17 October 2008

Stuffed Cabbage Stoup

I made this to use up a half-head of Savoy cabbage. And also because I love the stuffed cabbage my mom used to make when I was young. Kea is not as big a fan of stuffed cabbage as I am and he thought this recipe was a little strange I think. He said he liked it better the second day though. On one hand, I think it is very similar to a lot of Rachael Ray's recipes--with the chicken stock and tomato base, but the dill does give it a different flavor. Also, it's very cabbage heavy and thus feels healthy! Plus, lacks the sour cream of stuffed cabbage--at least my mom's recipe anyway.

Caramel Apples from Kilwin's in Ann Arbor

Kilwin's is a candy shop in Michigan. I've sent candies from there home at Christmas. I had a caramel apple from there a couple weeks ago when my friend Jim's girlfriend Janice was visiting. She was craving a caramel apple and I was very excited because I don't know anyone else who likes to eat them! Anyway, I had a caramel apple dipped in pecans. It cost $5.50, which is kind of outrageous, but it was amazing. I like that for $5.50, you know the apple inside has to be quality. I worry sometimes that other companies use crappy apples knowing that the caramel will cover any brown spots or other flaws. The caramel was also great--it wasn't too sweet and it also had a more distinct flavor rather than just sweet. The apple inside was green--probably a Granny Smith--and the tartness went great with the caramel.

Shangri-La in West Bloomfield, MI

A couple of our friends took us to Shangri-La last weekend for the best dim sum in Michigan. It was very good--still not as good as Hawai'i--but definitely better than our Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti favorite, Great Lakes. We had har gau, custard tarts, gin dui, jook (congee), a fried chive thing, taro puff, look fun, turnip cake, sticky rice, shu mai, and our friends ordered some squid and intestines, but I don't eat those. Compared to Great Lakes, it was definitely better. The sticky rice had more "goodies" (lup cheong, etc.) inside. The seafood tasted fresher. It is about forty minutes from Ann Arbor though so I think we will probably still stick with Great Lakes most of the time.

We also saw a family there that Kea is convinced is from Hawai'i. There was a little girl, a teenager, and an adult woman. The woman looked Local and Kea says he was further convinced by the way she was wearing her hair clip.

Marnee Thai in Ann Arbor

We went to Marnee Thai twice last week. My friend Katie just recommended it to me a few weeks ago: she said it was a little expensive but the best Thai food in Ann Arbor. I have to agree. I think it is the best Thai food I have ever had! But we could only afford to go twice in one week because my auntie was in town and took us out the second time! They do have a lunch special ($7.50) which sounds like a good deal but it doesn't include all of our favorites.

Our favorites were the spring rolls (veggie and meat are both great), the tom kha gai soup (which my cousin Dawn ordered), and the ice cream with sticky rice for dessert. The spring rolls had a good ratio of wrapper to filling. They were thin and crispy. Kea and I hadn't had tom kha gai before, but we loved it. The only problem was that there was some herbs in the bottom of the dish that I guess we weren't supposed to eat because they were too pokey for our throat! The ice cream with sticky rice we had with both mango and coconut ice cream. The first time I liked the coconut ice cream better (although Kea preferred the mango). The second time they only gave us mango, but I think it was a different brand because the color was slightly different and I liked it better.

We also had the green papaya salad, yellow curry with chicken (the thin pieces of chicken are great), the mixed appetizer, the lotus duck, lotus tofu, and something with eggplant. They were all pretty good, but as good as our favorites.

Another really important thing is that the shrimp was good here. I think this may be the only place in Ann Arbor where I am still willing to try the seafood.

Oh they also have a location near Target called Lotus Thai. I heard it is not as good but still want to try it!

02 October 2008

Moroccan Beef (or Turkey) Patties

I am seriously excited by the yumminess of these. I've had this recipe, from Rachael Ray, bookmarked for awhile and just decided to make them tonight to go with some leftover pasta, spaghetti sauce, and this spinach/breadcrumb/parmesan/mushroom casserole that Kea invented. We'd had some chicken baked with spinach and parmesan earlier in the week but ran out so I just wanted to make some kind of meat thing that would "go."

Okay, they don't really go. They are okay if you don't eat them in the same bite, but just one after the other. My logic was that Morocco is by Italy. lol.

But anyway, the mini Moroccan-spiced burgers are awesome. Hmm... I like my name for them better... They sort of remind me of the baked kibbee served at the middle eastern restaurant at my school. Aha, similar spices: cinnamon, allspice, parsley. They just had an awesome unique flavor.

I think I am going to recommend them especially to my friend Katie K, who we had over for burgers the other night. She was saying that she hardly eats burgers but she liked ours stuffed with giardiniera. Later she said she doesn't like American food much (even though she's American) because it's so bland and prefers Indian and Mexican food. I think she would love these. Not that we need folks eating more beef. I recently have been thinking about the whole thing about cows being a larger cause of global warming than cars and thinking I should maybe eat less beef. So yeah we made these with turkey. Tastes the same in most cases.

Oh, a note on making burgers: Did you know you are not supposed to smash it when you mix and form the raw meat? I always did that until I saw Alton Brown talking about it on Good Eats. I try to be gentler now and my burgers have much better texture. They're more tender.