Monday, December 12, 2011

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Alternate Titles: The Day I Ate Seven Cookies, or The Week Cookies Became a Diet Staple.

Over the past few weeks I have been participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. The swap, organized by two bloggers, resulted in over 600 people shipping cookies in and out of the U.S. Each participant sent out a dozen cookies to three other bloggers and received three dozen cookies in return.

Last Sunday evening I baked Martha Stewart's Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies to send to my matches in Ohio, Tennessee, and Connecticut. I had a little local inspiration. One of the food carts that popped up in Ann Arbor this year makes the most delicious vegan (although you would never know its vegan) Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies. My cookies weren't as spicy as my inspiration's were, but they had subtle kick. Here's the recipe I used,  only slightly adapted from Martha's version.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, additional for dusting if desired

Mix flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper, set aside. Cream together butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar until smooth, then add eggs. Once mixed gradually add the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Preheat oven to 400F. In a small bowl mix remaining sugar, cinnamon and cayenne if desired, roll tablespoons of dough in this mixture before putting on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes in the oven, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. 

. . .and if you're participating in the cookie swap, package up your cookies and send!

After baking and sending my cookies, the exciting part came - receiving cookies. Ironically, the same day I sent my cookies I received two dozen cookies. Salty Sweet Cookies from Kiss My Whisk and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip MAGIC Cookies from Ma Vie en Rose. Both cookies were delicious, and both bloggers were nice enough to send along recipe cards. I can't wait to eat both of these again. Later in the week, I received my final shipment of cookies (as if I hadn't eaten enough already) from Girly Obsessions. These lovely gals sent along Barcelona Cookies, which are dark chocolate wafers with almonds and fleur de sel.

The cookie swap was really fun and something to look forward to amidst that wanting-to-fall-over-from-finals-frustration-and-exhaustion feeling. If your a blogger interested in participating next year, sign up here to receive notifications next year on the swap.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

What is Madeline eating for dinner tonight? Leftovers. What is she eating for dinner tomorrow night? Leftovers. And the next night? Leftovers! (I know, I know, this thought crosses your mind every night.) Ribollita from 101 Cookbooks + Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce = Two recipes in two days designed for families of 4-6. It's truly a blessing in disguise though, this is a crazy week at school. 

Last night I made the penne pasta dish and invited my friend Caroline over for dinner. I found the recipe for this dish on Classico's website after receiving their new Light Creamy Alfredo to try as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker's Program. The thought of pumpkin and alfredo was intriguing to me and I was pleasantly surprised by the finished product. The combination of light alfredo and pumpkin produced a thick looking, light sauce. I actually preferred the light alfredo to other alfredos I've tried which I usually feel just sit in my stomach. I would definitely make this again for a quick, crowd pleasing meal.

Since making this I've noticed a few bloggers making pumpkin mac and cheese. This also sounds delicious but I think I will wait until my shelf of in the refrigerator is visible again. 

Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce and roasted carrots and parsnips.
Hope you are having a great week!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Morning @ the A2 Farmer's Market

Is there anything better then a cool, crisp fall morning at the Farmer's Market? I'm doubtful, but I suppose a cool, crisp fall morning at the market with family and friends would have been even better. There wasn't a cloud in the sky this morning when I walked over to the market, walking on the sunny side of the street of course. On my list was kale for soup I hope to make today or tomorrow, apples, and the rest subject to market finds. I ended up walking away with kale, acorn squash, salad greens, sage, apples, roasted chestnuts and an Algerian pastry, for a total of $16. I am so lucky to live so close to a great market. I plan to take full advantage the rest of the year, since I have no idea where I will be ending up after this (school) year.

As silly as it sounds, I attribute some of my favorite new things at the market to the the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market Twitter account. I would have never learned about Al Meida, a producer of the most delicious Algerian Pastries (my personal favorites are Caak, picture below, and the Kaab el Gahzal). 

And I certainly wouldn't have given a second look, or even looked for the vendor roasting chestnuts at the market today had it not popped up on Twitter. Two dollars for a generous portion of roasted chestnuts seemed like quite a deal. There gone now, sad, but they'll be back at the market on December 10th. 

