Michigan Food Finds

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LOCAL ORCHARDS & HOME-MADE APPLESAUCE

There are 825 family-run apple farms in Michigan. 825! Within 30 minutes of your house, you can probably even name one or two. I know there are at least three orchards in my local area that I visit regularly—Porter’s, Spicer’s and Ashton’s. Michigan farms harvest nearly one billion pounds of apples in a short three month window. So, along with having an orchard on every corner, there are an enormous amount of apples to eat as well.

I’ve participated in all the happenings at all my local orchards, including picking apples, eating donuts, visiting the playgrounds and shopping at the farm stands. Though, this visit to the orchard was strictly business—buying apples. My plan was to can applesauce at home and I unfortunately could not dilly dally on all the wonderful extracurricular activities at the farm.

Though, because our beautiful fall weather just won’t quit, please be sure to linger. Take the time to enjoy all that Michigan apple orchards and farms have to offer—and have a glass of cider for me.

Applesauce

Ingredients
1 bushel of apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced (about 40 pounds)
1 ½ cups brown sugar, divided
¾ cup lemon juice, divided
15 quart jars or 30 pint jars

Applesauce and Canning Instructions
Place about 1-inch of water on the bottom of a 5 to 6 quart stockpot. Add enough prepared apples to fill to the top (one bushel apples should make about 6 small batches). Cook apples until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, adding additional water as needed to prevent scorching. Add ¼ cup brown sugar and about 2 tablespoons lemon juice per batch of cooked apples. Cook an additional few minutes. Mash or puree apples to desired consistency. Simmer the mashed apples gently while filling prepared canning jars. Process according to water bath instructions for 20 minutes.

Cook’s Note: You can make a smaller batch of this applesauce and skip the canning process. It will last in the refrigerator 7 to 10 days.

Find an apple orchard or farm near you at www.michiganapples.com

—Pam Aughe, R.D.

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Michigan Food Finds

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Fungus Amongus Pizza

PIZZA IN DETROIT

Even though I’ve lived in Michigan over 14 years, I still consider myself a transplant. I can expertly navigate our southeast Michigan roads and give my opinion about where to eat the best Coney. Though, one of my favorite foods still resides back on the east coast—pizza.

When I first moved here, my pizza choices were limited to chain locations serving conveyor belt cooked cardboard pizza or this unusual deep square pizza. Neither choices were a familiar pizza option or fit a craving for my traditional pizza. What I’m talking about is the New York style pizza which can also be called Neapolitan or brick oven pizza.

Fast forward a few years and my pizza craving arrived in Detroit. You know who I’m referring to—Supino Pizzeria next to The Eastern Market in Detroit. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Supino’s traditional New York thin crust foldable pizza is the taste and smell of pizzeria memories.  Determined to find similar pizza shops, I keep on looking. Come to find out, there are others. One has been cooking brick oven pizza for years but, would rather be known for their beer.

Motor City Brewing Works is the 2nd oldest brewery in Michigan creating some of the best hand crafted beers around. No surprise to this beer aficionado but, not everyone is a fan of local, craft beers (I know, hard to imagine). They also have a lovely little menu of brick oven pizza. You can build your own shareable 10-inch pie or choose from some of their cool concoctions. I shared the Roasted Pear and Fig topped with very generous quantity of gorgonzola crumbles. And, yes, I had a beer because how can you not?

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Roasted Pear and Fig Pizza

One of the newest locations for pizza is Pie-Sci in the Woodbridge neighborhood in Detroit. Really not new, I come to find out; they have been a Sunday pizza pop-up at Woodbridge Pub for over five years. Pie-Sci’s claim to fame is creative pizza topping combinations with catchy, creative titles. We tried the Mosta-Spicoli and the Fungus Amongus. The Mosta-Spicoli was like eating an Italian Sunday supper on pizza dough. Pretty terrific and might be my new favorite. The Fungus Amongus was full of mushrooms and cherry tomatoes that just popped with seasonal freshness.

I will forever be a thin crust, New York style pizza girl. Though, I know, everyone has their own personal favorite. Where is your favorite pizza joint in Detroit?

—Pam Aughe, R.D.

Michigan Food Finds

THE LESSER-KNOWN BERRY

Many local orchards have an abundance of beautiful fall red raspberries ready to be picked right now. Available through the first frost, raspberries have a remarkably long picking season in spite of being quite perishable. Though only a few special places have a lesser-known berry—the golden raspberry. One such place is Erwin Orchards in South Lyon.

