Events

Behind The Scenes At Unglued: Summer Camp With Molly Yeh

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Between the four workshop sessions at Unglued: Summer Camp, campers enjoyed sweet treats, savory snacks and home-cooked meals prepared by none other than Molly Yeh and her friends from up North.

By Becca Opp and Molly Yeh

Photos by Hillary Ehlen and Kelsey Sargent

If you didn’t make it to Unglued: Summer Camp this year, have no fear because we’ve got your back with exclusive, behind-the-scenes coverage of this improbable event. We say “improbable” because how many times do we adults get to pack our bags and leave our worries behind for a weekend of crafting, all while enjoying sweet treats, savory snacks and full meals cooked by award-winning food blogger, cookbook author and Food Network darling, Molly Yeh? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Camp.

First of All, What is Unglued: Summer Camp?

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Unglued: Summer Camp is an annual retreat hosted at YMCA Camp Cormorant in Lake Park, MN, by Ashley Morken, founder of Unglued in Downtown Fargo. She and her tight-knit crew of family and friends wanted to create a memorable event where adults could relive their childhood summer camp experiences, only this time, with artisanal coffee, beer, wine and mimosas.

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Photo by Kelsey Sargent. 2018 Unglued: Summer Campers

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Photo by Kelsey Sargent. Unglued: Summer Camp Crew

The first ever Unglued: Summer Camp took place in 2014, and it has been going strong ever since. People came from as far away as California and Louisiana to attend Camp this year, which was made even more unforgettable thanks to sponsors like Drekker Brewing Company,
Proof Artisan Distillers, Twenty Below Coffee Co., Wondermade and Yeobo Sweet Shop.

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

This magical Labor Day weekend was made up of choose-your-own-adventure-style workshops with local makers. Between the four workshop sessions, campers enjoyed sweet treats, savory snacks and home-cooked meals prepared by none other than Molly Yeh and her friends from up North.

Who is this Molly Yeh?

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

A native Midwesterner, Yeh (pronounced yay!) was raised in Glenview, a suburb of Chicago, by her Chinese father and Jewish mother. After graduating from high school, Yeh flew the coop to earn a degree in percussion at Juilliard. This is also where she met her farmer husband, Nick Hagen, whom she lovingly refers to as “eggboy” on her blog. The couple uprooted from Brooklyn, NY, in 2013 to call Hagen’s family farm on the outskirts of East Grand Forks home.

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

“my name is yeh”

Yeh soon began documenting farm life on her blog, “my name is yeh,” where she shares recipes inspired by her Asian and Jewish roots, influenced by her new surroundings in the Upper Midwest. “my name is yeh” has since been recognized by The New York Times, New York Magazine, Food & Wine, Saveur (Blog of the Year) and Yahoo (Food Blog of the Year). Yeh has also authored two much-beloved cookbooks, “Molly on the Range” and “Yogurt.”

“Girl Meets Farm”

“Girl Meets Farm” aired in June 2018 with seven episodes to its name. Throughout the series, Yeh gives Food Network viewers a taste of the everyday goings-on in her kitchen and on the farm up in East Grand Forks. If you haven’t tuned in yet, there is one thing that you can always expect: Yeh’s spunky personality is sprinkled over every episode. You can also look forward to actual sprinkles. On a less sweet and more technical note, the pilot was shot in Yeh’s own kitchen over the course of one week in December 2017. Then the production team came back to East Grand Forks in April 2018 to shoot the next six episodes over a two-and-a-half-week time span.

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Q&A With Molly Yeh

Girl Meets Unglued: Summer Camp

Yeh has been a camper at Unglued: Summer Camp for four years now and this was her third year cooking for her fellow campers. Between prepping for breakfast and lunch on Saturday, she even offered a 90s-Inspired Cookie Cake Decorating workshop. We here at Design & Living Magazine were granted an exclusive interview with Molly, who provided the following responses, including special insight into how she cleverly elevates classic camp foods.

