Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jan. 30 - Lisa's Musings From (Betty's Kitchen) and Every Day Life

Call this the debut of Betty and Lisa.

Or, perhaps, Lisa and Betty; you can take your pick.

But today was the first of many Saturday cooking forays as I work my way through Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 10th edition (purchased from Borders) using as many local ingredients from local farmers' markets as possible.

The day began with a very cold trip to the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, which yielded eggs from Our Family Farm of Manchester and apples from Alex Nemeth & Son Orchard of Ypsilanti.

It also included a trip to Briarwood Mall where I purchased my first set of sharp knives.

And, since I’m trying to eliminate as many chemicals from my cooking, a new set of pots and pans – ones that don’t have the non-stick area crisscrossed with a ton of scratches. They’re really cool with see-through lids so you can actually see what you’re cooking.

Then a final stop at Polly’s Market in Chelsea for the basics.

Most Saturdays, my friend, Nancy Jennings, brings her dog, Banjo, to my house to play with my pups. Usually, she gets dragged out on assignment with me before we settle in to watch Food Network or really bad Lifetime TV movies in the afternoon, so she’s a part of this Betty and Lisa (or Lisa and Betty, if you will) experiment as well.

And, we decided to start this project with something easy. To build our confidence.

First up, potato, bacon and egg scramble (page 222) if you’re interested.

It’s got eggs, small red potatoes, green onions, milk, salt, pepper, butter and bacon in it.

Now I'll admit it, I'm not a big fan of onions, but this is all about trying new things and making friends with stuff I usually won't eat. But it didn't taste onion-y.

In fact, it was pretty darn good. And was made from REAL food, not processed, prepackaged food stuff screaming with nutritional claims.

In other words, this meal had no advertising budget.

And, I’d give it four out of four stars.

An Iron Chef judge probably would have knocked the plating, but, neither Nancy nor I profess to be chefs.

Or even good cooks, but we sure laughed a lot while we chopped and mixed and cooked.

This food was almost as much fun to prepare as it was to eat.

For dessert, we made apple crisp from local Winesap and Ida Red apples. This one had brown sugar, flour, old-fashioned oats, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in it.

Oh, and it was topped with cream. (Page 196).

Yum. Yum. Yum.

Not that I’m any type of food expert, but if you plan to make this dessert, I’d highly recommend peeling the apples before putting them in the dish and cooking them.

I’d give it three out of four stars, but only because the apple peels detracted from the overall texture.

I'd say we were two for two in our first try. And suitably impressed with our debut effort.

Well, except for all the dishes we dirtied. But I guess that’s part of making stuff that doesn’t come in a box with names like Stouffer’s or Lean Cuisine or Swanson’s.

Total cost for today’s recipes: $21.05, and I have leftovers for Sunday.

Could I have done this cheaper by buying products not made in Michigan?


But I feel good about buying the main ingredients for these dishes from local farmers, and when they heard about my Betty and Lisa project, they thought it was a pretty cool one, too.

Simple food that anyone can cook made with locally grown food.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Today, Nancy and I ate real food, and it sure tasted terrific.

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