Livin’ La Vida Local: Holland

Looking for local ways to spend a Sunday afternoon? Head to Holland and enjoy a savory breakfast at The Biscuit. Here you’ll feel like family. With breakfast served all day and a large menu to satisfy all of your brunch cravings, The Biscuit is a shoe-in for your new favorite Sunday spot.

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Visit the Apothecary Gift Shop for an endless selection of trinkets for purchase. Here you’ll find all things Vera Bradley, stationary and Michigan-loving household items as well as new toys for the young ones at home.

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Want to make a full day out of your Holland visit? Pamper yourself with a community class at Bodhi Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio held every Sunday afternoon. The calming environment mixed with the community’s energy make for a rejuvenating yoga practice to kick start the week.

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Try Pereddies Restaurant & Deli for a delicious Italian dinner and a great wine selection. Located in Washington Square (across from The Biscuit), Pereddies offers high quality cuisine, attentive service and something for everyone.

Basil

Recipes

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Basil, an annual herb in northern gardens, adds delicate flavor and aroma to many culturally Greek, Italian, and Near Eastern dishes, as well as adapting itself well to varied dishes created in imaginative kitchens. Basil thrives in the heat of the summer but can be grown in greenhouses into the late fall and early in the spring.

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How to Prepare:

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Remove basil leaves from stems before using. Wash these gently to remove any garden grit.

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How to Store:

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Fresh basil deteriorates quickly; use as soon as possible. For short-term storage, wrap in a lightly damp towel and refrigerate. Do not wash prior to refrigeration. Freeze fresh leaves in a plastic zip-lock bag. Remove air, seal, and freeze. Do not thaw before use. Basil also dries very easily.

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How to Cook:

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Chop basil with stems into soups and stews. Toss fresh whole basil leaves into green salads and chopped into pasta or rice salads. Top slices of tomato with chopped fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. Layer basil leaves in salad dressings, tomato sauces, and as the main ingredient in pesto, but don’t forget to throw it into egg or cheese dishes, sautes, stir-fries, pureed vegetable soups, dips, and sauces.

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Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

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Recipes 

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Grilled Cremini Mushrooms Stuffed with Basil- and Parmesan-Mayo

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Ingredients

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  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup basil parmesan mayonnaise
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Preparation

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Place mushrooms in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

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Place mushrooms on the grill, gill side up, and cook until mushroom caps brown and start to release their moisture, 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until mushrooms are slightly soft, about 3 minutes more. Remove mushrooms to a tray, gill side up, and let cool for 3-5 minutes. Fill each mushroom with a spoonful of basil parmesan mayonnaise. Serve immediately.

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Recipe courtesy of Serious Eats

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Classic Basil Pesto

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Ingredients

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  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • 4 large or 6 medium garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup shredded romano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
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Preparation

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Put basil in a mortar with garlic, romano cheese, pine nuts, parsley, and salt. Pound until smooth, then add olive oil and mix until smooth. Or, whirl all ingredients in a blender.

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Recipe courtesy of My Recipes

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Potato, Spinach, and Red Pepper Frittata

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Ingredients

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  • 1 lb. medium waxy potatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. thinly sliced basil
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
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Preparation

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Boil 1 inch water in a 4-qt. saucepan fitted with a steamer insert. Steam potatoes, covered, adding more boiling water as needed, until tender, 1 hour. Let cool, then peel and thinly slice. Heat oven broiler. Heat oil in an ovenproof 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic, pepper, and onion until soft, 3–4 minutes. Add spinach; cook until wilted, about 1 minute.

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Stir in reserved potatoes, the butter, salt, and pepper. Stir in half the basil and the eggs and reduce heat to medium; cook until golden on the bottom, 8–10 minutes. Broil until set and golden on top, about 3 minutes. Garnish with remaining basil.

