Category Archives: Recipes

Navajo Fry Bread Recipe: Native American Recipes

Ann Arbor Food

A hunking piece of hot Navajo Fry Bread Love

I am taking a Native American Literature class this semester and the professor handed us a recipe for Navajo Fry Bread. So of course, I made a batch and brought it in to class.

Fry bread is a staple food of modern Native Americans. It is often made and sold at powwows. It can be eaten as a sweet dish topped with honey and powdered sugar or as a tasty bread with a savory meal of say venison chile.

Its fried crunchy outside and soft dough inside makes Fry Bread a great item to serve with hearty stews

Navajo Fry Bread Recipe: Make 6-8 big size pieces

4 Cups of all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons of nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups of water
2-3 cups of high temp fry oil (Safflower, Peanut, lard or shortening)
2 Tablespoons of sugar (optional) if serving a sweet fry bread

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and dried milk and sugar if using in a large mixing bowl or into your food processor. Mix in the water to form the dough into a ball.

Knead the dough for a few minutes then let it rest for 15 minutes covered with a moist towel.

Divide into 6-8 equal portions and roll into balls and flatten them out. Cover with a moist towel until ready to fry.

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flatten Fry Bread 8-10 inches wide

Meanwhile pour 2-3 cups of oil into a large heavy bottom pot or cast iron pan. Heat the oil till hot, 450-500 degrees.

Flatten out the dough ball to a thickness of 1/2 inch. I do this by squeezing the dough with my fingers while spin them in a cycle like making a pizza, but you can use a rolling pin if you prefer.

Poke a small hole in the dough. This prevents the dough from puffing up unevenly. Then carefully place in the fry oil.

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Fry Bread Frying

Cook for a few minutes until the bottom is golden brown, then carefully flip with thongs.

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Golden Brown Fry Bread Frying

Place finished Fry Bread of paper towels.

Serve immediately.

My class found the fry bread to  taste great even at room temp. It can be made in advance and heated in the oven for good results.

The Power of Polenta: Polenta with shrimp and tomato recipe

Ann Arbor Food

Shrimp Polenta with Heirloom tomatoes

Polenta is one of those great go to foods when you need to make something quick. It is a tasty porridge made from course cornmeal. At most basic, polenta is a simple creamy corn mash cooked with water and salt.

But this humble cornmeal does not have to be plan. It can be jazzed up using flavor variations like stocks, butter, cheese and herbs.

It is commonly served Italian style with a tomato sauce and sausage, but it can also be served with fish, shellfish, poultry, beef, pork or in a vegetarian meal.

Once a simple peasant staple, polenta has gained popularity as a gourmet food that can be seen on menus at upscale restaurants to college dorms alike.

There are a few ways to serve polenta beside for a hot mash.

The high starch content of cornmeal makes cooked polenta form into a solid mass when cooled.

Hot polenta porridge is spread onto a sheet pan and allowed to cooled. Once cooled, the firm polenta can then be cut into shapes and saute’, deep fried or grilled to provide a crisp outer texture.

Another way to serve polenta is in a casserole. Hot polenta is spread into a casserole dish then topped with sauce, vegetables, meat and cheese then baked.

Polenta is found in the bulk section in grocery stores, in instant mixes or in the refrigerated section of in precooked tubes. The cost is around $1.50 per pound, which measure about 2 3/4 cups or around $.20 per serving.

Basic Polenta Recipes: Serve Four

1 1/2 cup of Polenta cornmeal
4 1/2 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
*use Olive Oil for vegan option

Bring the water to a boil in a sauce pan. Add the polenta, salt and butter and stir in. Bring the heat down to a medium. Cover the top of the pan loosely with tin foil. Stir frequently to make sure the polenta does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 20 minutes.


