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Edible Antics

Touring Wisconsin Food

Tag: cookbook (page 2 of 2)

How To Make Great-tasting, Healthy, Homemade Dog Biscuits – Nutritious Treats For Dog Training

Homemade “gourmet” dog biscuits seem to be the in-thing. A friendly gourmut-chef sold her homemade dog biscuits at the McFarland Farmers’ Market on Saturday. Sunday, several vendors at the 21st Annual Wisconsin Dog Fair at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center were selling multiple varieties of homemade biscuits baked especially for beloved pooches. The exceptional nutritional value of the biscuits, their super-healthy ingredients, such as flaxseed and wheat germ, were the primary reasons vendors gave to encourage the several thousand passer-bys at the fair to pick up a bag of biscuits. Of course, vendors also said that dogs love these biscuits.

But love them as much as a dead mole in the backyard? Or maybe  a decaying rabbit? When I have to lure my dogs away from succulent roadkill, I have to use treats maxed with dog-attracting flavor. Pieces of hot dog or bacon work best, but unfortunately they make my pockets greasy. Plus, even dogs can over-do it on the pork fat. You have to consider if what you’re using as a lure is actually healthier for the dog than the disgusting thing it wants. Moles are pretty lean prey, -the bones, a good calcium supplement.

So for me, biscuit flavor and nutrition are both major considerations. I use biscuits to train my dogs, and since I train them daily I have to be pretty careful not to feed them dog junk food. Also, cost is a consideration. Those homemade dog biscuits at the farmers’ market and Wisconsin Dog Fair were priced reasonably when you consider the labor involved to make them. However, the cost is in the labor, not the ingredients. I can make the same great-tasting, healthy dog biscuits at home, and I do. For me, it’s been much more cost-effective to use Martha Ward’s Doggie Delights and Kitty Cuisine cookbook and bake dog biscuits that my dogs will actually do tricks for. And if I give them a lot of biscuits at one training session, it’s not a problem. I can cut back on the dog food and know that my dogs are still getting the nutrition they need. Click on “continue reading…” for one of Martha Ward’s great-tasting and nutritious dog biscuit recipes and for more about the WI Dog Fair.

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Recipe For Relaxation: Taking Time To Cook Gourmet Food And Saving Money Too

“The food you cook at home is better than the food you get a restaurant,” asserted Kay.

“Some is,” I nodded in agreement, but inwardly I was not so sure. I’d had some wonderful meals at restaurants. And I still felt bad about burning the kids’ grilled cheese sandwiches the night before.

“How did that happen, Mommy?” my six-year-old had asked as he’d watched the smoke rise.

“Hm, I wasn’t paying attention,” I frankly answered him. “I was busy doing something else.” I had looked at this small person and could tell he was thinking about the butter and bread crumbs I’d burned the previous night. This is the topping I always recommend to parents to bury vegetables under so kids will unwittingly eat them. That night, dirty dishes drew my hands and eyes from the stove top, the butter had smoked, the pan scorched, and the kids fussed about eating naked zucchini. But back to the burned grilled cheese. The secret to rising from the ashes from this charred meal is to only grill two sandwiches at a time. You see, never does the entire grilled cheese sandwich burn, well nearly never. So you can salvage the meal by cutting the sandwiches in half, giving the less-burned halves to your offspring while you make one more sandwich to which you now can direct your full attention because your children are busy at the table scrutinizing their half sandwiches. You make this third sandwich pretty well, cut it in half, give each child a half, and then you join them at the table with the left-over, burned halves from the first two sandwiches. True, the black charcoal is poor in taste, but it’s high in charred carbon. And such carbon does a magnificent job at sopping up excess stomach acid, which you no doubt have, given that you were so frantically busy you burned the grilled cheese in the first place. So just quickly eat the burned grilled cheese then rush everyone off to the dog’s puppy class.

But this evening with Kay was different. My kids were away with their dad, her daughter is grown and her husband working. The two of us were taking time to relax with my home-cooked gourmet meal. I’d bought the beef tenderloin on sale, so I was saving money too. With quiet music playing, candlelight on the dining room table, and a bottle of wine, Kay and I were pretending we were luxuriating at the White Gull Inn. The White Gull Inn is a famous Wisconsin restaurant on the Door County peninsula. People with money and well-behaved children make pilgrimages to the White Gull Inn to feast on fine Wisconsin food. In truth, I’ve never been there, but I have their cookbook, which is a blessing in itself. So for this relaxing evening with Kay, I prepared the White Gull Inn’s recipe for stuffed tenderloin filet. Click on “Continue reading…” for the recipe.

