Monthly Archives: July 2009

It's not delivery, it's do it yourself!

Two things came into play this evening.  No, three.  1) I had leftover pepperoni in the fridge from making toast pizza. 2) It’s summer and I prefer to grill food whenever and wherever possible in the summer–I mean, I have grilled breakfast before.  I won’t turn on the stove if I don’t have too.  3) I really, really, really did not want to eat another burger.  Instead, I thought to myself, “Hey, self!  Let’s grill pizza for dinner instead.”  I figured I could pile it with veggies and low-moisture part skim mozzarella since, after all, we did have lunch at Bill’s and wanted something healthier but just as tasty as chili dogs for dessert.  So pizza!  Josh was all about it.  I mean, we are married for a reason.

So on the way home from Bill’s, we stopped at the store and stocked up on a few things–pizza sauce (Delallo’s was on sale), baby spinach, frozen pepper mix (Josh’s favorite) and a ball of frozen pizza dough.  While Josh and I do enjoy making our own pizza on a fairly regular basis, this would be the first time for either of us to really grill a pizza.  After leaving the dough ball on the counter to thaw for a few hours, and giving our appetites time to return, the moment was at hand. Continue reading

Eat at Bill's

So we didn’t really wake up until almost 10am this morning.  By the time I finished taking our dog Winston on a 2 mile morning walk, breakfast was pretty much a no-go.  So Josh and I each downed a bit of fruit and then pondered what to do for lunch.  I was already of the opinion that we should have hot dogs, because hey, I’ve been in a hot doggy kind of mood lately.  In lieu of trekking to the store, picking up what we’d need for do-it-yourself dogs (I mean, there’d have to be buns and peppers and Josh gets one kind of sausage and I get another and side dishes and eh), we decided on taking the dog for a nice jaunt over to Bill’s Hot Dog Stand in Ypsi.

Bill’s is…well, it’s a little yellow shack, really, on Michigan Ave in Ypsilanti (waaay far in Ypsi) around the corner from where I grew up.  Bill’s has been there…forever, pretty much.  My entire life anyway.  It’s an old school car-hop kinda place and they mean serious business.  They do hot dogs.  And root beer.  And that’s all they do.  Seriously.  You can only buy three things at Bill’s: hot dogs, homemade root beer and Ruffles chips.  And I will be damned if it is not the best root beer in at least the state, if not the entire western hemisphere.

Continue reading

Farm Share Goodies: July 10

So I was extremely ticked when Josh brought home this week’s farm share on Tuesday because it included three of my favorite vegetables of all time: cabbage, potatoes (red skin!) and broccoli.  Not only are all three of those foods extremely tasty, they’re also versatile and very healthy.

Cabbage is not only low in calories but is rich in iron and sulfur and  contains phytonutrients, works to protect the body from free radicals that can damage the cell membranes.  Broccoli, which is also a member of the cabbage family, is loaded with Vitamins C and A, iron and fiber and even calcium.  And small potatoes are moderate in calories and nutrient dense, particularly when it comes to Vitamin C, potassium and iron.  And they’re delicious.  What’s not to love?  (By the way, a lot of information about various vegetables, their production and their nutrition can be found at HowStuffWorks. Neat!)

Well tonight I put two of those vegetable goodies to use–potatoes and the cabbage (don’t worry, broccoli, your time will come).  They went together for a very simple dinner of citrus chicken cabbage wraps and grilled potatoes with thyme.

Continue reading

Good Ol’ Meat and Potatoes

I like meat.  That’s about all there is to it.  Sure, I go vegetarian from time to time and that’s fine, too.  But I like meat.  Like steak. Steaks are good.  Satisfying on a primal level.

Josh doesn’t really like steak too often.  Opposites attract, right?  But after having a good steak at a wedding we went to recently, he decided that maybe we should start having steak more often.  Jackpot!  Sure, I said, trying to contain my gleefulness, whatever you like.  So of course, the first thing to do when experimenting was to conduct a bit of research and educate ourselves on the various cuts of meat and how they are best cooked.  This site came in handy for that.  The next was to go shopping.  Which we do almost every day anyway.

So we’re standing at the meat counter in Whole Foods, staring at row upon row of red fleshy goodness.  Now, Josh and I aren’t overly crazy about organics.  In terms of dry goods, I rarely care.  In terms of produce, some organics are more important than others–and local always takes precedence anyway, which is why we get a lot of our produce in the summer from our CSA. But when it comes to meat and dairy, we’re pretty selective and tend to go for free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic free when given the option.  So anyway, we’re standing at the meat counter, chatting with the butcher (who we find out lives in our apartment complex, handily across the street from said Whole Foods, how awesome is that) and Josh picks a cut of meat.  And he picks ribeye.  Of course.  Because if there’s a way to a man’s heart, it’s a ribeye steak.

