Jerry Minnich’s The North Woods Cottage Cookbook was on the kitchen counter Saturday morning because this mid-October weekend was dedicated to yard work. To dismantle the garden fencing, compost the dead plants, drain and coil the hoses, mow up the fallen leaves, check the gutters, put away the lawn furniture, gather the yard-strewn children’s toys, and generally install some pre-winter order on the little patch of Earth surrounding our house required food that would literally cook itself. And Jerry’s cookbook is filled with recipes for meals that do just that. Of course, Jerry’s intention in writing these recipes was far removed from supporting a Puritan work ethic. Jerry had pure pleasure in mind when he wrote the cookbook to aid fellow Wisconsin-northwoods-leisure enthusiasts. Many of his recipes are for foods you pop into the oven or on to the stove top and leave for hours while you go off in your boat. He also has recipes for hearty entrees that are quick and simple enough to make when happy hour is over and a bunch of very happy, hungry people are standing in your kitchen offering to help.

But it was the first group of recipes I was interested in. I had looked to Jerry to suggest a meal that would make itself. And as if on queue, Jerry had written in big, bold print, “Don’t forget the ham!” Yes! A large, bone-in ham slowly bakes in the oven. When you take it out hours later all you need do is slice it. And a large bone-in ham looks impressive too. So Friday night had I baked a ham knowing that we would now be set with easy left-overs and ham sandwiches all weekend. Next post I’ll tell you about the split pea soup I made with that ham bone.

But first, Chronos dictates I give Saturday morning’s popover recipe. Popovers? Yes, when my 10-year-old and budding chef said she wanted to bake something at 7:30 on Saturday morning, I wondered what breakfast recipe would be easy and relatively healthy. My daughter suggested sweet muffins, but my taste buds (not to mention my hips) are still reeling from all that zucchini and pumpkin bread we’d been making. That’s when I opened Jerry’s cookbook on the counter and found his popover recipe. Yes, true to form for this cookbook, the recipe required no unusual ingredients and was easy enough for a 10-year-old and a pre-occupied mother to bake. Click on “Continue reading…” for the easy popover recipe in Jerry Minnich’s The North Woods Cottage Cookbook.

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