Thursday, August 28, 2014


If you haven't met Judy Tuttle yet, Saturday, August 30 is the date to do so. Judy is another volunteer and loyal supporter of the Holt Farmers' Market, and has been from day one. In her previous life, she was an employee of the Holt Fire Dept.(current location of the HFM) for 21 years, so she is a familiar face in the Holt area. So those who know Judy know what a great cook she is. Yes, that's her standing behind the new, mobile cooking unit that the market obtained (through a grant) just this year. On Saturday, August 23, Judy did a demonstration of how to cook one of her wonderful recipes, using HFM products, of course. 

The good news? If you didn't see her last Saturday, she will be demonstrating again on Sat, Aug 30, at  "11:30ish"she told me. She will be showing how she makes her wonderful Tomato, Peach, Feta and Red Onion Salad, using HFM products as available. She will give out the recipes, and have samples to taste. Just another thing to love about the HFM. Here's a heads-up: Judy has promised to share her wonderful Ratatouille soon, so watch for that as well. 

Other info: Judy told me she bought wonderful (everbearing) strawberries at Rowe's Family Farm in the a.m. They were all sold out when I arrived at 12:30. (Hint, hint!) Luckily for me, Nightengale's still had luscious peaches when I got there. Greenman's had some berries, but I can't promise they'll still be there Aug 30. Dennis G.  also had some lovely looking chard, kale and some smaller beets with their greens still attached. I like those beet greens! They seem a little sweeter than some others. 
I'm getting acquainted with eggplant, and enjoying the results. Here's a recipe I really like: tasty, fav type of recipe.

Roasted Eggplant with Warmed Feta and Honey
1 large eggplant, about 20 ounces
6 TBS. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups crumbles, mild-tasting feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 1/2 cup honey, or as needed
1 TBS fresh thyme or oregano leaves, chopped for garnish
Preheat oven:400 degrees. Trim each end from the eggplant. With a vegetable peeler, partially remove the skin in alternating strips, creating a striped appearance. Cut the eggplant into 3/4 in.-thick rounds. PLACE  the eggplant slices in rows on a rimmed sheet pan. Generously brush BOTH sides of the slices with oil. ROAST for 10-12 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned.  REMOVE the pan from oven, and turn the slices with a wide spatula. Return to the oven and roast for 10 min more until they're lightly brown and tender. Remove from oven and mound a rounded tablespoon of cheese on top of each eggplant slice. ADD a grinding of pepper to each. Return the pan to the oven for about 5 min, until the cheese softens. TRANSFER the slices to a serving platter. DRIZZLE each with the honey and sprinkle with a few fresh thyme leaves. SERVE hot. 

Friday, August 22, 2014


I can't claim today's catchy title is original. (What is BAC anyway?Hint: look at the end of today's blog). I'm copying it from a hand-out from the MSU Extension excellent source for info about safe handling of fresh fruits and veggies. But first, a few fun facts about plain, ordinary cucumbers. Yes! I didn't know they were so versatile! Got this off the internet; claimed to be a reprint from the NY Times, but you never know, right? I've tried some of these, especially the ones that are so whimsically funny, like polishing shoes (yes, it worked!).
 One cucumber has: Vitamins B1,B2,B6,Folic Acid, VitC, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. Who knew?
    -got a big meeting/interview, and not enough time to polish shoes? Rub a slice of cucumber over the shoes; its chemicals provide a quick and durable shine that repels water!
     -no WD40? Use a cucumber slice on the squeaky hinge and voila!
     -grubs/slugs in your garden? Place a few cuke slices in a  small pie tin and they will go away! The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent you can't smell, but they can and it drives them out of your life.     I love it!
Okay, back to BAC business: For safe handling of produce:
1. Check to be sure the fruits and veggies you bought are free of bruises/any damage.
2. Clean: wash hands with soap and running warm water before handling. Rub firm-skin produce under running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running water. Dry with clean cloth towel or paper towel.
3. Separate: MSU urges us all to keep all fresh fruits and veggies SEPARATE from raw meat, poultry and sea food in your shopping bags, in your refrigerator and use separate cutting boards for produce.
4. Cook or throw away fruits or veggies that have touched raw meat, poultry or seafood or their juices.
5. Chill: Refrigerate all cut, peeled or cooked fresh fruits and veggies within two hours.
6. Throw Away: fruit and veggies that have not been refrigerated within two hours of cutting, peeling or cooking. Remove and throw away bruised/damaged portions of fruits and veggies when preparing to cook them or before eating them raw. "If in doubt, throw it out."

Do I follow all these steps all the time? Can't say I do. But I sure appreciate knowing these steps and modifying them as I need to. (BAC is the catchy term MSU Extension uses for "bacteria" but you knew that already, right?). 
   Check back next week for interviews, tips, hints, info about produce, the Holt Farmers' Market and maybe a photo or two.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Thanks for coming back!

