According to the Michigan Bean Commission, Michigan grows a lot of beans… fifteen different kinds, including pinto, black, kidney and northern beans. In fact, with the help of North Dakota, the two states account for half of all production in the United States. A few more fun facts about Michigan’s dried beans followed by an easy and delicious bean soup recipe:
–Mexico is the largest buyer of Michigan beans outside the U.S.
–Michigan is Europe’s largest supplier of dry beans
This recipe is adapted from the indispensable Joy of Cooking:
–1 1/4 C northern beans
–6 C water
–1 smoked pork chop (optional for flavoring)
–1 large onion
–3 stalks celery
–1 large potato
–2 cloves garlic
–salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Soak beans overnight, then drain and place in large soup pot with water and pork chop. Chop all vegetables and add to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender. If you like, take a potato masher to soup to make it a bit creamy. Ladle steaming hot into soup bowls and enjoy!
Last summer, we went to the Eastern Market to buy a cow and pig. We gave Dan Hiday a deposit for a quarter cow and half pig and waited.
Last week, Dan of Hiday Farm delivered us our meat. Our freezer is filled and here are the benefits we see to buying our meat locally. One, it tastes great. The animals are not plugged wit hormones or antibiotics–ever. They’re pasture raised and grass fed–as nature intended. Our money is staying in the state of Michigan, from animal to farmer to processing. The carbon footprint is smaller as our food was not flown cross country or across continents. And we have now have the opportunity to tell other people about farmers like Dan Hiday. Somehow, all these things makes me feel better about the food we eat.
My 5-year-old son and I were in Ace Hardware recently, looking at all the glittering ornaments for sale. Of course, he wanted to buy every one on the shelf, but especially one for his kindergarten teacher. I suggested we make homemade granola instead. A another shopper who was within earshot mentioned she was a teacher and would LOVE for a student to give her some homemade granola.
Here’s to all the teachers of the world, and anyone else who appreciates the simple goodness of a homemade gift. The ingredients of honey and oats can be picked up from your local farmers market, which makes it a local gift, too.
–3 C old-fashioned oats
–1/2 C whole almonds, coarsely ground
–1/2 C whole almonds
–2 t cinnamon
–1/2 t ground nutmeg
–1/2 C honey
–1/2 C brown sugar
–1/4 C vegetable oil
–1 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. In small saucepan over low heat, melt honey, brown sugar, oil and vanilla. Remove when sugar is completely melted. Pour over oat mixture, mixing thoroughly. Spread evenly on greased cookie sheet and bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely. Mixture will harden. Break up before storing in airtight container. Makes 4 cups.
Scoop into simple brown lunch bags, decorated and tied with holiday ribbon.
I love our handcrafted, black cherry wood Baguette Bread Boards and Cheese Boards. They’re beautiful, they have a great energy about them, they’re handcrafted by very talented craftsmen (including my husband, Mark), and they’re made here in Michigan.
We’ve also done our best to source with other Michigan suppliers. Like General Hardwood in Detroit who mills this luscious wood. And French Paper Company in Niles, Michigan who makes the paper that we use for our tags.
So when you get a chance, check out our website, become a fan on fb, and follow us on twitter.
Thanks for stopping by.