Monday, July 14, 2014

McClure's Bloody Mary Potato Chips

Having previously (and I assume successfully) expanded their successful Detroit pickle business into the world of flavored chips with their pickle-flavored potato chips, McClure's now introduces a "Bloody Mary" flavored chip. While I prefer plain chips (especially thick cut ones), I am not opposed to a properly executed flavored chip with balanced flavor that lets you still taste some potato. I remember some very yummy ketchup-flavored chips eaten in England, and the Siracha flavored chips that Lays launched as part of a promotion not long ago. Both had a nice balance of flavor, unlike the usual BBQ flavored chip that's drenched in a salty-spicy-sweet mix that coats your mouth.

Unfortunately McClure's latest launch is of the orange BBQ chip variety. Despite the bag graphic there's no taste of olive or tomato or any vegetable or even Worcestershire flavor- just a mouth burning Tabasco coating. You'd think a premium priced chip would take a little more care, but these are just as overseasoned and unpalatable as their pickle flavored chips, which taste overwhelmingly of the powdered "vinegar" coating. More's the pity as their pickles are generally very good.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Zamaan Cafe, on Eisenhower Drive in Ann Arbor

We stopped there for lunch today. Janet's been to their other location, but this was the first visit for me. It's a very attractive restaurant, and the staff are friend;ly and helpful. They serve really excellent Lebanese food, including several unique dishes you won't find elsewhere. 

Top to bottom: Spinach pie, seasoned with sumac; roasted cauliflower with tahini dressing, tomatoes, parsley and lettuce; hoummas with tomatoes, feta, olive oil, parsley, and more. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I want my Garlic Hoummous back!

I really do not care for any of the ready-made houmous you'll find in grocery stores, with one notable exception: Trader Joe's Garlic Hoummous. According to the label, it contained chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and I think some olive oil. 

But for several weeks now it's been unavailable at my local TJs. It looks like they've completely revamped their selection and packaging. Perhaps they have a new supplier?

Above is a label from the last tub of hoummous I bought at TJ's after unsuccessfully searching for my favorite. I don't really know which of the many ingredients listed after pine nuts is to blame, but it has a nasty aftertaste. I threw it out. 

I sent an email to the people at TJs asking if the Garlic Hoummas was truly gone, but it looks like for the foreseeable future I'll either be making my own or getting it from the Lebanese gas station at Coolidge and 12 Mile Road.

Update- Trader Joe's replies :

"Thank you for the feedback and request. Our Garlic Hummus was ended due to supplier issues. We will source a new supplier; however, we do not have an expected date of return as yet, and do apologize for this inconvenience."

O well. I did try a tub of their "Mediterranean" hummus- and flushed most of it down the drain. Very unpleasant aftertaste.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rai au Beurre (Skate in Butter)

Skate wings look pretty alien if you've never seen them before. So do the skates themselves. Skates, rays, sharks, and guitarfish are cartilaginous sea creatures with a very different skeletal structure from the fish we're familiar with. The flesh is different as well, but it's very tasty.  It's very firm, yet tender, and sweet.

Most of the skate wings you find in this country have been thoroughly filleted. In other countries it's more common to find it with the strips of cartilage still in, but they easily slip out after cooking, and some like to eat them.

As for cooking: Heat a few teaspoons each of olive oil and butter in your skillet. Salt and pepper the wings and dust with flour. Fry on each side until the flesh is firm and there's a bit of brown. Remove to a plate.

Add a splash of wine, another lump of butter , a minced shallot, and a teaspoon of capers to the pan. Cook until the sauce is reduced a bit and pour over the skate wings. Some fresh minced herbs are a nice addition at this point.