Friday, July 29, 2011

Frugal Floozie Friday -- Silvio's Organic Pizza


Tom and I recently ate dinner at one of our very favorite restaurants: Silvio's.

Since today is Frugal Floozie Friday, I won't rave on too much about the amazing Capricciosa [cah-pree-CHO-suh] pizza we ate, which - at $11.89 - just exceeded the mandatory budgetary limit of $5 per person. But it was exceptional! The pizza (a term which seems so inadequate for a hand-formed work of art) was rich with the flavors of pungent ripe olives, beautiful thin slices of a lovely Italian ham, artichoke hearts, and restrained quantities of mozzarella which balanced the other ingredients rather than burying them, all on a thin and crisp crust.

Instead, I'll tell you about the two - yes, two! - desserts we shared. (We were feeling celebratory and indulgent about our reunion.) Each was priced at $2.89. Therefore, individually they clearly met the budgetary constraints; but they also were within the per-person limit when we combined them, so why not have a bit of extra fun?

The Nutella Pocket was brought out first - a 6"-long vision of chocolate-drizzled beauty. There was an ideal balance between the sweet, flaky pastry and the strip of rich, luxuriant Nutella running through it.

Whereas many restaurants might engage in overkill with too much of one flavor, a gigantic and excessive portion, or dousing the dessert in whipped cream or other accoutrements, Silvio's practiced the perfection of restraint. The dessert was just the right size to share with someone, there was a splash of rich chocolate sauce as an accent rather than pouring it over the treat, and the flavors all worked in unison as the proportion of pastry-to-filling was sublime.

And then, as though the pizza and the Nutella Pocket weren't sufficient, we relished a Sicilian cannoli (pictured at the top of the post), which exceeds my ability to adequately describe it. Half of the filling was a creamy vanilla custard with just a hint of the vibrancy of lemon; the other half was a deep, bittersweet chocolate.

The fillings were lusciously smooth, almost sinfully seductive. In contrast, the fried shell was crisp and crunchy, providing just enough body when paired with the creaminess. And again, the proportions of each ingredient were in perfect balance. The cannoli was utterly decadent!

Needless to say, at Silvio's Tom and I more than received our money's worth. For less than $3 each, we indulged in unbelievably luscious desserts. What noble people we are, engaging in such strenuous research for today's Frugal Floozie Friday feature!


Frugal Floozie Friday: Food and Fun for Five Dollars or Less ... Really!!!


Silvio's Organic Pizza
715 N. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-214-6666


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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bacon-Cheese Mix-In Burgers for National Hamburger Day


One night a few years ago, Jeremy had one of the great visions of brilliance in the culinary universe. He questioned the wisdom of cooking a burger patty and then slapping a slice of cheese onto it, only to have the cheese melt and ooze everywhere; and he also wondered why bacon slices were placed on top of cheeseburgers, only to slide off along with the melting cheese ...?

He thought it would be better if the bacon and the cheese were perhaps mixed into the patty before it was cooked ... sheer genius!

So we cooked and crumbled bacon, chopped some Swiss cheese, and mixed everything up with the ground beef before cooking up the burgers.

And it turned out to be a thing of absolute beauty, with the bits of bacon on the surface becoming slightly caramelized as they cooked and the tidbits of cheese starting to melt. The flavors of the mix-ins infuse the entire burger.

So, in honor of today's festivities - National Hamburger Day - I am offering Jeremy's Bacon-Cheese Mix-In Burgers. They're everything you want in a burger, and immensely good for your soul!



Bacon-Cheese Mix-In Burgers

1-1/2 pounds ground chuck
6 strips applewood-smoked bacon, chopped fine
1-1/2 ounces Swiss cheese, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, halved, sliced
4 onion rolls, lightly toasted
Dijon mustard, or other condiments to taste
tomato slices, lettuce, etc. to taste

Combine ground chuck, bacon, Swiss, salt, garlic powder and pepper; form into 4 burger patties 5" across. Cook the burgers over medium-high heat in a large skillet until well-browned on both sides but still squishy when pressed in the middle.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook until the onion is softened and starting to caramelize; the burgers should still be not quite firm in the center. (If you have a grill, which I sadly don't, by all means use it for the burgers; then just saute the onions in a skillet.)

Place 1 onion roll onto each of 4 serving plates; spread rolls with Dijon mustard and top with onions, tomato, and burger patties.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Vegetable and Bacon Sandwich


Tom and I ate dinner together the other night, and made ourselves a hot, open-faced sandwich very typical of what he eats on a regular basis. Tom often stir-fries vegetables, and he adores sandwiches; so we combined them into one happy dish.

His sister Anne (whom we consider to be our guardian angel) had recently visited from Kentucky and very much wanted to shop at Zingerman's, since she regularly gets their catalogues. So Tom had taken her to the Bakehouse to buy coffee cakes and other treats, both for gifts and for herself ('cause she's worth it!). And, well, of course he couldn't leave there without buying himself a present too - a loaf of Sicilian Sesame Semolina Bread.

So, for our dinner we started with one slice each of the bread, lightly toasted so that it wouldn't be too crispy when we tried to cut into it. We then peered into the refrigerator and found a lovely assortment of fresh vegetables, as well as some fabulous maple-flavored bacon. Toss in a little bit of the white cheddar that I'd contributed to the cause, and voila - dinner!

This was immensely flavorful, easy to make, and was a perfect light meal for a summer evening.

Summer Vegetable and Bacon Sandwich

5 slices maple-flavored bacon, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 small red onion, halved, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise, sliced
6 asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 slices Zingerman's Sesame Semolina Bread
2 slices white cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until starting to turn golden. Add onion, garlic, zucchini and asparagus; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender and caramelized. Add spinach, salt and pepper; turn off heat, and let spinach wilt.

