Archive for January 2010
Every community has anchors. These are businesses that, in spite of economic difficulties stay the course due to the ties they have to their communities. In Mexicantown Honeybee market is one such anchor.
Started by Geraldo Alfaro in 1956 and passed on to third generation family, Honeybee is also call “La Colmena” which means “the hive where the bees gather”.
In a city devoid of major supermarket chains Honeybee has quietly grown from a neighborhood grocery and bodega to become a major food destination, not only for local residents, but for suburbanites, too. In addition to a fully stocked meat and seafood counter Honeybee has a hot foods counter with Mexican specialties. Honeybee also has a great produce section carrying the freshest produce in the city. In addition to the basics Honeybee carries the freshest chilies(I counted 7 varieties), Cactus, Tomatillos, Chayote, Guava…well I could go on and on.
When you enter Honeybee you are greeted by samples. Freshly made salsas and guacamole are offered along with crisp tortilla chips to entice you. Ever wonder about that fruit and if its really ripe? No problem! I found many produce items with a sample cut open so you could see what was inside the skin. Freshness never seemed better!
In the seafood counter was shrimp, fresh fish and octopus for the asking and all cuts of meat, as well as, regional specialties such as tripe and tongue. The prices were on par, if not better than, any supermarket in the suburbs.
I mentioned the hot foods counter earlier. When I stopped by there was quite a line. Tacos, Tamales, Barbacoa (BBQ) were on the menu. On Saturday and Sunday the have a specialty that I think is unique to Honeybee. Although it is a Latin American specialty I don’t believe steamed cow’s head is offered any place else in Detroit. If you don’t believe me watch the travel channel to hear how good the meat from the head can be. Anthony (Bourdain) and Andrew (Zimmern) will tell you!!
Honeybee Market is open Monday through Saturday (8 AM – 8 PM) and Sunday (8AM-6 PM)
Honeybee Market – La Colmena
Detroit, Mi 48216
Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org
These dumplings can be added to the soup stock (posted) or enjoyed on there own with the dipping sauce posted below.
- 2 ounce lean ground pork
- 2 ounce medium shrimp – peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
- 1/8 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 8 square wonton wrappers
- Place pork, shrimp, green onion, egg, soy sauce, salt, and together in a food processor. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are completely incorporated.
- Have a bowl of luke-warm water available for dipping. If you are right-handed, place wonton wrapper in a triangle position on your left palm. Place a small amount of filling (about a heaping teaspoon or more) near the lower corner of wonton wrapper. Fold that corner over filling toward the opposite corner about half way, making sure the filling is securely enclosed.
- Dip finger into a bowl of water and dab left corner of wrapper with water. Fold left and right corners toward you (away from the top corner), resulting in the shape of a nurse’s hat.
- Place wontons on cookie sheets while you work, keeping them covered with a damp towel to prevent drying out. Wontons may be carefully stored in plastic freezer bags and frozen for future use.
Steam in a vegetable or bamboo steamer (with chicken broth instead of water) until wonton wrapper is cooked and internal temperature is 165 degrees.
Mix the above ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Allow flavors to blend for about 30 minutes.
This recipe is provided by Jill McKeever. Jill is a fellow foodie I read online and Author of Simple Daily Recipes
Stock for Chinese Soups
This stock is very good as a basis for light Chinese soups. My particular favorite, wonton soup.
HERE’S ALL IT TAKES TO MAKE 11 CUPS
1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs
1 1/2 pounds pork spareribs
16 cups water
3-4 pieces fresh ginger root, unpeeled and crushed
3-4 green onions
3-4 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
Trim off any excess fat from the chicken and spareribs and chop them into large pieces. Place chicken and sparerib pieces in a large stockpot with the water. Add the ginger and green onions.
Bring to a boil and skim off the froth. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered fro 2 to 3 hours.
Strain the stock, discarding chicken, pork, ginger and onions. Add the rice wine and return to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Store the stock in the refrigerator when it has cooled down. It will keep for up to 5 days. It can be frozen in small containers and thawed when you need it.
Recipe and photo by Jill McKeever at Simple Daily Recipes.com
The next post will be my recipe for the wontons to go with this soup. They can also be used as steamed dumplings with a dipping sauce.
Stop back in 3 days for the dumpling post!
