Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Granola Goddess

The Granola Goddess storefrontI instantly liked Molly when I noticed that the neatly wrapped scarf folded under her bright smile matched her blue logo. It’s a visual attention to detail not often seen among farmers market stalls on a Saturday morning. Molly owns Daily De-lish and its new storefront: The Granola Goddess. She makes seven specialty granola flavors, granola bars, and cookies. The cookies are made with organic, whole wheat flour – another detail not often found. Her products are both healthy and delicious.

The new store – located in Suite F at 4950 Plainfield – in Plainfield Township, OPENS on Thursday, May 22nd. The Open House is from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm. The store features Molly’s products as well as granola ingredients (many organic, and including gluten-free oatmeal), custom gift baskets, Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters coffee beans, and other unique gifts. Michele Barnes from Mrs. B will be on site on Tuesdays making her focaccia breads, sandwiches, and soups. These will mostly be sold frozen at the store with some fresh availability.

Molly strives to use Michigan ingredients while balancing price and a desire to include organically grown items – just like the rest of us. The MI ingredients most often used in Daily De-lish products are eggs, sugar, honey, and dried cherries.

Molly has a background in restaurants having worked in the Test Kitchen as the recipe manager for a large LA-based restaurant group for several years (also doing PR work for them, book keeping, serving, training, etc.). She told me that she has always loved baking – since she was a little girl with her Easy-Bake oven! She has been baking and creating recipes all her life. When she became a die-hard granola eater, she realized that most of the store-bought variety seemed too dry and not filled with the nutritional goodies she likes – namely nuts. So she started making her own. She started the business in January 2010.

Molly is always up to something creative and delicious. Right now she’s working on spiced nuts recipes, two new granola flavors, and trail mixes named for her sons: Jett Fuel and Dax Trax.

Store Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Other places to find the Daily De-lish products:
Online: Door to Door Organics, the Daily De-lish and Granola Goddess websites, Etsy.com
Restaurants: Terra GR (on brunch menu), The Terrace Inn, Petoskey, MI (on breakfast menu), Saburba in Ada (bags of granola & bars available for sale), The Pump House – Grand Rapids Knapp’s Corner (on frozen yogurt bar as topping + bags available for sale), Malamiah Juice Bar (Grand Rapids Downtown Market), and Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters.
Stores: Art of the Table (Grand Rapids), Nourish Organic Market (Grand Rapids), Grassfield’s farm store, Beer & Skittles (Kalamazoo), Sawall Heath Foods (Kalamazoo), Natural Food Center (Kalamazoo), Michigan Pantry (Holland), Horrock’s (Grand Rapids), and Spectrum Children’s Hospital (Grand Rapids).
Other: West MI Co-op, Ada Farmers Market, and Grand Rapids Fulton St. Farmers Market

LEARN TO EAT LOCAL @ MI Local Foodbeet

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Michigan Local Granola

Daily De-Lish at Fulton St. Farmers Market

Propaganda Doughnuts

propaganda doughnuts exteriorDanger. Intrigue. Doughnuts. Propaganda doughnuts – great tagline. Well, I’d also call them Delicious. Authentic. Doughnuts. Grand Rapids’ first and only from-scratch, locally and organically sourced, french-pastry based doughnuts. Real doughnuts – no mixes here.

Turns out that I’d never tasted real doughnuts before. The ones I’ve had tasted like air and sugar. If you have a discerning palette, you deserve more than that. The texture is cake-like with a divine glaze on top.

They use certified organic, Non-GMO flour from Wisconsin, certified organic sugar, eggs from Creswick Farms, dairy/butter from Mooville, bacon/lard from S+S Farms (sometimes Creswick).

Is that enough for chef-owner Tory O’Haire? No way. Most of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs are from FarmLink as the season allows, and they use Michigan pure honey and pure maple syrup. Occasionally, Michigan liquors, wines, and beers are featured in the doughnuts.

“What’s with the name?” I asked O’Haire. “Partially it’s poking fun at ‘food propaganda’ — people so quickly jump on trends, follow hype, make up imaginary health-concerns, and ignore actual concerns. Doughnuts have always been one of the mythical ‘worst things you could eat’ – every infomercial about a new diet fad somewhere has a picture of a big pile of doughnuts with a red “X” over them,” said O’Haire. “I’m a firm believer, however, that if you eat good, quality, consciously made food, comprised of real, whole ingredients, NOTHING should be ‘off-limits’. A from-scratch doughnut with reduced sugar and fat (due to proper French technique), made from good, clean, local stuff is actually BETTER for you than the candy bar that people feel far less guilty in eating.”

I totally agree with him.

There are a few standard doughnuts always available: plain, cinnamon-sugar, vanilla glaze, and powdered sugar along with other rotating flavors and an occasional vegan offering. And, they try to always have a gluten-free option. I had the lavender-brown butter (it’s sometimes served with bacon on top) and the pina colada doughnuts.

