Here’s a few of the recipes from last night’s dinner. Most importantly, our version of the “Crisp and Cool” drink we had at the Pier restaurant. We didn’t have any fancy white balsamic vinegar here so we settled for what we had on hand. It was pretty close to what we enjoyed the other night.
1 shot gin
1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
3 ounces sparkling water
1 cucumber slice, halved
We also made stuffed tomatoes to serve with dinner, we are working on recreating the tomatoes we often enjoy at Birchwood Golf and Country Club. These tomatoes are really yummy but are not quite the same as are served at Birchwood. I think our version is healthier, so the next time we try them we will give them another try and see if we get closer to the Birchwood version but these are definitely worth making again.
I like to keep a bag of frozen spinach at all times, it’s so handy to use for dishes like this. I thaw the spinach in the microwave until it is just barely thawed and then give it a good squeeze with my hands to get out all the excess liquid. I started out with about a ½ cup frozen spinach and by the time it is thawed and squeezed, I had about half that amount. We used canned artichoke hearts and used about half of a pound can, we used the rest for the beet salad (recipe coming soon).
We removed the tops from the tomatoes and reserved the tops and chopped the tops into a fine dice and set them aside. The tomatoes were then ready to be seeded (have their seeds removed).. The easiest way to do this is to turn them upside down over the sink and give them a gentle squeeze, the seeds and some of the liquid surrounding them are quickly gone! If there is a bit of the guts of the tomato left, scoop it gently out with a teaspoon. The tomatoes are now ready to be stuffed.
5 or 6 medium tomatoes
½ cup frozen spinach
3 or 4 canned artichoke hearts, diced
2 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened
¾ cup ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
Follow directions above for topping and seeding tomatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend cream cheese and ricotta together until smooth, add spinach, artichokes, the reserved tops from the tomatoes, finely diced and salt until evenly mixed. To keep the tomatoes upright while baking, we used a cupcake pan and put one tomato in each “cupcake” spot. Stuff tomatoes and place in oven for 25 minutes. Ideally they will be heated through but the tomatoes will not be so cooked that they start losing their shape.
After dinner, we dug out some sparklers to celebrate a great 4th of July. I really love the parade in Harbor Springs, it is a real hometown Americana parade. I love the Harbor Springs High School band, for such a small high school, they have a really amazing band.
and we made one last stop at the Grain Train. I’ll end with a picture of the milk truck that was in the parking lot at the Grain Train in Petoskey, love what it says on the side of the truck, in case you can’t read it, it’s says, “Our cows aren’t on drugs, but they are on grass.”
It’s hard to find a prettier spot than Northern Michigan, beautiful rolling hills and a peak of Lake Michigan and plenty of other inland lakes around every corner. The parking lot for the Grain Train even had a view of the lake. If you haven’t made it to this part of Michigan you should give it a try, just don’t invite many of your friends, we don’t want it to get too crowded.