Member Newsletter

Minnesota Les Dames d’Escoffier Member Newsletter

As a benefit to all our members, we send monthly newsletters with current topics, upcoming meetings and member news. Here are some of the longer articles that we have recently featured in the newsletter.

If you have any questions about membership or being featured in the newsletter with some important news, please reach out to our chapter admin, Tanya at

Save these Dates for 2022-23 Programs and Scholarship Winner Essay


Hold These Dates!*

Your Les Dames Program Committee (Cindy Jurgensen, Brenda Langton, Andi Bidwell) has been busy planning meetings for the next fiscal year – starting in October. Make a note of these dates on your calendars so you won’t have to miss them.

October 26 (6:00pm) – Ukrainian Night at Kramarczuk’s restaurant where we will taste pierogies, borscht, cabbage rolls and some other Eastern European specialties. This beloved Landmark has been around since 1954, and is now run by the third generation of the Ukrainian Kramarczuk family. There will be an option to donate to Ukraine – more information about this in the Eventbrite invitation to come soon.

November 7 (6:00pm) – Hear how Rose McGee’s Sweet Potato Comfort Pie approach helps communities bake pies together and have tough dialogues around race. Meeting will be hosted by milliner Celina Kane, Brenda Langton’s daughter, at the A-Mill Artist’s Lofts. Nan Bailly (of Alexis Bailly Vineyard) is bringing wine for the evening, along with her Amaro Botanico dessert wine to go with the pie.

December 8 (6:00pm) – The founder of Vikings and Goddesses Pie Company, Rachel Anderson will tell us about how she started her company. After dinner we will get to taste two of her holiday pie flavors: Cranberry Meringue and Peppermint Mocha Chess Pie. We will meet at Dame Joan Semmer’s home in Minnetonka.

January 10 (9:00am) – Meet at the Buttered Tin Bakery in NE Minneapolis for a breakfast buffet; then listen to a talk by owner and founder Dame Alicia Hinze.

February 28 (6:00pm) – An informative and tasty evening, sampling wine with Annette Peters from Bourget Wine Company. Learn about wine from a brilliant, tenacious wine expert who owns her own import & distributing company. Dame Lauren Voight (Bourget’s Marketing Manager) and Audrey Nelson are helping to plan this meeting. We will meet at Dame Jeanie Kozar’s party room in Edina.

March 14-tentative date (Noon) – Zoom meeting with local celebrity, pastry chef, blogger and cookbook author Zoë François who will discuss her new TV series on the Magnolia network, Zoë Bakes.

April (Week of the 17th) — R&R Cultivation Mushrooms company in New Hope. Are you ready for an all-mushroom dinner menu?

May 17 (6:00 pm) – Dinner with Dame Tammy Wong – owner of the Rainbow Café in Minneapolis. We will meet at Dame Cindy Jurgensen’s home in St. Louis Park.

June 20 (6:00pm) – Ice Cream Night with Crystal Bakker and Meggan Kerbenbush of Bridgeman’s Ice Cream Parlor in Woodbury. We will taste ice cream desserts after a dinner catered by Dame Beth Quinn in her Golden Valley party room.

July 19 (6:00pm) – Meet at the Alexis Bailly Winery in Hastings for a picnic while we sample wines and hear about wine making from Nan Bailly. You will have the opportunity to play Bocce Ball too!

August (Week of the 14th) – We have a couple of ideas for this meeting in the works.

September 19 (6:00pm) – Annual Meeting—location TBD.

*Because we are planning these upcoming meetings a year in advance, the dates and times may change slightly.

Mary Zimmer
MN LDEI Scholarship Winner’s Essay:

Should I buy the chocolate milk from Fairlife® (nope), or the local dairy farm 10 miles away from our co-op? These small changes are my compass. Through my involvement in my school’s Compass Ecology of Food and AP Environmental, my love for the natural world and a desire to help the health of our planet has strongly emerged. I want to learn about and initiate change in food manufacturing and distribution systems. Many current issues surrounding current practices are scary and urgently need my generation’s minds to help solve them. I have worked for a local restaurant for two years, in our community garden, and for the Minnesota Agricultural in the classroom, and I have seen upfront the waste and needs for education for our current world inhabitants.

