Sweet spring is finally here. Farmers markets are brimming with greens, radishes, ramps, mushrooms, and so much more. With all of this choice available, after a loonnng winter, it’s easy to get a little over enthusiastic and fill your fridge to the brim. By condensing veggie tops into pesto and pickling veggies, you can both extend their season as well as save room in the fridge. Here are some recipes that work well with, but are not limited to radishes.
What food do you bring with you while camping? Hot dogs and a s’mores kit? Dehydrated meals? With the ease of car camping at any of Michigan’s State parks, meals don’t have to be completely utilitarian. Using an ice-filled cooler, a two-burner propane stove, and some planning ahead, I was able to make a delicious steak dinner while glamping (or glamourous camping, if you will) this spring.
Have you ever had a shrub? Not the short, green bushes you might be thinking of, but the drinking vinegar? These historical beverages are a refreshingly tart alternative to pop and are very easy to make with whatever produce you have available according to the seasons.
If you are anything like me, your winter storage vegetable selection is dwindling down and you are wondering what to do with all that celeriac. Celeriac may be unusual looking and a pain to peel, but it is delicious to eat, and versatile for cooking.
When was the last time you truly appreciated the milk in your fridge? Do you know where it comes from and how the cows were treated? Sure, milk is good on cereal and with chocolate chip cookies, but what about all of the other great things it can be become?
This week, I stocked up on all sorts of delicious dairy from Michigan Dairy Farms, specifically Calder Dairy and Guernsey Dairy. Calder Dairy of Lincoln Park, MI has been around since 1946. To this day they still deliver straight to people’s home. Guernsey Dairy of Northville, MI is committed to providing the same great products that they have since 1940. Both of these local milk producers provide a wide array of products perfect for drinking or creating with.
I bought heavy whipping cream, buttermilk, natural milk (creamline or non-homogenized). From there, I marveled at the possibilities that can be done with these ingredients.
I didn’t get a chance to make it, but Butter is also super easy to make. Check out this fun video from my favorite Test Kitchen Manager at Bon Appetit magazine on how to make cultured butter.
Sure, mascarpone, ricotta, and butter can all easily be bought. But there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with making it yourself. Plus, when you make your own, you can often save money in doing so. Making 2 cups of Mascarpone cost me $3.50 — I’ve seen it between $3-8.50 per cup!
Here’s how I made Mascarpone cheese:
Mascarpone is a super rich soft cheese, often used in tiramisu and cheesecake recipes. It is made out of only two ingredients, heavy whipping cream and a citric acid, like lemon juice.
I slowly brought 2 cups of heavy cream to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and kept it there for about 3 minutes. Then, I added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I kept it at 180 for another 3 minutes. Turned off the heat and stepped away for 30 minutes.
I lined a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and carefully poured the cream mixture into the bowl and let it strain overnight.
Voila! Mascarpone cheese. I didn’t have the patience to make tiramisu before trying it, so I slathered it on toast with some homemade raspberry jam. (Is my millennial showing?)
What are you planning on making?
Emma Beauchamp is the Communications Manager for TLD. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and cooking for other people. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
This time of year, as fresh greens dwindle to paltry proportions, and our northern Michigan season extension expiration looms, I start looking to my fall self to see what fabulous items I put aside via freezing or fermenting for the impending arctic stretch.
Does making a pie crust seem daunting? Do you have a jumble of frozen fruit in your freezer that needs to be eaten? Do you have a hankering for something sweet, but not too sinful? Then, look no further than apple crisp!
Rutabaga (also called swede) is a Brassica family (think kale, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, etc.) root vegetable commonly known to Michiganders as a pasty ingredient. Beyond the pasty, this humble cabbage and turnip cross shines in many dishes and packs a nutritional punch.
Signing up for a CSA (stands for community supported agriculture) is the best weekly subscription you can get.
As sad as I am to see summer go, I am ready for the fall. I love the way the golden light hangs in the trees this time of year, how cozy the foggy mornings are, and the changing colors of the trees. My favorite things about the season, however, are the food (surprise, surprise!) and the many fall flavors. These connect me to happy memories of shared meals and conversation with family and friends.
The fall food that pulls strongest at my heartstrings is the humble and versatile apple. This fruit always conjures up my Grandma Wills and I cannot see a Northern Spy apple without feeling her presence or tasting her “famous” apple pie. The thought of her pie’s perfect flaky crust, warm and gooey apple filling, a dollop of ice cream or a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on top send me back to time spent in her kitchen; one of the reasons I pursued a career in food and agriculture. I’m forever grateful she taught me how to make her perfect pie before she passed so every time I bake and eat it she is there with me.
Apples also bring back memories to my first farm job in Minnesota. Before leaving for the fall, we gleaned apples from a neighboring farm littered with hundreds of decrepit Volvos (I swear it looked like they were farming cars rather than fruit!). The apples we picked became golden sauce after hours of peeling with Beth and her young boys. A slightly more “formal” apple picking experience in New Hampshire made me fall in love with the East Coast and my cohort of dietetic interns. The time in the orchard catalyzed personal and professional relationships that are still strong almost a decade later. These memories are strong examples of why I love food. Not only does it nourishes us physically, but also spiritually; it draws us together and connects us strongly to people and place.
As the weather turns cooler this fall season, I hope you can slow down, open up a cookbook, and share some food and memories with your loved ones. If you want to try your hand at a simple dish, try this delicious apple cake. The recipe comes courtesy of my grandmother, Frances Wills, and is shared with you in love. Note that this cake is best shared as the flavor improves in the presence of good company.
Want to learn more about Michigan apples? Check out this guide from Michiganapples.com
Kelly Wilson, RDN is the SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference and owner of Simple Gifts Farm in Oxford, MI. Contact her at email@example.com