Monthly Archives: February 2011

Washtenaw Community College Restaurant Garretts Open Friday nights

Garrett’s is located on the first floor of the Student Center. Friday night’s service is new this year. It started fall semester. One of the unique features to Garrett’s After Dark is alcohol service. A variety of wine, beer, martinis and margaritas are offered depending on that night’s theme.

Feb. 25: Black American History Celebration with live Jazz (martini service)
March 11: Vegetarian (coffee tasting)
March 18: St. Patrick’s Day (beer service)
April 1: Southwestern Celebration (margarita service)
April 8: Spring into Barbecue (beer service)

To get a jump start on the semester, staff and guests were invited to a nice sit-down meal with all of the trimmings to help work out any kinks when Garrett’s After Dark opens on Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m.

The test run menu featured grilled shrimp with a mustard sauce as an appetizer and an Italian wedding soup, which consisted of meatballs and spinach in a rich broth. A seasonal soup of pureed root vegetables was also offered.

Diners chose between soup and salad. The salad consisted of mixed greens, chopped, hardboiled egg and crispy bacon with a choice of bleu cheese or balsamic dressing.

There were four entrees: fish cooked in a parchment paper pouch, grilled pork loin with fruit chutney and polenta, chicken cordon bleu with a wild mushroom cream sauce and eggplant parmesan.

The star of the meal was the dessert. Garrett’s featured a cheesecake bomb, which was dome-shaped and covered in chocolate. Also on the menu was a banana foster crème brulee, which was a sweet custard with bananas and a brown sugar rum sauce.

Last was the ice cream. WCC just purchased a new ice cream maker this semester, and the culinary students were eager to try their new kitchen gadget.

Three flavors of ice cream were featured, including green tea, vanilla and white chocolate. The ice cream came in tuile cookie shells that were shaped like spoons and tulips.

Meals are $14.95 at Garrett’s After Dark and come complete with an appetizer, salad, choice of entree, dessert and beverages. Alcohol drinks are an additional $4.95. To make a reservation, call (734) 973-3592 by the Thursday before, at 3:00 p.m. Garrett’s seats 50 guests. It sells out often, so Beauchamp encourages people to reserve in advance.

Back Forty Acres Chelsea Michigan Has Beef

I got this email from Back Forty Acres in Chelsea. They are offering beef for a limited time.

Picture from Back forty acres website


picture from back forty acres website

Greeting from Back Forty Acres,

Winter has just about run it’s course, but as we saw this weekend, it’s
still packing a little punch!

We are pleased to make offer of beef to you, custom cut to your
specifications, in the amount of a quarter, half or whole beef.  This beef
raised right next door to Back Forty Acres. Our neighbor has been farming
his whole life. He raises Angus cattle, grass fed and finished with corn.
He uses all natual farming methods and does not use any growth hormones or
antibiotics. We have sold his beef for a couple years now and have had
good results.

Right now one steer remains available from this group and the price is
$2.45/lb hanging weight, plus processing. These are going to the processor
next week and will be ready for you Mid March.

Typcially, a quarter beef, with processing will cost a total of about $450
to $500 depending on the size of the steer. The amount of finished product
packaged meat you will get from a quarter is about 110-125 lbs.

If you would like to get some of this beef, please let us know and we will
work to fill your order on a first come first serve basis. If this one is
sold out, we will have some coming up soon, from the other cattle farmer
that we are working with. The price on the next batch will be $2.60/lb.

If you have any other questions, please contact Larry, by email at, or cell phone, 734-260-1540.

Thank you,
Larry Doll

Michael Symon: Roast Restaurant Detroit

Ann Arbor FoodEmily and I ventured out in the cold to go to Michael Symon’s Roast. People may know Symon from Food Network fame Iron Chef America.

We have been meaning to go to Roast for a while, so when our eight year anniversary came around, we jumped at the chance.

