Tag Archives: Beer

A Fall Favorite

7 Oct

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The leaves are changing color, the new season’s boots are on display, and the weather is still…in the 70s and 80s. Sure, that makes sense. This warm Fall weather is making it hard to enjoy sweaters and a good butternut squash soup, but no complaints here. Although I am from Michigan, I will never get used to or start enjoying cold weather (I fancy myself a sledder more than a skier). Don’t get me wrong, I love a brisk high 50s day with crunchy leaves lingering in my path–and who could forget about the great Brown Ales to enjoy to welcome in this new season–but having the knowledge that we won’t see warm weather again until May (IF WE’RE LUCKY) makes me want to cling on to this weather with all my might.

That being said, it’s not going to stop me from enjoying some of my favorite Fall foods (root veggies and squash, I’m looking at you…). I touched upon this recipe in last year’s Thanksgiving post, but this dish is so good, it truly deserves its own post.

{ Curry-Stuffed Delicata Squash – Big Girls Small Kitchen }

I’ve made this delight at least a half dozen times over the past year, and it just keeps getting better and better. And what’s great about Delicata squash (if you can find it, I often sub butternut squash since that’s much easier to find) is that you can eat the skin once it’s cooked (thank you knowledgeable staff at the Ann Arbor Food Co-Op).

Special ingredients like maple syrup, cilantro, and unsweetened coconut flakes give this dish a unique layering of flavor and promote over indulging (go ahead, have 3 halves…if you dare).

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Unfortunately I had poor planning when I made this, as I had 6 beautiful stuffed squash (or squish as we refer to it in our house, mainly for hilarity purposes) halves, and I was leaving for Kalamazoo for the next 5 days for new job training (I got to brew beer and “taste” a lot of beer…you jelly?). I had a choice to make, gorge myself on as many of these as I could in order to reap what I had sewn, or bring some with me to keep in the hotel room. I chose the later, however I forgot them in my trunk and came across them 4 DAYS AFTER I was already back from Kalamazoo (5 days + 4 days = I don’t think these are edible anymore). So the moral of the story is this stuffed squash will not smell up your car when forgotten, so go team?

Curry-Stuffed Delicata Squash – Big Girls Small Kitchen }

For the squash

  • 1/2 cup black lentils – the little French ones that hold their shape
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 3 delicata squash, halved lengthwise, scraped clean of seeds
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons super fresh curry powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened (but sweetened will work in a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup yellow raisins, submerged for 10 minutes in a bowl of boiling water to plump, squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds or peanuts
  • Handful coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

For the dressing

  • 1/3 cup mayonaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Bring around 6 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the lentils. Lower the heat to a simmer and boil for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentil are soft but not falling apart. Drain in a fine metal sieve. Set the lentils asie.
  3. Rinse the rice in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. Place it in a small covered saucepan with 1 3/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then give the rice a stir, put the lid on, and place the pot over the lowest possible heat. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave the cover on the rice for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to use it. (If you have a preferred method of making rice, go for it. You’ll need 2 cups of cooked rice.) You’ll need 2 cups of the rice; reserve the rest for another use.
  4. Place the squash halves in a lightly oiled baking dish. Combine the oil with the maple syrup, then brush the squash with the mixture. Season with a pinch of salt. Place the squash in the oven and cook them for 30-40 minutes, until they’re easily pierced with a fork.
  5. In a large, heavy skillet – a cast iron pan works great – heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and slightly brown, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt, until the curry powder is very fragrant, about 3 more minutes. Add the coconut and cook for another minute, then add the lentils, the raisins, sunflower seeds or peanuts, and 2 cups of the rice. Stir gently to combine all the ingredients. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  6. Make the dressing: combine the mayo, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, oil, and sugar, and stir well.
  7. Add about 3/4 of the dressing to the lentil-rice mixture and stir to combine. Taste for balance of flavors, adding more dressing or salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed. You want the mixture to hold together well.
  8. Fill each squash half to overflowing, using about 2/3 cup of the mixture. Return the squash to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top of the filling is slightly browned and crisp.
  9. Sprinkle with the cilantro leaves. Serve 2 halves to those with big appetites; 1 half will be enough for smaller eaters.
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How Much of a Blowhard am I: Is Ignorance Bliss?

