Happy Birthday to My Bill! And a Cookbook From Michigan

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This is actually where my husband Bill (on the left) would rather be at the moment – fishing with his cousin Benny on the Little Garlic River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, catching some steelhead.  The Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan is where many Finns settled after immigrating to America, including Bill’s grandparents, which is why he is so comfortable up there.  But I am glad he is home with me this year, and I made his requested cake, my Aunt Margery’s chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.  Happy Birthday, Bill!!  You are loved.

For his last couple birthdays, Bill celebrated on one of these fishing trips.  I never go on these trips for several reasons; first of all, there are no women, probably because none of us want to smell the men after they have been camping for several days.  Secondly, there are no bathrooms. Enough said.  And the giant mosquitos and biting flies?  No thanks.  But I do reap the benefits with some fresh fish from Lake Superior, some wild blueberries, and a few years ago, this great cookbook!

If you love herbs, you will go nuts over this unique and informative cookbook!  The book provides essential information for herb novices and experts alike, including a detailed history of the use of herbs, growing tips, and some of the most fabulous recipes you will find on the subject.  You will learn how to freeze, dry, and store herbs.  The authors will explain easy-to-grow herbs along with herb garden designs.  The one below is for a “Kid’s Pizza Garden.”  In this garden is basil, garlic, oregano, parsley, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes.  Can you imagine how much fun kids would have?
There are other garden layouts including one for a backdoor kitchen garden, and a salad garden, among others.  The illustrations show exactly where everything should be planted.  After your garden is in full bloom, go back into your kitchen and enjoy making some of the incredible recipes from the book.  Since I love making condiments, it is one of my favorite chapters.  There are more recipes than you can imagine for homemade seasonings like Herbes de Provence, homemade chili powder, curry powder, Italian, jerk, and tandoori, along with vinegars, oils, salsas, aiolis, and pestos galore.  If you enjoy summer entertaining, there are appetizer recipes like lemon, basil, and pear caponata; sage and calvados pate; Italian sausage phyllo triangles; or blueberry and smoked fish salad with fresh dill.  Since cherries are abundant in Michigan, try the cherry and apricot stuffed Cornish hens; cherry-blueberry crumb tart; pork chops with rosemary-cherry sauce; or pecan chicken breasts with dried cherry sauce.  There is a recipe for everyone’s favorite herb and then some.  I can’t say enough about the wonders of this cookbook. 
Bill, how does trout amandine with chives, lemon rice with fresh herbs, and Italian herbed zucchini salad sound for your birthday dinner?  If you like it, you can thank this cookbook!

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2 Responses to Happy Birthday to My Bill! And a Cookbook From Michigan

  1. July 5, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    Happy Birthday, Bill!! A chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting to celebrate: you’re very lucky to have a wife so good!

  2. July 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    Hi Barbara- Bill said, thank you for the birthday wishes- as he enjoyed his second slice of cake of the day!

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