Monday, August 31, 2009

What We Did on Our Summer Staycation

Despite the fact that rain derailed some of our initial plans, the a2eatwrite family had a good staycation last week.

There were a variety of culinary things we wanted to do, but honestly, after fitting in just a few of them, we decided to save others for later, just because we’re not really used to that much rich food.

We always see staycations as a chance to “splurge” in our hometown.

What do we do on staycations that we don’t usually do?

Well, one thing we don’t do frequently is eat out. We had a list of places we wanted to try: Neehee’s in Canton, courtesy of a great post by Kitchen Chick, burgers at The Sidetrack in Ypsi, one of Sparrow Market’s “Feast” dinners, The Grange Kitchen and Bar (see the great post on The Grange Kitchen and Bar by The Farmer's Marketer), and the last German Park Picnic of the season.

Neehee’s was a total delight, but Kitchen Chick gave a fairly comprehensive overview of Neehee’s so I’ll let her speak to that. I will say that our favorites were Papdi Chaat (crunchy puffed rice with potatoes, chilis, yogurt and chutneys) and the cheese Uttapam (a rice pancake with fresh mozzarella cheese, dipped in chutneys. We’d also second Kitchen Chick’s appraisal of the saffron-pistachio (kesar pistachio) ice cream - it was simply out of this world. I’ve included the Neehee’s link here, but while it was working fine a couple of days ago, it’s having problems today - just keep trying.

I still can’t believe that The Sidetrack has been on our radar all these years, and yet we’d never been there. If you love burgers, this is the place to go. Well, actually, we are rich in great burgers in Washtenaw county - I can’t slight Blimpy Burgers on one end of the spectrum nor those at Zingerman's Roadhouse (especially as the Monday night special with a fabulous tossed salad). If you like thick, cooked-to-order burgers, The Sidetrack brings back memories of burgers gone by. I loved my toppings of grilled onions and swiss, my husband loved his sliders with goat cheese and roasted red peppers, my mom followed my lead, but had cheddar instead of swiss, and my son was equally happy with bacon and cheddar. Not only were these burgers voted one of the top twenty in the country by GQ magazine, but there is an insane of topping combinations that can be derived from the menu. We also enjoyed a basket of fried dill pickles, which we thought were loads better than the fries.

German Park was great fun, if a little cold. The lines were apparently longer than they’d ever been, perhaps thanks to notice by German Park Picnic and a review in August's Ann Arbor Observer. Part of my varied ethnic background is Bavarian, and that part of me was delighted with the bratwurst, spatzen and sauerkraut. Music, schuhplatter dances and parades helped the evening, as did the good company of friends and some mean games of Sequence.

After The Sidetrack, we decided to hold off on the Grange Kitchen and Bar for another time, as we’d already decided that the bar menu was more friendly for our sixteen-year-old and our wallets, and we felt like we were done with the rich foods (um… except for that German Park Picnic) by the time late week rolled around.

As for the Sparrow South American Market Feast, it was incredible. In fact, it was so incredible that it merits its own post, which will be up later this week.

Our other culinary experiences were our traditional, staycation cheese and chocolate dinner, courtesy of “cheese ends” from Whole Foods Market (there is a basket of small cheese pieces where you can gain maximum choice for minimal buck right near the “cracker” section in the Washtenaw Whole Foods), daily tomato sandwiches with farmers market tomatoes, and a family sushi-making night.

Our other activities included geocaching, park walks, lots of reading, exploration of the new U. of M. Museum of Art, several rounds of Kill Dr. Lucky, and a viewing of Bride and Prejudice (to accompany our feast from Neehee's), too many episodes of “Angel”.

If you had a staycation this summer, how did you spend it?

Friday, August 21, 2009


We're off on staycation for the next week, so I won't be hopping over to your places, and I won't be posting anything at mine.

Hope everyone has a lovely, happy, healthy week!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday: Farmers Market Niçoise

Please go to The Fairy Blogmother for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

I had the farm share of all farm shares last week, as our share partners were out of town, and it is most definitely peak season. Our Tantre box was filled to the brim with corn and lettuce, beets and eggplant, basil, parsley, summer squash, carrots, both green beans and purple beans, tomatoes, potatoes and an orange-fleshed honeydew that tasted deliciously sweet and had a hint of rosewater.

