Monthly Archives: January 2011

Super Bowl Food

I gathered together a few recipes form my blog in one place, which might make good Super Bowl Food offering. I also want to pass a link to who has a good post about planning a Super Bowl Party.



Six Burritos in 30-minutes

The Elvis Sandwich

No-Stir Risotto

Mac N Cheese

Sliders: Mini Burgers

Steak Quesadilla

Buffalo Hotwings (drums) with vegan option


Growers vs Resellers at Farmers Market

There has been an ongoing debate on the Michigan Farmers Market Association Listserv about what type of vendor should be allowed at a Farmers Market.

Among the issues discussed are whether to allow vendors from out of state and whether to allow resellers, people who do not grow their own produce/meat/cheese/artisan products etc. to sell at the market.

I have provided a small sample of the responses to this passionate debate below.

How do I weigh in on the subject?

I have no problem with vendors coming in from bordering states. The Ohio border is closer for example than many towns in Michigan with farmers who might come to sell at an Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

As some will know, I sell microgreens at the Westside Farmers Market. I grow them in a small backyard garden and I am pretty sure that the Westside only allows grower/producers to sell there. I like the policy.

By contrast, I have been to markets with vendors who sold out of the region fruits like grapefruit at their booth. The fruit was no even organic, and I felt that it did not fit in at the market. What made the grapefruit at a farmers market any different from buy it at the grocery store?

I felt if too many of the vendors were resellers it would make customers question the difference between a farmers market and the produce section of a chain grocery store.

So where do I stand on the reseller question?

Ideally, I think that a farmers market should strive to try to have only growers/producers.

Customers who come to a farmers market assume that they are buying from the farmer and come to the market in part to by local.

Buy locally and Meet Your Farmer/Artisan is a huge marketing slogan for Farmers Market and having too many resellers may weaken a Farmers Market Brand.

It may be hard to find the variety of farmers and artisans to make a well rounded market with a grower/producer only policy, but I feel that sticking by that policy will support new upstart local growers (like myself) who will be vendors at your Farmers Market.

Customers will appreciate it and the Market would have created a great Brand.



Yes there is reason!!  I live 2 miles from the INDIANA state line and in our market we have some growers that live on the other side of the line.   Yes we do know they grow the produce but they are from out of the state making there produce from another state.  My sister brings here sweet corn and that is 7 miles from our market in Indiana, what you are saying is we should cut our market in half because we should not have out of state produce.  In the reverse I should not be able to sell in the markets in Indiana we sell in because we are out of the state?  We feel that the local is within 50 miles but our venders are with in 30 miles.

We understand local very well but every market is to understand the location of what you are talking before blanket NO reason to have produce coming from out of state.


Three Oaks Farmers Market

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 11:42:53 -0500
From: bigskyfarm@GMAIL.COM
Subject: Re: growers vs resellers at a market

There is absolutely NO reason for markets to have any produce coming from out of state, much less out of the country!!!!  I do feel that some reciprocity is helpful, however, among farmers with different types of produce, limited growing seasons, limited time to attend markets. Farmers markets are hard work, as we all know!  As more communities have started small neighborhood markets it becomes impossible to attend so many of them, and this invites fraud/reselling/misrepresentation.  Co-op selling is a good idea and helpful to all.  I agree that the early and late season present “volume” issues for farmers, but there are a lot of ways to plan for that and they should plan accordingly with other offerings of their own or from local collaborators. Storage crops??????

BUT the key, as Chris says, is transparency.  In my view the basics indicated by Chris are the sign of a healthy market of the type that the people really want, and anything else undermines the credibility of the entire system.  I recently found garlic from China at one of the roadside produce stands–which the average person assumes means local produce, but of course we know differently…. The recent televised scandal in Oakland county, in which a grower represented his produce as “pesticide free”, sustainably grown, etc. but was filmed purchasing it at the Eastern Mkt. has sent shock waves through our farmers market and, more importantly, organic growers communities.  ALL farmers are hurt by those who cut corners or misrepresent their produce !!!!!!!!