The decor was very simple. (More Picture on Roast’s Facebook page)There is a bar in the front with a impressive 15 foot glass wine case. There was a bar lounge area, a single private dining table closed off by a glass wall next to the hostess station and a dining room off from the bar area.

The stand out for the decor was a large open kitchen, which featured a large roasting spit (shown above). They were roasting a whole goat the night we were there.

Ann Arbor Food

Beef Cheek Pierogie horseradish & mushrooms

We started out with the Beef Cheek Pierogie horseradish & mushrooms $12. They were recommended by dinners on Yelp. They were tasty and very rich and satisfying. In fact I could have had an order of them and one of the many sides and been very happy.

Ann Arbor Food

Roast of the Day

For my meal I had the roast of the day, which was lamb.

It was so tender and rich, just the thing for a cold Detroit night. It came with a mint and parsley salad and pickled onions.

Emily had the Lamb Ragu pappardelle, chili, roasted tomatoes, fennel $24.

Ann Arbor Food

Lamb Ragu pappardelle, chili, roasted tomatoes, fennel

It came with tasty, fat noodles and a hearty sauce.

Ann Arbor Food

Fried Brussel Sprouts

For the sides, we ordered the fried brussels sprouts, another yelp recommendation, and the Mac N Cheese.

The brussels sprouts were fried in beef fat and came with a balsamic vinaigrette and walnuts. The combination of the dressing, the beef fat and the sweetness of the brussels sprouts made us think it tasted like an asian dish.

Ann Arbor Food

Mac n Cheese

For dessert we had a pear sorbet. The texture was so creamy that I figured it was more like sherbet, but the waiter assured us that there was no diary in it.

Ann Arbor Food

Pear Sorbet

Ann Arbor Food


The food was good. It was so rich, that we ended up taking most of it home for lunch the next day. Maybe the next time I go, I will have to order a salad to cut the rich sides and meat entrees.

Emily and I do not drink wine, so we cannot take advantage of wine to cut the richness of the food.

1128 Washington Blvd.Detroit, Michigan 48226
View Map
Phone: (313) 961-2500

Online Reservations
General Manager:
Frank Ritz

Bar opens at 4pm daily
Monday – Thursday
5pm – 10pm
Friday & Saturday
5pm – 11pm
Sunday: 5pm – 9pm

Eden Foods Chili: Make a meal in only 10 minutes

Ann Arbor FoodOK. I am usually a soak my own beans kind of guy, but since starting school, I have taken to a few time savers for my meals and that means OPENING UP A CAN OF…beans and rice. I have become a big fan of Eden Foods precooked rice and beans.

Thanks to my time saving can of rice and beans, tonight’s meal took about 10 minutes and it was tasty and satisfying.

Eden Foods has a line of beans and rice, and various chili. Eden’s chili’s actually do not have rice as the central grain. They have Black Bean & Quinoa, Great Northern & Barley, Kidney Bean & Kamut, and Pinto Bean & Spelt.

I tried the Kidney & Kamut for dinner tonight. I was tasty. The Kumat, which is a variety of wheat, tends to be a little chewier than rice.

To the can of chili, I added some lime juice, smoked paprika, one cooked pork chorizo sausage link and threw in a few corn chips for some crunch. To top it off, I put on a few diced pieces of cheddar. I think I went a little overboard on the cheddar.


Ramen Recipes

Ann Arbor FoodRamen noodles are the quintessential food for college students on a budget. They are cheap, easy to make, and taste good. But more than a simple reheated brick of dry noodles in a salty flavor-packet broth, the humble instant ramen package can be transformed into even betters eats with a little extra effort.

Many in the US only know ramen as cheap noodles, but in Japan ramen making is an art form. The art of ramen is illustrated beautifully in the classic japanese foodie movie Tampopo (click here to see a youtube click). Tampopo is the Rocky of Japanese noodles making movies.