We cooked up the corn the first night, because you just have to eat corn as fresh as can be, and we used much of the other bounty quickly. By the weekend, however, we still had all of the wonderful makings of a Salade Niçoise, plus some corn kernels that had to be used up. With the addition of some hard-boiled eggs, a can of tuna packed in oil (which is what I really need for Niçoise), some olives from Plum Market's olive bar and a loaf of home made bread via Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, it was a delicious, and relatively easy, summer dinner. The ingredients that are starred are all veggies that you can find fresh and local at the Farmers Market (or other area markets) right now.

A2eatwrite's Farmers Market Niçoise


*4 small red-skinned potatoes, quartered, steamed or boiled to fork tender, and cooled
*4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered (better and fresher if you get them from a local farmer)
1 can of tuna packed in olive oil
*2 cups of rinsed, washed lettuce leaves
*2 cups of green beans, steamed briefly (1 minute or less) and chilled ahead of time (OR... 1 cup of green beans, steamed as above and 1 cup of purple beans, raw, so they retain their color)
*fresh corn kernels off of two small cobs (or one large one)
*2 tomatoes, cut into 1/8ths
1/2 cup of niçoise or other small, black olives

For the dressing:

*1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS red wine vinegar
1 1/2 TBS olive oil


1. Mash the garlic together with the salt (I find a mortar and pestle works best for this) - scrap mixture into a small bowl and whisk in vinegar. Finally, whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Set aside.
2. Place rinsed lettuce leaves on the bottom of a platter.
3. Place tomatoes and beans around the platter and make sure coverage is complete, ie. you will get beans and tomatoes with each serving.
4. Do the same with the cooled potatoes and egg quarters.
5. Scatter the corn, olives and tuna on top of the salad.
6. Drizzle dressing over the salad. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

Serves four.


Nutrition Facts

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 398.3
Total Fat 17.8 g
Saturated Fat 3.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.2 g
Cholesterol 219.7 mg
Sodium 609.7 mg
Potassium 1,217.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 37.3 g
Dietary Fiber 5.9 g
Sugars 2.2 g
Protein 24.8 g

As always, nutrition info supplied by the recipe calculator function at

If you'd be so kind, please leave your comments and/or votes here.


On Saturday I had hoped to be at the wedding of a friend's just-turned-21-year-old daughter.

Instead, I was at the memorial for a just-turned-14-year-old gem of a girl who lost her battle with leukemia.

Emma was the daughter of C's simply amazing math teacher. This teacher gives of herself in a way that few teachers are able to. When C, D and I went for the first information night about C's school, there were several students there who were talking about their favorite experiences at the school. This teacher's name came up again and again. I can personally vouch for this woman's extraordinary care and commitment - despite her daughter's illness, she took a special interest in C and tried with everything in her power to help him overcome some real struggles which he had with Algebra 2 last year. It was also evident that she is a superb, dedicated and loving mom. No surprises there.

From what I can tell, the entire family is extraordinary. The young woman who died was someone who grabbed life with both hands - she was always optimistic, never had a bad word to say to anyone, faced her illness and treatments bravely, had straight A+'s in school, many extra-curricular interests, a special fondness for animals, respect and love for all people. Her dad and younger sister are obviously equally loved (I've already spoken of her wonderful mother) - I think the sister's entire class and their parents showed up to lend her support. Her father gave the most touching eulogy I've ever heard, and shared so many details of Emma's life it was clear that this is a family who really listens to each other, who learns the details that makes each person in the family unique.

Then you have to ask yourself, why?

It's the old question of why do bad things happen to good people? Why is another friend of mine losing her 54-year-old husband to brain cancer? Why was this girl, who by all accounts was a true angel on earth, taken so young?

Obviously, none of us have answers to the hard questions. Some of us find solace in various religions; some of us do not.

What I can take from this is that each day is a gift. Each time I can hold a loved one close, it's a gift. Each time I can read an involving book, bite into a sun-warmed tomato, plunge into the ocean, smile across a table at a favorite friend, visit with you all via your blogs and e-mails, it is a gift.

