Saturday, December 13, 2008

Giving Thanks

I wanted to let you know about the amazing Thanksgiving I was fortunate to have this year. Maumee Valley Slow Food held a convivium at the home of a famous lawyer who raises his own food. He raised heritage turkeys this year for his and his family's use and thankfully, I was able to get one, too.

Hearing that heritage turkeys raised naturally tend to yield tougher meat, I took care to ensure a juicy product. While it seems corney, I use the Reynolds baking bag for my turkey. Once cleaned, I simply squeezed oranges, drizzled olive oil, and salted and peppered the bird. I then followed the directions with the baking bag. The bird was delicious, one of our 12 year old guests even remarked on how great it tasted! For me, the best compliment came from my 83 year old aunt who is too sick to come to the feast, had one of those frozen turkeys, and then tried the leftovers Friday. While she usually says she doesn't have a very strong sense of taste (or smell), she remarked she could really tell the difference!

The hand-written label on the jumbo zip-lock back where the turkey was stored read: "Slaughtered with love and reverence". In Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book, she describes how turkeys major purpose is for food. How we should respect our animals and enjoy and raise them for food. Also, I've read animals under stress release stress hormones especially while being butchered. Eating an animal that has been raised humanely and loved through the very end really does make a difference! Thank you Mr. Leizerman for making our meal respectable.

Other dishes served:

Corn casserole using corn sliced off the cob in the Summer frozen,

Green bean casserole using onions that had been sliced from onions obtained at the Toledo Farmers' Market in October and frozen,

Cranberries (fresh chopped cranberries with chopped dates, chopped walnuts, chopped apples and apple jelly)

Dressing made with three kinds of bread (sourdough, whole wheat challah, and rye), almonds, apples, mushrooms, onions, yellow pepper, sausage, and chicken stock.

Sweet potatoes with carrots, orange juice, brown sugar, butter and Craisins
Mashed potatoes with Manchego cheese

Mock liver - vegetable walnut pate (recipe from Molly Katzen's Moosewood cookbook)

and pumpkin and pecan pies brought by the neighbors.

Hope your day was just as memorable.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Home Made Egg Rolls

I actually made home made egg rolls last night for dinner! They were much better than any I've ever had at a restaurant. I bought the ingredients at The Andersons Market in Sylvania which is a great shopping experience. They always have the best samples and plenty of them. It is wonderful to be able to taste a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, dips, meats from House of Meats counter, Honeybaked Ham , and many snacks throughout the aisles. This store also has a great selection of beers and wines.
Here's the recipe I used, it is from the Nasoya egg roll wrapper package:
1 lb ground beef, pork, chicken or 1 pkg of firm tofu, crumbled
1 tsp minced ginger
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1/4 lb bean sprouts
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 TBSP oyster sauce
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 pkg egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil for frying
Stir-fry meat or tofu and ginger in wide skillet over high heat until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Add cabbage, bean sprouts, carrot and green onions; cook 2 minutes. Stir in oyster sauce. Let mixture cool. Use 2 tbsp filling for each egg roll. place filling diagonally on wrapper, fold corner over filling; roll snugly half-way to cover filling, fold up both sides snugly against filling; moisten edges of last flap, roll over flap to seal; lay flap-side down until read to cook. Deep-fry at 350 degrees a few at a time, turning occassionally, until golden, 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.
I also added some minced garlic to the filling and I fried the egg rolls in about 1 inch of oil rather than deep fry. They were fabulous!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Toledo Area Bread

Toledo Area Bread
We are so very fortunate to have an amazing artisan bread bakery in the Toledo Area! Country Grains prepares fresh bread, using whole grains, in a large variety of flavors. Some of my favorites are Grains Galore (with flax and pumpkin seeds), Honey Whole Wheat, Dakota – I have a friend in Cleveland who requests this every time we get together! Other delicious breads include Raisin Walnut and Cinnamon, Garlic Cheese, Strawberry, Blueberry and Apricot - three fruits in one bread! The Challah bread compares to some I've had from great New York bakeries - now if we can only convince them to make bagels...

The store located at 6808 Sylvania Ave also carries organic milk at the lowest prices, farm-fresh eggs, and a deli full of meats, cheeses, salads and dips. Scrumptious cookies (including my favorite, cranberry coconut walnut) and muffins, and a myriad of other treats can be found there. Friendly staff greet you and make you feel like part of the family.

Oh, be sure to get the loyalty card – buy twelve loaves of bread and you get one free!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Manhattans in Toledo

I had the best grilled vegetable sandwich at Manhattans today. Eggplant, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, and onions all grilled with a mint pesto spread on the sandwich. Steaming hot vegetables with a cool mint dressing made my taste buds dance with delight! The hand cut chips that accompanied the sandwich were outstanding! Manhattans is located at 1516 Adams Street in Downtown Toledo. They consider themselves an Italian restaurant with a selection of creative pastas, sandwiches, pizzas and interesting-sounding salads. I understand they purchase local and/or organic wherever possible.

Other delicious vegetable sandwiches can be found at Penn Station East Coast Subs. You can select your favorite vegetables and they grill them up for you and serve them on a delicious bread. I've also had wonderful vegetable sandwiches at Panera. They have two delicious vegetable sandwiches: a hot one that is a grilled portabella mushroom with fresh mozzerella and a cold mediterranean sandwich - both are very enjoyable.

