Sunday, March 01, 2015

Boukie's, Royal Oak, Michigan

Boukie's sadly closed suddenly in 2012, but reopened last October at the corner of Main and 11 mile. The food is just as good as it was in their old location, according to all reports, so we finally paid a visit to try some of their dishes, including the cauliflower with tahini:


and Hoummas with raw vegetables. It was all beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. Certainly the best Lebanese food anywhere near Royal Oak, and right up there with the best of Pita Cafe.

Mi Compadre, Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor has another new Mexican Restaurant- Mi Compadre- located in a strip mall at 2111 Packard. It's a very unprepossessing place, with minimal decor- just a kitchen not quite hidden behind a drinks cooler and a few booths. The menu is very untypical, with what the owners describe as authentic Oaxacan dishes like Tortas (sandwiches) and Tlayudas.

While snacking on heart shaped tortilla chips (it was Valentine's day) with two tasty salsas we ordered a chicken Fajitas:

And a beef Tlayudas:

The vegetables were all fresh (although the tomatoes were about what you can expect in February), as were the tortillas, which are sourced from the Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory. The beans were very good, the rice was exceptional ,and the beef and chicken were, well, dry, tough and tasteless. Between the two, I'd go with the fajitas, and I'd recommend you get the vegetarian version.

We'd still like to go back and try some other dishes on the expanding menu, and when we do I'll write about it here, of course.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fixing Winter Tomatoes

You just can't get decent tomatoes in the winter, unless you live in the tropics, but you can turn hothouse tomatoes into something reasonably flavorful.

Slice your tomatoes in half, and place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

Sprinkle with:
Garlic powder
Onion powder

Bake at 325 for an hour, and you'll have a flavorful side dish to serve with meat or fish.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Fish Chowdah

I think I've mentioned the "cod pieces"- what I'd call trimmings- that Trader Joe's periodically has in their freezer compartment for $3.99/lb. I've baked them, made fritters from them, and put them in Chinese dishes, but for me, the best way to use them is to put them in a fish chowder. This recipe recipe doesn't adhere to any one culinary tradition, but it's the way I usually do it. Feel free to substitute for any or all of the ingredients.

Start by thawing the fish (of course), rinsing the pieces well, and squeezing out the excess moisture. Chop into pieces around an inch or so in size.

Sauté a couple of chopped leeks or a medium onion in a tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil. (If you're feeling more New England-ish,  skip the oil and cut 4oz of salt pork into matchstick-sized pieces, render the fat from that, and cook the pork until crisp.) If you use oil, add around a half teaspoon of salt to the leeks. At this point I'd also add a quarter teaspoon of red pepper flakes, but feel free to leave them out. 

Add a cup each of chopped carrots and celery. Cook at medium low temperature until all the vegetable are soft. 

Add the fish and a quart of either water, chicken stock, clam juice, fish stock, or a mix of any of the above, a pinch of saffron, if you have it, and 2-3 large (or 3-4 medium)  potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch cubes. 

Simmer until the potatoes are well cooked, and add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.