Gifts are unpredictable. Make the most of yours.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Peach Cherry Muffins

I have Peach Cherry Muffins over at my other gig.

If you'd like the recipe, please click here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Local Love Fridays: The Sweetest of Sweet Gems

I don't think Matt Morgan and Tommy York could have planned it better. If they want someone to linger in their shop, what better strategy than to plant a chocolate kitchen by the front entrance?

The delightful odor of chocolate envelops you as you move closer and closer to Nancy Biehn's workspace - the kitchen and main showroom for Sweet Gem Confections, where Nancy is the Chief Executive Chocolatier.

I met Nancy at the end of a long day, and was somewhat mixed about a late-ish afternoon interview. All hesitation disappeared when I walked into her space. I felt like Charlie entering the Chocolate Factory.

Of course, there was also Nancy's wonderful energy and love for her craft, which was evident everywhere: the gorgeous display case, filled with myriad types of her hand-crafted, artisan chocolates, a wall of colorful ribbons, cooling racks filled with groups of the different truffles, crafted recently.

My next question seemed superfluous, surrounded by all this sumptuous glory. "How did you get started with all this?"

Nancy had taken a year in Ovieto, Spain to "find herself" as many of us do at some point or another in our lives. During that year she learned to really look at food for the first time. She grew up on a farm and food was definitely the mainstay of her family's life, but the attitude was always "eat to live". In Spain, influenced by the mother in the family she lived with, food began to take on an almost magical feel. She loved the care that went into cooking, the travel to taste new foods or wines, the different levels of aesthetics that went into each meal. After discovering a favorite chocolate shop in Oviedo, she completely fell in love.

When she came back, she knew she wanted to learn how to make chocolate. She spent the next ten years learning about her craft on her own, and then taking a couple of patisserie classes at Schoolcraft College in Livonia to learn tempering. After making chocolates as gifts for several years, a friend suggested she go into business. The whole Ann Arbor area is richer for her decision to follow that friend's advice.

Nancy's chocolates are as beautiful as they are delicious. They have been a part of special celebrations for our family ever since my husband and I met her at her stall at the Farmers Market on a cool, autumn day last year. Like all good, local food, her chocolates are seasonal, and while some favorites, such as milk chocolate mint ("cream infused with fresh mint leaves, mixed with milk chocolate, dipped in dark chocolate and embellished with a colorful finish") are available year-round, others are dependent on the seasons, such as the current Peach Truffles - tarragon-infused cream and peach puree mixed with Maralumi 45% milk chocolate and then dipped in dark chocolate. Nancy's selections are based on whim and by suggestions from customers; one of the things she loves about running her own business is the flexibility to change and to be spontaneous.

What makes Sweet Gems unique is that Nancy uses a variety of single-origin chocolates and then uses the essence of a particular chocolate, whether it's smoky or fruity, complex with various notes, or more straightforward, and matches it with the very best local ingredients or top-shelf liqueurs. She uses cream and butter from Calder Dairy, raspberries that she picks herself from Makielski's, strawberries from Gibbs Berry Farm and honey from various local sources. Before the demise of Leopold Brothers, she made a fabulous truffle that used their stout. To give you a sense of the range of her truffles, she creates items as basic (but oh so amazing) as my personal favorite, the Strawberry Pate - "Fresh strawberry pectin fruit pate dipped in Michel Cluizel's single origin "Conception" dark chocolate" to one of the most beautiful and complex in her current repertoire - Jasmine Tea w/ Citrus Zest - "Dark chocolate and fresh cream infused with pearl jasmine tea and grapefruit zest, diamond cut, dipped in white chocolate, and finished with a pattern of branches and flowers".

In addition to Nancy's extraordinary truffles, she also makes decadent caramels, chocolate barks of various types, chocolate covered toffee and a lovely, spicy cocoa mix. She also puts together chocolate-making classes for groups of four to six. Upcoming classes will be taking place from 1:00 - 3:30 on the following Saturday afternoons: September 19th, September 26th, October 24th, and November 14th. If you're interested about the experience, local blogger and wedding poet Chloe Miller has a lovely write up on her blog, Wordarrangement's Blog, of a recent class.