Lightly toast the slices of bread.

Place 1 slice of toast onto each of 2 serving plates. Divide vegetable-bacon mixture, pouring it over the toast. Top with cheese and microwave for 30 seconds or so, just until melted.

Serve immediately, with pickles or chips or fruit on the side.

Serves 2.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cherry Cobbler for Two


The 4th of July isn't about fireworks or parades for me; it's about tart cherries. That's when the season begins, and I start the hunt for the gorgeous red fruits that are only available for a few short weeks each summer.

I'm so infamous for my love of the beautiful cherries that my loved ones also take it upon themselves to engage in the search. While I'm at work during the various farmers' market times, they all go out on reconnaissance missions to see what's available. Are the Montmorencies (traditional pie cherries which are bright red) at their peak, or are the Balatons (a darker and slightly sweeter variety of tart cherry) now ready? Then, if the prize is found, there are the text messages and phone calls to inquire how many quarts - yes, quarts! - I want.

Each of us has our own summer traditions. Other people go camping or have family reunions. I sit outside and remove the stones from hundreds of cherries with my late grandmother's cherry pitter. It's relaxing - almost meditative. And there is supreme satisfaction in baking with cherries that one has prepared oneself, rather than merely opening an inferior can of pie filling.

Whether you use frozen or jarred cherries, or invest the time to pit your own fresh ones, do please find a way to make this recipe. It's quick, it's simple, and it's such a perfect summer treat! There's just a hint of almond shining through to enhance the cherries, and the fruit's sweet-tart combination is an ideal complement to the light cake-like topping.

This was an ideal dessert to share with Tom one recent weekend evening, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Yes, he's back! We're either utter fools or hopeless romantics ... we're in favor of the latter. Some things are just a matter of bashert [bah-SHAYRT], which is Hebrew for "destiny." So today we're celebrating our 19 month anniversary ... :)



Individual Cherry Cobblers
(adapted from Marcia Adams' Cooking From Quilt Country: Hearty Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Kitchens)

Cherries:
2 cups pitted sour cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Topping:
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease two 1-1/4 cup ramekins, and place onto a baking sheet.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the cherries; divide among the ramekins.

In the same bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; with a fork, mix in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the egg and the half-and-half until well combined; divide among the ramekins and spread the batter to the edges of the ramekins (but the cherries don't need to be fully covered).

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar over each ramekin.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream as an accompaniment.

Serves 2.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Peach-Raspberry Streusel Pie


Note to all my blogging buddies: I am so, so, SO far behind in reading!!! This past week was just chaotic, and the next few weeks are looking pretty stressful too. Some in a good way, the rest ... eh. I'm trying to keep up every few days, but can't always leave comments (thank you, Blogger, for your usual high level of cooperation!). Please just know I apologize for my neglect, but I still love all of you!

As I type this, I am anticipating the 5th Annual Pie Lovers Unite! on Sunday, July 24 - a fabulous celebration of pie hosted by Slow Food Huron Valley:

Pies are a great example of how local, seasonal foods can signify welcome and community with unique regional qualities. The Pie Lovers Unite! extravaganza honors pie-making traditions in Michigan by inviting people to bake, bring, share, and taste pies from around the area. Pie Lovers Unite! demonstrates that a community is only as good as its homemade pie - and we have a GREAT community.

This event is a step back in time, held in a beautiful Victorian house (The Ypsilanti Ladies Literary Club). It is a tribute to pie, to local ingredients, to handmade works of art, and to tradition. To see 75 or 80 gorgeous pies of all varieties - both sweet and savory - laid out on a lace tablecloth is a vision of beauty!

Last year I made a rich, luscious peanut butter pie for the festivities; this year, I decided to make a Peach-Raspberry Streusel Pie.

The peaches were beautiful specimens from the Farmers Market, which a dear friend had bought. The raspberries came from Marilyn, my beloved friend who often shares the bounty of her garden with me. My pie was a celebration of both Michigan fruits and the generosity of my loved ones!

My favorite part of this event is not the pie-ku recitation or the pie walk which offers a chance to win a prize; of course, the best part is when the guests have an opportunity to taste the pies they've been ogling all evening!

This portion is a bit chaotic, as there's not much space in the room with the pies, especially when dozens and dozens of fellow pie afficionados are vying for slices as well. But last year my guest and I were able to try 9 different varieties, which was a fabulous assortment. There are inevitably surprises (for example, a custard pie not being very good while a chocolate tofu pie was exceptional!), and it's fun to taste and deconstruct and analyze and chitchat.

Coffee and pie on a summer evening ... does it get any better than that?


Peach-Raspberry Streusel Pie

Crust:
1-1/4 cups unbleached flour
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
5 tablespoons ice water

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Using a fork, mix in butter until crumbly. One tablespoon at a time, add water and mix in with fork until mixture adheres together when pressed. Form into a ball and press to flatten; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Filling:
1-1/2 pounds peaches, pitted, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup white wine (Flip Flop Wines Chardonnay - a lovely marketing gift - was ideal!)
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/2 pint raspberries (reserve for assembling pie)

Bring peaches, sugar, cornstarch, wine and jam to a boil in a medium saucepan; lower heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened. Let cool to room temperature.

Streusel:
1/4 cup flour
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup instant oatmeal, plain
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/8 cup butter, softened

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon and walnuts. Using a fork, mix in butter until mixture is crumbly.

Assemble pie:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Roll out crust into a generous 12" circle. Carefully place into a 9" deep-dish pie pan.


Place peach filling into the crust and sprinkle with raspberries.


Sprinkle the streusel topping over the filling.


