Monthly Archives: October 2009

Come to Friday Morning at Selma: Oct 16, 6:30-10:00

Ann Arbor Food

Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwiches @ Selma

FridayMornings@SELMA invites you to pull up a chair and share your vision for the future of food.

Brian Steinberg makes his SELMA debut with a real get-warm seasonal special.  You may have met Brian here at SELMA or at the HomeGrown Festival where he debuted his new mini-farm: Inchworm MicroGreens.  

Buttermilk Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich served one of three ways – either with house-made sausage and gravy, egg and cheddar or bacon, egg and cheddar.  Which ever way you take it, it will be served up with a side of roasted sweet and red potatoes, a bit-o-greens and will wrap up with an apple-hazelnut crisp.

Don’t forget our “fruit seasonal” perennial breakfast choices: waffles or Lisa’s pear bread pudding both served with bacon, or the granola-yogurt parfait.  Fruit this week: gingered apples and raspberries.

Suggested donation for breakfast is $10 – $15.  All proceeds go to the farmers and producers of your food and our small farms-small farmers initiative.  SELMA is here for you every week 6:30 to 10:00 am – 722 Soule – check out: Repasts, Present and Future for more information.  Early arrival is suggested for those on the go.  FM@SELMA is all volunteer.  We need your help to sustain this local-foods breakfast salon.  Please reply to this email or click here to let us know what you are thinking, and how you would like to participate.

Thanks and see you soon, Jeff and Lisa.

Pickle Contest: DownTown Home and Garden

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It was the first Annual Pickle contest at DownTown Home and Garden. I entered the contest with my Spicy Dulse Sauerkraut. I did not win and the top three winners were dill pickles. Like the Jam contest, the most popular, and familiar items per contest like raspberry jam and dill pickles, tend to win. I wanted to win for my offering, but feel that for the most part my offerings were great, but not as popular to win these contests. The positive reactions overheard from the taster of my jam and kraut were reassuring.

One thing I would say is bring something to drink. They did not offer water, or bread with the pickle tasting, and after 30 salty pickles you will need something to drink. I bought some bread. They sell zingerman’s bread and pastry at Downtown Home and Garden.

Growing Mushroom at Home: Oyster, Shiitake and Wine-Cap

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Oyster Mushrooms Ready to Harvest

After a complete wash with hunting for Michigan morels this year, I only found one small morel after days of searching, I decided that I was going to learn how to grow my own mushrooms this year.

The opportunity came up when I heard about a class being offered here in Ann Arbor by Matt Demmon. The class was hands on with the seven of us in attendance participating in both log growing and ground growing mushroom methods.

The real trick for me with growing mushrooms is to find the hardwood logs. You need to use logs that are as fresh as possible and that have bark. Oak seems to be a good all around log for log growing mushrooms like Oyster and Shiitake. The thing is, they do not sell fresh cut oak logs with bark at the hardware store.

One of the advantages of log growing mushrooms is that you can take it with you. Log can last for a few years, and travel well. I usually rent a community garden plot, which means that every year around October, I have to pack everything up, and restart again, but with a mushroom log, I can bring my garden with me.

The log method shown in the picture below is pretty straight forward, and I feel is a good place to start for beginners. By contrast, other forms of mushroom cultivation are very involved with many exacting variables, and laboratory conditions.

Here is a picture summary of the class. I will have updates in the spring to see how my mushroom log turned out.

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Oyster Mushrooms growing out of a log
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White spot at end shows a well inoculated log

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Oyster Mushrooms on a log not ready for harvest

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Hardwood Logs

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Drilling the Logs

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Hammering oyster spore inoculated wood dowels into the logs

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Bag of Wooden Dowels

Here is a link to Fungi Perfecti about mushroom spore dowels

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Mushroom Growing Party

The only step I did not take a picture of was the waxing. After drilling, then hamming a dowel into the log, it is coated with wax, in our case melted Beeswax.

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Wine-cap Mushrooms grown in Wood chips on the ground

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Bed of Wood chips with Wine-cup mushroom spores

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Oyster Mushroom Log from class in a shady spot in my yard

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Fine Hardwood Mulch Bed (wood chips are better, but we will see how this batch turns out)

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Wine-cap mushrooms broken up on mulch (Newspaper underneath to prevent weeds) 

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Close up of Wine-Cap Mushroom (Go Spores Go!!!)

Breakfast @ Selma Crew

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Selma Crew Chopping Veggies

This was the first time working on the volunteer crew for breakfast@Selma, a friday morning charity breakfast and community get together in Ann Arbor.

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: lisagottlieb@hotmail.com

I worked both the Thursday night prep session and I jumped in Friday for dishes and to wait on tables. If you have the time, I highly recommend jumping in on a shift. Jeff and Lisa are flexible and open to any time you are willing to be there to help.

I will be the guest cook next week, so I wanted to get a feel for the behinds the scene. The thursday night crew has a lot of fun, and the work gets done pretty quickly.

There are no pictures of the food on Friday, sorry. I was so busy that I forget to take them. The great thing about Selma is that there is always something new every week.

