“Like awesome! Oh, wow! Like totally freak me out. I mean, right on! Tamales sure are number one!”
Oh come on. I know that every single one of you use cheers from Bring It On in your daily life.
But we have more important things to discuss than Kirsten Dunst’s witty, razor-sharp cheer-snark. We have tamales.
This is going to be a long post. If you need to use the bathroom, I suggest taking your laptop with you.
THIS GOT STARTED BECAUSE…
…I’m not really sure why. At some point months ago, Chase and I were discussing tamales, probably as part of a larger discussion about Pilar’s tamale cart and street food in general. We decided, “You know what? We should totally make our own tamales sometime!” It was just like that, only pretend we sound more sophisticated about it. Flash forward to a short time later and I brought up the idea to Paul, who was like, “Yeah, I used to do that with my grandmother.” Light bulb! The three of us agreed, yes, we would have to do this. We’d use Paul’s experience and his grandmother’s recipe and my kitchen and an entire Saturday and just get. it. done!
FOUR OR FIVE MONTHS LATER… Continue reading
This was a most excellent weekend. A busy, exhausting one, but most excellent indeed. Let’s recap, shall we?
First, Josh and I had breakfast with my friend Jessica and her mom at Beezy’s in Ypsilanti, which is my favorite restaurant in the entire city, I’m pretty sure. We stopped at the Depot Town Farmer’s Market to do a bit of shopping and to pick up our farm share with Needle Lane Farm. I love this share so much. It’s ending soon and I know from last year, I’m going to miss it so much over the winter. Plus, I love the people at the farm, so I’ll miss seeing them. But anyway, we picked up our share and got some good peppers and cabbage and beans and a big bag of tomatoes. Remember that, because it’s going to come up again later. And you will be tested. Anyway, after the market, we wandered up to Beezy’s for some delicious breakfast food with which to celebrate Jessica’s passing out on the bar…exam. (Love you, Jess :-)) I am convinced that Beezy’s has the best breakfast sandwiches in Washtenaw County at the very least. I got the breakfast eggel—-asiago bagel with scrambled eggs, ham and provolone cheese. And a hot chocolate. Which, by the way, was not a cup of hot water or milk with powdered mix thrown in. Or syrup. Oh no. This was Calder Dairy chocolate milk that was steamed and frothed. It was amazing. I live three blocks from Beezy’s. I think it’s safe to say that if you can’t find me this winter, it’s because I’m down there, face-down in a cup of their hot chocolate, trying to make it through the winter. Continue reading
Cut up one small onion, one medium summer squash and two cloves of garlic. Mix together with a cup of sharp shredded cheddar, a tsp of salt, a half tsp of black pepper and a tablespoon of ancho chile powder.
Cut the tops off two large poblanos, clean out the seeds and insides and then stuff as much of the squash mix as possible. Pour a bit of tomato or enchilada sauce on the bottom of a small pan, place peppers on top. Pour any leftover squash mix over the peppers followed by more tomato sauce until peppers are fully covered.
Cover with tinfoil and bake at 425 for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with more cheese let bake another 5 or until cheese is melted and gooey.
Enjoy! Serves two.
The first time I had a pasta carbonara was at a cooking class at Hollanders in Kerrytown. I’ve long been interested in the whole “bacon and egg pasta” idea, but only in philosophy, because after all…I don’t eat breakfast. I know, I know, just one more of my weird culinary idiosyncrasies. Still, I wanted to try making carbonara on my own, particularly seeing how easy it was to do. I wanted something a bit lighter and healthier tonight though (something about eating crushed lentil soup from Pita Kabob Grill makes me crave healthy things…at least until someone offers me something chocolate). So I opted to throw together a healthier vegetarian version of the dish. Continue reading
I have been inspired. By a delicious, delectable, delightful dish from Edible Aria: frijoles rojas. Now, this wasn’t by a long shot the first time I’d seen this dish but the pictures looked soooo good I could not resist. I know what you’re thinking: Lauren, dear, you are so magnificent. How do you ever find all of these tempting treasures? Oh, I shrug with a nonchalant sweep of the hand, I just stumble upon them. I love Stumble. I find so many fantastic things there. The internet is my vast, giant cookbook and Stumble is my faithful page-turner. Or something like that.
Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh, right. Beans.
So I needed something to make for dinner. We had some tortilla chips leftover from Saturday…or Sunday…or one of those. It’s all kind of blurred together now. Anyway, I also had cheese, tomatoes, rice and some Spanish chorizo in the freezer, leftover from a trip to Eastern Market. I’d found the frijoles recipe a few days earlier and figured…that’ll work. Continue reading
We got a good box from the farm share this week—purple potatoes, squash, peppers, a giant head of celery and even a giant one and a half pound tomato that I have fondly named Big Al (after my svelte but otherwise impressive grandfather):
To use up some of the potatoes and squash, as well as some of our own deck-grown red bell peppers and some frozen ground sirloin, I figured we could make ourselves a quick and tasty lunch of quesadillas–beef and cheese ones for Josh (manly quesadillas) and vegetarian ones for me (I’m feeling a tad delicate today). Inspired by a recipe I have stored away from Bon Appetit for potato, greens and goat cheese quesadillas, I figured…hey, why not?