Place the pie onto a baking sheet. Bake the pie for 45 minutes until the crust is lightly browned, the streusel is golden, and the filling is just starting to bubble. Let cool before cutting.

Serves 8-10.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Frugal Floozie Friday -- Pacific Beach Burritos


Jeremy accompanied me to an appointment recently, so I returned the favor by taking him out to eat as a way to say "thanks."

Fortunately, he doesn't expect to be treated to the most lavish meals in town; he wants quick, simple food and generous quantities of it - 20 year old males are good about that. And he's thoroughly enjoying our Frugal Floozie Friday mission of maximizing $5 expenditures, to see how much proverbial bang we can get for our bucks.

So I was happy to have Jeremy join me for my latest frugal adventure to Pacific Beach Burritos for an excellent, freshly made, wholesome lunch. That the meal we enjoyed was 562 steps beyond being fast food, despite the speed with which we were served, only made it better.

For $3.99, Jeremy received an entire plate of food with no need to order any accompaniments or side dishes. His three rolled chicken tacos were a generously-stuffed, crispy feast served with shredded lettuce; drizzles of sour cream and a dollop of guacamole completed the dish.

He knew he'd have to play my little game of staring at his food while I positioned and re-positioned it for its moment in the spotlight, photographing the tacos for posterity ... the curse of sharing a meal with someone who writes about food. But it was abundantly clear that this was making him impatient - the man was hungry. And the food looked and smelled amazing! Jeremy was very grateful when I told him he could finally eat, and he thoroughly enjoyed his lunch.

I ordered two different tacos for a light but immensely flavorful - and surprisingly filling - lunch. One was the Carne Asada taco, featuring marinated and seasoned beef. The other was the Al Pastor, filled with pork that had been marinated and then cooked on a rotisserie. Each came with a bright and tart green salsa, and the tacos also featured crisp onions and fresh cilantro to complement the meats.

At $1.49 each, these were a tremendous value! Had I been hungrier (or simply indulged in gluttony by ordering more because everything was so good), I could have eaten a third taco and still stayed within my Frugal Floozie Friday budget of $5 or less per person.

Jeremy and I arrived at Pacific Beach Burritos around 12:30 p.m., just barely in time to beat the lunch rush. As we sat down, we watched the ordering line start to grow; within moments, truly, we counted 21 people waiting to enjoy a fabulous meal. It was better to be eating while watching this scene; but the food was so good that it really would have been worth waiting in such a line for a quick and excellent lunch.

Amazing what you can get for a mere $5 or less, isn't it?

Pacific Beach Burritos
2835 Washtenaw
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
(734) 434-9900


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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Black Bean and Grilled Corn Salad


If you've got leftover corn on the cob and don't know what to do with it, here's your answer: make a simple, inexpensive, light but flavorful salad!

It's best if the corn has been grilled and cut off the cob; but you can even approximate that with frozen corn if you place it into a skillet and toast it over medium heat for about 5 minutes until golden. Add in some beautiful produce - tomatoes and peppers - from your garden or from the farmers' market, and your dish is complete!

Whether accompanying an entree, served in a tomato as a light lunch salad, or even eaten with chips dipped into it, this is one of my favorite summer treats ....


Black Bean and Grilled Corn Salad

Salad:
1-1/2 cups corn kernels, from grilled corn
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small red pepper, finely diced
1 small orange pepper, finely diced
3 large purple scallions, chopped
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Dressing:
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
juice of 1 large lime
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce

Place the cumin seeds in a small skillet; toast over low heat for 1-2 minutes, just until fragrant. Place into a small mixing bowl and combine with the rest of the ingredients; whisk to combine, then pour over the salad.

Let the salad rest for 30 minutes or more, for the flavors to blend.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuna, White Bean and Red Onion Salad


This simple, light, nutritious salad is ridiculously easy to put together but still immensely popular and flavorful. You can grill your own tuna or soak your own beans, and that would undoubtedly make for a lovely dish.

But it's hot out, and you want something quick to throw together ... open a couple of cans, chop and stir just a tad, and enjoy your fabulous salad.

I use tuna packed in water rather than in oil, because there's already oil in the dressing and no one really needs the extra fat; while Saveur actually claims that this makes the salad taste "insipid," I would argue that this is not the case at all! The lighter tuna lets all of the ingredients' flavors shine through; and if you have good ingredients and a vibrant dressing, some extra grease simply isn't necessary.

Now, of course, my friends know that I'm quite the aficionada of Italian, which is so beautiful that it can even make a bean salad sound elegant! Here is this dish's name in its native tongue: Insalata del Fagiolo e del Tonno [in-sah-LAH-tah del fah-JOHL-oh eh del TOH-noh], which is infinitely preferable to "Tuna, White Bean and Red Onion Salad"! Already, with this simple translation, we've elevated our meal to something sophisticated and luscious, haven't we?

This is a great dish for any summer day, and especially for picnics because it travels very well without any concerns about spoilage or wilting. Enjoy!

Tuna, White Bean and Red Onion Salad

1 6-ounce can solid white tuna in water, drained
1 15-ounce can cannellini, drained, rinsed
6 purple scallions, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper

Combine tuna, cannellini and scallions in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, and peppers; pour over salad, and stir to coat. Cover and let rest for 1 hour or more, for flavors to blend.

Serves 2 as a light lunch with good bread and perhaps a green salad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pasta con Cacio e Pepe


I was thrilled to recently win a giveaway from one of my favorite blogging buddies, Karen, of Eat Drink Wash Up. Not only is she a fabulous cook with a very sharp wit who tells great stories while sharing recipes; she also knows my beloved Roxy Music and shares my adoration of their greatest album, Avalon!

And so what, pray tell, did I win from my friend???

A trip to any food aficionada's paradise: a $50 gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma!