Unless our markets represent local, fresh produce there is no reason for people to shop there when the grocery store may be cheaper or more convenient.  HIGH STANDARDS, TRANSPARENCY are what I look for when I think about where I want to sell my produce and where I want to buy it!

Fay Hansen

On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 1:17 PM, Christopher Bedford <> wrote: 


You have raised a CORE issue that troubles many farmers’ markets and their managers.
At many West Michigan farmers markets, resellers go to a wholesale fruit/vegetable market and buy their produce to resell at the
farmers’ market. Many of this resellers simply double the wholesale price and sit there as if the produce was their own.
Some farmers buy in the wholesale market for early and late in the season, selling their own produce during peak production periods.
And there are many variations in between. So what should you do?
I believe the key concept here is TRANSPARENCY.
Consumers have a right to know what they are buying.
In my opinion, every vendor at a farmers’ market should be required to publicly display the following information.
1. Where the various fruits and vegetables were grown? Local? From some other place?
2. How were they grown? Were pesticides and herbicides used? If so, which ones?
3. When were they picked? (Michael Hamm likes to point out, the time of harvest is one of the critical elements in nutritional content.)
These three pieces of information make the reseller vs. grower controversy mute.
Resellers simply label their produce as such. If their lettuce was harvested three weeks ago in Mexico, they should reveal this information.
Transparency means everyone competes on a level playing field, building trust with customers and supporting ethical behavior in food production.
Unfortunately, there is strong resistance to all three transparency requirements.
I resigned from the Board of the Michigan Farmers Market Association over this issue.
Right now, we, as a state, permit some vendors, often big anchor vendors at farmers’ markets, to blatantly misrepresent or hide this information.
This is neither sustainable, ethical, nor economically smart.
The local food revolution must be based on integrity and transparency.
Let McDonalds call their McNuggets chicken even though half the ingredients are not chicken.
We have to be better than that.
With TRANSPARENCY and honest labeling, farmers are free to do anything they chose.
And the consumers’ rights are protected in the process.
Chris Bedford
On Jan 22, 2011, at 12:40 PM, Douglas Dubin wrote:
We are facing a conflict at our farmers market between growers and resellers.  Would like to know how people are dealing with this.  More importantly, looking for research to either show that both can be or not be supported at one market.  Thanks! 

Stacie Dubin
Co- market manager/farmer

To remove yourself from this list, email to: and include the following in the text of the message: UNSUBSCRIBE FARMMKTMI. If this method does not work, then please email in order to be removed from the list.

Christopher Bedford
Center for Economic Security
#6543 Hancock Road
Montague, MI 49437

Resistant Starch Foods: Bread is the New Bread

Just like when it was safe to go back into the water and eat fat again, today the announcement is that we can have our carbs and eat them too. Of course, we foodies already knew as much, that eating a balanced plate of food just seemed right. The standard carb, protein and veggies, which are artfully plated by our favorite chef has been the model for a satisfying meals.

Now a new diet book says as much.

Resistant Starch Foods List and Book, By dailypost
According to the Skinny Carbs Diet: Carb Lover’s Diet Cookbook by David Feder RD, carbs should not be cut from meals. Resistant starch has fewer calories than regular starches but is more filling so dieters feel satisfied quicker.

Bananas, corn , potatoes, yams, pasta, pearl Barley, whole grain bread, navy beans, oatmeal, lentils and brown rice are some of the common resistant starch foods.

So have the hippy rice and bean eaters been right all along? I tend to think so. When the dust finally settles with America’s endless obsession of the diet of the month club, eventually I feel the winner of the diet wars will be a balanced plate that include carbs, fat, protein and fresh veggies and/or fruit.

In other words, real food with a good balance. Until then, I say enjoy your carbs.


Dennis Kucinich is Suing Congressional Cafeteria Over an Olive Pit

Any olive lovin’ person knows about the pits. Freshly pitted olives are worth the effort because they usually have more flavor. Of course the challenge is making sure you pit them all to prevent a pit from ending up in your food. I know I forget a pit or two. Luckily, I have not have bitten down so hard on a missed olive pit to screw up my teeth.