Now, I believe in letting the natural flavor of good quality meat shine through, and that great steak is best when kept simple, so that was my plan tonight.  I prepared the meat as simply as possible and Josh picked just a simple side of mashed potatoes to go along with, and we (well, I) washed it down with a bit of his homemade root beer.  Below is the recipe (more or less, I’m terrible at measuring when I cook) for our delicious meal tonight.  Also, yay I finally charged my Nikon camera to get decent pictures! Continue reading

A Hamburger Named Happiness

So. Full.  So deliciously–nay, delectably full.  So content.  So…you get the idea.

We made hamburgers tonight.  Glorious hamburgers.  I wanted to try pure bison burgers, but the meat counter was out of ground bison, so there went that idea.  There was also no grass-feed beef available (what is the deal?!).  So we made do with just ground sirloin.  And it was great, but I think it might have been even more colossally fantastic with the pronounced grassy flavor of grass-fed ground beef.

Tonight, it was just me and Josh, so we split a pound of meat (Josh had two burgers, I had one).  Using my usual technique, I started with the meat in a bowl and added in my spices: fresh thyme, cumin, Spanish paprika, red pepper, black pepper, salt, and most of one serrano pepper, chopped with the seeds removed.  Then I fluffed the spices and meat together with a fork and by hand, divided the meat into three big balls which I then formed into three patties that were a bit over 5oz each. Continue reading

Olé! Dinner out at The Prickly Pear

The Prickly Pear is a restaurant on Main Street in Ann Arbor that serves southwestern cuisine.  Josh and I end up there about once a year, and apparently, we’re one of the few people we know who aren’t stark raving mad about the place.  To be honest, we think the food is okay but completely overpriced (and that is saying a lot in this town) and while completely acceptable, certainly not the best Mexican faire in town (not not just because it’s technically southwestern, not Mexican anyway).  But we go from time to time because we really want to try like it, and we like to give second chances.

One thing I will say is that Prickly Pear has fantastic homemade guacamole, and their tortilla chips are great; I wonder if they get them from Ann Arbor Tortilla?

Continue reading

Sorry Nemo: Fish Tacos

Those who know me know that I…hate fish.  I don’t want to hate fish, but I do.  I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the texture.  I want to like it because it’s versatile and because that’s a whole arena of the culinary world that I don’t get to participate in.  Luckily, Josh does like fish, so from time to time we try out something new in the hope that maybe I’ll come around (I haven’t).

However, having only previously grilled tuna and salmon, this was my chance to experiment with whitefish.  We got a half pound filet from the store (I had been thinking tilapia, but we asked the fishmonger and she showed us a pretty, thin filet of whitefish that she said had great flavor and held up well.  Great flavor, maybe, I dunno, but it definitely didn’t hold up well) and some other staples: corn tortillas from the local Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory (that was Josh’s experimentation; I love corn tortillas but he’s pretty strictly a flour-only kind of guy), roma tomatoes and Serrano peppers for homemade salsa (we like ours spicy) and ripe avocados for homemade guacamole (which went excellently with the fresh limes we’d gotten from Eastern Market the previous week).

Continue reading

Home, home on the range…something, something buffalo

So I’ve never tried bison before.  I eat….less meat than the average person, and generally only the basic four that I grew up with, in order: chicken, cow, turkey, pork.  No fish (I try to like it, but I don’t), no woodland creatures, etc.  I did try lamb once, but wasn’t a huge fan—it was a roast, and it was kind of greasy in my opinion, and just wasn’t great enough to overcome my guilt about eating a baby animal.

But I digress.  So I’ve never eaten bison, but I’ve heard good things about the taste, and the nutritional value (less fat, for instance, than beef), and like all Americans, especially those who shop at *cough*Whole Foods*cough*or Trader Joe’s*cough, I am pretty interested in healthful eating.  So when Josh found these delicious looking buns at Busch’s the other day (we’re always looking for the perfect hamburger buns and haven’t had a whole lot of luck), we figured that we’d grill today, the Friday before the 4th of July, since it’s gorgeous out and we’re both off work anyway.  We like to use grass-fed beef because, frankly, it tastes better, and while we were waiting at the meat counter in Whole Foods, I couldn’t help but notice the bison, just sitting there looking delicious and figured now was the time!  I convinced Josh eventually to agree.  We bought a pound and returned home, dizzy with excitement. Continue reading

This Hot Dog Thing Will Never End

Today, Tyler Florence did a cooking “class” via Twitter on “The Ultimate Chili Dog.”  The full recipe and an image (of, let me say,  an impressively giant chili dog) are available on his blog.

