Tag Archives: Michigan

Apple Heritage Museum: Amadeaus Scott

Ann Arbor Food

The Apple Heritage Museum is a traveling collection of the history of the apple and its uses in Washtenaw County. Exhibits include apple coring, peeling, and cider making equipment, maps and inventory of local apple trees, and a recipe collection.

The museum is run by Amadeaus Scott and has exhibited at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

At todays exhibit, Amadeaus had apple pie. In talking to her about the project, she hopes to eventual have a space for the museum. I for one would visit a museum that offered free apple pie samples to visitors. In fact what museum would not benefit from offering pie.

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Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

$2.95 Local Meal: Roast Chicken, Potatoes and Greens

Ann Arbor FoodI am on my local food on the cheap kick, which is part of my $3-5 (per person) Local Meal Challenge. Here is todays meal of Roasted chicken legs, potatoes from my garden and mixed greens. The real budget miracle was the potatoes. I grew 40-50 pounds of spuds from about $5 of seed potatoes, which comes to about .10 a pound and about .05 per serving.

The other part of the this meal that is not listed is the chicken bones. They are reserved to make stock.

I also add a few cups of water to the roasting pan which collects the dripping and fat from the roasted chicken on the rack.

Here is a picture of the collected pan drippings and fat. Notice the two layers. The top is the chicken fat and some butter from the brushing the chicken. I let this cool then remove the top fat layer and reserve for potatoes and bean dishes. It is kitchen gold. The tasty broth is reserved to make sauces, and add a little flavor for beans, grains, and even mac and cheese.

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Chicken legs have extra fat and skin, which I like to cut off and roast in the toaster oven to create what I call chicken cracklings, or Kosher Cracklings. They make a great little snack with hot sauce and a squeeze of lime.

This meal was very filling. I only ate half of my chicken portion, but most in the family had a full piece.

Roasted Chicken Legs w/ potatoes and mixed greens

Roasted Chicken

4 large 10.25 ounce portion
6 good portions

1/4 stick of butter melted to brush on chicken (local butter from Peoples food co-op) .25

4 chicken legs 2.6 pounds, ($3 per pound) $7.8, Sparrows Kerry Town


$1.95 per large serving
$1.30 per good serving

Oven Roasted Potatoes
4 large portions

2.2 pounds assorted potatoes from home garden .10 per pound
render chicken fat from the skin of the chicken
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (not local, but could be) .20
salt and pepper

.10 per serving

Saute Mixed Dark Leafy Greens
6 portions

Collard and Kale One large bunch of each, $4.00 (Frog Holler)
1 onion $.50 (Eastern Market)
1/4 cup of michigan white wine $1.00

.90 per serving


$2.95 Large Portion
$2.30 Good Portion

Bona Sera Secret Supper Club: Night of a 1000 Drag Queens

Ann Arbor Food For those not in the know, secret supper clubs are underground restaurant/catered events that operate in secret. The reason for the secrecy is because they usually are run out of a home kitchen that is not certified. This makes it technically illegal to charge for the meal. The way around this is to have a charity sponsor the meal and ask for a “donation.”

This makes it a fund raising event/meeting, which at least in the state of Michigan, makes it possible to serve a home cooked meal/bake goods for a donation. I am not completely sure how this all works, so to be safe and to make sure these dinners are not shut down, they are held in secret.

With this said, since Bona Sera is a secret supper club, and the people involved are sworn to keep their secret, I can not confirm or deny any of the people present, the location, or anything else about the latest Bona Sera Dinner event.

The Secret Menu?

Assorted Apps:
Herb Tomato Focaccia

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Mushroom Focaccia

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Corn “Ho” cakes with goat cheese and zebra tomato

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Grilled plantain with chevre and chive

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Assorted Sushi

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Grilled cooked clams with lime brown butter

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First Course

Popsicle Melone con Frutta Fresca (Melon Popsicle with Fresh Fruit)

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Second Course

Anima Sacra Ravioli with Lobster Prosecco Beurre Blanc

(Sacred Heart Ravioli with Lobster Prosecco Butter Sauce)

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Third Course

Molte Pieghe Naked Fichi con Formaggio di Capra

(Naked Figs with Goat Cheese)

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Fourth Course

Rapporti di Maiale con Melone Gazpacho

(Intercourse of Pork with Melon Gazpacho)

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Main Course

Your Choice of:

1. Parmigiano Cotta della Melanzana

(Grilled Eggplant Parmesan)

2. Roquefort del Manzo con le Noci

(Beef Roquefort with Walnuts)

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3.  Pesci Bianchi l’avocado ed il Gambero l’avocado ed il Gambero

(White Fish with Cream, Avocado and Shrimp)

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Chocolate Orgasm Torte with a Zabaglione Stonefruit

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Tomato Blight Hits the Midwest

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picture from my garden

From Sept 21 2009:

Even during this recession, companies that sell seeds for home gardens are thriving with record sales. The surge of new home gardeners have been spurred on by the recession and people growing their own food to counter rising food prices. Michelle Obama’s high profile new vegetable garden at the White House may have also peaked interest. Whatever the reason, I was happy that more people were gardening this year.

