Kurella's Kitchen: 'Midwest Morsels,' cooking show mark milestones

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It seems like it was yesterday when I first sat down (in front of a massive computer) to peck out my first food column for the Sturgis Journal. But 20 years has spun by as fast as the highest speed on my 1950s Hobart KitchenAid mixer.

With more than 1,000 food columns tapped out in the process, this year is bringing plenty of reason to celebrate life's joys.

Food is a majorsource of joy. It's flavorful, fascinating, engaging and there to help us through rough times.

Over the years, food has helped me connect with you, my fellow foodie fans, and you have taught me that while many of you deal with the struggle of time or talent for cooking, none of you complain about getting your hands on a good recipe. That makes sharing them something that enables us all to pay it forward.

I was blessed to grow up with amazing recipes my parents got from their ancestors, sparking a conversation among my siblings (after the death of a second sister in as many years) that we needed to make sure that treasured family recipes get preserved and handed down before the rest of us siblings pass, too.

These thoughts collided with this major 20-year milestone, so I decided to celebrate by creating a memoir of my life with food and tell it through recipes.

I am thrilled to announce that my new book, “Midwest Morsels: Memorable Recipes and Reflections,” takes readers to “old country” recipes of my childhood to some of my award-winning recipes. It includes my childhood in the Calumet region and Chicago area, Great Lakes regional favorites and marvelous Michigan selections.

It’s tentatively set to for release at another milestone event for me in 2022, my fifth “Happy Holidays”“ cooking show, which takes place Nov. 6 at Constantine High School, 1 Falcon Drive, Constantine. It includes a special community expo featuring unique artisans, crafters and local businesses to help you get a jump on your holiday gift list. The expo runs 11:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. The cooking show takes place 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

I am giving away $5,000 in prizes, including a $500 shopping spree, courtesy of Meijer in Three Rivers.

Admission is free and is a gift to the community thanks to support from Constantine Area Fitness Center and Constantine Township Library.

This show will shine a spotlight on Michigan growers and brands that produce high-quality food to help us elevate the flavors in treasured recipes and boosting our local economy. It features on-stage food challenge opportunities for attendees and plenty of delightful samples, prizes and a special surprise.

For additional information, call 269-435-8900 or visit my Facebook page, tinyurl.com/3cwupja8.

Here is a taste of what's in store at this year’s “Happy Holidays” cooking show. Enjoy!

Laura Kurella
Laura Kurella

Laura Kurella is a nationally award-winning recipe developer and food columnist who enjoys sharing recipes from her Michigan kitchen. She welcomes your comments at laurakurella@yahoo.com.

Eden Foods-inspired winter white dip crudite

Dip:15 ounces great northern beans, 1 can drained, reserve liquid (or you may use cannellini or Navy beans)3 tablespoons Eden Roasted Sesame Tahini2 teaspoons Eden Umeboshi Paste, or to taste2 cloves garlic, minced2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed1/4 cup fresh parsley, mincedPlace ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree. Add the bean cooking liquid (aquafaba) until dip is preferred consistency. Serve with sesame bread sticks, pita bread, or vegetables.[Laura’s Alternate Method: Place all ingredients in a quart size freezer zipper storage bag. Remove air and seal then knead with hands or roll with a rolling pin, until smooth. Place the bag in the refrigerator until use.] Prep Time: 5 minutes Serves: 6.

Crudite:Fresh vegetables sliced (your favorites)Assorted crackers

Festive white pesto dip

Prep Time: 10 minutes. Serves:12.15 ounces canned white beans, drained1/4 cup pesto sauce, prepared1 teaspoon fresh lemon juicePlace ingredients into food processor or blender and puree(Laura’s alternate method: Place all ingredients in a quart size freezer zipper storage bag. Remove air and seal then knead with hands or roll with a rolling pin, until smooth. Place the bag in the refrigerator until use.)Serve with sesame bread sticks, pita bread, or raw vegetables (crudites).

Traverse City Whiskey Co.-inspired extra special cherry smash

LemonsMint LeavesSimple syrupTraverse City American Cherry Edition whiskey (optional)Traverse City Premium cocktail cherriesEden Foods organic tart cherry juice

In a mixing tin add 4 lemon wedges, 6-8 mint leaves, and 3/4 oz. simple syrup. Muddle all ingredients together. Add 2ounces of Traverse City American Cherry Edition whiskey(if using) and ice. Shake until all ingredients are mixed and chilled (approx. 10 seconds). Using a Hawthorne and fine mesh strainer, Double strain cocktail into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a mint bouquet, Traverse City Cherries, and a lemon wedge.

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: Kurella's Kitchen: 'Midwest Morsels,' cooking show mark milestones