Tuesday, July 28, 2009

There are no unwanted leftovers at my house…

Ok, so you always hear the moans and groans when asked “What’s for dinner?” and the answer is ‘Leftovers.” But not if the dinner is so good, that the leftovers are fought over.

Sunday night we had the summer dinner to die for (we were 5 adults and 3 children).

Grilled Dijon/basil chicken (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/CHICKEN-WITH-DIJON-AND-BASIL-50042561)
Grilled zucchini and onions, marinated in garlic and balsamic vinegar
Grilled Asian eggplant
Wild rice with wheat berries, dried cherries, nuts, and a sweet soy sauce dressing
Beet salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and walnuts tossed in a home-made honey/tamari vinaigrette
Green salad with tomatoes, arugula and cucumbers tossed with a home-made raspberry vinaigrette

So on Monday I enjoyed this meal again, twice. At lunch I had a half of a Dijon chicken breast sandwich, topped with bacon (leftover from breakfast) with zucchini, onion and munster cheese—YUM! For dinner I just made a plate of all the stuff from dinner again.

And the icing on the cake—my mom took the children out for burgers—so I finished my book, took a shower, and ate dinner alone on the porch.

Pork chops, pork tenderloin, and pizza dough in the fridge—stay tuned.

Life is good. Food is good. And I’m full until the next meal.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Flowers and liquid gold...

Fresh flowers and a jar of raspberry sauce--must be July! Already made raspberry vinaigrette, now what to put the sauce on--waffles? vanilla ice cream? brownies? Tough decisions await me.

A perfect Saturday morning...Farmer's Market and then Breakfast...

I spent the morning at the Farmer's Market--blueberries, raspberries, peaches, cucumbers, greens, zucchini, yellow squash...yum!

Upon returning home I made a delicious breakfast of Mill Pond sour-dough toast with butter, tomatoes from my garden, Zingerman's fresh mozzarella with home made lemon basil salad dressing. Topped it off with a little Roos Roast Lobster Butter coffee and I'm good to go until lunch!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Frequent the shops you love....

With the recent closing of Zanzibar, Bella Ciao, and the upcoming closing of The Earle Uptown, I want to send a reminder to everyone to frequent the stores you love--or they won't be there the next time you try to shop there.

If Whole Foods, Kroger or Meijer closed--it might not be convenient, but it wouldn't make Ann Arbor a less interesting place to live. If Kerrytown, Produce Station or Fresh Season's closed--Ann Arbor moves a few notches down in quality. And, I'd be truly bummed.

So, what can you do? Make a list. What do you love MOST about Ann Arbor? Go there, spend money, and encourage your friends to support them too. Some of us can pick 10 places to support, and others only one or two, but please do your part to keep Ann Arbor cool. You can make a list of restaurants, shops, food stores, whatever makes Ann Arbor special to you and go there first (you can also make a list of stores you won't go to). I gave up fast food a few years ago and it is great--when we go on a road trip I get meat cheese and bread from Zingerman's or a sandwich from Produce Station or a bag of bagels--that way we support the local economy even on the road. We also stop at real restaurants in the towns we travel in rather than eating fast food on the highway....it makes us slow down and appreciate every moment and we are healthier for it.

Here is my list, in no particular order....
Morgan and York
Farmer's Market
Zingerman's Creamery
Produce Station
Fresh Seasons
Silvio's Pizza
Sweet Gem Confections
Anthony's Pizza
Jerusalem Garden
Exotic Bakery (on Plymouth Rd--you must go if you like middle eastern food)
Old Town
West End Grill
Barry's Bagels
Red Hawk
Blimpy Burgers
Real Seafood
Cafe Japon
Pacific Rim
Zingerman's Roadhouse
Le Dog
Soup Du Jour

What are your favorites? Let me know so I can add them to my personal list.

I'm sure I am forgetting a few treasures in my list above....but the point is to think before you eat or shop. Is there a better place to buy this, is this the store I want to survive or is there another one more important to me? Do I really have to eat in this fast food restaurant or chain or do I have time to support something local? Do this with eating out, shopping, buying clothes and books, even when going to the movies. I only go to the Michigan Theater a few times a year--but I still donate to them--they are a vital part of making Ann Arbor a great place to live--I want them to be around when I have more time to go to the movies.

