Middle Eastern Lamb Chili

There are few things better than a bowl full of hearty chili on a blustery fall day and this was exactly my plan for dinner this weekend- the season’s first pot of chili! Bring on winter!

My Husband’s family raises black Angus and lamb, so I pulled up 2 lbs. of  ground lamb from the well-stocked deep freeze. Since I was using lamb instead of beef or ground turkey, I decided to spice it up with some baharat, which compliments that lamb perfectly.

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Baharat (Arabic for “spices”) is a middle eastern blend, usually comprised of spices like cardamom, cumin, black peppercorn, cloves, nutmeg, allspice. I added it, along with salt and pepper, to the browned ground meat.

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I put in a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, plus a little water.

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Topped with sour cream and shredded cheese! Delicious!

IMG_0226.JPGMeatball waited patiently…

DSC_0689.jpgMiddle Eastern Lamb Chili

2 lbs. ground lamb

1 chopped onion, 2 chopped green peppers

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. of crushed tomatoes, a little water as needed

1 tablespoon of baharat

Other spices: your favorite chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper

Toppings (optional): cheese, sour cream, avocado, oyster crackers, chopped red onion

Directions: Brown meat over medium heat, drain, season with salt and pepper. Add chopped onions, peppers, cook until they start to become translucent. Add the garlic, cook for one minute. Add baharat spices. Add crushed tomatoes and water, season with other spices, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer over low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Top it with you favorite toppings!

Bon appetit,

ally

 

Foods of India

After a long walk in the drizzly, fall late afternoon last weekend, the Husband and I were pretty hungry. We are both big fans of Indian food, so we decided to seek out the best Indian food in Ann Arbor in our continued exploration of A2.

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I remembered a girl from my ladies group saying there was a fantastic little hole in the wall place near the hospital, but I could not remember the name of it. She said it was the best Indian food in the city, but was basically a one man shop who makes everything to order. Also, it’s a little grocery of sorts? And, there is a bunch of 80s furniture sort of randomly placed in the dining area.

Long story short, we called several of the rated places on Yelp. Some were closed, some didn’t pick up because they were slammed in-house. Just when we were on the verge of giving up and eating Whole Foods hot bar after searching and calling around for about 30 minutes, I found a little place that was still open. There is almost no web presence for this cafe, so we had no idea what we were getting into.

Foods of India (or India cafe?) is located in a very unassuming strip mall. When we walked in, I knew immediately that this was the place my friend had spoken about. img_0070

Random 80s furniture- check!

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We didn’t call ahead (highly recommend- it really is one gentleman making everything to order), so we waited for a bit.

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But, totally worth it! Hands down some of the best Indian food I have ever had. We ordered Chicken tikka and spinach paneer with extra garlic naan.

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We will definitely be back!

Bon appetit,

ally

Rainy Sunday at the Art Museum

A drizzly, overcast fall day disrupted our plans to go hiking on Sunday. Luckily, there are some great indoor activities in Ann Arbor. One of which is the University of Michigan Museum of Art which happens to be one of the best university art museums in the country. Beautifully organized with a diverse collection, it is a wonderful way to spend a rainy Sunday.

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Beautiful foyer

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We worked up an appetite exploring the museum so afterward we checked out Beezy’s in Ypsilanti for some fantastic sammies. I got the ‘Chicksilanti’ salad. Fantastic!

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Sunday Funday success!

Bon appetit,

ally

Slow cooker Beef Roast with Steak Fries

The Husband and Meatball are coming up to Michigan for the weekend so for dinner I decided to make a massive hunk of meat that will be waiting for them upon their arrival on Saturday.

I made an English roast which is a beef shoulder cut that lends well to slow cooking in my crock pot that I recently brought back from Chicago.

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First, I added salt and pepper to both sides of the meat and seared it in a pan for a few minutes till it was browned on each side, then placed it in the crock pot with the following:

  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 1/2 bag baby carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Can of crushed tomatoes
  • cup of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, dash of cumin, paprika, ancho chili powder

I put it in on low and let it simmer for about 6 hours while I cleaned by apartment, followed up with some work and emails, caught up with Netflix, and enjoyed a glass of wine. Hooray for multitasking!

DSC_0575.jpgI served it with steak fries (and a mixed green salad).

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I love the crock pot because there are always plenty of leftovers for sandwiches or to put on top of a salad for my work lunches.

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My guys arrived around 7pm and Meatball was quick to move in for some snuggles!

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I might have given him a few several scraps of beef. But look at that face??

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Bon appetit!

ally

Dinner at Isalita

I’m slowly acclimating myself to the Ann Arbor food scene. There are so many great restaurants here, with a thriving farm-to-table community.

My fellow neuro resident organized a welcome dinner for me with the other residents and clinicians on my team. I was excited that the plan was to go to Isalita, a Mexican Cantina in downtown Ann Arbor that’s gotten some good buzz. Its diverse menu is based on street food found in open air markets throughout Mexico.

