Monthly Archives: August 2009

Selma Cafe: Charity Dinner by Tammy’s Tastings

Another great meal, created and hosted by Tammy Coxen of Tammys Tastings. This meal was to support the Selma Cafe which hosts friday morning meals. Also in attendance was the creators of the  Bona Sera Secret Supper Club. So many local foodies in one place.

My first batch of pea shoot, microgreens were ready, and I brought them along for people to try. Tammy included them with her first course, a mushroom tart. The pea shoots provided a fresh, sweet balance to the richness of the tart. The microgreens were a hit. Jeff McCabe, one of the creators of Selma Cafe who is also hosting the Home Grown Festival, offered me a table at the festival to sample and promote my microgreens. Hope to see you there. The event is in two weeks and he says that there could be 3000 people in attendance. I thought about my microgreen mini farm that currently consists of eight trays in my backyard and realized I have to get a lot more trays going to prepare for this event.

The Meal: It was all great. Big stand outs were the mushroom tarts, the carrot soup with Iranian pistachios, the lamb chop, and the Panna Cotta with peaches, which left us all speechless.

Yellow Oyster Mushrooms Tart (w/pea shoot microgreens)

Ann Arbor Food

Heirloom Tomato Napoleon w/basil oil and fresh mozzarella

Ann Arbor Food

Carrot Soup w/Iranian pistachios, hazelnut oil, maple syrup and chives

Ann Arbor Food

Salad w/roasted fennel and beets

Ann Arbor Food

Confit Byaldi w/lake trout, w/ herb oil

Ann Arbor Food

Lamb Rib Chop w/cassoulet of summer beans

Ann Arbor Food

Cheese Plate w/raw honey, marinated raisins, and preserves

Ann Arbor Food

Panna Cotta w/poached peaches and balsamic vinegar

Ann Arbor Food

Petit Fours

Ann Arbor Food

Pea Shoots: Microgreens

Here is a quick update on my microgreens. My first test tray of pea shots is ready for harvest. They taste great. I can’t wait to get more trays of these going.

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

Northside Grill: Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Food

This was my first time going to the Northside Grill. I heard a lot about. It seems to be one of those places that people who write about food mention when talking about Ann Arbor breakfast joints. The Road Food guys, from the NPR’s Splendid Table loved it, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I was with my brother Jordan, who is my favorite family member to eat out with because he orders a lot and shares. He was the first person I know who orders an entrees as an appetizer to share with the table. Why had I never thought about that?

I had breakfast at 11:00 and he had lunch. I ordered a breakfast burrito, and Jordan ordered a turkey club. And we both split a short stack of the oat pancakes with a side of real maple syrup. I have not had pancakes in a while because they tend to put me to sleep. I am not a glycemic, syndrome X guy, but I think a large stack of pancakes puts me over the edge.

First off the pancake was great. In fact I would say it was the best pancake I ever had. It was light, yet hearty from the oats at the same time. My Burrito was huge, and I ended up taking home half of it for later. It came with corn chips. I looked on the menu for guacamole, but did not see it which would have added nicely with my meal. The coffee kept coming. This was old school for coffee with never ending refills and warm ups.

This is my first time, so I do not feel I can give a full review, but I liked what I had and I definitely will go back their again, next time with the family, so I can sample more of the menu. Here are some pics.

Northside Grill
1015 Broadway St
Ann ArborMI 48105

Mon-Sun. 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

(734) 995-0965

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food


Ann Arbor Food This a variation on the mexican soup posole. Mine shown here is a little thicker than the traditional soup. I cooked the hominy from the whole grain corn in a pressure cooker to speed up the four hour cooking time. It only took about 2 hours and even still was chewy, but the family likes it that way. This dish can be made with pork, chicken, seafood or beans if you want to make it vegan. I flavored mine with a pumpkin seed, tomatillo, cilantro, lime, and posole spice mix.


12 oz: Hominy (or a 24 oz can)
1 quart of stock or water
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 tomatillos, large dice
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 can of pinto beans (or 1 cup cooked) or 1 Lb ground pork, diced chicken thigh meat, or shrimp
Juice of 2-3 limes
Posole spice mix to taste (found in the mexican spice section in grocery stores)
salt and pepper to taste


Cooking the Hominy:

Soak hominy over night in cold water. Rinse and add to a pressure cooker with enough water to cover by two inches above the corn. Bring up to pressure then lower the flame to a simmer and cook for two hours. Keep the flavorful liquid.

