Minnesota Lake Afternoon Buffet

They are the afternoons we dream about on cold January days. A light breeze blows off the lake, the warm sun beating down on the dock, and a group of friends coming over to your lake place for dinner. It’s always fun to throw some steaks, burgers or hot dogs on the grill. But why not celebrate all that is Minnesota with a Minnesota Lake Afternoon cookout? This spread was created by lake lover Cheryl Lausch and includes walleye, wild rice, and rhubarb. All Minnesota staples. All that’s missing is a loon calling in the distance. For a complete listing of recipes including rhubarb cake and lemonade with blueberry ice cubes, go to shesaystv.areavoices.com.

Pan-fried Walleye Almandine (adapted from ricardocuisine.com)

4 Walleye Fillets
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
Juice of ¼ lemon
Splash of White wine
¼ cup slivered almonds
2 tsp. chopped capers (optional)

Bring walleye fillets to room temperature & season with salt & pepper.In a large non-stick skillet, heat pan over high heat until hot.Reduce heat to medium hot and add oil & half the butter.Add fish to pan so they are not crowded.Fry approximately three to four minutes a side until brown and center is flaky.Remove fish from pan to a warmed platter.Add remaining butter, juice of lemon, splash of wine, almonds and capers if desired.Poor sauce over fish and serve!

Wild Rice Salad

1 1/3 cup wild rice (preferably from Minnesota)!
3 ½ cups vegetable broth
2-3 stalks celery
1 red pepper
1 cup dried apricots
1/3 yellow onion
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper
¾ – 1 cup chopped parsley

Add wild rice & broth to pan and bring to a boil. Then simmer 35-40 minutes covered. Uncover to let liquid evaporate. Cook until al dente. You may need to drain rice. Set aside to cool.While rice cooks, dice celery, red pepper, apricots & onions.Wisk vinegar & olive oil then season to taste with salt & pepper.Toss together rice, chopped vegetables and dressing. If needed, add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste instead of salt. Mix in chopped parsley.Serve at room temperature.

Erma Mabel’s Rhubarb Cake, from The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York.

½ cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ cups chopped rhubarb (about 4 stalks)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Butter and flour 11 x 7 non-reactive baking dish.Cream butter and sugar until light, then mix in eggs one at a time.In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.Combine the milk and vanilla in another separate bowl.Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk/vanilla to butter mixture.Spread 2/3 of the batter in the prepared pan, and then sprinkle the rhubarb over batter.Spread remaining 1/3 of batter on top of rhubarb, spreading evenly but lightly so that rhubarb isn’t
pushed to bottom.Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Serve food with cold lemonade and blueberry ice cubes (made by pouring lemonade and two or three blueberries into ice cube trays).