Monthly Archives: September 2009

Sauerkraut Making:Fermentation fun at home take two

Ann Arbor Food I was thinking sauerkraut again when I saw a purple cabbage at the Ann Ann Farmer’s Market. You might recall in the previous post, fermentation fun at home, how some ravenous red cabbage seeking fiend aced me out of my red cabbage last time. I was lucky this time and was able to score some of the red.

My fermentation luck continued as readers might also recall when I was having Breakfast at Selma, and I eyed some shiso in Jeff and Lisa’s front yard. Jeff hooked me up, and the rest is fermentation history.

I usually use a one gallon glass jug to weigh down my kraut, but I have since forked out the extra bucks for some nice ceramic crocks. I used my one gallon crock as a weight inside my two gallon crock where my last batch of kraut is being fermented.

Then I thought to myself, “Self! Why can’t I make another batch and put that one in the one gallon crock and use that for the weight for the two gallon?” Brilliant! I can ferment two batches of kraut in the same space at once. I have yet to test the limits of this stacking method. Can I use a five gallon crock, with a four gallon inside, with a three inside that, and a two inside that, followed by a one gallon crock, with this process continuing and ending with a pint size batch? I call this the Russian Doll Method of fermentation.

Here is a 1/2 gallon recipe. This recipe is a quick summary of the sauerkraut making process. Please refer to my previous post for a full description of the process before you make a batch.

Purple Cabbage, Turnip, garlic and Shiso Seed/leave Sauerkraut: Make 1/2 gallon

1 medium size purple cabbage (2-3 pounds)

2-3 medium sized turnips, washed, and grated

1 1/2 Tablespoons of kosher salt

3-4 cloves of garlic, left whole*

small bunch of Shiso (beefsteak) seeds pods and leafs**

*I put in whole garlic, but they can be smashed or minced for a stronger flavor. Ginger can be substituted or included in this recipe. I wanted to use ginger in fact, but I did not have any, so I used garlic, but you can add other ingredients at anytime.

**Go easy on Shiro seed because they have a powerful fragrance, and can over power the kraut, so that you think you are eating perfume. Shiso Leaf, and shiso powder can be found in some asian markets and use for good results. The fresh seed pods that I am using are not as easy to come by. Here is where being a home gardener comes in handy.

Shredding the cabbage

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Grating the Turnip

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Adding the Aromatics (Shiso seed pod, leaf and garlic): I use whole garlic cloves to reserve them and eat them whole when I feel a cold coming on as a home remedy in winter.

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Shiso plant with seeds

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All of the ingredients in the crock

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Mashing up the Kraut

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After mashing down the kraut, about half the volume

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Putting a plate on top of the kraut, inside the one gallon crock. Put a filled one quart jar on top of the plate, then put the one gallon crock inside the two gallon crock, and top with a towel

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Fermentation Resources: Wild Fermentation By Sandor Katz

Inchworm Microgreens: From The Home Grow Festival

Ann Arbor FoodFirst off I want to say thanks to everyone who stopped by the Inchworm Microgreens table. I did my best to tempt you with fresh cut pea shoot microgreens and micro cilantro. Marsella pictured here on the left from Project Grow was our first ever customer. She is shown here posing with a two ounce bag of pea shoots.

I also want to thank Jeff McCabe who invited me to present my microgreens at the Home Grown Festival.

This was the first time I sampled my microgreens to anyone other than my family. There were a few surprises. The first was that people did not know how to eat pea shoots.  They asked me if they ate them whole. “Yes. Just like sprouts,” I said. The pleasant surprise was that kids love pea shoots. Some were shy about trying them, but were pleasantly surprised how sweet the pea shoots were. I had a young child circle back with his mom to have her by a bag for himself. I took this as a great sign considering I had competition from plenty of great food venders, especially Sweet Gem Confections my favorite Chocolatier.  Nancy Biehn of Sweet Gem traded a bag of pea shoots for two truffles, a peach and a raspberry.

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FYI, anyone interested in trading microgreens for hand made chocolate or other handcrafted, tasty items, I am game.

I stayed at the table must of the night, but I was able to walk the festival a little. I had a great slice of pizza from Silvios Organic Pizza. It had blueberries and blue cheese. There were other food venders like The Grange Kitchen and Bar.

There was live music and a wine and beer tent. I really enjoyed the set up and thought it would be great if the Saturday Farmer Market had live music, more prepped food venders and a tent set up with chairs and tables for eating.