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Recipe courtesy of Saveur

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Fettuccine with Shiitake Mushrooms & Basil

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Ingredients

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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (1-½ cups)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine, or spaghetti
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
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Preparation

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Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil for cooking pasta. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

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Meanwhile, cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes or according to package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking liquid, Parmesan and ¼ cup basil to the mushrooms in the skillet; toss to coat well. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining basil.

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Recipe courtesy of Eating Well

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Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Basil Pesto Soup

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Ingredients

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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 slices preservative-free, all-natural bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced thinly
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas, preferably organic
  • 1 can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
  • Salt
  • 1 cup kale, chopped fine
  • 19-ounce package of high quality, all-natural cheese tortellini
  • Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil or parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
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Preparation

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Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook for a couple of minutes, until they start to brown. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil along with the chopped onion, garlic and leek. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened. Add the chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, potato and stir around for a minute or two. Add the stock, the chickpeas, and then the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you go. Add a few generous pinches of salt (be judicious if your stock is salted already). Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.

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Add the kale and the tortellini, and continue to cook over a simmer until both are tender and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve garnished with a spoonful of the pesto, a few drops of the aged balsamic, and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Chop the basil by hand until it's very fine…when you do this, you'll reduce it down to about ¼ cup. As you chop the basil, start to incorporate the other ingredients and chop them fine, too, until you have a lovely, finely chopped pesto. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the olive oil. Use as a garnish for the minestrone.

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Recipe courtesy of Food 52

Bosnian restaurant adds to a thriving local network in Grand Rapids

Bosna Express’ subtitle on Facebook is ‘modern European restaurant.’ This European-style bistro is just as likely to be found in Munich and Sarajevo as it is to be found on 28th St SW, just east of 131.

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Dino Duratovic, part-owner and general manager, says that the menu’s array of offerings has both multi-cultural appeal and strong Bosnian roots. From Philly cheesesteak to cevapi, the menu boasts plenty of Bosnian dishes with Mediterranean-style twists, like their gyro, served in soft lepinja bread, rather than in a pita. And there’s an ample selection of local microbrews. “You have to do it in Grand Rapids,” Duratovic explains.

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Duratovic’s father, Damir, like many of the Bosnian refugees who came to Grand Rapids in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, established himself on the local business scene with hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit. In 2001, he opened Bosna Express, first on Clyde Park Ave in Wyoming, now at 128 28th St SW.

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The Duratovics’ vision is to provide excellent food and quality service. It’s clear their hard work has paid off – as it has for other Bosnians and recent immigrants. “There are so many Bosnian companies here,” the younger Duratovic explains. Those who fled conflict in the former Yugoslavia now claim business success and a thriving local network in Grand Rapids. “It’s not only about the Bosnian community, we’re excited to see anyone do well,” Duratovic says.

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At Bosna Express, both Bosnian and English are spoken fluently, and everyone from sports fans to local beer aficionados will feel at home. Framed jerseys hang on the brown brick and wood panel walls, and soccer trophies line the top of a cooler behind the counter. The restaurant has the familiar feel of a pub, and the wide-boothed comfort of a family restaurant.

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Bosna Express’ menu combines both contemporary and traditional offerings to create innovative meals. Local micro brews like Perrin’s Hotbox Brown and international classics like a trappist ale from Belgium pair perfectly with comfort-themed dishes. The cevapi, a Bosnian meat sandwich on soft, house-made lepinja bread is garnished with locally-sourced fixings and served open faced – what Dino Duratovic calls “Grand Rapids-style.”

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Other Bosnian favorites such as cimbur, a fried egg dish, are offered alongside European mainstays like beef stroganoff and stuffed peppers. Smoked sausages, feta and baklava are also available from a small deli. At Bosna Express, the combination of local ingredients and Bosnian tradition yields a food experience infused with a distinctive Grand Rapids story.

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Find Bosna Express on Facebook // See a short video featuring Dino Duratovic

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Hours: 10am – 9pm.

A Different Type of Green Beer this St. Patrick’s Day

On March 17, bars and restaurants across West Michigan will again break out the green beer as revelers celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

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However, there’s one local microbrewery that observes a slightly different ‘green beer’ tradition around this time.

