Girls’ Night Out
On the shores of Long Lake, the sounds of waves lapping and wine glasses clinking combine with the aromas of newly-learned recipes served hot and fresh off the grill.

By Megan Swoyer
Photography by Cybelle Codish

One of 12 recipients chosen by the State of Michigan Public Health Department as a 2010 Hometown Health Hero, Dawn Bause lives and breathes healthy cooking. The professional Birmingham-area chef and cooking instructor offers a variety of hands-on classes and culinary adventures for home cooks, taking them everywhere from favorite food purveyors nearby to Italy and France where, she says, “The enjoyment of life centers around the table and its food.”          
This summer evening, a group of new friends and students gathered for a relaxed girls-only, learn-to-grill cook-out at Bause’s own Commerce Township home on Long Lake.

“Health is wealth,” she tells the women, “and eating local, fresh whole foods is the healthiest and tastiest way to eat, period. It’s not only healthy for our body and souls, but it’s healthy for our local economy. Visiting farm markets, roadside vegetable and fruit stands and actual farms is one of my favorite things to do.”

As for tomatoes, Dawn plucks those from her own plants. She grows cherry, yellow pear-shaped and medium-size tomatoes: “I just cut them all in half, drizzle with imported Italian extra virgin olive oil, coarse Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, and a splash of aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy. ” Then she adds a few torn pieces of fresh basil.

The owner of “Cooking With Dawn” begins with an overview of grill maintenance including hooking up the gas. “Once you’ve mastered that, you can work on your cooking technique,” she said, adding that less clean-up is one of grilling’s nicest perks.

While mixing soy sauce with olive oil and a special rub for a salmon entree, Bause cautioned her group not to overcook fish and shrimp. “Many things continue to cook after you remove them from the grill,” she explained, “so when you take your fish off, cover with foil and it will keep cooking. Grilled fish cooks faster, too.”

The chef also advised cooking fish within 24 hours of purchasing it.

“Remove your fish from the fridge 15 minutes ahead of grilling time to let it warm up a little bit,” Bause said, as guests watched her skewer marinated shrimp and prep heavy-duty, non-stick Reynolds Wrap for the salmon. “Using this foil helps to keep your grill clean and is great for flaky fish.”

After the gathering indulged in salmon, shrimp, beet salad, asparagus and more in an intimate canopied space just steps from the water’s edge, Bause presented a tray full of Michigan peaches that she had cut in half, dipped in sugar and grilled for a bit before plating with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

If ever there were a taste of sunshine and summer, this sweet, peachy-creamy dessert would certainly be it.

“People often think it’s difficult to grill,” shared Marcie Wagner of Troy, “but everything we had tonight was easy to make and healthy.” ≈

To learn more, visit Megan Swoyer is a southeast Michigan freelance writer and editor.


Skewered Grilled Shrimp with Honey Mustard Sauce
Yield: 4 (1 skewer with 4 shrimps per person)

4 12-inch wooden skewers (soak in cold water for at
least 1 hour before putting shrimp on skewer)
16 large uncooked shrimp (4 per skewer), shelled
and deveined, with tails
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Mustard Sauce
Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot or 2 small ones, chopped fine
1⁄8 cup white wine
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1⁄2 lemon, juice of
1⁄4 cup fresh cream
In small saucepan, heat oil and sauté shallots until soft, add wine, simmer until evaporated. Add honey, mustard and lemon juice, let cook for 2 minutes. Add the cream at the end. Remove from heat, set aside. In a small bowl mix the dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss shrimp in this mixture, let marinate for 30 minutes. Skewer shrimp and grill for 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook. When done, serve shrimp still on the skewer on individual plates and spoon mustard sauce on top of the shrimp.