Thursday, September 04, 2014

Elderberry Juice

My elderberry bush is getting pretty big and producing a lot of fruit, so this year I took advantage of it.

Boil berries in water
Sweeten to taste with honey
Pour over ice

There's a neat trick to separating the ripe berries from the stems: Put the bunches of berries in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. Remove the bunches one at a time and gently roll between your palms over a baking sheet or a large bowl. The berries will fall free.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Barbecue Pilaf

Say it's way to hot to cook inside, but you're tired of salads and not in the mood for burgers and dogs. Well, your outdoor grill makes a fine oven and burner. I keep a lot of these aluminum foil trays on hand for parties and they work great in this application.

I started by tossing sliced onions and peppers in the pan along with a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of salt and cooking them until soft. Then I added a cup of rice, some cut-up chicken thighs, saffron, garlic, pepper, paprika and enough chicken stock to cover. Put the lid on the grill, and 20-30 minutes later you have dinner.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kirkland Roasted Corn Chowder

Every so often I take a chance on a prepared food... and I'm almost always disappointed. This soup looked good, and the ingredients list didn't have any mystery ingredients or ingredients you wouldn't find in your own kitchen, with the exception of "yeast extract "- i.e., MSG.

It doesn't look too bad, either. But it tastes awful. It's a starchy base that tastes mainly of too much pepper along with pieces of corn and potatoes and a few flecks of red pepper. It's just not very appetizing.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Arbor Brewing Company, Ann Arbor, MI

What we should have ordered was burgers and one of their many house brewed beers, but after a day kayaking in 87 degree weather we wanted something lighter, so we ordered a couple of salads, which were poorly composed and not terribly enjoyable. The Deconstructed Salade Nicoise ($8.95) was mostly romaine lettuce, with six green beans, a quartered hard polled egg, a few halved cherry tomatoes, some (mostly) pitted kalamata olives, and a pile of potato cubes that had been cooked much earlier and kept in the fridge so on the plate it was cold and dried out. For $4.95 I added eight popcorn-sized shrimp. The dressing was, in a word, unpleasant. No olive oil flavor, bottled lemon juice, and no other seasonings:

Janet's Cherry Chicken salad had dry chicken, dried cherries, a lot of blue cheese, and a similarly unpleasant dressing:

I suspect dining out late Sunday afternoon may have been a factor as well. A lot of kitchens don't do much prep on what is typically a slow day.

On the plus side we had a great waiter who was very helpful and attentive. We'll probably go back to try the beers and the beef, which is what we should have done in the first place.