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Thickening agents (10/6/2010)
Food Stuff (10/6/2010)
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Food as art — For years now, Cass Cafe has hosted art exhibitions in its big bistro space on Cass Avenue. This week, the work of renowned Detroit artist (and former Metro Times contributor) Jerome Ferretti goes on display, and much of it has a culinary theme. As Ferretti puts it, "It's all about the food. I love food. Don't you? We've got paintings of steaks, hot dogs, a still life with fruit, maybe 10 pieces in all have the food theme." The steak paintings, in particular, came out of sketches for a mural up at New Baltimore's Bad Brad's Barbecue. Ferretti says, "I did a lot of practice paintings of meat, and I'm selling them!" The paintings include "Kitchen Kitchy Koo 2" (pictured), which shows the artist's kitchen while making strawberry shortcakes. The exhibit is up through Nov. 24, but drop in 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 to see Ferretti in action, at 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400.
Get set — It's time for Detroit Restaurant Week, an event highlighting some of the finest dining spots in and around downtown. The roster includes such established places as Coach Insignia, Cuisine, Iridescence, the Rattlesnake Club, Roast, Roma, Saltwater, the Whitney and many more. The week of dining deals kicks off Friday, Sept. 24, and lasts until Oct. 3. For more information about Detroit Restaurant Week, see detroitrestaurantweek.com and the insert in this week's MT.
Dinner and show — The culinary staff at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial has put together a dining program to complement the Grosse Pointe Theatre's performances of Godspell. Starting Sept. 23, they'll be serving a breakfast buffet and several dinners, all featuring seasonally inspired dishes using locally grown produce. Of course, you don't need to see the play to enjoy the meal. The affordable experience is open to any and all deal-seekers. You may even bring your own bottle of wine. Breakfast buffet is at noon, Sept. 26; dinners are at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23-25, 29-30 and Oct. 1-2, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore Dr., Grosse Pointe Farms; dinner (with tax and tip) is $17.95 per person, $8.95 for children 8 and younger; breakfast buffet is $15.95 for adults, $7.95 for children; reservations encouraged but not necessary at 313-881-7511.
Entertaining in the kitchen can be fun, but it's often preferable to have the meal ready when your friends arrive. Pam Anderson, in Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Houghton Mifflin, $32) offers make-ahead recipes that are not only easy to prepare, but delectable too. They include spicy chicken enchiladas simplified with the use of store-bought salsa verde, and cassoulet-style Italian sausages and white beans hearty enough to remove the chill from an autumn evening. All of the recipes are accompanied with wine pairings and side dishes and desserts.
Sometimes you need more good wine. You could do far worse than a large, crown-capped, 1-liter bottle of certified organic Bio-Weingut H. u. M. Hofer Zweigelt. It's an Austrian red wine with cinnamon and bright red berry aromas and shamefully drinkable when slightly chilled. Like gamay, wine made from Zweigelt grapes goes with all sorts of food — and won't get you wasted with high alcohol. Though this wine drinks well all year, it would be especially fine on a brisk autumn eve while embraced by the scent of decaying leaves.
The Rikon Classic Grind is as functional as it is handsome. Any cook worth his salt knows that freshly ground spices bring more flavor to any food. Toast the whole spices in a skillet over low heat until the aromas permeate the kitchen — then grind. Making a masala or a favorite barbecue rub becomes a simpler task. Remove the lid, pour in the spices, and crank the handle. It's another small step toward reducing your carbon footprint, as no electricity is required. Grinds fine or coarse.