Category Archive: Food & Drink

  1. Cocktail Corner | Heirloom Tomato Margarita recipe

    September 13, 2017

    Heirloom Tomato Margarita | Epicure Catering | Farm to Table Catering | Fall CocktailAnother tasty creation from on-staff Sommelier Emily Jo Larkin, this Heirloom Tomato Margarita uses peak season heirloom tomatoes and fennel seeds to create a dynamic flavor combination. The tomato water is a subtle yet delicious way to incorporate one of our favorite fruits of summer. We hope you enjoy this drink as much as we do. Enjoy! 

    Heirloom Tomato Margarita

    Note: This recipe is for 1 cocktail. Simply scale up as needed.

    2 oz                 Silver Tequila

    2-3 oz              Heirloom tomato water (recipe below)

    ½ oz                Fresh squeezed lime juice

    1 t.                    Agave syrup


    Fennel Salt (recipe below) & lime wedge for rim

    Method:  Use lime to wet rim of each glass. Dip wet glass edge onto a small plate containing the fennel salt. Combine tequila with tomato water, lime juice and agave in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into fennel-salt rimmed glassware. Serve & Enjoy!


    Heirloom Tomato Water

    Pulse 4 medium red heirloom tomatoes in a blender until they are a rough puree.

    Strain with fine strainer or multiple layers of cheesecloth. Discard solids. Will keep one day but is best if used immediately. This amount will make 2 cocktails.

    Fennel Salt

    Use equal parts salt to fennel seed. Dry roast the fennel seeds in a saute pan over medium heat to release the oil, then add seeds to mortar or coffee grinder. Grind till almost the consistency of coarse salt, add Maldon sea salt to the seeds and finish pulverizing until a uniform consistency is reached. Store in an airtight jar.


    Heirloom Tomato Margarita | Epicure Catering | Farm to Table Catering | Fall Cocktail

    Heirloom Tomato Margarita | Epicure Catering | Farm to Table Catering | Fall Cocktail

    Heirloom Tomato Margarita | Epicure Catering | Farm to Table Catering | Fall Cocktail


  2. Coriander Plum Old Fashioned

    August 16, 2017
    Coriander Plum Old Fashioned | Epicure Catering Omena, MI | Classic Cocktails

    Photos: Sarah Peschel

    Give the classic Old Fashioned a festive fall spin by substituting the sugar cube and maraschino cherry with coriander simple syrup and local plums.  The coriander adds an unexpected flavor twist and the plums provide tartness and a pretty jewel tone your guests will love.  
    Coriander-Plum Old Fashioned
    1 small ripe red or purple plum, sliced (If large, use 1/2 plum)
    1 orange slice
    1 dash bitters
    2 teaspoons coriander simple syrup (recipe to follow)
    2 ounces bourbon
    Orange twist for garnish
    Combine plum, orange slice, bitters and simple syrup in a heavy bottomed rocks glass.  Muddle. Fill glass with ice, add bourbon. Stir and add orange twist to garnish.
    Serve immediately.
    Coriander Simple Syrup:
    2 tablespoons whole coriander
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    Put sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat to melt sugar.
    Meanwhile, place coriander in dry saute pan over low-medium heat. Keep pan in motion until the seeds start to brown and release their aroma. Crush seeds in a mortar and pestle.
    Add the crushed seeds to the sugar-water mixture and bring up to just below a boil. Remove from the heat and let seeds cool in the syrup.
    Strain & set aside. Will keep for 2 weeks tightly covered in fridge.
    Craft Cocktail | Epicure Catering | Farm to Table Catering | Classic Cocktail
    Epicure Catering | Coriander Plum Old Fashioned | Classic Cocktails

  3. Epicure Catering in Traverse Magazine

    July 21, 2017

    We are pleased to announce that Epicure Catering is featured in the August 2017 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Pick up a copy today to read about our business and to enjoy some of Andy’s tasty recipes. We will post a link once the online version is available. Thanks again for your support and we hope to see you on the beach! xo cam
    Photo by Megan Newman



  4. An Evening for the Great Lakes to benefit FLOW

    June 1, 2017

    An Evening for the Great Lakes to benefit FLOW poster artwork by Jim Schuessler

    We are very excited about hosting An Evening for the Great Lakes to benefit FLOW.  Born from a desire to collaborate for good, this event lineup is sure to deliver a spectacular evening.

    The fundraising event An Evening for the Great Lakes to benefit FLOW will take place at our award winning historic event venue, Cherry Basket Farm, on Tuesday, July 18th 2017.

    To begin the evening, a delicious farm to table meal by Epicure Catering will be served along side locally produced wine from Baia Estate Leelanau and craft beer from Traverse City’s The Workshop Brewing Company.

    Readings by local water lovers author Mike Delp and celebrity chef Mario Batali will also be featured.

    To round out the evening, Grammy Winner Blake Mills will play a set in the barn. Some special guests may even sit in…

    In an effort to keep the evening intimate, only a small number of tickets will be available. We do hope you will join us for this unforgettable evening in support of a worthy cause. Tickets are available through MyNorthTickets, and will be available for purchase on June 9th.

    Here is a snippet about FLOW’s Mission:

    Our mission at FLOW is to protect the common waters of the Great Lakes Basin through public trust solutions. As the Great Lakes Basin’s only public trust policy and education center, we demonstrate how policies like the public trust and commons can provide an overarching policy framework that empowers decision-makers to safeguard 20 percent of the world’s fresh water.


    A huge thank you to Jeremy Turner, who initiated the collaborative effort to bring this event to life, and to graphic designer Jim Schuessler, who created all the artwork for the event.

  5. Epicure & Cherry Basket on Cooking Channel’s Man Fire Food

    May 23, 2017
    Fire pit featured in Cooking Channel's Man Fire FoodPhoto: Dan Stewart Photography

    At long last, we are thrilled to announce Epicure Catering’s appearance on Cooking Channel’s Man Fire Food.

    The season 5 finale, called “In the Pits” will air on Tuesday June 6th at 8 pm. Cooking Channel’s Man Fire Food is hosted by Chef Roger Mooking and focuses on inventive ways American chefs and pit masters cook with fire.

    Epicure Catering Chef and Co-Owner Andy Schudlich designed and built the pit from materials on hand at our farm & event venue, Cherry Basket Farm. Andy has been cooking out of this pit for about 10 years, and it’s had quite an evolution.

    Tune in to Cooking Channel on June 6th at 8 pm to learn more about the unique pit and how Andy uses the pit to cook porchetta.

    The episode is also available on iTunes.

  6. Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm to Host Zingerman’s Food Tour

    March 8, 2017

    Photos courtesy of Weber Photographers 

    Zingerman’s Great American Food Tour is returning to the Grand Traverse Bay region and we are thrilled at the opportunity to welcome travelers to the Cherry Basket Farm for the second year in a row.

    The Cherry Basket Farm stop includes the following:
    • A tour of  the historical Cherry Basket Farm barns and outbuildings with Cammie Buehler of Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm
    • A cheese history and tasting with Boss Mouse Cheese owner and cheesemaker Sue Kurta
    • A tour of the Cherry Basket Farm fields and discussion of farming with grower Nic Welty, owner of 9 Bean Rows Farm and Bakery
    • A tour of Epicure Catering’s indoor and outdoor kitchen with chef and co-owner Andy Schudlich.
    • The culmination of the tour is a farm to table meal served alfresco (weather permitting).
     This food tour begins Friday, June 9th and concludes June 11th, with the Cherry Basket stop on Sunday, June 11th.  To learn more about the Grand Traverse Bay tour including other stops, lodging, and ticket availability please visit
    The following photos are from the 2016 Zingerman’s Food Tour at Cherry Basket Farm.
    Epicure Catering Commissary at Cherry Basket Farm
    Zingerman's Food Tour Epicure Catering Cherry Basket Farm Bouquet
    Zingerman's Food Tour Charcuterie Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm
    Zingerman's Food Tour Charcuterie Epicure Catering
    Cherry Basket Farm Historical Barn
    Cammie Buehler Epicure Catering Zingerman's Farm Tour
    Zingerman's Food Tour Group Cherry Basket Farm
    Historic Cherry Basket Farm Barn Omena
    Nic Welty of 9 Bean Rows in Cherry Basket Farm Field
    Cooking Channel Man Fire Food Fire Pit
    Farm Table Setting Epicure Catering
    Farm Table Setting Epicure Catering Zingerman's Food Tour
    Farm to Table Dinner Wine Pairings Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm
    Farm to Table Dinner Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm
    Zingerman's Food Tour Epicure Catering Farm to Table Dinner
    Zingerman's Food Tour Farm to Table Dinner Epicure Catering Dessert Course
    Zingerman's Food Tour Janene Centurione Epicure Catering & Cherry Basket Farm
    Epicure Catering, 9 Bean Rows, Hillside Homestead, Tandem Cider, Boss Mouse Cheese
  7. Mikki & Jeff’s Northern Michigan Farm Wedding

    October 26, 2016

    All images by Weber Photography.Mikki & Jeff - 34

    I love these two! Laid back and fun, Mikki and Jeff wanted their farm wedding to echo their personal style. Guests were treated to a fantastic meal and fabulous wine. Decor was minimal, as the couple wanted the property to speak for itself. Focusing on fine food and drink and a relaxed, casual atmosphere gave Jeff and Mikk’s farm wedding just the right mix of sophistication and style. I want to do it all over again!

    xoxox – cb

    What attracted you to Cherry Basket Farm?