My favorite picture of the night was the Peeps

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Inchworm Microgreens: At the Home Grown Festival


This is a quick announcement that I will be at the Home Grow Festival featuring my microgreens. The festival will be from 5:00-10:00 PM held where the Ann Arbor Farmer’s market is located, next to the shops at Kerry Town.

Come to the festival for some good eats.

Please email me:
and check out my Inchworm Microgreen page on this site for more info.


Brian Steinberg

Ann Arbor,MI

Naan Bread at Home

Naan is a light, chewy, pillow of bready goodness. It is one of my favorite food items in the world. No indian meal in my opinion is complete without a piece of naan to scoop up some dahl, saag paneer, mango chutney, or raita. Tradition naan is cooked in a tandoor oven at temperatures hotter than a home oven can reach. I tried making naan in my oven, but found that cooking it on the shove top in a dry preheated cast iron pan works better.


2 3/4 cups of white bread flour

2 1/4 teaspoon of saf yeast*

1 tbsp of honey

1 cup of room temp water

1/4 cup of whole milk yogurt

1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil

pinch of salt

4 Tbsp of Ghee butter or unsalted butter

Making the dough:

Combine the flour, salt, and yeast in a food processor. add the yogurt, oil and honey. Add the water a little at a time, with the food processor running and process until the dough forms a ball. It will be stick, so you might need to add a little more flour. Knead the dough a little, then place in a bowl.

Rising the dough:

Add a little more oil to coat the dough, then cover with a piece of plastic and set out in a warm place to rise for 45-60 minutes.

After the dough has risen, punch down the dough and shape into eight equal size balls. Cover the balls with damp cloth and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

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Shaping the dough:

Flatten out the dough in a rough round shape. Either stretch out the dough or use a rolling pin to form a thin roundish disk. I like a rustic naan, so I stretch it. I find that stretching creates an non-uniformed thickness, which resembles the ones in the indian restaurant.

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Heat a cast iron pan on medium high for five minutes. When the pan is hot, place a shaped naan on the dry cast iron pan. Cook for about a minute, then flip.

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Cook the flip side for a few more minutes, then flip again on the first side for about a minute.

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Coat one side with ghee or butter.

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Repeat until all eight pieces are cooked. Serve with your favorite Indian dish.

*SAF Yeast: I use this kind of yeast for all of my baking. It keeps for years in the frig and does not require a pre-soak. Just add it to a recipe.

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Kosmo Deli: A Korean American Fusion Diner

I have been passing by the Kosmopolitan Deli for weeks now. It is located in the Kerrytown shops in Ann Arbor, where the Wednesday and Saturday farmer’s market is located. I have been there years before for their Bi Bim Bop, Rice with veggies, egg and various topping. They make theirs with brown rice which was a treat for me at the time I was going through a macrobiotic vegetarian phase. Todays meal was far from vegetarian. I had the Seoul dog, a hotdog wrapped in bacon that is fried and topped with kim chi and mozzarella cheese. It sounded so crazy I just had to try it.

Ann Arbor FoodThe Kimchi provided a spicy vegetable balanced. I am not sure the cheese worked.

I also had the twiggum, a tempura batter fried pile of fried goodness. I ordered the small, but it was a huge pile. Twiggum is a tempura clump. It is as if someone was making tempura and had a few pieces stuck together and decided, why not save some time and throw them all in the oil in small handfuls instead of individual pieces. It was served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce which help with the heavy friedness of the dish.

The Kosmo is a Korean version of an American greasy spoon. Burgers can be ordered with Kim chi. There is a teriyaki burger, and offerings a hot and sour so

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up. Various sauces are provided like a spicy teriyaki sauce instead of ketchup. You can either go with a healthy a brown rice bowl with veggies and tofu or ordered a seoul

dog with a tempura pile. Both are good eats.

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100 Mile Diet: Ann Arbor Michigan

100 Mile Diet: Ann Arbor Michigan

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I read the book Plenty, by J.B. Mackinnon and Alisa Smith which chronicles their year of eating a diet sourced within 100 miles from their home in Vancouver, BC. The book was a catalyst for the term the 100 mile diet. I found their story inspiring and since then I have been trying to source as much food as possible locally. I have a home garden, go to the farmers markets, joined a CSA, and look for local labels at the grocery store. To find your own 100 mile diet range check out this map site.