It has been said that in order to be successful you need to do one thing,and do it very well. This is the mission statement at Tamaleria Nuevo Leon in Detroit. This is a place the suburbanites pass, but less often stop, on their way to Mexicantown destinations. In spite of the off the beaten path location (on Vernor just south and under the bridge from the old Michigan train depot) Tamaleria Nuevo Leon succeeds at what they do best – making tamales.
Tamaleria Nuevo Leon has been in business since 1967 and at its present locale since 1970 but owner Maria Villarreal has been making tamales in Mexicantown since 1956. With her daughter Suzie they make approximately 130 dozen tamales a day! Varieties can include pork, chicken, beef or a sweet dessert tamale with pineapple,brown sugar, coconut and raisins. Fans have included Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young.They even did a special order for former President Jimmy Carter. Tamales at Nuevo Leon are well regarded and also well traveled.The Tamaleria will freeze the tamales for the customer to ship. Customers have shared their enthusiasm for Nuevo Leon’s tamales by shipping them to far off location like Paris, Hawaii, Switzerland and South Korea.
What is the busiest time of year for tamales I asked. “Christmas” I was told.” There is a tradition in the Mexican community of giving tamales at Christmas”. “We have people come in and order 20 dozen just to give” Suzie told me. “ We also get busy at Cinco De Mayo.”
Tamaleria Nuevo Leon is open 7 days.
Tamaleria Nuevo Leon
2669 W. Vernor
Detroit, Mi. 48216
Everyone enjoys pizza. It’s America’s favorite takeout food found in every city and every town. I grew up on East coast style. Paper-thin with pepperoni or sausage. However you like your pizza (Chicago deep dish, Detroit Square etc.) one of the best ways to enjoy is to make your own. If you just want to buy a pre-made crust and add you topping the more power to you but I prefer getting down with the dough (make from scratch). Toppings can be, of course, very personal. Pizza dough is a canvas. I have made pizza from all sorts of leftovers (BBQ chicken and even Pot Roast or whatever I find in the fridge, within reason).
In making pizza at home there are several things that can be done to help you create a quality product.
1. I really don’t recommend par-baked pizza crust. All you are doing is making bread with sauce and cheese.
2. There are dough ball available in some supermarkets. The quality varies but at least you get to work the dough.
3. Stop by your local pizza shop and ask to buy a ball of dough. Not a bad way to go.
4. Make your own from scratch. It’s not as hard as you think.
3 cups bread Flour
1 package instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup warm water
The best tool you can get for making pizza is a pizza stone. It distributes the heat in your oven evenly and absorbs the moisture from your crust leaving it crisp. A variety of store carries them.
1. Put yeast and sugar in a cup. Add 1/2 cup of water. Mix well. Wait for the yeast and sugar to activate (it will bubble).
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil, flour, salt, 1/2 cup of warm water. Add the yeast/water/sugar mix (step 1) and stir until mixed (a stand mixer with a dough hook can help with this but it can also be done by hand.
3.Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough vigorously until the texture is smooth. If dough is still too wet add additional flour to the surface and work into the dough.
4.Place the dough in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. For best results Cover lightly with plastic. Let the dough rise until doubled in size. Punch down the dough let rise again for 30 minutes.
5. Cut dough in half. Recipe will make two 14-inch pizzas.
6. Sprinkle surface with flour and flatted dough by hand. Use thumb and forefinger to spread dough in a circular manner. Spread to about 14 inches. Do not use a rolling pin or you will squeeze out all the air and your dough will be tough.
You are now ready to top and cook your pizza!
Sprinkle cornmeal on your pizza peel. It will make it easy to slide you pizza onto your stone. If you don’t have one a large cutting board (or sheet pan) will do. Transfer your dough to the peel. Working quickly, add your sauce toppings and cheese. Remember! Too many toppings and cheese and you pizza will become unmanageable. Place in a preheated 500-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes (or until well browned). The cornmeal should make it easy to slide your pizza onto the stone.
What topping is my favorite? Believe it or not a meat eating guy like me like a roasted veggie pizza. My toppings are onion, roasted pepper, artichoke and tomato.
Tell me about yours…. Bon Apetit!
