Dinners @ Granor Farm

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I went to cooking school at Ballymaloe in Co. Cork, Ireland. That school is situated in the middle of 100 acre organic farm. Each morning students are responsible for harvesting the salad greens, herbs, and produce that will be used in that days recipes.

It was in this bucolic setting where I decided that I wanted my food to be a snapshot of a particular piece of land at a particular time. This spring I returned to rural life in pursuit of that goal.

I joined the team at Granor Farm in Three Oaks, Michigan as the Chef in Residence. Granor Farm is 22 acres in Michigan’s Harbor Country. It is certified organic, producing vegetables and grains. It is committed to education. Every summer, we host Farm Camps for kids where they get to do chores, learn about how things grow, identify beneficial bugs and pests, and do a daily cooking lesson.

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As an extension of that educational mission, we will be hosting a season of private dinners that connect guests to our farm. The diners will get a full farm tour, where they can see how we grow and ask questions about our practices. The meals feature produce and grains from Granor, meat proteins sourced from Local New Buffalo, fresh water fish sourced from Flagship in Lakeside, and cheeses from neighboring dairies.

These dinners are also a place for me to show new ways to cook with the ingredients that we see each season in our region. My favorite thing about cooking is making ingredients that we’ve all eaten a million times, seem new. For this menu there were two unconventional ways to eat spring greens— as soup and grilled for a smokey char.

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If you find yourself in Southwest Michigan this season, we hope to see you at our farm and around our table.

For available dates, more information, and to make a reservation, click HERE.

And a big thank you to Jamie and Eric Davis for the use of these photos. They are photographing Granor all season long to document how the farm evolves throughout the year. They are lovely– both the people and the photos themselves.

Lettuce Soup

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  • 4 oz butter
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 C white wine
  • 12 oz peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 qts water
  • 3 heads lettuce or bags of salad mix
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  1. Slice the onions thinly
  2. Heat the butter until melted
  3. Add the onion and salt and sweat until translucent
  4. Add the wine and allow to reduce until syrupy
  5. Add the water and bring to a boil
  6. Add the peas and allow to cook 2-3 minutes
  7. Remove from the heat
  8. Add the lettuce or pour the hot soup over the lettuce and allow to wilt off the heat
  9. Blend the soup in a blender until fully smooth
  10. Add the lemon zest, juice and more salt as desired
  11. Sometime I also add 1/2 C cream to thicken the mouth feel

Lettuce soup is a great way to use up greens that are past their prime. The greens used for this were harvested fresh that morning, but you can certainly use up whatever is in your fridge if it is getting a bit long in the teeth. Spinach and kale are great substitutes or additions.

Pok Choy w/ Mushrooms and Cream

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  • 4 small heads pok choy
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 C wine
  • 1 C cream
  • 6 oz mushrooms
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds, toasted
  1. Cut the pok choy in half and soak in cool water gently loosening the dirt from the base of the leaves
  2. Lift the pok choy from the water and allow to dry
  3. Thinly slice the onion
  4. Heat a glug of oil in a sauce pan
  5. Sweat the onion with a big pinch of salt until translucent
  6. Add the wine and allow to reduce until syrupy
  7. Add the cream and bring to a bubble
  8. Let the cream reduce by 25% or until the mouthfeel is thick and the sauce flavorful
  9. Add more salt as desired
  10. Thinly slice the mushrooms
  11. Heat the oven to 350F
  12. Toss the mushrooms with olive oil and, a big pinch of salt and pepper
  13. Bake the mushrooms in the hot oven until they are crispy
  14. Heat a grill on high
  15. Drizzle the pok choy with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
  16. Grill the pok choy cut side down until well marked and the leaves are slightly charred
  17. Flip the choy and allow to cook on the round side
  18. Place the choy on a serving platter
  19. Drizzle with the cream sauce
  20. Top with the mushrooms and sunflower seeds

The pok choy had gotten a bit wilty from the summer heat. The best way to revive greens like this is to give them a good soaking in cool water. These soaked for about 20 minutes both to wash them and perk them up. Allow them to dry before grilling or the leaves will steam more than char.

Marinated Whitefish with Lentils and Chard

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  • 6 oz whitefish filet per person
  • 3 lemons, zest and juice
  • 1 C olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C french lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili flake
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • 3 C water
  • 2 bunches swiss chard
  1. Heat oven to 350F
  2. Season the fish liberally with salt and drizzle with olive oil
  3. Place the fish on a sheet tray skin side down
  4. Bake until the fish is cooked through
  5. Zest and juice the lemons
  6. Combine with the olive oil and salt
  7. When fish is cooked through, slip the skin from the filets and immediately plunge into the lemon dressing
  8. Allow to cool in the dressing and allow to marinate minimum 1 hour or up to 3 days
  9. Slice the onion thinly
  10. In a large sauce pan, heat a glug of olive oil and sweat the onions, salt, chili flake until tender
  11. Add the white wine and reduce by half
  12. Add the lentils and add the water and bring to a boil, reduce and cook until the lentils are tender
  13. Cut the chard into 1/4” ribbons and thinly slice the stems
  14. Place the chard leaves and stem into a large bowl
  15. When the lentils are cooked through and the liquid mostly reduced, pour over the chard and allow to sit 3-5 minutes and gently wilt the chard
  16. Toss to combine the lentils and chard and transfer to a serving platter
  17. Top with the fish and pour the lemon dressing over the lentil salad
  18. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve

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