Q. How did you first find out about Unglued in Downtown Fargo and how did you get involved in Unglued: Summer Camp?

A. I stumbled into the shop [Unglued] when I visited Fargo for the first time, right after I moved here in 2013, and I immediately fell in love with it! It opened my eyes to so many awesome things about the Upper Midwest that I didn’t know about before moving here and it made me even more excited to live in the area. I found out about Summer Camp when Ashley [Morken] mentioned it to me and I jumped at the opportunity to go because since I was little, I have LIVED for summer camp. I went to camp in Wisconsin every year growing up and “The Parent Trap” continues to be one of my favorite movies.

Q. What were your camp experiences like as a kid, and how did they prepare you for Unglued: Summer Camp?

A. I went to Camp Chi, a Jewish summer camp outside of the Wisconsin Dells for a month every summer, and it was the best place ever. I climbed the rock walls every day and took outdoor cooking lessons, and even though my parents weren’t allowed to send any candy in my care packages, they eventually learned that they could smuggle it in by hiding it in tampon boxes. Unglued Camp is just as special and kickass as Camp Chi, maybe a little better since there’s so much candy there already that you never have to smuggle it in.

Q. This is your third time cooking for Unglued: Summer Camp, and fourth year as a camper. What all went down last year?

A. Hotdish and cookie salad, my two favorite Upper Midwest delicacies! I think there was also mac and cheese. And so much cake. If anyone didn’t gain five pounds last year, they’re fired.

Q. What was your strategy going into Unglued: Summer Camp this year?

A. My strategy was to put as many things on walls as possible. We had a pretzel wall and a donut wall. It was the most Instagrammable year yet.

Q. How did you bring your signature style to the wildly photogenic food served at Unglued: Summer Camp?

A. For camp menus, I aim for finding tons of nostalgia and sprinkling in just a little bit of fanciness. It’s just as if the summer camp cafeteria food of my youth grew up and found kale, tahini and lemon, the kind of ingredients that I use every day in my own kitchen. And also, when in doubt, sprinkles and tater tots can never go wrong.

Q. How much prep work was involved in this year’s Unglued: Summer Camp on your end?

A. Lots of lists! Prep lists, grocery lists, recipe lists, dietary restriction lists. As long I have my lists and awesome camp helpers, things go smoothly. I love working up new recipes each year for camp, so I usually start testing new ideas at the beginning of the summer, and by Labor Day, they’re ready to debut. This year I had Heather Schneider, a chef in Grand Forks, as my right hand lady, so it was awesome being able to work with her.

Q. Would you ever do anything like this again, or are you ready for a year off?

A. I’ve already got next year’s menu drafted.

Q. Personally, what is your favorite thing about Unglued: Summer Camp?

A. I love how it embodies all that is awesome about the Upper Midwest. It truly is the coolest display of this area that I have ever experienced. The people are welcoming, down to earth, hilarious and passionate about so many different hobbies, and the crafts burst with personality and kick major butt, and at the center of it all is the magical unicorn of glee, camp director extraordinaire, Ashley Morken. She is a force of nature!

Q. Since you have quite the following, you probably have a lot of opportunities at your fingertips. How do you pick and choose which events you want to be a part of, and what is it that makes you want to keep engaging with the local community?

A. I’m drawn to things that are fun and creative and meaningful in some way, whether it means introducing people to new foods and ingredients or cooking for other people in a fun environment. It’s gotta be a place where I can use a lot of sprinkles.

Q. What surprises have you encountered since “Girl Meets Farm” started airing?

A. That walking to my refrigerator while talking to a camera is…hard.

Unglued Summer Camp Menu

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Molly’s workshop

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Molly’s friends from up North prepping for lunch

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Photo by Kelsey Sargent. Breakfast on Saturday

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

90s-inspired cookie cakes

Campers started Saturday morning off right with breakfast egg bake and cinnamon rolls with tahini frosting made by Molly Yeh and her friends, who all volunteered to help out in the kitchen. Beverages included mimosas, sparkling watermelon juice and coffee from 20 Below Coffee Co. For lunch, the hungry campers had a choice of sausage lemon pizza or veggie lemon pizza served with two types of salad and fruit. For desert, each table had a cake from Yeh’s 90s Inspired Cookie Cake Decorating workshop. After supper on Saturday, Yeh made a pretzel wall for those in need of a late-night snack.