We're often lured in by the cheaper prices, the bulk quantity, but the saying still stands--you get what you pay for.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vacation Food

Many people think of vacation as a time to eat out, take a break from cooking, or let someone else cook for them. I'm the opposite. I love vacation because I finally have time to check out the local shops and farmer's markets, plan a menu, and spend some time cooking (vs. the week-night mad rush to get dinner on the table before running off to baseball, football, basketball, a concert, meeting, etc.).

In advance of a vacation I like to think about where I am going and what might be good and local from the area. I also think about dishes that are more complicated that I wasn't able to cook during the school year that I wanted to try. And I always include the family summer dishes that I must have before summer is over (teriyaki chicken, flank steak, burgers, sirloin steak and baked potatoes, shish-ka-bobs, etc.). I pack a few favorite cookbooks that might help in whatever I decide to make and hit the road.

Summer possibilities might include:
make your own grilled tortillas
grilled pizza
vegetable pasta with cheese (mozzerella, feta, goat or blue)
chicken cobb sandwiches (or salad)
ribs, corn, red skinned potatoes
turkey burgers (with ginger, spinach, feta, mint, grilled onions)
salmon (medditeranian, blackened, or with a verde sauce)
stuffed/grilled pork tenderloin
pesto pasta (arugula or basil?)

Once I have a few ideas, I see what is local and then make a plan.
what is my fruit? is it with dinner or dessert?
what are my veggies and starches?
what is the meat/main course?
do I need an appetizer?

Then I think about lunch. If I'm grilling, can I toss some veggies on the grill so I can add them to a sandwich tomorrow? Can I pre-grill brats tonight to go with leftover pasta tomorrow? Or, do I want to grill again tomorrow (check out the weather)?

Food is an adventure and an experience, for me it makes a vacation go from great to memorable.

And the best thing yet, get your friends around the table. Nothing is better than making a big delicious local dinner and eating it with your friends.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Enchiladas....a main-stay of my kitchen repertoire.

Sunday the weather was threatening storms, so I switched from the last minute the on the grill menu to the prep in advance cook in the oven crowd pleaser.

I was cooking for 15--including kids, an adult who doesn't eat peppers or onions, a vegetarian, and spice lovers and non-spicy food eaters. So three pans of two different kinds of enchiladas won the vote.

My standard chicken in flour tortillas with monterey-jack cheese on top of the red enchilada sauce was an obvious choice. But what to make for the vegetarian in the crowd? I have a great LABOR INTENSIVE spinach enchilada recipe that uses cream, cilantro, green chillies, a Cuisinart to make multiple sauces, oil fried corn tortillas--not something you whip up quickly at a small lake house filled with 15 people in bad weather. So, it was guinea pig time with the old family.

Steamed spinach--drained well then tossed with sauteed garlic, onion and roasted red pepper, rolled with with cheese with a four tortilla, topped with more cheese and a green chili sauce. It was yum.

The hot enchiladas were served with a lovely cool salad on the side with avocado, tomato, cucumber and blue cheese.

We were all stuffed and ready for naps, but just as we finished the blueberry pie, ice cream and watermelon--the storm rolled up, so we cleaned up and hit the road back home.

Tonight--leftovers (these leftovers, yum!).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Swamp Kill

I can't report on food today, even had a hard time eating. Uncle Mike (my brother-in-law) took all the kids to the swamp to catch frogs. They caught one, then they killed it, or thought they did--it woke up when they were cutting its legs off, but then they cooked it and ate it. I guess I should applaud them for eating locally.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Getting started.....

Blogging is new to me, but let me jump right in.

To understand me and how I feel about food, you need to know where I started. When I was a kid I ate hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets. Nothing with bones in it. No vegetables (maybe a carrot). In high school I drank a Coke and ate a chocolate croissant on the way to school, I usually had a Snickers and Coke for lunch (sometimes a plate of fries with a side of mayo).

My tastes (meaning the buds themselves and my environmental sensibilities) have changed.

Now I like most all foods--the only notable exception is the mushroom--and the problem is that IT doesn't like ME, so it's not my fault.

Over the creation of this blog you'll learn just how important food is to me now. I care about where I shop, what I buy, how it is cooked and served, where it is served, who is with me when I eat it, and how I can do it all better.

I'm looking forward to a new food experience though this blog and hope you enjoy going with me on the journey.

Until then....