The doughnuts are made fresh twice daily for the 8:00 a.m. opening and the 8:00 p.m. opening. The shop is located at 117 S Division in Grand Rapids.

Hours:
Mon: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Thu – Fri: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, 8:00 pm – 12:00 am
Sat – Sun: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm, 8:00 pm – 12:00 am

propaganda doughnuts selection

propaganda doughnuts kitchen

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The Promise of the Future

Chateau Chantal WineryIt’s Throwback Thursday! Since I moved my blog over to WordPress, I’m occasionally reworking old posts for Throwback Thursday. In May of 2011 I went to Old Mission Peninsula for Blossom Day to see the cherry blossoms. This year the event is held on Sat. May 17th at 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. The price of the ticket includes a souvenir glass and special Blossom Day tastes at all eight wineries.

It’s a fun time, because you get to meet the winemakers themselves and taste their future offerings right from the barrel or tank. It’s a celebration of the season of renewal.

2014 Barrel and Reserve Special Samples (Wineries listed South to North)

Black Star Farms Old Mission
Blushed
2013 Pinot Noir Rose

Hawthorne Vineyards
2013 Pinot Blanc
2013 Gamay Noir

Peninsula Cellars
Barrel sample of
2013 Cabernet Franc

Chateau Grand Traverse
2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
2012 Gamay Reserve

Brys Estate
2013 Cabernet Franc/Merlot
from French Oak Barrel

Bowers Harbor Vineyards
2013 Pinot Grigio
2013 Unwooded Chardonnay
2013 Riesling, Medium Dry

Chateau Chantal
2012 Cabernet Franc
2012 Merlot

2 Lads Winery
2013 Chardonnay
2013 Pinot Noir

In 2011, I started at Chateau Chantal for the Blessing of the Blossoms; it’s interdenominational and featured a lot of music. Cherry pie from Sara Lee was served complementary. This year it’s also at Chateau Chantal with Pastor Melody Olin from Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church presiding.

Blossom Days is a good time to experience the promise of the future: see the cherry trees with their requisite bee hives and taste the next great batches of wine. The barrels will be bottled in the next year or so. If you want to learn more about how a wine develops, Blossom Days is the time – they are still too young to bottle. It’s likely on Saturday that you’ll see well-developed buds rather than blossoms, but it will still be worth the trip.

Below are photographs from my 2011 visit.

Visit my Facebook page for more information about this year’s event.

Michigan Cherry Blossoms

Old Mission Peninsula

Michigan Cherry Blossoms

The First Spring Tomatoes

Michigan local tomatoesBen Bylsma has been working toward his place in the Michigan farm landscape since middle school when he started working in greenhouses in Holland. Meanwhile in Caledonia, a former dairy farm turned into a flower operation. Three and a half years ago, Ben, his wife Kristen and his aunt and uncle started Real Food Farms and purchased the flower farm.

After graduating from Calvin College, time in the Peace Corps, and working for Mixed Greens and Trillium Haven, Ben was ready to own his own farm. They still sell flowers in the spring. His interest in food grew in college, specifically how to shrink the amount of miles from farm to kitchen. And, he wanted a farm and homestead that was no more than 20 minutes from the center of Grand Rapids.

He’s also interested in the extension of the growing season, so the greenhouses on the property were an important component. Real Food Farms has the first tomatoes and cucumbers; the tomatoes are hydroponic. They’re available starting in early May through autumn. He uses conventional fertilizers and aims to be a no-spray farm. The latter is dependent on how it goes with what he calls his nemesis: powdery mildew.

They grow bell peppers in the summer and fall. Their winter crops are grown in the greenhouses and include kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard. His greens season ends about the time that the outdoor growers begin theirs.

Real Food Farms are selling their tomatoes and other crops this season at Fulton St. Farmers Market, Grand Rapids Downtown Market, Rockford Farmers Market, and through Farmlink.

Michigan Local Tomatoes from Real Food Farms

Real Food Farms Caledonia, MI

LEARN TO EAT LOCAL

 

Green Soup Recipe

I’m crazy about greens. Something green and leafy is available in Michigan year-round, and they are so healthy. I’ve been playing around with a recipe that originated from The Splendid Table. I’ve made it with kale, spinach, chard, and even nettles and asparagus. You can use any combination of these greens as long as you get the amounts below. Asparagus has a stronger flavor, so when I use it, I add a bit more lemon juice.

Green Soup
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for garnish)
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3-1/8 cup vegetable broth
¼ cup Arborio rice
1 pound Swiss chard, tough stems trimmed
12 ounces spinach, tough stems trimmed
Big pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste

Instructions
1. Weigh and wash the greens. Coarsely chop them.
2. Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are dark and caramelized. It takes about 20 minutes.
3. Combine the 3 cups of broth and ¾ teaspoon of salt in a large pot; add the rice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
4. When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, stir in the Swiss chard. Return to simmer; cover and cook for 10 minutes.
5. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them. When the Swiss chard has been cooked for 10 minutes, add the caramelized onions, spinach, and cayenne to the large pot.
6. Return to simmer, cover and cook, stirring once, until the spinach is tender but still bright green – about 5 minutes more.
7. Puree the soup in a blender in batches until perfectly smooth. Stir in 1 Tablespoons of lemon juice. Taste and add more if desired.
8. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil.

