Wisconsin is lovely in January! Ok, not really. It’s actually miserably cold, grey and dreary. But Wisconsinites must look at the bright side of Wisconsin winters or the abominable snow man will get us.
What is the bright side of a Wisconsin winter? Having an excuse to cook a comforting meal and enjoy a relaxing night on the couch under the blankets. Here are some ideas for foods to enjoy while you hibernate until March… or maybe April.
1. Beer Cheese Soup – Beer cheese soup is a Wisconsin food that combines three of Wisconsin’s favorite things: beer, cheese, and comfort on a cold day. Beer cheese soup is an easy way to bring a taste of Wisconsin to your home no matter where you live.
2. Creme Puff – Creme puffs are a favorite Wisconsin food at the Wisconsin State Fair, but you can make this delicious dairy treat at home with this recipe I found on Pinterest. See my Wisconsin Food board for more Wisconsin recipes.
3. Fried Cheese Curds – Many a displaced Wisconsinite misses fried cheese curds, but there is no need to despair since you can make your own fried cheese curds at home. Wisconsinmade.com ships cheese curds and even cheese curd batter mix nationwide.
4. Blue Moon Ice Cream – Blue Moon ice cream is a childhood favorite for many midwesterners. The ice cream has a pleasing blue color and a kid-friendly fruity flavor. You can make yours at home with this recipe or have some blue moon ice cream shipped to your door with the help of coolers and dry ice.
5. Cranberry Bars – The bakers at O & H Bakery in Racine, Wisconsin are considered the top Kringle experts. The process to make a Kringle involves rolling out layer after layer of thin pastry dough, and it takes years to master the process. Instead of attempting the baking feat of making your own Kringle, the O & H bakers recommend beginners try this cranberry bar recipe or having a freshly baked O & H Kringle shipped right to your door.
It’s no secret that in Wisconsin we like beer. We like beer so much we put beer in food whenever possible- like beer brats and beer cheese soup. We even like to come up with new ways to use beer- like in an unexpected recipe or even in soap! A beer gift makes a great Father’s Day surprise, so here’s a list of my top 5 favorite Wisconsin beer related foods and gifts.
1. Beer Brats – A secret to delicious Wisconsin beer brats is a quick boil in some Wisconsin beer. Save a step and send your brats straight to the grill with precooked red lager beer brats. They are already boiled so all you have to do is seer them on the grill, pop them into a bun and top with your favorite brat toppings. Perfect for a Father’s Day cookout.
2. Beer Cheese Soup– On my previous post I wondered if beer cheese soup was Wisconsin’s OFFICIAL soup, and according to my Twitter followers ( @Wisconsinmade ) it actually is! Who knew?
3. Beer Bread– Beer bread is a perfect accompaniment for soup and chili, but if you aren’t much of a baker, don’t worry because there are plenty of tasty beer bread mixes out there.
4. Beer Soap- No, that’s not a typo, I do mean SOAP not SOUP. Talk about an unexpected place to find beer! This Wisconsin beer Soap Gift set is free of unnecessary chemicals and preservatives, but it does have beer from the Capital Brewery in Middleton, Wisconsin.
5. Drink Your Beer and Eat It Too Cookbook – When I first saw this beer cookbook I expected your standard beer recipes like beer brats and beer soup, and sure enough, this book has that! It also has some surprising uses for beer like in baked pork chops or desserts like gingerbread. A great gift for a Dad who likes to spend time in the kitchen.
I don’t know if Wisconsin has an official soup, but if it did, it would be beer cheese soup. As a newbie Wisconsinite, I don’t have a tried and true recipe, so browsing all the options was a bit overwhelming. I had to decide on the type of cheese, type of beer, and if I wanted to include add-ins from bratwurst to butternut squash. I settled for a combo of cheddar and swiss- cheddar for the flavor and swiss for the creaminess. For beer, I picked a local brew of course. I chose a recipe with some carrot, green onion, celery and potatoes, because let’s face it, we all need to eat our veggies and it is easy to get in your daily requirement when they are swimming in cheesy goodness. Do you have a favorite beer cheese soup recipe? Post a link! Click continue reading to see my recipe.
I went for a walk with Kay the other night and she asked, “What are you going to write about for your blog?”
“I don’t know,” I responded, -too weary from the current day to consider the next.
“You should write about soup,” she stated matter-of-factly.
“Soup?” I skeptically questioned. “You like soup?”
“No. I never eat soup. I don’t like it.”
“Me neither,” I concurred. “Too watery.”
“And cream soups!” she groaned, “They make me gag! But soups are warm, and people who like them eat them in winter.” We continued walking. “I have a recipe for lentil soup with carrots and Swiss cheese,” Kay offered. “I made it years ago. The last time was for a former boyfriend. But he and his brother laughed at it so I haven’t made it since. It was healthy, though…until they added all that salt.”
“I ate a good lentil soup once,” I told her. “Back in high school…I still remember it.” Continue reading