I love Lasagna! Having made my own cheese (Ricotta) it was only fitting that I use the cheese to make homemade Lasagna. I had made many lasagna before both at work and at home but had never really been satisfied with the results – until now.
For this meal my wife and I cooked together. I would make the basic components and she would assemble the finished product. Lasagna is comprised of 4 elements- pasta, cheese, meat and sauce. These elements need to complement each other. For pasta we used a well-known no-bake brand of egg pasta sheet. Homemade pasta sheets would have been better but much more time consuming. For cheese we used the homemade Ricotta with the addition of Mozzarella and Provolone. The meat was ground beef with Italian sausage (about 50-50). The sausage adds a nice punch. For sauce we had always used a jar for convenience but I have sworn off this. I find it always gives the lasagna an off taste. Instead I used a can of ground tomato (28 oz) with the addition of 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic and 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. I just simmered it for 40 minutes while stirring occasionally. For the last 10 minutes I added some fresh basil. I didn’t bother to chop it I just bruised it with my hands and tossed it in to steep (I fished it out afterwards). To finish the sauce I added a squeeze of lemon. This was one great sauce!
1. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with sauce (8 x 8 2 1/2).
2. Place 2 sheets of no boil lasagna noodles over the sauce.
3. Cover with sauce, crumbled meat, ricotta cheese and provolone (in that order)
4. Use 2 more sheets of no boil pasta and repeat step 3
5. Use 2 more sheets of pasta, cover with sauce, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a healthy coating of mozzarella. Dot with sauce.
6. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until the sauce bubbles (about 1 hour).
I am a from "scratch" person. I have made my own bread (and my own yeast to make the bread), my own pasta, my own wine and beer and broke down venison into usable cuts. One thing I have wanted to make, but hadn’t attempted, was cheese. I can add that to my list of "from scratch" food items. After doing a little research I decided to give it a shot and you know what -it’s pretty darn easy. For my first attempt I chose Ricotta because it is probably the easiest cheese to produce. No gadget or intricate formulas. Just milk, a thermometer, something to curdle the milk and cheesecloth. With milk and cheesecloth in the house I did have to decide what to use to curdle the milk. There seemed to be 3 ways I could do this. The first was to add rennet to the milk. Rennet itself comes in a tablet form and is available near the puddings in the supermarket. The second was to add buttermilk. This seemed like an unnecessary expense. The third was to add white vinegar. Being unsure which was the best way to go I decided on a middle of the road approach. I used vinegar AND rennet. In the end this was really the way to go as it worked great. Now I had a recipe, 1 gallon of milk (whole) with the addition of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 tablet of rennet (I dissolved the rennet in the vinegar). I heated the milk up (while stirring constantly) until it reaches 200 degrees (this is where the thermometer comes in). When the milk approached 200 degrees I took it off the stove and stirred in the vinegar/rennet mixture. This would separate the cheese curds from the whey. I covered the pot and waited for the magic to happen. Now I had read recipes that said to leave the mix out overnight and I had read recipes that said that all you need is 15 minutes for it to curdle. In the end I decided to let it cool on the counter (about 4 hours) before attempting to strain off the cheese. After 4 hour I lined a colander with cheesecloth and scooped out the curds. I was amazed. After draining the cheese overnight (in the refrigerator) I got about 2 # out of the first batch. Not bad for a first attempt and it was good I tell you, very good. So good I don’t think I need to buy Ricotta in the store ever again.
What’s next? Why Mozzarella of course!
One of my all time favorite things to cook is Gumbo. This soup/stew is a standard in the kitchens of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and one of the shining stars of American cuisine. Unfortunately, when prepared by Chefs north of the Mason-Dixon Line this dish can be a poor imitation of the genuine article Gumbo can be categorized several ways. Gumbo thickened with Okra, gumbo thickened with sassafras (file powdered) and Gumbo thickened with roux. The first (Gumbo thickened with Okra) had its origin in Africa, Gumbo with file (sassafras) was an adaptation from the Choctaw Indians and Gumbo thickened with roux came from the French traditions in Louisiana. Whichever version you enjoy it is clear that Gumbo was created to take advantage of whatever was at hand. There are Gumbos with Seafood, Gumbos with game meat and even a Lenten version containing no meat (Gumbo Z’Herbes). Pork sausage (usually Andouille) is often an ingredient as it is economical and readily available.