    The property itself is beautiful! An August wedding found the trees and flowers in full bloom! The barn and surrounding grounds were spectacular and made for the perfect reception! Epicure & Cherry Basket Farms came highly recommended. Just one visit and it was love at first site!

    How would you describe your style as a couple?

    Simple elegance/casual sophistication

    What was the overall vibe and feel you wanted your guests to experience at the wedding?

    We wanted a sophisticated, casual feel to our wedding—nothing too formal. Our goal was to host a great dinner party with “slightly” nicer outfits! As self proclaimed foodies we wanted our guests to have an experience that shared our passion for food, wine and their friendship. Cherry Basket Farms far exceeded these dreams with the most amazing celebratory feast.

    What were the most important elements of the big day?

    Fun / Food / Drink! We wanted those elements to be directed by Cammie and Chef Andy and produced by us. We could not have been in better hands. The crew at Cherry Basket Farms took care of us like we were family.

    What advice would you give to engaged couples as they move through the planning process?

    Simple is better. Put your inner control freak to be. Limit Pinterest exposure and listen more, talk less.

    Want more intel? The vendor team from this wedding is listed at the bottom of this post. Thanks for stopping by! – CB

    All images courtesy of Weber Photography

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    Venue: Cherry Basket Farm / Caterer: Epicure Catering / Florist: Field of Flowers Farm / Entertainment: 2BaysDJs / Decor: Mother Nature /  Transportation: Grand Traverse Tours / Attire: Tadashi Shoji (bride), Custom by NL Suits & Nas Laine Milwaukee, WI (groom), Romper Encore by Watters (Maid of Honor) /  Hair & Makeup: VenusTC /  Invitations: / Photography: Weber Photography—Megan Newman

  8. Zingerman’s Great American Food Tours “Farm to Table 2.0” Leelanau & Traverse City

    June 23, 2016

    Guest post courtesy of Janene Centurione, Great American Food Tours host.


    Hungry for your next Food Adventure? Explore with Zingerman’s Great American Food Tours!

    Zingerman’s Great American Food Tours are designed to highlight iconic American food communities by immersing guests in the local food, culture, and history. What better way to experience a new place, than through taste and the stories of folks who live and love their local food? We’re bringing our love and passion for the Grand Traverse Bay area to Zingerman’s’ guests from all across the country.

    For over 30 years, Zingerman’s has brought the best and most flavorful foods of the world to your table. Our food tours take you to the source. They go beyond just tasting great food where it was grown and made. We call it “Farm-to-Table 2.0”: learning the passionate backstory from the folks who are making a living in this complex world of agriculture and food in addition to tasting and seeing where that food is produced.

    This Fall, we’ll be showcasing the Grand Traverse Bay region. The unique growing seasons and Great Lake breezes support the best farms, orchards, wineries and fishing in the Midwest. We want to tell tell the stories of this vibrant community of chefs, artisanal food producers, farmers and distillers. The Grand Traverse Bay region is one of the most interesting and robust food hubs in the country, and we’re proud to highlight it.

    We’re going behind the scenes with our local hosts, tasting their wares and experiencing their passion for their craft. Our guests will tramp across fields, dine in barns, taste from kegs, pick from the vine, and sail across the bay at sunset, sipping local wines. We’ll use food to discover and understand this special world, so deeply connected with the winds and weather of Lake Michigan.

    Zingerman’s Food Tours has used food as a way to connect to the history of a region, the spirit of its people and the regional rhythm of daily life. Zingerman’s Food Tours is your concierge to the best local guides, food, and cultural experiences. Our tours give you the chance to relax while enjoying and experiencing the best our destinations have to offer. We’ve scoured the globe to make connections in the food and travel world. After experiencing one of our tours, you’ll take home some pretty unique souvenirs: a deeper understanding of a unique region, a sense of their place in our increasingly connected lives, fantastic images, tasty memories, recipes to share, and a sense of discovery fulfilled.

    Zingerman’s Great American Food tours are short, one to three day, energetic jaunts behind the scenes with local chefs, farmers, distillers, and vintners. We want our guests to come along to understand their world and listen to their story, while we eat and drink at their table. Authentic, tasty and fun, we strive to get beyond the postcard and to taste the world, the Zingerman’s way. We’ll be in the Traverse City area in September, and are also leading day trips into the vibrant Detroit food scene as well.

    To get more information on upcoming Great American Food Tours or learn more about our discoveries, sign up for our email newsletter here.

    Dan and Janene Centurione, Great American Tour hosts

    734-775- 1037

    Grand Traverse Bay Tour Highlights:

    • -Lunch and learn from the founder of the Little Fleet Traverse City’s Food Truck hub.


    • -Brewers and distillers taking you behind the scenes in their businesses, while we taste their wares.


    • -“Farm-to-Table 2.0” – getting out in the fields, helping to harvest our meals, and working with our chefs and hosts to prepare our family style farm spreads.


    • -Morning at the Market – tasting our way through the Farmer’s market during the height of Fall harvest.


    • -Sunset sail on Grand Traverse Bay – picnic dinner while pondering the land, water and history of the region from the waves.


    • -Our Common Table dinners are known not only for their tasty food and drink, but also for their engaging, entertaining and thought provoking discussions with our local food hosts.


    Tour Dates: Friday September 23-Sunday September 25.


    Susan Odom Hillside Homestead


    shutterstock_121968133 Little Fleet food trucks

    For more information: Zingerman’s Food Tours Grand Traverse Bay September 23-25, 2016

  9. Colleen & Andy’s Cherry Basket Farm Wedding

    April 24, 2016

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    We loved hosting Colleen & Andy’s barn wedding at Cherry Basket Farm. I can’t think of a more fun-loving couple! The day was all about a relaxed good time with family and friends. We had a blast planning the menu and all the details! Colleen was sweet enough to answer a few questions about the big day. Cheers to you, Mr & Mrs Rathburg!

    What attracted you to Cherry Basket Farm?

    We had always pictured a backyard, barn wedding but found many of the barn venues to feel kitschy or cookie cutter. We loved that Cherry Basket is a working farm with a field that grows most of the produce in our meal. The views are spectacular – it feels like a family farm with elevated dining.

    What was the overall vibe and feel you wanted our guests to experience on the big day?

    The overall vibe was casual elegance but we had so many out of state guests that we wanted to celebrate Michigan, especially the Leelanau peninsula and share our love for the area.

    What were the most important elements of the big day?

    The food and the dancing!

    What advice would you give to engaged couples as they move through the planning process?

    Savor every moment, but don’t overthink your choices. And at the end of the day, it is about you and your love, nothing and no one else.

    Thanks for everything! You and your team made our day perfect!

    Want more intel? The vendor team from this wedding is listed at the bottom of this post. Thanks for stopping by! – CB

    All images courtesy of Dan Stewart Photography

    Colleen & Andy's Cherry Basket Farm Wedding photos by Dan Stewart Photography.

