Thursday, December 15, 2011


It just makes you cringe, doesn't it?  That's not what you want to hear when you walk in the door.

Truth be told, I'm not a fan of leftovers.  Of course if I make a whole tray of lasagna then I don't mind having it for two meals in a row.   But I'd much prefer to take the left over food and make something new with it.

Many food publications have "what to do with your turkey" issues, so it's nothing ingenious to advise making something new out of the basics.

I'm WAY behind on the Thanksgiving leftover bandwagon, but I made a fabulous curried turkey salad that I've been meaning to share.  I'm guessing that you don't have any thanksgiving turkey leftovers.  If you do, please throw them out.  Start from scratch.

Roast a breast of turkey per instructions on the package.  Roughly chop four cups of turkey breast. Dice one apple (your favorite variety), two celery stalks and 6 scallions.  Grate one half of a red onion. (I use my box grater for onions on salads.) Mix together.

Add one cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, and 1/4 cup dijon mustard. (or this Moroccan mustard, if you were lucky enough to snag a jar before Zingerman's sold out)  Mix to combine.  Add one tablespoon of your favorite curry powder.  I used a sweet blend.  (Pantry low on spices?  Check out Penzey's)  Season with salt and pepper.  Taste.  If you want it spicier, add more curry or hot sauce.

Mix sauce with turkey mixture.  Top with 1/2 cup sliced almonds.  Serve on lettuce or on tandoori naan. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

kelly's popcorn

I stopped buying microwave popcorn once I heard about this development a few years ago.  The biggest danger exists to those working in factories creating the magical bags o' popcorn, but why take the risk? Right? (I realize that I'm revealing my true hippie self in this declaration. --- as if you didn't already know, after everything that you've read on tLB)

In addition to the health concerns about the process, I don't really like the chemically smell and taste. So I ask you these important questions.  What's it about, if it's not about taste?  And why butter flavor when you can use real butter?

I used to only make it on the stove which is a whole production because it requires babysitting the pot.  (not easily done during a commercial or restroom break)

BUT :: Kelly reminded me of this.  You can POP corn in a plain lunch bag?!!  I can hardly call it a recipe, but here's the lowdown.

Put 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in a brown lunch bag.  Fold over the top two or three times.  Run microwave for three minutes - or until you hear the kernels popping every two or three seconds.  If you're in the mood to make it decadent, pour a couple tablespoons of melted butter over the top.

The best part is that you won't feel guilty in the morning.  Unless you also drank that bottle of cabernet...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

pumpkin on the brain

what's playing in the kitchen? 
besides Handel's Messiah?... which is stuck on repeat on my mental turntable
Zooey Deschanel's voice can put anyone in the mood

Spiced PUMPKIN BREAD -A favorite in my house 

Paula Deen's always good for something with cream cheese - (a hit at Christmas advent)
Pumpkin Cheesecake
drizzled with  
Nigella Lawson's sticky toffee sauce 
and cinnamon whipped cream

Spiced Pumpkin cream cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves 
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1. In a small bowl, beat softened cream cheese, sugar, and syrup til creamy.
2. Add pumpkin, spices and vanilla and beat til smooth.
3. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Pumpkin lattes anyone?
  • one cup Pumpkin Puree
  • one cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Cloves
  • one teaspoon vanilla
It will be delicious as is.  OR strain out spices through a coffee filter for syrup with a smoother texture.  Otherwise pour into a bottle, and keep refrigerated. Add to coffee or pour over ice cream. 
Pumpkin soup baked in a pumpkin
(you can find many different recipes for this online, including from Julia Child. Or this one from Ruth Riehl)
Here's my version.
Empty out one small pumpkin - 4-5 pound size.  Cut top off and keep it whole like a lid.  Scrape out the membrane and seeds.  Fill 1/2 way to the top with half and half.  Add 4 oz fresh goat cheese to cream and 1/2-1 cup grated asiago (or use any other grated hard cheese that you like). Add one finely grated garlic clove and freshly grated 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg into the cream.  Add one teaspoon thyme.  Season with salt and pepper. Top with cleaned lid of pumpkin.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 350degrees for 45 minutes. 

Try Roasting some for a salad:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Detroit lives!

Underground Detroit

local goodies
Treat dreams

fancy libations

a southeast michigan restaurant gets national press:
in Clarkston,  Union Woodshop
I have not yet eaten at this establishment, but I get excited when I see Michigan companies in national publications.

Monday, November 21, 2011

a new favorite & easy salad

Raw Kale. 
I know you probably think this is crazy from the start, but trust me.  Raw Kale is the new romaine. ;)

Thai Peanut Kale Salad
Thinly slice (even, julienne) two heads of latin kale 
( -the flat leafed kale.  it would also work with curly, but the texture is better with "cavelo nero")

Add two large carrots, shredded and 1 cup shredded red cabbage 
(I had a bag of pre-shredded, although I generally advise against prepared veggies.  
This one makes adding extra fiber to your salads so very much easier .)

Combine one cup Annie Chung's Thai peanut sauce (or a different brand that you trust) with 1/4 cup cider vinegar.  Pour over veggies. Top with 1/2 cup chopped peanuts. 

