Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Back to something simple

Summer season winding down, time to get back to some of our haunts

Wed. is ... chicken jalapeno soup day
Presentation is unpretentious

flavor is great, esp. when you can get a bowl late in the day, when the jalapeno's have infused the broth

Burger on the side (they grind their own) topped with bacon and bleu cheese sauce, chased with Bell's Oberon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nova Scotia

It's been a while, sorry, pretty busy
May go back and "fill in the blanks"
For now, wrapping up trip to Nova Scotia and a post on ... Lobster

As a committed (sorta) Locavore, we try to go for what is local on the menu.

We'll start with the Press Gang with family
Went for the Lobster Duo (iPhone photo)
Started with
Nova Scotia Mussels
Dragons Breath cheese and leek (no photo)

Champagne butter poached claws with caper and garlic basted tail, parsnip and creamed leek puree, dried cherry couscous 

Good food, great service, ancient house (stables I believe) 
On the list 

Next up : The Bicycle Thief

Charcuterie plate (no photo) worth consideration, then 

Handmade Ravioloni stuffed with Fresh Lobster, mascarpone, chives, shelled Lobster garnish, Parmigiano fonduta, dusted with crispy crumbs - YES

A tavola non si invecchia
At the table with good friends and family you do not become old.

How to maintain the lobster a day?

Why with Lobster Mac&Cheese at Salt Shaker Deli in Lunenberg (SWest Coast)

Then there's always Chow-da


or just start the day with Eggs Benedict - Nova Scotia Style

and lest we forget ... Seafood Fettuccine 

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Long week, so we went to one of our local favorites
La Be'casse
Chef Guillaume Hazaek Massieux cooks "country french", sometimes with a Caribbean twist

On last night's special's list for appetizers was this Foie Gras  - Creme Brule'e ... decadent

Photo is with a couple bites taken.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's time - Asparagus

Mark Bittman’s Asparagus Recipe Flow-Chart - "It takes effort to maintain a sense of seasonality with asparagus, given that it has become a year-round product. But right now even the stuff in supermarkets may come from a local source — so that the stalks snap rather than bend when you apply pressure and the aroma and flavor are fresh rather than simply strong."

I will admit to using asparagus year round, but now is the time for fresh and local product.

Asparagus Festival next week in Empire (MI), and we're moving fresh local product from Cherry Capital Foods

Mark catalogs many ways to prepare it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Tates

Last day of our visit, we took in "The Tate's"
Tate Britain in the morning, the the river ferry to the Tate Modern with lunch at the Modern's Restaurant

Very nice for this sort of venue
We had to sample the pork belly

slow roasted, with pea shoots and a black pepper honey vinaigrette

the girls both chose the potato-leek and wild garlic soup

For the main, and because we had not had a chance to try yet - Fish & Chips

All washed down with a nice ale - London Pride - quite fitting

Next day we were up and out early, catching our plane home

Monday, May 02, 2011


Brief post from London
Breakfast : Italian Prosciutto Crudo, bit of mild cheese Organic "Wholemeal Seeded Bloomer" (toast) and Orange Juice ...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sunday Roast

We survived the wedding and were off to Sunday "Roast" a british tradition at the local pub.

The Havelock

Opened in 1996 the Havelock Tavern is one of London's original gastro pubs. Unlike many others that have come and gone since, we have changed very little over that time. Rather than become a restaurant in an old pub building, we focus on being a pub that serves really good food. The atmosphere is lively and informal so that anyone can eat, drink and feel at home. We don't take bookings and orders are placed at the bar. We are not trying to be sophisticated, but aim to provide you with a good, relaxing time.

Menu changes daily, but I suspect that they always have a roast beef ...

I started with smoked salmon on some beets - nice

and the Roast

good dollop of horseradish ... of course

all chased with a couple pints - sorry, no notes taken on the ale

Friday, April 29, 2011

London recap

Back from visit with our daughter and her husband who now live in London.

They have access to a nice variety of cuisines within short walks.

Arriving early AM (about 8) after a red-eye flight, we settled in and went for breakfast
Cafe Rouge which had the look and feel of a neighborhood bistro, until I started this post, I didn't know that it was a national chain. Very nice.