Many years ago I learned how to cook Gumbo from a famous New Orleans Chef (no..it wasn’t Emeril!). I have since developed my own recipe for this classic. I use Italian Sausage instead of Andouille and white meat chicken instead of dark just to keep it simple. Everything you need to make this dish is in your local supermarket.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 oz Italian Sausage (cooked and slice into coins)
12 oz Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (cooked and cubed)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp dry basil
1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
2 cups chicken stock
Make a Roux by cooking your flour and oil until it turns a dark brown color. Stir constantly to avoid burning.*
Add your vegetables (onion, celery and bell pepper) to the roux. This will cool it down and cook your vegetables. Stir in the Garlic, basil and Cajun seasoning.
Add Stock and sausage and then simmer for about 45 minutes.
Add cubed chicken and simmer for 5 minutes more.
Serve over steamed white rice.
Remember to taste your Gumbo before serving and add more seasoning if you like. A couple of shake of Tabasco will spice things up!
* If little specks appear in your Roux before you get the right color you have burned your Roux. This can’t be fixed. You will need to start again.
“Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez” Let the Good Times Roll
- Salt and pepper your roast lightly
- Heat your on the stovetop in an ovenproof pan (large sauté pan or Dutch oven) until smoking
- Sear your roast on both sides until well browned (about 3-4 minutes a side)
- Remove roast from pan and add onion, fennel, celery and garlic. Stir until vegetable begins to brown.
- Remove from flame and add red wine. Simmer for 2 minutes
- Add beef broth, tomato paste and thyme
- Return roast to the pan
- Place lid on pan, bring to a boil, The place in the oven (325 degrees) and braise in a 325 degrees oven for 3-4 hour or until tender remove from oven.
- When tender sprinkle the unflavored gelatin into to cold water and let sit for 1 minute. Pour into braising liquid.
- Bring to a boil on the stovetop.
- Add, to the sauce, an 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (stirred into 1/4 cup of cold water). Bring to boil
- Turn off flame. Stir in Gremolata. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes
Winter is certainly here and now that I’ve put the grill away it’s time to crank up the oven and fill the house with the smell of one of my favorite meals, Pot Roast. There are about as many versions of this classic recipe as there are cooks in the United States (and probably the world). Although the ingredients might vary there some things that all cooks should know about. The first has to do with the cut of meat. Any cut of meat can be made into a Pot Roast. The most popular cuts (rib, tenderloin and sirloin) are a waste of good money and anyone who tries to make Pot Roast with this should be arrested by the Meat Police and held indefinitely. These cuts should only be served medium rare. Anything further along the temperature chart and the get tough and dry out. A second possibility are the round cuts Top round, eye round, and bottom round (and also brisket) can be used for Pot Roast also have a tendency to also dry out. This leaves us with the chuck and shoulder. Several supermarket names for chuck and shoulder are English Roast, Blade Roast, 7 Bone Roast or Chuck Eye Roast. These cut have the proper amount of fat to give you a flavorful Pot Roast. The down side is that they also have a fair amount of connective tissue (collagen) that must be broken down for.
This brings us to our second point: temperature. In order for the connective tissue (collagen) in your meat to break down it need to melt. When it melts it creates gelatin. This is what gives you that silky feeling in your mouth. This begins at 160 degrees. If your cooking temperature is too high the the connective tissue (collagen) will just tighten up and the meat will give up it’s moisture too quickly. When cooking a Pot Roast the “low and slow” rule applies. Depending on the size of your roast it will take about 3 -4 hours to cook (at 325 Degrees).
So you get your roast and you know to cook it “low and slow”. What now? I will follow with my version of Pot Roast. It’s pretty basic but has a few tips and tricks.
Chef Ed’s Pot Roast (Serves 3 to 4)
2-tablespoon vegetable oil
2 # Chuck Roast (English Roast)
1 1/2 cups onion diced
2 teaspoons of garlic
1/2 cup celery diced
1-cup fresh fennel bulb diced
1 cup of red wine
1 cup of beef broth
2 tablespoon of tomato paste
1/4 packet of unflavored gelatin
1/4-cup cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
For Gremolata*( optional):
· 1/4 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
· 2 teapoons finely chopped fennel fronds
· 2 teaspoons grated orange or lemon rind
* Gremolata can be made at any point during the cooking process
- Many recipes call for the roast to be coated in flour before searing. The flour has a tendency to burn before the roast can sear. This is why I will thicken at the end of the cooking.
