Archive for September, 2008

Recipe – Teriyaki Salmon with Grilled Pineapple

I love all seafood, and for my money, Salmon is always up there. It’s a very strong flavor, but I enjoy strong flavors, especially with seafood. And last night, we finally had enough time to get to some serious cooking. The weather was absolutely stunning, which made it the perfect end of summer night to do fish and grilled pineapple – one of Vita’s favorite things.

This is also a very quick grilled meal, so it’s perfect for when you’re short on time. We served it with a side of green beans.

Ingredients:

Teriyaki Sauce ( I like this recipe from Tyler Florance)

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup scallion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

Other ingredients

  • Two salmon steaks
  • 1/2 pineapple, cut into spears
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2 cups of green beans

Preparation:
1. Combine all teriyaki ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour before use.

2. After marinade has come together, add it to your salmon steaks and let it rest in a large zip lock bag for up to eight hours, but a minimum of 15 minutes. It can be brushed on if you don’t want the flavors to penetrate the fish.

3. Preheat grill and be sure to use a non-stick grill spray, or even butter to be sure that your fish doesn’t stick.

3. Just how long your fish should be grilled can only be estimated by size and shape. For a 1/2-inch cut of salmon, I’ll leave the grill at a medium highe heat and you should cook the first side 3 to four minutes before I flip. Then it’s about a solid 4 minutes on the second side.

4. After you’ve cooked the first side of your fish, add the pineapple, allow grill marks to appear and turn frequently. You want it to get warm enough for the juices to get going in there, but you don’t want to cook it so long that it might dry out.

Super good, super easy. Enjoy!

September 19, 2008 at 11:33 am 7 comments

Restaurant Review – Beaver Creek Tackle & Beer Co.

Vita and I have both been pretty busy lately, so we haven’t been cooking together as we normally do. So, last night as she was post call, I took her out to Beaver Creek Tackle & Beer Co.

Beaver Creek has been my Westland hangout since I moved there in 2006. I used to stop in every Friday night after Crain’s Detroit Business was put to bed and I’d order myself a pint and something to eat. They do everything well at Beaver Creek, whether it’s a steak, their drunk buck dip or their amazing venison chili. But my regular meal, is what you see above, the Roadkill Grill.

No, it’s not roadkill, it’s a game platter. The kabobs are pieces of venison flanked by bacon, onion and mushroom. You also get a quail breast and some boar sausage alongside a mess of hunter’s gravy, wild rice and fresh corn. If you enjoy game food, as I do, it’s absolute perfection and will definitely fill you up. Even though it always stuffs me, I end up getting venison chili, just because I’ve never had it better anywhere else.

The restaurant itself is laid out like a hunting lodge, has lots of big screen televisions, animal trophies and fish lining the walls. It’s comfortable and feels like a lot of the bars and lodges you’ll find in northern Michigan, with big cathedral ceilings, rustic pine furniture, pool tables and stone fireplaces.
It also has a great outdoor garden terrace area that’s open during the warmer months.

But what makes Beaver Creek such a great experience is the staff. The restaurant is incredibly well run. A manager always, without fail, comes out to ask how your meal is and if ANYTHING is unsatisfactory, they are always quick to rectify it. I’ve NEVER had a bad meal here, and never felt like I wasn’t getting the service I deserved. Entrees range from $9.95 to about $17, but you can get a buffalo loaf sandwich, burger or big salad for $6.99 and up.

Portions are big, the beer selection is fantastic and the chefs know their stuff. If you’re ever in the Westland or Canton area, I’d highly recommend it. It’s part of a group of independent restaurants that includes the Deadwood Bar and Grill, Camp Ticondaroga, The Moose Preserve and The Iroquois Club.

Easily a 5 out of 5 for me. Very good food, very consistent quality.

September 18, 2008 at 9:13 am 1 comment

Food in Beauty

So, I accidentally posted a photo of myself for my Wingless Buffalo Bleu Pizza on Food Buzz yesterday. And, unfortunately, one of you caught it before I noticed the mistake.

For the sake of owning up, this photo was taken when I was spending a Saturday evening with my wife and my sister-in-law Jenna. Now, I’ve never been shy about trying things, but when Jenna and Vita tried to get me to put on a “detoxifying mask” from LUSH (makers of fresh handmade cosmetics), I was admittedly adverse to the idea.