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography | http://danstewartphotography.comCherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Cherry Basket Farm | Omena, MI Wedding Photography | Colleen + Andy | © Dan Stewart Photography

    Photography: Dan Stewart Photography

    Ceremony & Reception Venue: Cherry Basket Farm / Catering: Epicure Catering / Floral: Field of Flowers Farm / Favors: Leelanau Coffee Roasters / Entertainment: 2Bays DJ’s / Decor: DIY –  handmade by bridal party / Transportation: Celtic Shuttles / Attire: David Tutera bridal gown, Asos groom’s suit / Hair & Makeup: Pavlova salon in TC

  10. Kiersten & JT’s Northern Michigan Barn Wedding

    March 8, 2016

    Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn WeddingThe farm really comes alive when there is a celebration of love on the grounds. Kirsten & JT’s Northern Michigan wedding was one of those special days. Kiersten was kind enough to answer a few questions about the big day below. We truly enjoy and value the time we get to spend assisting you in creating a memorable event. Cheers to you, Mr & Mrs Gray!


    What attracted you to Cherry Basket Farm?

    The location, the barn and the food!

    Northern Michigan is heaven on Earth in my opinion, especially in the summer. Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to have an outdoor summer wedding in Northern Michigan.

    The next biggest attraction to me was the beautiful white barn. My parents got married in a barn, and I love the feel of a casual barn wedding. What more fun than dancing and stomping around in a barn with all our favorite friends and family!

    Finally, the food. This is how I came across Cherry Basket Farm. My #1 priority for my reception was great food for my guests. When we were on the search for great food in Northern Michigan we were taken directly to Epicure Catering. It was one of those examples of fate because when I found the most amazing catering company, I also found the beautiful white barn I had been dreaming of!

    While I had been dreaming of my wedding my entire life, my wedding at Cherry Basket Farm was above and beyond anything I had ever dreamed of!

    What was the overall vibe and feel you wanted our guests to experience on the big day?

    J.T. and I are both more casual people. We wanted the vibe to be low key, casual, and FUN!

    What were the most important elements of the big day?

    Once I confirmed my wedding date at Cherry Basket, immediately the most important element for my big day became the weather and the beautiful back drop and scenery for my guests. I love that our guests could walk around the grounds and see the gardens, kitchen, cherry orchards and all the other beauty surrounding the property. While it was raining the morning of our wedding, the sun came out around noon and it ended up being the most picture perfect day and into the evening for our wedding!!

    What advice would you give to engaged couples as they move through the planning process?

    Try not to take it so seriously, and just have fun. You only get one go at it all, and its over in a quick flash.

    Also, if you’re getting married at Cherry Basket Farm you don’t need to fuss over the details, because you really don’t need much . They provide the fabulous venue and the fabulous food. All you need is your closest friends and family along with some great music and booze!


    Want more intel? The vendor team from this wedding is listed at the bottom of this post.  Thanks for stopping by!  – CB

    All images courtesy of Shutter Sam Photography.Ceremony set up from Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn WeddingGuests in the farmland at Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Cellist at Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Ceremony images from Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Floral bouquets from Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Wedding party | Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Cheese display from Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Cheese display from Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Guest seating detail from Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn WeddingKiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Floral from Kiersten & JT's Cherry Basket Farm wedding in Northern Michigan. Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn WeddingKiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Weddin Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding Kiersten & JT's Traverse City Barn Wedding

    Photography: Shutter Sam Photography

    Venue: Cherry Basket Farm / Catering: Epicure Catering / Florist: Field of Flowers Farm- Christina Pfeufer / Entertainment: Blue Water Kings Band /Decor: DIY – BAR Sign, LOVE sign, chalkboards, Family Photos on the door / Transportation: By The Bay Transportation / Attire: Bride- Monique Lhuillier; Bridesmaids- Lulu Kate; Groom and Groomsmen- JosABank and Knotty Ties / Hair & Makeup: Bride Hair- Katherine Stuart; Bride and Bridesmaid Makeup- Kristyn Noelle Artistry; Bridesmaids Hair: Epiphany Salon / Paper Goods: (programs, menus, name cards): Hello Happy Print Co / Table Seating Chart: Charm Studio- Chicago / Videographer: Overneath Creative Collective

  11. … and, we’re back!

    September 29, 2015

    It’s been a bit of a whirlwind summer – sorry for the radio silence on the blog! We’ve had an outstanding season of events with an even more fantastic team than we could have ever imagined. Their diligence, and hard work and invaluable feedback is what makes Epicure a success. I have never been more proud of our food and service than I am now, winding down our 13th season. We’re looking towards 2016 and feeling stellar about the future.

    On that note, we just spruced up the site (thank you, Wild Measure!) with new content for your viewing pleasure. There are fresh images, a revised aerial map, and expanded focus on the bios of our team. We’ll be posting new wedding albums as the images from this summer’s weddings come in, as well. In the meantime, please check out the work of some of the fabulous photographers who have honored us by sharing their images of our work and venue: Amy Carroll, Jen Kroll, Tec Petaja, Michelle March, and Cory Weber, to name just a few.

    We also had the pleasure of spending some time this summer with EE Berger, a talented Detroit-based editorial photographer. Her images from the kitchen are below. I love seeing Andy, Gabe and Mickey in action. You’ll see more of her work on our blog in the coming months.

    Thanks for stopping by, we appreciate your interest in our team, our food and our venue.

    DSC_0625DSC_8678DSC_3844 DSC_3630 DSC_3543 DSC_3393 DSC_3163 DSC_1949 DSC_1915 DSC_1886DSC_1894 DSC_1818 DSC_1793 DSC_1776 DSC_1762 DSC_1471 DSC_1419 DSC_1288 DSC_1265 DSC_1206 DSC_1136 DSC_1130 DSC_1059 DSC_1020 DSC_0993 DSC_0876


  12. Mexico Travels | Puebla & Cantona

    March 30, 2015

    This is the third in a series of posts about my recent trip to Mexico. The first week was spent at a yoga camp with some girlfriends and another ten days was spent traveling with my sister in and around Mexico City. Catching up, slowing down, cultural immersion, and time in the sun all proved long overdue and much needed. It goes without saying that food was a big part of the travels, too…


    Puebla is about an hour and a half southeast of Mexico City, but seems to be off the beaten path of many travellers. The fifth larest city in Mexico, with 7 million residents, Puebla is indeed a major commerce hub, although you would never know it once you are in the Centro Historico. Founded in the early colonial era, it is one of the few cities in Mexico not built on an existing native community. Its beautifully preserved downtown features early colonial architecure in all its glory, and cialis generique has been designated a world heritage site by the United Nations. Ornate churches, palaces and ex-convents are all throughout the Centro Historico, many adorned with Puebla’s distinct signature, Talavera tile. It also has the prettiest zocalo of any of the towns I visited in Mexico.


    I haven’t even gotten to the food…oh the food! Puebla is a culinary hub and the birthplace of mole.  The signature of the region is Mole Poblano, which is made from a base of dried chilis, nuts, herbs, cinnamon and chocolate. Pipián Verde and Pipián Rojo, which have a bit cleaner flavor are made with a base of tomatillos or tomatoes, respectively, onion, fresh chilis, pumpkin seeds and bread.  Then there are the robustly flavored Mancha manteles (which is actually Oaxacan in origin, and contains fruit, such as pineapple), and Adobo, which commonly contains orange juice and Achiote paste (also called annatto). Let us not forget that more stew-like incarnations like Mole de Panza (menudo) and Mole de Olla (deep meaty broth fortified with herbs, chilis and cactus or tomatillos and served with fresh vegetables) can all be found here, among others. It is an absolute joy to walk through the markets and see and smell the moles simmering away in huge cazuelas, the traditional earthenware cookware with handles.  It is truly a feast for the senses.

    IMG_0807IMG_0809 IMG_0808 IMG_0804IMG_0871

    So the moles are one thing… but we must not forget the cemitas. Cemitas are tortas, or sandwiches, which are served on an sesame bun and piled high with carnitas, quesillo (string cheese) salsa rosa, avocados, onions and an herb called pápalo. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of a cemita because we ate it before it was captured! Ha, typical. Palenquetas, pozole and tamales were all part of our rounds.


    Like many towns in Mexico, Puebla has a craft for which it is known…Talavera tile. Talvera pottery can only come from Puebla or a few neighboring towns, because of a specific type of clay found here. Traditional production methods go back to the 16th century, when the craft was originally brought here by the Spanish. This pottery has been woven into the fabric of daily life, appearing on building facades, in market stalls, and on the tables in many restaurants.


    One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new city it to set out for a long walk with a relatively far away destination and no plan, stopping anywhere that looks interesting. The images below are from our walks.