The next day ...
Light lunch while doing some grocery shopping with our daughter - Jamie Oliver's "Jamie's Italian"
I was looking forward to the "English wild boar salami - From the Cotswolds" ... alas, they were out,
settled for the "seasonal cured meat plank" 

Main was bucatini Carbonara "Tubular spaghetti with crispy fried smoked pancetta and ribbons of leek, tossed with eggs, thyme and Parmesan cheese" while the women picked other pastas (sorry, I forget which). 

We had to try the Posh Chips (we consider them french fries)  with "Insanely good truffle oil and parmesan" ... had to send those back for the truffle oil - sorry.
Our daughter chose MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2009 GRAN SASSO for our wine - nice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

more ... BACON

Bacon - Maple syrup sunday

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In season

When Digging for Ramps Goes Too Deep -

Long revered as a spring tonic — a nutritious green treat after months of dusty potatoes from the root cellar — ramps grow wild in the woods from Georgia to Quebec. In the South, ramp festivals have been held for generations.

But since the early 1990s, the garlicky allium, with a slender white bulb, dark red stem and succulent green leaves, has gone from a Southern belle to a big-city starlet, with breathless articles in glossy magazines, top billing on restaurant menus and a paparazzi-like reception when the first crates arrive at farmers’ markets in April. And while many people have never understood what the fuss was about, the local-food movement and a growing interest in wild and foraged plants have fueled demand and pushed prices as high as $12 a pound.

New place

Thanks to good friends, I got a chance to try a new place this past week

Enso - East Lansing, MI

Although I only had a salad (wedge blt :Crispy Wedge of Romaine, Smoked Bacon, Tomatoes, Gorgonzola Bleu Cheese Dressing) we'll be back ... when time allows.

Good to find someplace new here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Some foodie "Apps"

We caught part of The Splendid Table yesterday
April 9, 2011 : The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Always an enjoyable listen
The following caught our ear: iPhone apps

Ratio Smart Phone App: Video Demo | Michael Ruhlman

"This application will be of special value to anyone who works in a kitchen and to any and all culinary students. And you chefs, authors, and bloggers who develop your own recipes, this application provides the trunk from which a thousand variations branch off. I hope you’ll have a look!"


 Fooducate: "We’ve recently launched an iPhone app, simply called Fooducate. The app lets shoppers make better, healthier choices at the supermarket. It empowers you with all the tips and tricks we’ve been writing about on this blog."

With the Fooducate iPhone app, you can
- Automatically scan a product barcode
- See product highlights (both good & bad)
- Compare products
- Select better alternatives!!

We’ve got over 160,000 products in our food database, and growing daily. When you scan a product, our software  analyzes the information found in the nutrition panel and ingredient list, and comes up with a rating and a tidbit or two explaining the product.

You get to see the stuff manufacturers don’t want you to notice, such as excessive sugar, tricky trans fats, various additives and preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, controversial food colorings, and more…

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just for fun (and flavor !!!)

One can never have too much
Horsepower or

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sanibel Florida, culinary highs and "not so highs"

We've been coming to Sanibel for a couple of decades.

Notes on a few meals this year, omitting such culinary "experiences" like Cheeseburger Cheeseburger (with grandkids of course)

We try to make an annual stop at Lazy Flamingo mesquite grilled grouper sandwich and a beer. Their slogan "if our seafood was any fresher, we'd be serving it underwater" ... not great, but a tradition.

Another tradition, we've managed most every year is The Mad Hatter
Always good, though after some other meals over the last decade or two, we've become a bit broader in our expectations.
Shirley went with
Goat Cheese Pillows "Crispy goat cheese pillows wrapped in phyllo with roasted green onion & spinach finished with a strawberry & port wine reduction" while I tried the garlic roasted oysters
We both went for the Mad House Salad
"Mixed organic baby greens, sliced pear & candied walnuts tossed with our house shallot & red wine vinaigrette, garnished with raspberry coulis & crowned with tempura Gorgonzola"
For the Main, Shirley chose
Grilled Filet Mignon "Grilled Buckhead filet mignon with fresh Béarnaise sauce served with yukon mashed potatoes & grilled asparagus" and I went with Black Truffle Sea Scallops
"Pan seared panko & black truffle encrusted dayboat sea scallops finished with a caramelized shallot beurre blanc served atop whipped Yukon potatoes & julienned zucchini & squash"

All with a nice bottle of Sonoma Coast Vineyards Chardonnay
Very satisfying.
No photos - have not been toting my camera, and iPhone doesn't really do justice.

