Friday, July 30, 2010


The Fish Monger's Wife ready to serve you with fresh fish at the Muskegon Farmer's Market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Her market blackboard with prices.

In the late 1950's, the St. Lawrence Seaway was opened allowing the Lamprey eels from the Atlantic Ocean into the Great Lakes where they destroyed the fish native to the lakes. Before that tragedy happened, whole baked lake trout or whitefish was often on our dinner table. Fresh out of the lake and into the oven, they needed nothing to enhance their flavor. They were fantastic.

My Mom, before the Lamprey eels, shopped at a meat market, a fruit market and a fish market. All the clerks and owners knew her as she was a good customer but a demanding, in a polite fashion, customer. She would go to the fish market to get fish for dinner because it was one of my Dutch Dad’s favorites.

At the market she was always greeted by name. She would tell them she want a whitefish for dinner. The man behind the counter would say, “Mrs. B, I think you’d like this Lake Trout better. It was his way of telling Mom which fish was the freshest without letting the other customers know.

It is very difficult to find Lake Trout anymore and it is my all time favorite fish. The Fish Monger’s Wife sometimes is able to get them.  She calls me, and she will call you too if you ask her, when she has a supply. Lake Trout has such a wonderful flavor that it really doesn’t need anything more than a sprinkle of salt and a simple, quick sauté/bake.  If you don't live in Western Michigan, this method works very well with Rainbow Trout or other Trout. 


The Lake Trout, scaled and bones removed.

Place a little butter and a little olive oil in an ovenproof skillet.

I need to cut the fillets in half for them to fit in my skillet.

Place skin side down in hot skillet.

Add a sprinkle of salt, I like sea salt.

Fry on skin side until the skin is crispy.

Place skillet in a 350° oven for 5 to 10 minutes depending how thick the fish fillet is.

Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

I probably should have decorated the plate with some herbs, but to me the fish is beautiful as it is.  Crispy skin and rich trout flavor can't be beat.  Enjoy!!

If you want a simple tartar sauce to serve with fish, here is my recipe for homemade sauce from when I lived in the 1960’s in Marquette, Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior. If I wanted fish at that time all I had to do is go down to the docks when the fishing boats came in and tell them what I wanted.

So quick, so easy, so good.

1/2 c mayonnaise
1 heaping T sweet pickle relish
1 t cider vinegar
1/2 t sugar

Mix the ingredients together, adjust seasoning to taste.

Ingredients: Sugar, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and sweet pickle relish.

Mix ingredients together.  Adjust to individual taste.

Wanda's Lake Superior Tartar Sauce on salmon sandwich.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


The Holland Market has just about everything including the best Dutch treats and breads from the deBoer's Bakkerij.

Two of our favorite vendors, Tom and his sister, at the Holland Farmer's Market. 
Tom and his sister bring lots of different peppers and vegetable to the market.  Yesterday they had zucchini shaped like a ball.  Tom's sister told us she slices them and puts them on the grill.  Sounded good to us!

This is a method. The recipe is up to you. There are so many different ways that this method could be used. Miniature veggie pizzas, Italian-style zucchini which is what we did, but Mexican would be wonderful with chili powder, garlic powder, green chiles and Monterrey Jack cheese. What ever sounds good at the moment will work with these cute little balls of zucchini.

Aren't these round zucchini the cutest things?  We used garlic powder, an Italian spice, red onion, tomato and fresh basil from our deck boxes.

Slice Magic 8 Ball Zucchini and brush each side with olive oil.

Sprinkle on seasonings of your choice.  We used garlic and Tuscan Sunset.

Thinly slice some red onions.

Slice tomatoes.  I only had Roma tomatoes. 

Brush onions and tomatoes with olive oil.

Slice cheese of your choice or use shredded Parmesan.

Grill on medium coals for 4 to 5 minutes on one side with the grill cover closed.

Turn zucchini to other side and add other vegetables if using. Grill another 4 to 5 minutes.

Stack zucchini slices with vegetable of your choice.

Top with another vegetable and fresh herbs, if desired.

Top with cheese, if desired, and cover the grill.  Grill until cheese melts.

Varieties that we made.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Lazy Daisy Cakes have a history dating back to the 1930’s. They were quick cakes that could be thrown together at the last minute. Dessert was always part of the meal when I was growing up. My Grandpa had to have something sweet after he had eaten. On busy laundry days or cleaning days, my Grandma would make a quick cake and sometimes just frost it with jelly and top it with plain coconut. This recipe I found in the King Arthur Flour-The Baking Sheet. I added a little Michigan Cottage Cook magic dune sand to make it a little different and hopefully better.

So good!!  Enjoy!!

The first time I made this cake was for the Cousins Cottage Closing Party Weekend 2009. Since chores are made lighter with many hands, Tom’s cousins’ neighbors in Ohio and friends from Grand Rapids gathered to help close the cottage for the season. Tom and I joined the party to eat and socialize. We feasted on Friday night with the early arrivals.

The menu was Tom’s cousin’s perfectly seasoned and cooked pork tenderloin, French dark green beans from the Farmer’s Market, German Butterball potatoes smashed with fresh chives, butter and sour cream, and this cake. One Ohio neighbor led the way as the five of us practically licked the cake pan clean even though it should have served eight. For the party, I used fresh, fully ripe peaches and some blueberries I had in the freezer. A wonderful combination in any dessert, but combined in this cake with its special crispy edge and delightful flavor, it was truly memorable.

1 c flour
¼ t salt
1 t baking powder
½ to 1 c sugar, I used a ½ cup as the peaches were very ripe and sweet
1 large egg
¾ c milk
¼ c unsalted butter
1 t vanilla
1 quart fruit (4 c), peaches plus some blueberries
½ c sugar
½ t cinnamon
¼ t allspice

Ingredients:  I like more peaches and less blueberries for this cake but when I made the cake, peaches were just coming on the market and these were the only ones I had.

FOR THE CAKE: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Melt the butter in a custard cup and set aside to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and egg until thick and lemon colored. Stir in the flour mixture; mix in the milk, vanilla and melted butter. Spray a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray. Put batter into sprayed pan. FOR THE FRUIT: I like mainly peaches with some blueberries thrown in to compliment the peaches. Combine the fruit, ½-cup sugar and the spices. Pour or place on top of the batter. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 1 hour or until the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan. (I have to bake mine longer before the cake pulled away which is important to the crispy edge. This is due to the fact I always use more fruit than called for in the recipe.) Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Spray a 9-inch round pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

Melt butter and cool slightly.

Put vanilla in milk.

Beat together the sugar and egg until light and airy, and lemony color.  Set aside.

Peaches peel easily if you use the same method used to peel tomatoes.  Swirl a peach in boiling water.

After the boiling water bath the peel will slip right off.

Slice peaches.

Measure 4-cups of fruit and add 1/2-cup of sugar.  Add a 1/2-teaspoon of cinnamon.

Add 1/4-teaspoon allspice.

Mix the fruit, sugar and spices together.  Set aside.

Add flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture.

Add milk and vanilla to egg/sugar mixture.

Add melted butter to the egg/sugar mixture.

Mix all the ingredients and pour into sprayed pan.

Place fruit on the batter or just pour it on.

Ready for the oven.  Bake in preheated 350° for 1 hour.

Ready to serve.  Cake is best if eaten the day it is made but I like it the next day too.