- The addition for unflavored gelatin is an attempt to replace the some of the natural gelatin that exists in a properly made stock but is lacking in a commercial beef broth.
- A Gremolata is a condiment that is traditionally made of flat leaf parsley, minced garlic and lemon zest. It is very easy to make and it make a huge difference in this dish
Serve over buttered Egg Noodles
I will continue to write this Blog posting at least 2 times a week.
I will work to get this Blog out to more readers. If you dig this site please subscribe.
I will work on the site design in order to make it more attractive and user-friendly (anybody with help or suggestions please contact me!!)
I will spend more time with the people I love and cook with them. We will eat, drink and be merry.
I will visit interesting food destination in Detroit. These will be places I have never been. I will then bring them to you!
I will visit interesting food destination outside of Detroit (Paris?, London?, Ann Arbor?).
I will continue to work on my BBQ chops in order to, eventually, be competition ready. I have a cousin who does this out east. She actually wins. I’m jealous!
I will start a food business. The food truck thing is exploding across the country ( not here in Detroit yet). You can get anything from Crepes to Tacos to Falafel. Anybody interested in a cup of Gumbo from my mobile Gumbo Shack?
I will, once again, visit my adopted second home on Ocracoke Island in N.C. (known to be a quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem). I will return to nature by catching, killing and cooking my own dinners (something that happens only once or twice in the week that I am there but what the hey!).
I will lose weight and get fit. I will do this by eating healthy, nutritious food that I cook at home (we won’t talk about the late night wing binges of 2009).
Happy New Year!!
Well it’s New Years (Happy New Year!) and it is time to reflect on the year gone by, as well as, consider the future. It is in this spirit I give you my Top Ten Foodie lists of 2009/2010. Hope you enjoy.
Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for 2010
The Bahn Mi sandwich at Que Huong in Madison Heights.It’s heaven on a bun!
Bluefish cakes. I made these in Ocracoke. Caught the fish myself, filleted it and cooked it. It was a hit with my friends.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. I make a mean Gumbo. If I do say so myself.
Grilled Rack of Lamb. I used to do the Rack of Lamb at the Whitney many years ago. My technique has only gotten better.
Mabou Tofu. This is tofu and ground beef in a spicy sauce. I had an excellent Japanese Chef who worked for me and made this. outstanding!
Lasagna from Villa restaurant in Eastpointe. I can’t put my finger on what makes it so special but it’s the best I have ever had.( they also make a mean pizza)
Mixed green salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette and Blue cheese. The play between salty and sweet works beautifully.
When I say Blue Cheese I mean Maytag Blue. This is one of the great cheeses produced by American cheese makers. Softer but has some crystalline structure to it. A sign of a well aged cheese.
Smoked Loin of Venison/ Goose Breast. I have a hunter friend who provided these. I love wild game. It’s so primal.
Sautéed Morel Mushrooms. Simple but it says it. Nature’s bounty at it’s finest. Available each spring here in Michigan.
Top Ten foods I ate in 2009
Pasta maker (have). I love to make fresh Pasta. It put’s the dry Pasta to shame.
Mandoline (have). Can’t make Gaufrette Potato without it.
Electric knife (have). Nothing like it for cutting egg rolls in half or slicing Terrines.
Stick Blender (have). Makes cream soups a snap.
Knives (have). I now have 2 sets. One for the house and one(with a great carrying case) to travel with.
Food Processor (want). had one and it broke. Just haven’t gotten around to replacing it.
Jaccard (want). A mechanical tenderizer for meats. Basically a handle with a bunch of needle attached. Great tool though.
Spiroli (want). One of those apple peeling/spiral-slicing machines. I’ve been dying to make my own curly fries.
Small Electric Slicer (want). Just the thing for that Sunday Roast.
Meat Grinder/Sausage Stuffer (want). From time to time I get the urge to make my own sausages. Actually comes as an attachment with the Kitchen Aid Professional Series Stand Mixer. This is one badass Mixer and I am including it here because this is a Top Ten NOT a Top Eleven.
Top Ten food gadget/tools I have or want to get.