Monday, July 6, 2009

Weekend Trip to Detroit

My husband travels quite a bit for business. His trips take him to some places that I have never been to or, if I have been to them, it has been a long time. Last weekend, we (D and I) hitched a ride with him to Ypsilanti, Michigan which is actually about fifteen minutes from Detroit and maybe ten minutes from Ann Arbor (home of the University of Michigan). The last time I went to Detroit was about 40 years ago when my parents took my six year old cousin to his sister's home in Detroit to stay with her. His mother (my aunt) was in the hospital to have a tumor removed from her spine so she needed someone to take care of her baby while she recuperated. My cousin is about 16 years older than her brother. She was married and had her own family of four kids at the time. It was very kind of her to take in her brother for all those months while her mother recuperated. That was a huge digression, but it does establish that it has been a long long time since I've been to Michigan. I was very excited to see it again and D was excited to see it for the first time. We had dinner on Friday night at Joe's Crab Shack which is always a great place to eat. We don't have a Joe's Crab Shack in Maryland.

On Saturday morning, at D's request, we eat breakfast at the Marriott hotel where we were staying. I ordered Oatmeal Brulee which is a completely yummy way to eat oatmeal. The copycat recipe that I found comes from Oprah's website. In her version, she uses apple but in the version I had at the Marriott they used raisins. I am much more likely to eat apples than raisins so this recipe appeals to me even more than the one with the raisins. Try this recipe, it looks divine~!

On Saturday afternoon, we went to the Detroit Science Center and spent about 6 hours wandering around and playing with all the exhibits. It is an amazing science center. I was very surprised at how huge it was. The picture above shows D watching a robot play chess. We saw a traveling Star Trek exhibit that was much too large to ever come to the Baltimore Science Center. The planetarium show was also very informative. That night we ate dinner at a well-known restaurant called Weber's. The food was so good that I'm going to post a few copycat recipes for dishes we loved at Weber's. The first is a cheeseburger soup. The recipe I found has carrots but I don't think the Weber's version had any carrot in it. The second is spinach bread. I found an overly ambitious recipe by Emeril. The spinach bread we ate at Weber's was more like a garlic bread but with spinach and Parmesan cheese. I'll have to keep looking for a recipe but you can always get a loaf of Italian bread and make a paste of spinach, garlic, onion, olive oil and Parmesan cheese then put it on the Italian bread and pop it into the oven for 15 minutes or so. I think that would work fine. Weber's is also a landmark hotel located in beautiful Ann Arbor, Michigan. Maybe next time I visit that neck of the woods I'll stay at Weber's.

On Sunday, we took a drive down to the Toledo, Ohio Zoo. It was one of the best zoos I have ever visited. Apparently, it is in the top ten zoos of the U.S. I was surprised that they even have a small aquarium. I never saw a zoo with an aquarium. The Toledo Zoo is now on my personal top 10 Favorite Zoo list.

Apple Oatmeal Crème BrûléeCreated by Rori Trovato

Crème brûlée reinvented: Oatmeal, apples and brown sugar broiled to sweet perfection.

Ingredients:Serves 4

3 1/4 cups apple juice or cider
1 red apple (McIntosh or Red Delicious), cored and cut into large chunks
2 cups oatmeal
1 1/4 cups brown sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring apple juice and apple chunks to a boil. Add oatmeal and cook 3 minutes, until thick. Divide oatmeal among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide brown sugar among bowls, sprinkling it over entire surface of oatmeal.Heat broiler to high and set oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat source. Place bowls on a baking sheet and place in broiler; broil until oatmeal turns dark brown and begins to bubble, 1 to 3 minutes.


1/2 pound ground beef
3 1/2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery stalk
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
5 tablespoons butter
8 ounces American cheese / Velveeta, diced
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper


Sauté the ground beef and chopped onion in a large skillet/pan over a medium heat. Mix the beef to prevent it sticking to the pan, cook until its browned all over. Drain and set aside, we will use the same skillet next.

Sauté the chopped celery, chopped carrots, parsley and basil in 2 tablespoon of the butter in the skillet. When the carrots are tender, add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Now add the diced potatoes and cooked beef and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

In a separate small skillet melt the remaining butter, stir in the flour and cook through until it combines. Whisk in the milk and cook until the whole mixture thickens and becomes smooth. Add this to the soup and bring to the boil one more time.
Reduce the heat and mix in the cheese and season. When the cheese has melted remove the pot from the heat.

Original Cheeseburger Soup: serve with a spoonful of sour cream in each bowl.
Spinach Bread
by Emeril Lagasse
1 cup water
2 cups (tightly packed) cleaned and stemmed fresh spinach
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter
2 envelopes (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3- 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the water and spinach in a saucepan. Wilt the spinach, pressing down the spinach with the back of a spoon, about 45 seconds. Drain the spinach, squeezing out the spinach tightly and reserve the liquid.
Pour the liquid into a mixing bowl with 4 tablespoons of the butter. The butter will melt and cool the liquid to 110 degrees F. Stir in the yeast and dissolve the yeast. Add the beaten egg, sugar, salt , and black pepper.
Finely chop the spinach and add to the yeast mixture. Add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball. Lightly oil a bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough once. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Butter 6 over-sized muffin tins. Invert the dough onto a floured surface and punch it down with your fist. Fold each side in and tuck the ends into the center. Repeat.
Put the dough, seam side down and divide the dough into 6 six equal portions. Using your hand, gently roll the dough into a ball. Place the rolls in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the rolls with kosher salt and cheese. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until in doubles in size, about 1 hour. Bake the rolls for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool before removing from the pan.
The Creative Cook