Category Archives: Holidays

Paczki Day Ann Arbor 2011

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Paczki Day Guide:

Amadeus Restaurant

Voted #1 in Ann Arbor for his famous paczki, Polish Chefs Paul, Bartek and Marylka are at it again!
Celebrate Paczki Day & International Womans Day on march 8th in AMADEUS.
Complimentary paczki with lunch or dinner entree.
Call for reservations.
734.665.8767

Copernicus European Delicatessen

617 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 222-9633

Dom Bakeries

1305 Washtenaw Rd,
Ypsilanti, MI
(734) 485-3175 ‎

Plum Market

375 North Maple Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
map
Store Hours 8am – 10pm Everyday
Main Tel 734.827.5000

Articles on Paczkis

Paczki Day is just a few days away. Get ready for a lot of fun
By Charles Sercombe, The Hamtramck Review

Have we forgotten anything? Oh yeah, where can you purchase paczki? Here’s where you can get the real deal:

New Deluxe Bakery, 11920 Conant, (313) 892-8165
New Palace Bakery, 9833 Jos. Campau, (313) 875-1334
New Martha Washington Bakery, 10335 Jos. Campau, (313) 872-1988
Detroit Donut, 9101 Jos. Campau, (313) 873-9000
Family Donut, 11300 Conant, (313) 368-9214
Stan’s Market, 11325 Jos. Campau, (313) 365-1165
Bozek’s, 3317 Caniff, (313) 369-0600
Srodek’s on Conant, 11936 Conant, (313) 893-1085
Srodek’s Sausage, 9601 Jos. Campau, (313) 871-8080
Polish Market, 10200 Jos. Campau, (313) 873-6110

Food Detective: Perfecting paczki:
By David Hammond, Chicago Sun Times

If you eat jelly doughnuts, you’ve eaten something like paczki (pronounced pohnch-key).

The Polish pastry is traditionally enjoyed on Fat Thursday (tomorrow!), a few days before Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras – an indulgent snack before a period of abstinence.

Dobra Bielinski owns and operates Delightful Pastries, a Polish-influenced bakery with three locations – 5927 W. Lawrence, 1710 N. Wells and at the Chicago French Market in the Loop.

Signs of Spring: Paczki and kale:
by Kim Bayer, Ann Arbor.com

Over at Zingerman’s, it’s time to make the donuts as Fat Tuesday leisurely approaches. I heard from Amy Emberling, managing partner at the Bakehouse, that this year for the first time, they’re taking orders for paczki — those delicious Polish deep fried dough balls. They’ll be filled with flavors including traditional plum and rose hip (mmm!), and also raspberry, vanilla pastry cream and cream cheese.

Of course Copernicus Deli in South Main Market will have paczki too — they bring in thousands, usually from a bakery in Hamtramck. But since it is a religious holiday being observed, I say, we should consider the path of virtue and the many reasons to eat our crucifers.

Where Can I Find Paczki in Chicago?
By Center Stage Chicago staff

So if you want to add these pastries to your Mardi Gras celebrations, here’s a list of bakeries in the Chicago area serving these Polish treats.

Related Posts:

https://lastoneeating.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/punczski-day-2010/

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 sweetgemconfections.com.

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 intercourses.com

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
Pepperoni

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

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

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:
Turkey
Cheddar
Potato Chips
Mayo

Chocolate Banana:
Nutella
Slice Banana
w/ strawberries (optional)

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 epicurious.com who has a good post about planning a Super Bowl Party.

Enjoy

CB

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

Posole

Smoked Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

OK. I have been playing around with a smoked salted chocolate chip ever since I made these cookies from David Lebovitz web site. The idea is to sub out a little of the salt in this recipe with just enough smoked salt.

I use smoked salt that I get at Spice Merchant in the Kerry Town shops in Ann Arbor. It is great to use in vegetarian items to give it a smoky, BBQ meaty flavor.

Here is the recipes. Check out http://www.davidlebovitz.com/ for other recipes.

Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes two dozen cookies

For those of you who wish to use unsalted butter, 4 ounces (8 tablespoons, or 115g) of butter has about 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt in it.

For the rest of us, you could simply swap out unsalted butter and add another 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Note: sub out a 1/4 of smoked salt for smoked chocolate chip cookies.

4 ounces (115g) salted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup packed (110g) dark or light brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup (180g) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or kosher salt
1 1/3 cups (200g) coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar just until smooth and creamy.

2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

4. Stir the flour mixture into the beaten butter until combined, then mix in the chopped chocolate (including any chocolate dust) and the chopped nuts.

5. Cover and chill the batter until firm. (It’s preferable to let it rest overnight.)

6. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

7. Form the cookie dough into rounds about the size of a large unshelled walnut. Place the mounds evenly spaced apart on the baking sheets, and press down the tops to flatten them so they are no longer domed and the dough is even.

8. Bake the cookies for ten minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies look about set, but are not browned.

9. Remove from the oven and quickly tap the top of each with a spatula, then return to the oven for two to five more minutes, until the tops of the cookies are light golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cookies cool.

Storage: The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to five days in an airtight container. The dough can be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for one or two months.

 

Pie Anxiety: A fear of Making Pies

Ann Arbor Food

OK.

I confess. Before I started making pies and selling them this year at the Westside Farmers’ Market (Thank you Michigan Cottage Food Law), I suffered from PIE Anxiety.

Pie Anxiety is a condition where people are afraid to make a pie because of a fear of failure. I would like to provide some reassuring kind words of wisdom to not worry and that everything will be alright, but I am afraid I can’t. You just have to take it one pie at a time.

I think the roots of Pie Anxiety come from the fact that pies, unlike other food items are a vey public food. Most pies are made on special occasion when our cooking is on the spot.

Pie is also a kind of sport in America with all sorts of contests, prizes and ribbons won for one’s craft of making a good pie.

In a food culture that is surrounded with fast food, processed food, industrial food and that has struggled to find an identity, pie making is one of the long-term endearing food traditions we have as Americans.

I avoided making pies and manage to slug through my pie requirement in culinary school with a few less than stellar examples. My crusts were tough and I was criticized by pie experts, older woman in my class who know how to really make a pie.

I retreated from pies to the fun, fancy food of the day, which was crazy plated desserts that used sugar sculpture and chocolate, sauces, cakes, ice creams, mousses and marzipan.

But fate brought me back to pies and I finally feel OK about making them.

I must being doing OK because pie experts at the market freak about my pies.

Part of the reason I feel Pie Anxiety exists is because the tradition pie crust is not very forgiving.

The butter has to be cold. You can’t over work the dough. The moisture has to be right or it will fall apart when rolling out. Any mistake and you will have a less than flaky finished crust.

So with that said, what I do is say heck with the conventional pie crust. In fact, I am not a big fan of the straight flour and butter crust anyway.

Yes. I said it.

There are two things that can make a pie crust easier to make.

The first is to use an egg. This adds some richness and moisture to the dough without adding water. Water and flour combine to make gluten, which is the protein found in flour. Over work the gluten and you can say good by to a flaky and tender crust.

My other suggestion is to use chilled alcohol like vodka instead of water. Alcohol provide moisture to the dough and it will be more forgiving with regards to gluten development than using the traditional ice water if you over work the dough.

Lastly, I use only butter. I feel people love my pie because I use only butter. We have been subjected to cheapen pies that use shortening for so long that one taste of an all butter crust will make us taste what we have been missing.

OK. I can already hear the peanut gallery scream the praises for lard. I honestly have not made a pie with lard. Even if it is great, I have found that finding good lard (that is not partially hydrogenated) in the store.

And again, pies making tends to be a public offering. This means that our pies usually are served at gathers like potlucks, parties or holidays. A pie made with lard cannot be eaten by vegetarians or a number of people who eat butter, but not pork fat.

I would make a pie with lard if I could find a good source and I was certain that most people could have it, but those two factors are rarely the case and most end my full butter crusts anyway.