Archive | Spring 2014

Talking Trash

Family Effort Pares Down Waste by 99%

By Maureen Wijnen
Photography by Ashley Swartzendruber

The average American generates three pounds of garbage per day. Writer Maureen Wijnen’s family challenged themselves to see just how low they could go—and the results were astonishing. 

About two years ago our family decided to do something to reduce how much we were polluting the Earth. My son Carsten, 13, suggested trying to see how far we could reduce the trash that we produce. It was a fascinating challenge.

We are a mathy family, and this was something we could really measure and track. Carsten, being the computer man, found the data: In the United States the average person generates three pounds of garbage per day. How far could we reduce that?

We dove into the project. Of course it really helps when your teenager is the driving force. Teens don’t let adults get away with anything.

Our first step was to move the trashcan so that we wouldn’t unconsciously toss trash in it. We also placed a pen and paper and we wrote down everything that went into the can.

Food scraps were a large portion of our trash. We learned that even living … Read More

Continue Reading
Robert Pitts, originally from Alabama, learned to cook at the age of 7 from his grandmother and his father.

Old School, After School, All’s Cool At Pitts BBQ

Robert Pitts, originally from Alabama, learned to cook at the age of 7 from his grandmother and his father.



When Edible Michiana asked me to write about the barbecue scene in South Bend, I set out to investigate. My wife and I drove around on a snowy afternoon and found ourselves at Pitts BBQ on the corner of Twyckenham and Mishawaka Avenue.

We walked into the restaurant to find it empty. My wife took a seat, and I introduced myself to the owner, Robert Pitts. Since I had never eaten at the place before, my wife suggested we order a sampler. The friendly girl behind the counter took our money through a square hole in the wall and within a matter of a few minutes she brought out a Styrofoam box filled with copious amounts of food.

As I sat there and wondered where to start, Pitts walked out of his kitchen and peeped over my shoulder and said, “You need more,” and walked back in. Before I could say anything, he was back with corn bread in one hand and fried catfish in the other. This time he sat down right next Read More

Continue Reading
EMIC12 38

Holy Cows?

Not Exactly, but These Farms Raise Meat with Respect


 Scotch Highland cattle, Hebron Farms, Vandalia, Michigan (Photo by Michelle Hebron)

Back in my teen years, when I considered becoming a vegetarian, I lamented the impact of humans on plant and animal life. My wise mother shared Kahlil Gibran’s poem, The Prophet, with me:

 “Would that you could live on the fragrance of the earth, and like an air plant be sustained by the light. But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of its mother’s milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship.”

—Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Then she made my favorite pot roast for dinner, and I could not refuse. Farmers who raise pastured meat on small-scale farms might not call their vocation an act of worship, but they have chosen to live close to the life cycle of animals from birth to table. They know that the quality of meat is directly related to the quality of life of the animal and how it is raised.

Blue Heron Farm Millersburg, Indiana


Blue Heron Farm families. (Photo by Ashley Swartzendruber)

Pastured meat, according to Adam Derstine Read More

Continue Reading

Sweet Preview of Spring

Maple Flow Signals Warmer Days to Come



When the winds howl, and the snow refuses to melt, and we’re all desperate for warmer weather, it’s hard to believe that spring will ever arrive. However, nature knows better. Deep within the maple trees, going back since the beginning of time, the sap is running. Drip by delicious drip, it’s a sign that spring is on its way. 

Our family took a day trip to Yoder’s Sugar Bush in Huntertown, near Fort Wayne, Indiana. It’s a maple syrup–making operation that’s been in the family for five generations. The family farm spans about 400 acres, with over 200 trees tapped for syrup. As we trudged back a long and muddy lane, I felt as if we were going back in time. We were there to see how syrup gets made, from start to mouthwatering finish, and they put us right to work. 

