Before the year-end celebrations begin, get a copy of Carmela Hobbins’ Celebrations with Carmela’s Cucina (Nodin Press, $20) to help you cook up fabulous recipes for holiday feasts and entertaining. It’s filled with menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and more with Italian-American warmth and flair.
If you haven’t been to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Apple House yet, be sure to get there before season’s end (State Hwy. 5 and Rolling Acres Rd., Chanhassen, 952-443-1409). This year was fantastic for apples, and the delightfully rustic shop might still have some SweeTango and Honeycrisp in stock. If not, you’ll still find a wide selection of fudge, popcorn, and pumpkins, plus sauces, soups, jellies, and tapenades from Maria’s Foods, and BaBaBa Basil ice cream created by the Urban Garden Youth Employment program.
Jeannie Racick’s Annona Gourmet (2907 Pentagon Dr., Mpls., 612-354-2927, annonagourmet.com) filled my need for black-truffle salt and gourmet pastas, oils, and vinegars. For my sweet tooth, I turned to Linda Grohoski’s butter cookies and shortbreads, available at her café, Marianne’s Kitchen (3600 Lexington Ave. N., Shoreview, 651-484-2585, marianneskitchen.net). I also replenished my pantry with Carlos Palacios’s Café Palmira Guatemalan coffee, grown for three generations on the Palacios Farm in Palmira, Huehuetenango (cafepalmira.com). It’s available at the St. Paul Winter Farmers’ Market, local co-ops, and coffee shops.
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.