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Each year, Brewery Vivant publishes its ‘Beer the Change’ report, which highlights the company’s sustainability goals and the progress it has made toward reaching them over the past 365 days.

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“We want to be transparent about what we’re doing and also talk about the areas for improvement,” said Brewery Vivant co-owner Kris Spaulding. “We hope it can be a boilerplate for other businesses to follow.”

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The report outlines 14 goals surrounding sustainability and the social aspects of the business. For example, Vivant tries to make 90{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} of all purchases from within a 250-mile radius. Over the past year, 63.5{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} of the brewery’s purchases were made locally. The company also strives to achieve zero waste; since 2013, less than 1{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} of Vivant’s waste goes to the Kent County incinerator.

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She has also set a goal of generating 10{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} of their renewable energy on site. They hope to significantly surpass that percentage by installing solar array panels later this year across the entire barrel and chapel roofs of the facility.

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Sustainability has always been at the forefront of Brewery Vivant’s business plan since it was devised 8 years ago. “It’s something that we not only review internally, but post out in the community so that the public can also hold us accountable,” Spaulding says. “We welcome constructive feedback.”

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The emphasis on viability extends to the Spaulding home as well. The family is expanding their own garden to grow ingredients that will be used at the pub, and they’re also partnering with Well House to grow plants that will be cared for by residents there.

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Giving back to the community is also a major point of emphasis for Brewery Vivant. In 2015, they exceeded their goal of donating 1{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} of sales back to the community (1.02{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de}), with nearly half of going to their own East Hills Neighborhood. For every kids meal sold at Vivant for $5, five sack suppers are donated to students at Congress Elementary across the street. Vivant’s recent 5th Anniversary party raised money for technology enhancements at the school.

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“We think the report gets to the “meat” behind our sustainability plan in an easy and fun way,” she says.

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To learn more about Brewery Vivant’s commitment to sustainability and read this year's Beer the Change report in its entirety, visit their website.

Q&A on Growers’ Fare with Rachelle from the West Michigan Growers Group

Rachelle Bostwick is the Director of the West Michigan Growers Group and is the head farmer at Earthkeeper Farm. Rachelle has worked alongside MSU Extension and Local First to bring you Growers' Fare, an event created under a USDA grant-funded CSA promotion project.

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Q: What is the West Michigan Growers Group and how is your organization affiliated with Growers’ Fare?

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A: The Growers Group is a farmer-to-farmer organization that support small farms and is building a more local food system. Our farmers were striving to increase customer awareness about the CSA model and the amazing farms we have in West Michigan. Therefore, we partnered with Local First and MSU Extension to create the Growers’ Fare CSA Open House and project.

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Q: What is the purpose of Growers’ Fare?

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A: The Growers’ Fare will give local food-loving people a chance to meet and talk to 20 CSA farmers from around West Michigan. Attendees can start building a personal relation with their farmer and they can gain a deeper understanding of how your food is grown and why this matters.

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Q: What does the Growers Group hope that attendees will get out of Growers’ Fare?

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A: Customers can gain a deeper understanding about how their food is produced, start building a personal connection with their farmers, and choose the farm that best suits their family.  

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Q: Who should attend Growers’ Fare?

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A: The Growers’ Fare event is mainly intended for people who eat, which is EVERYONE! The farms are located all over West Michigan. Many have pick ups in Grand Rapids or Holland, with other locations including Caledonia, Greenville, Coopersville, Rockford, Ada, Muskegon, and more. Some of the farms accept Double Up Food Bucks for their CSA, making it half price for folks receiving EBT benefits. The event is free to attend. There will be kids activities for families, cooking demos, refreshments, and door prizes!

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Q: Why is the CSA model important to members of the Growers Group?

