April 8, 2014
Coincidentally enough, I just found out that Ken will be doing the next Glen Arbor Art Association Talk About Art this Thursday, April 10, 7:30 p.m. at the GAAA in Glen Arbor.
Today’s post comes via eatdrinkTC. Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the U.S. and that diversity doesn’t stop at the market! Our woods are alive with tasty and nutritious food if you know where to look. In our Wild Food Wednesdays we’ll tip you off to seasonal goodies and give you a recipe or two so you can enjoy the meal as much as the hike to find it!
In many years, we will have seen Viola sororia (Common blue violet) in the woods and often in our lawns by now. Violets can be found in a variety of soil conditions, from moist and even swampy deciduous forests to drier forests (though not usually near pines). The flowers and young leaves are delicious! The Culinary Violet page at the American Violet Society says (in part):
Both the flowers and leaves in fresh and dried forms have been standard fare in Europe and other areas in the world since before the 14th century. Fresh flowers are most often used for garnishing and crystallizing, The pungent perfume of some varieties of v.odorata adds inimitable sweetness to desserts, fruit salads and teas while the mild pea flavor of v.tricolor and most other viola combines equally well with sweet or savory foods, like grilled meats and steamed vegetables. The heart-shaped leaves of the v. odorata provide a free source of greens throughout a long growing season. They add texture to green salads when young and tender. Later in the season, slightly tougher, older leaves are cooked with other potted herbs and greens in soups, stews and stir-frys.
Violets aren’t just another pretty face. They are loaded with phytochemicals and medicinal constituents that have been used in the treatment of numerous health problems from the common cold to cancer. The late Euell Gibbons even referred to them as “nature’s vitamin pill (1).” A 1/2 cup serving of leaves can provide as much vitamin C as three oranges.
March 18, 2014
I just wrapped up a post about making maple syrup over on eatdrinkTC that you might enjoy. Michigan is 6th in the nation in the production of maple syrup and with a little bit of work and a small investment, you can make it yourself!
More maple syrup on Michigan in Pictures!
February 21, 2014
In addition to Michigan in Pictures and building websites & marketing campaigns, my partner Laura & I produce an online publication called eatdrinkTC that profiles Traverse City’s dynamic culinary scene. We feature a lot of the chefs and culinary artisans who make it all happen and engage people in helping to promote all the good things going on.
One way we do that is with our monthly #eatdrinkTC Photo Contest that offers a prize every month for the top photo. This month’s prize is two 3-course dinners at the popular The Cooks’ House, so if your photographic arsenal has some pics from Traverse City or the surrounding area that fit the bill, consider entering.
The photo shows Myles Anton, chef at Trattoria Stella. Myles and Chef Brian Polcyn of Forest Grill in Birmingham were announced as semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef in the Great Lakes this week. It’s one of the top honors in chefdom – hats off to both for representing the Mitten!
Lisa was lucky enough to attend a cooking class with chef Myles at The Box last month. It was titled simply “The Pig” and Myles showed the class how to break down half a pig and how to cut, prepare and EAT the many cuts! (we have a full cooking class calendar if you’re interested)
December 11, 2013
The photo above won the first photo contest on our new eatdrinkTC website. If you’re in the Traverse City area and enjoy snapping & sharing shots of food & drink, click that link for all the details on the current contest.
Michelle says that she heads to the farmers market every weekend to grab fresh veggies. On the weekend she took the winning photo, she was inspired by sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes), created two different soups (Sunchoke Potato and Jalapeno Kale & Spinach) and swirled them together to create this beautiful bowl of deliciousness. I’ve included the recipes below!
August 27, 2013
The Detroit Free Press writes that Michigan apples are back – and in a big way.
This year’s harvest could be one of the largest Michigan has ever seen, the Michigan Apple Committee said Friday after the U.S. Apple Association released its estimate for Michigan’s 2013 apple crop. The 30-million-bushel projection was welcome news after last year’s wacky spring weather devastated 90% of the overall apple crop, which yielded just 2.7 million bushels. The state averages about 20 million bushels a year, the committee said.
“Our growers, packers and shippers are already moving Michigan apples into the marketplace and are thrilled with the estimates for this year’s crop,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, who was in attendance at the USApple announcement in Chicago. “There’s a lot of buzz around the estimate here in Chicago and in our state.”