It humorously shows one woman’s struggles to create the best ramen noodles to save her fledgling noodle shop. In Rocky training montage style, she goes through the ropes of ramen making from keeping the noodle cooking water at a boil, to creating the best broth and slicing pork to the right thickness. Our hero wins the day in the end when her coach silently finishes a bowl of her ramen noodles and slurps the last drop of broth with pleasure.

Ramen houses have started popping up in cities around the country including the recently opened Tomukun on Liberty St. in Ann Arbor.

When making ramen at home, forget the flavor packet and make a broth from the boxed chicken or vegetable stocks. The Swanson brand is rated highest by America’s Test Kitchen on PBS and found in most grocers.

To the stock, add soy sauce, grated ginger and some lime or rice vinegar and finish it with a splash of chili oil for some heat. Simmer in chicken breast, shrimp, thin cuts of lean beef, ham and even scrabble eggs to make a heartier soup. Carrots, sliced mushrooms, peas, onions and radishes make good vegetable additions.

Master Broth recipe: Make one bowl of soup

1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 cup of water
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of lime juice or rice vinegar
½ inch piece of fresh ginger, grated and squeezed into broth
½ teaspoon of honey or sugar
chili oil (optional)

Add all of the ingredients and heat to a simmer. Add one package of cooked ramen noodles.

Ham and Eggs: The Hangover
1 package of cooked ramen noodles
1 master broth recipe
1-2 eggs, scrabbled
few pieces of cold cut ham, sliced into strips
hot chili oil (optional)
chopped scallion, parsley, or cilantro for garnish

Warm the broth and add the scrabbled eggs, ham and scallion

Vietnamese PHO Ramen

1 package of cooked ramen noodles
1 master broth recipe
3 slices of roast beef, sliced into strips
¼ cup of mung bean sprouts
Juice of ½ a lime
cilantro, purple basil
Sriracha hot sauce

To the cooked noodles and broth, add the sliced beef, mung beans, lime juice, cilantro, basil and sriracha hot sauce to taste.

Chicken, mushroom and peas

1 package of cooked ramen noodles
1 master broth recipe
4 ounces of chicken breast, diced
¼ cup of peas
½ cup of sliced mushrooms

To the broth, add the raw chicken breast and simmer till fully cooked. Simmer the mushrooms and peas for a few minutes. Pour over cooked noodles in a bowl. Garnish with parsley.

Thai Coconut Curry Ramen

2 packages of cooked ramen noodles
1 master broth recipe
1 cup of coconut milk
4-6 ounce of chicken breast, diced or 6 large shrimp
2 tablespoon of fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
¼ cup of mushrooms sliced
½ teaspoon thai curry paste
chopped scallion and cilantro

Cook the noodle and set aside. To the master broth, add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice. Bring to a simmer and add the chicken. Simmer for a few minutes and add the sliced mushrooms. Place the curry paste in a small bowl with some of the soup broth and mix with a spoon until the paste and the broth are combined. Add to the soup.

Divide the noodles into two bowls. Pour the soup over the noodles. Garnish with scallion and cilantro. Add more lime if desired.

Valentine’s Aztec Spice Chocolate Hearts at Sweet Gem Confections

Ann Arbor Food

Box of Chocolate Truffles made by Nancy’s students

Tucked away past shelves of wine and premium beers is a large picture window into the world of Nancy Biehn, chocolatier and owner of Sweet Gem Confections.

A food artisan at work, she tempers chocolate and infuses flavors into ganache. She then rolls the ganache into shapes to be dipped into melted chocolate. The finished product will be one of the more than 30 varieties of Sweet Gem Confections, signature chocolate truffles.Today, Biehn, 46, from Ann Arbor, was busy making heart-shaped truffles for Valentine’s Day,

“The chocolate holiday,” saidBiehn. It’s her second-busiest time of the year. Christmas is the first.