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A: Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a great way to support small farms, and has a lot of benefits for the farmer and customer. The farmer is able to pay for the upfront costs of running the farm (such as seed, labor, equipment costs), and shares some of the risk of production with the CSA members. These factors help make small scale, ecological farming more financially viable. The customer is able to build a connection with where their food comes from, know how it was produced, and get a bunch of super-fresh food every week for a great price. CSAs build a community connection between eaters and farmers. CSAs are the ultimate example of the local food economy.

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Q: What are you most excited about for the event this year?

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A: We have an amazing group of farmers coming to the event this year. Some of the best farms in West Michigan will be there to meet you, including fruit, vegetable, meat, egg, flower, mushroom, and milk CSAs. Many of the farms use natural or certified organic growing practices. With the wide range of farms and locations, everyone will be able to find a farm that works for their family. 

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Learn more about Growers' Fare!

Winter Squash

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Winter squash comes in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. Most winter squash are interchangeable in recipes. Winter squash has excellent storability and nutritive value making it an important fall and winter vegetable for the seasonal eater. Winter squash is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates.

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How to Prepare:

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To boil or steam squash, cut the squash into 1-½ to 2 inch chunks peeling before or after cooking. To bake winter squash, slice in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place face down on a cookie sheet.

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How to Store:

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Winter squash will store at room temperature for at least a month. Store for several months in a dry and cool (50-55 degrees) but not cold location. Bruised or damaged squash will deteriorate more quickly.

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How to Cook:

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You can enjoy winter squash boiled, steamed, mashed, pureed, roasted, or baked.

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Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

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nRecipes

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Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs

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Ingredients

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  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium butternut squash or 1 whole acorn squash (1-¼ pounds), halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into ½ -inch pieces (3-½ cups)
  • 10 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (1-½ cups)
  • 2 cups packed coarsely chopped kale (from 1 small bunch)
  • 4 large eggs
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Directions
nPreheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, and cilantro, then season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large straight-sided ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

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Add squash and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and transfer to oven. Roast, stirring once, until golden and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir kale into squash mixture, along with ¼ cup cilantro mixture. Return to oven 7 minutes. Make 4 wells in vegetables and crack an egg into each. Season eggs with salt. Return to oven and bake until whites are set but yolks are still runny, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve, drizzled with more cilantro dressing.

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Recipe and image courtesy of Martha Stewart

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Roasted Winter Squash

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Ingredients

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  • 6 pounds butternut squash
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup dark unsulfured molasses
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
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Preparation

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Halve lengthwise, discard the seeds, then cut into 1-inch dice. Place in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter ceases to foam and has turned a light brown, pull the pan off the heat and immediately add the sage, rosemary, sugar, vinegar (stand back so as not to get splattered), and molasses. Mix well and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to meld the flavors. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

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Pour the vinegar mixture over the squash and toss well, then transfer to a heavy rimmed baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. Place in the oven and roast, tossing at least once, until very tender and caramelized, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle but still warm, so the liquids are runny. Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the warm squash and all the cooking liquids to a food processor and process until smooth. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

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Recipe and image courtesy of Food Network

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Creamy Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup

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Ingredients

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 parsnips, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • plain yogurt and lime zest, for serving
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Preparation

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Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the broth, parsnips, squash, and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the squash is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Stir in the lime juice. Serve topped with the yogurt, lime zest, and pepper.

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Recipe and image courtesy of Real Simple

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Chickpea, Spinach & Squash Gnocchi

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Ingredients

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  • 1 pound frozen or shelf-stable gnocchi
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced peeled butternut squash or unpeeled delicata squash (1- to 2-inch-long slices)
  • ½ cup sliced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-14-ounce can vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 8 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1-15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar reduction or 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
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Preparation

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If using frozen gnocchi, cook in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain, rinse and pat dry. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

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Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, squash, shallots and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in broth, currants, sage and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring, until the squash is almost cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add spinach, chickpeas and the gnocchi and cook, gently stirring, until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes more. Serve drizzled with balsamic reduction (or balsamic vinegar).

