Sue Z.’s Local Finds

Nuclear Nectar, easy breadmaking, and new cookbooks.

The weather outside is frightful—here are some ideas to make your kitchen delightful. Hot sauce can warm you and every dish you make this season, and Mr. Fuzz’s Nuclear Nectar, which premiered at the farmers’ markets last summer, will do the trick with its red-habanero-pepper base (nuclearnectar.com).

There’s no quicker way to warm up a house than by putting something in the oven—try the latest cookbook in Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François’ baking series, Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day (artisanbreadinfive.com). Or get your carb fix from the Mill City Bread Co., Kurt Weissenfels’ line of easy-to-make artisan bread mixes (millcitybread.com).

A good cup of coffee can make dark mornings infinitely better. Alyza Bohbot and her family have been craft roasting Alakef Coffee in Duluth for more than 25 years—my favorite is the espresso gold blend (alakef.com).

And make your kitchen sizzle this Valentine’s Day by cooking a chef-inspired dinner at home. Food blogger Stephanie Meyer has compiled a book full of extraordinary recipes and beautiful photographs from local chefs in Twin Cities Chef’s Table (freshtart.com). The dishes are complex enough to impress but simple enough for home cooks to prepare, making them ideal for dinner parties.

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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.