Another on our list is IL Tesoro
Cozy (small) where we joined others at the "Chef's Table" next to the kitchen
For Shirley it was Contadina di Pollo"sautéed chicken with grilled eggplant, mushrooms, a touch of cream and roasted peppers in a Cognac sauce topped with mozzarella" she felt it could use a bit more seasoning.

I started with Smoked Salmon Carpaccio: "lemon caper vinaigrette, red onion, creme fraiche, wild arugla and roasted red pepper." which met expectations.
Then on to Veal Chop Piedmontese: "porcini, black truffles, a touch of cream & white truffle oil over parpadelle pasta" Excellent ... grilled to perfection, med-rare, I sliced it thin and savored with the pasta and sauce ...found the last piece of bread to polish the plate.
I chose to pair it with Ripasso Valpolicella    

Saved room for desert.
Shirley had the "fruit cake" while I went with the orange sorbet
The sorbet : a whole orange was hollowed out, filled with orange sorbet, then frozen - at first I couldn't get my spoon into the rind - then spotted that there was a "cap" and could scoop out the delicious treat.

They got my vote.

We'll skip family meals like carry out sandwiches and pizza - nothing to write about there

Finally for consideration is Thistle Lodge
Shirley was pleased with Beefsteak Tomato & Mozzarella Salad "Basil Puree, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Syrup" but a bit disappointed with her bone in pork chop, while I was pleased with the
Truffled Beef Bresaola Carpaccio "Cured Shaved Beef Tenderloin, White Truffle Oil, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade" delighted with the Seafood Trio: "Seabass, Scallop, Prawns, Forbidden Rice, Brown Butter, Smoked Clam Buerre Blanc, Saffron Nage"

Respective house red and white with our dinners, skipped desert.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Springtime dreaming

Mushroom dreams

While we wait, shameless plug for

Mushrooms Fill in the Blanks for the Meat-Free - Temporary Vegetarian -

"“The morels smell like fresh moss in the spring,” said Mr. Vongerichten, an owner of 28 restaurants in New York and around the world. “The chanterelles, for me, are like the field, like fresh grass, and slightly sweet. The shiitake, I would say, the bark of the woods. That’s where they grow.”

“Mushrooms have memories for me,” he said.

For vegetarians, mushrooms provide something much more substantial, a meaty succulence and satisfying texture that can be missing from a meat-free diet. They have a remarkable variety of forms and tastes, and take on deeper, richer flavors when saut�ed, steamed, roasted or grilled."

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I try not to tout Earthy Products too much, but this one is great

Our standard sunday breakfast - bacon&eggs shredded potatoes, but this time a drizzle of
BLiS Tahitian Vanilla Maple Syrup on the potatoes

So nice

BLiS Tahitian Vanilla Maple Syrup - 375 ml

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Trattoria Stella, Myles and pigs

Myles Anton: I'd like to do a shout out. Basically, I had this idea that I wanted to do this whole animal thing this winter. And then Cherry Capitol Foods-which supplies local produce to restaurants-they had a class called "Pigstock" to teach local chefs about butchering. I was like, "Wow! This is perfect. That's what I want to do at the restaurant this winter." It was a three-day seminar this November. We went to a farm in Marion, which is where I got my first pig. We actually slaughtered the pig ourselves and cleaned them and processed them and learned how to do all these things with them. That kind of got me going. It was perfect timing. My first pig was a Mangalitsa heritage pig from that farm in Marion. The pig I got this past week: it was a different pig, a cross breed of Duroc and Yorkshire from Land of Goshen farms in Kaleva, near Arcadia in Benzie County.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Brian was one of the presenters last Nov at PigStockTC

High on the Hog - Hour Detroit - January 2011 - Detroit, MI:

"In France, charcutiers have plied their trade since the 1400s, and salumi is a cornerstone of Italian cuisine. Only recently has it become a trend among American chefs. Offal offerings are now de rigueur for some of metro Detroit’s creative menus, with such spots as Detroit’s Angelina Italian Bistro and Novi’s Toasted Oak Grill & Market offering diners daily selections of in-house cured meats. At Forest Grill in Birmingham, chef-owner Brian Polcyn’s charcuterie expertise is evident in the offering of a Charcuterie Assortment Du Jour. Polcyn, who co-wrote Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, teaches charcuterie at Schoolcraft College."