I call this a non-recipe recipe because..well, I don’t have any real exact measurements here, and you can substitute pretty much any of the ingredients that you like. It’s more of a method/idea suggestion kind of article today. Continue reading
…I like alliteration.
Anyway, it was a terribly rainy day today and Josh and I are both sick with the flu. We’ve been on the couch or in the bed pretty almost all day. Not exactly pleasant. But I knew what would perk us up—a giant heaping platter of our favorite home made chicken enchiladas with roasted tomatillo salsa. In fact, not only would it be delicious, but also not more work than I could handle being bogged down with a fever and all. Unfortunately, the tomatillos I’d gotten from the farm share had not lasted the week–a tragedy of epic proportions. However, we still had a good pound of farm share tomatoes left….compromise! I’d turn the roasted tomatillo salsa into roasted tomato salsa and hopefully this modest little offering would appease the Good Health gods.
The original recipe for this I got from none other than Tyler Florence, my favorite FoodTV chef, but as usual, I considered his recipe a guideline and went off and did my own thing, which is described below: Continue reading
Cumin-Crusted Pork Quesadillas
Feeds One or Two
4-5oz pork tenderloin filet
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tsp garlicky steak rub
1/5 stick of cinnamon
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium (or taco size) flour quesadillas
1 c. refried black beans
2 tbsp hot salsa
2oz shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 tbsp chopped green onion Continue reading
For dinner tonight, Josh and I decided we would go where no man has gone befo–no, wait, scratch that, we decided to go to Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor, where many a man has been before. But not me. I’ve heard good things about it, but it’s not usually on my radar of places to go. I thought today would be a good time to check it out.
Having skipped lunch, we were having an early dinner (4:30ish) so we beat the Saturday evening crowd and since it was a lovely 81 degrees Fahrenheit, we decided to eat outside (“we” being “me” and “Josh grudgingly agreeing because he knows how much I love hot weather and how little of it I get in Michigan and besides, there was a breeze and thanks to the bevy of tall buildings on E Washington, we’d be in the shade anyway”). The weather was lovely, the sidewalk seating was great, the staff was excellent and the menu was modest but delicious, which works out well for me because sometimes too many choices is a terrible thing. Like the cereal aisle of a grocery store. How can I possibly make up my mind? More on that another time. Continue reading
Nacho bar night!
So what we did was a very simple beef nacho dish: diced bulb onion and 2 diced garlic cloves from our farm share, 1 pound grass-fed ground beef, lots of spices (particularly ancho chile powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder, red pepper, salt, black pepper, dried thyme), 2 cups frozen bell pepper mix and 1 can spicy whole black beans.
Toppings? Shredded mozzarella and a monterey jack blend, guacamole, salsa and mesclun mix. Chip selection? Garden Fresh Gourmet Corn Tortilla Chips.
I went with the simple stacking method: chips, thin layer of cheese, beef mix, thin layer of cheese, mesclun mix, salsa, thin layer of cheese, heated in the microwave until cheese melts and the greens wilts, topped with guacamole. The layers of cheese in between are key (and this goes for pizza, too), because it keeps the toppings from sliding off. Instead it all meshes together nicely.
Josh also did the layering method with his chips (skipping the lettuce) but then took it one stop further, preparing it all on a baking sheet and bakng it in the oven for about 5 minutes.
And for you carb haters out there (though I will never understand your strange and foreign ways), in lieu of corn chips, you can substitute cabbage or lettuce wraps!
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?
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).
So, yeah, I don’t really eat breakfast foods, per se. I know, I’m odd. I’m told that on a regular basis. I used to eat breakfast foods. I used to eat pancakes, french toast and waffles until I realized that those delicious yet sugary carbs were exactly the reason I was crashing and feeling crappy by midmorning. Again, I tend to have low blood sugar and reactive hypoglycemia and the worst thing I can do is start out the day with a metric ton of sugar pouring into my bloodstream. So I stopped eating those. Eggs tend to make me sick, and I only ever ate them scrambled anyway and not very often. And breakfast meats like sausage and bacon are full of fat, which I tend to avoid not only due to my preference for eating somewhat healthy but also because meat tends to make me sick to my stomach for some unknown reason, and the fattier the meat, the worse it is (I know, I know, I’m so oddly delicate, right?). So I avoid breakfast foods. We go out to brunch on the weekend and my husband gets an omelet or french toast…I get a chicken caesar salad. Or a gyro. Go out with coworkers during the week; they get bagels and cream cheese, I get chicken salad. That’s just sort of the way I am. Besides, in my opinion, lunch foods are way superior–and more varied–than breakfast anyway. Continue reading