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daniellewiley

eG Foodblog: daniellewiley - From pig hocks to tailgates

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Good morning from soggy Toledo, Ohio.

It has been raining for days, which the grass and plants appreciate, but we're all getting a little bit sitr crazy! I'm very excited about this week, though I must warn you that it will be far less exotic than laksa's wonderful blog.

I grew up in NY (on Long Island), but my husband, daughter and I live in Toledo. To give everyone some reference, we are very close to the Michigan border. We are an hour from Detroit, and about 50 minutes from Ann Arbor. In fact, Ann Arbor is where we do most of our food shopping. We get our high quality supplies (EVOO, sherry vinegar, mustards, capers packed in salt, etc.) from Zingerman's, get most of our meats from a wonderful butcher up there called Sparrow Meat Market, and then pick up the rest of our supplies at Whole Foods. They also have a new Trader Joe's that we have just started to take advantage of.

This week, though, we will be sticking to Toledo for all of our food supplies, which isn't as bad as some might assume. One of the things I love about Toledo is its ethnic neighborhoods, all of which have their own markets. We have Tiger Bakery for Lebanese food, Stanley's for Polish food, Takacs and Golden Oven Bakery for Hungarian favorites, Sofo's for Italian food, and La Perla for Mexican food such as homemade tortillas. We also have an excellent fruit and vegetable market called Rhode's which I will be visiting today for inspiration.

I won't have my week's menu planned until after that trip, but here are some highlights that you can look forward to:

This evening for dinner, we will be heading out to the annual German American Festival in Oregon, Ohio. Today is the last day of the three-day festival, and I'm excited about my pig hock with potato salad. I am sure that my almost-three-year-old daughter Dylan will want something resembling a hot dog, so I will try to introduce her the "wurst booth". Stay tuned this evening for lots of photos of this crazy event and the food we eat there.

We'll also go out to eat one night this week. I used to be the food critic in Ann Arbor, so I thought it would be fun to "review" a restaurant for you guys. I'm leaning towards one of the Lebanese favorites in town. The Lebanese population is by far the most prevalent of all of the immigrant groups here, so it seems like a good choice. Dylan, my daughter, is a big fan of the place we're going to go, because they allow you to order a side dish of olives. She loves olives. :biggrin:

Finally, I'll end the blog on Saturday with a breakfast tailgate at a University of Michigan football game. My husband is a U of M alum, and we have four season tickets. This is the first game of the season and it starts at noon. The breakfast tailgates are always my favorites.

So, that's the deal with me. I'm going to try to get back to my coffee and NY Times now before my daughter comes home. She had her first ever sleepover at Grandma's house, and I need to take advantage of my remaining free time!

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Sounds like it will be a fun week for us all to read, Danielle. Please, in the midst of all the wonderful food and tastes, don't leave out the parts where the very real and demanding care of your beautiful and charming daughter intereferes...it will make all us other mothers smile with rememberance and understanding! :wink:

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It's nice to meet you, Danielle! I'm back in town, with vacation ending when I go back to work Tuesday, so I'll be able to follow your blog and I'm looking forward to it. I hope you enjoy doing it as much as we will enjoy reading it.

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Hi Danielle,

Looking forward to this. I still get a chuckle from your avatar, Dylan with those mussel tongs is priceless!

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I am interested to hear how the pig hock is prepared.

When I was in Munich earlier this year, I discovered Schweinhaxen, which is fresh pig hocks cooked on a rotisserie grill until the meat is fall off the bone tender and the skin is crispy. With all the barbeque fanatics in this country, I was amazed that this dish is not more popular over here.

Most of the pork hocks over here are sold, pre-smoked, in stores as ham hocks. They are very salty and are used, here in the south, to flavor green vegetables. Most German restaurants, at least in this area, if they list Schweinhaxen on their menu at all, serve it braised, which is hardly worth the effort to cook or eat, in my opinion. Perhaps the problem is that it takes a special rotisserie grill to serve Schweinhaxen in quantity, but I'm not sure.

In any event, looking forward to your report.


