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In the Kitchen with... Jan Koopman
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Ben Lochard
IN THE KITCHEN WITH... JUNE/JULY 2019
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Jan Koopman
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Check out these recipes from Jan Koopman:

Blueberry Pie

 
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Blueberry pies are her specialty.

Ahhhhhhh, summer. It’s when markets, roadside stands, and produce aisles tug at your taste buds. It’s when picking berries means freshness right in your hand. Filling the pan or bowl is hard—as many as you pick, you likely eat an equal amount. Jan Koopman of Waukee knows that all too well.

She and her husband, Jim, are Michigan natives, from around the Grand Rapids/Holland areas. And while they have lived all over—Chicago, Austin, and Miami and 20 years in central Iowa—one summer experience is a must. The couple returns to their Michigan home turf in July or August to pick blueberries. “We bring home about 25 pounds of berries to freeze,” Jan says. By anyone’s measure, that’s a bunch of blueberries.

PACES HER BERRIES

Jan paces her berry stash, doling them out for fresh salads and for cakes. But blueberry pies are her specialty. They are so special that all during their marriage Jan has made a blueberry pie for Jim on their wedding anniversary. This year’s will be their fortieth. For a sweet garnish on the top crust, she makes cutout dough hearts.

Hearts are her signature detail. She collects them and even uses a heart on her business card. There’s even a shiny heart imbedded into the sidewalk going to the front door.

Jan is a licensed massage therapist. She has a special room in her home for clients who come to her. She also travels to clients’ homes and to retirement centers and to skilled-care facilities. “It’s a joy to make older people feel so much better,” she says. “It’s a lovely service for them, But, truly, I get as much out of it as they do. It’s very rewarding.”

With her Dutch heritage, Jan also is known to create tasty banket with almond paste. You might know that recipe as Dutch letters.

GREEK SPECIALTIES

Jim recently retired as executive presbyter for the south central area of the Presbyterian Church in Iowa, overseeing 54 churches. He also knows his way around the kitchen. “I studied the Greek language in seminary. We like to visit Greece about every three years, so I love to make and eat Greek food. When we lived in Chicago, we loved to visit restaurants in the Greek Town area,” he says. His specialties are grilled lamb, prime rib, stewed okra, and a Greek dish called saganaki, or flaming cheese. Opa!

Jim now is a coach and consultant and has started two new ventures—Center for Christian Leaders and Daring Congregations for business leaders and pastors.

As a member of the Herb Study Group in Des Moines, Jan enjoys her spiral herb garden, where she plants and harvests basil, rosemary, parsley, mint, cilantro, and oregano. The circular garden is built in a pyramid shape with a wide base and a narrower crest. The concept saves space and is more easily accessible than a flat garden.

share! Everyone has a story, and we hope you will help us tell the tales of a variety of Des Moines cooks. Please send us your ideas. Tell us the names, contact information, and a little about your cooking friends. Send to Recipes@WelcomeHomeDesMoines.com.

 

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