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Recipe and image courtesy of Eating Well

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Pizza Del Papa (Butternut Squash and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza)

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Ingredients

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  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 lb.), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¾ cup olive oil, plus more
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1-¼ lb. smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. ricotta
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 each red and yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pizza dough
  • 16 fresh basil leaves
  • Fine semolina, for dusting
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Preparation

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Heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss butternut squash with ¼ cup olive oil and salt on a baking sheet; bake until tender, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a food processor with ¼ pounds of mozzarella, plus ricotta, cream, and salt; purée until smooth. Heat ¼ cup oil and chile flakes in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and salt; cook until golden, 8-10 minutes, and transfer to a bowl. Add remaining oil to skillet; return to medium-high heat. Add peppers; cook until golden, 5-7 minutes.

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Place a pizza stone under the broiler; heat for 30 minutes. Working in 4 batches, dust 1 ball dough with semolina. Using your fingertips, press dough into a 10″ circle about ¼ inch thick, leaving a 1 inch crust around the edges. Hold dough straight up, and with fingertips circling crust, slide fingers around crust in a circular motion as you would turn a steering wheel until dough in the center is stretched to about ⅛ inches thick; transfer to a semolina-dusted pizza peel. Spread ½ cup squash purée over dough and distribute a quarter each of the zucchini, peppers, and remaining cheese, plus basil leaves; drizzle with oil. Slide pizza onto stone; broil until cheese melts and crust is puffed and charred in spots, 3-4 minutes. Serve hot.

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Recipe and image courtesy of Saveur

The Sacredness of Hands

Our hands are sacred space. We use them each day to complete a variety of tasks from the mundane squeeze of lemon into our morning tea to kneading the bread for an evening meal that will nourish our bodies. We use our hands continuously throughout the day. From the penning of letters to dear friends, to the wiping of milk spills left behind by our children. Our hands matter. We, whether we call ourselves an artist or not, we all create.

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The word creation comes from the latin creare: to produce, to make life. Our hands make life. They produce work and words, they shape and they make.

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Five years ago, Cyndi Casemier opened C2C Gallery on Washington Avenue downtown Grand Haven. The gallery showcases the work of local Michigan artists, along with a handful of New England artists. A third generation shop owner, Cyndi opened the doors of C2C to welcome in makers; to provide a space that allows them to market and display the work of their hands, and to put their work in the hands of others.

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Currently there are over forty artists with work on display at C2C.

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Cyndi, a ceramic artist herself has mugs, bowls, and other functional items available to not only display on your kitchen shelves, but also to pull down to use for a cup of afternoon tea or an evening scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can drive to a near by home goods store and buy a bulk box of mugs or an eight piece set of plates, but to walk into a gallery like C2C and to slip your hand into the handle of a wheel thrown mug, that connects you to something greater. In holding that mug you are showing support for a maker. You are appreciating beauty and receiving the gift that has been chiseled into the clay by the hands of another.

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C2C is home to “art for your every day life”.

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Places like C2C advocate for and spread connection within the community. Over the years Cyndi, and others at C2C have collaborated with local businesses and taken part in Grand Haven events. Currently Cyndi is working with Blueberry Haven, located a block over from C2C, on a mug design for their shop. Each year, the gallery assists with the high school ceramic show, as well as the annual ArtWalk event in Grand Haven. The gallery also opens its space to local musicians on the first Friday of each month, allowing them to showcase their musical work.

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Art brings healing, it brings joy, and it showcases story. The process of creating with the hands becomes a spiritual practice. It reaches beyond one’s self. When we grasp local, handmade art we also grasp, with our mind, the power of local and of community. By purchasing the work of makers, not only do we bring beautiful art into our home, but we also support the work of our neighbor and in return take part in building a stronger community enriched with beauty and joy.

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Follow along with C2C Gallery on Instagram and Facebook. You can read more about the work displayed in their space, upcoming events, and collaborations on their blog.

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Stop in the gallery this month to take in the new art exhibit, “A Contemporary Look At Our Natural World” by featured artist EP Lewandowski.