Saturday, December 29, 2012

Vinsetta Garage

The other day, my family and I tried out a restaurant that my mom and I have driven past countless times - Vinsetta Garage.
A burger-and-fries-and-hot-dogs joint, this restaurant sits inside of an old auto garage on Woodward in Berkley. The restaurant owners have embraced this greasy mechanical atmosphere, as evidenced by the non-working gas pumps outside and the glass booth hostess stand. Even the inside has a tall metal ceiling with mechanical touches.

Casual, classic, and loaded with Detroit touches. To match the atmosphere, the restaurant serves some high-quality beers and greasy yummy food.
Which obviously meant that I wanted to eat everything on the menu.
To start, that meant some loaded homemade potato chips.

Crispy chips, green onions, cheese, and salty bacon. YUM.
For my main meal, I grabbed a meatball sub with homemade chicken meatballs.

Of course, everyone else's meal was just as indulgent and delicious.

An enormous pot of bubbling homemade mac and cheese...

The classic coney dogs with fries...(served on a metal tray!!)

A chicken sandwich with fries...

And this amazing feat of culinary genius called the 3 AM Dog: two hot dogs smothered in bacon maple mayo and spicy mayo topped with fried eggs, green onions, and fried onions.

Needless to say, if you're looking for some seriously delicious greasy grub, Vinsetta Garage is the place to go.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Green Sandwich

I invented this sandwich today using some leftovers from Christmas breakfast and dinner. Usually, that means gorging on potatoes and meat and covering everything in gravy, but I decided to take an alternative approach and add a little greenery.
Which is why when I call this sandwich the Winter Green Sandwich, I'm not talking about "wintergreen" the mint flavor. I'm talking a hearty, meaty, ready-to-tackle the snow sandwich featuring green summer veggies.

Just four simple ingredients to make a delicious wintery sandwich: 

1 ripe avocado
several slices roast beef
2 pieces italian bread
basil parmesan mayo (recipe from Ina Garten)

To make the mayo, grab these ingredients:

  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil, at room temperature

  • In a food processor, blend the egg yolks, lemon juice, cheese, mustard, basil, garlic, pepper, and salt for 20 seconds. Combine your oils into a bowl and, with the processor running, slowly pour in the oil. You'll have a bright green thick mayo like this.

  • Piece the sandwich together by spreading some mayo on the bottom piece of bread, piling on the roast beef, and topping with sliced avocado. Add another slice of bread on top and you're good to go.

    It'll give you just enough energy to plow your driveway...and then you can come back inside and eat another.
    Or maybe that's just me.

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    Tuesday, December 25, 2012

    Christmas Smörgåsbord

    The word "smorgasbord" has come to mean any table covered with platters upon platters of delicious food. However, the traditional Scandinavian denotation of Smörgåsbord refers to a buffet of (mostly) cold treats. For my Norwegian family, the ultimate Smörgåsbord occurs on Christmas morning.

    Cups of hot tea and coffee (depending on your preference), soft-boiled eggs, shrimp, smoked salmon, and piles upon piles of cold cuts for open-faced sandwiches.

    I know, I know, someone who calls herself The Coffee Breaker should be drinking coffee with breakfast instead of tea. But I still haven't been able to mix the flavors of shrimp and coffee together in the morning, so during a Smörgåsbord I opt for hot tea.

    Merry Christmas!!

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    Monday, December 24, 2012

    Pita Pies

    My favorite part of Christmas is yanking out all the made-from-scratch authentic  recipes from old family binders. Generally, this is when a family's nationality comes through. For my family, this means Norwegian Vafler and chocolates. For mt friend Maria, this means homemade pasta from her mother's Italian side and authentic pita from her father's Macedonian side. 
    Now, when I say "pita," I don't mean the mediterranean bread you eat with hummus. I'm talking fluffy pastry pies stuffed with cheese and deliciousness.
    Sound good? 

    I thought so.
    Well, Maria's family was generous enough to let me stop by for a pita-making session to show me the secrets to making this savory dish. Surprisingly easy, it can be whipped up quickly and packs a ton of flavor.

    To make your own pita, grab these ingredients:

    1 medium onion, sliced
    1 pinch paprika
    olive oil
    12 oz Greek feta cheese
    12 oz farmer's cheese
    2 eggs
    splash of lemon juice
    Fillo dough
    melted butter

    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

    Start by heating your olive oil in a pan. Toss in your onions and a pinch of paprika, enough to cover the whole pan of onions. Sautee until golden brown.

    While the onions are cooking, mix your cheese, eggs, and lemon juice in a giant bowl.

    Finally, when the onions are done, mix them in with your cheese.

    Next, grab your melted butter and your Fillo dough to prepare the pockets.

    Start by placing a piece of Fillo on a cutting board or other clean surface. Trifold the dough.

    Paint the surface with melted butter using a kitchen brush.

    Then, scoop a dollop of the cheese mixture on the end of your dough.

    Fold the dough forward once to cover the cheese.

    Then, fold the corner over to the opposite side of the dough, forming a triangle. Continue this pattern, switching sides until you're at the end of your dough.

    Brush your pita with some more butter and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat until you're out of cheese.
    Bake the pitas in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

    The final step is to enjoy your deliciously creamy and tart pita. But careful - they're hot!

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    Friday, December 21, 2012

    Christmas Party Mix

    The first big snow of the year has finally fallen, finals are over, and I'm officially in the Christmas spirit. Which means it's the perfect time for the ultimate holiday treat - Christmas Party Mix.
    This delectable and oh-so-simple recipe is a family staple, mainly because it makes the perfect mini gift. I absolutely love gift giving, but when I was younger, it was always such a struggle to figure out how to get my 20+ close friends gifts without completely burning through my bank account. This recipe was my go-to, because it makes about 10-15 bags of delicious chocolaty salty goodness. 
    So, if you find yourself in a similar predicament, or need something to bring to all your holiday parties this season, whip up a quick batch of this stuff. I guarantee anyone can make it, and your friends will regard you as an iron chef after sinking their teeth into this. It's so addicting that my family has nicknamed it "Christmas Crack."

    First, grab these ingredients:

    Plastic wrap
    5 cups Cheerios
    5 cups Corn Chex
    10 ounces mini pretzels
    1 pound M&M's (the holiday colored ones!)
    2 packages vanilla chips
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil

    Start by covering a large table or counter with plastic wrap.

    Grab an extremely large bowl and pour in your pretzels.

    Next, add your Cheerios.

    Then your Corn Chex.

    And top it off with your M&Ms.

    Stir your mixture around a bit so that the ingredients are well-combined.

    Next, place your chips in a microwave-safe bowl.

    Add your oil to the chips.

    Then place the whole thing in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring once. Then microwave fo another 10 seconds and stir again.
    At this point, the people around you might start to smell the deliciousness and look for taste tests.

    Once your chocolate is melted, pour it over your dry foods mix, stirring gently to combine. Work in shifts, pouring a little bit, then mixing, then pouring some more and mixing again until you're completely out of chocolate.

    Pour your mixture over the plastic wrapped counter and spread it out. Let it dry for a couple of hours.

    When you're done, your should end up with a clumpy salty-sweet delicious mixture.

    To give this away as a gift (if you can bear parting with any of it), put some mix into a decorative holiday bag and close with a twist tie or a ribbon.

    Easy, simple, and delicious. Happy Holidays!!

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