Now, of course, we all know that I don't make decisions well, especially when faced with so much bounty and so many new toys. So I brought Jeremy along with me, because he is a consummate shopper - he can enthusiastically spend money, his own or someone else's, with great skill and joy!

So, off we went on our excursion, in search of goodies. We walked in and immediately meandered over to the sale table, 'cause that's the kinda girl I am. Beautiful little yellow dessert plates with a honeycomb theme seemed like a lovely addition to my "photo op" dishes; but we kept looking, not wanting to leap upon the first option.

Delicate glassware, one set bearing French captions and another with Latin ... a pink spatula that had "Princess" stamped upon it ... jarred sauces and a caramel ice cream topping ... oh, so many things were calling to me!

But then Jeremy found two perfect items, the first of which was a Bunbury Boards cutting board from Ireland, sporting a code number to trace its history from tree to kitchen equipment. Here is my board's life story:

The species of tree is: Beech.

The location of the tree is recorded as: The Farmyard Kilruddery, Kilruddery Estate, Co Wicklow

Reason Down: This tree was windblown, it fell across the lane way into the Kilruddery Farmyard and knocked part of a wall during the winter of 2007.

Replacement Notes: This beech tree was a self seeded tree, growing in a hedge line where new saplings are now growing.


And the second fabulous item was an assortment of mixed peppercorns, since I'd run out and needed a new infusion to keep my pepper mill (a consolation prize in a Newman's Own contest, which the company had very thoughtfully personalized by etching my name into it) fed.

It took a few days for me to be able to bear the notion of using the cutting board, beautiful and unique as it is; but I decided that it was more noble to give it a purpose in life, rather than merely having it gather dust while looking pretty.

And then, the ideal way to put the new peppercorns to use was in an Italian dish that is named for them: Pasta con Cacio e Pepe, otherwise known as "Pasta with Cheese and Pepper". (By the way, like with every other dish in the history of the universe, it sounds infinitely better in Italian: [PAHS-tuh cohn CAH-chyo eh PEH-peh].)

Since I'd also recently received a new infusion of the lovely Flip Flop wines that I've so enjoyed cooking with (and drinking!), I thought I'd veer from the traditional dish just a tad by adding some Chardonnay to the butter/oil mix that coats the pasta along with the freshly grated pepper and cheese.

And so, here you have it: a dish that is luscious and flavorful, and yet simple and traditional. The quality of the ingredients is absolutely crucial here, since there is nothing to mask inferior ones; be sure to invest in the best that you can afford, so that the flavors shine through.

Pasta con Cacio e Pepe

12 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated peppercorns
shredded parmesan cheese

Prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, then return to the pot.

Meanwhile, melt butter and oil together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add wine, then bring to a boil for 2 minutes to reduce the mixture just a bit. Add salt and pepper, then pour over prepared spaghetti and toss to coat. Place onto a serving platter and top with cheese to taste.

Serves 4.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Egg 'n' Onion Sandwich


Although some of my recent posts have been a bit less than noble nutritiously (The Cupcake Station, Brownie Ice Cream Pie) others have been very health-oriented (Cabbage and Fennel Slaw, Tropical Granita).

Well, today I'm making no pretense of preparing anything that's good for me. Today, I'm simply offering something that was good for my soul. Sometimes you've just gotta give in and do that for yourself.

And so, I recently indulged in a toasted bagel with a fried egg and sauteed onion ... an Egg 'n' Onion sandwich inspired by the old Jimmy Stewart movie "Harvey."

I have little use for new movies, and have seen virtually nothing current (which means nothing in the past several years, with the exception of the fabulous "The King's Speech"). One or two others, I might eventually get around to watching; but I'm pretty content not to sit and stare at a screen for 2 hours. (I stare at my computer screen for far too long already, without adding different screens into that mix!)

But I love old movies, MGM musicals in particular. I was raised on them, at the Regency Theater on Columbus Avenue in New York City, which only showed the old standards rather than new releases. And "Harvey" - full of sweet and eccentric characters - is a long-time favorite.

It's a screwball comedy about a man with a drinking problem and the family members who try to take care of him despite his, ahem, oddities. Harvey is the "pooka" - a benevolent character, manifesting as a 6' rabbit not visible to everyone - who watches over Jimmy Stewart's Elwood P. Dowd and helps to create some chaos.

At one point, without sharing too much and spoiling the movie (because I do, indeed, expect you to go straight to Netflix and watch it instantly!), Elwood's sister and niece are caught up in escapades with the sanitarium in which they're trying to commit poor Elwood.

The niece, Myrtle Mae, happens to develop an immediate crush on one of the employees who's been sent to the house to bring back a patient. Fortunately, she rather strikes his fancy, too.

And so Myrtle Mae, not socially adept, asks the man a not terribly romantic or flirtatious question: would he like an egg 'n' onion sandwich?

And he accepts.

It's bashert [bah-SHAYRT], which is Hebrew for "destiny."

Eggs and onions make a great pair, whether in omelettes or any other form. Add a slice of cheddar cheese to the Egg 'n' Onion sandwich, and you've got a perfect combination served on an "everything" bagel.

Egg 'n' Onion Sandwich

1 teaspoon bacon fat or butter
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 egg
1 everything bagel
schmear of Dijon mustard
1 slice cheddar cheese

Heat the bacon fat in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until just translucent.

Add the egg, being careful to keep the yolk intact, and nudge the onions into the raw egg to cook together. Cook until the edges of the egg are set and crisping. Carefully flip the egg and turn the heat off on the stove to let the underside cook while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Toast the bagel, and schmear the mustard onto it. Place the cheese on the bottom half of the bagel, top with the egg/onion, and then complete your sandwich with the top half of the bagel.