If you wish to see Nancy at work, you can watch a video of an interview with Nancy here.

Sweet Gem Confections can be found inside Morgan and York, 1928 Packard Road Ann Arbor, MI 48104. You can get more information from Nancy at 734-929-6513 or by e-mailing info at sweetgemconfections dot com. You can also order Sweet Gem Confections online.

Every week, a small Ann Arbor area business will be featured here. Please feel free to grab the button and highlight special, small businesses from your area and be sure to buy local! If you are able, and would be so kind, please leave comments about this post at my new writing gig here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday: Kohlrabi Slaw Redux

Please go to The Fairy Blogmother for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

Well, you may remember that last week I wrote about a recipe gone wrong. One of those recipes that went increasingly wrong as I kept trying to fix it.

I put out a plea for help, and help you delivered! I not only received suggestions from Ann Arbor, but also from Alberta, Canada; New Orleans; Belgium; Boston and several other locales.

I am very grateful for all of the help. Many of the suggestions were similar, which makes sense given that I described what I was looking for. After sorting out the many ideas, and going to local blog, Gastronomical Three, suggested by reader Vivienne Armentrout, I decided to try the following variations:

This one was suggested by reader Peipei:

1 TBS canola oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 TBS honey
1 tsp fresh, grated ginger
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground fresh pepper

A sauce for hiyashi chuka, the cold Japanese noodle dish, was suggested by my blogging buddy, Thalia's Child, who lives somewhere in Western Canada. After doing a comparison of different variants of hiyashi chuka, I decided on the variant suggested by Thalia's Child, which consisted of this:

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
5 tablespoons chicken stock
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chili oil (optional - but I used it)

I then pondered "add-ins". reader JG suggested cranberries, both for color and taste, and reader Mike Jennings suggested elimination of the sunflower seeds and adding black sesame seeds and toasted sesame seeds instead.

As a tasting panel, we invited over some friends, and we made a lovely Monday night dinner of it, supplementing the kohlrabi slaw taste-testing with grilled chicken sausages, a decadent Paula Deen corn casserole, and an Achatz raspberry pie. (Yeah, I was a bit lazy and opted for store bought dessert).

Before our friends arrived, I made two batches of the kohlrabi slaw with this recipe:

Per batch:
4 cups shredded kohlrabi
2 peeled, shredded carrots
4 shredded radishes

Then I divided the slaw into two bowls and mixed one bowl with Peipei's dressing and one with HALF the hiyashi chuka sauce. The amount of the hiyashi chuka sauce was basically twice the amount of Peipei's dressing, so you can either halve the recipe or save the rest of the sauce for another use (such as actually making hiyashi chuka). I let the batches of slaw marinate while I prepped everything else.

Right before dinner, I divided each batch of slaw into three bowls and topped each bowl with one of the following add-ins:

1. cranberries and toasted sunflower seeds
2. JUST toasted sunflower seeds
3. black sesame seeds and gomasio (dry roasted sesame seeds with sea salt):

We then passed all six bowls around sequentially and tasted each. For our very unscientific poll of four, the winning variant was unanimous:

Hiyashi chuka sauce with cranberries and toasted sesame seeds
followed by the hiyashi chuka sauce with black sesame seeds and gomasio.

It needs to be stated, however, that we also really enjoyed those same two variants with Peipei's dressing. The solo sunflower seed variant, however, was just plain boring with either dressing.

Differences between the two dressings:
both gave the semi-sweet, Asian feel that I was looking for with my original recipe. I would proudly serve either one at my table. Peipei's dressing was far sweeter than the hiyashi chuka sauce, so if you prefer sweeter tastes, in general, Peipei's dressing would be your choice. Since I used the optional 1/2 tsp hot chili oil in the hiyashi chuka sauce, this sauce gave a bit of heat, something that all four of us enjoyed. If you prefer something with a bit of spice, then the hiyashi chuka variant is for you. The cranberry/sunflower seed option was pretty darned sweet, the black sesame seed/gomasio option was much more savory, especially with the hiyashi chuka sauce.

So mix and match to your own tastes and enjoy! After the wonderful suggestions I received here, I'm hoping to have further misadventures in the kitchen.