The trees stretched to the sky, with buckets hanging to catch the sap. Erika (Yoder) Meyer and her husband, Tom, were our guides for the day. “Go ahead and taste the sap straight from the tree if you want,” Erika encouraged, “just make sure you Read More

Continue Reading
Brunch Revised

Maple Syrup Brunch For Six



Enjoy these dishes together as a brunch or individually. All recipes make 6 servings. In order to have a more leisurely morning, start your brunch preparation the night before.

Things you can do the day before:

• Mix up the donut dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. First thing in the morning, allow dough to come to room temperature, roll and continue with recipe as written.

• Make the whiskey custard and refrigerate.

Things to do first thing in the morning:

 • Fry the donuts, cool and fill them.

• Boil the potatoes.

• Make the maple vinaigrette.

• Wash the spinach and spin dry.

An hour before serving:

 • Roast the bacon.

• Roast the potatoes and carrots.

Right before serving:

• Fry the eggs. Keep them warm on plates in oven.

• Toss the spinach with the vinaigrette and plate with the carrots and potatoes on the eggs.

Raised Maple Donuts

 Whiskey Custard

 Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes

 Maple and Brown Sugar Roasted Bacon

 Spiced Maple Roasted Carrots

 Maple Vinaigrette-Dressed Spinach Salad


 Maple Milk with Bourbon


Read More
Continue Reading

Maple Milk with Bourbon



A brunch or after-dinner treat on cool spring days when it feels like winter has returned.

Serves 6

48 ounces whole milk

6 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons butter

6–12 ounces bourbon, optional

Ground nutmeg or cinnamon

Warm the milk in a small saucepan on the stovetop. When steam begins to rise from the milk, add the maple syrup and butter. Whisk together. Pour 1–2 ounces of bourbon in each mug. Pour in the hot milk mixture. Garnish with nutmeg or cinnamon.

Read More
Continue Reading

Maple Vinaigrette-Dressed Spinach Salad



A hearty brunch when served over fried eggs with Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes, Spiced Maple Roasted Carrots and Maple and Brown Sugar Roasted Bacon

Maple Vinaigrette

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons maple syrup

¾ teaspoon salt

Place ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together.

Spinach Salad

2 bunches fresh spinach (about 6 cups)

6 farm eggs

3 tablespoons butter

Salt for sprinkling on eggs

Melt ½ tablespoon butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. Break 1 egg in a small dish and carefully ease into the pan so as not to break the yoke. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and cover pan with lid. When egg white has firmed up but yolk is still runny, flip egg gently and turn off heat. Place each egg on a heated plate to keep warm. Dress spinach with vinaigrette and place a small amount on each egg. Add a small amount of Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes, Spiced Maple Roasted Carrots and a slice of Maple and Brown Sugar Roasted Bacon over eggs.

Maple Vinagrette is adapted from a recipe by Minda Kauffman

Read More
Continue Reading

Spiced Maple Roasted Carrots


6 medium-size carrots (about 1 pound), peeled and sliced lengthwise into 3- to 4-inch sticks

¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon coriander, ground

¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ground

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425Åã. Place the carrots, cumin seeds, coriander, cinnamon, salt, olive oil and maple syrup on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Toss all ingredients together until the carrots are evenly coated. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the carrots are tender and caramelized. Remove from the oven and toss with the lemon juice and cool.

Serve with the spinach salad.

Read More
Continue Reading

Maple and Brown Sugar Roasted Bacon



¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

⅛ – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

¼ teaspoon black pepper, ground

1 pound bacon (see page 51 for our recipe for homemade bacon)

Preheat oven to 350Åã. In a small saucepan combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, mustard, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is melted and all ingredients are blended. Lay the bacon on an aluminum-covered baking sheet. Brush the maple syrup mixture on the bacon. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until the bacon is begins to turn crispy.

Serve warm.

Read More
Continue Reading

Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes


2–2 ¼ pounds potatoes, washed and cubed

2 tablespoons duck fat, room temperature

2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 425Åã. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10–12 minutes, until they are fork tender but still have a bit of a bite to them. Drain the potatoes and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Toss them with the duck fat and the salt. Place them in the oven and roast them for 35–45 minutes until they are crispy.

Read More
Continue Reading