Makes 1 sandwich, which should be served with a napkin because the yolk will run. This is messy, but it's really good!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Frugal Floozie Friday -- Leo's Coney Island


I recently had dinner with a friend I hadn't seen for quite some time, and we decided to make it a casual evening. An inexpensive but good-for-the-soul meal was in order.

So, where did we go? What is today's Frugal Floozie Friday feature???

Leo's Coney Island. Ya can't go wrong with hot dogs, that consummate comfort food!

There weren't terribly many options that would qualify for our $5 or less per person budget; however, I did manage to get both the requisite chili dog and some vegetables by ordering cole slaw on the side. Yes, I am happy to delude myself that this somehow constituted a semi-nutritious dinner!

And not only did I get a hot dog, but I ordered an all-beef kosher Coney dog ... oh, it was so good! Lots of rich chili and a generous supply of onions (thank goodness I wasn't kissing anyone!) completed the perfect package.

The cole slaw was creamy and had good flavor. Some people are very particular about these matters, but I'm a big fan of virtually any variety of cole slaw. I liked this one very much, and certainly recommend it as an accompaniment to the star of the show.

My friend also ordered the kosher Coney, because it was just the right thing to do. And he also ordered a small Greek salad (over the $5/person budget, but that was his choice) which was very generously topped with all the expected goodies of banana peppers, olives, cheese, beets and tomatoes.

Leo's provided a welcoming atmosphere where we loitered for quite some time, good hearty food, and excellent value for our money ... what more can you ask for? A worthy expenditure of $5!

Leo's Coney Island
3644 Carpenter Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
734-971-2388


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Frugal Floozie Friday: Food and Fun for Five Dollars or Less ... Really!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tropical Granita


Although I adore banana bread, I get tired of it being virtually the sole option for using up overripe bananas. I have an astoundingly low boredom quotient - I want variety, particularly in my food!

In a moment of great serendipity, not only did I happen to have bananas on the verge of becoming mush, but I also had a pineapple that had been staring at me for quite some time and I had a tidbit of mango sorbet taking up space in the freezer.

Well, let's just throw everything into the blender, shall we, rather than letting any of it go to waste!

And that's precisely what I did. But instead of drinking it as a smoothie - which is a perfectly valid option - I froze it and turned it into a granita, the perfect sweet and cool dessert for a hot July day.

Ideally, I'd have been available every 30 minutes to stir and scrape the granita so that it didn't form ice chunks. But then I wouldn't have been enjoying lunch with friends; and I wouldn't have been playing Mah Jong with the "bubbes" (inspiring women in their 80s and 90s) who have adopted me and invited me into their regular weekly game, teaching me about strategy and about life over the course of the afternoon.

Personally, I rather liked this with a bit of iciness to it; but the choice is yours as to how much work you want to put into it. It's July, it's hot, it's time for vacation ... there's a reason they call these the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!


Tropical Granita

2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
3 medium bananas, very ripe, peeled
1 cup mango sorbet, softened
1/2 cup pineapple juice

Place everything into a blender and whir until smooth. Pour into an 8" square metal baking pan and freeze for 6 hours or so; scrape every 30 minutes if you want to, but don't feel obligated.

Makes 3 generous cups.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Basil Parmesan Shortbread Triangles


My fellow Michigan Lady Food Bloggers and I are participating in a Spice Rack Challenge: each of us is posting a recipe using the month's featured ingredient, then there will be a round-up of all the fabulousness at Mother's Kitchen on July 20.

The star of the show this month is basil, that gorgeous, fragrant, flavorful, indispensable gift from the garden gods. And what did I make to contribute to the cause of showing off this herb's charms?

I didn't want to make pesto, no matter how wonderful it is; that was too predictable. I considered a Thai beef stir fry, but never quite got around to making it.

And then I had a vision of brilliance after someone told me that Bon Appetit had recently showcased a recipe for sweet shortbread cookies featuring basil and mint.

I veered off that path a bit and made some savory shortbread instead: Basil Parmesan Shortbread Triangles.

I have several exceptionally healthy and hearty basil plants near my front steps, so the prime ingredient was readily available. Some other pantry staples like flour and butter were also ready for this mission; and I even managed to use up some Kraft parmesan cheese -- yes, that stuff in the green can! -- that was loitering in my refrigerator. Its powdery consistency was actually perfect for mixing into the batter, acting in much the same way that the flour and ground almonds did for structure and consistency.

These shortbread triangles are perfect with a salad or a light soup, or even cut into smaller portions and served as hors d'oeuvres. They're kindred spirits to garlic bread, but unique and distinctive, rich and addictive.

Basil Parmesan Shortbread Triangles

2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup Kraft grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
8 large basil leaves, finely chopped
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9" glass pie pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, almonds, parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and basil. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in egg. Place mixture into the prepared pie pan. Score into 8 portions. Using a fork, press a decorative pattern into the outer edge of each portion (if desired).


Bake for 35 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Score again. Let cool, then cut and serve.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cabbage and Fennel Slaw


I bought an adorable baseball-sized cabbage recently at a farmers' market, as well as some lovely purple scallions. The vendor I spoke with told me she'd made stuffed cabbage rolls the day before, which I adore (and haven't made in ages). But I didn't need any recommendations or ideas, because I already knew what I would make with my purchase: cole slaw.

Most people are very particular about their cole slaw, and most seem to prefer the creamy variety. I am happy to eat large quantities of that; but if given a choice, I'd rather this simple, vinegary variety. It's light, and it has no mayonnaise which would spoil if taken to a picnic or a barbecue.