If using canned hominy: Simply open the can and proceed to the next step:


Place the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray. Put in a 350 degree oven and toast the seeds until they are brown in color and plump up. 15-20 minutes Make sure they do not burn. set aside.

In a sauce pot, add the tomatillos in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for ten minutes. Blend, then strain through a fine mess strainer.

In a blender, add the cilantro, juice of two limes, the pumpkin seeds and the strained tomatillos. Blend till smooth. Add some water if needed.

The Soup:

Heat a Tbs of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes. Add the carrots and cook for five more minutes. Add the garlic and cooked for about a minute. Add the Hominy and cooking liquid, the beans, the stock, and posole spice mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the verde and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper and more lime juice to taste.

Chicken Variation: At the Soup Stage: brown the diced chicken in the pot with the olive oil. Remove chicken and cooked the onions, carrots, and garlic. Add the hominy and cooking liquid, chicken, chicken stock and posole spice mixture. Continue with the rest of the recipe.

Pork Variation: At the Soup Stage: brown the ground pork in the pot with the olive oil. Remove the pork and cooked the onions, carrots, and garlic. Add the hominy and cooking liquid, the ground pork, chicken stock and posole spice mixture. Continue with the rest of the recipe.

Shrimp Variation: Use the same process as the bean version except at the end add baby shrimp and let cook for about a minute just before serving.

The Grange Kitchen and Bar

I took the night off from cooking and me and the family went out to The Grange Kitchen and Bar. I have been looking forward towards going there because the chef Brandon Johns has a commitment to sourcing his food locally. When I lived in Portland, Oregon, I enjoyed the growing number of restaurants that did a farm to plate, local and seasonal theme. The meals I had in Oregon were great, so I was excited when there was local themed place opening up in Ann Arbor.

The dining room is cozy seating up to 40.  We arrived at 7:00 and were seated right away. It was a full house, which included a wedding reception in the bar on the second floor. I was glad for the full house because I want to see this kind of place make it. I noticed that the chef was frequently in and out of the kitchen. He even ran out a few plates. Clearly Chef John is not one of those chef’s who hide in the kitchen. I felt like this added to the charm.

I ordered the plate of radishes with butter, salt and crusty bread. Ann Arbor FoodTechnically the bread was a hearty soft dark bread, but I preferred it. The breads were from avalon bakery. The dish was incredibly simple, but great. It inspired me to plant some radishes and have this for breakfast every morning like they do in France.

The combination of the bread, butter, radish and rocky salt worked. Jonathan ordered the spicy fried chic peas, another winner. They were chick peas that were breaded lightly, fried and covered in some spice. The starchiness of the chic peas gave them a potato like flavor. Bill order the Green bean salad, creamy tarragon vinaigrette, pickled eggs, which he enjoyed and Betty had the Salad of greens, basil garlic dressing, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato. Emily just had the bread, which was a dill bread, that we all enjoyed.

Then came time to order dinner. Emily is on a vegan kick now, so she order the pasta. Betty order the chicken, and Bill and Jonathan both order the Grilled halibut, Portuguese style seafood stew, chorizo and potatoes, which what I wanted to order, but I end up getting the grass fed steak with blue cheese to be different.Ann Arbor Food

Emily liked her pasta and asked me to make it for her sometime. Betty thought her chicken was great, and both Bill and Jonathan liked there stew. My steak came with cooked chard and pureed potatoes. The sauce was a nice red wine sauce. My steak was cooked just how I like. The only thing was a comical situation where my steak knife was switched with Betty’s lesser chicken knife, so I had a crazy time cutting into my steak. We finally figured it out and all was well. My only comment was that I felt they could have gone a little heavier on the blue cheese for my taste.

Dessert selections were an apricot cake with berries, a plum ginger almond crisp with ice cream, a chocolate bourbon cake, and peach blueberry cobbler.Ann Arbor Food

Here was tonight’s menu. It changes so it this will not remain current.