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Erwin Orchards is a welcoming, expansive farm with u-pick raspberries, apples, cherries, asparagus and pumpkins. They have a bakery on site preparing—my particular favorite—pumpkin glazed donuts. Also available from the farm are honey, maple syrup, cider, apple butter and jam.

But, we were there for the golden raspberries. Carrying a basket in each hand, we headed out to the field. Our plan was to fill both baskets to the rim with raspberries while dreaming of preparing baked goods and jars of jam. Picking your own raspberries extends the freshness of this very fragile berry by going right from field to fork.

The distinctive pale yellow to orange-gold hue of the golden raspberries is all distinguishes it from the red raspberry. Nutrition, structure and seasonality are remarkably the same. Golden raspberries are lovely to cook and serve. Sweet with a hint of tart, golden raspberries are wonderful for many recipes.

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Golden Raspberry Jam
4 to 5 pounds of fresh golden raspberries
3 cups sugar
9, ½ pint jars

Combine raspberries and sugar in a large pot; let stand 10 minutes. Place pot on stove over medium heat. Bring to a boil slowly; stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 to 40 minutes or until starts to thicken; stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Ladle into clean, hot ½ pint jars leaving ¼-inch head space. Wipe rims and place two piece canning lids. Pack and process according to water bath canning instructions for 15 minutes.

—Pam Aughe, R.D

Michigan Food Finds

JAMS, JELLIES & PRESERVES

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The charm of living in a large agricultural state like Michigan is the many u-pick produce farms. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries are some of my favorite fruits to pick, eat and preserve. Though, admittedly, I’m often an overzealous picker and end up with excess fruit. Freezing is always the easy route but I adore making jam and canning. Many, many jars of jam later, I realize I can only eat so many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Naturally, I thought to bake with the extra homemade fruit jams.

Oatmeal Jam Bars

6 tablespoons butter, softened

½ cup light brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

½  teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

¾ cup jam

Preheat oven to 350o. Combine butter and sugar in a mixer and beat until well combined. Add flour, baking soda and salt; stir until incorporated and crumbly. Stir in oats. Place 2/3 of oat mixture on bottom of 8-inch square baking pan lined with parchment paper. Top with jam and spread evenly. Press together the remaining oat mixture with your hands and place chunks of oats on top of jam to mostly cover. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until fruit is bubbly and top is golden.

Cook’s Note: Bake with your favorite flavor of jam or preserves. I used strawberry—made with strawberries from Middleton Berry Farm—and it was delicious. If the fruit is very thick, you can lightly warm in the microwave to be able to spread easily.

Here are some other great ideas for using up homemade fruit preserves, jellies and jams:

In the dessert category, use jam in layer cakes, filling for muffins and donuts, thumbprint cookies, cheesecake topping, ice cream sundae topping or layer into trifle. Kids would love the jam frozen into popsicles.

Beverages also make for great use of jams. You can stir the sweetened fruit into lemonade, ice tea or Italian soda. For the grownups, mixed into cocktails with your favorite spirit is delicious. Also, blend with yogurt or ice cream for a smoothie.

Breakfast is an easy way to use jam swirled into yogurt or oatmeal. It is also a great topping for biscuits, waffles or pancakes. If you are little more adventurous, try making stuffed French toast or crepes.

For the savory route, top baked brie, goat cheese or cream cheese with preserves. Spread in the middle of a stuffed pork loin or chicken breast, pour over a ham as a glaze or stir into barbeque sauce. Sometimes simple is best—just place jam in a small dish on a cheese platter.

Raspberries, peaches, pears, apples and cherries are all waiting to be picked right now at many local u-pick farms. Go to www.upickmichigan.com to find a place near you.

—Pam Aughe, R.D.

 

Michigan Food Finds

HOME GROWN RASPBERRIES

july2016 147I now know why my neighbor kindly offered some of their raspberry plants for my garden. Raspberry plants have a habit of growing abundantly causing the need to share. Fast forward four years later and I now have a bounty of plants to manage all my own. Still not quite enough berries to preserve raspberry jam—though plenty to eat, share and bake.

Even my dogs have gotten into the joy of picking and eating fresh raspberries. They walk right out into the backyard with me patiently waiting for the few overripe, squishy raspberries to be thrown their way.