Edited by Brent Kulman (log)

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Greetings, Danielle! This is going to be a fun blog! I'll be looking forward to the pictures, and the ham hocks! Mmm, first the liverwurst, and now the ham hocks . . . I know what I'm getting at the store today! :wink:

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Today's lunch/brunch was nothing exciting. Just some quesadillas made with corn tortillas, shredded mozzarella, and grated Canadian cheddar. That's what Dylan and I ate, at least. They were pretty bland, because I am all out of salsa. Michael had a tuna sandwich. We haven't done our shopping yet, so it was "raid the pantry" time. I think I'll spare you all the bland white photos of our meal.

I'm having a pretty tasty iced tea right now, though. I made it with Japanese Green Orchard tea from T Salon in New York. It is green tea blended with notes of apple. I think it also has a faint peach-y flavor. My favorite blended green tea from T Salon is the Green Heaven, but I left all of that at my office.

Well, I'm off to scrub down my kitchen. We are trying to sell our house, and will be holding an open house next Sunday. I'm using Dylan's nap time to do some hard core cleaning while I can. After that it's off to Rhode's for my fresh fruit and vegetables. I'll post those photos this evening with photos of the German American festival. I need to wait until Michael is done with his big fantasy football draft to upload my photos. He needs the computer for some last minute research.

Oh, in response to Brent's interest in the pig hocks, I will try to get as much information as I can about how they prepare them. I haven't had them in a couple of years, but I remember the meat did fall off the bone. MMMM... getting hungry.

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The fruit and vegetable market was a big success:

0.jpg

Most of the items I bought were homegrown, including the giant muskmelon, the Akane apples, Bartlett pears, peaches, herbs, koosa squash, lima beans, eggplant, tomatoes and cucumbers!

We have lots of great ingredients for the week ahead - I'm excited! I should mention that most summers we have a large vegetable garden in our sideyard. This year, though, we let it lie fallow, as we didn't know if/when our house would sell. Turns out we could have done our garden as usual, but, oh well. As you can see, the market supplies us with lots of great local produce, so we eat well regardless.

The German American Festival was fun, though very muddy! All of the parking is in fields, and the mud was about eight inches deep in some spots. The festival is somewhat reminiscent of Oktoberfest, though a bit early in the year. There is non-stop live music, competitions, dancing, German food and lots of beer.

Here are the people serving the food at the largest food booth:

1.jpg

The guys you see in the back (in front of the porta-johns) are grilling the bratwurst and knockwurst. Dylan declared that she wanted NOTHING, so I got a pork hock dinner for myself. It was just $7:

2.jpg

Dylan ended up eating my roll and a good deal of the pork. It also came with German potato salad and sauerkraut. The hock was smoked and then braised, I believe. I asked how they prepared it, but they are all made in the central building and then brought out to the food booths, so no one was able to give me the exact details. It was very tasty, though. As you can see, it fell right off the bone:

4.jpg

My sister-in-law got a brat, and to my dismay, she slathered it with ketchup. Do you all find this photo as disturbing as I do? :wacko:

3.jpg

There were cream puffs available for dessert, but they were topped with canned cherries, so I declined. :blink: We opted instead for some good 'ol ice cream:

5.jpg

More tomorrow - I think we'll have my mom's famous eggplant gratin. Those homegrown eggplant look fabulous.

Goodnight all!


Edited by daniellewiley (log)

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I'm looking forward to the coming week!

Love that Schweinhaxen. Like Brent, I had some in Germany last year (at the Hof Brau in Regensburg though). There, it was served with ein Knödel. Yum!!!

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Hi Danielle, I'm delighted to see that you've started your blog! :smile:

I have never had koosa squash. How are they different from regular squash, besides in appearance.

Also, what are Akane apples? Are they similar to an apple that I may be familiar with?

And muskmelon.. is that the fruit that looks like an overgrown cantaloupe?

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I am sure that my almost-three-year-old daughter Dylan will want something resembling a hot dog, so I will try to introduce her the "wurst booth".

I was waiting to see what the outcome was, and now I'm cracking up!

She didn't want anything?

"Honey, we're going to the WORST booth."

(The worst booth? They'll have the worst food! That would be the worst thing! No way!!!)

Children are so literal, and I am laughing at my imagination.

I ditto Carrot Top's request: pile on the kid notes. If people don't like it, tough for them. I skip blogs that aren't to my taste (things piled high with raw onions, bok choy, and/or sauerkraut are usually where I start scrolling); any kid that eats mussels at age two is a child I am interested in.

Thanks for doing this, Danielle.

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Hi Danielle, I'm delighted to see that you've started your blog! :smile:

I have never had koosa squash. How are they different from regular squash, besides in appearance.