I desire to find solutions to current environmental issues surrounding food production. I will focus on sustainable agriculture and its environmental impacts through a B.S. in Agronomy. I also plan to earn an Organic Certificate. I see my degree from UW Madison or U of lowa as being a perfect springboard into graduate studies in the ecology of food and sustainability

I plan to become a change maker to help research and address current issues around food scarcity and environmental justice through hands-on service-learning projects in my college’s town and to include an experiential learning opportunity in sustainable development abroad. I want to see how other countries have tackled environmental challenges. I would love to study in Copenhagen, Denmark through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad and see firsthand how the Danish has become a leader in environmental sustainability

Recently, I organized an event called Food for Everyone, where we served over 350 people a meal all from rescued sources. We also had six pallets of food from our local food shelf on hand that was about to expire and allow families to take the food home to use. I had a booth on Agricultural Practices and learning opportunities for Minnesota elementary school children to learn about where their food comes from!
My grandmother, a Midwest farmer, has been a huge inspiration to me. Her repeated stories of Southern Minnesota and lowa farm life; her days filled with chores, canning, and growing food, were a staple of my childhood. The backdrop of her life seemed magical, its image sketched in my mind.

Food production and the social and economic issues surrounding it are not new. However, today the consideration for the environmental impact for food growing and distribution practices are different and evermore critical than in the twentieth century. The food system over the last fifty years has become highly complex, compared to my grandparent’s farming from 1920 to 1970. I have dug and continue to sift through its complexities.

As grandma lives her eighty-eighth year in 2021, she talks more and more about the fruit trees and gardens of her childhood, in her retreat back to those times due to advanced dementia. As I listen, from a chair in her memory care apartment, I see my future vision more clearly. I desire to be a part of the development of new solutions that assure that we can all eat nutritiously and not further damage our planet. It may take going back to more organic practices, like those of my grandparents. I believe in my heart we can change the U.S. food system to one that supports equality among our citizens in tandem with the sustainability of our shared environment.

June Recipes



This recipe was printed in the Spring 2011 issue of Edible Twin Cities magazine and credited to the Bethlehem Lutheran Church youth group in Lanesboro, Minnesota. Lanesboro is the Rhubarb Capital of Minnesota by proclamation of the Minnesota State Legislature in 2008. Lanesboro is home of the annual Rhubarb Festival on the first Saturday of June.

5 c. diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
3 c. finely chopped onions
1 c. white vinegar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1 can (28 oz.) petite-diced tomatoes and juice
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. pickling spices, tied in cheesecloth or placed in a non-reactive tea ball

Mix all ingredients together in a large, non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer approximately 2 hours or until the mixture is thick, stirring as needed. Remove the pickling spice; discard. Cool the ketchup mixture to room temperature. Divide the mixture among covered containers and refrigerate. OR ladle into hot, sterilized jars; top with sterilized lids and bands. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes, following standard procedures Makes about 3 cups.


From the Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking cookbook

½ cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 recipe Lemon Curd (below)

In medium bowl, beat sugar, butter, vanilla and egg yolks until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and baking powder; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes for easier handling.

Heat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. With thumb, make imprint in center of each cookie. Bake at 350°F. for 11 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Cool completely. Sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar. Spoon about ¼ teaspoon Lemon Curd into indentation of each baked cookie. Store cookies in refrigerator.
Makes 3 ½ dozen cookies

Lemon Curd
1 egg, beaten
½ cup sugar
3 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter

In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over low heat until smooth and thickened, stirring constantly. Cool filling slightly.



Class 1038 White Two-Layer Cake Winner Candace Freeman from Melrose, MN

White Cake
Source: Food Network Magazine/September 2018

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for the pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups whole milk, at room temperature
4 large egg whites, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-by2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper. Flour the pans and tap out the excess.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter, 1 cup sugar and the vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until pale and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the speed to low; beat in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth and glossy, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold half the egg whites into the batter, then fold in the rest. Divide the batter between the pans.

Bake the cakes until lightly browned, beginning to pull from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 15 minutes in the pans. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out the cakes onto the rack; remove the parchment and let cool completely.

Lemon Curd (for filling between the cake layers)

2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 fluid ounces fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest

In a heavy saucepan, beat the yolks and sugar until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients, except the lemon zest. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and resembling a thin hollandaise sauce, which thickly coats a wooden spoon, but is still liquid enough to pour. The mixture will change from translucent to opaque and begin to take on a yellow color on the back of a wooden spoon. It must not be allowed to boil or it will curdle. Whenever steam appears, remove briefly from heat, stirring constantly, to keep from boiling. When the curd has thickened, remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and cool. Pour into an airtight container. The lemon curd will continue to thicken while resting and chilling in the refrigerator.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add the powdered sugar and turn mixer to lowest speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add salt, vanilla extract and heavy cream. Beat on high for 3 minutes.