Another pitfall are the stones in dry beans. I do not know how pebbles find themselves in dry beans, but they do and forgetting a pit or a pebble is the bane of good chefs everywhere.

Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich, unfortunately was on the receiving end of a olive pit in his wrap.

Dennis Kucinich Sues Congressional Cafeteria Over Olive Pit, By John Cook,
Congressman Dennis Kucinich bought a sandwich from the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria in April 2008, and bit into it only to find an unpitted olive that cracked a tooth. This month, he sued the cafeteria for selling “dangerous” sandwiches.

Unfortunately, pits happen and it happened to happen to Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democratic Congressman from Ohio. A rogue pit found its way into sandwich wrap bought at a congressional cafeteria, which resulting the Congressman biting down on it and causing major dental damage.

Dennis Kucinich Suing Congressional Cafeteria Companies Over Olive Pit, By Nick Wing, Huffington Post
In his complaint, captured by Gawker, Kucinich argues that the wrap, which was supposed to contain only pitted olives, was “unwholesome and unfit for human consumption.” Chewing the pit, he claims, resulted in “serious and permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgical and dental procedures.”

Kucinich is seeking $150,000 from Restaurant Associates and three other companies that run the cafeteria in the Longworth congressional office building

So what can we learn from this?

I guess, if you are preparing food for a room full of lawyers (or law makers), you better sure make sure you checked that you pitted all of your olives or cherries for that matter. And while you are at it, check for stones in your dry beans too.

Read the Yelp reviews of the Longworth Cafeteria in DC

Taco Bell Lawsuit: Where’s the Beef or Um Beef Mixture

Updated: Taco Bell Law Suit dropped. The law firm Beasley Allen, based in Montgomery, Ala., said it dropped the lawsuit after Taco Bell made changes to its marketing and product disclosure.
I am old enough to remember the old commercials with the slogan:”Where’s the Beef.

Today , thanks to a class-action lawsuit in California, Attorneys are asking Taco Bell: Where’s the Beef?

Taco bell is being sued for claims of false advertising from referring to some of its menu items as “seasoned ground beef.”

Attorneys in the suit had the “meat mixture” in question tested, which found only 35% of the product to be beef. At 35%, the meat mixture does not meet the USDA minimum requirements to be able to label something as beef.

Taco Bell is being sued for false advertising and the law firm is asking them to stop saying they are selling beef (menu item).

But the Company is not taking it lying down.

Taco Bell Meat: Chain Sued Over 36% Beef Content In ‘Taco Meat Filling’ [Updated], AP/Huffington Post
In an official statement from Taco Bell, its President and Chief Concept Officer Greg Creed fires back at the suit’s lawyers, saying they “elected to sue first and ask questions later — and got their ‘facts’ absolutely wrong.” Moreover, Taco Bell says they plan to pursue legal remedies for false statements made about their food, emanating from the lawsuit. Taco Bell’s official statement:

So who is right?

I have not seen any official percentage of beef in Taco Bell’s beef mixture offered as a retort to the lawsuit.

So how much beef should be in the beef mixture to call it a Beef (Menu item)? I did a little looking around and the best I could find is a listing for Beef (or Pork) Tamales having to be 40% meat in the filling. See USDA Label Policy Book 2005

So what is the other 74% in Taco Bell’s Beef Mixture if it is in fact only 36% beef?

Taco Bell Meat: Where’s The Beef?, By Dean Praetorius, The Huffington Post

  1. Water
  2. Isolated oat product
  3. Salt
  4. Chili pepper
  5. Onion powder
  6. Tomato powder
  7. Oats (wheat)
  8. Soy lecithin
  9. Sugar
  10. Spices
  11. Maltodextrin (a polysaccharide that is absorbed as glucose)
  12. Soybean oil (anti-dusting agent)
  13. Garlic powder
  14. Autolyzed yeast extract
  15. Citric acid, caramel color
  16. Cocoa powder
  17. Silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent)
  18. Natural flavors
  19. Yeast
  20. Modified corn starch
  21. Natural smoke flavor
  22. Salt
  23. Sodium phosphate
  24. Less than 2% of beef broth
  25. Potassium phosphate
  26. Potassium lactate

I figure in this down economy, getting a 36% beef return on my investment in a Taco Bell menu item is not bad.