Also, if you feel like commenting, comments would be greatly appreciated here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We Are Family: A Wedding

Little girl taking me by the hand, sleepy eyes, whispering, "It's time for me to go to bed."

A little girl who loves olives more than any other food.

Little girl creeping in, along with her sister, to the family room, where D and I are sleeping on the pull-out sofa. "Are they awake?"


"I think they're awake."

"Mommy said we're not supposed to wake them."

I lie there, trying not to laugh, getting ready to "wake-up" suddenly and throw them into fits of giggles.

Middle school girl getting ready to move from everything she's ever known in Massachusetts to completely unknown Tennessee for her 8th grade year. It's going to be tough. I know this, as an 8th grade teacher. We discuss social strategies.

Dinner in New York, just moved there with her boyfriend. They're breaking into theater, he's doing tech, she's stage managing. She looks great - sparkling eyes and the same dimpled smile the sleepy girl had.

Last Saturday, a young woman dances, gazing dreamily into the eyes of that same boyfriend, now husband. She is heartbreakingly beautiful, her red hair caught up into a twist with "diamonds", her dress a clinging drape of lace and pearls.

She's currently in San Francisco, enjoying her first week of married life with her longtime love.

And yet, my lovely niece, whom I've seen all too rarely since we both moved from Massachusetts, was not the big surprise this past weekend.

Families are complicated. We all know that. We all know the phrase "You can choose your friends, but..."

Sometimes our own family is challenging, sometimes our significant other has the challenging group, and sometimes you may love both, but there are those particular personalities who just throw you, no matter how hard you try to suck it up and breathe tolerance.

For a variety of reasons, I hadn't seen many of these family members of D's for a long, long time. There wasn't any estrangement, it was more a matter of circumstances - moves, blizzards, illness, elderly parent needs, lack of communication.

Seeing them all again, I was struck how my earlier interpretations of behavior and personality were radically wrong. As I've aged, I see people who are far less powerful, less secure, than I once thought. People I saw as kinder are maybe less so, and those I used to fear a bit, seem more desperate than arrogant.

A wonderful experience was meeting and re-meeting some of my delightful sister-in-law's family members - I enjoyed each and every one of them, and I understand even more why I like her so much.

It was definitely a weekend of new-found knowledge.

What about you? What family (or other) relationships have you managed to see in a new light? Do you see your close relationships as everlasting or everchanging?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Local Love Fridays: What's Cooking Ann Arbor

You have a toddler. Or maybe you have two strapping teenagers. You and your significant other both work. You believe in great nutrition for your family, as well as the restorative power of dinners at home. Maybe you're single, busy and want to eat a healthy meal without major hassle or expense.

Oh, wait.

You really don't have the time/energy/interest to cook.

Stacy Williams, of What's Cooking Ann Arbor, saw that need and went on a mission to fill it.

When you talk with Stacy, you can't help but be carried away with her enthusiasm for what she does. She's also very community-oriented: she wants people to eat good, healthy meals (she uses organic ingredients as often as possible, and she uses no ingredients that contain msg, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated [trans] fats); she wants people to enjoy their family/evening time; and she wants to facilitate this. She's also reaches out to the community in other ways - creating fundraising opportunities and renting out her commercial kitchen space to like-minded Locavorious owner, Rena Basch.

Her customers are equally enthusiastic. Marietta Van Buhler, mother of the two strapping (6'4") teens mentioned above, has this to say about her experience as a What's Cooking Ann Arbor customer: "I was feeling bad with the amount of fast food supplementing that I was relying on to feed my family - and when I saw Stacy's 'What's Cooking' advertised with fresh and healthy whole grains and great taste... I gave it a try... it was everything she promised and then some. She cooks the way I would for my family if I had time." Jennifer Waljee, a surgery resident at University of Michigan Hospital, concurs: "Stacy's service provides healthy and delicious food with a lot of variety. We all have different tastes (my husband is a big meat-eater and I lean towards the vegetarian options), and there is always something for each of us. The convenience is hard to beat, and it has been a lifesaver for us. I recommend her to people all the time!"