The Apple Committee said a crop like this year’s could pump as much as $900 million into the state’s economy, and industry experts say perfect weather conditions are to thank.
Good news for everyone who was left cider-less and apple-less last fall! Read on at the Freep and get lots more about Michigan’s largest fruit crop from the Michigan Apple Committee or their Facebook page.
Last year I used a photo Sergei took of the Wolf River apple (Michigan’s largest) on a post about our smallest crop ever, so it’s fitting to return to celebrate! Check his photo out background bigtacular and see more in his apple slideshow.
More apples on Michigan in Pictures.
August 13, 2013
IMPORTANT NOTE: Mushrooms can be dangerous and even deadly! Be careful and know what you’re eating. As the saying goes: “There are old mushroom hunters, and bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”
The Michigan Morel Hunters Club features mushrooms that are in season in their Mushroom of the Month. One of the late summer mushrooms they have highlighted are Black Trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides):
Black Trumpets (aka horn-of-plenty) mushrooms are a wonderful edible mushroom that grows in Michigan from July through September. They are fragile mushrooms that look like a cornucopia (horn-of-plenty) or maybe like trumpets but are black or gray instead of gold. Despite somewhat funereal descriptions and European names (trompette de la morte in French and trombetta dei morti in Italian), they are very tasty mushrooms that can be widely used in cooking. They are strongly flavored mushrooms with a fragrant aroma. Their strong flavor and aroma allows them to be used in a wide variety of dishes. Though they are difficult to find, they are definitely worth pursuing. Fortunately, they grow in clusters so there often are many where one is found.
…Trumpets are ideal for sophisticated dishes because of their fragrant aroma and strong flavor. Because of their fragrant aroma they are often dried and pulverized for use as a seasoning for everything from soup to steak. They are very easy to dry requiring only a few hours in a dehydrator or a couple of days of open air drying. They are delicious sautéed in butter with parsley and chives as a side dish.
Read more at the MMHC including how to identify them. A good thing is that the only similar mushroom (black chantarelle) is also edible! Also check out these black trumpet photos and ID tips at MushroomExpert.com.
Marjorie says that they found a grove of these tasty critters and harvested a large bag full of them … and that they smell like apricots. View her photo bigger and see more in her surprisingly large fungus & lichen slideshow. There’s lots more from Marjorie on Michigan in Pictures including her multi-day Michigan Photographer Profile.
More mushrooms on Michigan in Pictures!
August 1, 2013
“Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.”
― Alice Walker
Peaches are rolling in at farm markets all across Michigan. A favorite article that Michigan History Magazine shared on Absolute Michigan tells the story of A Peach of a Man:
Many people have contributed to Michigan’s fruit industry, but Stanley Johnston stands above the rest. Johnston not only developed a new peach that is the most widely grown peach in the world today. He also made Michigan the nation’s leading producer of blueberries.
Johnston was the superintendent of Michigan State University’s (MSU) experiment station in South Haven from 1920 to 1969. There, he developed a better peach. Johnston took peaches that had good features, like ones that ripened at different times or did not turn brown when canned or frozen. He took pollen from the male plant and joined it to the flower of the female plant. When the fruit grew, he collected seeds and started a new tree. When the tree produced fruit five years later, he could see if he made a better peach.
During his career, Johnston grew and studied more than 20,000 peach trees. Eight different types, called “havens” (for South Haven), were planted by farmers. Havens ripened earlier, so the peach-growing season was longer, which meant more peaches could be grown and sold. One of these peaches, named Redhaven for its nice red color, is the most popular peach in the world today.
Johnston received much praise for his work with peaches. Comparing him to an artist, one man called Johnston a “Picasso among peach breeders-a plant breeding artist.”
Read on at Absolute Michigan and definitely get down to your local farmer’s market for some peachy goodness!
More food on Michigan in Pictures.
Ed Vielmetti has his annual strawberry report up for 2013. He reports that in the Ann Arbor area they’re expecting the first strawberries next week or early the following week. As you move north, the first strawberries move back a few days.
More strawberries on Michigan in Pictures!
May 31, 2013
As you can see from Rick’s photo taken yesterday, 2013 has blessed Northern Michigan with a strong morel season that is still going strong while lilacs are out! Doesn’t get much better than this!