Mackinac Island Cottage Cookbook: Savor Summer All Year Long

SharonGriffesTarr-GrandHote (1)Now with summer officially over, we can hold on to the season by savoring can hold on to the season by savoring the Mackinac Island Cottage Cookbook (Touch Down Books 2017; $29.95) written by two former Southwest Michigan residents, Barbara Toms and her daughter Marcia Dunnigan.  For years, their families and friends have been gathering together at  Donnybrook Cottage, their place overlooking the waters of Mackinac Island.

Dunnigan, who is good friends with Patricia Trautman Moon of St. Joseph, Michigan—the two graduated from Benton Harbor High School, describes summer days enjoying the island view from their porch and crowding around their large dining room table to enjoy foods prepared with local produce.

“People come to visit and bring their favorite dishes and we also cook a lot of family recipes too,” says Toms. “We always ask for recipes and we’ve also saved the ones we make which are long time favorites. When people stop by, we have them toss their recipes into a wire basket.”

The basket, located in the kitchen sits on “Granny’s cupboard,” a family heirloom, first were organized by Toms in a notebook titled “Donnybrook Cookbook.”

Over the years, Toms added more recipes to the notebook until, wanting to share that sense of family and comradery she and Dunnigan decided to compile their easy-to-make recipes (it is summer after all) into a cookbook.

“We wanted to show the good times and the good food, but also the beauty of the island,” says Toms, adding they chose to organize their cookbook around the theme of “Good food and fine Art – one nurtures the body, the other the soul.”

“That describes not only our cookbook but we think is important in life,” says Dunnigan. “That’s why we asked our good friend, Sharon Griffes Tarr to do the illustrations for the book.”Marcia-Mom-cookbook-theme (1)

Tarr, who lives in Williamston, Michigan, holds Master status in the Great Lakes Plein Air Painters Association and paintings can be found in collections in both the USA and overseas. Her work is one display in Michigan galleries such as Coyote Woman Gallery, Harbor Springs and Framer’s Edge, Okemos. For the cottage cookbook, she created dreamy and majestic landscapes  and more precise but equally pretty scenes of the cottage, its gardens and life on the island.

Though Toms and Dunnigan no longer live in the area, having moved years ago, they still come back to visit.

“St. Joe is such a beautiful place,” says Dunnigan. “It’s always fun to be back home.”

The following recipes are from the Mackinac Island Cottage Cookbook  which is available online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Apricot Lime Chicken Thighs

¼ cup apricot preserves

2 large garlic cloves, minced

One tablespoon lime juice

2 teaspoons lime peel, grated

½ teaspoon coarse salt

1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper

8 bone-in chicken thighs skin removed

One cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon curry powder

4 lime wedges

Preheat oven to 400°.  Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Stir all ingredients except chicken, panko, curry powder and lime wedges in shallow bowl until combined. Stir Panko and curry powder in small shallow bowl. Coat chicken with apricot mixture; roll in Panko mixture, pressing to coat completely.

Place on baking sheet; lightly coat chicken with cooking spray.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until done. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 4.

Coca-Cola ribs

1 slab ribs

2 onions, halved

1 cup Coca-Cola

1 cup barbecue sauce

Parboil ribs with onions. Mixed together Coca-Cola and barbecue sauce and pour over ribs.

Bake uncovered, basting and turning until tender about one hour at 350°. Remove from oven and grill just until crispy. Serve with coleslaw and a pile of napkins.

Jill’s Chili Rellenos

12 Cubanelle peppers (see note below)

1½ pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

8 eggs, separated

1 stick butter, melted

2½ tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Steam or roast peppers, cut in half and remove seeds. Fry ground beef and onions together. Drain grease.

In baking dish, layer half of the peppers and cheese. Add the ground beef mixture and then the remaining peppers and cheese.

Separate 8 eggs.

Beat egg yolks, melted butter, flour and seasonings until well blended.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold whites into egg yolk mixture and pour over top of casserole.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Note: Cubanelle peppers are sweet and mild in flavor and if not available, good substitutes are bell peppers, Anaheim or sweet banana peppers.

Pralines Cookies

1 cup condensed milk

2/3 cup brown sugar

6 tablespoons melted butter

2 cups nut meats

2 eggs

½ cups sifted flour

¼ teaspoon maple flavoring

Cook milk and sugar in a double boiler until very thick. Remove from heat and stir in melted butter and nuts. Cool slightly. Beat eggs and add to mixture. Blend in flour. Stir in maple flavoring. Bake about 12 minutes at 350° until lightly browned.

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