Those who have lived in the Detroit area for long enough (like lil' ol' moi, who moved here in August, 1978) remember the Susie Q restaurant that used to be on Woodward north of 12 Mile. They were noted for their fish and chips, and also for their cole slaw which featured a vinegar-based, rather than a creamy, dressing.

I remember loving it immediately upon tasting it, and my friend Michele also has excellent memories of it. She even agreed, upon trying this slaw once, that it wasn't exactly the same but was remarkably close to the Susie Q's version. And I wasn't even trying to replicate the recipe! It was just bashert [bah-SHAYRT]: "destiny," in Hebrew.

If you remember the Susie Q and want to indulge in a taste memory; or if you just want a great salad to accompany virtually any main dish, this is the recipe you want to make with your farmers' market or garden bounty. It's not too tart, and the flavors are bright and refreshing. It's an ideal summery side dish!



Cabbage and Fennel Slaw

1 small cabbage (the size of a baseball)
3 large scallions (purple, if possible)
1 small head fennel, fronds removed
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon sugar

Cut cabbage in half and cut out the core; slice very thinly across the core, and place the slices into a large mixing bowl.

Trim half of the green ends of the scallions, and chop very thin; add to the cabbage.

Cut the fennel in half vertically, then slice each half very thinly; add to the cabbage.

Combine the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar; mix thoroughly, then pour over the cabbage. Stir to coat the cabbage with the dressing, place into a covered storage container and refrigerate for at least one hour (the longer, the better).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blueberry Streusel Muffins


Blueberry muffins are a universal favorite! Who wouldn't want to celebrate them today, on National Blueberry Muffin Day?

Not only do these muffins showcase one of Michigan's finest fruits, but they're sweet and delicious and perfect at any time of day. Breakfast? A great way to start the morning! Lunch? They can certainly make a fabulous dessert. Tea time? Evening or midnight snack? Absolutely ideal!

This recipe makes a very tender muffin, loaded with gorgeous blueberries. And the cinnamon streusel makes a lovely, fragrant topping so that the muffins aren't quite so plain.

Just as National Strawberry Shortcake Day didn't need my promotional assistance, National Blueberry Muffin Day can hold its own, too, I think. So I'll stop blathering now, and just let you enjoy your muffin in peace ....

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Muffins:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1-1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup blueberries

Streusel:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup quick-cook oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Make the muffins: In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar; stir in egg. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the cream, then gently mix in the blueberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.

Make the streusel: Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon. Stir in the butter. Divide the mixture among the muffins by placing a blob of it on top of each.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the muffins are golden and a tester comes out clean. Let the muffins cool, as they're a bit fragile and need to set before being removed from the tin.

Makes 12 muffins.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Frugal Floozie Friday -- The Cupcake Station


It's Frugal Floozie Friday again, and this is Part 2 of my adventures with my BFF Wendy and her daughter Alison. Last week's episode featured a lovely dinner at Jerusalem Garden; this week, we'll continue our saga with dessert at The Cupcake Station.

Our original intent had been to take advantage of the Friday special: 25-cent frosting shots. For just $1, the three of us could get quite a good sugar rush going! We were giddy -- and likely quite annoying, for which I'll publicly apologize -- as we happily bounced like pinballs from one end of the counter to the other trying to pick our flavors. By the time we were done, we had confused the situation sufficiently that we found ourselves with 5 shots rather than 4 ... oh, woe is me!

But our plan didn't last very long, because who could resist cupcakes when they look so pretty, so inviting, so seductive???

And then, as we waited for the rest of our order to be ready, Alison decided that a chocolate-nut-oat bar also looked enticing ... so we added it to the pile: 3 cupcakes, 1 dessert bar, and 5 frosting shots. This is what the scene looked like before we delved in, in the midst of dividing the portions:


Now, first of all, I have to say that I can't even remember the last time I ingested this much sugar! And this isn't the sort of activity to engage in on a regular basis, but it was a lot of fun for a girls' night out. And yes, between the three of us, we polished off virtually everything except for the last crumbs and the last schmears of frosting. To quote a good friend: "Urf."

But I digress ... this is Frugal Floozie Friday, and I need to tell you about the frosting shots! These are a tremendous value - well within the mandatory budget of $5 or less per person - and the portions are very generous. And it's just fun to eat frosting; cake is really just a vehicle for the sugar fix, after all.

Customers can choose any flavor from the entire repertoire which, of course, really makes things much more difficult - it causes brain paralysis! But here's what we finally settled on (left to right, top to bottom ... arranged, as Alison pointed out, "like the Olympics, but better!"):

- Chocolate
- Peanut Butter
- Cherry
- Vanilla Latte
- Marshmallow

I could happily have eaten an entire cake's worth of the Vanilla Latte frosting, as it was smoother than butter and tasted very much like coffee ice cream - subtle flavoring, rather than strong and insistent. The chocolate was very rich, with a hint of the intensity of dark chocolate. The marshmallow frosting was very light, and was good despite being more reminiscent of vanilla than of Fluff.

The peanut butter flavoring wasn't overpowering, either; in fact, in the chaos of our table we lost track of which flavors we were trying among the tan/white varieties, and kept wondering why the vanilla frosting had a hint of nut flavoring ... and then we realized it was the cream-colored peanut butter one. It, too was quite good - it would be perfect with a chocolate cupcake. The only flavor that had leftovers was the cherry, which was a gorgeous color and intensely flavored, but simply couldn't compete with my favorites.

With cupcakes costing only $2.75 and even jumbo cupcakes costing $5, The Cupcake Station clearly offers a multitude of Frugal Floozie Friday options even if you expand beyond the frosting shots.

The only thing missing from our feast was a cold glass of milk ... :)

The Cupcake Station
116 E. Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-222-1801


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Frugal Floozie Friday: Food and Fun for Five Dollars or Less ... Really!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pastitsio for National Macaroni Day


We have yet another food holiday to celebrate today! And this one - National Macaroni Day - is an easy one to join in on.

