Category Archives: Recipes

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.

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 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


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.

Michigan Lady Food Bloggers

Patti Smith, of Ann Arbor writes a beer and food blog. Sarah Smalheer of Chelsea, provides recipes like limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur, on her blog. Diana Dyer, a nutritionist, cancer survivor and garlic farmer, created a website dedicated to healthy recipes. And Kate Remen-Wait’s blog posted 135 recipes, including restaurant reviews and reports on her weekly farm shares from Tantré Farm.

They are all a part of an online group called the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. The group boasts 106 members, with representation from every county in Michigan.

No two blogs are the same, but what these bloggers all have in common is a love and passion for food. Some write about cooking for young children. Others have a local foods focus, while others share travel logs about eating on the road.

“What is cool is the diversity,” said Smith. “There is a blogger with a North African focus.”

There is also a competitive and food-challenge element to some of the blogs. Others enter national recipe contests, while some take on local food challenges. Some even dare to tackle difficult recipes from famous cookbook authors like Julia Childs and Thomas Keller.

Most communicate through each others’ blogs or via e-mail, but some get together for in-person events. The most popular event is their annual Christmas Cookie Swap.

“It’s like a nuclear bomb with crumbs everywhere,” said Smalheer, describing their annual cookie exchanges. “We crammed 18 women in my small living room one year.”

These cookie swaps work by having people bring a certain number of homemade cookies for trade.

“Husbands (and boyfriends) are pleased with all of the great food we bring home from our events, like the huge trays of Christmas cookies,” Smalheer said.

The group is also a great source for hard-to-find resources.

“I found the caterer for my son’s wedding reception,” said Dyer. “The chef was enthusiastic to do vegan items.”

Some bloggers are more active than others and post weekly, while others fall off the radar.

“No one has been kicked out for low activity,” said Remen-Wait.

The club — as its name suggests — is only for ladies. But how would they know if a guy tried to join the club using a woman’s name?

“We don’t know if someone is female,” admitted Remen-Wait, speaking about the identity of some Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. “We are trusting. If someone wanted to post under a false identity, we would not know.”

Guys need not feel left out, however. All of these blogs are posted publicly, which means everyone has access to all the content, and anyone can send a comment about the posts.

To learn more:


Patti Smiths Blog:

Sarah Smalheer’s blog:

Kate Remen-Wait’s blog:

Diana Dyer’s website:

Snicker Doodle
By Patti Smith

1 cup shortening
1.5 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Mix shortening, eggs and sugar. Then mix the dry ingredients except the two tablespoons of sugar and two teaspoons of cinnamon; combine. My batter tends to be a little dry, so I often put in a dash of Half & Half to moisten it up. Roll into balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and put on a cookie sheet that has been greased or, in my case, has parchment paper on it. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Don’t panic when you see them puff up and then flatten out; it’s all part of the charm.

Apricot Ginger-Almond Sandwich Cookies
By Brian Steinberg

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups slivered almonds
1 cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup apricot jam
¼ inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor, add one cup of flour and the almonds and process for about a minute. Add ½ cup of sugar and the rest of the flour and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse to form dough. Do not over mix. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of ¼ inch and cut into two-inch rounds. Roll the remaining dough and cut out rounds. Bake for about 15 minutes. To make the sandwiches, combine the jam with the ginger. Spoon out a teaspoon of jam between two cookies and coat with the rest of the sugar while the cookies are still warm.

Pecan Snowdrops
By Sarah Smalheer

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped pecans

Cream the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the flour and salt and combine. Add water, nuts and vanilla and combine. Chill dough for an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pinch off wads of dough and roll into balls approximately one inch across. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Prepare a small bowl of powdered sugar. Roll the cookies in the sugar once while still warm, allow to cool completely and roll again.

Chocolate Matzo: Not just for Chanukah
By Brian Steinberg

4-6 sheets of matzo (Yehuda brand preferred)
2-3 bars 4 oz Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate, 60 percent
½ cup toasted almonds, walnuts and/or hazelnuts
A few pinches of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with tin foil. Chop the chocolate. Toast almonds in oven or toaster oven for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure not to burn the nuts.
Chop the nuts and set aside. Sprinkle the chocolate over the matzo and bake in the oven for two to three minutes, just until the chocolate melts. Spread the chocolate with a rubber spatula over the matzo to create a smooth layer. Sprinkle on almonds and a small pinch of salt while the chocolate is still melted, so it sticks. Let it sit in a cool place. Break into smaller pieces and serve, or for fun pass around a full sheet and have guest break off their own piece. Present in a decorative wrap or a cookie tin.