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Tastes From the Kitchen – Walnut & Park

Walnut & Park Cafe, located (exactly as the name suggests) on the corner of Walnut and Park Streets, is a full service coffee shop featuring Water Street Coffee, fresh baked goods, sandwiches and salads. Their food is classic American cafe fare, prepared fresh daily and their baked goods are made from scratch. The relaxed, casual atmosphere of the cafe is perfect for patrons looking for great coffee and quality, quick-service.

If that was all that Walnut & Park offered the community of Kalamazoo, it would be more than enough. But there is so much more to what they’redoing. Most of the Cafe’s employees are residents of the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program (KPEP), an innovative community corrections provider that administers a vocational training program in hospitality services. Walnut and Park was founded to offer KPEP participants he opportunity to learn valuable skills and earn certifications (like ServSafe Food Handler and OSHA 10) that will help to make them desirable applicants for future employment. What could make an already excellent cup of coffee and delicious sandwich taste better? Knowing that you’re helping incarcerated individuals develop the life skills that will help them live independently and contribute to our community.

Ariel Howard has the privilege of serving as Walnut & Park’s Kitchen Manager and Culinary Instructor. A graduate of the Secchia Institute of Culinary Education who studied in Scotland at the famous St. Andrew’s Links, Ariel was also part of the launch team at Principle in downtown Kalamazoo. She’s passionate about the local food movement and is thrilled to have the opportunity to teach the basics of the culinary arts to KPEP participants. To be able to share her passion for food while helping vocational students get a second chance in life is fulfilling beyond measure.

Ariel is constantly on the prowl for culinary inspiration and encourages readers to do the same. Watch cooking shows, grow your own food and read cookbooks. Figure out what works for you and do it!” she urges. She and her husband particularly like to experiment with breakfast foods at home, creating new variations of breakfast sandwiches and waffles. She notes that food is both simplistic and complex, inviting a lifelong exploration of the ways in which it provides joy and brings people together.

Ariel is graciously sharing her recipe for one of Walnut & Park’s most popular recipes, the Ham Cheddar and Green Onion Scone. It’s based off a recipe that Ariel learned during her time in Scotland, and it’s sure to be a hit at your house.

Ham, Cheddar, Green Onion Scone

  • 1 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 2 ²⁄3 t. Milk Powder
  • 6 T. – Butter
  • 1 – Egg
  • ¾ cups Milk
  • 1⁄3 cups Ham, cubed
  • ¼ cups Green Onions, diced
  • 1⁄3 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and milk powder together and set aside.

Cut the butter in to cubes and place in the freezer until ready to use. Meanwhile, whisk together egg and milk and set aside. In separate bowl add together cubed ham, diced green onion and shredded cheese. Set aside.

Pull butter from the freezer and add to the dry ingredients by cutting the butter in by using your fingertips. When finished with that step the butter should be pea size throughout your dry ingredients. Toss in ham, green onion and cheese until combined. Make a well in the center and pour in your whisked egg and milk. Lightly toss together until just mixed. Do not put a lot of pressure on the dough or you will have overworked and tough scones.

After the dough has just come together, line an 8 inch cake pan with saran wrap and add a dusting of flour to it. Place all of dough into the pan and lightly press down until level it is level inside of pan. Add another dusting of flour to the top. Place parchment on baking sheet and flip scones upside down onto pan.

Remove pan and saran wrap. Cut into 8 even triangles. Spread out on pan. Egg wash and bake on 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Erica Shier is a married mother of four who loves reading, scrapbooking & thrift stores. When she’s not driving her small pack of children around, she spends her time volunteering, writing & trying to keep on top of the laundry.

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