Gardening is a great way to get outside and exercise, to learn about plants and to get some fresh, local, lower carbon footprint eats. This new surge in garden activity unfortunate created a perfect storm that lead to the Northeast Tomato Blight, which I am afraid has also made it to Ann Arbor Michigan.

Tomatoes are the single most popular garden plant for home gardeners. They are easy to grow in part because they are planted from plant starts, and not from seed. Besides for having to provide some structural support like a tomato cage, they are a set them and forget them plant.

Almost every gardener grows them. Gardeners at my community garden plot set out their extra tomato plants, which can be hard to pass up.  It is not just community gardeners that offer free tomatoes. I have seen various groups from churches, to my local food co-op, and even auto parts store give away free tomato plants as a kind gesture to growers. Tomato starts come in various size packs from a single plant to six packs. It is common for a gardener to find it hard to throw out a plant, so when they buy a six pack they plant them all.

It is because tomatoes are so popular, and that they are openly exchanged with fellow gardeners that this blight was able to spread. According to Dan Barber, the chef and co-owner of Blue Hill in an op-ed piece for the NY Times:

According to plant pathologists, this killer round of blight began with a widespread infiltration of the disease in tomato starter plants. Large retailers like Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart bought starter plants from industrial breeding operations in the South and distributed them throughout the Northeast. (Fungal spores, which can travel up to 40 miles, may also have been dispersed in transit.) Once those infected starter plants arrived at the stores, they were purchased and planted, transferring their pathogens like tiny Trojan horses into backyard and community gardens. Perhaps this is why the Northeast was hit so viciously: instead of being spread through large farms, the blight sneaked through lots of little gardens, enabling it to escape the attention of the people who track plant diseases.

The blight was discover in late June and the plants were recalled by the company that supplied them, but many plants were sold with signs of blight through garden centers, some of which are not trained to spot plant disease. The result was a wide and fast spread blight. The cool, and rainy weather of early summer did not help. The picture shown on this post are from plants that were grown from seed from my community garden and not from the plants suspected of starting the blight outbreak. Unfortunately they still got the blight.

What do we do if we had blighted tomatoes plants? Bag them in plastic and throw them out. Do notAnn Arbor Food compost them. I plan to throw out all of my tomato plants this year regardless of signs of blight. The blight can also spread to potatoes, so if you grew potatoes this year, it is recommended that you do not reuse this years potatoes for next years seed potatoes. The good news is that climates with a hard frost like Michigan can help to prevent a blight next year. Hopefully action will be taken to prevent the spread of blighted plant for the 2010 growing season.

It is unfortunate that a wide spread tomato blight happened this year when so many people were taking up gardening for the first time. Don’t be discourage. As a seasoned gardener, I know these things happen. I hope this does not turn people off from the joys of gardening. I see this as an opportunity to branch out and grow different vegetables. Growing a variety of different plants will insure we get something.

Sauerkraut Making:Fermentation fun at home take two

Ann Arbor Food I was thinking sauerkraut again when I saw a purple cabbage at the Ann Ann Farmer’s Market. You might recall in the previous post, fermentation fun at home, how some ravenous red cabbage seeking fiend aced me out of my red cabbage last time. I was lucky this time and was able to score some of the red.

My fermentation luck continued as readers might also recall when I was having Breakfast at Selma, and I eyed some shiso in Jeff and Lisa’s front yard. Jeff hooked me up, and the rest is fermentation history.

I usually use a one gallon glass jug to weigh down my kraut, but I have since forked out the extra bucks for some nice ceramic crocks. I used my one gallon crock as a weight inside my two gallon crock where my last batch of kraut is being fermented.

Then I thought to myself, “Self! Why can’t I make another batch and put that one in the one gallon crock and use that for the weight for the two gallon?” Brilliant! I can ferment two batches of kraut in the same space at once. I have yet to test the limits of this stacking method. Can I use a five gallon crock, with a four gallon inside, with a three inside that, and a two inside that, followed by a one gallon crock, with this process continuing and ending with a pint size batch? I call this the Russian Doll Method of fermentation.

Here is a 1/2 gallon recipe. This recipe is a quick summary of the sauerkraut making process. Please refer to my previous post for a full description of the process before you make a batch.

Purple Cabbage, Turnip, garlic and Shiso Seed/leave Sauerkraut: Make 1/2 gallon

1 medium size purple cabbage (2-3 pounds)

2-3 medium sized turnips, washed, and grated

1 1/2 Tablespoons of kosher salt

3-4 cloves of garlic, left whole*

small bunch of Shiso (beefsteak) seeds pods and leafs**

*I put in whole garlic, but they can be smashed or minced for a stronger flavor. Ginger can be substituted or included in this recipe. I wanted to use ginger in fact, but I did not have any, so I used garlic, but you can add other ingredients at anytime.