Country style terrine, pickled vegetables 8

Plate of radishes, butter, sea salt, crusty bread 7

Spicy fried chickpeas 4

Goat cheese stufed squash blossoms, green tomato marmalade 11

Gazpacho, shrimp salad, basil oil 12

Chorizo, dates, blue cheese 8

Heirloom tomato and goat cheese tart 9

Green bean salad, creamy tarragon vinaigrette, pickled eggs 6

Salad of greens, basil garlic dressing, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato 8


Roasted chicken breast, crispy skin, bacon, green bean and potato sauté, grain mustard 21

Pan roasted duck breast, mushroom and whole grain salad, corn jus* 24

Zucchini and squash cakes, wilted greens, spiced tomato sauce 18

Grilled halibut, Portuguese style seafood stew, chorizo and potatoes 26

Grilled pork loin, buckwheat dumplings, pickled rhubarb, fennel sausage* 25

Fresh house made pasta, Farmers’ Market vegetables, lemon, herbs & parmesan 23

Sauteed lake perch, fngerling potato salad, caper brown butter, parsley 26

Slow roasted wild salmon, sweet corn succotash, tomato ginger jam* 24

Grilled grass-fed ribeye, bacon blue cheese crust, potato puree, red wine syrup* 31

* Menu items are either cooked to order or undercooked. Notice: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, sea- food, shellfsh or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness especially if you have a medical condition.

Inchworm Microgreens

This is the introduction to my microgreens garden and small, micro-farm business. Microgreens are similar to sprouts except they are grown in soil. They are harvested before the plants reach their first truth leaves. You may have seen them if you had cut your own sunflower sprouts from a tray at a co-op.

Why microgreens? The answer is that they provide great flavor and they are packed with nutrients. Microgreens make great additions to salads, sandwiches, and garnishes for soups and entrees. Part of the idea comes out of the fact that I have no land to farm. I am calling my “farm” Inchworm Microgreens for a fun play on the size of my farm which currently consists of eight trays. I am growing curly cress, arugula, basil, cilantro, red kale, yellow beets, speckled pea, and broccoli.

Setting up the trays and seeds, making sure I label and weight the seeds

Ann Arbor Food

Filling up the trays with a good coverages of seeds

Ann Arbor Food

Close up of seed coverage

Ann Arbor Food

Trays stacked up with paper towel cover

Ann Arbor Food

Weights and Measures

Ann Arbor Food

All eight trays are seeded, labeled, and covered with paper towel to be watered

Ann Arbor Food

Finished trays with plastic top

Ann Arbor Food

Upcoming Events

I teach cooking classes, attend many local food events, and I am working on organizing foodie diners out.

Up Coming Local Food Events:

Ongoing: Friday mornings at Selma: Jeff McCabe and Lisa Gottlieb host a friday morning breakfasts from 6:30-10:00am at 722 Soule Blvd.
For more info email:

Brown Rice Sushi

Ann Arbor FoodBrown Rice Sushi is a little tricky because the rice does not stick together like white rice does. I make mine with short grain brown rice because of the added nutrition. Sushi rice is traditionally mixed with some kind of vinegar and sugar. I use brown rice vinegar and rice syrup, but you can use any variation you like. The fillings are flexible. I used avocado, cucumber, carrot and smoked salmon for this recipe. If using raw fish, make sure you use the freshest possible.


For the Rice:

2 cups organic short grain brown rice

3 cups of water

2 Tbs Brown rice vinegar

2 Tbs rice syrup or sugar

pinch of salt for cooking rice


2 avocados, cut into strips

1 carrot cut into thin sticks

1 cucumber peeled, seeded, cut into strips

1 package of smoked salmon 4 once (non-vegan option)

1/4 cup toasted sesame seed (optional)

Nori sheets

Dipping Sauce:

1 part soy sauce

1 part mirin

wasabi powder to taste


Rise and soak the rice overnight. Drain off the soaking water. Add 3 cup of water, the rice and a pinch of salt to pot. Bring to a boil, cover then simmer for 25-35 minutes. Mix the sugar and vinegar together. Add rice to a bowl and mix in the rice and vinegar with a rice paddle. Let rice cool to room temp.

For the filling, peel, and cut the vegetables. Cook the carrots for a minute or so in boiling water to soften slightly.


Place the shiny side of the nori sheet down on a sushi mat or piece of plastic wrap. Wet hand slightly and gab about a tennis ball size of rice. Place the rice on the nori sheet. Flatten out the rice with a rice paddle leaving the top inch of the nori sheet clear.