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Devil Dog Strikes Halloween Party Cake: Pumkin Changes Into Midnight Moon; Get The Recipe

All right dogs, LINE UP! Reader can you guess which transgressing hound pilfered the pumpkin cake? Was it old dog, Sam or puppy Tao? If you’ve read previous posts, you’ll remember that Tao’s aka is El Diablo. Yes, it was the devil himself, caught red-handed, with paws on the counter and full muzzle in the cake. Perhaps it was fitting that the devil visited my kitchen as I baked party food for Halloween. The devil distracted me with his own dog hair he had shed across the carpet. Busy vacuuming, I had left the pumpkin cake on the counter to cool. El Diablo duped me into thinking that my little pooch was actually on the way to good behavior. Minutes earlier he had seemed to obey my “Leave it” command and ceased lunging at and biting the vacuum cleaner bag. But that gesture in doggie decorum was just a ploy to conceal his nefarious intentions. Satisfied that I was busy elsewhere, he struck at the cake.

My pumpkin cake was going to be frosted to look like a pumpkin. But now, once again I’d have to chant my life’s mantra, “It’s not how far you fall, it’s how well you bounce.” I’d have to come up with an alternative Halloween cake. And so this was the simple story of how my pumpkin cake turned into a midnight moon cake on Halloween. Click on “continue reading…” for the pictures and cake recipe which is really a recipe for pumpkin bars.

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Recipe For Oatmeal Cake Beats Out German Chocolate Cake And Sneaks On To Breakfast Table

Did you know that you can swap oats for chocolate and turn a German chocolate cake into an oatmeal cake? I think that’s what I did when I made Mrs. Leo Wesolowski of Oconto Falls, WI’s oatmeal cake. I found her recipe in The Flavor of Wisconsin: An informal history of food and eating in the Badger state by Harva Hachten and Terese Allen. The cookbook/travel guide/history book features recipes from residents throughout Wisconsin as it tells the history of Wisconsin’s regional cooking and identifies restaurants and food shops where you can still buy samples of it. The name “Wesolowski” doesn’t sound German to me. Maybe Mrs. Wesolowski modified a cake recipe given to her by a German neighbor. Or maybe it wasn’t a German chocolate cake with the chocolate left out. Maybe the toasted pecan and coconut frosting just snookered me into thinking it was. But none-the-less, I’ve decided that this oatmeal cake tastes even better than German chocolate cake. And this is a mighty statement for me because I LOVE German chocolate cake. My good friend who enjoyed it with us agreed, and so now you know I’m not alone in this decision.

 But don’t let the “oatmeal” in the name fool you into thinking this a healthy dessert. One cup of whole oats in a 9 x 13-inch cake does not a nutra bar make. However, when your child is about to pour a bowl of Fruit Loops cereal for breakfast but hesitates to ask for oatmeal cake instead, you might judge this cake a healthy alternative. After all, don’t oats and nuts help prevent heart disease? Yes, on second thought, go ahead and serve this oatmeal cake with Sunday brunch. Believe me, it’s delicious with a cup of coffee.

One last reason to bake this cake is it’s quirkiness. When the neighbors are standing in the yard as you run the puppy outside to pee, this cake enables you to politely excuse yourself from a conversation. You just call out, “Can’t talk now, I’m broiling a cake!” Everyone knows that broiling food must be closely watched. So they let you go with amiable smiles and neighborly friendliness continues on your street. So if by now you are interested in actually reading this marvel of a recipe, click on “Continue reading…”

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Making Tomato Sauce Is One Way To Use Up Tomatoes; Now How To Use Up The Sauce?

All 39 tomato plants in my garden are doing well. My care of them as seedlings must be paying off because now, despite my current neglect, they are producing a bumper crop of tomatoes. Pictured is one day’s harvest. In my search for ways to use up tomatoes, tomato-1I found Anne Tedeschi’s recipe for Basic Blender Italian Tomato Sauce, and every day or so I make it. I modify it a bit by adding grated zucchini to the sauce because I’m trying to use up the zucchini in my garden also. Then I freeze the sauce in plastic bags for winter-time use. 