In addition to being the primary chef, Stacy has hired eight people part-time as her business has grown over the past three years. One of her cooks is a former customer. Becky Smith loved being able to use Stacy's services at a time when she needed that flexibility in her life, and now she's delighted to help Stacy make that convenience available for many more people. "I always tell people about the different options, the fact that this can work for many kinds of people, and that the ingredients are all fresh and healthy."

Even in the Michigan economy, Stacy hasn't seen a drop-off in customers, and that's probably due to keeping prices reasonable. Her weekly menus are varied, and you can order something as simple as "Lunch Pals" for $5 (which include a variety of spreads or other protein, fruit, vegetables, crackers and a homemade [nut free] cookie), or take part in her salad "bar", or order adult-sized main dishes for $10.

This week's offerings include a summer vegetable pasta, sweet and sour stir fry with chicken or tofu with a choice of quinoa or rice, thai noodles with shredded beef, roasted cod, and chicken with black bean salsa. Sides include steamed broccoli, her salad bar options, spinach balls and tabbouleh. An order of four lemon-blueberry scones is available for $5, and for the summer time, there is a "Picnic Pals" option, including a variety of healthy sandwiches, cut-up veggies, a piece of fruit, a half-side of this week's specialty salad, and two of the homemade cookies. Once your weekly order is placed, there are many pick-up points around Ann Arbor and for orders over $50, your order will be delivered to your door.

Stacy Williams started her business after a long odyssey in dental hygienics and sales, followed by health care sales. She's always liked helping people and that's been a constant. Working with a big pharmaceutical was a less comfortable fit, and she'd always had a yen to turn her love of cooking into something she could do full-time. After falling into a job cooking for a friend's party (where the friend didn't want to cook), she received so many compliments that she conducted an informal marketing survey and one respondent said, "Call me. I'll be your first customer."

While it was challenging to figure out quality cooking in mass quantities at the beginning, it's now become second nature - she easily pulls out three hundred meals per week on average. Her customer base is broad - parents, singles, elderly parents whose sons/daughters live far away, tax accountants during tax season, other professionals during "crunch" times - all have been customers at one time or another.

Helping people has never been in doubt - it's what Stacy Williams loves and what she does best. The fact that she can now do this by helping many people eat delicious food and have more relaxed evenings? The best of all worlds. And from everyone I've talked to, it shows in her cooking.

Let's eat!

What's Cooking Ann Arbor can be reached here, by phone 734-645-5287 or by e-mail info at whatscookinga2 dot com. Information on how to get started is here, and you can see the full repertoire of dishes here.

If you would be so kind, please leave your comments here.

What's Cooking Wednesday: Summer Squash Pancakes

Please go to The Fairy Blogmother for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

We used to have a tradition for Hanukkah that's fallen by the wayside - different pancakes for each night. It made sense to me since cooking in oil is traditional, latkes are traditional, and C just loved it.

Plus pancakes are easy and delicious. What's not to love?

As our mixed family has moved on to other traditions over the years, we no longer honor this one, but we still love pancakes of all kinds.

I had a lot of summer squash to use up. My Tantre Farm share partner's family doesn't love it, so we've been the recipients of their share of the squash, as well. As I stared in my fridge at the eight, large summer squash that needed to be used up, a lightbulb went off and I thought: "Pancakes!"

Now, zucchini/feta/mint pancakes are kind of a standard, but summer squash has a really different taste - sweeter - and somehow I didn't think that mint or feta would be the right blend.

Instead, this is what I came up with, and it seemed to be a hit, because D had thirds:

A2eatwrite's Summer Squash Pancakes


3 large summer squash, shredded
1 piece of whole wheat bread, ground into bread crumbs (I used a food processor for this, but a blender should work, too, or just use about 1/4 cup commercial bread crumbs)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 container part skim ricotta cheese
4 TBS grated Parmigiano Reggiano (yes, you can use any parmesan here, but the real thing will taste so much better)
2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp fresh, ground pepper)
1 1/2 TBS olive oil
4 TBS reduced-fat sour cream (you can also use any type of sour cream, but this is what I used in terms of the nutritional information below).