Burritos for the week: Six Burritos in 30 Minutes

Ann Arbor Food

OK. Normally I would cook my own beans and rice, but I have been so busy with school and writing for the newspaper that I did not get around to it.

Eden has canned rice and bean, so a bought a few along with black beans and I went into a burrito production. The recipe I came up with makes 6 large burritos restaurant size and only takes about 30 minutes. I ate one for dinner, refrigerated one and froze the rest for lunch for the week.

Brian’s super quick (can) burrito recipe: Make six huge burritos

6 Large size burrito wraps
1 jar of salsa
8-12 ounces of shredded cheese or more (Cheddar, jack, others)
2 cans of Eden rice and beans
2 cans Eden black beans
1 pound of meat (Pork, chicken, beef, sausage, fish, shrimp etc) or go veggie
2 limes
1 teaspoon chile powder
hot sauce (optional)

Saute the meat in a little oil till cooked with a little chili powder and set aside. Heat the rice and bean and black beans in the same pan. Squeeze in the juice of two limes, chili powder and some hot sauce.

Place a burrito warp on a plate or cutting board. Place some rice and bean mixture in the center. Then add some meat, some cheese and top with salsa. Fold the sides over the filling, then fold the ends closest to you over the filling. Tuck the filling in toward you, then flip the burrito over like an envelop to close.

Wrap in tin foil or plastic and repeat, if saving for later.

You can eat them as is, or put them in the toaster oven and toast for a crispy outer shell.

This made five burritos with meat and one beans and rice and cheese.



Have your gluten-free cake and eat it too

Ann Arbor Food

About 2.5 million Americans are affected by celiac disease. It’s an autoimmune condition that causes damage to the small intestines when sufferers eat foods with gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt.

Once diagnosed, people with celiac disease must not eat any foods with gluten, which can be a challenge considering how many foods contain the protein.

“It’s in everything,” said Julia Rabinovitz, owner of Tasty Bakery, a gluten-free bakery in Ann Arbor. “It can even be in French fries and packaged shredded cheese as a coating to prevent clumping. It’s best to keep away from processed foods. Then you know what you are eating.”

Rabinovitz was diagnosed with the disease in 2007. Shortly after that, she started working on her idea to start a bakery that featured gluten-free baked goods.

“I have been baking ever since I was a kid,” said Rabinovitz.

Her bakery, which she runs out of her home, started in May 2009. She sells her baked goods at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market with offerings that include brownies, cookies, muffins, scones, crackers and granola bars. She also makes cakes and pies for special orders.

At the market, appreciative customers who eat gluten free inquire about her baked goods. Their eyes light up when Rabinovitz tells them that they are all free of gluten.

Businesses like Rabinovitz’s Tasty Bakery can be an oasis for those on a gluten-free diet. Regulars became fans of specific items and they get upset when they are sold out. On the day she was interviewed, she sold out of brownies. But not all of her customers are gluten free.

“I really have a nice following of non gluten-free customers,” said Rabinovitz. “I have many say, ‘These are the best brownies I ever had.’”

Not all of her gluten-free baking attempts work out, however. “I tried to make gluten-free donuts last year for Hanukkah, but they did not rise,” said Rabinovitz.

Rabinovitz is a veteran of eating gluten free, but to the recently diagnosed, a gluten-free life takes some getting used to.

Ann Arbor FoodGluten-free baked goods are on display at Tasty Bakery in Ann Arbor.

Mike Zinger, a Washtenaw Community College student, was in his third week trying to eat gluten free after being diagnosed. His situation is even more challenging because of where he works, Panera Bread. He also lives in an Italian home with a mom who makes his favorite meal, pasta.