Sometimes I would go to the trouble of making my own peanut dressing.  In this case I needed a quick salad and remembered that I had an open bottle of this in the fridge.  I literally threw this together for lunch today, and it was a huge hit.  It's a wonderful way to get your family to eat fresh raw veggies.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

a thanksgiving to-do list

An interesting appetizer idea:
Baked pumpkin fondue

Or a calorie free apertif?:
Food porn daily

Find more recipes here:
A turkey-free Thanksgiving from Saveur
A saveur Thanksgiving
An ultimate Thanksgiving from Food and Wine

Need something to read while you're digesting?: -- find a restaurant serving local foods from local farmers

Or need something to get fired up about besides the family who is driving you insane?:
McDonald's Cruelty to chickens
Think about this one next time you order an egg mcmuffin.  Mcdonald's is the largest egg producer in the world.  They've set the bar pretty pretty low.
your turkeys are pumped with hormones 
a secret farm bill in the works: read Bittman's opinion

Need to lighten the mood after all that? :
My drunk kitchen videos on YouTube
:here's a funny note about hygiene.  wash your f#@$ing hands.:

A non-eating food activity for the weekend:

Planning ahead a bit:
Detroit Holiday Food Bazaar
Friday, Dec. 9, 2011, 5pm-11pm, corner of Napoleon & Market St (adjacent to Eastern Market)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ode to Mrs P

My best friend in college was lucky enough to have a mom who was a home-ec teacher. Actually it turned out to be lucky for me too. On the weekends, we would make the 30 mile trek from Wellesley to Whitinsville.  Getting off the campus would have been good enough.  We were starving for family love and a home cooked meal. Mrs P. would feed us the way only a home-ec teacher can; like a domestic goddess who has made a career out of teaching others to provide comfort.  She is the kind of woman that you meet in your young adulthood who you can model your own motherhood after.

I'm grateful for many memories with Kim's family, not only food related. But being sisters in our Italian blood (and sarcasm, among other things), Kim and I shared that strong connection between food and family memories.

There are so many recipes that I could post from Mrs P.  But one that always sticks out in my mind is the sugar cookies. Everyone makes cut-out sugar cookies for Christmas, but Mrs P. made them all year round.  My strongest memory is in the above form: orange pumpkins. (The above were frosted by my children last night.) Sometimes we would enjoy them out at the house, and other times they were delivered to us in ziploc bags, like the drugs that other students had delivered.  We had cookies.  My priorities haven't changed much. 

These cookies are meant to be soft and frankly not that sweet.  Just enough to be called a cookie.  But then the frosting takes care of that. It's a perfect balance. 

In 2008, ten years after I had graduated, I emailed her for this recipe. She signed the letter 

          Have fun making the cookies and building fun memories.
                    Love, Mrs. P
Even though you don't have her smile and hugs to remember, you won't be disappointed by these. 

courtesy of Mrs P

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 ½ cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp vanilla

Cream together butter, shortening, and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, cream of tartar and soda in medium bowl. Add to creamed mixture and stir well. Batter will be stiff. Chill dough at least 3 hours or overnight. Work dough half at a time (leave other half in refrigerator) by rolling out to ¼” thick and cutting with cookie cutter. Bake on ungreased sheet in a 400* oven for 6-8 minutes, time will depend on size of cookies. Arrange similar size cookies on same sheet; do not bake large and small cookies on the same sheet as the small ones will burn before the large ones are done.


1 stick butter
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 tbl milk (add more if necessary)

Mix until smooth.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

get smoked!

People of Ann Arbor,
We are luck to have such an establishment in our midst.  Get over there and show your support.  Artisan sausage and jerky at BIERCAMP on State Street in Ann Arbor (next to produce station).  Everything we've sampled has been fantastic, brisket, BBQ smoke sticks, hot dogs.   

 Follow them on Facebook to get an regular update on what's in the case waiting for you to pick it up.  Both hot and cold products are available. 

Here's today's example:
Just Made:
-Danish Sausage
-Polish Sausage
-Biercamp Classic Brats
-MI Asparagus Vidalia Onion Cheddar Brats
-Original & Cheddar Ring Bologna
· · · 9 hours ago · 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

a Mona Lisa smile

We have a new family member, due to a trip to the Manchester animal yard.  Her name is Mona Lisa, a Nubian dairy goat.  Because we don't really have the facilities, she's living over at Cornman Farms.

The vet think that she's needs to get pregnant to rejuvenate her milk production, so we're letting her dry up for now before we breed her.  In the spring we'll begin the experiment of making dairy products, yogurt, and cheese out of Mona Lisa's milk.  And you will be privy to the inside track.

our first milking of ML - still learning the moves.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

what to do with 200 Cornman Farm sweet red peppers

A mayday call from Cornman ::
"We're pulling up pepper plants, and they're full of red ones! Come and get 'em!"
One week later, I finally get enough time to deal with them. 

just picked
steamed under foil and a cloth
whole, roasted & ready for the freezer

Thursday, October 06, 2011

for Andy

We're just a couple weeks out of tomato season.  If you HAD to, you could probably find a yummy one somewhere in town - maybe lingering in your garden.  It just might take some searching.