1. Preheat oven to 450. Set two oven racks at about the middle of the oven (one just above, one just below).
2. Brush two baking sheets with olive oil.
3. Wash and either grate or shred the summer squash. Mix all the ingredients together.
4. Using a 1/4 cup measure, place pancake mixture on prepared baking sheets and flatten with your hand. Drizzle pancakes with 1 TBS olive oil.
5. Bake at 450 for 13 minutes or until the tops look browned around the edges.
6. Take the pancakes from the oven, flip them and reverse the baking sheets in the oven (place the one from the top on the bottom, and vice versa).
7. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Note: Baking, rather than frying, is important, so that the garlic has a chance to mellow. A fried version of these would need to have the garlic cooked first.

Makes 16 pancakes.

Serve with a TBS of sour cream and a fresh salad. Serves 4.

Nutrition Facts (including the sour cream)

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 255.2
Total Fat 15.2 g
Saturated Fat 6.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.2 g
Cholesterol 83.9 mg
Sodium 251.5 mg
Potassium 743.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.4 g
Dietary Fiber 3.2 g
Sugars 1.6 g
Protein 15.1 g

As always, nutrition info supplied by the recipe calculator function at

If you'd be willing to, please leave your comments here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Misadventures in the Kitchen: Kohlrabi Slaw

A few days ago, I mentioned that I'd recently made kohlrabi slaw. This seemed to be a recipe of interest, and to be honest, the slaw I made that night was simply shredded kohlrabi tossed with Marzetti's Lite Slaw Dressing, salt and pepper. It was pretty darned good, but it wasn't the slaw of my dreams.

See, I had this recipe floating around in my head. I wanted an Asian slaw, using kohlrabi, apples, and carrots. This is the perfect time of year, as all three are fresh at the Farmers Market and in area groceries.

I'd also promised some people to have it up for this week's What's Cooking Wednesday article.

So, I got out all my imagined ingredients, worked away yesterday making the recipe, and failed. Miserably.

I know. It happens to all of us. Nevertheless, I'm still thinking this recipe can work. There's something just ... off about the dressing. So, dear readers, I'm throwing this out to you to get your ideas and opinions. What would make this better? Where did I go wrong? Here is the current recipe:

Kohlrabi Slaw

3 cups raw, peeled kohlrabi, shredded (about one large)
2 medium, peeled carrots, shredded
1 large apple, preferably tart and firm, like a Granny Smith, peeled, cored and shredded
4 TBS toasted (or dry roasted) sunflower seeds
juice from 1/2 lemon (or 1 tsp bottled lemon juice)

1 TBS canola oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp low sodium tamari
1 TBS mirin
2 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh, grated ginger
juice from 1/2 lime (or 1 tsp bottled lime juice)
1 good squirt Sriracha sauce (or other hot sauce) - to taste
2 TBS mayonnaise (Hellman's Light Mayonnaise was used here and that's reflected in the nutrition information)
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground fresh pepper
1. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Set aside.
2. Toast the sunflower seeds long enough to release a toasty smell. Don't let them brown, just turn a slight color. Set aside.
3. Combine shredded kohlrabi, carrots and apples. Toss with lemon juice. Add cooled sunflower seeds.
4. Toss with dressing.
5. Chill for at least two hours, adjust for seasoning before serving.

Serves 8

Now, to even make this edible, I added a tsp of sugar and another TBS of mayonnaise to what I've listed above. Um... really not what I wanted originally.

Here are things I know I would do differently next time:

a. Throw out the tamari - it left an unpleasant, too-salty taste.
b. Leave out the apples - you can't distinguish them from the kohlrabi. I was thinking of adding shredded beets for color, but I think they'd add that salty flavor that I'm trying to avoid.
c. Get rid of the Chinese 5 spice - it made the slaw too spicy. What do you think might be a good substitute?
d. I'm not sure I want the mayonnaise at all.
e. Get rid of the lemon juice - I really only used it to prevent the apples from discoloration, but since I'm throwing out the apples, that's a moot point.
f. Add raisins?

Okay, cooking friends, what would you do to this to make it better? I'm going to take your suggestions, play around, and hopefully post a great slaw recipe next week. Cheers!

Also, if you wanted to do me a really huge favor, you could leave your comments on this version of this post. Thanks!