Bún chả is a traditional Vietnamese dish of grilled fatty pork served over rice noodles, usually served with herbs, vegetables, and a dipping sauce. These now internationally popular bowls are easy to throw together on a busy weeknight and can accommodate most produce that is still available (we have cucumbers, garlic, green onions, onions, carrots, and spinach available in northeastern Michigan right now, with the help of a hoophouse). This dish has a lot of room for your own personal local interpretation and I just love the mixture of hot, caramelized meats and garlicky sauteed spinach; the cold, sweet and salty pickled vegetables; the fresh, fragrant herbs straight from the garden; the spicy, pungent kim chi; the smooth Vermicelli noodles drizzled in toasted sesame oil. This dish is pure love.
I moved up from Chicago to Traverse City in the spring of 2017, bringing with me the desire to connect to the local landscape and growing community as much as possible. I found a good fit when first interviewing with Simon Joseph, Chef/Owner of Just In Time Hospitality, listening to his description of the noodles they use at Gaijin. The foundation of any ramen shop is its noodles, and beyond the homework done on the technique, what stood out to me was the commitment to using 100% non-GMO, local wheats from Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties.
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.
Stepping into The Flying Moose, in downtown Marquette, feels like what stepping into a store probably felt like 100 years ago, except now there is kombucha on tap. The shelves are filled with spices, wines, syrups, and skateboards.
Did you know that parsnip is derived from the Latin word “pastus” which means food? Today, the poor parsnips are often overlooked as they literally pale in comparison to their (often) orange cousins, carrots. These unsung heroes are great roasted, mashed, or used to flavor stocks.Traditionally, parsnips had several common uses, from sweetening baked goods before sugar was readily available to being a toothache remedy.
I first encountered this soup in Ireland, where the recipe varies from home to home based upon their likes and what they may have on hand.
Though wonderful as written, don’t be afraid to substitute or add. Roasted root vegetables, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, even leftover green bean casserole. I wouldn’t hesitate to include any of them because once pureed, this is one of those dishes where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.