When it comes down to it, everything I know came from Michigan. And hey, that good ol’ state has seen its ups and downs, but dammit, it’s not going anywhere. Some awesome folks just created a new site, www.mittenstretcher.com where they’re helping to spread the greatest news about Michigan to displaced Michiganders around the world.
Once you’ve gotten used to baking with the “normal” ingredients of flours, sugars, milk, eggs, etc., the idea of changing that up can be rather frightening. And I have to admit, I’ve had some pretty big flops in the kitchen in the “non-traditional” baking world.
But, I just can’t quit. I welcome the challenge (not the frustration and shouting that often follows) and know it’s all about trial and error and patience. Yeah, that P-word is not one of my favorites…
But it’s summer, and there are few desserts that shout summer as much as a sour cherry pie.
It was a sad year for these beautiful fruits. My home state of Michigan, the state that grows more sour cherries than anyone else, suffered a huge loss of around 90% of their crop this year. A crazy warm front came in early spring, and then lots of frost followed it, so those baby buds couldn’t even compete. Hey, I’ve heard of this thing called global warming, have you?
Funny story, Michigan was actually somewhat able to survive, due to sour cherries imported from Poland. Rather interesting, but apparently the Polish variety are similar enough that the Michigan fruit production industry could make do.
Back to pie. Gluten free baking is definitely a challenge, or can be for a novice. But if you can set some time aside, as well as a pile of something to throw every now and then, you’ll do just fine. And the end result (even if the cherries are from the NW)? The flakiest, most delicious gluten-free crust ever. Continue reading
Pannetone is a marvelous Christmas bread. Each year when December rolls around, I have to find one. This Italian holiday tradition pops up at most grocery stores and gourmet shops the last few months of the years and is pretty hard to find the rest of the year. If you’re as big as a fan as I am, it may warrant stocking up when you can.
The buttery, flaky bread is filled with all sorts of dried fruits. But this past year, for whatever reason, my beautiful Christmas loaf sat lonely until well after the holiday.
But lucky for me, it holds up for a few months. But what to do with this caloric-beast? I mean, it’s buttery and sweet enough as it is, and can be perfect just lightly toasted, but that just won’t do.
But dipping it in an egg and milk mixture, dusted with cinnamon then drowned in Michigan maple syrup, now thats a winner.
So this isn’t exactly from this week, but I have to go back into my food archives and share this, I just can’t refuse.
When I was in Northern Michigan in late May, I *finally* was able to try local morels. Morel mushrooms are a delicacy that can be found in woody areas in the spring, and Northern Michigan is one of the best breeding grounds for these magical little guys.
They aren’t cheap, do realize that — but they are worth every cent. I am a pretty big mushroom fan typically, but the morels blew my early thoughts out of the water. I had them at LuLu’s Bistro in Bellaire which has also become one of my new favorite places. They were served sauteed, with a light custard, greens and crustini to bring it all together. Man, I wish I would have ordered more. Even though morel season has just about come to a close, if you can still get a hold of some of these, do yourself a favor and eat it.