29 Jul

You may remember about a month ago I had a guest post from my Deutsch Freund Oliver, AKA The Winegetter, and he went into detail about the lack of good bread here in the U.S.

Oliver and his lovely wife are currently traveling throughout Southeastern Asia (suck it, man) so in order to keep his blog up to date he has an awesome line up of guest bloggers updating posts while he’s gone. Sidenote: I’ve been watching his travels through what he’s posted online, and I can honestly say I’m IN RAGE with envy. He’s been traversing country after country, and the furthest I have traveled in that time is heading down to Indiana for a weekend. Ahhh….wanderlust….she is a fickle temptress. 

This was from a 2007 trip to Lithuania. Earlier that year we found out my father had surviving family members living there so naturally we had to go check it out. We were on our way to Israel to visit family after, and so we packed for the middle east. This was Eastern Europe, so naturally it was overcast, rainy, and much colder than we thought (think women in head wraps playing the violin around trash cans of fire....not really)

This was from a 2007 trip to Lithuania. Earlier that year we found out my father had surviving family members living there so naturally we had to go check it out. We were on our way to Israel to visit family after, and so we packed for the middle east. This was Eastern Europe, so naturally it was overcast, rainy, and much colder than we thought (think women in head wraps playing the violin around trash cans of fire….not really)

Anyhoo, I had my own opportunity to go on a rant for his blog so I decided to explore the topic of wine and beer “snobs” (read: me sometimes). Without further adu, I present…

Erica Vitkin: Is Ignorance Bliss?.

And while you’re there, take a look around. There are some great guest posts in this series, and all of Oliver’s original content is truly insightful and makes you thirsty for a glass (or bottle) of wine.

Charcuterie Board: Meat and Cheese!

10 May

The topic of a homemade Charcuterie Board has been bouncing around our house for about a week. Why? Because have you ever had one? They’re delightful. Various cured and spiced meats sliced thin, paired with cheeses of varying textures (hard AND soft??), laid next to pickled vegetables and strong sauces. All these friends are preparing for their journey to the mouth, hopping on a fresh crusty baguette to serve as their vessel for deliciousness. The downside of making one at home? The amount of cheese you inevitably end up consuming. At a restaurant at least it’s pre-portioned, but at home…ooooh at home, your ravenous instincts are the only things keeping you from “I just ate $45 worth of product”.

So anyhoo, we deiced to embark on this task to cap off one of the greatest weekends of 2013 to date (I said the words “…and so began the craziest summer of my life” at least 4 times that weekend. I was in the moment). So how do we complete a task such as this? You head to Plum Market and get ready for expert advise and quality product.

Table

The general run-down:

