Tag Archives: michigan produce

And some nights you eat tomatoes for dinner…

Who can really argue with the taste of a Michigan tomato in July? I can’t. So in taking all the mystery out of this post…some nights you simply eat tomatoes for dinner. Shown below are heirloom varieties Green Zebra and Beefsteak from Good News Farm.

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Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Slice, cube or dice. Salt and pepper to taste. Noms.

Strawberry Salsa

So you went crazy this past weekend and picked a zillion berries and now you are worried that your fresh strawberries might not be so fresh by the time you want to use them? Here’s a little trick from The Canning Diva to buy you a little bit of time while you process those berries:

  • Put your strawberries in a large bowl and run cold water over them.
  • Add 1/4 cup of vinegar (distilled white or apple cider) to every 2 cups of water.
  • Let them soak for about 5 minutes.
  • Drain, rinse, and dry on a towel-lined cookie sheet.

 

Now get to work using the fruit of your labor in this unusual dish sure to delight at your next porch party or holiday party. In the dead of winter, if you pull out a jar of this to take for a dish to pass, you will look like a rock star. This past weekend, my friend Jen, her mom, Mrs. Jen and I went to work churning out two batches of this sweet and savory salsa. I can’t wait to try it over some vegan cream cheese on a cracker or a corn chip.

The Diva’s Signature Strawberry Salsa

  • 12 cups of bite-size chopped strawberries (about 4 quarts)
  • 1/2 cup Agave Sweetener
  • 5 cups of raw, unbleached sugar (if this huge amount freaks you out you can use more Agave, Stevia or Splenda, consistency will vary however-we used 3 C sugar and a mix for the rest)
  • 1 1/4 cups Vidalia onions, size is your preference (mine are diced small)
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup of jalapeno (if you want more heat, keep some seeds) I remove all seeds and chop fine in my small food processor
  • 4 ounces of fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of apple cider vinegar

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Directions from the Diva: Boil sugar, vinegar and agave sweetener until sugar has dissolved. Add all onions, peppers, herbs, lime juice and spices and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add the strawberries. Mix well.

Using a slotted spoon, hot pack salsa into pint size jars being sure to include ample liquid in each jar so long as the salsa isn’t too watery. Leave a ½” of headspace for proper processing. (I filled 7 jars with salsa and had 1 pint left over that was pure liquid. Process the liquid the same as the salsa and use it as a marinade or the base of a sweet and savory cocktail)

As always, be sure to wipe your rims with a warm cloth to remove any liquid. Seal each jar with lids and rings and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. Processing doesn’t begin until after the water is at a rolling boil! 

 

June Strawberries = Vegan Strawberry Shortcake!!!!!!!

I have always, always loved strawberries.  Like, eat them until you are nearly sick to your stomach love strawberries.  In June I always think, I should really get to a pick-your-own berry farm, but inevitably June becomes September and I have certainly NOT made it to a pick-your-own farm.  June in Michigan brings early berries so today on my way home from Grand Haven, I stopped at a market on Lake Michigan Drive and bought my first summer berries.  Summer early berry season is short, about 3-4 weeks if you are lucky, so get out there! Between this recipe for Strawberry Shortcake and basic inhalation, I managed to polish off 2 pints in about 8 hours.  It’s the best kind of sick you can be.  Berry sick.

When I was a kid, Grandma Helen made the shortcake, and Aunt Mar made the crisps (we will talk crisp, crumble, betty, etc in the fall).  This is the baking powder biscuit recipe I’ve taken from Grandma Helen’s collection and slightly modified to be vegan for all my animal lovin’ friends.

Vegan Baking Powder Biscuits

Sift before measuring.
1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Sift flour with baking powder and salt into medium bowl.
2. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender or 2 knives (used scissors-fashion), until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
3. Make a well in the center. Pour in 3/4 cup milk all at once. Stir quickly round the bowl with a fork. If mixture seems dry, add a little more milk to form dough just moist enough (but not wet) to leave side of bowl and form ball.
4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface to knead. Gently pick up dough from side away from you; fold over toward you; press out lightly with palm of hand. Give the dough a quarter turn. Repeat ten times.
5. Gently roll out dough, from center, to 3/4 inch thickness.
6. With floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter or a juice glass like Grandma Helen did it, cut straight down into dough, being careful not to twist cutter.
7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes 8 (2 1/2 inch) biscuits.

DROP BISCUITS:

When I’m too lazy to roll and cut, I make drop biscuits by using the recipe for Baking Powder Biscuits, but increasing milk to 1 1/4 cup. Do not knead or roll out. Drop dough, by tablespoonfuls, onto lightly greased cookie sheet; bake at 450 F. for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 20.

For the rest of the strawberry shortcake, I took a pint of berries, washed, hulled and sliced them and mixed them in a deep bowl with 1 T sugar and 1 T peach schnapps (don’t judge me – any flavored liquor you like will do here).  Left this mixture on the counter to create magic while I made the biscuits.  Upcycle the remaining 3/4 C or so of the coconut milk into a flat vegan whipped cream by using your hand mixer on high, toss in a 1/2 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp lemon thyme for fun.

To plate, cut a biscuit in half, spoon in strawberries, top with vegan whipping cream and a mint sprig.  Store remaining biscuits in the freezer for peach and nectarine season.  Shortcake isn’t just for berries.

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