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2013 June

10 Jun

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I think Smitten with the Mitten is an understatement!

June 10, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Max, WOB, Ben, Chris from Mitten, Justin and Tommy were too busy rocking the food!

Mitten Brewery presents the AFWA and Kitchen Sage Happy Hour 5/29/2013

You ever have those moments when you are overwhelmed with support and you have no idea how to delegate?  Welcome to my world! And let me share an experience I had on a night out with my girl and our friends!

I think one could say I am just as passionate about local hospitality as much as the future of our kids.  I refuse to go anywhere that doesn’t have local roots.  I want unique.  This doesn’t mean that it always has to be a linen table set with crystal and fine silver.  I have always been a “pub or local joint” type of guy anywho!  Being raised on Guiness, local breweries are like “Mother’s Milk” for me! Of course Founder’s ignited my passion for local brews and will always be a staple in my fridge, but they also have sparked a curiosity for local brews that seems unquenchable!

So last month my posse and I stopped in for a quick beer at the Mitten Brewery.  I was going to whip up something together later, but we were on the West Side, time for a Mitten! The place was packed! But in a place like The Mitten, the more the merrier!  You have probably heard me say a million times, “Its not the food, Its the people!” and this will ring true forever! Mitten is a perfect example of that hospitality. I have yet to see a “put out” expression from their bar, their servers, or even their chef.

A little Wisdom goes along way, so here’s some etiquette!

When you go into a packed bar or restaurant, show a little tenderness or leave! When you know the place is packed strategize your order and have your payment ready.  We had 10 of us, so instead of asking about every one of the Mitten’s options, I stepped up ordered 4 pitchers of brew, dark to light, 10 glasses, and picked 4 pizzas all at once! (this is a perfect time to have your server chose their favorites….duh they gotta know what’s the best!). I then handed Dana my credit card and told her we would stand until a table was ready.  This not only expedited our pleasure, but the staff’s as well!  We sat down and before you know it we had beers in hand and a table full of pizza, better than waiting longer huh? Plus this gives the chef a little room to maneuver!  Of course the property is there to serve, but there is nothing wrong with being patient, gracious, and efficient! Oh and by the way, when in doubt…. TIP! Give your servers a break, we are all there to have a good time! So with beer in hand and pizza in belly, I meet Max Trierweiler!

Max reminds me of a younger, skinny me! A bit crazy, but passionate about his hospitality and it shows. Next thing you know I am hanging with his chef and we are talking shop. Justin Stermin is so funny and bright eyed it rocks (even though he’s Vegan)!! Enter Chris Andrus, a guy with similar background(except he went to West Catholic!) and we all click like a seatbelt, just not as secure! Fast forward, we cement a friendship that has already produced the FIRST official Kitchen Sage recipe on their MENU, the FIRST Kitchen Sage Happy Hour, and the FIRST…..

So stay tuned we are literally BREWING up more fun! And for you other breweries and restaurants, watch out!  Kitchen Sage is coming for you too, because we all need each other!

Thank you Again Mitten, for allowing Kitchen Sage to develop a plan where EVERYONE can be a part of providing culinary awareness! And with that, here’s access to Justin and My Recipe for Beer Cheese

1 tub GFS Tavern Cheese..Get it at the GFS Market Place!

3 Tablespoons of Chadalee Farms Horseradish, squeezed of its brine(use a clean towel or fist!!)

1 bottle of Mitten or you favorite LOCAL Brew!

Whip together and let sit overnight, it will thicken with the horseradish!

Enjoy as a dip for your pretzel, a killer Philly cheese steak sandwich, or add diced potatoes and two more Mitten Brews for the best beer cheese soup ever! If you like Broccoli, do it with that! Justin don’t Care, He’s CRAyyyZZZY!

LOCAL LOCAL LOCAL!! Everyone say it!!

06 Jun

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Kitchen Sage and American RV! 2 Great Tastes that Taste Great Together!

June 6, 2013 | By | No Comments

People always, always say to me”Tommy you make it look so easy, I could never do that!” What a Crock POT! The cool thing about my friends at American RV is that they whether or not they are aware, RV cooking is a perfect example for Kitchen Sage! Kitchen Sage is all about local, fresh and simple!  What’s more local than an American RV cruising down the road and taking advantage of local farm stands along the way? Stopping with the family and kids to pick a blueberry or some asparagus, either off the roadside stand or even off the bush?!!

There are so many life lessons to be had with the American RV experience.  Think about it. This video demonstrates that a little planning, smart packing, and taking advantage of local products impart everything that is wise about spending time together as a family! By the way, DO NOT forget  that local products do include fresh caught fish!!

These tips will not only make your RV adventure wicked fun and stupid simple, but the next time you are invited to that summer potluck you will thank me out loud!!

Road Tip to destination easy!

Pre prep everything you can to make your picnic easy and delicious.  Zip loc bags rock for this because you have less waste to carry out with you and you can fit them into the tightest of coolers!

