Biblio Bistro (BB) is a fun, quick, and dynamic cooking series featuring local, nutritious, and seasonal produce. Biblio Bistro is led by Chef Michael and Dietitian Meghan and will include basic cooking instructions and nutrition information about the ingredients used. This series aims to be accessible to all cooking comfort levels, ranging from the beginner’s cook to a well-tuned chef. Shopping lists and recipes will be provided 1 week before the videos are available and participants are encouraged to cook along with Michael and Meghan. Feel free to share photos of your culinary creations using #BiblioBistro on Facebook or Instagram. We promise your taste buds won’t be disappointed!
The Biblio Bistro series strives to show that healthy cooking doesn’t have to be boring or laborious. Our goal is that by watching this series, participants can feel more confident and curious in the kitchen, all the while increasing fruit and veggie intake and supporting the local food system!
Meet the Team
Michael currently resides in Redridge with his husband, dogs, and chickens and enjoys living the good life on the big lake. He joined the PLDL family as the Program Coordinator in Feb 2019. Prior to this he was a goat herder, cheesemaker, and chef on the Bayfield, WI peninsula. Creating great tasting and nutritious food has always been his passion, from cooking professionally to back yard gardening and he is very excited to be on the BB team.
Favorite Food(s): Dark chocolate, aged cheese, and olives. He also loves Japanese food!
Favorite Color: Rainbow
Fun Fact: Michael can milk a goat in under 3 minutes!
Meghan is a registered dietitian and started working as a Community Health Educator with the Portage Health Foundation (PHF) in May 2020. Prior to her new role at PHF, she spent the last 4 years as a clinical dietitian in the Keweenaw area, where she provided nutrition education in a variety of settings. She was raised in Houghton and loves the beautiful outdoors of the Upper Peninsula. In her free time, she likes to run, cook, and spend time with her husband and puppy (Fig). She couldn’t be more excited to be part of the BB program!
Favorite Food(s): Peanut Butter and raspberries. She also loves Ethiopian food!
Favorite Color: Eggshell Yellow
Fun Fact: While Meghan has lived in Houghton since she was 3 months old, she was born in Wisconsin. She is also lactose intolerant, which makes her a lactose intolerant cheesehead!!
Episodes – Season 2 (2021)
Learn to Love Minestrone Soup
This episode of Biblio Bistro features Minestrone which highlights several fresh veggies, including zucchini, carrots, onions, and parsley. Most of the produce used is available at Farmers Markets throughout mid-to-late summer.
About Minestrone Soup
Healthy Eating Tips from Dietitian Meghan
- Bell Pepper –Rich source of Vitamin C (1 bell pepper contains over 100% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C!). Vitamin C is good for skin health and immune support.
- Carrots – Carrots are a rich source of Vitamin A, which supports skin and immune health. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning your body cannot properly absorb this nutrient unless it is consumed with some source of oil or fat. Some olive oil was used in this recipe, which would count as a fat source for absorption. Adding parmesan as an additional fat source would also enhance absorption of this vitamin.
- Quinoa – Quinoa was used in place of pasta in this recipe and has more protein and fiber compared to other grains. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free, making this dish safe for those who have a wheat/gluten intolerance or a gluten allergy.
- Versatile – You can swap out different veggies or simply add more if you’d like!
- Extra Flavor – You could use veggie broth vs. water, if desired. Could also use chicken broth in place of water, however the dish would no longer be vegetarian.
Cooking Tips from Chef Michael
- To easily and safely chop an onion, remove the ends and cut in half to create a flat surface to cut with. To quickly dice onion, you can cut into strips horizontally, and then switch to vertical cuts!
- To dice whole carrots, cut in half length-wise to create a flat surface prior to dicing.
- Green bell peppers can have a bitter taste, especially when raw, but when cooked down in a recipe like this soup, it will typically lose its bitterness. Green peppers are generally the most budget-friendly as well.
- This recipe can be made quickly, but if you have more time, it would be even more flavorful if cooked longer and slower.
- Rinsing canned beans is recommended.
- Using a microplane, which is an inexpensive handheld grater, is a very useful tool that can help speed up grating or mincing ingredients like parmesan cheese, chocolate, or garlic.
Citrusy Green Beans – A Light and Citrusy Twist on Steamed Green beans
This episode of Biblio Bistro features Citrusy Green Beans which highlights green beans and citrus. Green beans are usually available at Farmers Markets in mid-to-late summer through early fall. Michael and Meghan used frozen green beans for this episode, which are a nutritious and budget-friendly option in the off-season. Citrus was also used, which is in peak season during the winter months!
About Citrusy Green Beans
This light and citrusy twist on steamed green beans is great for a quick healthy summer (or summer-inspired) side dish. Enjoy hot or cold. The more it sits in the marinade, the more it soaks up the flavor!
In total, this recipe was only $4.13 to prepare, or $1.03 per serving!
Learn to Cook Delicious Eggroll Bowls
Biblio Bistro is back for 2021 and kicks off with a good one! This episode features Eggroll Bowls, which highlights fresh cabbage. Cabbage is seasonally available in late fall through winter and is usually available at Farmers Markets in early-to-mid-summer through early fall.