Monday, December 27, 2010

How Not to Wreck a Nonstick Pan -

Posted so that I have a reference

Good stuff in any case - on care and use of non-stick pans with a few things for yours truly to learn

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Michael Ruhlman on cooking

Saturday, October 09, 2010

On cooking

Excellent piece by our friend Eric Patterson (Cook's House)

from behind the stove: Advice to young line cooks:

"the stove doesn't care who you are"

Good Stuff

Chefs Name Top Food & Restaurant Trends Of 2010

A National Restaurant Association's survey of more than 1,800 chefs at the end of 2009 found that (according to the 1,800 chefs), restaurants with gardens ("e.g. rooftop, back-yard, communal") would be the hottest restaurant trend of 2010. The gardens were followed in restaurant hotness by cooking classes/demonstrations and street food and mobile food trucks.

The chefs were also surveyed on what would be the hottest food trends overall in 2010, with locally grown produce, locally sourced meats and seafood, sustainability, bite-size/mini desserts and locally produced wine and beer rounding out the top 5.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mission Table - The Team

It's been a while, but it's been a busy summer

We're spoiled with 3 James Beard House nominees for Chef of the Year Great Lakes, two within a couple miles of us.

When we need to get out, or to entertain, we have La Becasse and blu nearby.
We're spoiled

But last Wed, we had a treat.
After a day with co-owers of Earthy and Cherry Capital Foods (started with breakfast at Foothills Cafe then off to staff meeting at CCF) ... we had reservations, joined by spouses at Mission Table

Well, turns out that not only do we all supply chef Paul, but have gotten to know him over the last few months.

Shall I say we were treated well - no, better than well.
A great evening, great friends, great food, great atmosphere.

I doubt that I can cover all the dishes, we ended up turning the dinner into an extended tasting meal.

I only got a few shots ... iPhone

Starting with :

A Diver Scallop on pork belly with chanterelle's (Earthy of course) and some fresh corn, asparagus puree ... every bite was wonderful.

Next ... into the "appetizers"
I only caught one on camera ... we got too much into the conversation and food.

Fresh tomato bisque' with goat cheese - a bit spicy and wonderful

Other tastings - all shared

A lamb chop, Chapman Farms Beek Cheek Taco (wow), pickled beets, Risotto with corn and truffle butter, asparagus with quail egg and ... BLT (Tempura fried applewood bacon, zenner farms tomatoes, Mike Werp greens, green apples)

We then shared a Baker's Chicken, Walleye, Short Ribs, and a few I lost track of.

Desert : well this was indeed special

Star Thistel Honey from Santucci Farms, for Honey Ice Cream, on a biscuit made with Mangalitsa Lard (light and flakey) with apricot preserves...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Solstice dinner

We had a late supper at blu

Amuse buche : tiny blintz with a dab of sour cream and freshwater american caviar
Amuse buche 2 : comped some fresh made sausage served warm on bed of pea shoots

I went for the Pork Belly (of course) while Shirley tried the asparagus soup (end of season) :

Pork Belly, slow braised for six hours before skillet seared, mango-ginger glace, arborio patty and chive
Asparagus Soup, vegetable stock veloute', asparagus puree, lavender sea salt and pea shoots

Followed with: Local Arugula, Bardenhagen Farm strawberries, blue cheese, toasted walnuts and Balsamic vinaigrette

We both chose the salmon
Alaskan King Salmon, pan-seared, smoked bacon braised beet greens, roasted beets and turnips and polenta

Randy shared technique with the salmon
While I cover the pan and add a splash of white wine to poach while searing, Randy goes with salt & pepper then only cook one side (light olive oil) : result a nice crisp salmon, that is soft and rare on the bottom (flipped to crisp side up when served).

Dessert was: Fromage Plate, P'Tit Basque, Cambozola and Laura Chenel Chevre with honeycomb, nuts and lingonberries

Dinner was accompanied by the excellent as usual Paul Hobbs Napa Chard.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our namesake gets ink

Good coverage for our namesake company:

Coveted morel mushrooms grow only in the wild ... and now they're in season! Lansing State Journal

Note that Earthy supplies "backup" morels to the National Morel Festival in Boyne - to the tune of hundreds of pounds.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Special Dinner

It was a birthday dinner
No photos

Trattoria Stella,

Along with our locals, Guillaume at La Becasse, and Randy at blu, Chef Myles was a 2010 James Beard Award semi-finalist.