Let’s start with a Paloma (silver tequila + grapefruit soda)

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Chicharrón for the table (crispy pork skin, pico de gallo, avocado, queso). Basically, giant pork rinds? Delicious.

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Forest mushroom huarache  (black beans, queso, huitlacoche, avocado, lime salsa) This was fantastic and I’m not even a fan of mushroom.

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I ordered the baja fish tacos (mahi mahi, chipotle remoulade, avocado, pickled red cabbage) These were very good. The fish was crispy and I loved the spicy remoulade. I couldn’t help but think that they kind of looked like Gordon’s fish sticks though…

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Good food, pretty cool atmosphere. I’d like to go back to their Taco Tuesday for $2 tacos and reduced cocktails.

ally

Weekend Poached Eggs

Poached eggs are my absolute favorite type of eggs. Velvety, buttery yolk running out over a toasted whole wheat English muffin? Yum. I always thought poached eggs were difficult to make but it turns out it’s pretty easy after a little practice!

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Back in my previous food blogging days over at A Girl in Her Kitchen, and the beginning of my obsession with Julia Child, I remember reading Julia Powell’s Julie and Julia and the scene where she enlists her friend and boyfriend to help with the great task of making poached eggs. They spend all day hunched over a simmering pot. I just assumed it was hard to do. Honestly, the first couple you make will probably come out spindly, gooey, crime scene messes, but, it you follow these few tips it’s surprisingly easy!

  • Start with fresh eggs! Don’t try poached eggs with those eggs that have been in your fridge for a week or so.
  • Don’t crack the egg directly into the water. Place the egg in a little bowl or ramekin first so you have more control putting it into the water.
  • Create a vortex/whirlpool with a spoon in the simmering water, when you get it going, drop the egg right in the center.
  • Add a drop of vinegar to the simmering water. This encourages the proteins to coagulate quickly.

Still feeling unsure? Watch this delightful British man walk you through the process!

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Serve over toast or English muffin! I added some scallion 😉

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Bon appetit!

ally

Salmon and Brown Rice Bowl with cucumber, poached egg, and sauteed bok choy

Inspired by all the delicious rice bowl recipes out there on the internets, I decided to construct my own that included a seared salmon fillet, a poached egg, marinated Persian cucumbers (my fav), bok choy, radishes, over some brown rice.

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Not only is this bowl a great combo of carbs, protein, and fat, it was easy enough to put together after a long day of work. I made enough for dinner and lunch tomorrow and I used instant organic brown rice which saved a lot of time.

I seared the salmon over medium high heat in some sesame oil, sliced the cucumbers and let them marinate in some rice vinegar, salt and pepper, and sautéed the bok choy in the same pan I cooked the salmon in (added a dash of soy sauce). In another small pot, I poached the egg. Poached is my preferred egg recipe, hands down. More on my poached egg technique later!

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Make sure you share some salmon with your kitty!

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Bon appetit,

ally

Sunday Brunch at Boltwood

After a jam-packed work week, I headed west to spend the weekend with my guys in Evanston. I love Evanston in the fall. The leaves start to change, the crispness in the air, it is beautiful. This Sunday was a fairly warm, sunny day so the husband and I took a long walk into town for some brunch. I was anxious to try Boltwood. This award winning restaurant features a locally-sourced, always changing menu through its relationships with local farmers.

Started things off with a really good Bloody Mary.

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I went for the signature crispy potatoes. These bad boys go through a multistage cooking process and are served with a special garlic schmaltz sauce. Apparently, schmaltz is rendered chicken fat. It is definitely delicious.

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Husband tried the Boltwood bread with butter, sea salt  and ricotta, jam with their Japanese cold brew coffee. Fantastic brunch in a comfortable atmosphere. I’d like to go back for dinner sometime.

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We sat by fountain square to digest and wait out the food comas.

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Overall, a great Sunday! Back to Michigan for another busy week!

Bon appetit,

ally

 

Saturday in the City!

I was in Chicago this weekend and I took the train downtown on Saturday to visit with my best friend, Andrew at his condo in the city. He recently discovered Blue Apron, a service I have heard a lot of good things about, and offered to make me dinner.

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The selection was Seared cod and Udon noodles with shiitake broth and togarashi-spiced cucumber- sounds good!

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I agree with Blue Apron’s suggestion of prepping all your ingredients first. In general with cooking, this saves a lot of time and makes the entire process smoother.

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I enjoyed a cold beer while Andrew prepped (also recommended).

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Ta-da!

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This was a fantastic dish! I really enjoyed the crunchy cucumber and radishes with the silky noodles. All of the ingredients were fresh and the instructions with photos were clear enough that people of all cooking proficiency can feel confident. You can find the recipe here.

Bon appetit!

ally