Wednesday, May 18, 2011

photos from a Middle.eastern food adventure

Yesterday was filled with a tour of Dearborn's finest Middle.eastern food joints on West Warren Ave. Per 'sky full of bacon' blog (Scroll down to his April 25th entry)

Grocery and dinner take out at

a thing of beauty

 (I forget the name of this but it was good.  maybe it was - 'knafeh'.
shredded filo-like pastry encasing a tart fluffy cheese, topped with a very floral rose water honey)

Sweets at Shatila bakery

Lunch at Assayad Restaurant

moist and fluffy falafels with tahini, kafta and chicken kababs.

what's playing in the kitchen: Ronnie Dunn, We all Bleed Red

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday dinner on cornman farms

Lucky, lucky girl am I.


Crab morel risotto (drizzled with veal Demi glacĂ© and curry oil) 
Roasted tomato and asparagus salad.

A perfect perfect perfect meal...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ann Arbor gets street food!

Last week I took a trip down to Washington street, near the intersection with Ashley, behind one of my favorite stores in all of Michigan, Downtown Home and Garden.   Street food carts, all the rage around the country, have finally reached Ann Arbor.  If you haven't heard about this yet, A2ites, Mark's carts is a new food courtyard downtown that serves a variety of ethnic foods.

For this first time around we order from EAT, an Ann Arbor catering partnership with roots in the old Jefferson Market.  Last week we lunched on three different styles of sliders, a sloppy youssef (joe) moroccan style with a cucumber raita, pork confit with mustard gremolata, and korean bbq beef (without the kimchi for the little guy).  They were all different and wonderfully full flavored.  I loved getting the opportunity to try the different flavors, and I love the distinct flavor profiles all done clearly and well.  This is the way I love to attack my cooking projects, with a shout out to the edible flavor and texture icons of a culture.

I'm ruminating on the possibility of running one of these carts myself.  It's like a restaurant without all of the front of the house details.  I could do it; I'd love to attack this project. But I'd have to start from square one which is a bit daunting. I don't have a current catering business to work out of.  So for now, I'll start by sampling the other stands.  And maybe one day...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saveur takes on Spring

I get excited when new things pop up from the ground and into the market; fiddlehead ferns, asparagus, crab, salmon, rhubarb, morels.   As soon as they appear I snatch them up and start to have fun back in the kitchen.

Found this link today to choosing and preparing fresh spring produce.  Enjoy!

Saveur tips for spring produce

what's playing in the kitchen: Mumford & Sons, Roll away your stone

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Ann Arbor people, do you know about Lunasa? What's Lunasa, you ask? Here's an excerpt from their website,

Lunasa provides one-stop shopping for local products. With an online store-front, a twice-a-month in-person pickup, and a choice of two southeast Michigan locations in Ann Arbor and Garden City, Lunasa makes shopping local easy. Simply by becoming a member of Lunasa, you can be sure that the items you purchase are produced in Michigan by people who live in Michigan.

So, it's a farmer's market, but you reserve your stuff online the week before.  Ordering window is Thursday-Saturday for a pickup on the following Tuesday, bi-monthly. You can pay on the site directly with a credit card, or you can use your paypal account.

You do have to buy a $40 membership, but don't let this dissuade you. Think of it a donation for farmers and small producers who can't or don't care to break into a larger venue.  It is such a cool opportunity that we have to buy from local sources.

Pick up is on the south side of Jackson Road, between Zeeb and Parker Road. (There's also a Garden City pickup location.) After checking in, you walk around to each vendor picking up the merchandise that you reserved. You also can purchase anything extra that they brought with them. This was helpful for me the first time, because I needed to see some of the products before I bought them. I came away with pasta from Al Dente, tea leaves from Iceni, ice cream from Mooville Dairy, carrots from Ferris Farms, scones from Westwind Milling, cocoa powder from Mondo Chocolates, and brazilian cheese bread (gluten free) from Deer Tracks Farms.

What drew me into this initially was the wide variety of products, fresh foods (veg, fruit, meats, fish...), shelf stable items (flours, cake mixes, tea, coffee...), & beauty.  Check out the producers and categories online. You'll be impressed.  And please consider joining Lunasa, and meeting me there in two weeks to pick up your produce. Don't miss out on this exciting Ann Arbor marketplace, just because it's a little bit out of the way!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Congrats, my friend.

Alex Young wins James Beard awards Best Chef Great Lakes 2011

They finally came to their senses, my friend!  Wishing we were there with you tonight!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Ahhh NYC

I love my rural paradise. Really, I'm grateful for the green land and the fresh air and the slow(er) pace. But sometimes there's a disconnect between my inner metropolitan vibe and the space around me. After growing up in semi-urban New Jersey, I struggled with the transition to the Midwest. I've grown to love it -- it's now how I define myself. Yet, as any immigrant knows, there's always a deep part of your heart that cannot abandon the roots which grounded and shaped you from the start.

I'm lamenting as I am finishing up a surprise birthday weekend in Manhattan (without children; props to the husband!)... I'm not wanting to return to the routine & the hustle and bustle of my life. You should understand something about the anxiety of my days if the streets of Manhattan are calm in comparison.

Allow me to reminisce as I jostle around in a yellow cab on the way back to LaGuardia.

Le Bernardin. Friday night.
Eric Ripert is Poseidon. Every morsel of his is otherworldly.
The tuna carpaccio draped over foie gras and toast -- I will never forget this.

Green market at Union square. Saturday morning.
Makes Ann Arbor's farmer market look malnourished. I shouldn't covet what I don't have, but the bank of gourmet farmers and producers is clearly more abundant here than back home. Feeling the need to support some seller, but not needing fresh produce, we share a cup of raspberry cider.

ABCkitchen. Saturday brunch.
Ramp and goat cheese toast. Spring pea soup. Frites tossed with herbs and sliced garlic aside a mushroom panini. Wild mushroom pizza. Authentic farm to table in the middle of the city chaos.

Del Posto. Saturday dinner.
Mario Batali dresses up the rustic regional Italian flavors in the setting of an elegant 1920-30s dining room. It's Mario in a tuxedo. Highlights of the evening are seeing the Man himself, orange clogs and all. My father, declaring there's nothing to lose at 67, shouts out to him even though he clearly is not in the frame of mind to talk to the common people. Instead we are offered a kitchen tour by the chef de cuisine. An amazing way to end a birthday meal.

Bouchon bakery. Sunday morning.
Raspberry almond Croissants for breakfast and TKOs -Thomas Keller Oreos- for the little ones back home.

Eataly. Sunday late morning.
More Mario. An Italian marketplace in Madison Square Park. Although I wish I could shop there every week, I realize that between Zingerman's, Plum market, Morgan and York, and Cantoro's in Livonia, I can have this all back home. That doesn't stop me from buying loaves of bread and jars of capers to bring home for my babies.

Yep, those are all mushrooms..

(finally) street food. Sat and sunday mornings. Jefferson market. Madison square market (running from 5/6-6/1) pizza, shaved ice with homemade cherry syrup. And last but not least, a gyro at Columbus circle for Saturday lunch. Heaven.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

This is an old post on a cool blog.  but hey, if you've never read it before it's new to you.

THINGS TO EAT BEFORE YOU DIE @ the travelers' lunchbox