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green soup

Shaved Raw Asparagus with Parmesan Dressing

Michigan local asparagusAs I continue eating my way through asparagus season, I wanted to share a raw asparagus recipe with my readers. I eat raw food quite often, since it tends to sit well with me. (Raw food has not been heated above 115 degrees.) Visit my Seasonally Raw page for more information about raw food.

 

Ingredients
1 pound large asparagus
1/2 cup raw ‘parmesan’ style mix (see recipe below)
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons water
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into long, thin strips and transfer to a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix the parmesan mix with the lemon juice, water and olive oil. Add to the asparagus and toss to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Raw Parm Sprinkle
Mix together:
¼ cup sesame seeds – ground in a coffee grinder to a small texture
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1/8 cup onion powder
1/16 cup garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt

The salad recipe originated in Food & Wine magazine (using Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese), and I tweaked a recipe from Bartertown Diner for the raw parmesan mix.

Learn to eat Michigan Local Food –  more info on my website

Asparagus Portobello Oscar Recipe

Asparagus is one of the earliest Michigan crops. The season lasts about eight weeks in Michigan. I have found that I prefer asparagus fresh rather than preserved. Therefore, I eat it during those eight weeks until I can no longer eat another stalk.

Did you know that Michigan, home to 125 asparagus farms, ranks third in the nation for asparagus production? Our farmers produce up to 25 million pounds of asparagus seasonally on approximately 11,000 acres of farmland. This is worth an estimated 15 million dollars annually. Asparagus is low in calories and has 3 grams of fiber per 5.3 ounce serving.

The freshest asparagus will be found at a local farmers market. Look for spears with tight, smooth tips. The whole stalk should be smooth and taut. Don’t purchase wilted asparagus. It will not keep well, and it will not be tender when cooked. Always wash it a sink of cold water, swishing it around being especially careful to remove sand and grit from the ends. It is best stored in the refrigerator in a tall container with the cut ends sitting in water. It stays fresh for over a week this way.

Asparagus Portobello Oscar, featured below, is one of my all-time favorite recipes. The first step is to make a Béarnaise sauce. It is the finishing touch to a layer of tarragon mashed potatoes, portobello mushroom caps, and asparagus spears.

Béarnaise Sauce (1 cup)

2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
3/4 cup hot butter (just off boil)

Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, and tarragon in a blender. Process until combined. Then, on low speed add ¼ cup of melted butter. On high speed add ½ cup of melted butter.

(I found a vegan Béarnaise sauce here, but haven’t tried it yet.)

Asparagus Portobello Oscar
1. Make the béarnaise sauce.
2. Make mashed potatoes ( 2-3 medium potatoes for two servings) and add ½ teaspoon tarragon, or to taste
3. Sauté asparagus spears (6-8 for two servings) in olive oil until tender.
4. Sauté portobello cap slices (8 slices for two servings) until browned and cooked through.

Assemble as follows.
5. Place mashed potatoes on plates with mushrooms on top.
6. Layer the asparagus spears onto the mushrooms.
7. Top with béarnaise sauce.

Enjoy!

asparagus portabella oscar

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Michigan’s Newest Brewery

Elk Brewery beer flightAs I was impatiently waiting for the crazy spring to produce some Michigan asparagus, I stumbled upon the soft opening of Elk Brewery – something to write about! Spoiler alert – the staff and beer are great.

Co-owner (with Taylor Carroll), Eric Karns graciously took the time to chat with me about the new Elk Brewery. (ELK comes from Eric and his wife, Lisa’s names.) Eric is also the head brewer and managed the construction of the new space with his father. The location at 700 Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids, was a former fish fry and vacant for several years. They added ten feet out front; the only things left of the original building are the two side walls and the back wall – all concrete block. They also raised the ceiling.

They have a three-barrel brewing system. There are four three-barrel and one seven-barrel serving tanks. Karns told me that they have plenty of beer prepared. I’ve seen a lot of breweries misgauge the popularity upon opening and run out of beer. It’s not likely to happen here – at least not this weekend.

They don’t plan to do bottling or canning in their space and are not working on distribution either. So, get over there to experience their beers onsite. The beer styles are his interpretation of classic styles. The black IPA was really a black double IPA.

The only food served are peanuts and pretzels. Johnny B’z, down the street, will deliver hotdogs (even veggie) and burgers, or you can bring your own food into the brewery.

Their beer will be at the inaugural Beer City Spring Fest this Saturday in Hudsonville.

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Elk Brewery

 

Elk Brewery beer list