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    One fantastic side trip from Puebla that I highly recommend is Cantona. Cantona is a Mesoamerican archaeological site about 2 hours from Puebla. It has only been about 10% excavated, which is a mind bending statistic once you are there, given it’s size. It is unique in that there is no mortar used in the construction. It also must be stated that we were one of about three groups visiting the entire site, which made it that much more surreal and breathtaking. I also thought that the dichotomy between the bus station we left from and the one we arrived into was worth documenting. More to come next week, if you’ve made it this far, I owe you a “thank you” !

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  13. The Yellow Table Cookbook by Anna Watson Carl

    December 8, 2014

    I recently had a chance to sit down with The Yellow Table Cookbook by Anna Watson Carl. WOW! In addition to being a sweet friend and wonderful person to collaborate with, Anna is a private chef, NYC based food writer, and Author of The Yellow Table Blog.

    There a lot of things that are remarkable about how this book was created. Once Anna made the decision to write the book, there was no stopping her! She developed and tested over 100 recipes for the book in 100 days, documenting the process in her series The Cookbook Diaries.  All the action, from recipe development and testing to the shooting of the book itself, took place in Anna’s 6th floor walk up. That element certainly added another layer of logistics to an already ambitious project.

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    As the project progressed, so too did the level of collaboration. Of course Anna’a husband Brandon was on board from the start as the Chief Advisor, but by the end, Sommelier Jean-Luc lu Dû, Designer Dana Tanamachi-Williams, Photographer Eric Ryan Anderson, Photographer Nate Poekert, Designer Katie King Rumford, and Editor Lauren Salkeld would all have a hand in the project. Also in on the project was Danish born, NYC based food-photographer Signe Birck, who shot all the recipes for the book using natural light in Anna’s apartment. The images are honest and beautiful. Anna lovingly and humbly refers to the book as a “community -sourced endeavor”. Indeed!

    All the elements were in play- tasty (and tested!), well-written recipes, thoughtful images,  fab design, delicious wine pairings.  Now the tough part: how to pay for the book?

    Anna launched a Kickstarter campaign last June, and organized a cross-country road trip with dinner parties in 8 cities, collaborating with other bloggers to co-host each gathering and help promote her book project on their blogs. She partnered with several large brands as well: Volkswagen lent her a car and Whole Foods donated all of the groceries and wine for the parties. Not only was the trip an amazing experience, but Anna went above and beyond her goal, pre-selling nearly 2,000 books and raising $66,000 in 6 weeks, which covered the costs of the first print run.

    Ambitious, right? Again, wow! All the hard work paid off – the book itself is gorgeous. The recipes are well written and well tested, using easy to source ingredients. Lovely photography and hand-drawn illustrations, as well as wine pairings,  accompany the recipes. The photos and design are fantastic! Every ounce of effort that went into this book is evident, right down to the hard cover, paper choice and printing (printed in the USA- somewhat of a rarity in today’s cookbook market!).

    I am so proud of Anna for this accomplishment. It was amazing to watch the project unfold, and I am completely inspired by the story of how this book came to life. It is truly wonderful to see someone take a dream and turn it into a reality though hard work, dedication, and collaboration. I highly recommend adding the book to your collection, or giving it as a gift to your favorite cook. Bravo, Anna and crew for a delicious triumph!

    You can order The Yellow Table cookbook online here.

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    All Photos by Signe Birck except the one immediately above, by Nate Poekert.

  14. Shotgun Wedding: Not a Beer Dinner

    October 29, 2014

    We hope you will join us! We are so thrilled to join up with the team at Stormcloud Brewing Company for this fabulous event in honor of Traverse City Beer Week. And of course, you know we are huge fans of collaborating with The Little Fleet (see here and here). All the elements are in place for this killer party!

    There will be heavy stationary appetizers, pairings of grilled wild game bites and Stormcloud brews, live music (Bluegrass Association…yay!) and of course plenty of lively conversation. You don’t want to miss this one…last chance for Epicure food for 2014.

    Tickets available online.


  15. Clean Plate Club Vegan Dinner | The Little Fleet

    October 27, 2014

    Vegan Dinner15As you may know…we love to collaborate with other local businesses, and offering pop-up dinners is one of our favorite ways to join forces.  The Clean Plate Club Vegan Dinner was one of those glorious collaborations. We teamed up with the fantastic folks at The Little Fleet and At Home to bring the Clean Plate Club to the table. Gary Jonas, the owner of The Little Fleet, expressed interest in offering a vegan dinner. Most of the pop up dinners in our area are more focused on appealing to the to carnivores of the region. We felt the vegans needed their own pop-up, and what better time to offer it than during harvest?

    I approached the design team at At Home with a rough skeleton of an idea for decor and let them take it from there. The vintage wallpaper table runners were the design impetus for the tabletop, and the team at At Home chose to keep it clean and fresh with mixed white planters and greenery. Modern votives provided some warmth and additional decor elements. The clean, simple palette allowed the focus to remain on the food.

    Epicure Catering & The Little Fleet present

    The Clean Plate Club

    Vegan Dinner

    Red popcorn with fennel pollen and nutritional yeast

    Vegan terrine of celery cabbage, butternut squash, porcini mushroom, red pepper, caramelized onions and garlic aioli

    Beet salad with field greens, rainbow sprouts and Pressmeister smoked peanut oil

    Squash involtini with bulgar, barley, tofu, peppadew peppers and herbs with roasted heirloom tomato sauce

    Brûléed peach with Pressmeister poppy meal and cashew cream

    Food partners:

    Carlson-Arbagast Farms

    Cherry Basket Farm

    Bare Knuckle Farm

    Paradise Farm

    Pressmeister Oil

    Providence Farm

    Green Rock Farm



    Gary & Allison Jonas, owners

    The Little Fleet

    venue hosts & libations

    Andy Schudlich, chef

    Epicure Catering

    menu creation & preparation

    Cammie Buehler, managing partner

    Epicure Catering

    décor & styling

    Mickey Humpula, sous chef

    Epicure Catering

    menu creation & preparation

    Sarah Peschel & Peggy Miller

    At Home Suttons Bay

    décor & styling

    Vegan Dinner01 Vegan Dinner02 Vegan Dinner03 Vegan Dinner04 Vegan Dinner05 Vegan Dinner06 Vegan Dinner07 Vegan Dinner08 Vegan Dinner09 Vegan Dinner10 Vegan Dinner11 Vegan Dinner12 Vegan Dinner13 Vegan Dinner14 Vegan Dinner16 Vegan Dinner17 Vegan Dinner18 Vegan Dinner19 Vegan Dinner20 Vegan Dinner21 Vegan Dinner22 Vegan Dinner24 Vegan Dinner26 Vegan Dinner27 Vegan Dinner28 Vegan Dinner29

  16. Farm Visit: Christmas Cove Farm

    September 29, 2014

    One of my favorite things to do every fall is visit Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm.


    The Kilcherman Family grows well over 200 varieties of apples on their farm near Northport, MI on the Leelanau Peninsula. Many of the varieties grown are from antique seeds which are no longer available in most orchards or in the market-some of the varieties grown on the farm date from the 1600’s. Through extensive research and a collection of rare books, journals and publications on the subject, the Kilcherman’s have become a treasure much like the varieties they lovingly cultivate. Rhode Island Greening, Salt Shaker Apple, Winter Banana and Old Fashioned Snow Apple are a few of the many varieties you will find. The farm has been honored with an award of merit by the Historical Society of Michigan, featured in the New York Times, and commended by Governor Engler for their contributions to Michigan history. In addition to antique varieties, the farm also specializes in modern varieties.

    Visiting the farm market is fascinating. There are apples upon apples laid out in quart containers on long tables. All are labeled with a brief history of the variety, as well as the best use for the apple- baking, frying, eating out of hand, food pairings, etc. If you are as interested in food as I am, you will appreciate from an educational standpoint the amount of care and time it took to research, grow, and present these apples.

    In addition to close to 240 varieties of apples, the farm also boasts a collection of over 10,000 antique pop bottles. The silk screened labels and the glass bottles themselves are each a piece of art from years past. They are alphabetized by title, which makes looking for your favorite varieties from years past easier to find.

    But my favorite part of visiting the farm is the icy cold cider. Upon checking out, I asked “do you have any cider today?” Andrea Kilcherman replied with a smile “yes, it was pressed this morning”… music to my ears! All these varieties combine in the press to make a unique tasting and utterly delicious cider.

    Next time you are in the area, I highly recommend a visit to the farm- it is genuine Michigan-and you won’t be disappointed.


