Monthly Archives: October 2012

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes

Ann Arbor Food Gluten Free Buckwheat pancakes

Gluten Free Buckwheat pancakes

Buckwheat pancakes are a great example of a traditional gluten free dish. These light and floffy flappers will have folks wanting more and not missing their wheat flour.

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancake Recipe: Makes 6 large pancakes

1 cup of Buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

In a bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup. Combine the buckwheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into the mixture. Stir until mixed.

The batter is on the thick side, but the pancakes come out fluffy

Scoop in about 1/3 of cup of batter onto a hot onstick skillet (if you have one).

Cook on one side until the side look dry and the top starts to bubble. Flip and cook for about another minute.

Butter and serve right away or keep warm in a 300 degree oven.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and fruit and berries.

Vegan Option:

1 cup of Buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup soy buttermilk (squeeze half a small lemon into soy milk, let sit for 30 minutes until in cuddles)
2 Table spoons of apple sauce or pumkin puree (instead of egg)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Serve with veggie margerine, maple syrup and fresh fruit and berries

Follow the same in cooking instructions above


Gluten Free: The Evolution of Classic Cuisine

Ann Arbor Food Gluten Free

Gluten Free Brownies at WCC Sweet Shop Bakery

Readers of this blog who have read my pizza making at home post and a series of baking recipes including posts about my pie business might think what gives with the new gluten free focus.

Well, I am trying to go gluten free to see if it helps with my arthritis. It has been a few weeks now going gluten free and it has not been as hard as I thought.

And it is too early to tell, but I do feel my arthritis on my hands is better (less symptom, more range of motion.)

At home, I have been using my rice cooker on over-time and I still have a ton of potatoes and squash from the garden to satisfy a carb fix.

The hard part is outside of the home. The world seems to be gluten obsessed. The center piece of American cuisine is breakfast pastry, sandwiches, pizza and bread/cookies/cakes/cup cakes…or battered fried foods.

So can one live a happy, healthy gluten free life?

My thoughts on the subject turn to my culinary arts school days when I was obsessed with learning how to make awesome sauces.

I read Escoffier, the founder of classic french cuisine and what stood out was that he predicted that toasted flour and butter roux, the traditional thicker for three of the five mother sauces, would eventually be replaced by pure starches like corn starch, arrow root or kuzu…etc.

Well, that never happened, cause in point, we were still using roux, but Escoffier had a point.

Flour in sauce has always be a cheap fix, which is what Peterson said speaking about the history of sauce.

For me, most sauces I make these days are pans sauces.

Pan sauces are made by simply deglazing the pan fond (dry tasty bits in the pan after searing meat) with some wine and thickening it with some starch if needed.

So what does my rant here mean for the foodie who is O-pinning for his Gluten mother sauces.

Two sauce gurus all but say it’s fine to have your classic french cuisine a la gluten free and eat it too.

I say that the time may be right for Escoffier’s roux-less (gluten free) sauce vision to be realized.

Why not simmer your beef/veal stock longer and make a demiglaze?

For Bechemal or Veloute’  (Milk  or Stock gravy/sauces), why not use half and half instead of milk or finishes it with a pure starch?

Does the toasted wheat flavor add a lot to the finished dish? And if it is the taste of toasted grain is all you want, why not add a little toasted rice tea to the stock with the shachet?

It seems weird to spend hours skimming a stock, cooling it, and scrapping the fat off, so you can have a clean product only to add a scoop of butter and flour later to oil and cloud it up.

Why not simply go for a clean cooked down stock and thicken it with a pure starch like corn starch?

Butter or cream can be added if you need some extra richness or you can thicken it with an egg york.

In other words, we can make many tasty dishes without missing the wheat flour, and I am not talking a handful here. I mean us gluten free folks can have most if not almost all of the classic french library.

But what about the crispy breaded coating for dredging meat, fish etc?

I say think Rice flour. Rice flour is used for tempura batter and many o-fish-n-chips use rice flour instead of wheat.

As for the world of bread, that is another story.

I had not ventured too far into the gluten free bake good world. Dare I even say gluten free pizza.

The thing is, like most on a new diet/lifestyles, there is a tendency at first to want to gravitate to a like version of the food we just gave up, or even to want to eat the same way.

A classic example is a vegan eating “fake meat.”

With gluten free it maybe Gluten free bread (which are well….I am not sure yet.)

On other programs it is the health bar. Every lifestyle seems to have their own candy like health bar that fits into their new diet, high carb, low carb, vegan, gluten free, carob

These “fake” substitutions help make the transition easier, but the key word is transition. The transitional foods eventually will be limited or mostly phased out.

For example, I would much prefer beans over tofu.

For me the idea is to transition towards the new diet/lifestyle.

To do this I feel the best strategy is to limit the faux food for traditional foods/recipes that already  fit with the program.

So think foods that are already gluten free.

Here is a quick list:

Southern Grits
Southern corn bread w/B B Q
Pad Thai Noodles
Roasted Potatoes w/baked chicken and green beans
Wild rice pilaf with fish
Saag Paneer (Cream spinach with fresh cheese) most indian dishes can be made gluten free
Nic’e salad
Grill meat or seafood w/veggies
Roasted veggies
Sushi (with tamari instead of soy sauce…soy sauce has wheat)
100% buckwheat pancakes

Ice Cream
Rice Pudding
Chocolate Pudding
Indian Pudding
Short Bread cookies (w rice flour traditional)
Chocolate (Yes, a Gluten Free life includes Chocolate…Hell Yah!!!)
Gelatin and aspics

And for the most part, many traditional dishes could be made with a simple thickener substitute like chowders and cream soups could use potato or corn starches.