After Jenna forced me into it, I started smelling a lot of things I recognized. Here’s all the natural goodies that go into this crazy little mask. I’m not positive as to which mask this was exactly, but I believe it was this one.

Kaolin, Talc, Lime Juice, Sageleaf Water, Rosemary Leaf Water, Juniparis Fruit Extract, Eggs, Honey, Glycerin, Fennel, Sweet Almond Shell Powder, Parsley, Coriander, Tumaric Root Powder, Clove Flower Extracts, Ginger Root Oil and a whole bunch of other natural crap.

Basically, I thought it smelled like an oversweetened cup of English Breakfast tea. I felt no special effects from this expensive blend of herbs, spices and oils, but Vita and Jenna both raved about it. I’m sure I was glowing.

But what it did do, was leave me curious as to just how often food stuffs are being used in beauty and health products. Since organic and all natural are fast becoming the rage, it’s something I’ll try and keep my eye on.

If you want to see more funny pictures of me, my sister in-law and my wife in all our LUSH glory, visit this Flickr set.

Let the commenting begin.

September 15, 2008 at 8:48 am 1 comment

Recipe – Wingless Buffalo Bleu Pizza

So, it’s week two of my new Sunday feature, Gourmet from the Tailgate. and while my Lions are back to showing their true colors (0-2), I scored big with my wife with this week’s Sunday offering for watching our lowly Detroiters.

When I was still laying in bed Sunday morning I was dreaming of buffalo wings and then drifted to pizza. And where I ended up was just combining the two together. I had seen some of the delivery joints offering pizzas similar to this, but I was sure they weren’t using Danish Bleu or the scallions that I had in mind. Believe me, you can get this done in 45 minutes, which we both now is about how long you’re going to wait for delivery during peak hours during football Sundays.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large boneless chicken breast
  • 1.5 large scallions diced
  • 1/4 cup Danish bleu cheese
  • 1 large Boboli pizza crust (you can always make your own, but I love these when pre-game is on!)
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese

Preparation:
1. Slice chicken into thin pieces and toss them in salt and pepper. Preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees.

2. In a medium sized skillet, saute chicken for a few minutes. Don’t cook it all the way through as it will finish in the oven.

3. Remove pan from heat, allowing chicken to cool. Slice vegetables and add sauce to crust. Add mozzarella cheese and scallions and put the celery aside (Vita reminded me that warm celery is just gross).

4. Put chicken into a zip lock bag or bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of wing sauce. Add chicken and crumbled Danish Bleu to your pizza. I like to drizzle olive oil on the outside edge of the crust and then add garlic salt to the oil. It adds another dimension to the crust.

5. Bake for 12 minutes.

It’s excellent, extra spicy and really, really good. Vita loved it, and I think you guys probably will to. If you do give it a whirl, let me know.

September 14, 2008 at 9:11 pm 2 comments

Restaurant Review – Taqueria Lupitas

Yesterday I had to pass through Detroit and, as I often do when I return to the slumbering giant of a city, and wandered into Taqueria Lupitas.

Lupitas was one of my most frequent lunch stops when I worked in the city and offers arguably the most authentic Mexican food in all of Mexicantown. I would have happily gone in simply for the smells, but when I saw one of the chefs throwing a fresh batch of Cabeza on the grill, I immediately ordered two Tacos de Cabaza (beef head) and one Taco al Lengua (beef tounge).

Each was served in the traditional style with Onion and Cilantro. Cheese is 50 cents extra, but trust me, you don’t need it. The both tacos are incredibly well seasoned, and if you’ve never tried, true authentic Mexican tacos, you’re really missing out. This is the way Tacos were meant to be served, not loaded up with cheese and lettuce, ala Taco Bell.

Places like Taqueria Lupitas are one of the reasons I truly miss working downtown day in and day out. Their service is amazing. You’ll hear more Spanish than English, and you’ll always find the die hard foodies in this restaurant before you’ll ever see them in one of the more touristy joints you can easily find in Mexicantown.