  17. Restaurant inspired wedding design | Alicia Caldecott

    September 15, 2014

    I’ve been working with the brains and beauty that is Alicia Caldecott (owner, A Day in May, Event Planning & Design) for close to a decade. And for the sake of full disclosure, I am one of her partners in a side project called Simply Blue Weddings. Dynamic, spunky, smart and fun, she is implementing event designs in Northern Michigan which are unique in the truest sense of the word, and have been recognized by top leaders in the event industry. Catering these events always challenges our tiny company in a way that simply doesn’t happen in our normal scope of work. I love her for trusting us with her vision and truly appreciate the sweet clients who value her experience in creating an unbelievable experience for the guest.

    Kim & Mark7Kim and Mark are some of those sweet clients. After attending sixteen ( ! ) weddings in one year, they longed for something different for their own big day. Their courtship involved lingering over many memorable meals with fantastic conversation, fine food and wine. Dining out was one of their favorite things to do with one another, so this was the key element Alicia focused on when designing the dining experience for their wedding.

    Kim & Mark 7Have you ever seen a dining tent with an open, restaurant style kitchen? Me neither! When Alicia shared the concept with me about a year before the event, I was blown away. It was brilliant! We worked closely with the team at A Day in May Events to communicate our needs in terms of kitchen space and functionality. As the dining tent was surrounded by mature hardwoods on all sides, the guests were immersed in an experience with all the amenities and vibe of a fine dining restaurant, with all the natural beauty that Northern Michigan has to offer. It was the best of all worlds rolled into one. The menu was designed to maximize the time the guests were seated, encouraging conversation over fine food and drink, just as Kim and Mark intended.

    Kim & Mark 27We come into contact with a lot of amazingly talented and creative people in this industry. Alicia is a standout – a gift! – and one I am thankful for every day. Her designs are innovative and logistically very difficult yet executed with seemingly effortless precision. I don’t tell her enough how she blows me away with the experiences she creates for the guests, which is the ultimate test of those of us in the hospitality industry. So…thank you Alicia for all you do, and thank you for including us on the wild ride. Cheers! xo

    Passed Appetizers:

     Carlsons smoked whitefish in a cucumber roll with fresh dill and horseradish creme fraiche

    Crostini trio with country pate, aged raclette with local fava bean puree, heirloom tomato and herb mash

    Local rabbit braised in shiitake sherry cream wrapped in puff pastry

     Stationary Appetizers:

    Grassfields Gouda, Zingerman’s Manchester, and Wisconsin buttermilk blue with

    local produce, honey, candied nuts, and compotes

      Plated Courses:


    Poached, marinated Lake Superior Walleye served cold with pine nuts, pink peppercorns  and green onion- parsley oil, served with rose pesto crostini


    Local grilled apricots, Leelanau Cheese Fromage Blanc, pistachios, mint/basil vinaigrette

    Local rolls and fennel honey


    Leelanau Cheese Fromage Blanc ravioli with black pepper with heirloom tomato brodo and microgreens


    Braised local beef shanks with morel risotto, local green beans


    House made trifle with lemon sponge cake, local maple whipped cream, mixed fresh berries

     Dessert station:

    Pie station with locally made strawberry-rhubarb, cherry and mixed berry pies

    Kim & Mark 34

    Kim & Mark9Kim & Mark2Kim & Mark 31Kim & Mark 30Kim & Mark 32Kim & Mark3 Kim & Mark4 1211Kim & Mark5 Kim & Mark612521115114512491245Kim & Mark1 Kim & Mark 401369

    Kim & Mark 35Kim & Mark 381392Photos: Jen Kroll Photography



  18. Samantha & Donovan | Cherry Basket Farm

    September 1, 2014

    Sam & Dono’s wedding was captured by Michelle March Photography.
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    Venue & catering: Cherry Basket Farm / Wedding cake & desserts: Chimoski Bakery /  Vintage furniture rental: Fancy Fray / Flowers: Bridesmaids arranged all floral, flowers from Fifty Flowers / Wedding ceremony dress: 1930s from DearGolden / Reception dress: 1950s from Lived In/ Reception Belt: Bhldn / Shoes: Anthropologie / Photography: Michelle March Photography / Custom wedding bands & bridesmaids bracelets: Dallas Maynard / From the bride: “Veil: I found a vintage fascinator in a $1 bin at a rummage sale in Missoula, MT several years ago & knew I wanted to have it made into my wedding veil. My friend Sarah from went to school for hat design & made into my dream veil!”/ Grooms carbon fiber & wood wedding band: Hersteller ./ Brides engagement ring: / Ring box: End Grain Wood Shop / Vintage stamps: Darlingone Custom wedding invitations & guest book: / Grooms suit: Brooks Brothers / Groomsman suspenders: SunMark Studios / Groomsman bow ties & ties: Fox & Brie / Cake topper & bride/groom signs: First Snow Fall / Tie clip: Spiffing Jewelry / Videographer: Lonetree Productions / Pine tree favors: GreenWorldProject / Officiant: Kelly Lambert DJ: Eternal Entertainment Group   / Bagpipes: Jack Fellows
  19. Summer Supper | Chetonka

    August 18, 2014

    The long days of summer are about being outside and eating fantastic peak season food. We combined both for a summer supper at Chetonka, the home of a dear friend on Lake Michigan. Our favorite part of cooking at Chetonka is the out-of this world outdoor kitchen designed by owner and skilled cook Michael Chetcuti. The kitchen not only has an amazing view of Lake Michigan, but features an imported Italian wood fired oven, Grillworks grill and an Evo grill, in addition to burners, ample counter space and a sink. There is nothing the kitchen can’t handle! Did I mention this kitchen has an amazing lake view?  It’s the little things, like being outside and cooking with your friends. Bon Appetit!

    We’d like to thank our friends over at Wild Measure for the images.


    Local cheese board with house made local pickled vegetables and condiments

     Grilled local stone fruit with Leelanau Cheese Fromage Blanc and mint

    Beef tenderloin braciole with breadcrumbs, parsley, salami toscana,and scamorza

     Gigante bean, kale and plum salad with champagne plum vinaigrette

    Summer vegetable ratatouille

     Heirloom tomato salad with coppa, aged local goat cheese, basil and balsamic

    Local peach and blackberry clafouti


  20. Spicy Carrot Ribbons

    July 21, 2014


    Every once in a great while, we like to put up a recipe- like this one for spicy carrot ribbons. We grow carrots right here on the farm, so making any that we can’t eat fresh into these spicy carrot ribbons is a great way to preserve them for later use.  When catering, we often serve these with cheese displays, but I really like them on burgers or tacos.

    For the brine:
    5 cup water
    1  cup cider vinegar
    1  cup white vinegar
    4 T kosher salt
    1  T sugar
    1. 5 – 2 pounds fresh carrots, washed and cut into ribbons with the peeler on a box grater
    4 jalapeños, halved (seeded if you want less spicy pickles)
    4 bay leaves
    4 cloves garlic
    2 T red chili flake
    Sterilize (4) 1 quart canning jars by running them through the dish machine or boiling them in water.  Meanwhile, boil vinegar and water with salt and sugar to make the brine.  Pack ribboned carrots with the aromatics into the warm jars. Pour the hot brine over carrots, seal, and turn upside down overnight or until cool. Store in refrigerator for 3 months. These are ready to eat in just a few days!
  21. Karen & Dave | Cherry Basket Farm

    July 7, 2014

    Karen & Dave’s wedding was captured by the fabulous team at Weber Photography. 

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    Michigan Vendors:
    Accommodations: Leelanau Sands Casino, www. / Pie: Grand Traverse Pie Company/ Floral & Decor: Field of Flowers Farm / Invitations: Rock, Paper Scissors / Golf Outting: The Leelanau Club at Bahle Farms / Rehearsal Dinner Location: Gill’s Pier Winery / Rehearsal Dinner Pig Roast Caterer: Ebels General Store / Beauty: Pavlova Salon / Officiant: Daniel Richards, Grace Episcopal Church / Ceremony & Reception Venue: Cherry Basket Farm / Catering: Epicure Catering / Photography: Weber Photography / Transportation: By The Bay/ Michigan Food and Beverage: MI Beers: Bell’s Brewery, Founders All-Day IPA MI Wines: Black Star Farms, Chateau Grand Traverse, French Valley Vineyard, Bel Lago MI Bubbles: L. Mawby Cocktails: Thatcher’s Organic Vodka, Thatcher’s Organic Liqueurs, Journeyman Distillery Bourbons.
  22. Salt Packed Walleye

    June 23, 2014

    Salt packed walleye is a relatively simple preparation. Essentially, whole Lake Michigan walleye are stuffed with aromatics and baked in a salt cocoon. The preparation yields flavorful, tender flesh which we’ve opted to serve with garden herb chimichurri. I’ve added captions to walk you through the process.