Let me know where else in Toledo you can get a vegetable sandwich!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Toledo Area Sushi
More and more sushi joints are popping up everywhere you turn. I have not yet tried the smaller ones but I did recently try Nagoya. Nagoya is a combination Japanese steakhouse and sushi restaurant. We sat in the lounge and ate only sushi. Our most enjoyable roll was the queen and I roll with grilled sea bass and asparagus. The “shows” at the hibachi tables sounded like people were having great fun! The sushi was very good and we had a nice meal.

Our very most favorite Toledo area sushi restaurant is Kotobuki. This was one of the first places in Toledo where you could get sushi. It is still very consistent and delicious. Last night we had the firecracker roll which is a Philadelphia roll with a very spicy crab topping. It is very enjoyable. The other unique item at Kotobuki is the ginger ice tea. Surprisingly we could not find this at the other restaurants we tried. Kotobuki is a very relaxing experience. You leave feeling satisfied but not overly stuffed.

The other sushi restaurant we enjoy is Yoko. This is the first place we ever had the Ohio crunch roll. It is a Philadelphia roll that has been lightly breaded and deep fried so it comes out hot. It is best enjoyed at the restaurant rather than take out because it loses its heat and crispiness.

We've also enjoyed hand made sushi at Tea Tree Bistro Lovely decorations are found in this Asian Fusion restaurant. They are better known for their Chinese and Cantonese dishes and have a wide variety of delicious menu items.

When you eat sushi, be sure to eat the pickled ginger with it. Ginger has so many fabulous health benefits. Most commonly known are digestive benefits – it is often used to quell morning sickness for pregnant women. However it also has strong anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to help people with osteoarthritis. Ginger also protects against colorectal cancer, diabetes, asthma, ovarian cancer, and boosts your immune system. For more detailed information about the health benefits of ginger see

Monday, December 17, 2007

Some Great Toledo Area Middle Eastern Food

You can always count on great food at Beirut , Byblos , and Poco Piatti – they are all owned by the same family. Byblos and Beirut have essentially the same menu while Poco Piatti’s menu is a little more varied. I love ordering the flaming cheese at Poco Piatti – not only is it fun to watch, it is delicious!

Recently, I was in Ann Arbor and ate at Charlie’s Mediterranean Cuisine (formerly La Shish). It was de-lish! The photo above shows how they serve shish kabob. My friend and I enjoyed a large platter of hummus surrounded by freshly cut veggies – there was so much we each took some home. I also tried the lamb chili which was perfectly spicey yet slightly more watery than I usually like it. The lamb gave it great meaty flavor. Oh and the bread they bring out is warm and very fresh-tasting.

At my home, I hosted a neighborhood dinner preparing Greek chicken with green beans. Everyone enjoyed it so much; they encouraged me to post the recipe here. Since I rarely use a recipe, I will simply write out how I made this.

First, I took about ½ cup per person of green beans – it ended up being a mixture of fresh and frozen. I spread them in a roaster pan and mixed them with Sofo’s gourmet pasta sauce . Then I added about one pound of chopped onions, carrots, and celery, lemon juice and cumin (sorry, I don’t have the amounts). On top of this mixture, I laid the Greek marinated boneless, skinless chicken breasts from House of Meats (about ½ pound meat per person). Covered the roasting pan with foil and baked for about one hour; then removed the foil and baked for another 15-20 minutes until the chicken was browned. I think this would also be great with potatoes (red skinned or Yukon Gold) added to the green beans.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rockwell's Steak House

I had the most amazing shrimp cocktail for $12.95 and most tender steak at Rockwells. Located in the Oliver House 27 Broadway St, Toledo, OH, Tel: (419) 241-1253, this restaurant is somewhat pricey yet deems a very high quality meal. The photo above is of my friend’s steak which was ordered well-done. The point is it was so tender you could still push it down easily with the fork. Shrimp is served with four huge shrimp with dry ice and water so it is foggy – beautiful presentation.

Other offerings on the lunch menu were brie almondine for $9.85, crab cakes appetizer for $10.95, grilled shrimp salad for $9.99, Ceasar salad with tuna or chicken for $8.99, three flatbreads which the waitress described as pizza: steak & bruschetta for $9.29, seafood scampi for $10.29, and pesto veggie supreme for $9.29. The sandwich offerings were USDA prime burger, open faced ribeye & onion for, crab stuffed portabella, Rockwell’s club, and steak, cheese & onion; all sandwiches are $9.95 and are served with delicious hand-cut Rockwell’s fries.

Entrees on Rockwell’s lunch menu included Duck al’organe for $13.95, lamb chops for $17.29, Mahi Mahi for $12.95, lobster pot for $17.95, seared Ahi tuna for $12.95, Monteray Jack chicken for $11.95, and all entrees include asparagus with hollandaise sauce.

On to Rockwell’s signature prime beef. The 6 oz filet was $27.95, 12 oz filet was $37.95, house cut was $28.95, New York Strip was $34.95, Delmonico ribeye was $32.95, and the cowboy steak was $39.95. Our waitress said they get their steaks fresh from the Chicago stockyard. It seems like they use a lot of butter when cooking the steak and they may also help explain why it is so tender. Hope you enjoy your trip to Rockwell's Steak House!