  • Proscuitto (thinly sliced, almost to a melt-on-your-tongue thickness)
  • Black Pepper Hard Salami (rich and salty with the perfect bite from the black pepper)
  • Zingerman’s The City Goat Cheese (the texture is a bit lighter than other Goat cheeses, and has a deliciously sweet tang to it. And it’s rolled in fresh Tarragon, which I didn’t think I’d like, but yowza it was the perfect accompaniment to this creamy gem)
  • Vella Golden Bear Dry Jack Cheese (described as “The Grandfather of Jack Cheese” with a texture similar to Parmesan, this hard Jack has amazing nutty and earthy flavors. The rind is also a mixture of cocoa powder, oil, and black pepper, so you can eat it!)
  • Olives (all different types, pit-in of course. My favorite ended up being the bright green kinds)
  • Oil-Packed Artichoke Hearts (I could eat 2 lbs of these, no problem)
  • Marinated Peppadew Peppers (the vinegar gives the perfect tang to balance out the natural sweetness of the cute little peppers)
  • Lemon-Parsley Chickpeas (while these were good, they were more of a “let’s get some deli salads and have a picnic” item, not so much a “this complements my meats and cheeses on my Charcuterie board” item)
  • Cornichons (small pickled Gherkins–Cornichon is actually the French word for “Gherkin”.  I already had some from Trader Joe’s, they’re delicious and reasonably priced seeing as a jar of these can run you up toward $6)
  • Pickled Garlic Cloves (yes, they were quite pungent)
  • Orange-Fig Spread (this ended up being the runaway hit of the evening. The key to any good board–whether cheese or otherwise–is having a nice balance of flavors, hence the sweet counter-part. Everything went well with this spread: cheese, meat, even anything marinated or pickled)
  • Whole Grain Mustard (a classic Charcuterie staple)
  • Bell’s Oarsman (full disclosure: I used to hate this Berliner Weisbier. It’s not your average Wheat beer, it has sour notes that many people may not be accustomed to, but if you’ve got the palate for it, this session beer is a real delight)
  • An Assortment of Crackers and Sliced Baguette

This shot is nice and blurry (too much Oarsman?) however it offers a better idea of the set up (the key is rolling up your Proscuitto for extra fanciness)

PlateAnd the vessels…

BreadOh, not quite full enough yet? How about a mini carrot cake to share!

CarrotCakeWho needs a plate when you have a capable plastic clamshell to eat out of?

Needless to say, we all ate WAY too much, and sat awkwardly and uncomfortably on the couch trying to watch “World Wackiest Water Parks” (or something along those lines) to take our minds off the massive amounts of items of the pickled and dairy persuasion that were currently setting up camp inside of us. I was so full and tired that I blew off my normal Game of Thrones viewing party and opted to go to bed at 9:30pm. Would I do it all over again? 1000%.

MidAssemblyLook at how innocent they look. They have no idea they’re mere moments away from total consumption

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beer’s The Word

15 Mar

I spent the majority of my morning and afternoon researching Michigan Craft Stouts/Porters/Irish Reds for a St Patrick’s blog piece for work (which you can view here) which made me think: Sweet Jesus I want a beer.

I’m normally a fan of the big, hoppy beers–(sidestory-I used to hate hops, just HATE them. I attribute that to someone buying me a Bell’s Two Hearted on my 21st birthday, and it was the last thing I drank before I started puking. Traumatizing. Coincidentally, Two Hearted has become my “go to” beer when I’m out because bars with the worst tap line ups full of watery mass-produced garbage will usually somehow have this, or at least feature it in bottles. When in doubt, Two Heart-it)–but after my hours-long trek behind the bar of the internet I’m in physical pain based on how badly I want a smooth and comforting stout. And soon that turned into just a hard wanting for a beer…ANY BEER.

Admittedly, I am one lucky gal living in Michigan, a state that is just lousy with great beer. Someone complimented me on my choice of a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale the other week while I was out, and it took every fiber of my being not to say “ehhhh yeah, this registers low on my spectrum, but, uh, thanks.” Not to say it’s a bad beer, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not a go-out-of-your-way-to-acknowledge-how-great-it-is kind of beer. I swear I’m not THAT big of a beer snob, I just want to make sure the right breweries are getting their acknowledgements.

There is so much rich history in beer. The pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer, and therefore ran out of clean, drinkable liquid (true story). Monks brew beer (Trappist Ales) as their major monastery fundraising. Hops were originally used as a preservative to keep beer good on it’s long sea voyages from England to India (that’s how we got the India Pale Ale, or IPA). Erica once wrote a post about beer in her critically-acclaimed blog Now Entering Flavor Country (eh? eh?).

