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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mackinac Straits Fish Company

Note: This is the last entry for our road trip foods. I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the foods we ate on this road trip. Please continue reading as I move back into my normal blogging about home cooking. Cauliflower is next on the adgenda as I start restocking the freezers. And yes (heavy sigh) my countertops are not finished yet but we are getting closer. Oh the joys of DIY renovations!

We are not big into bringing home souvenirs from our many travels. The reason being is they add to every one's clutter. Not everyone appreciates that! What we are big into when traveling is bringing home foods from that region. Not only can we enjoy a nice meal we can reminisce about our travels. The Michigan Upper Peninsula is dotted with several places to buy whitefish and smoked fish. Both are a must bring some home so when visiting Michigan's Upper Peninsula be sure to bring a cooler.

Mackinac Straits Fish Company Store

The Mackinac Straits Fish Company store is conveniently located just after the first exit on M-75 after the Mackinac bridge, turn right onto Bus - 75 then right again onto Ferry Lane. The store is on the left hand side. The Mackinac Straits Fish Company process the fish as soon as they receive then. Quite often this is less than an hour from being taken from the nets. That means the fish is about as fresh as you can get unless you catch them yourself.

The store itself is quite small, basically the size under the "A" entrance. There likely isn't much more room than for about 5 customers at a time. Upon entering you face the fish counter. There is a fish freezer to the immediate left that holds not only fish but buffalo. They also sell wild fruit preserves, buffalo and beef jerky, smoked fish, fresh eggs and maple syrup.

Whitefish & Perch

We bought four packages of whitefish, two packages of perch and smoked salmon (see below). I really wanted to buy more but honestly with the cheese our cooler was stuffed! The total cost came to $46.89 which sounds high but consider this is enough fish for at least 6 meals so under the $5 per person meat cost and whitefish is not so easily found fresh where we are even though we live on the Great Lakes waterways. The perch really was just a whim. Given we catch perch ourselves and are often gifted with it from friends buying it seems a bit silly. You really can't have too much perch! It is so quick and easy to lightly coat and pan fry. Perch is a must have staple!

Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) is a member of the trout/salmon family Salmonidae. It is the mainstay of the commercial fishing industry in the Great Lakes because of its exceptional yet delicate flavour, large size and schooling habits. Anglers have discovered it takes special techniques when fishing for whitefish because they swim in the cool, gloomy water of the Great Lakes at depths of 200 ft and deeper in warmer weather. Their mouth is small presenting another challenge for anglers.

A 3 - oz piece of whitefish has 146 calories, 20.8 gr protein and 65 mg cholesterol compared to a 3 oz piece of broiled sirloin that has 177 calories, 25.9 g protein and 76 mg of cholesterol. Broiling with a little butter will of course increase the calorie content but not by much. Consider though that each whitefish fillet is about a foot long so you will be over 3 oz but still it is a good value nutritionally. The flavour of the whitefish should shine through in the dish so keep it simple. Neither seasonings or sides should be overpowering.

Smoked Salmon

Smoking is an age old method of preserving meats and fish. The Mackinac Straits Fishing company smokes fish using wood from local forests, a blend of indigenous hardwoods, primarily sugar maple. Sugar maple adds a light, sweet flavour to the meat or fish. I only bought a small piece of smoked salmon. This was a impulse purchase. My husband's dad loved smoked fish and absolutely adored smoked salmon. He would simply eat it as is. I like the flavour as is as well. They kids enjoy smoked salmon too but then they will eat any fish. Unfortunately as far as I can tell my husband does not but perhaps he will try it again since a smoker is on my next to purchase list. I'm really not sure what I am going to do with this piece of smoked salmon. Off the top of my head I'm thinking of using some for a smoked salmon dip. I also have a couple of ideas for appetizers.

Bread & Maple Syrup

You know when you are traveling there are always neat food items to buy. Even though we have an abundance of Ontario maple syrup we bought a 32 oz (946 ml) jug of maple syrup from Wisconsin. Why? This jug cost $11.99, the same price we pay for a 500 ml bottle of Canada No. 1 maple syrup so almost half price. We love maple syrup and not just for pancakes!

I could not resist buying the Up North beer bread in a bottle. The bottle is larger than an actual beer bottle even though it resembles one. This is just a cute presentation and would make a cute gift. At $5.99 plus having to provide your own beer it is not going to be a very frugal loaf of bread! I'll report back on how it tastes :)


1 food lovers commented:

Garden Gnome said...

I whole heartedly agree! Fish is an excellent source of protein and a lot lower in calories than other meats. Living on the Great Lakes waterway, we eat a lot of fish including fish we catch. I use the term "we" in general because my husband does not fish, I do :) What makes fish less healthy is heavy coating then frying as in English style fish and chips. While the coating keeps the fish nice and moist it also adds a lot in calories. I prefer broiled or grilled or very light coating (perch, pickerel) if pan frying.