Category Archives: Food and Drink

Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Part of a recipes collection.

This was part of dinner last week – yum! I don't have the exact proportions in front of me so you'll want to be prepared to improvise. 

Potatoes, peeled, cut to quarters; to fill lasagna pan; redskins would do well
Juice of 3 lemons, fresh squeezed juice not stuff from bottles if you have it 
Greek oregano (though Mexican oregano worked OK too)
Olive oil

Preheat oven to a good roasting temperature (450+ degrees).

Put the potatoes in the lasagna pan. Mix lemon juice, water, oregano, oil together; you are after something like a salad dressing, but since you're baking it the water will go away, so make sure there's enough oil. Besides, olive oil is good for you.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes, mix until everything is coated. Put in oven. Roast until starting to turn brown, about 40-50 minutes depending on your oven and your potatoes. If you don't have a lot of oil in the dressing, you may need to turn to keep things from sticking.

I'll bet it would be good to put a couple of organic lemon halves in there too to roast along with everything.

Remove from oven, test for doneness. Eat. Yum. Also good cold.

Some other lemon roasted potato recipes, for comparison:
Corby's Table from The Atlantic Monthly has a patates riganates recipe from a review of Aglaia Kremezi's "Foods of the Greek Islands"
Sandi's Recipe Corner, adds stock
Cook'n, adds dill and roasts over wood chips
Autumn Jade, basically the same with exact proportions
Global Gourmet calls these patates riganates and adds garlic
"Cream Puffs in Venice" has some lemony spuds for you, adapted from Cook This by Amy Rosen.

and I'm sure there are more recipes to be had!


One more recipe to go with this if you have any cold leftovers. Put a bed of spring mixed greens on a plate; I like the Asian mix we found at Farmer's Market. Cut some of these potatoes up and put on top. Add diced cubed cold roasted beets for color and flavor. Dress with some of the lemon-oil mix, with a little red wine vinegar added. Yum.

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Hoppin’ Giovanni (Rapini with white beans)

This simple dish of beans and greens comes from Mary Ann Esposito’s Ciao Italia. It’s similar in many ways to the traditional “Hoppin’ John” served for good luck for the new year.

Hoppin’ Giovanni

Wash and chop a bunch of rapini (broccoli rabe). If you can’t find rapini, some other mild green like turnip greens (or even kale) would work nicely.

Mince a shallot fine and saute in a large pan in olive oil until fragrant. Add a few generous pinches of red pepper flakes. Put the chopped rapini into the pan and cook until the greens are cooked through.

Drain and rinse a can of white beans (cannellini). When the greens are cooked through, add the beans and stir. You can add a little more olive oil to the pan at this point if you want to. Stir and then bring back up to heat.

Serve hot. This would go good with pasta.

Blimpy Burger Indiegogo campaign

Blimpy Burger is running an Indiegogo campaign to help them reopen. Their location on Division Street in Ann Arbor was demolished to build student housing.

Find out more at – as of this writing they have raised $1,245 of a $60,000 goal.

While you are thinking of that triple with blue cheese, brush up on your Blimpy ordering skills at Arborwiki’s Blimpy Burger page.


Photo from Arborwiki, credit to Flickr user dokas.

Tasty Green Cafe at Ann Arbor City Hall

If you’re looking to bump into city employees and talk shop, there’s no better place to stop in than at the Tasty Green Cafe inside Ann Arbor City Hall. The menu includes the usual coffee drinks plus lunchtime choices like meat and spinach pies. There are three tables inside and a few more outside on the patio, and you get a nice view of the city hall fountain (which isn’t running at the moment).

Lunch (a meat pie and a coke) was $5.01.

I talked briefly with City Attorney Stephen Postema and his thoughts on proposed FOIA legislation coming from Lansing (he’s skeptical). I told him about my new FOIA Friday column on Damn Arbor, and he recognized Damn Arbor because it once wrote about his status as a hipster (he’s not).