I’ve been fortunate enough to work on Kalamazoo Beer Week, be part of the planning for amazing Beer Dinners and Beer Events, attend various beer festivals throughout Michigan and even the Great American Beer Festival, have met many brewers of my favorite beers, and even have my own little “cellar” of fancy 750s and rare bottles. While I myself may not be a beer reviewer, I will take you on a trip down memory lane as I reminiscence about some recent beer travels and experiences from the past 2 or so years.

Bell's Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo, MI

Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo, MI. Boy did I take for granted that this was a few miles from me while living there. Everytime I go back home, I make sure to stop here. I’ve been assured the abv listed for the beers on tap are accurate, but I always feel it 2x. Maybe it’s just my giddy quick-consumption?

Taking in the local color of National Bohemian Beer in Washington DC (I realize it's from Baltimore, but hey, potato-potato)

Taking in the local color of National Bohemian Beer in Washington DC (I realize it’s from Baltimore, but hey, potato-potato). I believe this night they were $1 along with $0.50 wings.

Cans of PBR...er-Rainer in Seattle (tip: don't make fun of this beer or the bartender will tell you to "go the fuck back to Michigan")

Cans of PBR…er-Rainer in Seattle (tip: don’t make fun of this beer or the bartender will tell you to “go the fuck back to Michigan”)

At Left Hand Brewery in Longmont, CO...clever eh?

At Left Hand Brewery in Longmont, CO…clever eh? This was our 3rd brewery stop for the day, so I’m SHOCKED the camera is this steady.

At New Belgium in Fort Collins, CO being an "IPA Ranger"

At New Belgium in Fort Collins, CO being an “IPA Ranger”. I was almost too short to reach my head into the face hole.

At the Great American Beer Festival on Denver, CO being...mature

At the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO during the Brewer’s Session being…mature

The most expensive beer I've ever purchased: $30 for this bottle of Russian River at Monk's Kettle in San Francisco, CA

The most expensive beer I’ve ever purchased at a bar: $30. Russian River Temptation at Monk’s Kettle in San Francisco, CA. Worth it.

Silverado Brewing Co (because we needed a break from wine for an hour) in Napa, CA

Silverado Brewing Co (because we needed a break from wine for an hour) in Napa, CA…I’m behind the camera, classy shot.

A fancy flight from Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland, OR

A fancy flight from Hair of the Dog in Portland, OR

A recent gift package I got from a friend on the West coast...I still owe him a package of Michigan beers

A recent care package I got from a friend on the West coast…I still owe him a package of Michigan beers

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some clocks to stare at until I can quench my thirst. 

You Mean “Award Nominated” Flavor Country?

4 Mar

I hope you feel nervous to check out this blog now, because I…I am now Award-Nominated. Put me in the same categories as Denzel Washington and The Beatles (yes, they’ve both won awards, but they’ve also been NOMINATED).

Jon Jefferson from 10th Day Brewing (great blog about beer, brewing, beer things, and beer, check it out) has nominated me for the Gargie Award. Thanks buddy!

So what is a Gargie? According to their page:

In gargoyledom, the most prestigious award that can be attained is known as the Order of the Stony Groove and is conferred upon deserving gargoyles who have served the greater population in a particular field. 

I read this as “the most prestigious award that can be attained from rambling about food and taking mediocre photos while parading yourself about in hopes that people will “like” your posts”. Thank you internet fans, you like me, you really like me!

TomatoBreadThis is the photo that’s on my desktop background–I took it at a great tapas place in Barcelona, Spain last year, it was 60 degrees in January!–just so you know my daily inspiration, and means of greatness.

Now, I’d like to take the opportunity to nominate a few others who I think excel in their specific areas of expertise

  • Nimh’s Kitchen – updated almost everyday with great [foodie] recipes that make you think “oooo that sounds good for dinner”
  • The Nice Thing About Strangers – if you’re prone to Wanderlust, this blog will both excite you and make you long for a trip abroad
  • AnnaShortcakes – a food lover with a poetic flair for delicious recipes
  • 10th Day Brewing – Beer, need I say more?