These hearts are special. She called them “Aztec Hearts” and added cayenne pepper into the ganache that provided a spicy kick and a complex flavor. It had just the perfect amount of heat.

Ann Arbor Food

Cacao Beans

The hearts are seasonal. She only makes them around Valentine’s Day. Biehn figured that she will create a few thousand for the holiday.

When asked if she has had any unique chocolate Valentine’s requests, she laughs and says that she has never made chocolate body paint.

As for chocolate being an aphrodisiac, Biehn sees some truth to the claims.

“It’s the feel-good chemicals (phenethylamines) that are in the obroma cacao that people refer to as an aphrodisiac,” said Biehn. “They’re good for your heart. There are 600 flavor compounds in chocolate. Red wine has about 200. Along with the flavor compounds, chocolate is the most diverse food.”

Working in her kitchen located inside Morgan and York on Packard in Ann Arbor, Biehn creates chocolate treats that thrill the taste buds and enliven the senses. She specializes in chocolate truffles using local, seasonal ingredients.

Ask her how many flavors of truffles she makes and she will say 25-30, but she is not sure. Biehn is like an artist who works with a large pallet of colors only to combine them to make more, but instead of paint, she works in chocolates.

“I keep changing flavors depending on the season,” said Biehn. “In spring, I make a rhubarb and a peach truffle. In summer, I use tropical flavors. Around Thanksgiving, I do pumpkin. And for winter, I do darker things like using red wine and port.”

Biehn even has an eggnog flavor for Christmas.

One of her popular flavors is blueberry. She picks them herself on an organic farm in Grass Lake.

“I picked around 35 pounds last year,” said Biehn. “I freeze them and make a puree and I use Sandhill Crane blueberry wine, which I reduce to intensify the flavor.”

Biehn not only has a picture window into her kitchen, she leaves the door open so customers can visit and talk with her while she does her craft. It is like an artist opening up her studio, or watching a cooking show live.

The open door at Sweet Gem Confections reflects Biehn’s philosophy about food.

“People appreciate knowing where their food is coming from and how it is made,” said Biehn. “I have nothing to hide.”

She explained that when she first started making chocolates, she went around to other shops and asked if she could see their kitchens.

“They all said, ‘no way,’” said Biehn. “Competition like that is so silly. To be so afraid to share what you know…”

Not only can customers see Biehn make chocolates, she teaches them how to do it. She teaches classes in truffle-making about 12 times a year to small groups of four to six.

“I want to share what I know,” said Biehn. “That is why I teach classes.”

Instead of being afraid of the competition like the others who refused to show her their kitchens, Biehn encourages it.

“Make chocolates,” she said. “Please, I would love for you to make chocolates. Start a business if you want. Enjoy it. Enjoy life.”

Biehn views educating people about chocolate and her truffles as part of what she offers.

“It is nice if you are going to spend a good amount of money on really fine chocolate to know what goes into those chocolates and how they are made,” she said.

Sweet Gems Confections even attracts chocolate tourists.

“The Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce brought in 16 food writers to visit last fall,” said Biehn. “And classes come in for field trips, including the Girl Scouts.”

Along with truffles, Biehn also produces chocolate-covered caramel, toffee and turtles, which are a combination of nuts, caramel and chocolate.

So what new truffle does Biehn have in the works? She offers a sneak peak into her latest creation to be out soon.

“It will be a frangelico- (hazelnut liquor) flavored truffle with hazelnuts, which will be formed into a new, wave-shaped mold,” she said.

If that has your mouth watering, too, Sweet Gem Confections are available at Morgan and York, Zingerman’s Next Door, Arbor Farms Market, Sandhill Vineyards and online at

Valentine’s Day Week Hours
Monday thru Friday: 9:30 – 2:30
Saturday February 5: 10 – 4
Saturday February 12: 10 – 4
Sunday February 13: OPEN HOUSE from 1 – 4

Aphrodisiac Foods: Food that get you in the mood

Pine nuts Courtsey: Ben Fink

Chocolate, along with being one of the world’s most-loved foods, is a natural blood thinner, which helps increase blood flow to engorge certain body parts to aid in lovemaking. Oysters are high in zinc, which is a key ingredient in testosterone, which is important for sexual performance for both sexes. And honey has long been consumed by newlyweds on their “honeymoon” for fertility and sexual stamina.

