Oh, it's the new year again! Gosh, I've seen a lot of these, but I never get tired of celebrating the chance to say goodbye to the old and to wholeheartedly welcome the new! The New Year to me is starting again on a new slate. And who doesn't like that? Who doesn't want to forget about the mistakes, the roads not taken, the regrets, the goals not met. It isn't that I want to berate myself, I don't. I just simply look forward to a clean plate. I mean slate. Well, really I mean a full plate!Read More
White Truffle Cheese pizza. Of course you need truffles, and not the chocolate ones! Easy and delicious to make. Recipe right here!!Read More
Part 2 of my Croatia adventure with First We Eat Events and Eva Kosmas and Carrie Nershi. Great food+great styling+unique settings = great pictures!! Come take a look!Read More
My food photography workshop in Croatia was exciting and I loved every minute of it! I would say that this workshop was a recipe for a great adventure!!Read More
I've never paid too much attention to garlic. Sure, I love it in my spaghetti and on pizzas and I have heard that one can chase the vampires away, but I learned so much more about garlic by helping on the farm; harvesting, the varieties grown and in Part 2, you can read about my garlic tasting party. All of these experiences have directed my attention to this delightful, tangy and sometimes spicey bulb that adds flavor and body to our plates.
Jenny and John, every year at their Meadowlark farm, offer their CSA members a chance to commune with the farm and help with the garlic harvest. Carl, a loyal CSA member for over 20 years, has been a regular for the harvest for 17 years, but who's counting? I had the wonderful opportunity to get to know Carl, a fellow foodie just a little bit better by sharing a ride with him out to the farm. So, it was on a beautiful July day that we made the trek out to the farm. Garlic harvesting is a little like playing in the dirt combined with pulling weeds, combined with community- long hours in the fields talking about the weather, children, food- anything that crosses our minds. It's quite zen like. And it's fun (when it's not hard work- well, even when it is hard work, i suppose). Our reward is that the Meadowlarks always offer up a cool and refreshing lunch break for all of the helpers.
We assemble at the field and every available body helps during the harvest. Even John and Jenny's dog; Bowser-whose name has been changed to protect the innocent- actually, I've forgotten it. John pulls the tractor shovel blade under the garlic to loosen the soil, while the "garlic pullers" pull the garlic from the ground and shake the dirt free from the bulb.
After all of the garlic is pulled free from the ground and piled into neat little piles, then we head back into the garden to clean the bulbs, cut off the stalk, and neatly pile them into labeled crates.
Meadowlark planted four varieties of garlic this year totaling over 27,000 bulbs in almost an acre of land. Their garlic, cultivated for over 20 years is their specialty. And, I can say that after pulling garlic out of the ground for 3 hours, that the Meadowlark garlic is the largest most beautiful garlic I have ever seen. It really is!
(And if you want to read about my garlic tasting adventure- I'll write about that in Part 2 Chasing the Vampire; Garlic Tasting in Lake Ann in Northern Michigan.)
In this acre field, four varieties of garlic were planted. There was German White, Siberian, Georgian Fire and of course the house favorite Meadowlark.
The lunch picnic capped off a warm morning of work. It's always something that I look forward to; fresh Meadowlark veggies, shade, conversation. Lemonade, can't forget the lemonade.
I took 3 bulbs of each variety home. I wanted to compare them, cook them, taste them and see what I thought of the different varieties. I'll post my garlic tasting in the next post. Stay tuned...
French peasant beets for and american patriot on the beginning of the 4th of July holiday! Yummy.Read More
I'm studying how to shoot pies; slices, whole pies, the richness of the crumb crust, the creaminess of the whip topping, the juicy fruit- heck, simple things too, like the overall angle on the slice. I want to show the top of the pie but also, the inside. The center is the "meat" ok- i should probably say "fruit" of the pie and it just has to look appealing and irresistible. What should I put the pie on? Plates can be very reflective and I'd rather not see be distracted by that. Maybe a doily would cut the reflections down. Burlap was suggested as a possible surface, and i just love how it disappears at the top of the frame on a well lit white table. So, then i thought about napkins. Could a napkin be a surface? And I love the lightness, but what could work about a rich dark wood surface?
I love pies. They are so all american! To me they say "HOME" and warm and comfort. I love that they are made with real fruit- grown here, in our warm sunshine and cool lake breezes.
They feel like richness to me and nourishment and comfort and mom all rolled into one!
I hadn't really considered all of the variations possible- and now that i've taken it on, well, i do see that there are lots of possibilities for pie.
Do you have any suggestions for me? I'd love to hear what you think?
Every winter in Northern Michigan, when the snow is falling, the chill is in the air and it seems all too easy to hole up in your warm home, along comes a fabulous dining event called : Restaurant Week in Traverse City. During Restaurant Week, diners have the opportunity to try out new dining establishments for a set price of $25.00 for a three course dinner. Want to go to the Boathouse Restaurant, but find it a bit pricey? Go during restaurant week. That's what I did... here's a few pictures from this fabulous establishement on the Mission Penninsula.
Fine table linens and antique sparkling silver serving ware are part of the charm of being in Sylvia's home. Her attention to detail invites even the grumpiest of friends to laugh and enjoy the warmth inside, while the outside is chilly and white with snow. On this particular Sunday, we drank Vodka martini's and dined on fresh crab cakes and pineapple upside down cake, and shared a few poems, a few jokes. All of this, takes the chill out of the air. Our hearts and minds are ready for spring- so, goodness Mother Nature, will you cooperate?
Do you think that wine pairs nicely with cheese and pizza pairs nicely with beer and sweets just top it all off? Have you ever thought of pairing food with bourbon? The Grand Traverse Resort recently held a Bourbon Dinner that paired a four course dinner with bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery. As the sun set over the bay, Aerie restaurant was alive with the potential of an exciting, specially prepared dinner by the Grand Traverse Resort.
Executive Chef Bill Matthews created a first class gastronomic experience. The first course paired Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon with a vanilla bean gastrique over baked focaccia bread crostini with maytag blue cheese and warm spiced pecans. Yum! But, that my dear friends, was just the beginning. Next up was a lovely peppery arugula tossed with honey crisp apples, toasted almonds, camembert cheese with smoked shallot orange zest Eagle Rare vinaigrette salad of sorts paired with an Eagle Rare 10 year Single Barrel Bourbon. I mean, who comes up with these dishes? Chef Bill of course!
The next course was an intermezzo, a break from the richness of the dinner. I heard the chef talk about the trial and error it took to find just the right marrying of flavors for the sorbet; ginger with bourbon. The bourbon served with the sorbet was a Buffalo Trace Small Batch Bourbon. And the diners loved every minute of it!
The main course was an espresso rubbed slow roasted tenderloin with saskatoon berry ridgemont demi glace, served with apple wood bacon wrapped potato terrine and butter poached brussel sprouts. There were three different potatoes under this tender mouth watering piece of meat. Paired with 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon. I believe the Chef received a standing ovation for this course!
The last and final course, paired with a velvety creamy bourbon from Buffalo Trace was a bourbon brioche bread pudding souffle, with sugar bourbon candied pecans drizzled with salted caramel, and served with vanilla bean frozen yogurt. Oh gosh, what a delight! Bourbon, bourbon, bourbon... all night long.
What a dinner! What an experience! Bravo Chef Matthews! Bravo Grand Traverse Resort for such an amazing dinner!!! And thankyou Buffalo Trace for providing the distinctively special bourbons!