The raspberries that remain after snacking go right into my bakery items. Raspberry Dutch Baby—courtesy of Cooking Light—is a quick and easy breakfast favorite that can be made with any seasonal fruit. Delicious dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with maple syrup, a Dutch Baby will be your go to family favorite.  My raspberry chocolate chip muffins are also perfect for breakfast but freeze really well and can be eaten anytime. They are particularly good just slightly warm right out of the oven.

I stowed away a small container of fresh raspberries in my freezer for a sweet summer reminder during our extended Michigan winter. When ready to use, toss frozen raspberries lightly in flour and fold right into your baked good. Or use straight from the freezer in a thick and frosty smoothie.

Michigan summer raspberries are available for picking for about 2 to 3 weeks and are a wonderful addition to my home garden.

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Raspberry Dutch Baby, Cooking Light Way to Bake, 2011 

Ingredients

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon grated lemon rind

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup 2% reduced-fat milk

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Instructions

Place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in oven; preheat oven to 450o.

While pan heats, combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Add flour and milk to egg mixture, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Melt butter in preheated pan, swirling to coat pan. Add batter; sprinkle with raspberries. Bake for 12 minutes or until puffed and browned.

Dust pancake with powdered sugar and cut into 6 wedges. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.

Cook’s Note: Use whatever milk or milk substitute that is in your refrigerator. I used 1% low-fat milk and the Dutch Baby was still delicious.

 

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Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

½ cup sugar

¼ cup light brown sugar

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

½ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh raspberries

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or ½ cup mini-chocolate chips

Additional sugar for topping

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350o. Coat 18 muffin cups with vegetable cooking spray; set aside.

Whisk together flour, pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Place eggs, sugar and brown sugar in another large bowl; whisk until well combined and light yellow. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla to egg mixture and whisk to incorporate. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Gently fold in raspberries and chocolate chips. Place batter evenly into 18 muffin cups and sprinkle each muffin with sugar.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden on top and inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in muffin tin then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 18 muffins.

—Pam Aughe, R.D.

 

Farm at the Stadium

Many family vacations with my husband and two sons include visiting a major league baseball stadium. This summer we were lucky enough to be at Fenway Park in Boston. As the oldest stadium in the country with quirky spots like the lone red seat and the green monster, Fenway was a definite must see stadium.

To my surprise and great pleasure in spring of 2015, Fenway Farms—a roof garden planted on the third base side of the ballpark— was planted. Local farms and Green City Growers collaborated to transform an underutilized rubber roof into a fruitful green space. All the fresh vegetables and herbs grown are served in the club restaurant at Fenway.

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Here in Detroit we also have some spectacular urban farming. Keep Growing Detroit, Brother Nature Produce, Earthworks and Michigan Urban Farming Initiative are all organizations who believe in feeding their community with fresh and healthy foods.

Now I wonder if Comerica Park would now be inspired to create some edible green space? Go Tigers!

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—Pam Aughe, R.D.

Michigan Food Finds

DETROIT DOES DONUTS

I’m taking off my dietitian hat for a moment and eating a donut. I often sample all types of foods as an advocate for the local food scene. Though, in this case, this is where I repeat the mantra—everything in moderation. So, I’m sampling donuts at Dilla’s Delights with complete joy and no regrets. Once you taste these delicious creations, you will understand.

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Dilla’s Delights is a specialty donut business in the Ashley Building in downtown Detroit. Founder and operator, Herman Hayes, named this donut shop in honor of his nephew James Dewitt Yancey (J. Dilla) who was a musician and producer with passion for donuts, Detroit and music. Right when you walk in the door, it’s easy to recognize that donuts and music are the central theme.

Like most delicious treats, it’s hard to have just one. Therefore, I recommend sharing a variety of donuts. The chocolate cake glazed and the mixed berry fritter was a nice combination. Produced with 100% organic flour and fried in rice bran oil, Dilla’s Donuts are a step above in quality and taste. Uncle Herman makes donuts all night long in Avalon International Bread’s commercial kitchen to be open at 5 in the morning for his customers.

With my dietitian hat back on, my recommendation is a little exercise post-donut consumption. Comerica Park is only a 5 minute walk from Dilla’s Delights and would make the perfect snack right before an afternoon ballgame.

—Pam Aughe, R.D.