And sometimes you crave tomato dishes even if it's not tomato season.  For us Michiganders, that's about 11 months out of the year. 

Last weekend I had to bring a potluck dish to a party, and I had not left myself enough time for something wildly creative.  I did, however, have a few pounds of end-of-season tomatoes ripening on my kitchen counter.  So like a good Italian girl, I threw together a panzanella, or bread salad.  In the peak of tomato season, all you need is rustic italian bread, perfect tomatoes, olive oil and salt.

But because I knew my tomatoes were a little weak, I added a few other flavor punches.

End of Season Panzanella
Warm 1/4 cup olive oil in a large fry pan.  Toast both sides of six pieces of thick italian bread in pan until dark brown.  Dice bread into one inch cubes. Sprinkle toasted cubes liberally with kosher salt while still hot.   Set aside to cool.

Roughly chop 8-10 medium sized tomatoes that have been hulled.

Add the following to the tomatoes in a large bowl:
  • One half red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons salt-cured capers, rinsed
  • 4 thinly sliced radishes 
  • one cup of oil cured sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped (add the oil in too!)
  • 1 1/2 cups julienned basil, spinach, or spring mix (use anything leafy and green you have in the fridge)
  • One large ball of mozzarella, diced
Add 3-4 tbs olive oil and 2 tbs balsamic vinegar to veg mixture.  Season with salt, to taste 1-2 teaspoons,  and one teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Taste.  Add more salt and pepper,  if desired. Toss gently until combined. 

Add cooled toasted bread cubes to vegetable mixture.  Depending on juices of tomatoes and other vegetables, more olive oil and vinegar might be needed.  Taste to determine whether you need more seasoning.

Monday, October 03, 2011

food politics shananigans

Chicken Industry Gets Bailout!
I have an idea. Let it crash and burn so we can start growing and eating healthy birds again.  Goverment subsidies of corrupt food industries make me lose my appetite.

To combat your frustration, try one of these healthy recipes
New York Times Recipes for Health

Sunday, October 02, 2011

bees for tots

Last week I participated in a Cornman farms presentation to school children about farming.  Funny to be known that day as the Bee lady, since it has only been the second year of my apiary hobby.

My station:

I had a blast teaching first graders about why bees are essential for farmers. Brought me back to my teaching days.   We covered general facts about bees, beekeeping, harvesting honey and beeswax. My bee station was one of five stops. The others were pigs, chickens, composting, gardening.  The first graders of Dexter got fifteen minutes at each of our stands.  Other schools, private and public, elementary, high and college, have participated in this program of Kelly and Alex Young out at Cornman farms.

What a joy to be part of this.  I'm so lucky to call these people my friends. Their passion for teaching the community about real food is so important to me and so obviously part of how they direct their lives.  It's wonderfully refreshing. 

Saturday, October 01, 2011

chili rellenos in pictures

For exact measurements, check out Rick Bayless's recipe for chili rellenos.  (skip to the bottom for cheese stuffed version)

saute one onion and one link crumbled chorizo for 10 minutes until onions begin to brown. add tomatoes and cinnamon. puree.
broil-roast poblano peppers that have been rubbed with olive oil and salt
stuff with mixed cheese
dip in batter made mostly of egg white, stabilized with yolks
deep fr

serve in sauce, with side of rice.
mucho delicioso.  way more than this picture shows.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Blackberry Farm = Heaven

I have a backlog of several posts, but I didn't want to forget about this one.
(click on the pics to see them in full screen)
My generous husband sent me away without children for a long weekend, to where ever I wanted to go.  After hearing only a little bit about Blackberry Farm, I knew I wanted to visit one day.  A perfect opportunity. 

even the spider webs are perfect here
It was breathtaking, splendid, and certainly relaxing.  This resort was filled with activities, and non activities. 
my sis

Perfection in many ways. Every corner of the property seemed like it had been patiently pieced together with an artist's eye.  On the other hand, it was laid back and well... ideal.

However, best of all was the food at this glorious heaven on earth.
Many dishes we had were unrivaled. It was almost UNbelievable that such a place existed. 

watermelon beet soup with lime cream. swimming around are diced pieces of pickled watermelon rind, watermelon and beet.
deep fried black-eyed peas, as a garnish to a roasted squash dish.  left us speechless, and begging for more.
eating in "the Barn" for dinner. too dark for great food photos.
plate designed by Farmer John.  sketches from the farm.
a memorable seed saving talk & tour with Farmer John

the star of saturday's picnic lunch - appalachian crostini
pinot noir with lunch ~ on vacation

views like this abound

walking along the river
final sunrise. until next time.

Monday, August 29, 2011

a pictoral tour of Pond Hill Farm, Harbor Springs, Michigan

a pantry that well exceeds my dreams.

grilled vegetable wrap with peanut kale slaw

If they ever can't find me down here, chances are I'm hiding out with the folks at Pond Hill...