 

Fancy Family Dinner Pt 2: Slow Braised Lamb Shanks with Curried Cauliflower and Grape Gremolata, and Mallow-Praline Sweet Potato Pie

1 Mar

With the continuous battering of snow storms, the lack of sunshine and fading memories of the warmer days of yore, sometimes you just need to give yourself a win. “But Spring is right around the corner” they say. “Look, the sun is staying out later each night” they tell me. To them I say “fehh!” I still have to run in the dark each night, change my socks on a regular basis because I walk through the puddles of water that emerge from tracked in snow, wipe my car off MULTIPLE times each day, fantasize about soup more than anyone should, and feel cold, all the time. Yes, I could use a morale boost, and the ever important personal “win.” I knew what must be done, I knew what measures had to be taken: It was time for Fancy Family Dinner Pt 2. Cue Lindsey.

Lindsey (if you need a refresher on who she is, check out the original Fancy Family Dinner) came up to Ann Arbor on Saturday, and we decided to take the first night off with some delicious Pho from Tomukun Noodle Bar (I’ve just really been on an Asian Noodle Soup kick lately), and spend Sunday preparing fancy dinner. And hey, The Oscars were happening that night too. It was an elegant evening not to be soon forgotten. Once our breath-taking ball gowns were picked out and our up-dos did (not really, of course) we settled on

{ Stephanie Izzard – Girl In The Kitchen – Slow Braised Lamb Shanks with Curried Cauliflower and Grape Gremolata }

{ Better Homes and Gardens – Mallow-Praline Sweet Potato Pie }

LambAbove1

We’ve never worked with meat in the form of lamb or shanks, and sweet potato pie because why the hell not. While joking about the $26 Scallops (read: suppressing all emotion and anger deep, deep down) we headed out to see just where one buys Lamb Shanks. Turns out most anywhere. Splendid.

So as with any meal consisting of multiple items, it was time to strategize. The Lamb was going to braise for 1.5-2 hours, so we’ll need to get that started so we can make everything else while it simmers in it’s own delicious gamey juices. And the pie? Let’s go ahead and assume we’ll be QUITE full from the HUGE personal lamb shanks, so while we’d like it to be ideally ready at the end of the meal, there was no rush. Boom, prioritizing complete.

ShanksRaw

Yep, that’s what Lamb Shanks look like in grocery sale form. Vulgar isn’t it? Well get over it because you have to tong those behemoths and give them a nice sear in your giant dutch oven.

Sear

Then pile them up in the most barbaric way possible

Shanks

Wait a second. Is that….oh my sweet jesus it is: Look at that BONE MARROW

Marrow

If you’ve never experienced bone marrow, stop everything you’re doing right now and dramatically throw whatever is in your hands/nearby, run toward the door while knocking others down, and go somewhere that serves bone marrow. Trust me on this one. Now chop up some onions, toss them into the pan with the sweet sweet meat juices, add some liquids to deglaze (wine, HOMEMADE stock, etc), then toss those shanks back in for some good old fashioned braising.

Stew

Full Disclosure: We kept the meat on the stovetop covered, but I’m quite sure that they were supposed to be popped into the oven. Were we wrong? Probably, yeah, most-likely definitely. But hey, #yolo.

Now, what the hell is Gremolata? A condiment of the chopped-herb persuasion apparently. This one uses mint, basil, orange zest, lemon zest, and….roasted grapes. Did you just soil yourself? I know, it sounds amazing. We kept the grapes in the oven for about 15 minute longer than the recipe required because I wanted to make sure they were the right amount of “gushy” when we combined them. And I’m glad we did.

Gremolata1

This component ended up being the favorite of the night. Everything else was TOP NOTCH, but this had such an amazing complexity and layering of flavors to it. I will definitely be making this (in many different forms as well) again…especially when I start my indoor herb garden in May (I’ll explain more in a later post).