    Salt Fish01Andy decided to stuff the fish with fennel from the garden at Cherry Basket as well as lemons. Dry the inside of the cavity, and pepper liberally prior to adding the herbs and citrus.

    002936-R1-010Combine salt (3 parts), flour (1 part) and water to create a dry paste. Make a bed of the mixture on your baking pan, then pack the fish on all sides with the mixture. Andy orients the fish upright so they cook evenly. Take care not to make the cocoon too thick, aim for about 1/2 inch-1 inch. Completely encasing the fish will keep the steam from escaping, but if the crust is too thick the fish won’t cook properly.
    Salt Fish02Salt Fish03We opted to use our in-ground oven, but you could certainly use a residential oven. This hardwood fire was burning for hours to make a nice deep coal bed. If cooking in your home oven, set it to 500 degrees. Salt Fish04Salt Fish08The fish is lowered into the pit, then covered. Salt Fish09Salt Fish06Salt Fish05The fish is done when the cocoon is hard to the touch and has an internal temperature of 145 degrees.Salt Fish10Let the fish rest for 10-15 minutes. The brown coloration is from the smoke in the pit; if using a home oven the cocoon will retain its white color.
    Salt Fish12Crack open the cocoon with the back of a spatula, or a similar tool that won’t gouge the flesh in any way. Remove the cocoon in pieces until you can get to the meat. Salt Fish11Put the fish on a platter and serve with your favorite pesto or condiment of choice.
    Salt Fish13Salty1 Salty2 Salty3Put out a spread, pair with a dry white from Leelanau County and enjoy with friends!


  23. Sandy & Stephen | Cherry Basket Farm

    June 9, 2014

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    From the bride:

    “My husband and I met in culinary school, so what better way to celebrate our passion for food and love of Michgan than a farm to table wedding. Everything down to the alcohol was local. All of our vendors were truly amazing and created the most perfect day including the weather and sky!” – Sandy

    You can also check see more from Sandy & Stephen’s wedding over at Simply Blue Weddings.

    All images courtesy of our friends at Weber Photography.

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    Ceremony: St. Wenceslaus Church / Reception :Cherry Basket Farm / Accommodations / Grand Traverse Resort & Spa  / Cakes & Desserts: Everything Gal / Rentals: American Rentals / Decor: Father of the Bride , Bride, family & friends and Etsy / Entertainment & DJ: Main Street Dueling Pianos / Fashion: Gown: Marisa Bridal, Earrings: Fire & Ice, Wedding Band: Achikian Jewlers, Bridesmaid Dresses:Light In The Box,  Flower Girls:Nordstrom, Suits: Joseph A. Banks / Catering: Epicure Catering / Florist: Field of Flowers Farm / Hair & Makeup: Chicory Dodge and team at Style North Salon and Spa / Officiant: Father Zeljko Guberovic of St. Philip Neri  / Photographer: Weber Photography / Rehearsal Dinner Location:  Harbor 22 (Traverse City, MI) / Stationer: Arlene Lebowitz of Paper Talk US / Transportation: Crystal Limo Service and Blue Lakes Charter

  24. Farm Visit: Boss Mouse Cheese

    May 12, 2014

    Boss Mouse01I recently had the good fortune to enjoy a farm visit to Boss Mouse Cheese in Kingsley, MI. I met owner/cheesemaker Sue Kurta a while back and the more time I spend with her, the more I enjoy her company- plus anyone who offers me mid-day wine and snacks is kind of a hero. My dear friend Kristin, who also happens to be a cook and owner of K2 Edibles, joined me on the adventure.

    Sue grew up in Detroit, and her pursuits led her to a career in corporate finance in New York City. After a number of years she longed for a change. As a home cheese maker for many years, Sue knew she wanted to take her cheesemaking to the next level. She moved back to Northern Michigan and bought a farm in Kingsley. Except for the help of her awesome parents, Mike and Margaret, she is a one-woman show.  She produces about 100 pounds of cheese every week, and sources her milk exclusively from Moomers Creamery. Cheddar, montasio, Alpine-style swiss, havarti, parmesan, cheese curds- you name it. This woman likes to practice her craft, with delicious results.

    Andy and I are very fortunate to work with amazing food artisans. I am so grateful to Sue for hosting me! You can learn more about Sue from her website. The best way to get your hands on some of Sue’s cheese is to find her at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market in downtown TC.

    I’ve selected images from the day below (with narration, of course!), but there is a complete slideshow at the bottom of the post.

    Boss Mouse18We began the day in the creamery. Once the milk and culture are heated to the correct temperature,  vegetable rennet is added.

    Boss Mouse03Sue has an 8 x 12 temperature and humidity controlled aging cave. We spent some time in the cave while the milk was heating in the kettle.

    Boss Mouse06Just a little experiment, labeled “Yogurt Cheese WTF Wheel”.

    Boss Mouse08Havarti and friends.Boss Mouse12Tasting the cheese is essential. Sue uses a tool called a cheese trier to remove a core from the wheel.Boss Mouse13Sue checks for aroma, flavor and texture, among other things. Boss Mouse11After she tastes, she replaces the rind end plug of the sample from the trier into the hole to prevent air from entering the cheese as it ages. Boss Mouse16A girl and her cheese. Boss Mouse20While the warm milk, cultures and rennet were doing their thing, we had a chance to wander the farm and have wine and snacks. Meet Rudy, aka Princess Hitler. Boss Mouse24Back in the creamery, the curd is ready to be cut. Sue tests the consistency with a custom tool her father made for her. Boss Mouse26Cutting the curd on a batch of sweet swiss.Boss Mouse27Once the curd is hand cut, Sue adds another Mike-made device, which is basically a motorized paddle mixer. Mixing with the paddle provides a consistent curd shape. This step takes a while, so we wandered off again…
    Boss Mouse30The plumbing seems to be the most sophisticated infrastructure in every creamery due to the heating, cooling, cleaning and sterilization that needs to occur during the cheese making process. Boss Mouse is no different. This is Sue’s trusty schematic.
    Boss Mouse31Time for a tour of the barn! One of the many casualties of our record winter here in northern Michigan was the functionality of Sue’s barn door. The Dukes of Hazzard method proved to be the most successful means of entry.
    Boss Mouse35All the ladies (plus a rooster).Boss Mouse34Head cheese and rescue-rabbit, Licorice. Boss Mouse39Meet Cozy…
    Boss Mouse40…and Max. Boss Mouse45Meanwhile, back in the creamery it is time to separate the curds from the whey. Boss Mouse41Straining the whey. Boss Mouse49In this step, Sue puts the curds into the mold once they are separated from the whey.
    Boss Mouse50Sue packs the curds in the mold to help give the wheel a consistent shape.
    Boss Mouse53

    Once the cheese is pressed into the mold, Sue adds weights to the mold, using another mechanism created by her dad. The weights press the remaining whey from the cheese. The wheel stays in the press for about 16 hours, and is flipped once during the process to keep the shape consistent.Boss Mouse55

    Me with Cozy, who is kind of a close-talker.

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    I had such a great day on the farm with Sue and Kristin! Farm visits are my favorite part of my job, and this was my favorite farm visit. xoxoxo

    See more images from my awesome Boss Mouse Cheese farm visit in the slideshow below.


  25. Little Fleet Dinner with Roaming Harvest

    May 5, 2014

    Photos: Weber Photography
    Little Fleet09

    We love collaborating with and gathering inspiration from other small business owners and food artisans. When Simon Joseph of Roaming Harvest asked if we would like to be a part of the Food Truck Dinner Series, of course we jumped at the chance. The Food Truck Dinner Series hosts all different area chefs, but the dinners are always held at The Little Fleet and hosted by Roaming Harvest. Most of these dinners are held in the winter, so it’s a nice change of pace for all involved.

    Gary and Alison Jonas, owners of The Little Fleet, and Simon proved to be awesome hosts.  Andy wrote the menu based on what was in season and Simon added his luscious duck confit and duck cracklings to the menu. I made a rustic chocolate dessert, Gary provided delicious libations. Good times were had!


