Living in Northern Michigan is a luxury and something I took for granted when I moved to Florida and then to Grand Rapids. I missed the peace and quiet, being treated as “Sarah” and not a $ sign, and the community feeling. Mostly, I missed the fresh produce, especially in the summer.
At Cafe Santé, we pride ourselves in using fresh produce, and if we can get it local, we do! The hustle and bustle of farmers going in and out the back door during the summer is crazy! On Saturdays, Chef is usually swinging by the farmers market to see what local foods else he can get.
From mid May to about mid September, our special three-course meal focuses on local produce. Europe has truffles; we have morels. We start with Morelfest, which coincides with Morel Festival in Boyne City. One of my favorite all-time desserts we serve is the morel ricotta plate. It is more savory than sweet.
We then move on to asparagus. Asparagus is very fun to work with and goes with just about anything. The most unique dessert we create is lemon asparagus panna cotta with candied asparagus. Don’t get scared away, it is very delicious!
Strawberry pizza. That’s all you need to know for strawberry season. We have guests that wait all year for the strawberry pizza. Strawberries, bacon, balsamic… do I even need to continue!?
Blueberries are another versatile product that can go with anything. But here at Santé we try to push you out of your comfort zone and test your limits. We love making bleu cheese blueberry whipped potatoes.
Lastly, we have tomatoes. And with tomatoes comes Blonde Bloody Marys! We get in yellow heirloom tomatoes and make a blonde bloody mary mix that will wake up your taste buds!
These are just some of the many examples of using fresh local products at Cafe Santé. Next time you stop into the restaurant, look up to your left as you walk in, and check out just some of the local purveyors we buy from. You will be amazed.
Blonde Bloody Mary
2 lbs yellow tomatoes
Blanche tomatoes and shock in ice water. Peel and halve. Place tomatoes and strained juices in a large pitcher or blender.
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup sour mix
2 1/2 tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
Pinch of white pepper and salt
1 tsp celery salt
few dashes of Tabasco
Add ingredients to tomatoes and puree using immersion blender. Place strainer over an ice-filled serving pitcher to remove seeds. Enjoy!
Sarah Niederpruem is a Manager at Cafe Santé in Boyne City, MI. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.