What else went with the lamb? Oh yeah, curried Cauliflower. This part was so simple, and so tasty, I just HAD to make a gif out of it:

Cauliflower

(sing to the theme of Hokey Pokey): 

You take your o-live oil, you take your but-ter, you put it in a pan and let it simmer all a-bout

Throw in some chopped up shall-ots and a litt-le bit of garlic, wait the song is-n’t o-ver

Do you smell a-that? Nice and frag-a-rent, I think it’s time for that cau-li-flower

Stir it all together and then add some tas-ty spices, we’ve got ourselves a curried side-dish.

(I’m sorry)

Well, now that we have all the components of our main meal assembled, and the oven is free because SOMEONE (points at self) decided to use the stovetop for braising, let’s go ahead and make that pie. Peel your sweet potato, but don’t put the skins in the sink and assume your garbage disposal can handle it

Plunger

Because it can’t and will clog everything. Yep, not staged–we had to plunger the sink (thanks John). It was thrilling and horrifying, all at the same time. Now cut up said sweet potato.

SweetPotatoChop

Boil it until tender, and then give it a good mash. I’d like to apologize in advance for the following gif:

Mash

I think I just made Lindsey an internet star. [insert high-brow manual stimulant joke]

Well after your mind has returned from the gutter, make your pie filling (eggs, buttermilk, maple syrup, spices, etc) and pour into a prepared pie shell. We took the route of science-expierment pouring, as in filling it to the top, and the keep going until a meniscus forms (remember that everyone? SCIENCE). Prepare to par-bake.

Pie

Now that the pie has been tricked into thinking it’s going to be cooked all the way, pull it out and get ready to freak out (in a delicious way) over what you’re about to do. Top with toasted pecans and mini marshmallows.

PieGhostHand

Oh wow, that looks amazing. What? There’s more? You pour on caramel-like sauce you just made on the stove over all of that?PieI…I need to sit down. Ha Cha Cha. Now…why is there foil on that baking sheet? Oh, it all puffs up and melts together to create an amazing crust on top while letting the access drop down to brûlée itself? Ah.

PieFinalI know what you’re thinking, and no, it’s not overdone, it’s juuuuuust right. We ate the brûléed part for days after, and then had to stop when I started getting crazy sugar attack cravings (read: I wanted some, so I’d have a big hunk, and then act like I was on cocaine by strumming nearby surfaces and nodding my head quickly).

But now, back to the Coup de grace. Braised Lamb Shanks over Curried Cauliflower with Grape Gremolata. After everything was ready, we were all lining up to make plates, until we read the last line of the recipe where you take the shanks out, and boil down the braising liquid to create a thick sauce. Crap. So after a VERY impatient 15 minutes and about 1/4 of the liquid evaporated we said “Screw it” and just started plating.

LambAboveYeah, it’s just as good as it looks. As I mentioned before, the grape gremolata ended up being the real game changer, and look at that sweet delicious bone marrow just waiting to be sucked out.

LambTableWait, let’s bring it back a bit…

LambTableBigWell that’s a tasty looking beer, whatever could that be? Not Just Another Wit from Mikkeller you say? I bet whoever’s beer that is is the type of person that girls want to be, and guys want to date.

On an unrelated note, our 4th companion for Fancy Family Dinner (I’m looking your way, Robert) thought the name of this blog was “This Way To Good Food” and I’ve been having a severe internal struggle for the past few days because wow, what a name! However it shall remain Flavor Country, because there is a great backstory to that name, which perhaps one day I will share with you all.

Cheers to Family Dinner! It has bought me at least another 3 weeks of not having the “Winter Blues” which coincidentally will take me right up to my Birthday (ahem, March 19).

