Calling all Foodies: The Latin House

If your palate is nudging you to try something new, check out The Latin House in Grand Rapids, Michigan! Here diners can enjoy a quiet, intimate setting and sample traditional meals from Colombia, Peru, and Argentina!

My little brother, Jake, and family were visiting from Florida a few weeks ago. His wife, Ren, is a Spanish teacher who grew up enjoying many of these dishes and often visited Argentina through cultural exchange and graduate programs. She was our guide as we browsed the many delicious options on the menu.

MK ordered red beans and yuca. We all sampled fried yuca, which tasted similar to a thick French fry. I added some red beans to my rice. I was amazed at the amount of savory flavor packed into the small dish.

We also shared an order of tostones (fried plantain).

Ren ordered Pechuga Gaucho, an Argentinian dish, chicken coated with Panko and served with ham, provolone and fries

My nephew ordered Arroz Con Pollo, a Colombian dish, chicken, vegetables, and fried rice, served with fries (Luckily, he is not a big eater. The next day, my son, George, and I fought over the left overs! This is probably my favorite way to eat fried rice.)

Several of us enjoyed Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian dish, steak topped with a special sauce, served with rice and fries. The surprise hit for this dish was the tomatoes, marinated in a delicious sauce, a perfect compliment to the skirt steak. (I enjoyed a couple bites before remembering to take a picture.)

I look forward to trying the Churrasco next time!

The Latin House

3363 Remembrance Rd. NW

Grand Rapids, MI

Open Wednesday-Sunday

NOTE: At the time of our visit, they did not have a sign (look for street numbers). The Latin House offers seating for approximately 25.

Thanks for reading!

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What’s a Galette?

Paul, my Farmers’ Market neighbor, is quite the adventurous curmudgeon. A retired house painter, turned baker, he often shares stories about fly-fishing in the western US or sailing our Great Lakes. Paul also has a side-gig in retirement, baking delicious breads and cookies prepared in his homemade, outdoor, wood-fired oven. Last year, he started offering peach galettes, a rustic French pastry. After trying one, Chad and I added this tasty treat to our baking regimen. Here’s our version:

This Peach Galette can quickly be prepared with minimal effort:

  • Place a prepared pie crust on a baking sheet
  • Mix 1/2 tablespoon of flour, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon in a bowl
  • Gently toss peach slices (approx 2-3 large, fresh peaches, peeled and sliced) in mixture and spread in middle of pie crust (allow a 2-3 inch circle of pie crust around the outside)
  • Begin folding the pie crust around the edge, until completing the circle
  • Brush crust with olive oil and sprinkle with brown sugar
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown
  • Let sit for 5 minutes before eating, pairs well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream

Looking for other recipe ideas? Try apples or a savory spinach and feta galette…we’re going to try a tourtiere galette this winter.

Note: Unused portions should be covered, refrigerated, and enjoyed within 3 days.

Thanks for reading!

A Badger and a Cheesehead Walk into a Supper Club…

Chad and I recently enjoyed a vacation in Wisconsin. We boarded the S.S. Badger in Ludington, MI and traveled across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, WI. The four hour voyage includes activities for the whole family: Games, food, movies, children’s activities, cocktails for the adults, etc. Passengers can sit below deck, walk laps around the ship, or enjoy a lounge chair on the front deck. The cost (including a vehicle) is comparable to fuel prices for travelers driving around the lake. The trip provides a memorable adventure, though Chad thinks this counts as a cruise (I disagree).

Our first stop was Milwaukee, specifically the Harley Davidson Museum. Visitors can experience riding a new Harley (even without a license).

The museum offered insight into the humble beginnings of this company, the strategic planning to survive the Great Depression, their role in WWII, motorcycles in the movies, something for everyone!

We enjoyed a wine tasting and purchased some smoked whitefish at the Milwaukee Public Market.

Later, we had time to visit the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Museum in Oshkosh. Founded by Paul Poberezny in the 1950s, the museum is a tribute to the air craft “gear heads,” passionate home builders and restorers. This site also hosts a spectacular air show each July.

The Curtiss “Jenny,” America’s first mass produced aircraft, this one was found in an old barn.

The EAA Museum also has quite the collection of WWII airplane art.

My favorite location was Port Washington! This quiet port city offers local wine, an amazing smoked fish house, lovely shops, and miles of beautiful lakeside trails.

A fun bike shop for fans of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Near the end of our trip, I had the opportunity to sing at the local Supper Club.