There's macaroni and cheese ... pasta salad ... lots of family favorites.

But ever since having a fabulous dinner at Pegasus in Greektown recently, I'd been craving more pastitsio - an amazing dish of pasta layered with a rich meat sauce and topped with a cheesy custard ... sigh.

Pastitsio has no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever, unless you delude yourself that the fat content is neutralized by the prostate-friendly tomato sauce or that using skim milk in the topping will make it all okay! But sometimes you just need comfort food; and this particular comfort food also makes a great party dish for graduations, showers, or other events at which you'll be feeding a crowd.

It may look as though this requires a lot of work, but it really doesn't; each of the layers is very easy to make. And there aren't too many dirty dishes, either - I don't have a dishwasher, and I still wasn't overwhelmed by the washing afterwards (a saucepan for the custard, a skillet for the meat sauce, a stockpot for the pasta, accoutrements for chopping and stirring).

So please don't feel intimidated when you look over the length of the recipe. As always, just trust me ... this pastitsio is so worth making! It's rich, luscious, substantial, and a universal favorite ... :)


Pastitsio

Pasta Layer:
8 ounces macaroni

Meat Sauce:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground lamb
1 small onion, chopped
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup red wine

Cream Sauce:
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare macaroni according to package directions.

Cook the beef and lamb over medium-high heat in a large skillet until only slightly pink; add the onion and cook until meat is browned, then drain. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg; cook for 1 minute. Add wine, and cook for 5 minutes until sauce is thickened.

Grease a 9"x13" baking dish. Spread just over one-half of the macaroni over the bottom of the dish.


Top with the meat sauce, spreading it carefully.


Spread the remaining macaroni over the meat sauce.


Set aside while making the cream sauce.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk, incorporating each addition before adding the next. Add the salt and nutmeg; cook for 5 minutes, until thickened.

Place the eggs into a small bowl, and add 1/2 cup of the cream sauce to them; whisk until blended, then stir the eggs into the saucepan with the rest of the sauce. Stir in the grated parmesan.

Pour the sauce over the pasta, spreading to make sure everything is covered. Sprinkle the shredded parmesan over the top.


Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top of the pastitsio is golden brown.


Let the pastitsio rest for 5 minutes before cutting into squares. Start with smaller portions, as it's very rich; you can always come back for seconds ... and I can promise that you will!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Good As Gold Vinaigrette


I love going to the Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers' Market on Tuesday afternoons! It's fairly small and not terribly crowded; so it's a wonderful opportunity to chat with the vendors and to revel in baked goods, fresh herbs, live music, and gorgeous plants, fruits and vegetables.

Last week, I bought some beautiful salad greens that also came with an extra perk: vibrant edible flowers. Why be boring with iceberg lettuce, when you can have a freshly picked variety of leaves and the added bonus of a unique ingredient?

So I hardly wanted to pour plain ol' grocery store salad dressing onto such a lovely accompaniment to my dinner! And that's when I started tinkering with a little of this and a splash of that to make a light, sweet vinaigrette that was the perfect complement to the freshness of the lettuce and the twinge of zest from the flowers.

I started with the basics: oil and vinegar. From there, I simply used what I had - leftover pineapple juice, a lime waiting for a purpose in life, and a touch of hot sauce when the vinaigrette just needed a little bit of oomph.

This dressing would be ideal for any salad featuring chicken or fruit, as well, if you turn it into a meal rather than a side dish.

Good As Gold Vinaigrette

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon balsamic vinegar (see note below)
1 tablespoon pineapple juice concentrate
juice from 1/4 lime
pinch of kosher salt
4 drops cayenne pepper sauce

Whisk together all ingredients, and drizzle over salad.

Note: Lemon balsamic vinegar is available at Fustini's Oils and Vinegars, a proud Michigan-based franchise. You can use 1/2 tablespoon each of balsamic vinegar and lemon juice as a substitute for the lemon balsamic vinegar.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pie Party: Brownie Ice Cream Pie


Some things in life are serendipitous, and others can be a bit of a challenge. I had thought that I was going to make some chocolate cookies on Sunday morning, then fill them with ice cream to make sandwiches ... however, my plan went pretty far awry!

A good friend had decided she'd never use a brownie mix that had been loitering in her cupboard, so she gave it to me. So on Sunday I decided to put the mix to use, and had determined to make a variation printed on the box which suggested adding 1/2 cup flour to the batter and then making drop cookies instead of just plain ol' brownies.

I followed the instructions, made large cookies, baked them, they were set ... and they turned out to be much too soft. They folded in on themselves when I tried to remove them from the baking sheet for cooling on a rack; leaving them to rest on the sheet for awhile didn't help. They sank into the cooling racks, becoming a bit wavy. They were not feeling particularly cooperative!

But I am not a girl who throws out food ... nope, not I. So, if the cookies weren't going to submit to my iron will, I was simply going to have to teach them a lesson. I crumbled them.

And then those crumbs became part of the crust for an ice cream pie, in honor of today's Pie Party extravaganza - the cyberspace phenomenon in which it was randomly suggested that July 5 be a celebration of pie, and virtually everyone else on Twitter and Facebook seemingly signed up for this noble mission.

Even after using some of the crumbs, there were a lot of them left ... a lot. So I did what anyone with a ravenous sweet tooth would do on a near-90 degree day: I combined them with ice cream! That became the filling for my pie.

Then, of course, you can't go wrong with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. We'd all be happier people if we could have chocolate sauce and whipped cream more often.