Everything on the menu looked so tempting, but we managed to hold back and share a few dishes

Caldi :

Asparagus season just starting, so of course we went for this
It was choice between two preparations:
Cornmeal battered & fried, sweet pea puree, sour crema, lemon zest & juice
Char-grilled, poached egg, truffle oil, on toasted sourdough with lemon "zabaglione"
We went for the char-grilled

Freddi :
Burrata Pugliese (Burrata Puglia)- House made. Ricotta wrapped in Mozzarella, served with a generous lump of prosciutto di Parma, red amaranth micro greens, grilled Roma tomatoes, tomato broth, crostini

We ended up taking half of it home

Skipped Insalate & Zuppe and went straight for Pietanze :
Shirley had the Wagyu Short Ribs, slow cooked, mushroom "guarnizione", seared white potatoes, fava beans, sweet peas, pea shoots and braising sauce, while I had the off the menu Wagyu top steak, some crisp porcine strips, broccoli and cheesy risotto.

We took portions of both home

A nice find - going on my "pay attention to" list

Thursday, May 06, 2010

BigEye Tuna

OK, so I try to eat local, but sometimes we stray

Burritts Fresh Market (no website) for some goodies
Big Eye Tuna

Hot pan, grape-seed oil (again, not local, but we should be able to source in a couple years) sear for about 2min a side

Plate up with steamed spinach, brown rice (not local either - the Uncle Ben's retort is just too easy), with some saute'd 'shrooms and pine-nuts

Looks a bit "done" but here's the "inside story

Served up with Gerard Bertrand Viognier '07


Sunday, May 02, 2010


That time of year again, some more rain coming today, guess it's time to head to the woods

Setting : a morel hunt after a forest fire “burn” in California

Michael Pollan

Omnivore’s Dilemma / a natural history of four meals


excerpt :

Along Beaver Creek that afternoon the morels were totally on, as Ben would say; almost everywhere I looked the honeycombed dunce caps appeared, and I filled a bag in less than an hour. My hands by now were black with soot and stunk of smoke, but I could still smell the meaty perfume of the morels, these fleshy buttons of protein popping out of the dead earth, this seemingly spontaneous combustion of food. I was talking to them, cheering on their every appearance, and they we talking to me, or so it seemed. I exulted at their sudden ubiquity, which I took, weirdly, as evidence of some new connection between us. It sounds crazy, but there is something reciprocal about the transaction, the looking and the appearing, as if we each doing our part, throwing a line of affiliation across the gulf of wilderness. I’ve no idea how deep into the woods I’d wandered, but I was more outside than I can remember ever being, and more than a little lost, but not to the morels, who weren’t hiding from me any longer. Maybe I’d gotten good at this, had my eyes on; or maybe it was them, revealing themselves at last because I had found a way out of my world and into theirs.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

NMC Culinary School "Final Exam" dinner

"Sister" company, Cherry Capital Foods, provided a whole Mangalitsa Pig to Northern Michigan College's Culinary School for the "final exam" dinner

It was billed as Nose to Tail

Entryway : an Iced Pig - nicely done

With Mangalitsa Riellette:

Note the "icing" ... yup it's

De-licous !!!
eyes were rolling all around the room and big smiles

First course "Nose"
Mangalitsa country pork pate, house-made brioche, guanciale,
pickled onion, cornichon, ramps, micro-kohrabi and "kreamy" mustard

(note that I used ambient light - not the best shots)

very nice

This was served with Shorts Brewing Magician Red
First time I can recall beer in a Champagne flute !

Next was Shoulder
Bellaire Brown ale braised pork shoulder and jowl ravioli, braises
turnip greens, chives...

with house made bacon and roasted pork consomme'

Good enough to demand use of bread to swab up the consomme'

Then "Trout" (not a normal cut of the pig)
Pan roasted Glacier Springs trout, flageolet bean ragout, morels,
fennel herb pistou, "craklins" (the pork) and spring onion veloute

Hard to deny anything with Morels (G)

Then a break while they re-set the tables
Pause to mingle and digest

Next was "Ears"
Werp Farms frisee, mache, crispy pig's ear (like bacon), glazed
baby turnips, one hour poached egg, Zingermann's chevre and
bacon-sherry vinaigrette.

Note : we wondered about the one hour poached egg
Must have been warm water, the egg was neither runny nor hard
Very nice dish

Then the dish we all waited for : Belly !

