato salad. If you need last-minute stocking stuffers, sisters Jules Vranian and Hope Klocker make just the thing: flavored caramels. My favorites include Sicilian Orange, Café Italiano, and Bananas Foster (; Sugar Sugar, 3803 Grand Ave. S. Mpls., 612-823-0261,

Add extra flavor to meals with Murray’s Restaurant’s gourmet spice blend (26 Sixth St. Mpls., 612-339-0909, It works great on everything from meat to  fish to vegetables. For your cooking, baking, and palate-pleasing pleasure, pick up some salted butter at Lucia’s (1432 W. 31st St., Mpls. 612-825-1572, It’s fabulous spread on fresh bread from the restaurant’s store component, Lucia’s To Go.

Make an award-worthy pie crust with fresh lard from Wise Acres Eatery (5401 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-354-2577, While there, pick up a few other seasonal foods, made with freshly grown ingredients from Tangletown Gardens.

Sue Zelickson is the founder and director of Women Who Really Cook and Perspectives Family Center’s Kid’s Cafe. She is the former host of WCCO Radio’s Food for Thought.

Sue Zelickson (Sue Z.) is a James Beard Award-winning food media personality, philanthropist, and longtime contributor to Minnesota Monthly and WCCO radio. She has founded the Charlie Awards, the Women Who Really Cook networking organization for women in the local food industry, and the Kids Cafe at Perspectives, Inc., which improves access to nutritious meals for families in need. You can find her buzzing around from event to event throughout the Twin Cities, helping to raise funds for charitable organizations, including some she has had a hand in building.