Silly I know, but it is kind of cool how social media makes it way into seemingly non-technological sectors. I find myself reading about things and connecting with people that I otherwise would not have. I, without a doubt, waste to much time on Facebook and Twitter but it turns out to be an effective waste time. :) Or at least that is what I'll keep telling myself...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Not too much blog worthy cooking going on the past few days. Food getting me through the days has included turkey sandwiches, roasted and raw veggies, apples, pears, bagels (lots of bagels), Halloween candy, Chinese food and other random unhealthy things. I'm hoping to simultaneously shift my (as of late) unhealthy eating habits and gets lots of other stuff done this week. But on to something really exciting. . .

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! I learned about the swap on Twitter as follower of Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil (who is one of the organizers of the swap). About 500 food bloggers have signed up to participate so far. The way it works is I will be given three names and addresses to send cookies to (and three different bloggers will receive my information as well). I'll send cookies to them by a certain date and receive cookies from other bloggers as well. I will be blogging about the swap in early December - so watch for the post!

If you are a food blogger interested in participating, sign up here by November 15th.

All I have left to do is test a few cookies recipes. I'm sure my roommates won't mind. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fall Flavored Iced Coffee

As the east coast gets a generous dusting of snow and here in the Mitten I'm averaging two long sleeves shirts several hours a day, today is probably one of the last socially acceptable days to post about iced coffee. Just in time for cold temperatures, I may have found the best method for making iced coffee at home (well, the New York Times found it and shared).

Mix a 1 1/2 cups of water with 1/3 of a cup of coffee grounds. Stir together grounds and water, and let them sit together at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight. After sitting, pour the mixture through a coffee filter, fine mesh strainer, etc. You will be left with a coffee concentrate. To enjoy as iced coffee, use a 1:1 ratio of coffee concentrate:water (obviously adding ice, milk as desired). This recipe should make two large glasses of iced coffee.

Look Mom, no condensation! Special thanks to Tervis and Foodbuzz for the opportunity to try out their tumblers. 

Perhaps, equally as exciting as the new iced coffee method was the coffee grounds I used. I received two pounds of flavored coffee - Caramel Pecan Bark and Pumpkin Spice - from Godiva as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program. I don't buy flavored coffee often but I liked the subtle flavors in these coffees when hot, nothing too overwhelming. When I prepared the Caramel Pecan Bark as iced coffee the caramel flavor stood out much more which was a pleasant surprise, very smooth. Side note, these coffees both get an A+ for smell. I noticed Godiva has a $2 off coupon for coffee on their website as well for all you clippers.

I think I've found my cool weather coffee experiment - Cappuccino in a French Press!

P.S. You can now receive Munching in the Mitten in your inbox. Subscribe over on the left under "RECEIVE NEW POSTS IN YOUR INBOX." ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Butternut Squash & Cranberry Maple Millet

I've had the recipe for Butternut Squash & Cranberry Maple Millet on my brain ever since I saw it on Daily Garnish last Friday.

Last night when I should have been writing a paper for Urban Planning and figuring out my vermicompost research project, I was cooking instead. Getting that recipe off my mind. I did the other stuff eventually too. Sort of. But if not last night, when? I'll be writing papers the rest of the week, and before you know it will be time to go home for Fall Break. Plus, now I have leftovers.

The recipe couldn't be easier. Roast butternut squash, cook millet, make dressing and stir together. Maple, squash, and cranberries - tastes like fall.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Stuff gets done when you drink cold brewed coffee. Grounds in water for 24 hours, buddy!

After two trips to the bank (I forgot my debit card the first time), I had my sights set on one thing when I arrived at the Farmer's Market this morning - coffee. It was found in the form of RoosRoast and listed on the menu as ice bomb, or ice monster, err something like that. After all, it was upwards of 70 degrees here today. Later finds at the market included: radishes, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, apples, tarragon encrusted goat cheese and a mini pumpkin pie. Market eats after the coffee jitters set in: pork tamale and curtido salad (don't worry I had to Google it too) from Pilar's Tamale Cart.

Attempting to do my Spanish workbook proved difficult for the next few hours, as my hands jittered away. I sent a lot of texts quickly in those few hours. I settled for some computer work instead, applying for graduation and finishing up a form I have been putting off for my major. The coffee convulsions continued and I decided to try and run it out. That's something that wears me out quickly. :)

I ended my run at the food co-op to grab a lemon for the spinach pesto I was planning to make. I'm sure the sweat running down my head as I cooled off in the store was really attractive.

Eventually I made this spinach pesto, however using a food processor. It was later enjoyed atop a half of yesterday's lentil burgers (only seven more left to eat!) with goat cheese. The other lentil burger half was topped with goat cheese and American Spoon Tomato Relish (buy this!). Both were winning combos. 