About Eggroll Bowls
This recipe is a quick, tasty, and nutritious way to satisfy your eggroll craving! The fresh ginger and garlic add extra flavor and a slight spicy punch. The sliced cabbage and carrots provide fiber, antioxidants and a delightful crunch to this easy weeknight dish.
In total, this recipe was only $6.62 to prepare, or $1.66 per serving!
Healthy Eating Tips from Dietitian Meghan
- Cabbage – Cabbage is considered a cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts are also in that same category). Research suggests that these types of veggies are protective against colon cancer. They are also linked to contributing to good gut health. These types of veggies do tend to be harder to digest for some, such as individuals with irritable bowel syndrome. Cooking these types of veggies may be better tolerated for these individuals.
- Carrots – Carrots are a rich source of Vitamin A, which supports eye, skin and immune health. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning your body cannot properly absorb this nutrient unless it is consumed with some fat. In this recipe the olive and sesame oil, as well as some fat from the pork meat, all count towards a fat source so that the vitamin A can be adequately absorbed and utilized in the body!
- Pork – Pork provides protein for this dish, which will help keep you full for a longer period of time. After you’re done handling raw meat, make sure you wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds (two sets of “Happy Birthday”) before moving on to the next step in the recipe.
Cooking Tips from Chef Michael
- For well-cooked, but crisp veggies, try not to overcrowd your frying pan (1 inch-thick layer is a good rule of thumb). If your pan isn’t big enough, cook ingredients in batches and add back together at the very end. You also want a relatively high heat to get the veggies crisp, but still cooked well enough.
- For a quick and easy way to peel ginger, you can scrape with a good old fashioned spoon (metal would work best). The time you’ll save is just short of magic.
- When cooking with raw meat, you want to avoid any cross contamination with other surfaces or ingredients you’ll be using. Have a designated bowl or cutting board for meat, and remove it from the cooking area as soon as you’re done using. Make sure the area you were prepping the raw meat has been sanitized and that your hands are clean (whether that means sanitizing your hands with warm water and soap or discarding your contaminated rubber gloves).
- Make sure to temp any raw meat that you’re cooking. For pork, the internal temperature needs to be 145 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to avoid foodborne illness.
Episodes – Season 1 (2020)
Step-by-Step Directions to Make Chimichurri Sauce – Episode 1
How to Make the Best Quinoa and Fresh Herb Salad – Episode 2
Explore your kitchen by making Wilted Chard – Episode 3
The Perfect Way to Enjoy Beets is a Warm Beet Salad – Episode 4
This Slow-Cooked Kale Recipe is Perfect for Fall – Episode 5
Squish Your Squash-Cooking Fears with Biblio Bistro – Episode 6
Slow-Cooked Winter Squash
This recipe is simple and nourishing comfort food at its best. The sage and thyme create notes similar to a Thanksgiving stuffing and winter squash tastes extra sweet when roasted. Depending what type of winter squash is used, the texture can be almost creamy. Regardless of which winter squash you choose, this dish will be deliciously rich and full of antioxidants. Enjoy!
Warm Beet Salad
This recipe allows the natural sweetness of beets to shine. By using the beet greens, which are edible (and delicious), this recipe also reduces typical food waste and encourages use of the whole plant. For those adding goat cheese or feta, there is a tangy and sweet combination that is simply divine! The slivered almonds are the icing on the cake, providing extra texture
to this dish. This dish can also be served hot or cold and is equally delicious. Bonus!
Chard is like the colorful cousin to spinach, and is very similar in taste and use. This recipe uses both the stems and the leaves, which are equally edible and delicious! The vinegar adds a bit of tang and helps brighten up the dish. This is also a low-maintenance recipe that can be whipped together in less than 15 minutes!
Chimichurri is a bright fresh sauce made with olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic and spices. Traditionally it is used as a sauce to serve over meats, however chimichurri is extremely versatile! Try adding to scrambled eggs, tacos, on sandwiches or wraps, on top of rice/pasta, or simply dip bread in it. The possibilities are endless!
Quinoa and Fresh Herb
This plant-forward dish is a great gluten-free pasta salad alternative and is also completely vegan! This dish is a dietitian’s dream—it is a good source of protein from the quinoa and sunflower seeds; packed with fiber from the avocado, kale and sunflower seeds; and abundant in antioxidants from the fresh herbs, kale and avocado. The fresh herbs and lime juice/zest make this the perfect dish for summer time!
The fifth episode of Biblio Bistro highlights slow-cooked kale, which is a delicious recipe using ingredients mostly available at the Copper Country’s amazing farmers markets. The kale and several other items were purchased at the Downtown Houghton Farmers Market. Slow cooking the kale creates a milder and less bitter taste and a softer texture. The rosemary and onion add flavors reminiscent of pot roast or stew. This recipe is a great starting place to try kale in a new and exciting way! In total this recipe was only $7.41 to prepare. That adds up to $2.47 per serving.