The guest chef is Heather Leavitt went to study art in Florence and found food.  She works as a server and line cook for eve – the restaurant, while developing her business: Cakes by Heather Anne (and soon to be sweetheatheranne.com).  She recently appeared on the Food Network’ Last Cake Standing with Courtney Clark of Cake Nouveau.  Heather’s work first caught my eye when she was displaying giant art cakes at Morgan and York a couple years ago, themed on various area businesses such as Roos Roast, Harnois Chickens and Durham’s Tracklements.  She loves the local.  Heather teams up with fellow eve line cook Roberto (Beto) Dominguez to bring you:

Beto’s Pork Tamales with red sauce  served with a side of mixed greens tossed with cilantro corn salsa

Spicy Greens and Cilantro Corn Salsa topped with Sunny-side up eggs

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Thursday Night Crew meal:  A fun plate of beans, chips, some veggies and pie and ice cream

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Carrot Totem

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Happy Crew with Peppers

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Cooking tortilla

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Making Tamales

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The finishes tamales ready to be steamed

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Birthday at Selma

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Selma Chickens

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Sauerkraut Making:Fermentation fun at home take three

Ann Arbor FoodThis is my third Sauerkraut Making post. I am not sure in what order you are reading these. If you are new to making kraut and fermenting, I think it is good that you start out with a good picture of mold. The picture on the left is of mold on the top of the liquid in my batch of shiso garlic sauerkraut. In most cases mold is not a friend of healthy, safe to eat food, but with kraut it is fine. I simply skimmed off the mold, cleaned off the plate and set the kraut back to ferment. By no means does surface mold mean your kraut has gone bad.

More mold Pics

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Skimmed off mold

Tasty Kraut that is safe to eat: Needs some more time to ferment

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Ann Arbor FoodOf course not every batch of kraut has mold. This is a picture of my first batch this year. It is a spicy dulse seaweed variation and only fermented 30-35 days. I could let is go longer, but I wanted to use the ceramic crock for a new batch. I started with 5LBs of cabbage which I usually figure will make 1 gallon, 4 quarts of kraut. I ended up with only 2 quarts and one quart of kraut liquid. This was probably because I used a super fresh cabbage that had a lot of moisture.

When making kraut, make sure to save the extra liquid. It can be used to flavor soups, stews, to brine meat or to add to batches of kraut as a starter.

Two Jars of Kraut and One jar Kraut Juice

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Labeling the Jars: I feel this is an important step to keep my batches organized

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New Batch: Standard Plain Sauerkraut

5lbs of Green Cabbage and 3 tablespoons of salt

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Chopped Cabbage

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Don’t forget to chop and include the cores

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My two gallon ceramic crock with 5lbs of chopped cabbage

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Kraut after being smashed up a little: Fills around half way

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Weighing down my kraut with my one gallon ceramic crock on top

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Apple Daze: Dexter Michigan 2009

Apple Daze

It was raining today, but that did not stop me from going to the Apple Daze in Dexter, Michigan. The event was hold on the park downtown Dexter. I got there as they were having the pie eating contest. There were craft vendors, animals for a petting zoo, apple doughnuts for sale, and of course apple pie. Here are some pictures.

Rainy Sign

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Llamas

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Feed for Llama’s: I bought a cup and feed the Llama, they are gentle and cute.

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Baby Goat

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Pie Eating Contest: Kid with his face in a pie

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Fresh Apples for sale at the place I bought apple doughnuts from.

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Apple Pie by the Slice

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Sign on Main Street

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Jam Contest:Bacon, Molson Beer, and Spicy Pepper Jam

Ann Arbor FoodToday was the big Jam contest at Downtown home and garden. 59 Jelly’s, jams, butters, and ones that defy category were present for tasting and judging. There was a long table set up with numbered jars. Small crust of bread and crackers were set out. Twenty-five people crowded around the table with more coming and going. Most did not try them all. Only one hardcore taster managed to get through and weigh in a vote for each one. Most jams gave away the type of jam in the name like my balsamic sweet onion jam, while there were a few like R&B that we were not sure what it was.

There were only a handful of savory jams like ones made with spicy peppers, and a favorite of mine made with sun dried tomatoes. My onion jam tasted great, yet I had my doubts that I would win any prizes because there was a bunch of kids there who voted and the savory jams did not get as many tastings or votes. (update:I did not win a prize)

The stand outs for me was the vanilla pear jam, spicy pepper jam, an organicAnn Arbor Food concord grape for the familiarity, a honey and lemon balm (update: It won second place), and the sun dried tomato. The bacon jam was more of a spread of bacon bits than a jam in my opinion, but tasty. I tried about half of them. Some were too runny, others had a strong alcohol taste, and one had way too much lavender which made it taste like perfume.

Looking at all of these jams made me think about the future of local food. Most were made from seasonal, local fruits, berries, and vegetables. They have a long shelf life, which allows for a huge variety of local food year round, and the jars can be reused for years. I am very new with canning and I was amazed at all of the recipes in the Ball Bluebook.

Eating locally in the winter brings up imagines of eating an all potato diet for months. Looking at 59 varieties of jam I see that is far from the case. I see a winter of tasty jellies and fillings from desserts and pastry, flavorful condiments for savory meat dishes,  and cheese pairing, and to tasty spread on homemade bread.