So to my Gluten Free Brothers and Sisters out there, take hear there is still a huge world of good eat waiting for you.

Gluten free recipes are on the way.

Extend the Harvest

Ann Arbor Food End of Year Garden

End of Year Garden: Extend the Harvest

The garden is looking pretty spars for the most part, but not my collards. My Collards are huge, look great and taste great.

I wish I had the foresight to grown my whole green in Collards.

There is a garden concept to extend the Harvest. This does not mean extending the growing season.

To extend the harvest in places like Michigan that means growing winter hearty crops in late summer and early fall like broccoli, cabbage, mustard, kale and collards.

While the plants will slow or stop growing at this point, they stay tasty and fresh into winter. Even with snow on top, these veggies keep going and can be harvested long after the garden is usually packed up for the year.

Ann Arbor Food Collard's and Tofu with garden roasted potatoes

Collard’s and Tofu with garden roasted potatoes

Ann Arbor Food Arugula Flowers

Arugula Flowers

Ann Arbor Food Garden Spider

Garden Spider: It looks scary, but it is a beneficial insect


Fall Beet Slaw Recipe

Ann Arbor Food Fall Beet Slaw

Fall Beet Slaw

Fall Beet Slaw: Serves 4

3-4 medium size golden beets peeled
1/2 Diakon radish peeled
3 medium sized carrots peeled
1 inch piece of ginger fine minced (makes about 1 tablespoon)
1 Tablespoon of Tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce (contains wheat)
1 Tablespoon Rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste.

Grate in a food processor and mix ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes or longer. Stir to combine. This recipe can be doubled and it taste even better the next day. It is light and gingery and works great with heavier items especially fried food like tempura.

Serve with rice, and grilled tofu, fish, tempura, nori rolls

Bona Sera: Ypsilanti Michigan

Ann Arbor Food

Slow Roasted Pork for the Bhami Sandwiches

Bona Sera, Ypsilanti’s newest restaurant, is my favorite place to eat in the Ann Arbor area.  It is a fun laid back atmosphere decorated with Elvis Lamps, Star Trek Clocks and fun dressed mannequins in the window.

They serve a mix of dishes from a selection of Bhami Sandwiches, to a Thai version of shrimp and grits both house favorites. The prices for most dishes range in the $7-8 dollar range.

Ann Arbor Food Bona Sera

Bona Sera

They also offer a few special like their surfy tuffy, which is a steak and scallop salad for $18.

Check out their full menu here.

Bona Sera is like one of those great out of the way secret places that you hope/pray you will find while traveling through Europe. You know the place. It is the one with the great food, not fancy, good prices, that you tell stories about when you return home.

I can’t say enough about this place. You have to go and try it if you have not been and tell your friends.

ann arbor food chocolate chip cookies at Bona Sera

Chocolate Cookies at Bona Sera

Ann Arbor Food Greek Lemon Egg Drop Soup At Bona Sera Greek Lemon Egg Drop Soup At Bona Sera
Ann Arbor Food House made pickles with Bundha Rice Bowls at Bona Sera

House made pickles with Bundha Rice Bowls at Bona Sera

Ann Arbor Food Bhami Sandwich at Bona Sera

Bhami Sandwich at Bona Sera

Ann Arbor Food Slow Roasted Pork At Bona Sera

Slow Roasted Pork At Bona Sera

Special Coffee Blend at Bona Sera

Ann Arbor Food Bona Sera

Bona Sera

Ann Arbor Food Bona Sera

Bona Sera

Ann Arbor Food Bona Sera

Bona Sera

Ann Arbor Food Bona Sera

Bona Sera


Washtenaw Community College Restaurant Garrett’s has a makeover

Ann Arbor Food

The New Bar at Garrett’s Restaurant at Washtenaw Community College

Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor has completed a major remodel of the student run restaurant Garrett’s.

Lunch is from 11:30-12:45., Monday-Thursday. Check for the few Night time events through out the semester.

Prices are $7-9. For reservations call 734-973-3592.

Ann Arbor Food

Dessert First

Ann Arbor Food

Behinds the scenes at Garrett’s

Ann Arbor Food

On the line at Garrett’s

Ann Arbor Food

The best burger on Campus at Garrett’s

Ann Arbor Food

Busy Making Drinks for opening day at WCC’s Garrett’s Restaurant

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

Help the Brinery Make 12,000 pounds of local Sauerkraut

The Brinery Kickstarter

Ann Arbor Mark’s Carts Vegan Lunch Run

Ann Arbor Food

Pad Thai from the Lunchroom @ Mark’s Carts  Ann Arbor

Still on my Vegan kick. I had lunch sampler from the The Lunchroom and at San Street at Ann Arbor food carts, Mark’s Carts. The Lunchroom has a three item sampler for $8 and a bunch of great vegan cookies. I also had a mushroom bun from San Street, which also has a tofu bun for vegan options. Emily and I split up the meal for a nice variety (not show below).

Make sure you stake a claim on The Lunchroom cookies. Emily took a bite and would not give it back.

Ann Arbor Food

Slaw from the Lunchroom @ Mark’s Carts Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Food

Tofu Bahmi Sandwich from the Lunchroom @ Mark’s Carts Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Food

Bun from San Street @ Mark’s Carts Ann Arbor