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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Volunteer Spotlight: Daryl Ehrman

Rebecca Blauw

Daryl 2 Tell us a little about yourself.

My husband (Mark) and I eloped last summer on a motorcycle ride to West Virginia. This has made me the happiest woman, and I love my husband so much. We live on Ann Arbor’s Old West Side. I am a graduate of Eastern Michigan University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics, and am employed as a clinical dietitian at a 450-bed community hospital in Flint, MI. My assignments include the long term acute care unit, and our CCU. It is challenging and interesting work. I love working with the patients and multidisciplinary team.


Why does cooking matter to you?

Cooking is essential to a happy and healthy lifestyle! I am so passionate about food that I am practically planning dinner while eating my lunch. Being raised in a family in which cooking was never a focus really made me even more interested in learning about good food. I decided early on that I wanted to create a different food culture for myself at some point, and this led me to my career in nutrition.

After a long day, there is simply nothing like coming home and preparing a satisfying dinner. I live for the weekends when I put together a supper for my friends, and bonding with Mark in the kitchen. It’s really special, and brings us a ton of joy.

Knowing how to cook keeps me on track with healthy eating (most of the time), and helps me save money, too. While it’s nice to eat out sometimes, I find it best to have control about what goes into your food. Cooking is assurance that I’m getting nothing but the good stuff and makes my life more delicious.


What is your favorite vegetable?

Veggies of the brassica or cruciferous variety are my favorite, hands down! I can’t get enough turnips, radishes, kale, Brussels sprouts, rutabagas. They all have such interesting shapes (think of those lovely geometric forms of the Romanesco), colors, textures, and that distinctive ‘bitter’ flavor. They’re also packed with nutrition. I mix in kale with a blend of tender lettuces for a really nice salad. I also make easy root vegetable hash by roasting Brussels sprouts with sweet potatoes and rutabagas. Yum!


What do you do in your spare time?

 My favorite things are baking, cooking, hosting, volunteering, listening to live music, films, art, and reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling. I try to squeeze in some physical activity. I have a pretty active social life and like to stay busy. On days off, Mark and I might check out some of the interesting restaurants that keep popping up in the area. I love fiction, and am usually reading several publications at any time.


How do you stay active?

 I take the stairs at work. When you make several trips to the unit from my basement office, this is actually pretty significant and adds up. Other little things- I walk whenever possible in town, or choose parking spots that are further away from store entrances. I am a member of a gym, and do my best to make it there when I can, and like jogging for exercise. Working with people that have become much debilitated due to illness is my inspiration to keep active. I also want to eat more food J


Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share?

Asian Braised Beef Shank with Hot and Sour Shredded salad

( thanks to Nigella Lawson)

Serves 6

Ingredients: Beef

2 onions

1x2 in. piece of fresh gingerroot

4 garlic cloves

2 tsp. coriander

3 tbsp. veg oil

1 c. Chinese cooking wine or sherry

¼ c. soy sauce

¼ c. packed dark brown sugar

2 quarts beef broth

2 tbsp oyster sauce

¼ c. rice wine vinegar

2 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise

8 lb. beef shank on the bone (or 2 ¼ lb. stew meat in cubes)

Salad: 3 carrots, 4 scallions, 1 long red chile, 1 long green chile, small bunch cilantro

Dressing: juice of 1 lime, ¼ c Thai fish sauce, 1 tsp sugar

Peel carrots, and julienne, them along with the scallions and chiles (after trimming and de-seeding), and finely chop the cilantro. Combine all the chopped vegetables and cilantro in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar then dress the vegetables with this. Top the beef with the salad

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Quarter and peel the onions, peel and rough slice the ginger, peel the garlic cloves and put in the food processor with the ground coriander. Blitz until finely chopped, then heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and fry gently until soft, about 10 min. Pour in the Chinese wine (or sherry) and let it bubble up. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, broth, oyster sauce and vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then drop in the cinnamon sticks and star anise. Add the pieces of beef and let everything come to a bubble again then clamp on lid and put in the oven for 2 hours (stew meat may take longer). Take the Dutch oven carefully out of the oven and remove beef to an ovenproof dish using a perforated spoon. Vigorously boil the sauce until it is reduced by half. Arrange beef on a serving platter and poor over reduced sauce over top. Daryl