P.S. That pumpkin pie? It no longer exists. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Eastern Market (food) Truck Stop

I've been spending an awful lot of time in Detroit this week. I'm not complaining. Tuesday night my former Detroit roommate, Maureen and I went to Eastern Market for their last Tuesday market and Truck Stop event. The Eastern Market Truck Stop welcomed several Michigan food trucks, carts and eateries to Shed 2 including: Trailer Park'd from East Lansing; El Guapo Grill, Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes, and Urban Grounds from Detroit; San Street and Debajo del Sol from Ann Arbor; and Treat Dreams from Ferndale to name a few. We arrived around 6PM and it was standing room only for a while but we managed to find the line for Trailer Park'd. 

Everything on their menu looked great and was slowly being crossed out because they were selling out fast. I ended up with the Ballin' A$& Tacos which were made with chorizo, queso fresco, mole verde, cilantro and lime. Maureen got a sandwich with rabbit, brie, homemade mustard and apple cider which was unbelievably delicious.

It was a hard decision to skip out on pork buns from San Street but I figured I would try something new since I can get San Street in Ann Arbor at Mark's Carts. Note to self: pork buns soon. 

For dessert I went with Salty Carmel Ice Cream from Treat Dreams. It was as good, if not better than it sounds. Fad or not, that flavor combo rocks. 

Given the turnout, it seemed like a great event for both vendors and the Market. I hope this becomes an annual (or even seasonal) event! Additionally, I hope it gave Detroit and other Michigan cities a head's up that people want these businesses on the street. 

For more pictures from the event check out Eastern Market's Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tour de Troit

On Friday night my Mom, Dad and I set out for Detroit to ride in the Tour de Troit on Saturday. We stayed at a hotel and woke up early Saturday morning to head to Roosevelt Park in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood.

Tour de Detroit is a 22-mile bike ride (62 miles for ambitious folk) through the historic areas of Detroit. This year's event attracted 4,300 bike riders and benefited the Southwest Detroit Greenlink. The areas we biked through included Woodbridge, New Center, Indian Village, Belle Isle, Downtown and obviously, Corktown. After completing 17 miles, including the 5 mile loop of Belle Isle, there was a rest stop for riders on Detroit riverfront with water, apple's and granola bars. Perhaps, the most exciting part of the rest stop was this tent with a logo designed by my summer roommate, Maureen!

Following the rest stop was a leisurely 5 miles through downtown back to Roosevelt Park. And then of course the post-ride festivities began - food, drink and music at Roosevelt Park. I enjoyed an Ethiopian vegetarian plate from Traffic Jam & Snug and pulled pork chili from Slow's BBQ - all delicious. Twenty-two miles and lunch later it was still only 1:00 so we drove to Eastern Market so that my parents could experience it on a market day. :)

The bike ride was such a fun experience. It was so nice to share what I love about Detroit with my Mom and Dad. I think they enjoyed it as well. My dad noted three firsts of the day: first time riding a bike in Detroit, first time visiting Belle Isle and first time visiting Eastern Market. My mom was talking about next year's ride on the car ride home. We'll be starting recruitment in a few months, friends. Here are a few photos from the day:

Helmet hair. 
M & D. Aren't they cute?
Approaching downtown. RenCen to the left. 
My favorite photo of the day. I took the photo blindly by holding my camera above my head as I rode away. I didn't realize until later that I caught two smilers on the right. 
Ambassador Bridge.
Post-ride party. 
Apple @ Eastern Market. Part of the Michigan Apple Trail.

Tour de Troit Post & More Coming Soon

Hey friends! Sorry for the delay on the Tour de Troit post. My computer charger died on Sunday (about the same time my computer did). And of course my photo's on my dead computer. Have no fear, a new charger is on its way. . .

Happy Tuesday! If your in or around Detroit today stop by Eastern Market's last Tuesday market and their food truck celebration this evening.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nectarine & Pear Breakfast Crumble

Thursday night I experienced an abnormal amount of productivity. After finishing up class at 1:00, I drove to Detroit to pick up my packets for a biking event this weekend. I grabbed some of my favorite Detroit grub (Goodwell's Famous Pocket Sandwich and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip cookies from Avalon Bakery), drove straight back to Ann Arbor and headed to "the other D" (or the library). I stayed there for a few hours, spending minimal time on Facebook and Twitter, before going back to my apartment and doing homework until midnight. Soon enough it will be normal to stay up this late but I hadn't mustered the energy to do so before yesterday.