Because I do want to blog about Otto's Chicken, new to the Holt Farmers' Market this year, but widely known for their wonderful chicken items: from fresh whole roasters, thru packages of chicken legs,breasts,wings etc. down to items as small as chicken tenders, and then another roster of Specialty Chicken such as ground chicken, sausage and smoked chicken Leg Quarters and lots more. 
   The farm is in Middleville, MI (Gun Lake area), where their farm store is located, but they also sell in Holland, Kalamazoo, Royal Oak and the Lansing City Market. 

I was able to catch Pat in a rare moment when she wasn't busy and snapped her photo. "People ask me if these were 'happy chickens.' The answer is YES, because they were raised with no hormones, no growth promotants and no antibiotics,"she told me.Something else new at the HFM is that Otto's is open on Fridays from 2-5:00, and will be open every Friday through the winter as well. You can reach Otto's at: 269-795-7696 and:
      Now that corn and tomatoes are in abundance, and I'm quickly, believe it or not, getting tired of eating them as is, I'm finding easy ways to use them in recipes. For example, what to do with the ear of corn that got cooked but not eaten? SUCCOTASH: mix the corn kernels with cooked lima beans. SALADS: Add the cooked kernels with other veggies in a tossed salad. SALSA: Mix kernels with chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro to make corn-salsa. MORE: Add cooked corn kernels to corn muffin batter, soups, chowder, chili and casseroles. FINALLY: Microwave Spanish Corn: 2 Tbs. butter; 1/2 c. green pepper washed, with seeds removed, then chopped; 1/2 c. onion, peeled and chopped, 2C. cooked corn kernels; 1 (16 oz.)can diced tomatoes (or fresh!), 1/4 tsp. oregano. Saute pepper and onion in butter until tender. Combine all ingredients in a 2-quart microwave-safe dish. Cover and cook on high power for 2-3 minutes or until bubbly hot. Makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings. AND this is an official 5 A Day recipe! I always feel quite virtuous when I make it. Plus, it is really good. 


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thanks for stopping by!

I am at the Cheeseburger Festival in Port Austin this week-end. I know, I'd never heard of it either until it was mentioned in the Lansing State Journal earlier this summer. And we're actually going there to meet my other half's employer. He was hired without actually meeting these people. So very 21st century:  they fax'd the application form, he finished it and fax'd it back, had the phone interview, was hired and has worked for them for over a year and has no idea of what they look like! and vice versa! Don'tchaalove it?
Anyway, here's a recipe to try and I'll be back next week:

Easy Cheesy Baked Tomatoes 
4 tomatoes halved
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 oz. shredded provolone cheese
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
Place tomatoes cut side up ( you might want to use firm tomatoes for this, perhaps Romas? Or the ones I got from Falsettas' Farm last week; they were from St. Joe region, because the ones here just hadn't  ripened yet due to the cooler weather we've been having) on a baking sheet. Mix other ingredients and put on top of cut tomatoes. Spray lightly with cooking spray and bake until the tomatoes are tender about 15 min. Enjoy!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Plethora of Produce at the Holt Farmers' Market!

Here is the Stone Circle Bakehouse, whose artisan bread is so good, it usually sells out before the market closes. So while I can't personally testify to the excellence of their bread, because it's full-test gluten,  the sell-outs speak loud and clear. The photo shows Dawn Pray and her trusty helper,Spencer Cosgrove. Spencer is nephew to the baker-owners, Kim and Kevin Cosgrove who started their business in 2008. Remember that year? The depth of the Great Recession. At that time, Kevin worked at the former Holiday Inn as a catering coordinator, who always had a yen to own his own business, and he loved to bake bread. He put all those ingredients together, mixed in some found money, started small, and now has a thriving bakery business! (I just love hearing about these local success stories! Finding a way to pull success out of a recession!). Anyway, Stone Circle also sells at Horrocks, Foods for Living, other farm markets and has a food truck in Mason. Oh! And their bakehouse is on Willoughby, where they have a wood fired oven. You'll find them in the main building, just beyond Greenman's Farms. Can't miss them!
Okay, I confess that I bought so much wonderful, fresh produce at the HFM last Sat ( the 26th) that I won't need to buy much tomorrow. While some women get otta-control buying shoes, my personal passion is fresh, local produce and I want to buy it all! So I didn't go THAT far, but I did get local corn (yay!), tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries (which I bought in bulk, to be washed and frozen for next winter's blueberry pancakes, which both my diabetic husband and this gluten-free gal, can eat! I've modified several recipes to make this happen), and Michigan cucumbers. Then I bought a bundle of a variety of broccoli that is quite small, three heads to a bundle. Got those at Rowe's Farm, who, by the way, was sold out of tomatoes and sweet corn when I got there at 1:00...he should have a bigger supply tomorrow, Aug 2. I bought jumbo-sized eggs at Greenman's and a wonderful Honey Rock melon at Falsetta's. Yes, it was from Indiana, but they always ripen before the Michigan melons and are just about as juicy and delicious as the Mitten State's. And, of course, I couldn't get out of the market without buying my personal faves: honey-roasted pecans from Laurie, the honey lady, and hearty corn tortilla chips from Ofilia's Burritos. 
That's it for today; stop by and check us out. I know you'll be glad you did.