It’s clean, super fast and the staff are among the most patient and knowledgeable in the city. Lupitas is bar none the best Mexican you can get in Detroit. And I’ve tried em all. Believe me. For tacos like the ones I purchased, you’ll average $1.50 to $2.50 depending on what meat you get. I always walk out paying under $10 and I can pack the food away.

Complimentary chips and a platter of different salsas and guacamoles are always there for your pleasure as well. My other favorites in this lovely little gem are the marinated cactus, the Menudo and the Chile Colorado. It’s all phenomenal.

I know this isn’t as in depth as all my other reviews, but if I wrote more, I’d be gushing. If you’re anywhere near Detroit and you have any passion for authentic Mexican, get your butt down there.

Five out of Five Stars

Neighborhood: Mexicantown
3443 Bagley St
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 843-1105

September 12, 2008 at 10:00 am 2 comments

Let’s talk olives and obsessions

If you’re a semi-regular reader of my blog, you no doubt have figured out that olives are truly my favorite ingredient. They’re my guilty pleasure, and something I’d sorely miss if I didn’t have access to them.

According to Greek mythology the Olive tree was Athena’s gift to the people of Attica and it won her patronage of the city of Athens over Poseidon. And if it was, thanks be to Athena – because in my opinion, there is no more perfect food. I love the texture, the complexity, its versatility in a variety of cooking and packing styles, its saltiness, the variety of colors and its ability to totally transform a bland dish into a powerhouse of flavor.

My favorite kinds of Olives are Greek or or the young Italian variety. I find olives grown, cultivated and fermented in these climates to be the most flavorful and that they offer the best consistency for cooking in pastas and eating with antipasto.

I value Kalamata Olives for their saltiness and frequently add them to spicy pastas in lieu of salt or anchovy paste. I also tend to pop small handfuls into my mouth when i pass by the refrigerator (don’t tell Vita!).

Since Vita and I have been talking about one last really great trip before she starts her surgical residency, we’re leaning heavily towards Greece. I think with the availability of fantastic bread, tangy feta cheese, olives and a Mediterranean breeze, I may never come home.

So, with all those thoughts of olives and Greece running through my brain this morning, I made a very simple Greek salad for lunch. I won’t bother posting the recipe, as I’m sure my version is nothing to write home about. But I am curious my dear readers… what food items do you go absolutely crazy for? I plan on compiling some of your thoughts and doing a post at the beginning of October “foodie triggers,” which I’ll explain later. If you want to be included, post a comment and I’ll follow up with you through your blogs or e-mail and give you four or five quick interview questions. They’ll be painless and fun – I promise!

September 11, 2008 at 10:24 am 5 comments

Recipe – Baked Italian Orange Roughy

I’m a huge fan of seafood, and for some reason I’ve been craving a good piece of orange roughy. So, when I happened to run through the market after leaving work a little early yesterday, I found my orange roughy, which Eddie (my fish monger) told me was brought in that afternoon. I snapped up two fillets and did my best to replicate a cheesy, breaded version that seemed to be haunting me.

The best part about whitefish – it can be so easy to cook and picks up a lot of flavors. By some miracle, I happened to be home by 5:30 and we were prepped, cooking and done eating by 6:30. I even had time to take Rafiki for a walk, enjoy a cup of coffee and talk to my wife. All in all a great night with a great meal.

Ingredients :

  • 2 orange roughy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a medium sized baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese and garlic powder.

3. Brush both sides of orange roughy fillets with butter, and dredge in the bread crumb mixture. Arrange fillets in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with parsley.

4. Bake in preheated oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Vita and I had ours with a slice of lemon and some green beans. The beans were blanched for 3 minutes, drizzled with sesame oil and tossed with toasted sesame seeds. The bean recipe came from Allen, who maintains the fantastic Eating Out Loud. Allen, hats off to you for the simple and yes, sexy, bean recipe. I enjoyed the fusion of the Asian-inspired beans and my no-nonsense Italian orange Roughy.

Oh, the bread you see on the plate was just some garlic sour dough that we buttered, topped with Parmesan and placed under a broiler for a few minutes. I NEVER get enough cheese. Happy eating!

September 10, 2008 at 10:40 am 1 comment

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