By midnight, I must have hit my second wind and decided to make my breakfast for the next morning. I had several pieces of fruit from the farmer's market, bought almost two weeks ago, that were looking pretty sad. I decided to make a breakfast-y fruit crumble. 

I made a quick crust out of flour, flax seed and oats moistened with a little bit of water and butter and pressed the "crust" onto the bottom of an oval ramekin. Then I layered slices of nectarine and pear that were lightly tossed in flour. For the crumble top, I hand mixed a little cold butter, flour, oats, cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar and salt. I spread the crumble mixture on top of the fruit, wrapped up the ramekin and put it in the fridge overnight. Next time I make this I'll pay closer attention to the amounts of each ingredient and report back. 

Yesterday morning, I put the ramekin in our "Toast R Oven" at 350 degrees (F) for about 20 minutes while I showered. I turned the oven to broil for the last 2 minutes or so, and voila! A great use of fruit I would likely not eat otherwise and a fun change in my breakfast routine.

Tour de Troit post coming tomorrow. I have big plans to do homework and take advantage of the People's Food Co-op Member Appreciation Day today. What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

News on the Global Food Movement

I'm in the library. I should be studying. I'm reading food articles instead. Story of my life.
Photo courtesy of "The Nation." 
Anyways, I stumbled upon (not on StumbleUpon) an article by Michael Pollan earlier on Twitter and quickly realized that this weeks issue of "The Nation" is all about the global food movement. I'm eager to get my hands on a copy, although the closing of my local Border's this week is making it difficult. You can read it online though, definitely worth a look.

What do you think about a weekly or bi-weekly food link digest? I love the food link digests put out by Bon Appetit and Mark Bittman. Is the world ready for a MitM link digest?

Monday, September 12, 2011

I hate GRITting confused.

Hello from Ann Arbor! This first post of the school year got me thinking about my first post ever around this time last year. This also means I failed to throw my blog a proper birthday. To make up for it, I'll eat cake this week and maybe even recap my blogging over the past year here. 

On to today. After a week of downpours and drizzles, today's beautiful weather was welcomed. Mondays are my best class days because I only have two and am done by noon. I came back to my apartment after class, power napped and then biked to the Arboretum to find a shady place to study. I got more studying than expected done and was also able to relax and take in the great outdoors for a while. I returned from my excursion refreshed with big plans to run (it was pretty short, slightly pathetic) and make dinner. 

The recipe for Roasted Tomato Grits with Goat Cheese has been on my mind since it appeared on Love & Olive Oil last week. I've been wanting to expand my grit repertoire (ok, well start my  repertoire) for quite some time and it is prime tomato time in Michigan, so it didn't take much to sway me into trying this recipe. 

I roasted cherry tomatoes from the Farmer's Market, and found the suggested 400° oven to be a bit too hot. Next time I would stay closer to 350°. 


I ran into problems when cooking my grits, I'm still not sure where the misstep was. The recipe suggests cooking stone-ground grits for 45 minutes. I purchased these grits from Bob's Red Mill, but it took less than 10 minutes start to finish to cook them. I was worried about the grits drying out so I added the butter and goat cheese right away hoping that would provide enough moisture until the tomatoes were done. When it the grits continued to dry out, I divided them into two ceramic dishes and popped them in the oven for about 10 minutes. My grit vs. polenta knowledge is minimal and I'm not exactly sure which one I ended up with. 

Nonetheless, I was pleased with the end result. I topped my "grits" with the roasted tomatoes, freshly chopped basil, and a little more goat cheese. The rich flavor of the roasted tomatoes was the star of the show. 

Off to study grits, polenta, and direct object pronouns in Spanish. . .

Updated 9/13/11: I checked out what Mark Bittman had to say in How to Cook Everything about grits and polenta. It appears grits are a coarse grind of corn and hominy, while polenta is a less coarse grind of cornmeal that sets as it cools and seems to lend itself to more savory dishes. Tomato, toma-toe, I think my dish was more polenta-ish. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

MitM in the Battle Creek Enquirer

My little corner of the blogosphere is getting some attention this morning. Check out Munching in the Mitten in today's Battle Creek Enquirer. :)

From the Battle Creek Enquirer online. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lord Grey's Peach Preserves

The adventures in cannin' and jammin' continued today with another Preservation Society recipe for Peach Preserves with Earl Grey tea. The recipe was easy to follow, and went a little something like this:

To start, score a shallow "X" in the bottom of your peaches. You will want to use five pounds of peaches. Then, in batches, drop them in boiling water for about a minute until the skin loosens up. Cool the peaches in an ice water bath so that you can comfortably peel and slice them. Once you have peeled, quartered, and sliced your peaches into 1/3" slices, mix them with four cups of sugar and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes the peach+sugar mixture will have produced a lot of juice. Drop in four Earl Grey tea bags and cut open an additional tea bag and mix the leaves in with your peach mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil for about twenty to twenty five minutes. Meanwhile, sterilize and prepare your jars for preserving following this method. To check if your preserves are ready to go into their jars, Bon Appetit recommends a nifty method. Put a small plate in the freezer and after boiling your peaches for the allotted time, spoon a small amount on the cold plate. When the peach mixture doesn't run, you know its done. Skim the foam off the top of the peaches before canning (I think I missed some, the top of my jars look a little foamy). 

Continue to process you jars as described by the method in the link above. 

Blurry picture. :(

After finishing all of the jars, I enjoyed the pan scrapings the best way I know how. Preserves atop goat cheese and Carr's whole wheat crackers. So.good. The peaches with the Earl Grey tea produces a really unique flavor. 

My preserves are resting on the counter for the next 24 hours until they move to a more permanent, cool, dark location (the pantry!). I'm excited to pack a few jars for school. More importantly, I'm crossing my fingers that Irene doesn't delay my older sister's travel plans later this week - then I can share them with her. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

When the cat's away the mice will play...

...with tofu! Actually to be grammatically correct, the cats were away (no apostrophe). By cats I mean Mom and Dad, who were moving our little Molly into college. I'm not sure what is harder to believe - that Molly is a college freshman or that I am a senior? Let's not ponder that too long.

Anyways, Mom + Dad's absence seemed like a good time to cook something I'm pretty sure they wouldn't love, tofu. I wasn't in love, but I was in like with it. My method came from a favorite blog, Kath Eats Real Food. First I sliced and pressed the tofu for about twenty minutes beneath a few dusty cookbooks. 

Then I marinated the tofu in a homemade BBQ sauce, the recipe accompanied KERF's baked tofu method. Twenty minutes in the oven at 350 after marinating for a bit and your done.

I ate my tofu with a few (like two) salad greens, farmers market tomatoes, cantaloupe and corn anadama bread from the Bread Man, with the company of a Food & Wine magazine.

Oh summer, don't leave. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back-2-School (WHAT!?) Potluck

Last night Molly and I hosted a potluck for several of our friends to celebrate the summer and hang out one more time before its back to school. Molly (my little sister) leaves for school this week, but I still have a few more weeks (this is totally fine with me, I could use another a month).

We had a great evening! It is nice that as we have gotten older, we share friends - much more fun and efficient. :)

I am the fairest of them all, yikes. 
My contribution to dinner were the kabobs. Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs from All Recipes, to be exact. I always find the comments on All Recipes to be helpful. With a commenter's advice I added pineapple to the skewers and remembered to soak the skewers in water for a few hours prior to grill time. However in true Madeline-cooking-fashion, improvisation was necessary and "grilling time" turned into broiler time. No.Propane. Next time your grill runs out of propane, charcoal, etc., broil your skewers for five minutes on each side. 

The other great items on the plate were: caesar salad, balsamic quinoa salad with cranberries, feta, and cucumbers and taco dip. Not pictured: goat cheese and whole wheat Carr's crackers. 

And for dessert, an always popular crowd pleaser: brownies (made with applesauce instead of oil). Yum!

More end of summer celebrations to come!

P.S. The coriander seed has been dried and plucked from it's stems. It didn't quite fall off like it was supposed to but came off quite easily. Now, what to make with it?

Monday, August 15, 2011

KODAK Gallery Photo Book

KODAK and Foodbuzz (the Facebook for foodies site you see links to on my page) recently teamed up to offer Featured Publishers, like myself, the opportunity to create a free Quickstart Photo Book. Initially I had several different ideas about what type of photo book I wanted to make, but ultimately decided to use this opportunity to compile the many family photos we took in June when we celebrated my little sister's graduation and my older sister's marriage.

The scrap booking gene skipped several generations in my family. Luckily creating a Photo Book with KODAK couldn't be easier. All the tools you need are right in front of you on the page.