**Go easy on Shiro seed because they have a powerful fragrance, and can over power the kraut, so that you think you are eating perfume. Shiso Leaf, and shiso powder can be found in some asian markets and use for good results. The fresh seed pods that I am using are not as easy to come by. Here is where being a home gardener comes in handy.

Shredding the cabbage

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Grating the Turnip

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Adding the Aromatics (Shiso seed pod, leaf and garlic): I use whole garlic cloves to reserve them and eat them whole when I feel a cold coming on as a home remedy in winter.

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Shiso plant with seeds

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All of the ingredients in the crock

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Mashing up the Kraut

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After mashing down the kraut, about half the volume

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Putting a plate on top of the kraut, inside the one gallon crock. Put a filled one quart jar on top of the plate, then put the one gallon crock inside the two gallon crock, and top with a towel

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Fermentation Resources: Wild Fermentation By Sandor Katz

Northside Grill: Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Food

This was my first time going to the Northside Grill. I heard a lot about. It seems to be one of those places that people who write about food mention when talking about Ann Arbor breakfast joints. The Road Food guys, from the NPR’s Splendid Table loved it, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I was with my brother Jordan, who is my favorite family member to eat out with because he orders a lot and shares. He was the first person I know who orders an entrees as an appetizer to share with the table. Why had I never thought about that?

I had breakfast at 11:00 and he had lunch. I ordered a breakfast burrito, and Jordan ordered a turkey club. And we both split a short stack of the oat pancakes with a side of real maple syrup. I have not had pancakes in a while because they tend to put me to sleep. I am not a glycemic, syndrome X guy, but I think a large stack of pancakes puts me over the edge.

First off the pancake was great. In fact I would say it was the best pancake I ever had. It was light, yet hearty from the oats at the same time. My Burrito was huge, and I ended up taking home half of it for later. It came with corn chips. I looked on the menu for guacamole, but did not see it which would have added nicely with my meal. The coffee kept coming. This was old school for coffee with never ending refills and warm ups.

This is my first time, so I do not feel I can give a full review, but I liked what I had and I definitely will go back their again, next time with the family, so I can sample more of the menu. Here are some pics.

Northside Grill
1015 Broadway St
Ann ArborMI 48105

Mon-Sun. 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

(734) 995-0965

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

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Ann Arbor Food This a variation on the mexican soup posole. Mine shown here is a little thicker than the traditional soup. I cooked the hominy from the whole grain corn in a pressure cooker to speed up the four hour cooking time. It only took about 2 hours and even still was chewy, but the family likes it that way. This dish can be made with pork, chicken, seafood or beans if you want to make it vegan. I flavored mine with a pumpkin seed, tomatillo, cilantro, lime, and posole spice mix.


12 oz: Hominy (or a 24 oz can)
1 quart of stock or water
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 tomatillos, large dice
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 can of pinto beans (or 1 cup cooked) or 1 Lb ground pork, diced chicken thigh meat, or shrimp
Juice of 2-3 limes
Posole spice mix to taste (found in the mexican spice section in grocery stores)
salt and pepper to taste


Cooking the Hominy:

Soak hominy over night in cold water. Rinse and add to a pressure cooker with enough water to cover by two inches above the corn. Bring up to pressure then lower the flame to a simmer and cook for two hours. Keep the flavorful liquid.

If using canned hominy: Simply open the can and proceed to the next step:


Place the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray. Put in a 350 degree oven and toast the seeds until they are brown in color and plump up. 15-20 minutes Make sure they do not burn. set aside.

In a sauce pot, add the tomatillos in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for ten minutes. Blend, then strain through a fine mess strainer.

In a blender, add the cilantro, juice of two limes, the pumpkin seeds and the strained tomatillos. Blend till smooth. Add some water if needed.

The Soup:

Heat a Tbs of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes. Add the carrots and cook for five more minutes. Add the garlic and cooked for about a minute. Add the Hominy and cooking liquid, the beans, the stock, and posole spice mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the verde and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper and more lime juice to taste.

Chicken Variation: At the Soup Stage: brown the diced chicken in the pot with the olive oil. Remove chicken and cooked the onions, carrots, and garlic. Add the hominy and cooking liquid, chicken, chicken stock and posole spice mixture. Continue with the rest of the recipe.

Pork Variation: At the Soup Stage: brown the ground pork in the pot with the olive oil. Remove the pork and cooked the onions, carrots, and garlic. Add the hominy and cooking liquid, the ground pork, chicken stock and posole spice mixture. Continue with the rest of the recipe.

Shrimp Variation: Use the same process as the bean version except at the end add baby shrimp and let cook for about a minute just before serving.