Also, what are Akane apples? Are they similar to an apple that I may be familiar with?

And muskmelon.. is that the fruit that looks like an overgrown cantaloupe?

Thanks Laksa!

I think that Koosa is the Lebanese word for squash. They are pale green with speckles and are very tender. The ones I bought today were very tiny - I thought they would be fun to cook at that size. I will ask the Lebanese grocer this week for some more information. Great question!

Akanes are (according to my Google search) a Japanese Jonathan hybrid. I haven't had them before, but the descriptive sign at the store said, "tart/sweet and crisp", so I couldn't resist.

Yes, the muskmelon is the giant canteloupe that you see. I never had them when I lived in NY - I think they are a midwest thing. They are very large and kind of lumpy looking. Could you tell that from the photo? The taste is very similar to canteloupe, but there is a much stronger floral perfume to the flavor and to the scent. This one especially tastes very perfume-y. I didn't like it much actually when I tasted it this afternoon, but Dylan ate a whole bowl of it. She's the melon eater in the family - I pack it in her lunch all the time.

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I am sure that my almost-three-year-old daughter Dylan will want something resembling a hot dog, so I will try to introduce her the "wurst booth".

I was waiting to see what the outcome was, and now I'm cracking up!

She didn't want anything?

"Honey, we're going to the WORST booth."

(The worst booth? They'll have the worst food! That would be the worst thing! No way!!!)

Children are so literal, and I am laughing at my imagination.

I ditto Carrot Top's request: pile on the kid notes. If people don't like it, tough for them. I skip blogs that aren't to my taste (things piled high with raw onions, bok choy, and/or sauerkraut are usually where I start scrolling); any kid that eats mussels at age two is a child I am interested in.

Thanks for doing this, Danielle.

Thanks for the great note Tana!!

Dylan is way way too smart for me to actually say "wurst booth" out loud. I just said hot dog. :biggrin: I think her refusal to order was more a result of crankiness than anything else. Instead of napping today she sat in her room for two hours singing "Where is Thumbkin" to her dolls, so she fell asleep in the car on the way to the festival. She was in a grumpy post-nap state when we were ordering food, and probably just wanted to be contrary. She also had eaten that giant bowl of muskmelon shortly before we left, so she wasn't starving.

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I just found some great information about muskmelons online. Here's the scoop, from the Texas A&M website:

The most popular type of muskmelon in America is the small, oval, heavily netted kind commonly called a cantaloupe. All cantaloupes are muskmelons, but not all muskmelons are cantaloupes.

Muskmelons have a wide range of other forms, sizes, and flesh qualities, such as the Honey Dew, Casaba, and Persian types; the large Bender, Montreal, and such odd varieties as the elongated Banana should not be called "cantaloupes."

Muskmelon will not cross with watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin, or squash, but varieties within the species intercross freely.

Muskmelon is so named because of the delighful odor of the ripe fruits. Musk is a Persian word for a kind of perfume; melon is French, from the Latin melopepo, meaning "apple-shaped melon" and derived from Greek words of similar meaning.

In this area of the country, the little round ones are called canteloupes and the large lumpy ones are called muskmelons.

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I think that Koosa is the Lebanese word for squash. They are pale green with speckles and are very tender. The ones I bought today were very tiny - I thought they would be fun to cook at that size. I will ask the Lebanese grocer this week for some more information. Great question!

Perhaps they are the same as cousa squash? They look very similar to ones I've been buying at my farmers' market (picture here).

You can get around the "worst/wurst" conundrum by speaking with a German accent...

(Edited because I forgot what I was going to say. Doh!)


Edited by Jensen (log)

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Thanks, Danielle, for taking up the reins!

Your daughter is adorable.

Your sister's ketchup covered whatever looked like, well, something covered with ketcup, but the ear of sweet corn looked wonderful.

Good luck on the house selling. Having done that fairly recently, I can honestly say that selling is worse than moving. Keeping it clean, smelling good, etc. is awful. The night we got a great signed purchase agreement, I was braising bacon (from Zuni Cafe cookbook) and had to yank it out just with just 10 minutes notice for a showing. They must have loved that smell (and my ultra clean house).

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Instead of napping today she sat in her room for two hours singing "Where is Thumbkin" to her dolls

--Sigh.--

Keep 'em coming, please.

