For the Love of Latkes

dec172014 017By Food Editor Pam Aughe, R.D.

A latke is one of the many fried treats cooked in oil eaten to commemorate the miracle of light for eight days during Hanukkah. It is a pancake traditionally made with grated potatoes, onions, matzo meal, eggs and seasoning. I have many wonderful food memories of latkes from my childhood and recently had the pleasure of judging a latke making contest.

The latke contest was hosted by the Jewish Senior Life (JSL) organization at the Jewish Community Campus in West Bloomfield. This was a friendly contest among residents, volunteers, the JSL head chef and the rabbi and his wife. Ok, so maybe there was a little trash talking between the contestants, but it was all in good fun.

Many of the latkes for the contest were from traditional family recipes and tasted just as I hoped. There were also less traditional artichoke and feta latkes as well as a sweet potato latke. The panel of judges had a very difficult time declaring who was the winner—all the latkes were quite delicious. Best original latke was awarded to Rose Davidson’s Potato Latkes; best contemporary was awarded to Elana’s Artichoke and Feta Latkes; best technique was awarded to Mary’s Mashed Potato Latkes; Best Classic Traditional was awarded to Nancy’s Latkes; and best nontraditional was awarded to Chef Nick’s Latkes.… Read More

The Many Flavors of Southfield

By Food Editor Pam Aughe, R.D.

The Detroit suburb of Southfield is the most diverse spot in the state of Michigan, according to Movoto Real Estate, based on ethnicity, age, wealth and education. Cultural diversity is a food professional’s dream—I get to immerse myself in customs and traditions just by participating in a meal. This diversity is certainly mirrored in the restaurants and bakeries in and around Southfield.

Our first stop of the morning was at The Bake Station. This original location opened in 1998 and one of the few (if not the only) nut-free, dairy-free, Kosher bakeries. Executive Editor Chris Hardman and I shared some marble shortbread, and I brought home challah bread for later use as French toast. They also have a wide selection of pies, cakes and pastries. What really ties The Bake Station to the community is their daily donated baked goods to organizations such as, Forgotten Harvest, Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Yad Ezra.

We continued on to New York Bagel Baking Company. They have three locations, including the one in Southfield, where they just make traditional bagels right.… Read More

Making it in Michigan

By Food Editor Pam Aughe, R.D.making it in michigan

The 7th annual Making It In Michigan specialty food show was in Lansing mid-November. With the theme “Fresh Thinking For Success,” this show offered Michigan made entrepreneurs a place to gather knowledge and resources to successfully sell their product in the retail market. A large part of these resources comes from the Michigan State University Product Center—a main partner of the conference—who has assisted in launching almost 400 new Michigan food businesses since 2003.

The keynote speaker was Garden Fresh Gourmet founder Jack Aronson—a well-known Michigan small business success story. Then, we separated into educational breakout sessions. One of the highlights was an entertaining presentation by Professor Bonnie Knutson from the School of Hospitality Business at MSU on effective marketing with social media.

The second half of the day was the marketplace trade show where over 160 vendors shared information on their products along with many delicious samples. This was the most exciting part of the day for the editors of edibleWOW because we got to search for new Michigan made food products for our readers.… Read More

A Marvelous Pig Indeed

By Food Editor Pam Aughe, R.D. 

Mangalista pigs are touted as the Kobe beef of the pork world. This was confirmed at Forest Grill in Birmingham, where a spectacular dinner was hosted by Pure Mangalitsa. Owned by Marc Santucci and Wilhelm Kohl, Pure Mangalitsa specializes in breeding and raising pure blond Mangalitsa pigs outside of Lansing. The dinner at Forest Grill encompassed whole animal butchery with nose to tail cooking using a Mangalitsa pig prepared by Chef/Owner Brian Polcyn and Chef de Cuisine Nick Janutol. This five course meal highlighted the succulent fat and tender meat of the animal. The meal started with small crocks of soft pig butter (spuma) with cracklins and a sort of pork pate called rillette served with freshly baked bread. The meal also used the jowl, shoulder, neck, loin and belly to prepare a salad, pasta and main course. What a great opportunity and education to sample the entire animal as it is so uncommon in our culture. Pure Mangalitsa’s first Michigan pigs were born in September 2010 and now produces delicious, natural pork for small local restaurants and markets.… Read More