For those in the Midwest, Wisconsin has many lovely destinations, worthy of a long, weekend road trip.

Thanks for reading!

Kilkenny Corkers in Concert

This past weekend, Kilkenny Corkers opened for the Irish band, One for the Foxes. Thank you to the audience members who shared video clips. Below is a montage, something from Paula, Maggie, and Colleen.

Found this YouTube video from One for the Foxes:

Live performances provide a glimpse into the “heart and soul” of music, difficult to capture in studio recording. I hope you have time to relax at an outdoor concert this summer and support this craft.

Best of luck, One for the Foxes, on your summer tour!!!

Thanks for reading!

Farm Markets, Nettles, and the Start of Summer

This past weekend was the annual nettle harvest, and Chad made a batch of nettle and asparagus soup (a favorite of Chad’s homemade soups, perfect with crusty bread, and a dish the vegan will eat). I’m excited to begin the Farm Market Season. This weekend, Cairn Hill Farms will have a stand at these markets:

  • 5/25 Middleville (8-1)
  • 5/26 Hastings (9-1)

We offer the following products:

    • Beeswax Lip Balms: A blend of coconut oil, avocado oil, beeswax, and vitamin E
    • Sprays: Enjoy as a room spray or facial toner
    • Essential Oil Blends: Add to a favorite lotion, make a spray, or use for aromatherapy
    • Salt Scrub: Treat your feet with this lovely new product!
    • Farm Fresh Eggs, Veggies, and Nettle Iced Tea

Can’t make it to the market or want a custom blend? Please message me cairnhillfarms.net

Orders can be shipped.

Nettle and Asparagus Soup

Below is Cairn Hill Farms Summer 2018 Newsletter.

Thanks for reading!

The Summer of 1990: Movies, Memories, and Idle Hour

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Recently, I’ve been thinking about those special times, moments that just happen, no planning involved. One special memory was the summer of 1990 with buddies since Kindergarden, Rick and Matt (aka Booger, a well deserved nickname due to Matt’s ability to belch the alphabet). During those summer days, we all worked mundane local jobs, but most Saturday nights, we usually ended up at Booger’s house.

Booger lived three doors down, and Rick lived around 1/2 mile in the other direction. Often the evening began with boredom at home and a walk down the block to see what Matt was doing. Rick would later show up in his late 80s Gran Turismo. Matt’s house was a stone’s throw from three fraternities. However, most of the college students were home for summer; Hillsdale Street was quiet. We raided the fridge and watched movies, walked to Mauck Elementary School a block away, or drove to Baw Beese Lake to swim or just watch the water.

Looking back on that summer, I can’t remember a particular movie, meal, or noteworthy event. Rather, those Saturday nights blended into a collective, a time remembered with great fondness. What made this time so special? We didn’t do anything particularly memorable. I recently came across the term, “idle hour,” time spent doing nothing in particular. We spoke of our dreams for the future, heading into our last year of high school. Mostly, we laughed a lot that summer, hold your stomach, fall off the couch laughter. Perhaps this was our “idle hour.”

When was the last time you enjoyed “idle hour?”

Thanks for reading!

Cairn Hill Farms Summer 2017

  

Hello Friends!

The 2017 Farm Market Season has finally arrived!! Hope you have time to visit this summer:

Friday’s Middleville (8-1)
Saturday’s Hastings (9-1)

This year, Cairn Hill Farms is offering the following products:

Farm fresh eggs from our happy hens who wander the farm and surrounding woods

Beeswax Lip Balm:

Paddy’s Peppermint
Just the Bees (unscented)
Tangerine Tea
Wild Irish Roses (tinted with hibiscus powder, unscented)
Lavender Nettle
Cherry Hibiscus (natural cherry flavor tinted with hibiscus powder)

Sprays (Use as facial toner, in the kitchen, or even on linens):
Now in two sizes (8ml sample size and 4 oz)!

Lavender
Citrus
Morning Mist (a blend of jasmine, orange, and lavender)
Sinus Blend (peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary-8ml only)

Nettle iced tea by the glass and dried nettles gathered on our farm (many products are infused with nettle as well)

Body Butters (Perfect when heavy moisturizing is needed):
Peppermint (infused with nettle and lemongrass)
Lavender

A final bit of fun…
Sparkle plenty-I made a small batch of sparkle lip balm and shimmering lotion (at this time I have VERY LIMITED quantities, so stop by the market or send a message if interested).

Can’t make it to the market? Many of these items are also available on my website.

Happy summer!! Thanks for reading!

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