The Art of The Leftover (Plus Some Hard Cider)

19 Sep

So remember that obscene amount of Romesco sauce I had in leftovers? Well, not to worry, I have become a master at leftovers (and, subsequently extra ingredients that were bought and not fully used for recipes…but then again, quarter-life retirement = time to figure out what to do/use said items…I digress…). The best thing to eat Romesco sauce with in Spain? Charred calçots, something like a giant green onion. Well I live in Michigan where those aren’t available! The second (a very close second) best thing? Grilled artichokes. Oh wait Erica, you don’t have a grill. That’s ok, YOU HAVE A MICROWAVE!

Sidenote: photo of my mom (and a fraction of my sister’s left side) in Barcelona eating calçots and artichokes with Romesco sauce. They give you paper bibs and plastic gloves because charred vegetables are MESSY. You wear them proudly and then stuff your face. Notice in the foreground the delicious glass of Cava. Also, a lone carrot.

Do you see the look in her eyes? She’s thinking “it’s go time” to that Calçot

So I finally stopped at The Produce Station here in Ann Arbor and Jesus Christ do the amazing food places to shop here ever end? I knew I could make great use of the Romesco sauce with some cooked artichokes. They had 2 choices: normal artichokes at $2.99/each, or baby artichokes at $3.99/lb. I went with 4 baby artichokes for about $4.50. I also picked up a hard cider from Vander Mill that caught my eye. Go figure. And guess what was right next door that I’d never been to either: Biercamp. A somkery/meatery/artisan sausage place. goddamnitsogood. So naturally I had to pick up some turkey jerky. And beef bologna (and for those of you who turn your nose up at bologna, you’ve obviously never had a slice from a non-oscar meyer loaf). And McClure’s Dill Pickle Chips. The best part? My total at Biercamp was only $8!

So onto leftover dinner:

Ohhh baby, antipasto meals are my favorite types of meals

  • Small white containers = leftover Romesco sauce, cornichons (mini gherkins) and kalamata olives (the olives are actually leftover from the lasagna, did I just blow your mind?).
  • Marble cheese slicer = ricotta salata (from the Romesco sauce meal)
  • Red plate = artichokes bought earlier; leftover tomatoes from the Romesco sauce, oven roasted (actually, I didn’t roast them long enough, and they are store bought and non-flavorful, so INGORE THOSE), turkey jerky, and beef bologna.
  • Green place = Toasted Zingerman’s Paesano bread

Delightful.

And to go with it: Vander Mill Cider’s Totally Roasted. A hard cider made with cinnamon roasted pecans.

The best meal accompaniments are of the alcoholic persuasion. Or water, you can never drink enough water.

I was super excited to have this. I’ve never been too interested in cider in the past because once you have a Woodchuck cider at any point in your adulthood you’re ready to throw in the towel. Too sweet. Overpowering. Gross. But over the past few years I’ve really gained a liking for hard cider. When made right it’s almost like a dry effervescent white wine. Effervescent.

This was nice and non-overpoweringly-sweet, but…I was expecting more spice. You can notice it in the aftertaste, but not so much in the actual…taste. It’s still a great cider, but after reading the description, and being told when I bought it “it’s like spiced apple pie” (side note: I’m more of a chocolate and/or coconut pie lady myself…perhaps an upcoming post..?…), I was a little let down. I’m actually attending a Vander Mill hard cider tasting next Thursday, so I’m going to reserve my final judgement until the conclusion of the tasting. But hey, I’m still enjoying this bottle (that’s right, still, I’m typing this with my left hand as I effortlessly sip Totally Roasted with my right…).

But, in essence, the art of leftovers is to take what you have, and try to maximize it with minimal additional purchases. If you have a great example of transforming leftovers, I’d love to hear about it! (for example: leftover chicken into chicken salad, I WANT A CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE!)

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The Tomato Tart

But check your lease, man. Because you're living in Flavor Country.

BunnyandPorkBelly

life is always sweeter and yummier through a lens. bunnyandporkbelly [at] gmail [dot] com