February Member News



MY (ALMOST) DRY JANUARY, by Genie Zarling, continued

Week 2: January 10-16

This week I was more determined and better prepared.

My husband placed an order for 2 6-packs of Athletic NA beer. They have several styles including IPA’s, a golden ale, a lager, and a stout. I stopped at France 44 and picked up a bottle of Töst Sparking Rosé, a bottle of Seedlip Garden 108 alcohol-free spirit, and some Elderflower Tonic water.

I worked most of that week and it was difficult to tell if I felt better having abstained from Happy Hour and/or wine with dinner.

Sunday morning I woke up early to make a hearty oatmeal breakfast before my husband and I ventured out to go cross-country skiing at Baker Park. Maybe it was the oatmeal but I did feel more alert and energetic.

Week 3: January 17-23

After my brush with COVID during Week 1, I decided to take Weeks 3 and 4 off of work. Each morning I woke up feeling pretty refreshed and not fuzzy. (My eyes seemed brighter too.) I was sleeping well, for the most part, having interesting dreams, which I think is a sign of deep sleep. We hit the ski trails again and I felt really good except for that killer hill called “The Wall” about midway through the trail that we like to ski.

On Wednesday night, I enjoyed a Hazy NA IPA with a Mexican bowl AND skipped my usual glass of wine for Zoom Book Club. I sipped some of the Töst rosé while preparing Pesto Pasta on Friday night. The rosé is tasty but too sweet for my palate.

Sadly, I am not loving the Seedlip Garden 108. They have 3 blends and this was the only variety left on the shelf. (Perhaps I should’ve known better.) It is very cucumbery! Cucumbers are one of my favorite salad vegetables but the essence of cucumbers is not my first choice in a beverage. Maybe I would like a faux Martini, ice-cold Seedlip Garden 108 with a splash of lemon juice and a green olive, or maybe a spicy dill pickle.

Week 4: January 24-31

With the end in sight, the final week looks and feels easier. I’ve learned to pick menus that don’t scream out for a glass of wine. The occasional dish of Dulce de Leche ice cream is a small and delicious reward for sticking with the plan. Change is good but often challenging.

Dry January will end a day or two early when my husband and I celebrate the 40th anniversary of our first date. We met on a blind date at the Walker and plan to toast to the next 40 at the Ice Bar at Cardamom.

January Member News


DECEMBER MEETING RECAP: Holiday Party by Kim Ode

Great food, great drink, great hostess, great party; thanks to Joan Semmer for opening her lovely home. Thanks to all for contributing appetizers and desserts. Wow.

And how great to meet two new members: Jessica Becker, who joined almost two years ago but could only meet virtually, and Mary Scheu, who just joined this fall. They’re both smart, savvy women with a passion for food. Welcome!

Finally, we collected 131 pounds of food and feminine products, which we donated to the St. Louis Park Emergency Program (STEP). Look for a collection of the various recipes in your email box soon!

December Member News

NOVEMBER MEETING RECAP: Social Media Morning by Kim Ode


Our November meeting was a nod back to our Zoom existence of 2020, but also appropriate to the topic at hand. Lauren Voigt, who heads our social media efforts, and Robin Asbell, who posts on her own YouTube channel, hosted our first Social Media Morning, in an effort to boost our knowledge and savvy when it comes to reaching across Facebook, Instagram, and so much more. The well-paced hour was full of explanation, data, and tips for becoming better marketers of ourselves, and of Les Dames. A brief recap of the takeaways:


  • There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Being a strong presence in social media can take a lot of time. It can feel like a second job. There are few ways to cut corners, but there are ways to increase your efficiency.
  • Strive for a consistent presence, but still offer some substance with your posts.
  • When it makes sense, seek interactivity with your viewers. Ask a question. Inspire feedback.
  • Visuals are the key to attracting eyeballs to the words you want to highlight. Videos should be active, photos well-composed, and tightly focused.
  • Create several different lists of hashtags that you can file and quickly access for various posts, whether you’re touting something specific to LDEI, or a particular food, or technique, or class that you’re promoting, etc.
  • The gear necessary for creating your own camera-ready kitchen needn’t break the bank. Ask Robin about using pillowcases to veil a window!
  • Lauren and Robin are great resources for our questions. Watch how they use their accounts.
We’re developing a second Social Media Morning, likely in January, to keep expanding our digital skills. Stay tuned.
News & Upcoming Events

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