Dowagiac restaurants offer a taste of Dogwood

Published 8:00am Friday, May 9, 2014

People looking to get a small taste of the organic Southwestern flavors that chefs Lois Ellen Frank and Walter Whitewater will deliver during their food tastings next week are in luck.

Downtown restaurants Foodies Fresh Café and Catering and the Wood Fire Italian Trattoria will be featuring select dishes from Frank’s cookbooks, “Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations” and “Taco Table.”

From May 12 through the 17, the chefs at Foodies will feature Indian tacos, served on homemade tortillas, spicy corn soup and Navajo peach pudding, prepared with whipped cream and honey.

“We always try to participate in the festival each year,” said owner Carol Heflin. “We usually do something special. Last year, we made cupcakes with the dogwood flowers frosted on them. We do whatever we can to support this wonderful event.”

The Wood Fire, meanwhile, will be serving a special rack of lamb dish from May 15 through the 17, adapted from recipes in Frank’s cookbook by chef Cheryl Horiuchi. The lamb will be prepared with dry rub made up with cumin, black pepper, coriander and other ingredients, then served with a special cherry glaze.

“What I found interesting was the idea that I could take ingredients from the cookbook and work them into a dish that we would typically serve here at the Wood Fire,” Horiuchi said.

The idea of incorporating local businesses into this year’s culinary arts presentation was devised by Jim Benedix, the president of the Dogwood Board of Directors and one of the members of the culinary planning committee.

“This is the first time we have tried this,” Benedix said. “We chose these two restaurants because they have chefs who regularly prepare meals from scratch. These dishes are something that they’ll have to shop for unique ingredients before cooking.”

Benedix and other organizers first introduced the culinary arts to the festival several years ago. The committee is trying several different ideas out this year to increase the popularity of this portion of the festival, including offering larger portions for attendees at the pair of cooking demonstrations held next week.

“They will be offering a four-course meal, with an appetizer, soup, entrée and desert,” Benedix said. “We don’t think anyone will be going home hungry, so people should bring their appetite.”

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