Cheese Polenta:
Substitute one cup of milk for water in the basic recipe and include the butter. Include 1-2 cups of a mixture of grated cheese like Cheddar, Jack, Parmesan and Fontina. Follow the instruction for the basic recipe then stir in the cheese during the last three minutes of cooking. Garnish with grated Parmesan.

Polenta with tomato sauce and sausage:
Use the basic or cheese polenta recipe. Cook a pound of your favorite sausage like sweet or hot Italian sausage and serve with about a third of a cup of your favorite heated tomato sauce per serving and top with grated Parmesan.

Mushroom Polenta: (Vegan)
Use the basic recipe and substitute olive oil for butter. Saute one finely chopped onion, two cloves of garlic and one and half pounds of your favorite mushrooms for seven minutes. Add a quarter teaspoon of dried thyme, and a quarter cup of white wine and cook down. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh chopped parsley and divide a half cup of toasted pine nuts or almonds between four servings.

Polenta and Shrimp:
Use the basic or cheese polenta recipe and add the juice of one lemon, fresh cracked pepper and one teaspoon of smoked paprika when cooking the polenta . Peel and clean three quarters of a pound of shrimp and saute in butter or olive oil with two cloves of garlic till the shrimp is pink on booth sides.

Serve the polenta in a bowl. Divide the shrimp between four bowls and top with fresh chopped scallion.

Waffle Cakes

Ever since my last waffle maker broke, I have missed my favorite lazy morning brunch treat. The frozen ones really do not cut it, but I refuse to buy a new waffle maker because I had two that both stopped working.

Three is a charm I know, but I just can’t get myself to fork out the money again for a kitchen gadget that only has one purpose, all be it a pretty cool purpose at that.

So what am I to do?

The answer is the Waffle Cake.

Emily prefers a more waffly batter for her “pancakes.” The batter for waffles and pancakes are very similar with the addition of another egg for waffles. For her the second egg does the trick because it prevents the mega carb pancake energy crash.

I do not have a huge problem with carbs, but a dose (over dose) of pancakes can do me in. That is why I am a fan of waffles (but not waffle makers)

The picture above shows the finished cake. They are large, fluffy and on the thicker side than the traditional pancake.

The batter is also thicker and it scared me the first time I made. I wanted to thin it down with some water or milk to create a pancake consistency.

The batter is thick, but trust me it works.

Waffle Cakes can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. For savor dish like cream fresh and smoke salmon and red onion omit most/all of the sugar in the recipe.

Waffle Cakes: Makes 8-10 (depending on size)

2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons of fine ground cornmeal
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 eggs
4 tablespoons of melted butter
1 3/4 cups of buttermilk
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs. Melt the butter set aside to cool enough, so it will not scramble your eggs in the batter.

Make a well with the dry ingredients and the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and maple syrup. Mix up a few times then add the egg. Mix to incorporate the batter,. which will be on the thick side for a pancake.

Heat a sillet for a few minutes on medium. Scoop out batter on to the hot skillet to the desired size waffle cake. Place a lid on the skillet pan and cook for a a minute or so. The lid capture some heat to let these thick puffy cakes cook through. Flip and cook for about a minute. Repeat with the rest of the cakes.

Serve hot off of the skillet with butter, real maple syrup and berries.

Variation: For a savory version, omit the maple syrup, sugar and vanilla (if desired). Make them small for appetizer size of larger for meals.

Slider Buns Recipe

OK. I have to admit that I am a huge slider fan. Sliders are smaller sized hamburgers on smaller buns and 2oz patties.

But sliders do not have to be burgers. I made salmon sliders last night.

poached salmon w/tarter sauce slider

When thinking sliders, think of your favorite “bun” sandwich, but in miniature.

