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Tastemakers: Great Lakes Whitefish Cookbook/ Bell‘s Oberon Ale 3/21/11

Rick Coates - March 21st, 2011
Great Lakes Whitefish Cookbook
The Michigan Sea Grant program has released a new cookbook, Wild Caught
and Close to Home: Selecting and Preparing Great Lakes Whitefish. The book
celebrates the Great Lakes whitefish with recipes, cooking techniques and
chef insights. It was edited by Chef Chris Kibit, a professor at the
Northern Michigan University hospitality and culinary management program,
along with his colleague Chef Deborah Pearce.
Kibit has been a professor at NMU for the past 10 years and, prior to
that, spent 20 years as a chef and kitchen manager overseeing a wide
variety of operations. Kibit grew up and worked in Michigan kitchens and
quickly learned that whitefish is a staple ingredient on menus throughout
the state. Chef Kibit recommends through his experience that “knowing your
supplier, their reputation and how they handle fish is important and while
fresh is best, it is not always possible, and properly frozen whitefish
can be a suitable substitute.”
Wild Caught and Close to Home “trolled the Great Lakes and met with
restaurant chefs, fishermen and culinary educators from Wisconsin,
Michigan and Minnesota to gather a wide spectrum of recipes.” in addition
to a wide array of recipes this book also covers the history of whitefish
along with tips and techniques for purchasing and handling. Besides the
basics of frying and grilling whitefish, this book also has recipes for
cooking over campfires, pickling and smoking whitefish.
Eighteen chefs from around the Great Lakes contributed to the book
including Jill Bentgen, proprietor of Mackinac Straits Fish Company in St.
Ignace; Hans Burtscher, executive chef of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac
Island; and Paul Carlson, chef at The Hearth and Vine in Black Star Farms
in Suttons Bay.
While the book is great for restaurants, at-home chefs will equally enjoy
it.  The book may be purchased for $16.95 at where additional recipes, sample page
views and pictures are also available.
---Rick Coates

Bell’s Oberon Ale

Musicians have CD release parties all the time, so why not breweries?
Certainly beer enthusiasts of Kalamazoo based Bell’s Brewery thinks it’s a
great idea. Every year more and more Oberon “pre-release” parties are
popping up all over the place. City Park Grill in Petoskey will play host
to one as will Union Street Station in TC. Both events are this Sunday,
March 27, with the  tapping of the first Oberon keg of the year taking
place at midnight. 
The release of Oberon marks the unofficial start of summer for some, even
though we are only officially just a week into spring. Oberon is a summer
seasonal that is released every year at this time and starts to disappear
as fall sets in. This wheat ale is fermented with Bell’s signature house
ale yeast and is mildly hopped with hints of spice. Some wheat beers can
be overly citrusy hitting a 10 on the pucker scale. Not Oberon; this beer
goes done smooth with slight hints of citrus and spice with a mild wheat
While the beer pours cloudy, true connoisseurs know that Oberon is liquid
sun in the glass. There is great debate on whether a slice of orange
should be served with Oberon. This really is simply a personal preference
and some places serve it with lemon slices.
Oberon pairs well with a wide range of foods with the exception of heavier
dishes, such as meat and potatoes. This is an exceptional cocktail beer to
be enjoyed with cheese and fresh fruits. For lunch, pair with summer soups
such as gazpacho as well as summer salads. At dinner, try blackened
whitefish or grilled salmon with citrus seasonings. Oberon is also tasty
with grilled vegetables. 
Oberon is great on hot days, or at the beach while watching the sunset. It
is available in bottles, on tap and in mini-kegs. ---Rick Coates 

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