There should be a separate forum for We The People Who Love Babies and Children and Food, and who find such things completely charming, and it would be off limits to people who Just Don't Get It. Just as the ultimate thread to praise "foie gras" would be off limits to me.


Edited by tanabutler (log)

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Instead of napping today she sat in her room for two hours singing "Where is Thumbkin" to her dolls

--Sigh.--

Keep 'em coming, please.

There should be a separate forum for We The People Who Love Babies and Children and Food, and who find such things completely charming, and it would be off limits to people who Just Don't Get It. Just as the ultimate thread to praise "foie gras" would be off limits to me.

Tana, I totally agree. I mentioned to Danielle before about a children's blog, don't you think it would be interesting to see what kids are eating these days?


Edited by spaghetttti (log)

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I would love to see a children's blog from this group - though I'm not sure I'd want pictures..... :wacko:

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There should be a separate forum for We The People Who Love Babies and Children and Food, and who find such things completely charming, and it would be off limits to people who Just Don't Get It. Just as the ultimate thread to praise "foie gras" would be off limits to me.

Tana, I totally agree. I mentioned to Danielle before about a childrens' blog, don't you think it would be interesting to see what kids are eating these days?

Add my vote for the kid info.

I'd honour the request for a "kid's blog" when I do my blog, but my kids are older now (10 & 13) and eat pretty much what my wife & I do. Or as I'm often heard to say ... "You'll eat what I put in front of you!" or "I'm not a short order cook" or my personal fave, "If you don't like it, you can try th other restaurant down the street."

Sound familiar?

Arne

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While the idea of a children's blog is welcomed, each installment of the eGullet Foodblog is about an eGulleteer's meals and their related aspects over the course of a week. While you can certainly include meals and discussion about meals among your family, spouse, friends and/or intimates, the focus of the thread should be on you.

Click here for a copy of the most recent version of the eGullet Foodblog guidelines.

Regards,

Soba

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Personally I dislike babies and children, and would rather they were kept out of the serious business of food, except incidentally, or as Dean Swift's modest proposal..

I realise that its hard for parents to keep the little monsters fed, but it is an unskilled process, universally solved.

My palate is not juvenile. Bring on the foie gras, and leave out the Mickey D's, or whatever they eat, I say.

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I think that Koosa is the Lebanese word for squash. They are pale green with speckles and are very tender. The ones I bought today were very tiny - I thought they would be fun to cook at that size. I will ask the Lebanese grocer this week for some more information. Great question!

Perhaps they are the same as cousa squash? They look very similar to ones I've been buying at my farmers' market (picture here).

Yes, those seem to be the same type of squash. Yours are much bigger though!! I think we've figured it out!! Here is what I found on the Winter Creek Gardens site:

It is called Zahra or Cousa squash and is from the middle east. Taste-wise they are tough to beat, although they don't hold for as long as some of the commercial varieties.

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Oy.

The great thing about eGullet is that it offers forums (and blogs) for everyone...there are forums about celebrity chefs, celebrities who are not chefs but who apparently eat and have to pay for it, home cooks, 'foodies', and even forums on gourmet or not-so-gourmet dogs.

eGullet is here for us to discuss and describe and learn about food through our highly individual lives. Danielle's life at this moment is particulary interesting to me not through her child, or because of her child... but because of the fact that a very young child is (by the neccesity of the fact that it needs care, can not feed or take care of itself yet) almost a living part of the person who has charge of taking care of it.

As they say, it's a tough job but someone's gotta do it. Someone did it for each one of us, or we would not be here to play on the computer. Some people have shared wonderful stories of their childhood foods and the love that was served up along with it...this is that action, seen in 'real time'.

Dylan will have stories for eGullet in the future.

And as Alice Toklas said 'What is sauce for the goose may be sauce for the gander, but it is not neccesarily sauce for the chicken, the duck, the turkey, or the Guinea hen.'

Thanks for taking the time to do this blog this week, Danielle. Those photos are making me hungry! :smile:

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I realise that its hard for parents to keep the little monsters fed, but it is an unskilled process, universally solved.

It's the humor that keeps me coming back, you know?

My palate is not juvenile. Bring on the foie gras, and leave out the Mickey D's, or whatever they eat, I say.

But what about those of us whose children eat foie gras? Whatever shall we do? And however shall we describe their palates?

Blog away, Danielle.

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