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Enjoy a meal of Michigan foods


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June 27, 2013
It’s hard to pack a picnic using all Michigan products ­­— because there are so many delicious food items grown in the state making it hard to decide what to include in the basket.

From breakfast to dinner, it’s easy to prepare entire meals featuring produce, dairy, meats and beverages made in Michigan.

For a simple picnic choose a hot dog, ’brat or sausage from Kowalski, Dearborn Sausage or Koegel. A ’burger created from beef, chicken, turkey, pork or lamb are other choices. Even a soy ’burger is an option since soy beans are grown by the thousands of bushels full in Michigan. Add chips from Better Made, Uncle Ray’s, Great Lakes Potato Chip Co. or Downey’s Potato Chips. Some Lay’s are made in Michigan, as well.

If picnic goers get hungry while the grill is heating up, hand out slices of cheese, carrot and celery sticks, sliced cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, green onions, zucchini and radishes. And for a beverage, pack a six pack of soda from any number of Michigan based companies. Ice cold tap water is also an option.

In early summer, a variety of lettuces, pea pods, carrots and onions are available. Toss mixed salad greens, a handful of dried cherries, walnut pieces, crumbled blue cheese and sliced red onions with a vinaigrette dressing and it’s all Michigan in the salad bowl.

As the summer progresses and more produce comes into season, toss together a quick tomato, cucumber and red onion salad with a dash of red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing and top with crushed fresh basil. A little cheese, whether goat, yellow or white, can be added, as well. Plums and pears can be tossed in salads or used as a quick snack, along with watermelon and cantaloupe slices.

A three-bean salad can be totally made from Michigan-grown beans.

Dessert? Make Rice Krispie treats with cereal made in Battle Creek.

A chunk of fudge or maple syrup candy make for a quick dessert, followed by Michigan-grown berries in colors of red and blue.

Create individual pies stuffed with peaches, red or blackberries or blueberries. By the time early fall checks in, apple pie and apple salad can be added to any picnic, as well as apricots and nectarines.

With more than 880,000 tons of Michigan-grown vegetables going to market every year, there are plenty of food choices to load into a picnic basket.

The Pan Bagnat

1 loaf of French bread

Something spreadable (goat cheese, pesto)

Fresh mozzarella

Any sliceable vegetables — tomato, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber or onion

Any thin-sliced meats

Good olive oil and vinegar (red wine or balsamic)

Slice loaf of bread in half, lengthwise. Pull out a little of the inside fluff of the bread, allowing for more room for filling.

Smear spreadable stuff all over both sides of bread. Layer ingredients evenly up and down bread. Douse both sides in a little oil and vinegar. Place top half of loaf on bottom loaf. Wrap in multiple layers of waxed paper and place under a heavy weight for at least an hour, ideally all day. Slice and eat sandwich.

— Starving Artist

Beef wrap

2 TBLS. mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. seasoning (finely chopped oregano, basil, parsley fresh from the garden)

1 10-inch tortilla

1 leaf romaine lettuce

2 thin slices mozzarella, cheddar or provolone cheese

2 thin slices of roast beef (or lamb)

2 large pieces roasted red pepper

4 asparagus spears, cooked

Combine mayonnaise and seasoning.

Spread over one side of tortilla.

Layer with lettuce, cheese and meat. Place red pepper pieces near center of meat.

Top with asparagus.

— Adapted from Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board recipe

Panzanella

3/4 cup plum tomatoes (3/4 inch, chop)

3/4 cup cucumber (de-seeded 3/4 inch, chop)

2 cups lightly toasted Italian bread (like ciabatta), chopped into 3/4 inch thick cubes

1/3 cup red onion (very thinly sliced)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 to 3 cups mixed greens

5 raspberries

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

3 to 4 TBLS. quality wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 toe garlic (smashed)

Pinch sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mash berries, add vinegar, whisk in mustard and oil to make vinaigrette.

Place bread in bowl and lightly anoint bread with 2 to 3 tablespoons vinaigrette.

Rub large bowl with garlic.

Chop veggies, place in larger, garlic-rubbed bowl with greens, add 2 tablespoons dressing.

Using both hands toss lightly with cheese. There should be no excess dressing. Add bread into large bowl. Toss lightly, add salt and pepper, serve ASAP.

— Doug Cordier

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