Confit of Mangalitsa pork belly, celeriac puree, barley risotto,
glazed baby carrots, asparagus, carrot fronds and eau de vie jus

Bada Bing

Finally ... Tail End

Brioche pain perdu, creme fraiche ice cream, bacon brittle,
Marcona almonds, carmalized rhubarb, lime zest and rhubarb syrup

A very nice ending to the dinner

On my way out, the "iced pig" was melting down

Monday, April 26, 2010

On keeping it simple

from behind the stove: Primary Principles

Eric writes on his philosophy of simple foods

"A happy life comes from simple expectations.

Now, in my food, which I think of as the culinary equivalent of that primary principle of Epicurus, I try to walk the same path. I take what I have or is brought to me and make something of it. As most of you know, we have chosen to limit ourselves to what can be grown or produced in this great state of Michigan and by limiting ourselves to a certain geographical location we also limit ourselves to what is available. I don't spend my days wishing for ingredients I cannot obtain. And in keeping in line with Epicurus I aim for simple flavors, relying entirely on the quality of the ingredients I work with to provide the goodness of a dish. "

I agree

Monday, April 19, 2010


This one may be from the other side of the globe - Aus, but some nice stuff

A mineral worth its salt
But don't forget that you can source at Earthy
Murray River is one of the best
Check it out

Update :
F.D.A. Plans to Force a Salt Cutback - Diner's Journal Blog -

"The Food and Drug Administration is planning a 10-year initiative to bring down sodium levels in processed foods, The Washington Post reports. Scheduled to begin later this year, the program “would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products,” Lindsey Layton writes."

Suggestion : low sodium foods, salt to suit on your own.
That's what I do, cook for ourselves as much as possible, finish with a dash of salt at serving

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Atlantic

I'll let it speak for itself

On the Rampage: Cooking with Wild Leeks - Food - The Atlantic

And I guess I have another food blog to follow

Friday, April 16, 2010

WWF Chef Smackdown

Trattora Stella 2nd Annual Chef Challange

Two of Northern Michigan’s favorite chefs will once again go dish for dish in their respective traditions. In one corner representing France: Chef Guillaume Hazaël-Massieux of La Bécasse in Burdickville. In the other corner representing Italy: Chef Myles Anton of Trattoria Stella. Six courses, a base ingredient for each, and two dishes served side-by-side six times each paired with a French wine and an Italian wine.

We started with flutes of Larry Mawby's Blanc de Blancs : Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan

French: with the wine pairings

Bay Scallops Provencal : Seared bay scallops served atop a bed of ratatouille served on a blini
Albert Bichot Clos de l'Eglise 2008 Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, Bourgogne

Quenelle de Sandre a la Lyonnaise : Baked pike-walleye dumpling in seafood sauce
Les Rouesses 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Quincy, Vallee de la Loire

Galantine de Volaille avec Sauce Poulet : Chicken stuffed with white meat, and pistachio forcemeat, poached, then baked and served warm with a lemon, tarragon and chicken liver sauce.
Albert Bichot Domaine Adelie 2007, Premier Cru - Champs Martin, Pinot Noir, Mercurey, Bourgogne

Saute de Veau avec Sauce Marengo : Sauted veal with carrots and pearl onions
Les Hauts de Lynch-Moussas 2005, Cabernet-based Blend, Haut-edoc, Bordeaux

Tournedos avec Sauce aux Truffles : Tenderloin with truffle demi-glace, wrapped with bacon and leek leaf
Albert Bichot Domaine du Clos Frantin 2005, Pinot Noir Vosne-Romanee, Bourgogne


Atlantic scallops, Montasio polenta, saffron brodetto, sumac
Perusini 2007, Ribolla Gialla, Collli Orientali del Friuli

Walleye, "potato insalata", dandelion greens, spinach
Lo Triolet 2008, Pinot Grigio, Vallee d'Aoste

Chicken "Finanziera", tajarin, shiitake mushrooms, cream
Bisson Marea 2007, Bosco - Vermentino - Albarola, Cinque Terre, Liguria

Veal Short Rb, veal agnolotti, peas, pea shoots, mint
Cigliuti Briccoserra 2006, Nebbiolo - Barbera, Langhe, Piemonte

Beef Costoletti, roasted tomato risotto
Ciacci Piccolomini Pianrossa 2004, Brunello di Montalcino, Toscana

Joint dessert : Walnut & Fig Crostata & Baked Goat Cheese, with chocolate truffles with essence of Herbs de Provence