For Sunday brunch, Yeh made homemade donuts with sprinkles presented on an extremely Instagrammable pegboard display. She also cooked breakfast sandwiches and a tater tot casserole, both of which were the ideal comfort foods for campers, some who had just woken up after a night on the dance floor and many of whom had already been up for hours, not wanting to stay in bed due to the excitement of camp.

Recipe: Sausage Lemon Pizza

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Makes one half sheet pan pizza

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 c (356g) warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tb sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tb olive oil
  • 2 c (256g) bread flour
  • 1 3/4 c (224g) whole wheat flour

For the pizza:

  • 5 tb olive oil
  • 1 c tomato sauce
  • 1/4 yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 pound pork sausage, browned
  • 1 c whole milk ricotta cheese
  • kosher salt
  • 6 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 2 oz shredded parmesan, plus more for serving
  • black pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme

CLUES

For the dough:

In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the water, yeast and sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. With the mixer running on low speed, add the salt and oil, then gradually add the flour. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, 7 to 10 minutes, adding just enough additional flour so that the dough no longer sticks to the bowl (alternatively, mix by hand and knead on a lightly floured surface). Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it once or twice to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, 1-2 hours.

For the pizza:

Preheat the oven to 450ºf (if the dough was refrigerated, let sit at room temp for about an hour before shaping). Brush a half sheet pan with 1/4 cup olive oil and pat out the pita dough to the edge. This might seem like a lot of olive oil, but it’ll make it good. Brush the top of the dough with another tablespoon of olive oil. Top with a layer of tomato sauce, the onions, garlic, kale, sausage and dallops of ricotta. Sprinkle the ricotta with a pinch of kosher salt, then top with mozzarella, parmesan, black pepper, crushed red pepper, lemon zest and thyme leaves. The toppings should go almost all the way to the edge. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese and crust are browned. Let cool slightly, cut and serve.

Top with crushed red pepper and additional parmesan, if desired.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Veggie Lemon Pizza

Unglued Summer Camp with Molly Yeh

Makes one half sheet pan pizza

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 c (356g) warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tb sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tb olive oil
  • 2 c (256g) bread flour
  • 1 3/4 c (224g) whole wheat flour

For the pizza:

  • 5 tb olive oil
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1 lemon, cut as thin as possible with a sharp knife or mandolin, seeds removed
  • 1/2 purple onion, cut as thin as possible with a sharp knife or mandolin
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz zucchini, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese, shredded, plus more for serving
  • crushed red pepper
  • flaky salt

CLUES

For the dough:

In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the water, yeast and sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. With the mixer running on low speed, add the salt and oil, then gradually add the flour. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, 7 to 10 minutes, adding just enough additional flour so that the dough no longer sticks to the bowl (alternatively, mix by hand and knead on a lightly floured surface). Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it once or twice to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, 1-2 hours.

For the pizza:

Preheat the oven to 450ºf. Brush a sheet pan with 1/4 cup olive oil and pat out the pita dough to the edge. This might seem like a lot of olive oil, but it’ll make it good. Set this aside to rise (uncovered) for another 20 minutes or so. Now is a good time to chop your toppings.

Brush the dough with another little drizzle of olive oil and top it with fresh mozzarella, lemon, onion, garlic, and zucchini. Add another drizzle of olive oil on top. Sprinkle the toppings with a couple pinches of kosher salt, a ton of black pepper and shredded parmesan. Sprinkle the edges of the crust with flaky salt and don’t be shy with it.

Bake for 25 minutes or so, or until the cheese is browned and splotchy and the crust is golden.

Top with crushed red pepper and additional parmesan, if desired.

Enjoy!

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