“I miss pasta and pizza with friends,” said Zinger. But he is resolved to keep off gluten. “I don’t want all that work going to nothing.”

“It is like being an alcoholic and working as a bartender,” said Zinger referring to his job.
One of the biggest challenges to eating gluten free is eating out. Zinger is in a band that tours, and he is concerned about eating gluten free on the road.

“Chefs know about gluten free and they will accommodate you,” said Rabinovitz. “Ask the wait staff and they will try to work with you.”

It is common for people who are gluten-free to desire certain foods that they used to have before being diagnosed.

“Pizza and beer were the first things I wanted,” said Rabinovitz. “For most, it’s pizza. I just wanted some fish and chips.”

Luckily, several Ann Arbor restaurants offer gluten-free items and grocery stores have started to cater to gluten-free customers by providing a growing special section. Whole Foods even offers gluten-free tours of their stores to showcase the foods they offer.

“Zingerman’s Roadhouse has a fryer that is reserved for gluten-free cooking,” said Rabinovitz. “Silvio’s Pizza offers a gluten-free pizza and the Jolly Pumpkin features a gluten-free beer and a gluten-free bun options with their burgers.”

Zinger and Rabinovitz are not alone with eating gluten free. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also eats a gluten-free diet. She was recently married and had a gluten-free, $11,000 wedding cake.

“It is kind of a blessing being gluten-free,” said Zinger. “I now have to eat healthier.”

There are challenges to eating gluten free, but artisan gluten-free bakeries like Rabinovitzs’ can make it a little easier. “You can have your (gluten-free) cake and eat it too,” said Rabinovitiz.


1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar, organic preferred
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all of the ingredients together and scoop one round tablespoon per cookie on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven.

Happy Birthday Elvis:The King’s Sandwich Lives

Image from Make Magazine:

OK. What can I say? I am an Elvis Fan and a food fan, so what could be better than celebrating the King’s B day with his favorite sandwich.

Thank you very much…

The Elvis Sandwich:

2 pieces of white bread
2-3 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
1-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
2 slices of cooked bacon
1 banana sliced
½ teaspoon of honey
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

Spread the butter on one side of each piece of bread. Spread the peanut butter on the non-butter side of one piece of bread. Place the banana slices on top of the peanut butter and drizzle the honey on top of banana and sprinkle on the cinnamon. Place the bacon on top of the banana layer then stack the other piece of toast on toast butter side up.

Heat up a nonstick grill pan and grill the sandwich on both sides until golden brown. This is also great with sliced apples.

Serve hot.

Ann Arbor Sugar Beet Project: 350 Lb of Beets, no sugar yet

OK. I harvested my beets a few months ago and I teamed up with Farmer Danny Miller, to have a combine total of about 350 pounds of sugar beets to process.

I did a small 15 pound test (see video) and had some interesting results. I was able to create a very molasses tasting sugar that was a consistency of wet sand.

The plan was to have a sugar making party, but the spaces that I hoped to be able to use were not available. Throw in an end of semester push and the holidays and I have not touched my beets.

The beets are kept safely outside in freezer temperature, which I am not sure how that will effect the final sugar making result compared to if I processed them into sugar right after harvest.

With that said, I feel that my next test, which will attempt to make white sugar is a bench mark. The issue with sugar beet making for me is the huge harvest and the large scale production effort needed.

At about 10-15% sugar yield per beet weight, and a possible 1-5 pound per beet weight, a home sugar beet grower could find themselves with too many beets and overwhelmed with the prospect of making sugar.

But ideally, if sorting the beets does not significantly reduce sugar content, I feel that making sugar from beets in several small batches of say 25-50 pounds makes more sense for the home sugar maker. That should make around 3-7 pounds of sugar per batch, enough to provide a family sugar needs until the next batch in made. The process can be handled with say two pots going on the back of the stove.

I will be attempting to make and video a small batch this weekend which will include carbonation process to remove impurities and diffusion, which will separate the molasses from the white sugar crystals to produce both liquid molasses and white crystal beet sugar.

Related Posts

Molasses Test