Must have recipes for the Bag A Von!

Okey Dokey Artichokey!  Drain a 16oz can of artichoke hearts and place in a bag with 1 tablespoon of each fresh chopped garlic, Italian Seasoning, and olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Old World Tomato Buschetta!  3 Pints of grape tomatoes cut in half, one 2oz container of fresh basil cut into ribbons, 1 tablespoon(or more!) of fresh chopped garlic, and salt an pepper to taste.  Place all in yer zip loc and toss!

A little TLC with a little G and A!   Take a cup or so of fresh whole peeled garlic and sauté in 1/2 cup olive oil, on low.  While its cooking take two bunches (2lbs) fresh Michigan asparagus and cut into one-inch pieces, place in metal or glass bowl.When the garlic is nice and soft, take off stove and pour into asparagus bowl.  The residual heat will “cook the asparagus perfectly.  A little salt and pepper to taste, let cool and bag it!

These 3 “bags” in my opinion are the perfect condiments!  Throw them in your eggs in the morning, toss them with your afternoon salad, put them on your grilled pizza as a snack, and in your foil dinner for something way better than the ordinary.  Listen to me, if you put these in a foil dinner with your fresh caught salmon, your wife will NEVER complain about you and the boys fishing ever again…I promise you!

Oh and by the way, boil some pasta while you are doing this, now you have a delicious, nutritionally packed side that packs and serves like a champ.

Take that pasta salad to your campground neighbor’s potluck, put it in their dish and finish with your favorite cheese!  Now YOU are the hero and you don’t have to worry about getting your dish back!

Big, BIG thanks to Emily Richett and Chad Neff of American RV for all the support they have given to Kitchen Sage!  It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, Kitchen Sage is for ALL of us!!

05 Jun

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My students may burn the stew, but they would never burn the books!

June 5, 2013 | By | No Comments

You really need to watch this video!

The only thing that the Kitchen Sage will do is burn culinary, communication, and leadership skills into our kids’ heads!!! I have to tell you that I think that the best thing Kitchen Sage has done so far is to introduce me to Paul Baumgartner. Paul has really propelled this mission and has REALLY  made it his own!  I know that Kitchen Sage has some amazing people on our Board of Advisors, but Paul is really Kitchen Sage’s Mentor!  I really look forward to our first set of classes this July, so I can show you in better depth of the type of food Paul and his team serve our kids!  Keep in mind that it is not only the GRPS kids they feed, but a total of 22,000 throughout the area as well.  Could you imagine feeding that many kids let alone 3-4 times a day?!  I am exhausted just thinking about it!  This is what the kids ate May 15, 2013:

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast

AND Everyday they can just grab cereal, string cheese, yogurt, fruit, OJ and Milk

For Lunch

Turkey wrap with Spinach(The wrap is made in Michigan)

Sweet Potato Puff

Michigan Asparagus Spears

Petit Banana

Ice Cold Milk

And everyday they have several fresh options PLUS a garden of veggies and fruit that they can eat until their hearts and bellies content!

Pretty AWESOME if you ask me! No wonder Paul is our best friend!  Now we can show these kids that is is NOT so hard to fuel the body with real, fresh, and local products.

Hitting the Books and YOU!

I think one of the best parts of the curriculum is that each student needs to complete ServSafe.  ServSafe is a 3 YEAR certification for safe food handling procedures.  Basically this is a killer marketable accreditation!  With a ServSafe certificate, our students have a better-than-good chance of employment.  The opportunity is not limited to our partnerships with all our restaurant friends either! Hospitals, food production facilities, and even charities  seek to have staff that are already ServSafe certified. The Health Department appreciates it when you have at least one ServSafe employee on each shift. This is not free, even though we have our GREAT friend Jennifer Laninga from GRPS nutritional center teaching the course for free, the books are still $75 a piece!

I know, ridiculous! But 75 bucks to help cure ignorance is cheap! At least we only need 24 books!  How can you help? I am so glad you asked!  If I could get 24 of my friends to buy just one book, we would be all set.  So please if you can make this happen, not only would I appreciate it, I could even buy you lunch at Cafe Stella!  That way when the books come in, we could have lunch and you could write a little note in the cover like,”Hey kid, keep it clean!” or even,”Don’t get anyone sick!!”.  The reasoning behind you signing the book is that  ALL our Kitchen Sagers need to know that we ALL have their backs, but they have to put in the effort too! Who knows, one of your notes could be our next bumper sticker!

PLEASE take the time to hit the “Donate Button” under the “Get Involved” page!!

Thank you all for not just supporting Kitchen Sage, but following my blog.  The more we get to subscribe to my blog, the better awareness.  First we get the Awareness, then we get the Friends, then we get the Funds!  I need you guys to be my ambassadors!!  Tell em ALL what WE have cooking here in Grand Rapids!