He’s using all-beef hot dogs, which I applaud, altho I do prefer mine to be uncured, and his chili is full of goodness: olive oil, onion, ground beef, ketchup, chili powder, mustard, thyme, garlic.  He tops the whole thing off with a homemade coleslaw.  I’ve often wondered about the coleslaw topping thing.  I think Josh used to get dogs topped with coleslaw at Red Hot Lovers but it’s just never been my thing.  I’m not a huge fan of coleslaw and I prefer it to be a side item rather than a topping for my hot dogs, burgers and pulled pork sammiches.  But that’s just me.

Anyway, this fantastic little series of tweets (who says Twitter is totally useless?  Right, me) also featured a recipe for homemade potato salad, which you can find at the bottom of the chili dog post.

Enjoy!  Follow Tyler on Twitter or check back on every Friday for more classes.


Rigatoni and meatballs, to be specific.  Mmm meatballs.  You may have guessed that I enjoy meatballs.  Or perhaps not.  There may have been no clues at all…Anyway, below is a pictoral history of what went down:

The Sauce

+   Continue reading

Tyler Florence is my hero

Tyler Florence, if you don’t know him, is a restauranteur and FoodNetwork chef extraordinaire.  He’s one of the few people still on FN that I love to watch–his recipes are great (I make quite a few of them, and none have disappointed) and he’s funny and very watchable to boot.

He’s also apparently on Twitter (yes, I’m a follower) and conducts a weekly cooking class via Twitter on Fridays.

Go to his site to find more– Tyler Florence: Free the Fork!

Granola Bar Cookies

I told Josh that I would make him cookies tonight and I did—I made cookies based on my chocolate chip granola bar recipe.  They have everything the bars do–oatmeal, chocolate chips, cinnamon, coconut and walnuts (okay, not everything; there’s no honey or oil).

Recipe Follows:

Continue reading

When life gives you leftover bread, make pizza

Tonight, it’s just me and the dog.  Josh is at a Computer Society meeting; he’ll be having dinner there.  So I get the rare opportunity to make dinner just for me.

Being that I’ve almost always had roommates, or ended up cooking for get togethers, I’m used to cooking for a lot of people.  When it got to be just Josh and me, I had to adjust a bit to cooking for only two, and occasionally on nights like this, I get to relearn how to cook for just one.

Well originally I thought I’d make myself a nice pesto pasta with chicken meatballs (cough), because after all, my basil plant needs cutting down and besides, it’s a rainy night and pasta is usually good for those.  But after lunch it occurred to me that really, I just wanted some pizza.  So I figured I’d make my own. Continue reading

Brain Food Book Review of "Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China"

I’m pretty sure I stumbled upon this book while going through the recommendations section of Amazon.  It sounded interesting so I added it to my “books to read” notebook page that I keep in Evernote.  A few weeks later, I picked it up from the library.  It’s one girl’s tale of how she went back to her parents’ native China, attended a cooking course there and worked both as a cook in several extremely varied environments and as a food critic.  It also explores the current culinary culture in China and provides recipes for many of the dishes she talks about (!).

Continue reading


I like to snack, and I like healthy but delicious snacks.  So the other day at work, I made up this beautiful little concoction:

This is a delicious little yogurt parfait made with Fage 0% Greek yogurt.  Greek yogurt, if you’ve never had it, is much thicker than the yogurt we normally pick up at the store, because it’s strained in order to remove the whey.  The Fage yogurt has the consistency of say, warm cream cheese.  It’s comes plain, but I would never eat it like that.  It’s traditionally the base for tzaziki sauce, which is that great cucumber-dill sauce you often get on gyros or other Greek dishes.  Here, it’s flavored with a couple tablespoons of my grandmother’s homemade strawberry jam and topped with the crumbles from my last homemade granola bars and the last few strawberries from my trip to the farmer’s market. The combination of the sweet strawberries, the chocolate and the coconutty crunch of the granola was excellent, if I do say so myself.

Try it out, and customize it…use raspberries, peaches, blueberries, apricots…after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  :-)