Geoges Vernay Maison Rouge 2004, Syrah, Cote-Rotie, Vallee du Rhone
Ciacci Piccolomini Fabivs 2005, Syrah, Sant' Antimo, Toscana

Our table scored it as follows

Myles on the Scallops, Guillaume with the walleye
But ties on the Chicken, Veal and Beef

This calls for a re-match

All in all, served about a 100 people

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Green & White

OK, disclosure ... I'm a fan of Michigan State basketball, so I'll call this a green and white dinner

1/2 lb Diver Scallops
1/2 bag baby spinach
1/2 box Vita-Spelt angel hair pasta
Yuzu juice and some Wasabi sauce

This takes only about 10-15 min
The angel hair only takes 4 in once the water is boiling

Sear the scallops

then cover to steam them

Angel hair, top with steamed spinach
Lay on the scallops, a splash of Yuzu over the mix and "dots" of Wasabi creme

Served up with Paul Hobbs Chard - '07

Friday, March 12, 2010

The real deal

Please visit

Caramelized Wild Leeks (Ramps) | Earthy Delights

Crew there know so much more than I do.

I'll continue with my own wanderings and musings, but I'm a very small frog in a large pond.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

James Beard Awards

Trattoria Stella:

From their newsletter:
Now, drum roll please...

We had some pretty amazing news on Thursday, when our dear friend Guillaume (chef/owner of La Becasse in Burdickville) told us at a birthday party for a mutual friend that he, our other friend Randy Chamberlain (Blu in Glen Arbor), and our own Chef Myles are three of twenty semi-finalists for the 2010 James Beard Foundation awards in the category of Best Chef: Great Lakes. Deemed "the Oscars of the food world," by Time magazine, The James Beard Foundation Awards are the country's most coveted honor for chefs; food and beverage professionals; broadcast media, journalists, and authors working on food; and restaurant architects and designers. Over 21,000 nominees from all over the country were whittled down to a mere 200 semi-finalists (20 in each of 10 regions). On March 22, the five finalists from our region will be announced followed by the official award ceremony on May 2 announcing the overall winner. Guillaume, Randy and Myles are three of twenty in a region that includes Chicago and the rest of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. That is something to be proud of.

Now consider some numbers
Chicago got 7 nominees, but with a population of over 2.5 million, while the Traverse City Metro area has less than 200,000 and 3 nominees.
Matter of fact, two are neighbors near Glen Lake, in Leelanau County with a total county population of less than 25,000.

And I have to brag that all are clients of both Earthy Delights and Cherry Capital Foods.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Change of pace

While I don't post about "road food" we did try Smok'n Pig
in Valdosta GA.

No, I'm not a connoisseur of BBQ, but decided to give it a try.
Glad we did. Touted as voted Top 10 in the country, but I haven't seen a source for this.

New and shiny, not a "ribs shack" but the "pecan wood" smoked meats were great.

While Shirley went with a rack of ribs, I had to try the combo, several ribs and some brisket, sides of slaw and ... mac & cheese.

There are several sauces, but I liked the house one best - suspect it's got a good bit of mustard in it.

Quantity, well, we both got "take home" clamshells, as well as containers for the sides, and it satisfied for the next night.

Location : Exit 22 off I-75 and a bit east.

Friday, February 12, 2010

More Seafood

After a few more days, local fare ... a good meal at
Jacaranda on Sanibel Island

Ian and Whitney went for the stuffed grouper - a long time "house special" which was declared "fantastic"
I had off menu baked seafood (scallops, lobster and shrimp), while Shirley had a delicious banana dressed snapper

Back to topic of "local fare" : we took daughters/grandkinder to Cheeburger Cheeburger
downside was that they were out of horseradish sauce for the onion rings ...
We only do this one every few years

In between we've been sticking to local seafood, mostly grouper, some shellfish
When in Rome ...
Another link: Florida's Fresh Fish Specialists: Prawnbroker Restaurant Group

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sort of a Tradition

The Mad Hatter

We try to take at least one meal here when we stay for more than a few days.
It had been a rainy day, mostly overcast by sunset so we missed out on that feature.

