29 June 2010

Red Currants...for real?

I admit, I am a sucker for fresh fruit and I like it tart! (My family disagrees and calls it sour!) Red currant jelly is one of my favorites! A beautiful bright red and translucent, sweet and tart, sticky and smooth!

This week at Main Street Market (Blissfield at Hathaway House) Farmers Market, the owner of Vine Haus, Barb, had the most beautiful fresh red currants for sale! I am so excited! Tomorrow morning is jelly making at my house! I do love to make jams and jellies...they are easy, take little time, give me a huge sense of satisfaction and domestic goddess status amongst family and friends. I also love to eat toast with jam on a freezing, dark, January night. Usually more than one piece!

I also found a salsa recipe using red currants (on tomorrow's menu) and a lovely looking cake.

My fondest memory of red currant jelly is Amboise France, with a fresh crepe and chantilly (whipped cream). Wish me luck in reproducing them this week!

I will update and send recipes ASAP! Enjoy your farmers market this week and make a batch of jam too! That liquid pectin is amazing!

21 June 2010

A party and paella...

June 19 was the day we have been preparing for, for the last 3 months! Our middle daughter, Julia, graduated from Tecumseh High School this year, and the 19th, her party date. We have been scrubbing, painting, weeding, cooking...it was a success!

Lots of family, food, memories and fun! We are so blessed to have such a great family that helps and supports, that laughs and cries together. There were some faces missing that brought some tears, and new faces that brought lots of smiles. Such is the way of a family.

Later in the evening, we prepared Paella and Sangria, a plate of Spanish cheeses and bread! A community effort...that's when paella tastes the best! The idea of paella is to use what you have close to home, be it seafood, chicken, pork etc. My favorite recipe is below and you can tweak the amounts to make enough for your crowd. I can NEVER get the crust to form correctly on the bottom of the pan, so don't stress either.

12 ounces of arborio rice
8 cups chicken stock, warm
3 strands saffron (added to chicken stock)
1 Tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika (sweet, bittersweet or hot- your preference)
2 Tablespoons minced Garlic
2 fresh tomatoes- chopped
1 jar roasted piquillo peppers- chopped
8 ounce package spanish chorizo- sliced in 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 lbs fresh mussels or clams
1 lb raw shrimp
2 lbs. fresh chicken thighs (I prefer to grill mine until about half done...undercooked chicken-yuk!)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Use an extra large skillet or paella pan over medium -high heat, saute your chorizo until the oils release and add tomatoes, garlic and peppers. Add rice and let brown it slightly. Reduce heat to medium-low and add chicken stock, paprika and season to taste. Let cook about 10 minutes at a slow simmer. Raise heat back to medium high and add shrimp, mussels and pre-cooked chicken. Let cook an additional 10 minutes until musssels open, shrimp turns pink and rice is desired doneness!
Drizzle with a squeeze of lemon and a bit of extra virgin olive oil!

14 June 2010


Some of my fondest memories are about a cherry tree. The family farm had the biggest, gnarliest, sweet cherry tree! Huge trunk, large branches that were low to the ground (except when you're 5!) and notches that you could sit in all day, and I did. This cherry tree was magical, full of birds and nests, hiding spots and cool breezes, it was also our favorite spot for family pictures and created many mean pies.
The tree is ancient and now most of the branches have died, but there is still a branch that won't give up. It saddens me to see it so broken and old, yet, it has given so much over the years that we can't help but treasure it today!

As John and I planted a sweet cherry at our place last year, I wanted a special recipe that would highlight my favorite fruit. I will be old (er) before massive production kicks in, but I'm keeping these branches low, so I will always be able to pick cherries!

Clafoutis is a French dessert that I love...not too sweet, bursting with fruit and rich. My favorite recipe comes by way of the French Feasts cookbook and with only a slight variation. Enjoy!

1 pound of sweet black cherries, pitted
1 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla

Butter a 7X11 casserole dish (9X13 is a little too big, but 9X9 is too small...you may need to dig in your cabinet for your right size! Add a little time to baking if using a smaller dish, it will still turn out great!) and arrange cherries in it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mound flour and mix in the eggs one at a time, not allowing the dough to get lumpy, not all flour can be incorporated. Slowly add some milk to keep batter-like. Stir in 1/4 cup of sugar and extract.
Pour over cherries and bake about 25 minutes until golden brown and puffed up. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Serve at room temperature.

The clafoutis will cut more like a cake than a cobbler and you can totally change the fruit to whatever you like. It also tastes great with a hard sauce poured over it, or a scoop of ice cream!

05 June 2010

Living the Farmer's Market life

I thought you might enjoy a day in the life of a cheese maker preparing for the Farmers Market! John has it easier than some folks, because we have an abundance of GREAT farm markets close to Tecumseh. Four Corners Creamery currently attends Saline, Ann Arbor, Canton and Blissfield at Hathaway House, all of which are 25 miles or less away. These are nice markets that are committed to offering locally made goods.

At Four Corners, John makes about 450 lbs of cheese per week, but we bump up Fresh Mozzarella production in the spring and summer months another 100 lbs. Our production runs Tuesday-Friday every week. John makes both cow milk and goat milk cheeses and yogurt. Some of our cheeses age up to a month, but we focus on fresh. The philosophy behind this is simple: fresh cheese is healthy, tastes great and remains affordable. We want everyone to be able to afford a round of fresh goat cheese every week! Ounce per ounce, we are about the same price as a large scale (think millions of lbs!) goat cheese producer!

When milk prices fluxcuate (it's on the commodity market) we can keep our prices the same.

So, the cheese is made, drained and packaging begins...each fresh goat cheese round is hand formed, sprinkled with a mild herb blend and wrapped in plastic. About 200 of them, each at approximately 6 ounces!

Each aged goat log is inoculated, drained and hand formed into a triangle shaped log and set to aging for about 3 weeks in a separate area. The already aged logs are weighed and cut into 6 oz. pieces and wrapped for sale.

The "Northern Lights" is a fresh cow milk spread that is drained, mixed with salt, garlic, paprika and ground peppercorns and is ready for sale 12 hours later.

Our cream is allowed to ripen overnight and our butter is lightly salted with sea salt.

It's a busy week during the farmers Market season, we love it! The people, the recipes, the vendors, the FOOD! It's an amazing process to be involved in!

Thanks for buying our cheeses and enjoying them...we make them just for you!