Arriving at Ann Arbor Cooks I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know how to cook, but there are a lot of different skills I would love to improve – including knife skills! Thankfully I got a chance to practice those and plan on going back in a couple weeks to take another to get more training!
The kitchen is set up so you can watch demonstrations, do hands on practice of the recipes and even watch the recipes from above – to see what is going on in the pans as things cook. The equipment and space would make any kitchen lover drool – including myself!
When we first arrived we were greeted by a large presentation of fresh dishes that were created with local Michigan dairy and vegetables that are coming in season. We found chilled pea soup, pickled vegetables and fresh veggies, local cheeses and of course a wide variety of milk to try!
Our host for the event was the Michigan Dairy News Bureau, who wanted to take the time to not only give us the facts about local Michigan dairy products but give us the opportunity to learn recipes to cook their great dairy products. Did you know that all of the milk from Michigan Dairies are hormone free? The only sugar that milk contains are natural sugars, similar to those you can find in fruit? And that Michigan Dairies provide 4.3% of the nations milk?
Milk is part of our daily life here in Michigan, and I have to say I’m happy that the milk I can purchase at Meijer and Kroger are from local farms. We go through 2 or more gallons in our small house a week, and that’s not even considering the yogurt, the cheese, and butter I use to cook with. It’s a big part of a lot of my recipes and knowing where it comes from is very important.
Milk contains so many of the nutrients we need to stay healthy it’s something we should all consider and keep in our diets. Your daily glass of milk contains Calcium, Vitamin D, Protein, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, Niacin and Phosphorus. It helps strengthen your bones, keeps your healthy and provides energy.
You can find more information on milk, it’s nutrients and more below!
While it is important to know what you’re eating, it’s also very important to know how to use it! Ann Arbor Cooks gave us a list of items that would be not only learn how to make – but be making ourselves!
- Cauliflower Soup with Brioche Crumbs and Bacon
- Four Cheese Mac-N-Cheese
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Pancetta & Herb-Roasted Pork Loin with Fig Jam
- Salted Caramel Pots de Creme with Whipped Cream and Sea Salt
- Spring Chopped Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Chef Natalie and Chef Allison demonstrated each dish for us and then broke us into small groups to make different portions of the meal. We were our own cooks for the night! Most of the items we made contained dairy items found locally.
My group – we were the Mac-n-Cheese and Salad Group! Not only did we make the (so I’m told) yummy pasta, but we made the salad and dressing. Remember I said I got some practice on my knife skills? We had to chop, slice and even make garlic paste. The result was a delicious spring salad with a creamy buttermilk Ranch Dressing!
My favorite recipe from the whole event: Cauliflower Soup. Mine of course we left the bread off of, but Jason has wanted me to try making soups and faux mashed potatoes with cauliflower and I’ve been hesitant. I’ll definitely be trying this at home soon. You can find the recipe below to try it yourself – you wont regret it!
- 2 c. milk
- 2 c. chicken stock
- 1 head of cauliflower, cored and broken into florets
- 1/2 onion sliced
- small handful of fresh thyme
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices Brioche or Challah, toasted
- 4 T. unsalted butter, melted
- 2 T. parsley, chopped
- 1/4 lb. bacon, finely chopped and cooked crispy
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees;
- Put the bread slices onto a sheet pan and toast in the oven until golden; set aside until cool enough to handle;
- Pour the milk and stock into a large saucepan; add a little salt, and bring to a simmer over medium heat;
- Add the cauliflower to the milk mixture; add the onion, thyme sprigs, butter, and bay leaf; bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender;
- Remove thyme and bay leaf and puree the soup in a blender;
- Pour the soup back into a saucepan and check for seasoning;
- In the meantime, grate the toasted brioche slices on a box grater to make the crumbs; drizzle with the butter and toss;
- Spread the mixture on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until lightly browned and crispy; remove from oven, scrape into a bowl and stir in parsley;
- To serve, pour the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the brioche crumbs and crispy bacon
Recipe from Chef Natalie from Ann Arbor Cooks
Check out more images from the event below: