Patti Smith, of Ann Arbor writes a beer and food blog. Sarah Smalheer of Chelsea, provides recipes like limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur, on her blog. Diana Dyer, a nutritionist, cancer survivor and garlic farmer, created a website dedicated to healthy recipes. And Kate Remen-Wait’s blog posted 135 recipes, including restaurant reviews and reports on her weekly farm shares from Tantré Farm.
They are all a part of an online group called the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. The group boasts 106 members, with representation from every county in Michigan.
No two blogs are the same, but what these bloggers all have in common is a love and passion for food. Some write about cooking for young children. Others have a local foods focus, while others share travel logs about eating on the road.
“What is cool is the diversity,” said Smith. “There is a blogger with a North African focus.”
There is also a competitive and food-challenge element to some of the blogs. Others enter national recipe contests, while some take on local food challenges. Some even dare to tackle difficult recipes from famous cookbook authors like Julia Childs and Thomas Keller.
Most communicate through each others’ blogs or via e-mail, but some get together for in-person events. The most popular event is their annual Christmas Cookie Swap.
“It’s like a nuclear bomb with crumbs everywhere,” said Smalheer, describing their annual cookie exchanges. “We crammed 18 women in my small living room one year.”
These cookie swaps work by having people bring a certain number of homemade cookies for trade.
“Husbands (and boyfriends) are pleased with all of the great food we bring home from our events, like the huge trays of Christmas cookies,” Smalheer said.
The group is also a great source for hard-to-find resources.
“I found the caterer for my son’s wedding reception,” said Dyer. “The chef was enthusiastic to do vegan items.”
Some bloggers are more active than others and post weekly, while others fall off the radar.
“No one has been kicked out for low activity,” said Remen-Wait.
The club — as its name suggests — is only for ladies. But how would they know if a guy tried to join the club using a woman’s name?
“We don’t know if someone is female,” admitted Remen-Wait, speaking about the identity of some Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. “We are trusting. If someone wanted to post under a false identity, we would not know.”
Guys need not feel left out, however. All of these blogs are posted publicly, which means everyone has access to all the content, and anyone can send a comment about the posts.
To learn more:
Patti Smiths Blog:
Sarah Smalheer’s blog:
Kate Remen-Wait’s blog:
Diana Dyer’s website:
By Patti Smith
1 cup shortening
1.5 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
Mix shortening, eggs and sugar. Then mix the dry ingredients except the two tablespoons of sugar and two teaspoons of cinnamon; combine. My batter tends to be a little dry, so I often put in a dash of Half & Half to moisten it up. Roll into balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and put on a cookie sheet that has been greased or, in my case, has parchment paper on it. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Don’t panic when you see them puff up and then flatten out; it’s all part of the charm.
Apricot Ginger-Almond Sandwich Cookies
By Brian Steinberg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups slivered almonds
1 cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup apricot jam
¼ inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor, add one cup of flour and the almonds and process for about a minute. Add ½ cup of sugar and the rest of the flour and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse to form dough. Do not over mix. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of ¼ inch and cut into two-inch rounds. Roll the remaining dough and cut out rounds. Bake for about 15 minutes. To make the sandwiches, combine the jam with the ginger. Spoon out a teaspoon of jam between two cookies and coat with the rest of the sugar while the cookies are still warm.
By Sarah Smalheer
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
Cream the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the flour and salt and combine. Add water, nuts and vanilla and combine. Chill dough for an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pinch off wads of dough and roll into balls approximately one inch across. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Prepare a small bowl of powdered sugar. Roll the cookies in the sugar once while still warm, allow to cool completely and roll again.
Chocolate Matzo: Not just for Chanukah
By Brian Steinberg
4-6 sheets of matzo (Yehuda brand preferred)
2-3 bars 4 oz Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate, 60 percent
½ cup toasted almonds, walnuts and/or hazelnuts
A few pinches of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with tin foil. Chop the chocolate. Toast almonds in oven or toaster oven for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure not to burn the nuts.
Chop the nuts and set aside. Sprinkle the chocolate over the matzo and bake in the oven for two to three minutes, just until the chocolate melts. Spread the chocolate with a rubber spatula over the matzo to create a smooth layer. Sprinkle on almonds and a small pinch of salt while the chocolate is still melted, so it sticks. Let it sit in a cool place. Break into smaller pieces and serve, or for fun pass around a full sheet and have guest break off their own piece. Present in a decorative wrap or a cookie tin.