    Idyll Farms cider washed chevre and Mawby cremant washed chevre, Boss Mouse Cheese brie with vegetable ash, Leelanau Cheese Raclette, with heirloom tomato jam, sweet & spicy pepper jam, house made pickles and Pleasanton Bakery grissini & 9 Bean Rows crackers

    House smoked Lake Michigan burbot with horseradish creme fraiche, capers & minced red onion

    Bare Knuckle Farm beet salad with Werp Farm arugula and champagne vinaigrette, topped with Roaming Harvest duck confit and duck cracklins

    Bare Knuckle parsnip-sunchoke soup with green oil and fried onions

    Braised Drettmann Ranch venison shank and Carlson-Arbogast Farm white beans with Werp Farm microgreens and dinosaur kale gremolata

    Big Ass skillet cookie, served with Odd Side Ales Java Chip Mint Stout

    We kept the styling & decor fairly simple, taking a cue from the 18th century paintings of French rococo painter, engraver and tapestry designer Jean-Baptiste Oudry. I really wanted the focus to be on the food, and Oudry’s lush still lifes were a great source of inspiration. The tables were dressed with crinkled brown kraft paper and simple runners of black burlap. We made cedar serving boards to serve the cheese course and house smoked fish, all of which were on the tables when the guests arrived, in addition to house-made pickles, rustic grissini and hand made crackers.

    For floral, I gathered simple brass and pewter vessels, then consulted with my friend and owner of Terrarium Bar, Megan Kellogg. She knocked it out of the park with bold arrangements of ranunculus tecolote, anemone coronaria, garden rose ‘hearts’, acacia baileyana, ‘after dark’ eucalyptus, and eryngium planum blue sea holly. We scattered brass and pewter candlesticks on the tables with simple white tapers to add a bit of light and warmth. I rounded out the look with antler sheds borrowed from a bow hunter friend of mine (thanks, Ryan!) and a few sheepskins on the benches.

    We had such a great time working with Simon, Gary, Allison, Megan, and the whole crew at Little Fleet. A huge thank you is in order to Cory Weber, owner of Weber Photography. He shot all of these stunning film images. Thank you Cory!

    Thanks also to all who bought tickets! Your laughter, smiles at the dinner table and unyielding support mean so much to us. We will be doing more dinners at The Little Fleet in the future and do hope you will join us.  Cheers!

    Little Fleet03

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  26. Cocktail Corner | Social Medicine

    April 11, 2014

    Our friends at eatdrinkTC  wrote a feature on our friend and beloved Epicure team member Mickey Humpula. Head on over to their blog to catch up on the latest happenings in the Traverse City food scene. Read the post as part of our Cocktail Corner series:

    Mickey Humpula is a bartender at Low Bar in Traverse City and is one of the creative minds behind their custom cocktail menu. He’s led a colorful life that includes 5 years in an ice factory. In addition to tending bar, he’s worked as a farmer, baker, cook and caterer. Mickey rides his bike a lot and dreams of homesteading.

    Mickey and the completed "Social Medicine"

    Mickey and the completed “Social Medicine”

    Mickey named this cocktail “Social Medicine” and prescribes it for increasing sociability and false courage. Find him and his cocktails tonight at Low Bar!

    Social Medicine

    2 slices of lemon
    1 oz Art in the Age of Root
    .75 oz brown sugar simple syrup
    1.5 oz Sparkle Donkey Tequila
    .5 oz Pimms
    6-7 drops house bitters
    6 ice cubes
    4.5 ounces soda water

    Muddle lemons in tumbler. Add all ingredients except for the soda water and shake for ten seconds. Add soda water to tumbler, lightly stir, gently pour into a zombie glass and serve.

     Reposted with permission  from eatdrinkTC. See the original post here. 

  27. Maple sugaring | Leelanau County

    March 17, 2014

    Maple sugaring- tap used for sap collection

    Each Spring in Northern Michigan brings excitement for Maple sugaring in Leelanau County. “Maple sugaring” is the name given to the collection and cooking of maple sap to produce syrup. The Native Americans were the first to innovate this process, prior to the arrival of European settlers on American soil.

    In cold climates such as ours, maple trees store starch in their trunk and roots before the long winter. The starch is eventually converted to sugar in the form of sap. Maple sugaring in Leelanau County is a simple but relatively long process, but well worth the reward of that beautiful amber colored liquid that is a delicious Northern Michigan staple.

    The sap is collected by “tapping” the tree. Our sap run begins in late winter/very early spring, usually sometime in late February to the end of March. The sap is collected into buckets or bags. Some farms like to use plastic tubing from the tap to the collection vessel but a simple metal tap like the one pictured above works well, too. Once the sap is collected, the long process of heating the sap to evaporate the water begins.  A long shallow pan aids in evaporation due to increased surface area. Evaporating the water from the sap can take many hours; the syrup is determined as finished when it reaches a certain sugar content and color.

    It can take up to 10 gallons of sap to yield one quart of syrup. The sap is boiled at about 220 degrees, which is about 7 degrees higher than the boiling point of water. Under-boiling can produce a watery syrup while overcooking produces crystallization.

    Andy’s friend Russell Madson was kind enough to invite him along for the harvesting and cooking of the sap. Some more images of Maple sugaring in Leelanau County are below. If you are interested in purchasing some Michigan maple syrup, check out this site. Enjoy!

    Maple sugaring time- buckets hang from a maple tree under taps

    Maple sugaring time - fire under the evaporator is being lit

    Maple sugaring time - harvested sap being poured into the evaporator

    Maple sugaring time - harvested sop is being poured into the evaporator

    Maple sugaring time - the evaporator is a large flat pan

    Maple sugaring time - the temperature must be carefully controlled on the evaporator

    Maple sugaring time - the evaporator heats up

    Maple sugaring time - the fire must be stoked often under the evaporator

    Maple Syrup03

    Maple sugaring time - Russell Madson works the evaporator

  28. Rabbit Hunt | Beaver Island

    March 3, 2014


    Last Winter, Andy had the unique opportunity to go on a hunting trip to Beaver Island. Beaver Island is an island off the Northwest coast of Northern Michigan and is about 54 square miles in area. Accessible by plane or ferry from Charlevoix, Beaver Island is most popular as a summer destination, but offers fantastic small game hunting in the Winter.

    This particular trip was a rabbit hunt. One of the hunters who invited Andy has a cabin on the island and has been coming to Beaver Island since he was born. The group drove up to Charlevoix, then flew over to the island.

    There are about 8 guys who go on the trip. Many of the hunters are cooks; there is a large emphasis on honoring the animal and eating each animal taken. Days are spent out in the woods and evenings are spent around the wood stove, laughing and sharing food and drink.

    The group made the trek this year as well. As this winter has been far more bitter, the hunt was not quite as fruitful and the group ended up getting stuck on the Beaver Island a few extra days (which they were thrilled about!). The added down-time on the trip allowed them time to visit Mark Valente, who has lived on the island since 1978.

    Mark Valente is a furrier and owner of Flattail Furs, along with Lisa Green. With their combined skill sets, the pair produces beautiful mittens, headbands, hats and jewelry. Check out their Etsy shop (the mittens are awesome!).

    The images below are actually from last year’s trip. This year, the visibility was so poor that the hunting and photography opportunities were limited. Regardless, getting to hunt snowshoe hare on Beaver Island is a unique opportunity not afforded to many…and one I thought worthy of sharing.










  29. Sunday supper | Bare Knuckle Farm

    September 26, 2013

    Of course, it is exciting so I’ll start with the menu. There is more text about the dinner below the images.

     To Start:

    Roasted potatoes with dill cream

    For Dinner:

    Beet and buttermilk terrine with radishes and horseradish-lardo vinaigrette

    Tomato bread salad with corn, zucchini and cucumbers

    Grilled sausage with blue corn polenta, kale, carrots and roasted red pepper-eggplant relish

    Idyll Farms goat cheese with fennel chickpeas, melon and chili oil

    For Dessert:

    White peaches and cream with brown butter sea salt cookies













    Every once in a great while, our crew takes a Sunday afternoon off. What better way to spend it than to attend a farm to table (table being literally at the farm) Sunday Supper at Bare Knuckle Farm?

    Bare Knuckle Farm was established in 2009 by Jess Piskor and Abra Berens. We get the majority of our stunningly gorgeous produce from the team at Bare Knuckle, and we have them to thank for making our job of presenting food beautifully that much easier.