Figs Courtsey: Ben Fink

Aphrodisiac foods are foods that are thought to provide unique qualities that help with fertility, sexual attraction and performance. Some of these foods have earned their reputation by looking like the body parts they are supposed to help – like asparagus.

Martha Hopkins, who co-authored “InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook,” has been studying aphrodisiac foods for years. Her book mentions many aphrodisiac foods, including figs, basil, grapes, pine nuts, ginger, salmon, avocado, chilies, artichokes, black beans, rosemary and vanilla.

“Aphrodisiacs are really about exploring the sensuality of food,” said Hopkins, 39, from Austin, Texas.
It is not just about certain

Ginger Courtsey: Ben Fink

foods, explained Hopkins, noting it is also about the importance of cooking for someone else.

“When you cook a special meal for a loved one, it says, ‘I care about you. I am taking my time,’” said Hopkins.

And it’s not just about what to eat, but how much to eat, at special meals like on Valentine’s Day. Hopkins suggests eating light. The Valentine’s meal is not like Thanksgiving, when people eat so much they fall asleep.

Oysters Courtsey: Ben Fink

Hopkins recounts the meal she and her boyfriend had a few nights ago. They went to an Italian restaurant for a large meal of liver pâté, pasta, bread, bread and more bread. By the time they got home they were full and tired.

By contrast, she mentions a meal of mussels cooked in a wine broth her boyfriend prepared for her.

“It was sensual,” Hopkins said. “He made it for me. We ate with our fingers and dipped our bread in the sauce.

“After dinner, we were ready.”

For the Valentine’s meal, Hopkins suggests making things ahead, so one does not get exhausted making diner.

Avocado Courtsey: Ben Fink

“Think finger foods and consider buying dessert,” said Hopkins.

The idea is to make things easy. Items like fresh sliced fruit eaten with fingers can be simple and sensual.

“How about making s’mores by candle light?” suggested Hopkins. Or, get some fresh bread and Nutella.

So how do you know that you have made the right food to set the mood?

Salmon Courtsey: Ben Fink

“If you are making the same pleasure sounds while eating…,” said Hopkins. “You know you are on the right track.”

For more information about aphrodisiac foods, visit

Super Bowl Recipes

OK. The Game is tomorrow and you still are not sure what to offer your guests of the big game. My solution:

Super Bowl Sandwich Bar.

Get some good sandwich bread, sliced cheese, cold cuts, and toppings  and to make things a little more interesting, set up a grilled sandwich station or get a few panini makers or George Forman presses.

Let your guests grill their own and supply chips and fruit on the side.

Here is a list of some game day grilled sandwich combinations.

The Rueben:
Beef or Turkey Pastrami
Sour Kraut
Baby swiss
w/ thousand island dressing

The Pizza:
Thick tomato sauce
Mozzarella Cheese

The Italian:
Pickle Italian veggies (found at your grocer in a glass jar)
Olive olive
fresh pepper

The New England Apple Pie:
Sharp Cheddar
Fresh slice apples (granny smith)
pinch of cinnamon

French Revolution:
Roast Beef
Boursin or brie cheese
red onion
honey mustard

Roasted Red Pepper:
Roasted red pepper
Fresh Mozzarella
Basil Pesto or Olive tapenade

Buffalo Blue:
Cooked Slice chicken breast
Franks RedHot sauce
combination of cheddar and blue cheese

Turkey Potato Chip:
Potato Chips

Chocolate Banana:
Slice Banana
w/ strawberries (optional)