I am not a purist by any stretch. The hardest items to give up for me in order to live a 100 mile diet are citrus fruit, chocolate, vanilla, spices, salt, avocado, coastal fish, coconut, certain cheeses, almonds, pine nuts, rice and both olive and peanut oil. Most packaged foods like my cereal and rice milk would be off the 100 mile list as would almost all meals out. I don’t drink coffee, but I imagine that it would be hard to give up for those wanting to live a 100 mile diet too. And would say cigarettes be included? What are the chances of finding 100 mile cigarettes? I do not smoke, but I figure for smokers this would also me an issue.

I suppose I can switch to butter instead of oils, and use vinegars for acidity instead of citrus, but it would not be the same. The 100 miles diet plays into the idea of true regional cuisine and specialties. I love the idea for example of needing to go to the Pacific Northwest to have fresh salmon, the gulf coast for shrimp, or Maine for lobster. 100 mile cuisine offers a challenge to create culinary tradition from what is on hand. It also encourages food producers, farmers, chefs and artisan to produce regional items like wine, beer, cheese and a wide range of food products to create a robust local food economy. If more people switch to a 100 mile diet and demanded locally sourced food, a market would be created to fill the need for local artisan staples.

Of course not every 100 miles are built the same. A 100 miles diet in San Francisco for example is easier than say the desserts of Western Idaho. The authors of Plenty did enjoy a more temperate Pacific Northwest climate for gardening and access to coastal food. For example, when I lived in Portland, Oregon, I was able to grow veggies year round in my community garden plot. This is a luxury I miss now living in Michigan.

Ann Arbor, Michigan where I currently live is a pretty good area for the 100 mile challenge. It has an active agricultural community, a growing number of farmer’s markets, CSA’s, and a good growing season and soil to grow our own food. There are local producers of grains and flours, dairy, meats, some cheeses and even white sugar from beets. Local sugar can be a real challenge. There is even a meat CSA in town that could provide local meat year round. I think meat eaters may have it easier than vegetarian for a 100 mile diet because staples like meat can be frozen throughout the winter.

The real challenge of a 100 mile diet is winter. It is one thing to eat local in the summer or during the fall harvest season. After all, I have a table full of baskets of tomatoes from my garden ready to be canned right now. There are pounds of potatoes that I have not dug up yet in my garden and there is too many pole beans then the family can eat in a weeks. Winter squash is on the way and I am hoping for a broccoli, collard and arugula harvest that I planted late before the cold weather comes through. And the farmers markets are now packed with a huge variety of fresh fruits and veggies. Fast forward to winter and those resources are dried up.

Could I really eat a 100 mile diet for a year like the authors of Plenty? I am not sure I can do it for a year, but I have tried making a few 100 mile meals. For example, I made a dinner of chicken from my CSA with garden herbs and local butter, collards from the farmers market, and potatoes my garden. The only thing that was not local was salt and pepper although I think I can get local salt with a little more research.

The authors of Plenty started their diet in march which was a challenge. I figure I would start in June when the farmer’s markets were open and I had my early spring garden going strong. I would also do my homework to make sure I had staples on hand or available. The authors had a hard time finding flour for most of their year. Local was not the buzz it is now when they started. More and more 100 mile food items are coming available. The Coop and local grocery stores are now using local as a marketing tool and provide labeling to make it easy to find items. And more and more resources are coming available to help find local foods. Sites like Local Harvest are helping to make eating local more possible.

The big reality of living a 100 mile diet is that for the most part, I would have to cook almost all of my meals from scratch. That would mean using almost no packaged products, condiments or sauces. I would have to make my own ketchup, mustard and brew my own soy sauce if I wanted to have them.

I am not sure what rules I would create if any on my version of a 100 mile diet. If for example I could not find local salt, I would bend the rules to make sure I had it. What about spices, pepper, chocolate, and the rest? I think I could give them up for a year in favor of other flavors. I could use more fresh herbs then I use now and get more into using chiles for spice. I would need to find some kind of vegetable oil for salad dressing, but that would be about it. Of course, it is easy to talk a big local eating game, but living it is an completely different thing. I could go through 100 mile diet withdrawal and grab for a meal of coastal fish with spices from indian and coconut milk sauce, imported rice, a cup of coffee, and a chocolate dessert with vanilla bean.

Please comment on your 100 mile diet. And what foods would be on your hard to give up list?

Broccoli Microgreens: Inchworm Microgreens Update

Here is a quick update on Inchworm Microgreens.

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