And so, there you have it: my contribution to the Pie Party - Brownie Ice Cream Pie. It has no redeeming nutritional value; but you'll be so, so happy while you eat it that you really, truly won't care how many calories you've just ingested!


Brownie Ice Cream Pie

Brownies:
(You can just prepare a batch of brownies and crumble them; baking the mix into cookies won't change the consistency, and this is much easier to do)
1 19.8-ounce box Kroger Ultra Moist Deluxe Fudge Brownie Mix
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare brownies according to package directions, then let cool completely.

Crust:
2 cups vanilla wafers, ground into fine crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups brownie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a 9" glass pie pan. Press mixture against the sides of the pan and press evenly over the base. Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool completely.

Filling:
1-1/2 quarts vanilla caramel swirl ice cream, softened
3 cups crumbled brownies
whipped cream
chocolate sauce, for drizzling

Combine ice cream with brownies; spread into the crust. Freeze overnight, then let rest on the countertop for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Cut the pie and place each serving onto a dessert plate. Spritz with whipped cream and drizzle chocolate sauce over everything.

Makes 8 very generous servings.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White and Blueberry Sangria

I hadn't made sangria for ages and ages, until one evening it just seemed like the perfect thing to drink while sitting on the front porch on a beautiful evening. Champagne is for weddings, beer is for football games, and sangria is for sunny summer days!

And this variation - a festive holiday concoction featuring red wine, white sparkling lemonade, and blueberry syrup - is ideal for today's 4th of July celebrations.

Sangria is easy to make, is a gorgeous deep vibrant shade of red as the sun shines upon it, and is sweet and refreshing. Pair it with burgers, chicken, ribs, corn, potato salad - all the traditional foods 'n' fixin's - and you've got a party!

I've given instructions for making the blueberry syrup; but there's not really a recipe for the sangria, merely a simple "how to" for making this fabulous drink by the glass. And it's one of those things where you can modify the proportions to suit your own tastes, or even make a non-alcoholic version using cranberry juice (or one of the multitude of variations on that basic version). Feel free to multiply everything and place it into a pitcher for serving many.

Enjoy the parades, proudly wear your patriotic colors, offer thanks to those who've sacrificed for our freedoms, and toast the holiday with this celebratory sangria.


Red, White and Blueberry Sangria

Blueberry Syrup:
4 cups blueberries
4 cups water
1 cup sugar

Bring everything to a boil in a medium saucepan, then lower heat to medium; boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then mash the blueberries. Strain out the solids and reserve the syrup.

Into each large wine glass, place:

1/4 cup blueberry syrup
2/3 cup red wine
2/3 cup sparkling lemonade
4 ice cubes
1/2 lemon slice x 2
1/2 orange slice x 2

Friday, July 1, 2011

Frugal Floozie Friday -- Jerusalem Garden


Well, today is Frugal Floozie Friday, and we're going out for dinner this time - for Middle Eastern food at Jerusalem Garden.

My BFF Wendy and her daughter, Alison - home for the summer after an exciting term interning at the State Department - joined me for an adventure one recent evening. We had such a fabulous time that this will be a two-part escapade completed next week ... same Bat time, same Bat channel!

We wanted to attend the first night of Top of the Park, described in a press release as:

"One of Ann Arbor’s favorite community celebrations .... (It) offers admission-free concerts, movies under the stars, open-air performances, street arts, family attractions, and a wide variety of cultural activities for the whole community to enjoy."

So we started with dinner before meandering over to the concert a few blocks away, right in the heart of the University of Michigan campus.

Jerusalem Garden is unfortunately located right in the midst of the enormous and seemingly endless project to construct an underground parking structure. There is a sign saying that the two restaurants on that block are still open; but with parking non-existent and the street blocked off, it's not a particularly enticing location. (You can even find a Facebook page supporting the restaurants: Keep Earthen Jar and Jerusalem Garden Open ... go "like" it.)

So we were on a mission to show our love.

We sat on the shaded patio on a perfect summery evening, a small oasis from the dust and consternation of the construction site, and were happy to see three other tables filled in addition to watching numerous customers walk in and then leave with take-out orders.

We were surprised at how many options were available within the very strict $5 per person budget for Frugal Floozie Friday: an assortment of salads and soups, spinach and meat pies, and eight different sandwiches featuring falafel or hummus or lentils and rice. And, of course, desserts were within our price range, as well.

I decided upon the Small Falafel Plate (pictured at the top of the post), which would have been $3.25 with one sampler side dish; but since I could choose a second side dish and bring my total up to only $4.75, that's what I did. I chose tabouli (on the right) and my favorite, fattoush (on the left). Wendy and Alison decided to split the Jerusalem Burger for $5.75: "Ground beef & lamb mixed with onions, parsley and spices baked in grape leaves, wrapped with hummus."

As you can see from the pictures, we absolutely got a huge bang for our proverbial buck -- we were served an incredibly generous amount of food! And it was exceptionally good food, too; Wendy loved the burger, and kept remarking how excellent it was and how enormous just her half of it was.

My falafel patties were perfectly cooked -- crunchy exteriors encasing a crumbly and flavorful filling. The salads were crisp and fresh with subtle flavors, rather than having been overdressed or too acidic (as they are at some places). Our waitress very graciously offered me a second piece of pita bread, which I happily accepted. And the three of us enthusiastically polished off our entire dinner, thoroughly enjoying our feast.

Whereas last week's featured establishment, Schakolad, was more about finding a sinfully seductive treat within the Frugal Floozie Friday price limit, going to Jerusalem Garden was about finding great value for the expenditure. An entire dinner for $5 or less??? What a fabulous deal!


Jerusalem Garden
307 S. Fifth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-995-5060


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Frugal Floozie Friday: Food and Fun for Five Dollars or Less ... Really!!!


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