I'm still finishing up my Photo Book but I will be sure to share the final product soon! In the meantime you should head on over to KODAK because they are offering readers (you!) 40% off of a medium hardcover or large Photo Book. Go to to redeem before August 31st, 2011. Thanks KODAK & Foodbuzz!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pestos, Pickling & More

We finally have some semblance of a food processor in my house. My Dad bought a Ninja blender/food processor (I'm assuming to make smoother margaritas, but whatever). It's no 11-cup Cuisinart, but I will take what I can get. In celebration of the momentous occasion, I started attacking my list of things-I-want-to-make-but-can't-easily-because-of-no-food-processor. 

First up, pesto. I bought basil at the Farmer's Market on Saturday for $2.00 since something enjoyed my basil while on vacation.

I used Mark Bittman's recipe for Traditional Pesto (pg. 27) in How to Cook Everything. Here's the shorthand version of the recipe: 2 loosely packed cups of basil, salt to taste, 1/2 clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts or walnuts, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Process all of the ingredients with half of the specified oil, then gradually add in the remaining oil once all ingredients are processed. 

Then, all of that thinking about pesto reminded me of the walnut pesto I enjoyed on a sandwich at Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft in NYC with my sister last spring. A Google search brought me to this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for walnut pesto. I used red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, and added a bit of smoked paprika instead of sun dried tomatoes. I think the sun dried tomatoes would have been the "something" the pesto was missing, but it is still very much edible. I've been using both pestos to make a whole wheat sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes this week, very tasty. 

The kitchen motivation rolled on in Sunday afternoon when I decided to try my hand a pickling beets. "The Preservation Society" article in this months Bon Appetit was my inspiration. Motivation dwindled when I realized just how much work goes into pickling, a lot of work for two quarts of pickled beets that might be good. Not unreasonable just not what I was expecting on a relatively "lazy day." I don't think it would take much more effort to pickle larger amounts of produce keeping with the same process. I'll let you know how they turned out in a few short days when I open up one of the jars. 

Finally, I have one more small project to update you on next week. I'm harvesting the coriander seeds from our cilantro coriander plant. The plant is your run-of-the-mill Burpee plant so I doubt I will be able to replant the seeds, but I'm hoping I can use them in a recipe or two (not that I normally do :/). Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Family Dinner

Few times are my dinners blog worthy, but last nights dinner - totally blog worthy. It also featured lots of local ingredients.

My Dad grilled Copper River Salmon (ok, not local) with a brown sugar and mustard glaze. I prepped and helped grill sweet corn from my favorite Battle Creek Farmer's Market. This was my first time grilling sweet corn. I followed these instructions to grill and also made the accompanying herb butter with parsley, thyme, and rosemary. My Dad said we should have left more husk on the corn and soaked it in water prior to grilling and as the corn silk caught fire, I began to agree with him. Nonetheless, everything turned out fine. We also had coleslaw made by Mom and Dad using a recipe my grandma used to make with cabbage from the market a few weeks ago.

Earlier in the day, my bro-in-law David made a blueberry pie with berries we picked up in Middleville on vacation earlier this week. The crust was probably my favorite. Great finale to a great dinner. 

P.S. Currently listening to The Outer Vibe, they played at an outdoor concert in Battle Creek on Friday. Loving it. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vacation (all I ever wanted)!

Ah, vacation. I'm at one of my favorite places in the whole world, the cottage my Mom and Dad have been renting every summer for over 30 years. My days have been filled with reading, lathering my niece and nephews in sunscreen, eating, spending quality time with three of four sisters, snuggling with puppies, gazing mindlessly on the lake for extended periods of time, and the occasional sunburn of my knees. Meanwhile little sister anxiously awaits her room assignment for college this summer and Dad perfects his margarita recipe (you were right on with that one, M).

This morning something notable happened in food world. The family went to Food Dance in Kalamazoo. I love it because its the closest one can get to Zingerman's in west Michigan, they even serve some Zing breads and cheese. I ordered Julie's French Toast which is made with challah bread and soaked in a cinnamon orange brandy batter. Then I traded with sister #3 for some of her Smoked Whitefish Scramble (OMG!). Per usual, everything was great. If your in the area, stop - you won't be disappointed.

During brunch, my bro-in-law and nephew wandered off for a walk and came back with lots of "foodie treats" from Food Dance's market just outside of the restaurant. I was able to enjoy of few of his finds this evening on a dessert plate he made. A dessert charcuterie plate, if you will. Clockwise from the top, Vosges chocolate, Oreos, coconut macaroons, Food Dance brownie (buy 4, get 1 free) and marshmallows. A perfect mix of class and classics. Thanks, D.

Photo Credit: M's iPhone.