While our son-in-law tried the evening special : bouillabaisse, daughter went for the duck (Pan seared Maple Leaf duck breast, sliced and topped with a mixed berry sauce, Yukon mashed potatoes & grilled asparagus), and Shirley ordered up the Filet (Grilled Buckhead filet mignon with fresh Béarnaise sauce served with yukon mashed potatoes & grilled asparagus), I stuck to seafood : Black Truffle Sea Scallops (Pan seared panko & black truffle encrusted dayboat sea scallops finished with a caramelized shallot beurre blanc served atop whipped Yukon potatoes & julienned zucchini & squash)

All were appreciated
I barely noticed the black truffle, but the scallops were just right, tender, just barely cooked.

We all shared the
Chocolate Truffle Terrine (Flourless chocolate pate with bittersweet chocolate & casis, garnished with crème anglaise, melba sauce, fresh whipped cream & berries)

New ownership a couple of years ago, same tradition of great food.
We'll visit it again before we leave, try some different dishes.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Road Food ... and seafood

Shirley and I packed up and hit the road
I-75 Michigan to Florida
Time constraints and weather pretty much kept us to close to the road
One side excursion in search of BBQ was a wild goose chase.
Choices along the Interstate - damn slim
As a rule, I stay away from McBurgerKingKFC .. which narrows the choices

The "Contential Breakfast" at LaQuinta (budget chain that allows pets) is very very thin, but gets us on the road.
Tried an Olive Garden for the first time in decades.
It was busy, so we took a couple seats at the bar.
We were frankly pleasantly surprised.
Shirley went for the Braised Beef & Tortelloni

"Tender sliced short ribs and portobello mushrooms tossed with asiago-filled tortelloni in a basil-marsala sauce."

While I tried the Steak Gorgonzola-Alfredo*

"Grilled beef medallions drizzled with balsamic glaze, served over fettuccine tossed with spinach and gorgonzola-alfredo sauce."

We also found Chianti Classico Riserva Rocca delle Macie ... one of my favorite Chianti's Good wine at fair price if you can find it retail (upcharged of course at a restaurant)

Portions were large enough we were able to box and made supper a second night .. corked the wine as well for later.

So, due to some prodding from others, we tried Bob Evans for breakfast on the last day

Tried the sausage gravy and biscuits ... buttermilk biscuit split and topped with one egg cooked-to-order, crumbled Bob Evans® Sausage, creamy country gravy and shredded cheddar cheese. Served with home fries

For less that $6 it does work ... won me over.

Switch to island dining (we are on Sanibel for about 3 weeks)

Thistle Lodge last night - seafood of course: Thistle Lodge Restaurant: Sanibel Island

Shirley had one of the evening specials :

Grilled Grouper over asparagus risotto, while I chose

Pan Flashed Sardine Filet : (appetiser)
Angel Hair Pasta Galette, Tomato Fennel Relish, Garlic & Lemon Oil


Mojito Glazed Black Grouper Filet
Papaya & Mango Risotto with Baby Bok Choy & Carrot

Both groupers also got boxed up for tonight's supper.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Farro with 'shrooms

We're traveling so I won't have time to try this until we get home, but I know it's gotta be good.

Recipes for Health - Farro With Mushrooms -

"This hearty dish has a rich, earthy flavor. Although it takes about twice as long as a risotto to cook, it doesn’t require tending."

Posted as a public service

This is from last summer, but worth remembering
So I'm posting it up

The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating - Well Blog -

From Beets to Blueberries and a few more

Friday, January 01, 2010

Salmon Eve

Quiet New Year's Eve at home
Decided to do up some salmon

Took about a pound of Atlantic Salmon (likely farm raised, but it's what I could get)
Skinned (the eagles and other raptors like the skins, tossed out for them)
Took a few slices of the belly for "crisps"
no end photo of the crisps - I toss them into the hot oil as I'm pulling out the rest
They may be a bit "fishy" but I like them

Use a high temp oil, I choose grape seed oil
you want to see the oil shimmer, or get dimples
before you put the fish in

Add the salmon, and a splash of whit wine
I use a local Chard
This poaches in addition to the frying

Quickly cover to poach

Meanwhile, we saute' the 'shrooms, steam baby spinach
'shrooms sauteed with good butter and splash of Marsala wine
Toast up some pine nuts, bit of olive oil on aluminum foil in the toaster oven

Salmon nice and "bronzed" ready to serve

I cheat and use Uncle Ben's "ready rice"
Brown 90 second microwave
Serve up, rice, topped with steamed spinach, then the salmon
Top with the toasted pine nuts

Some steamed broccoli on the side
Serve up with a nice Chardonnay

Happy New Year