May 2009

Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings is Ann Arbor’s guru of ganache and doyenne of delights both sweet and savory. In addition to creating some of the best handmade truffles I’ve ever eaten – flavors like fresh garden mint, rosemary-lemon, and salt caramel – she’s a fabulous chef of dinner-type foods as well.

Tammy’s begun a new venture for the summer months when it’s too warm for chocolate:  Tammy’s Tastings Supper Club. The idea is that she will peruse the market for the freshest seasonal foods and combine them into a tasting menu for a private dinner for up to eight people. With food that fresh, she won’t be posting menus in advance,  but she lists the following sample menu on her web site:

Wild Mushroom Tartlette
Seared Scallop with Tarragon Leek Sauce
Salad of Baby Greens with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Lake Perch with Beurre Blanc and Roasted Asparagus
Roasted Quail with Yellow Oyster Mushrooms, Pea Shoots and White Grits
Cheese Plate with Garnishes
Rhubarb Galette and Vanilla Ice Cream
Petit Fours

Dinners will also benefit local food groups, and she’s chosen Preserving Traditions as the first recipient! I will be helping her cook and serve the meal, and will probably say a few words about the group, but don’t worry – I won’t talk your ear off. This is really about the food, and experiencing Tammy’s creative style and exquisite execution.

Please see Tammy’s blog entry Tammy’s Tastings Supper Club for more information and to reserve a spot at the table June 6th.

cannersHi, folks!

Well, PT is off to a great start (if your participation and enthusiasm  at events are the sign of greatness!) and I think it’s time we start talking about the community kitchen aspect of the group.

The dream is to equip the Grange kitchen with kitchen tools that group members can use for their own food preservation or larger-scale cooking projects (bake the week’s bread, make and freeze a bunch of entrees, make a wedding cake, etc.). We might also consider “harvest processing” tools like pea shellers, cherry pitters, grain winnowing machines, etc. (We have a couple cider presses already!)

What’s important to you? What equipment would you like to be able to use at the Grange kitchen? What would you like to see from the Grange kitchen as a social space? What types of events are most interesting to you (classes, potlucks, canning parties, entree-making, community meals…)?


yogurtJarSeven people joined us at the Grange last Sunday to learn to make yogurt and granola. Yogurt, as a process, takes time but not much attention once the milk has come up to temperature. Granola is also easy, though you really need to watch the timer once it goes into the oven.

We made half a gallon of plain yogurt and three batches of granola: pineapple/coconut, sesame/currant, and “the kitchen sink” with wonderful crispy walnuts, sesame seeds, and several kinds of dried fruit. Even after our yogurt parfait buffet, there was plenty for each person to take home.

There’s lots of variation in recipes for both yogurt and granola. The instructions below are a good set of guidelines – don’t be afraid to play with them a bit to suit your taste.


  1. Heat one or two quarts of milk to 180 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat it until just before it boils. You want steam and a few bubbles, but not actual boiling.
  2. Cool it to 110 degrees – just barely warm to the touch.
  3. Take about 1/2 cup of milk out and dissolve your starter. You can use prepackaged starter or existing yogurt.
  4. Add the starter back to the big pot of milk and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour into containers and keep warm for 4-8 hours. We used a cooler with a hot pack – you can use any method you can think of to keep the jars at around 90-100 degrees.
  6. Once it’s thickened, store in the fridge.

Yogurt notes:

  • You can use any kind of milk: skim, whole, creamtop, powdered, ultra-pasteurized, and even soy.
  • There’s a lot of variation using yogurt as starter. Best results come from homemade yogurt started with packaged starter, but you can also use Dannon plain yogurt – about 2-3 Tbl per quart of milk.
  • The thickening of the yogurt comes from keeping it warm during the incubation period.
  • The yogurt will reach maximum tartness (and lowest lactose levels) after 3-4 days.
  • It’ll keep at least 2 weeks in the fridge.


You can mix an match any flavor combination you like, but keep these proportions roughly equal:

  • 5 cups dry ingredients: rolled oats, other rolled grains, puffed grain cereal
  • 1 cup nuts or seeds
  • 1/2 cup oil plus 1/2 cup honey or other sweetener
  • 1 cup dried fruit and/or coconut

Method of assembly:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients and the nuts.
  2. Heat the honey and oil until it’s very liquid.
  3. Pour the honey and oil over the dry ingredients and stir to coat thoroughly.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
  5. When the nuts start to get toasty, or the oats start to brown, remove from oven.
  6. Stir in the fruit and coconut while it’s still warm.
  7. Cool and eat!

strawberry jamCome learn to can with Preserving Traditions! We’ll be making a relatively low-sugar strawberry jam recipe that requires only three ingredients, but can be adapted to a variety of interesting flavor combinations.

Once the jam is made, we’ll learn how to can it in a simple water bath canner. This water bath technique can be used to can any jam, jelly, fruit, and many kinds of tomatoes and salsas.

Bring 3 quarts of fresh strawberries and 2 empty pint canning jars (or 4 half-pint jelly jars). We’ll provide all the other ingredients plus equipment, lids, and bands.

Space is limited to 15 people – please RSVP here!

Sunday, June 14th
Pittsfield Grange
3337 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI