Monthly Archives: September 2010

Westside Farmers Market: The Last Day of the Market

Ann Arbor Food

Well, today was the last day of the Westside Farmers Market for the season. As you know this was Inchworm Micrgreens Farm/Bakery’s first year.

We learned a lot, meet some great people (vendors, market managers…Corrina we are talking about you, and of course our customers.

We will be back next year for sure to offer sunflower, and pea sprouts, and a spicy micro mix.

And there will be baked goods. Yes, we will have our focaccia bread, and our pocket pies, and galettes made from seasonal fruits purchased at the market. Be on the look out for strawberry rhubarb pies, the first of the season.

And Emily has big plans for shortbread cookies.

We are also starting mushrooms logs this fall which should be ready for sale mid summer at the market.

And…….wait for it……

Ann Arbor Food

Bagels!!!!

We will be testing recipes this winter to create the perfect bagel like the kinds I grew up with in NJ/NY.

Thanks again for your support.

Please stay in Touch, and follow us on this blog for updates about what we are going

Thanks

Brian Steinberg
Inchworm Microgreens Farms/Bakery
Ann Arbor, MI

chefbrian1@yahoo.com

The Stephen Colbertwich: The Most American Sandwich in the World

Folks.

There’s one thing I know for certain.

There is nothing that defines Americanessness more in the following order than Stephen Colbert, apple pie, cheese burgers, bacon, ice cream, hot dogs, pickles, and pepto bismol.

So to honor Americanessness, and the upcoming Election Day free sex, beer bong party, legalized marijuana, love-fest that is our country’s political process, I, at this blog, proudly present a soon to be an american classic.

The Stephen Colbertwich

It is an all American apple pie bacon cheese burger topped with a hot dog, a dill pickle, a cherry, and served with a side of ice cream, whip cream, mayo, mustard, ketchup, and a shot of pepto bismol

Recipe: serves 1 Real American

1 slice of apple pie
1 fried apple pie
1/3  pound All American Grade A ground beef patty, grilled
1 slice of American Cheese
2-3 pieces of bacon
1 pigs in a blanket hot dog, baked
1 gherkin pickle
1 maraschino cherry
1 scoop vanilla ice cream

condiments:
mayo
mustard
ketchup
whip cream
pepto bismol

Decorations: A bust of one Stephen Colbert, and an American Flag tooth pick

Procedure:

Place a piece of apple pie on a plate. Top is it with the cheeseburger, bacon and condiments. Then top the cheese burger patty with the fried apple pie. Place a skewer threw the apple pie cheese burger, and place the pickle through it followed by the hot dog, followed by the bust of Stephen Colbert, and finally top with a cherry with an American Flag Tooth Pick.

Say the Pledge of Allegiance then eat immediately.

USA, USA, USA

Real Time Farms.com

The gang from RealTimeFarms.com Proudly showing off their first Dollar Earned

Karl and Cara Rosaen and Lindsay Jean Hard sit around a sunny living room on the west side of Ann Arbor manning laptops. They are busy working on their local farm-and-food portal, RealTimeFarms.com. The website was launched on April 30 and features photos of fruits, vegetables and baked goods that are available at local farmers’ markets and restaurants in real time.

I wanted to create a website that helped local farmers to market and distribute their produce at the market and to restaurants. The site makes it easier for farmers and restaurants who want to source food locally to connect,” said Karl.

There are over 6,000 farmers’ markets in the US alone, and 5,000 restaurants sourcing produce locally. Realtimefarms.com hopes to eventually have photos posted for every farmers’ market during the season and have menus listed from restaurants that locally-source food.

Farmers have their photos posted for free. Restaurants are charged a fee for the service to post an interactive menu that links menu items with the pictures and stories of the local farmers who grow and raise the food.

Corrina Parker, manager of the Westside Farmers’ Market in Ann Arbor, has been using Real Time Farms to feature the farmers and produce variety at the market.

The reason why people come to farmers’ markets is to know the story of where the food comes from,” said Parker.

Realtimefarms.com provides a story section where farmers can share information about what they offer and the farming methods.

It can be a little awkward asking a farmer at a market if they use pesticides,” said Cara. “Especially if they do, and you don’t buy and walk away.”

Information about a farmers growing practices, such as non-spray, certified organic or use of organic practices, is listed on the site, which provides users more insight into the food they buy.

The real-time aspect of the site is a unique feature.

Most farmers’ markets provide a seasonal chart of fruits and vegetable,” said Karl. “But that does not provide information about what is at the market right now. For example, in Michigan, cherries were out early this year.”

The website works by having people take pictures at a market from a cell phone or digital camera. It is then sent from the phone or in an e-mail and posted instantly. A picture is attached into the e-mail, and the name of the farmers’ market is provided in the subject line. A listing of what is in the photo is posted in the body of the e-mail.

We are working on an iPhone app, which is scheduled to be out in the fall,” said Karl. The iPhone application will allow users of the site to see real-time updates of what is available at their local markets or while traveling.

The photos go into a directory for a particular farmers’ market and a slide-show is generated.

I post the slide show on our website,” said Parker. The slide show can be embedded into farmers’ market websites to provide real-time photo updates automatically.

The site depends largely on the market manager and customers to take the photos and post them to the site. More farmers’ markets are being added all of the time, with even a few from as far away as England.

Our numbers have gone up 50 percent this year compared to last year, and I am sure realtimefarms.com has helped,” said Parker. “Once farmers’ market managers see what [realtimefarms.com] can do…it is exciting.”

Most farmers are open to having pictures taken of their food and to have it posted online. Amish farmers do not allow having their pictures taken, but let people take pictures of their produce.
“Lots of farmers don’t have a website,” said Parker. Sites like realtimefarms.com basically do the work of giving a farmer a web presence.
“We have mostly focused on getting this site going locally, but we plan to have a national push for spring,” said Karl.

Tailgate Food at the U of M Football Game

Ann Arbor Food

University of Michigan Tailgate

It’s the first game of the football season for the University of Michigan, and thousands of food-and-drink loving Wolverine fans were camped outside the Big House for some tailgate eats.

Michigan was playing University of Connecticut. There was a carnival-like atmosphere at the Pioneer High School parking lot, where clusters of fans sat around tents, tables were full of food and all types of BBQ grills could be seen.
Tailgaters seemed to be a good-natured, generous group. They freely offer both food and drink to any passerby who takes an interest in their cooking.
The crowd is a sea of the maize-and-blue colors of University of Michigan. Many are playing a popular tailgate beanbag toss game. This game can be played with one hand to free up the other for a drink or a hotdog, making it an ideal tailgater activity. Grills were sizzling with the classic picnic/tailgate fair of burgers and hotdogs.

Ann Arbor Food

University of Michigan Tailgate

But tailgate food isn’t just burgers and dogs. A closer look shows more ambitious offerings. Justin, a season ticket holder, said he likes to eat well at the games.

I made a New York strip steak with a Jack Daniel’s marinade, baked potatoes and I am grilling some asparagus,” said Justin. Further down the tent row was Esteban, manning a large maize and blue-painted, dual-compartment grill. One side was full of a dozen pieces of grilling chicken, and on the other side was a large tin of macaroni and cheese.

There were other items on the table next to the grill, like grilled ham steaks topped with pineapple rings. Further down the lawn manning another grill was a self-professed Notre Dame fan.

He was sporting a Notre Dame foldout chair, and noticeably was one of the only people in the crowd not wearing the ubiquitous maize-and-blue colors. He joked about his covert team loyalty amongst Wolverine fans while flipping burgers. His group of fellow tailgaters prepared homemade peanut butter cookies to accompany their grilled fair.

Away from the crowds of the Pioneer High School on neighboring side streets were smaller, intimate gatherings. Many area residents located near the stadium sold parking and space in their yards for football goers.

About three blocks from the stadium, UM alumni Steve and Linda Hasting and Tim and Sharon Sherrow set out a cart table and chairs where they enjoyed their own tailgate food. On the table were Scotch eggs, which are hard-boiled eggs that are wrapped in sausage and breadcrumbs and baked. There was also a fresh fruit salad, and dish Linda called “Michigan Caviar.”

Michigan caviar is a sweet bean and corn relish that is served with corn chips. They drank red wine that Steve said his son made. Also on the tables was a tray of miniature, fresh-baked muffins. The house they set up in front of belongs to their friend, who gives them access to a full kitchen and not just a BBQ grill. This explained all of the fresh-baked items like the muffins and scotch eggs.

Ann Arbor Food

University of Michigan Tailgate

The crowd thinned out the further away one gets from the stadium. Eventually, all tailgate parties gave way to neighborhoods with empty lawns. A lone boy sat in front of his house at a table selling lemonade and cookies hoping to attract some business from the handful of foot traffic to the game. Walk a few more blocks away from Michigan Stadium, and all signs of a football game that hosted 109,000 people are gone.


Justin’s inspired strip steak with Jack Daniels marinade

2 thick New York strip steaks
1 bottle of Italian dressing (not creamy Italian)
¼ cup of Jack Daniel’s whiskey

Combine the salad dressing and whiskey. Pour over steaks in a glass pan, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 2-12 hours. Take out the steaks of the refrigerator and let them sit for about an hour to take the chill off. Heat a BBQ grill to high. Scrape off the excess marinade and place the steaks on the grill. Discard the marinade. Grill on high for eight minutes per side. Tent loosely with foil. Let the steaks rest for at least 15 minutes. Serve with a baked potato and grilled asparagus.

Scotch Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed
1 pound of ground sausage
Bread crumbs to coat

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the eggs with a half-inch layer of the ground sausage. Coat the sausage-covered eggs with bread crumbs. Bake on a broiler pan for 40 minutes. Cut into quarter wedges and serve with Dijon mustard.

Michigan Caviar

Can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Can of black eye peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup of white corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 small red onion, small dice
1 small red pepper, small dice
4 scallions, chopped fine
½ cup of white sugar
¼ cup of cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of salad oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.
Serve with corn-chip scoops.

Esteban’s inspired grilled chicken

2 pounds of chicken thighs, skin on
½ cup sour cream
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon of your favorite McCormick-brand seasoning (lemon pepper, mesquite, etc.)

Put the chicken in a glass pan. Combine the sour cream, cream and spice mix. Cover the chicken, wrap the container in plastic and refrigerate overnight. At the game, heat the grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and grill for 8-10 minutes on both sides or until done.

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy, mate! Sept. 19 is the official International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a holiday started by John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur and Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers from Albany, Ore.

Their idea was to encourage people to babble like a buccaneer for the fun of it. It came to them while playing a heated game of racquetball when they started insulting each other in pirate talk. From then on, Talk Like a Pirate Day was born.

The holiday took a few years to take off until humor columnist Dave Barry featured its story in an article in the Miami Herald in 2002, according to Baur and Summers. The Barry story, and the 2003 release of the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which has had two follow-up sequels with another one on the way, popularized all things pirate.

Pirate is even a language preference on Facebook. International Talk Like a Pirate Day is now a holiday celebrated by millions of people each year on all seven continents, including the International Space Station, according to http://www.talklikeapirate.com

Baur and Summers have performed as pirates in Las Vegas resorts, at libraries, bookstores, schools and at several seedy bars. They also have authored two books, “The Pirates Life: Unleashing Your Inner Buccaneer,” published by Kensington, and “Pirattitude! So You Wanna Be a Pirate? Here’s How!”published by New American Library.

The holiday is celebrated by adults and kids alike. The Ann Arbor Public Library is hosting pirate story readings and a treasure hunt on Sept. 19. Stores like the Baker’s Nook in Saline offer pirate-themed cake decorations and pirate ship cake molds. And there are a number of pirate movies to watch to celebrate the holiday, including classics like the 1950’s version of “Treasure Island,” “Captain Blood,” and kids films like “The Goonies,” “Pippy Long Stocking,” “Legend of the Seven Seas” and “Treasure Planet.”

To get started talkin’ the talk, Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy recommend using these five common pirate terms.

Avast — Stop and give attention. It can be used in a sense of surprise, “Whoa! Get a load of that!” when a beautiful woman walks into the room. “Avast! Check out the bowsprit on that fine beauty!” you might say.

Ahoy — “Hello!” Any inference beyond “Hello!” is simply vocal inflection and has nothing to do with the real meaning of the word.

Aye — “Why, yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did.”
Aye aye — “I’ll get right on that, sir, as soon as my break is over.” We’ve never heard any similarly colorful expressions for “no,” perhaps because pirates were the type you didn’t want to say no to.

Arr — This one is often confused with arrgh, which is of course the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. “Arr!” can mean “Yes,” “I agree,” “I’m happy,” “I’m enjoying this beer,” “My team is winning,” “My team is losing,” “I saw that television show, it sucked,” “I am here and alive,” and, “That was a clever remark you or I just made.” And those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of “Arr!” It’s a little bit like the pirate version of “Oy,” that indispensable Yiddish word that has almost as many meanings as there are ways to pronounce it.

Other talking tips: Try dropping your g’s, and according to Ol’ Chumbucket, “Don’t use ‘me’ for the first person subjective. That’s for Talk Like a Caveman Day. In pirate talk, “me” can replace “my,” but not “I.”

And it helps to talk on the loud side. When all else fails, just say “Arr!” a lot. Many people also celebrate the holiday by dressing like a pirate too.

As for traditional pirate food for the holiday, Baur says that the food aboard pirate ships was pretty bad, consisting of salted beef, hard ships biscuits, more salted beef and burgoo, a kind of gruel made of flour and water, sometimes with chunks of meat floating in it.

The advantage of being a pirate was they didn’t have to keep eating rotten food. If it got a little old, they’d capture another ship and take their food,” said Baur.

Pirates also ate a dish called salmagundi. The word means an incoherent whole, or a hodgepodge. It is a large salad with whatever the cook had on hand, comprising of cooked meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, leaves, nuts and flowers, dressed with oil, vinegar and spices. There is no standard recipe for the dish.

Many adult pirates celebrate the holiday with rum drinks.

http://www.talklikeapirate.com listed some 50 rum drink recipes. The rum tradition for pirates comes from gorg, a drink consumed by pirates that consisted of mostly water mixed with rum to add some taste and help to purify stagnant water.

The etymology of the word buccaneer comes from boucanier, a French hunter who smoked meats such as pork. Baur suggested that one translation means “eater of wild pig.” If there is a meal or food to be eaten on Talk Like a Pirate Day, it may be pork spareribs. “True story — we never let Sept. 19 pass without gnawing on a few pork ribs,” said Baur.

Rum Drink Recipes:

Slow-cooked spareribs: Serves about six

4 pounds pork spareribs, trimmed and cut into 2 rib sections
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Salt and pepper to tasted

Place spareribs in slow cooker. Mix paprika, brown sugar, vinegar and ketchup until blended. Pour over spareribs. Cover and cook for eight hours on low, or four hours on high.

Remove spareribs from slow cooker. Transfer sauce to measuring cup, and let sit for a minute until the fat settles to the top. Drain off fat using a turkey baster, taking the sauce from the bottom without getting the fat on top. Serve sauce over spareribs.

Coconut ice cream

1-pint can of coconut milk
¼ cup of agave syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Combine all ingredients. Place in a metal bowl. Wrap tightly with plastic and freeze over night. Let the ice cream sit at room temp for a few minutes before serving. This recipe can be doubled.

Mint chocolate coconut variation: Use the base recipe and add half a teaspoon of mint extract, three tablespoon of cocoa powder and a quarter cup of chocolate chips.

Microgreen Attack

Ann Arbor Food

Above is a picture of containers that were full of sprouting seeds that were to be planted for microgreen trays. As you can see the containers were thrown on the ground from the table where they sat, and the tops were ripped open exposing the seed to dry out. The culprit is still unknown, but he/she did get into my deer fence, fenced in garden, and managed to knock over my container that were topped with bricks.

What could have it been? My bet is a raccoon, or some crazy drifter who likes to sneak into gardens to mess with stuff to drive gardeners crazy. And lets not leave out possible visits from extra terrestrial being. Maybe I should get NASA in on my garden attack. The result unfortunately is yet more seed that will not become microgreens for sale at the market this year

This has been a major learning year, with some successes, a bunch of set backs, and a few experiments.

The plan next year to grow all of my greens in wire cages.

Ramadan: Fasting and Feasts

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

It is Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. The practice in the Islamic tradition of fasting is intended to teach patience, humility, and spirituality. I talked with Waleed Baker, the President of the Washtenaw Muslim Student Association at WCC. He shared how he practices the holiday and the food traditions.

Starting at sunset on Aug 11, 2010 to September 9, 2010, Waleed and other practicing Muslims will refrain from eating or drinking during the hours between sunrise, and sunset. There is now a popular iphone app that allows Muslims to track when the days fast will start, and end, the times to take their five daily prayers, the complete text of the Koran, and even the direction of Mecca. Waleed says that he does not use the app, but his brother does. Young children, pregnant woman, or those with health conditions are not required to fast. ” I started fasting the full 30 days around seven or eight,” says Waleed. “There is no set age when you start.”

Waleed breaks his fast each day with a potluck meal held at his Mosque. About 200 people are in attendance for the these meals which he says are prepared by family’s who rotate cooking duties throughout the thirty days. We eat dates. The prophet used to eat them. We like to follow the prophet and he ate dates. Dates are always on the table. We have Lamb throughout the year, but it is really emphasized on Ramadan,” say Waleed. Waleed also mentions dishes like humus, grape leaves, various dips and relishes to go with pita bread like roasted tomatoes, and yogurt dipping sauces.

Deserts include baklava, and a phyllo dough wrapped baked cheese with sweet honey and sugar oil. Waleed also says that Halal meat is used for these dishes. Halal is a process in which a prayer is said before an animal is killed. “Anyone can say the prayer. It does not have to be an Imam, (an Islamic spiritual leader)” says Waleed. Waleed went to a local farm with his family last year during Ramadan and saw a goat processed in the halal tradition. Practicing Muslims refrain from eating pork, and consuming alcohol.

Waleed says that anyone is welcomed to attend the mosque for the nightly end of fast meal, and visitor should feel free to bring their own dish to share. The Aladdin Market located on Packard Street in Ann Arbor offers Halal meats, and other Middle Eastern staples.

Muslim in America are one of the most ethically diverse religious groups. According to a 2009 Gallup poll, thirty five percent of Muslims in America are African American, most which have converted. The diverse demographic of American Muslims can reflect a wide range of different food traditions other than Middle Eastern cuisine.

Eid ul-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast, marks the last day Ramadan. Waleed says that the meal is often celebrated with getting take out. “We take a break from cooking. Last year we went to Pita Pita. One year we went to Olive Garden.” says Waleed.

Recipes and photoes provided by Nadia Baker (Waleed’s Mom)

Humus

Ingredients

1 cup of dry chick peas
3 pieces of garlic
Olive oil
Lemon Juice
Parsley
Paprika
Tahini (Arabic sauce; can get it from the Middle Eastern Market
Salt

Boil 1 cup of chick peas in water(about half hour). Drain the water from the chick peas, and put a 4-5 chick peas to the side. Mix Chick peas with lemon juice, garlic, Tahini, a pinch of salt, and blend together. Now take the humus and spread it over a plate. Spread a couple of pinches of paprika, a couple pinches of parsley, and olive oil to the middle Also in the middle add the chick peas that were set aside earlier. Now dip it with the pita bread and Enjoy!

Grape Leaves (Arabic: Warik Duali)

Ingredients:

1 jar of grape leaves
1 cup of enriched (Egyptian) rice
1 pound of ground beef
Lemon pepper
Fresh tomatoes
Green Onion

Lemon
Oil
Black pepper

Boil grape leaves. Rinse one cup of rice, then mix it with the ground beef in a bowl. Add 1 green onion (diced) to the mix. Add 1 cup of oil to the mix, and a pinch of salt, lemon pepper, and black pepper.
Mix all the ingredients well. Drain the grape leaves. Take each grape leaf, open it, in the middle put a tea spoon of the mix in the middle. Fold each side of the grape leaf inside and then roll it (do this for each grape leaf). Now put the rolled grape leaves in a pot. Put 5 cut tomatoes on top of the grape leaves in the pot, and fill the pot with cold water. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper to the pot. Cover the pot and set it on the oven for 10min, put the oven on high (until it boils). Then put it on low after it boils, keep the oven on low for an 1hour and half. Then put the grape leaves in a serving platter, with some lemons next to it (just for decoration, also people like to add lemon) and serve.