Add a moderate amount of filling, disperse equally in a lined strip about 2 inches from the close end. Don’t add too much filling. I always make this mistake on the first one then reduce the amount of filling. Take the end closest to you, and fold over the nori sheet around the filling. Tuck in the nori over the filling and continue rolling the rest of the roll. Add a little water on the bare end of the nori sheet and roll.Ann Arbor Food

Using a shape knife, Slice the nori rolls in half. Wash off the knife in between cuts. Eight pieces per nore is standard, but you can cut them as you wish.

Sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds, spoon and little dipping sauce and enjoy.

Make 5-7 nori rolls

Essene Mana Bread

Ann Arbor FoodMana bread is a dense loaf of bread made from sprouted, and crushed wheat berries. There is little or no flour used and there is no leavening. The end product is a dense, wholesome, slightly sour bread with a rich wheat flavor.

It can be found in health food stores under the Mana bread brand. I made this loaf with a small amount of sour dough starter which is optional. I like to put nuts and shredded carrot in my bread, but decided to make this one plain. It is a several day process, so be patient. It is one of those really slow foods, but it is worth it when it comes out right.


3 cups of wheat berries.

1/4-1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup shredded carrot (optional)

1/4 Raw nuts or seeds (optional) I like using walnuts.

For starter if using.

1 cup wheat flour (or what ever you have on hand)

1 cup chlorine free water

small piece of cabbage or 1 organic grape


Day One:

Rinse and then soak the wheat over night. Completely cover.

If using the starter, combine the flour and water till smooth and lump free. Add the cabbage or grape. Cover with cheese cloth and set out.

Day Two:

Strain off the water from the soaking grain. Make sure the wheat is moist, but not wet. Add a little more water if needed. Cover the bowl of moist berries with a plate. Mix the berries around from time to time and make sure they are moist. Add more water if needed.

Stir the starter.

Day Three:

Check the wheat berries and see if they are starting to sprout. There will be small white “tails” starting to grow out from the wheat berries. When all of the berries for the most part have small 1/8th inch tails they are ready. It might need another day. Or the berries could be duds and will not sprout.

close up of sprouted soft winter wheat. My bread is made with dark hard winter wheat


For the starter: take out the cabbage or grape and stir. It should have a sweet/sour smell.

Making the dough:

Take the fully sprouted wheat berries and put into a food processor with a metal blade. Add the salt, and a quarter cup of starter if using.

Add a 1/4 cup of flour and a 1/4 cup of water to replenish the starter.

Process the berries to create a relatively smooth mash. Remove the mash and combine any nuts, seeds, herbs, dry berries/fruits or shredded veggies if using.

Oil and line the bottom of a large loaf pan with parchment paper. My first couple of loaves stuck before I used the parchment paper, so don’t forget this step.

Add the mash to the parchment lined pan. Even out the mash with a rubber spatula.


Cover the loaf pan with a damp towel and set out to ferment the dough overnight.


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

Cover the loaf pan with tin foil.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 3-4 hours.

Remove the tin foil and bake for about 15 minutes to firm up the top.

Use a knife or a metal spatula and cut around the sides of the loaf. Flip upside down and release the bread.

Slice and eat. I love eating this bread with some goat cheese and tomato or toasting with butter, sugar and cinnamon. It is great with your favorite nut butter, or sandwich spread


Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta

Ann Arbor FoodThis is a pumpkin seed version of the traditional pine nut pesto. It is a combination of basil and parsley with a little lime for flavor. I made it vegan and put grated parm on the side to accommodate my multi diet household.



1 Lb of whole wheat Penne Pasta

1 cup of pumpkin seeds

2-3 packed cups of basil and parsley mixed

1/2 cup olive oil

2 oz of grated parm cheese (optional)

5 cloves of garlic, peeled

Juice of half a lime

little water to help blend

salt and pepper to taste


Cook pasta based on the package instructions.

For the pesto, place pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast at 375 for about 10 minutes till slightly brown. Taste to make sure they are toasted through. Keep an eye on them. They burn easily. Place the tasted seeds in the food processor and process well.

Add the Basil, parsley, garlic, grated cheese if using and lime juice to the processor. With the machine running, pour in the oil slowly. Blend to a thick paste. If the pesto is too thick and you have too many large bits of seeds, add some water and process some more. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the pesto with the pasta and serve.

This can be a vegan pasta. Emily, my girlfriend is on a lighter summer time vegan kick, so I am working in vegan options for meals. If you are going vegan with this dish, I recommend adding more salt too make up for both the whole wheat pasta and the lack of parm cheese.

For non-vegans, add cheese and saute chicken breast.