Environmental Coordinator Matt Naud and I talked about the upcoming a2civictech meetup, and he referred me to the WeGoWise program in Boston that’s reducing people’s energy and water bills – similar, in spirit at least, to the OPower insert in my recent DTE bill that told us we used a lot of electricity compared to our neighbors.

Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak from raw chicken from Foster Farms – and the CDC and the USDA are at reduced capacity because of the government shutdown


Let’s start with the lead of the NPR story

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a health alert warning that an estimated 278 illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with raw chicken produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says illnesses have been reported in 17 states, with the vast majority — 78 percent — in California. The outbreak is ongoing, so it’s possible that people are still being sickened by the chicken.

The CDC says about 42 percent of the people who’ve gotten sick (among those for whom information is available) have been hospitalized. The strains of Salmonella Heidelberg that have made people sick are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. And according to the CDC, the resistance may increase the risk of hospitalization or make the illness tougher to treat.

From the USDA FSIS press release

This public health alert is being issued after an estimated 278 illnesses were recently reported in 18 states, predominantly in California. The outbreak is continuing. The investigations indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken and other brand chicken produced at Foster Farms plants are the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections. Illnesses were linked to Foster Farms brand chicken through epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is partnering with state health departments to monitor the outbreak while FSIS continues its investigation.

and from the CDC’s MMWR report, a case count and map –

As of October 7, 2013, a total of 278 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 17 states. Most of the ill persons (77%) have been reported from California. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (2), Arkansas (1), Arizona (11), California (213), Colorado (4), Connecticut (1), Florida (1), Hawaii (1), Idaho (2), Michigan (2), North Carolina (1), Nevada (8), Oregon (8), Texas (5), Utah (2), Washington (15) and Wisconsin (1).

From WZZM / USA Today

The CDC has been hampered in tracing the outbreak because the government shutdown meant the agency had to shut down PulseNet, a national network of public health laboratories that looks for trends and matches reports to spot food-borne illness outbreaks. It’s one of the agency’s most important tools in detecting such problems.

“We were trying to do this without the automatic system, and it was nearly impossible,” Reynolds said. Seven of the eight staffers who run the system were furloughed. “We were doing it by hand, and it just become untenable.”

CDC director Thomas Frieden determined that not having PulseNet was resulting in “an imminent threat to health and safety,” a finding that allowed the agency to bring back the seven staffers, Reynolds said Tuesday. “It’s back up and running as of today.”

More about PulseNet

PulseNet compares the ‘DNA fingerprints’ of bacteria from patients to find clusters of disease that might represent unrecognized outbreaks. Health officials can’t stop an outbreak, and industry and regulatory agencies can’t make changes to our food and water delivery systems, if they don’t know that outbreaks are occurring. That’s where PulseNet comes in.

What does Foster Farms have to say?

“Salmonella is naturally occurring in poultry and can be fully eradicated if raw product is properly handled and fully cooked,” said Dr. Robert O’Connor, the company’s food safety chief and head veterinarian. “All poultry producers strive to reduce bacterial presence, including Salmonella. We take food safety very seriously. When the incidence of illnesses linked to Salmonella increased, we wanted to know why and we have worked quickly to identify and implement additional controls. It is also important to reassure the public that the FSIS process has not been affected by the recent government shutdown.”

Notably they also emphasize, in red:

No Recall is in Effect. Products are Safe to Consume if Properly Handled and Fully Cooked.

Kohlrabi and apple slaw – a study in comparative literature

This recipe is assembled from a variety of sources; I’ll update when I’ve actually made it myself to report back.

The basic idea is that you make a dressing of mayo thinned with a little vinegar, and you use equal part shredded kohlrabi and shredded apple in the salad. Mustard is a common seasoning.

Some variations on the theme, with links to recipes:

I could continue but this is enough meta-information to head to the kitchen.