    Bare Knuckle Farm sits in an idyllic valley near Northport, MI. Although the farm has been in active cultivation with cherries and chestnuts for over a century, the frosty valley floor does not lend itself to tree crops, making the way for Jess and Abra to plant everything from potatoes and herbs to corn, radish, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, hearty greens and more. Jess handles the majority of the gardens while Abra uses her cooking skills honed at Ballymaloe to produce stellar farm-to-table cuisine. Simple, delicious food that is served as close to its source as possible. What could be better?

    We were thrilled to break bread at Bare Knuckle Farm, and recommend you take the time to not only visit this special place, but meet these magnificent people and take part in their delicious, lovingly grown and mindfully prepared cuisine.


  30. Cocktail Corner | Celery Gin Sour

    July 22, 2013



    Celery Gin Sour Celery is the redheaded stepchild of the cocktail world. It has none of the glamor of exotic fruits, nor the great p.r. that cucumbers have been enjoying. It is, however, really refreshing and complements Gin beautifully. Also, I had about a bushel of it in my garden that needed to come out to make way for summer crops. So, behold, the Celery Gin Sour!

    To make one cocktail………

    1 oz. celery juice

    juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1/2 oz.)

    1 and 1/2 oz. gin

    1 oz. simple syrup (2 parts sugar to one part water. simmer until sugar is dissolved)

    mint sprig for flair

    First, you are going to need to juice some celery. You can use a juicer if you have one, or just throw a couple of de-stringed ribs in a blender with a splash of water. Put the celery juice in a shaker and add the gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Shake that mother up. Pour over ice and garnish with a mint sprig if you are extra fancy. Enjoy!



  31. McClures Dinner

    June 6, 2013






    SimpleEvening_Detroit_5 SimpleEvening_Detroit_4



    SimpleEvening_Detroit_3 SimpleEvening_Detroit_12 SimpleEvening_Detroit_11 SimpleEvening_Detroit_9

    We love to collaborate with other businesses. We recently had the opportunity to participate in a dinner with McClure’s Pickles and Chef Luciano del Signore of Bacco Ristorante and Pizzeria Biga, all Detroit companies. The event was part of designer and The Fresh Exchange blogger Megan Gilger’s A Simple Evening series. Megan, along with husband Mike, is also the magic behind Wild Measure (more to come on that!).

    The dinner was held at the home of our dear friends Michael Chetcuti and Kyle Evans, who happen to own Cloverleaf Fine Wines. They were kind enough to let us take over their place to throw a lovely dinner party.

    I did the styling, keeping it simple but with a few impact pieces. Inspired by McClure’s branding, I opted for natural and black as a simple, clean theme. I knew I would be incorporating antiques which were a nice contrast with the contemporary setting of the space. I absolutely love antiquing, and depression era ebony glass or “amethyst glass” has always been a particular favorite of mine. It was a natural fit for the table decor, and I focused on candlesticks. I collected them for about 3 weeks from various antique stores in the area. Textures on a tabletop are also great but I am a bit burned out on burlap. The jute upholstery webbing used for the table runner was a nice way to keep that natural feel of burlap but with a bit more sass. Air plants and succulents added a touch of color to the table. The place settings were very simple, just the basics plus a jar of pickles with a tag for favors/place cards.

    In addition to pickles, McClures makes the best bloody mary mix around, and Joe McClure crafted some amazing bloodies for the dinner. You can read more about them, including the recipes, on Megan’s blog. There were 3 options: the Southbend (tequila/beer/lime/cilantro/bloody mary mix), the Farmstand (gin/cucumber/lime/bloody mary mix), and the Northerner (smoked whiskey/bloody mary mix, beef jerky garnish). All were insanely delicious, as you can imagine.

    And the food….oh, the food! Luciano inorrporated McClures pickles and chips into each course, which was awesome and truly showed his versatility and creativity as a chef. Chef Luciano is such a mean cook, everything was so delicious.

    Here’s the menu:

    McClure’s potsticker surprise- this ended up being aged beef, ground and made into a potsitcker with McClures pickle relish. The sauce? Ketchup of course. Ended up being delicious.

    “fish and chips”- Lemon and parsley stuffed branzino atop a spicy McClure’s potato chip-I loved the play on traditional fish and chips. 

    Hand made gnocchi Carbonara with fried pickles- so incredibly delicious, and the vinegar from the pickle was a nice accompaniment to the creaminess of the pasta

    Rabbit stuffed with Bacco house sausage and spicy pickle relish- all these components complimented one another in a way I would not have expected. Again, another delicious course. 

    Spicy pickle gelato with vanilla tuille -pairing heat with desserts in nothing new, but adding pickles and still having a palatable (tasty even!) flavor is a work of art. Bravo, Luciano!

    So, a huge thanks to all involved: the fine folks over at McClures Pickles, Cloverleaf Fine Wines, Wild Measure and The Fresh Exchange, Chet and Kyle and of course Luciano.

    Photos: Mike GIlger

  32. Cocktail Corner| Meyer Lemon Gin Fizz

    May 17, 2013

    gin fizz

    Meyer Lemon Gin Fizz

    1.5 oz. gin

    1 oz meyer lemon

    1/4 oz. simple syrup

    1 egg white

    soda water

    Add all ingredients except for soda water to a cocktail shaker. Shake like hell for 1 minute. Add ice to shaker and shake like crazy for about 1 minute more. It should be nice and frothy. Pour into a glass and top with a splash of soda water.

  33. Introducing: Cocktail Corner!

    May 7, 2013


    As I mentioned in my first post, we will be doing a fair amount of collaborating and tapping into the talent of our amazing friends and family. This is the face of the voice behind the Craft Cocktail Corner. Jen loves her some craft cocktails. She is my big sister and she lives far far away in the land of stupendous food and drink (Portland). This is bad because I wish she lived closer so we could have more face time and share these cocktails together more often (because I, too, love a tasty cocktail). It is also good because I basically have an outpost in a great food city on the west coast whenever I can tear myself away from catering-type duties.

    In her professional life, Jen is a home decor seamstress. You can read more about her and her work here. All that sewing can make a girl thirsty so mixing up whoop-ass cocktails of the utmost deliciousness can be a creative way to wind down from the daily grind. Look for Jen’s craft cocktail posts about once a month, or whenever the mood strikes her.


    PS Jen is also a completely bad-ass crafter and is always working on a cool project. From time to time, we will share these as well if they cross over to entertaining. Enjoy!

  34. Cocktail Corner | Honey Thai Basil Vodka Collins

    Honey Thai Basil Vodka Collins

    Honey Thai Basil Vodka Collins

    1.5 oz. vodka

    couple of leaves of Thai Basil

    1 oz. lime juice


    Mix 1 Tablespoon of honey with about 2 Tbs. of boiling water to make a honey simple syrup. Chiffonade the Thai Basil. Put the vodka, lime juice, thai basil, and simple syrup in a shaker with some ice. Do your thing with the shaker for about a minute. Pour into a glass, garnish with a lime wheel and proceed to have an amazing time.

    basil rickey

  35. Cocktail Corner | Celery Gin Sour

    May 6, 2013


    Celery Gin Sour

    Celery is the redheaded stepchild of the cocktail world. It has none of the glamor of exotic fruits, nor the great p.r. that cucumbers have been enjoying. It is, however, really refreshing and complements Gin
    beautifully. Also, I had about a bushel of it in my garden that needed to come out to make way for summer crops. So, behold, the Celery Gin Sour!

    To make one cocktail………
    1 oz. celery juice
    juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1/2 oz.)
    1 and 1/2 oz. gin
    1 oz. simple syrup (2 parts sugar to one part water. simmer until
    sugar is dissolved)
    mint sprig for flair

    First, you are going to need to juice some celery. You can use a juicer if you have one, or just throw a couple of de-stringed ribs in a blender with a splash of water. Put the celery juice in a shaker and add the gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Shake that mother up. Pour over ice and garnish with a mint sprig if you are extra fancy. Enjoy!


  36. Cocktail Corner | Ruby Red Paloma

    May 5, 2013

    Ruby Red Paloma 1

    Ruby Red Paloma

    1.5 oz. tequila

    3 oz ruby red grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed!)

    salt for the glass rim (I use pink flake salt)

    soda water

    Wet the rim of the glass and roll it in a bit of flake salt until you have a fully salted rim. Mix together tequila and grapefruit juice and pour over ice in your glass. Add a splash of soda and Viola! Delicious cocktail. You are welcome.

    Ruby Red Paloma 2

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