Slider sandwich ideas:
-Fry chicken breast with ranch dressing or white gravy
-Steak with crumpled blue cheese
-Buffalo Chicken Slider (chicken breast with Franks Redhot w/ranch or blue cheese dressing
-Shrimp Paw boys
-The Slider Club: Turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato (avocado optional)
-Corn beef Rueben
-Salmon Slider: poached salmon with cumber dill yogurt sauce
-Mini meatball sub slider: Turkey, beef or pork meatballs with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil
-Pulled Pork with hot slaw
-Grilled Mushrooms w/goat cheese and balsamic reduction
-Crab Cake with spicy mayo
-Fried Fish w/ tarter

Vegan Sliders:
-Baked tofu w/vegan slaw
-Grill mushrooms with teriyaki  sauce and pickled veggies
-Pan fried vegan risotto cakes with spicy vegan mayo
-Vegan sloppy Joes: Saute crumpled silken tofu w/thinned BBQ sauce
-Tempura Slider: Mix veggies tempura (sweet potato, potato, carrot, onion, mushroom) with asian dipping sauce. (1/3 miron, 1/3 tamari soy, lime juice and water or dashi both, minced ginger)
-Peanut butter, banana and maple (dust with cinnamon)

I have been thinking about offering slider buns at my both at the Westside Farmers Market to create a cross promotion with McLaughlin Farm who sells beef at the market.

So last night I tested a recipe that turned out well. Look for them at the Westside Market on Thursday 3:00-7:00PM while they last.

Slider Bun Recipe: Makes 16 slider buns (or 8 full size) 

3 1/2 cups AP Flour (King Arthur or Bob’s Redmill or use Bread Flour)
3/4 to 1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
(For vegan option use olive oil or melted vegan shorten)
1 large egg
2 TBS sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast

Plus 2 TBS melted butter to brush
(For vegan use olive oil or melted vegan shorten)
Sesame seeds (optional)


Mix the yeast, flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl of a mixer with dough hook attachment. With the mixer running, add the egg, melted butter and slowly pour in the water. Mix in high for about eight minutes.

Place the dough in a bowl and coat little with olive oil. Cover with plastic or a damp towel and let set in a warm place for 2 hours or until the dough doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and place on a clean counter. Cut the dough into 16 equal pieces.

Mine dough came out to 28oz, which figured out to approximately 1.75oz (using a digital scale) per roll, which comes to 16 rolls.

Roll the dough into rounds balls and flatten them into disks. See below.

Place them on sheet pan lined with parchment and cover with a damp clothe and let them rise for about an hour. Don’t worry if the touch a little.

Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake at 375 degrees for 15-18  minutes.

Michigan Morels 2011 update

Michigan Morels 2011

 OK. After failing to find morels in my favorite Ann Arbor park three years running, I came home to discover that a patch of Morels were found in my very own backyard. The picture above shows the harvest with more on the way that were too small to harvest. 

 The tricky part with morels besides for finding the little suckers (or paying for them) is to clean them. As you can see they have a honey comb shape that is very challenging to clean. 

Michigan Morel 2011

Even after I split them in half, which I recommend because bugs tend to live inside them, I sprayed them with water to try and get all of the dry out. Despite my efforts they were still a little gritty, but tasty. 

Michigan Morel with Bug inside

Note the shape. A morel will be hollow inside with the honey comb shaped outside connected to the stem.

Note the difference between a true and a false morel. A false morel shown above with have a "skirt" at the top. A true morel is completely attached to the stem.


Cooking morels with a little butter, salt, pepper and white wine
Fully cooked Morels. Yummy!!!

Mushrooms can be deadly and while Morels are on the easier side for mushroom identification, I do not encourage anyone to pick and eat/serve to family or friends wild mushrooms without knowing what they are doing or getting an expert opinion. If you have any doubt, it is better to air on the side of safety.

Michigan Morel Recipe: Serves 1-4

 Split and clean throughly10-20 Morels.
Heat a saute pan with a little butter and a small splash of white wine.
The mushrooms will release their liquid. Saute out the liquid just until the pan is almost dry.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Great over rice, with srabbled eggs or steak. (They make for an awesome steak and mushroom sandwich.
Related Posts:

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.