But I’ve been enjoying the sauce right out of the pot too. It’s great over pasta. And the other day I tried Dela Ends of Scotch Hill Farm’s recipe for Easy Eggplant Cheese Casserole. Click on “Continue reading…” for the recipe.

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Wisconsin Cheese Apple Pie – Recipe From Apples Everything!

Has this happened to you? It’s a warm, blue-sky beautiful, autumn Saturday and in a momentary delirium you resolve to seize the day in that good, old-fashioned way. You decide you’re going to take the kids apple-picking! Your young children look at you quizzically, but they’re game for it.

You spend the car ride to the orchard adamantly denying to your children that you are lost. You declare you’re taking the scenic route and they should look out the window, at which they immediately direct their complete attention to their game boys and DS’s. Good. Now you can look at the map undistracted.

An hour later you arrive at the apple orchard down the road. Your children catapult from the car, and you all go to the “starting station”. While you stuff handfuls of those deceptively-tiny plastic bags into your pockets, your children argue over who gets to pull the cute, little, red wagon. A few moments later, your skillfully, negotiated settlement is moot because they have run off into the trees, abandoning the wagon and leaving you to pull it uphill into the orchard.

Just as your delirious vision showed, your children are delighted with picking apples. They pick as quickly as they can, only pausing to take a large bite out of the most exceptional apples, which, when you arrive with the wagon, they hand to you because they’re “through with them”. Fearing the orchard proprietors who strictly forbid tasting and wasting, you eat the apple evidence. Row after row, the scenario repeats itself with the only difference being that your once empty stomach and wagon are filling up with apples.

Those tiny plastic bags have ballooned and now hold thirty pounds of apples each. Your once-bouncy wagon refuses to steer out of muddy ruts and over grassy hillocks. You’re wrestling a cantankerous mule rather than the idyllic symbol of fall, family fun. You declare that it’s time to check out. By the time you get down the hill, a few more bags have been loaded on. You drive home with the delicious scent of fresh apples over-powering that of the dog. What fun.

Now the work begins. What will you do with 120 pounds of apples? Fast-forward to present day. It’s mid-November and you’ve made apple pie, apple cake, apple muffins, apple bread, baked apples, and apple crisp. The children now refuse apples in their lunch. You’ve got thirty more pounds of apples to go and they are looking as weary as you. You are tempted to let them rot in the basement like you did last year. But with one last effort you make apple sauce. Now you’ve got jars and plastic containers filled with applesauce.

Now what do you do with the applesauce? Here’s a suggestion offered by Jean Hill and Jody Littler, authors of Apples Everything, who no doubt have been in your situation so many times that they wrote a cookbook about all the different possible ways to cook apples. Apples Everything has over 500 recipes and is where I found this recipe for Wisconsin Cheese Apple Pie. It uses up 4 1/2 cups of apple sauce, -not much, but a good start.

Click on ‘Continue reading…’ for the recipe:

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Perfect Peach Pie Pleases Picky People Plus Precious Pet

Fresh Peach Lattice Pie – an unassuming name for the BEST pie ever baked! Hardly a pie to die for, – it’s a pie to LIVE FOR! I now know that the complete life must include a piece of this perfect peach pie. If someone’s life is unfulfilled, or a loved one is on the brink of departure, MAKE THIS PEACH PIE AND SHARE IT! It IS ambrosia – food of the gods baked in a mortal’s kitchen.

Unaware I was courting the divine, I pick out this recipe from Marge Snyder and Suzanne Breckenridge’s Wisconsin Country Gourmet because peaches are in season and it was ‘P’ day in our house. (Some bright person thought up a game for teaching the alphabet to a preschooler by using food. Beware of such people.)

I’ll post the recipe below, but let me first say that I was not the only one in the household whom this pie struck dumb. My children – those adorable, picky people whose culinary finickiness would drive Julia Child to drink – LOVED the pie. “It’s the best pie you ever made, Mom,” they raved in amazed tones. Eight-year-old Lauren added that she had thought the pie would just be peaches in a pie crust which sounded “Yucky,” but “This was GOOD!” Yes, I cook to a tough crowd. We all enjoyed it so much that I allowed each of us to take another piece. Admittedly, Lauren and I felt a bit sick following our gluttony, bu it was worth it. Five-year-old Dave couldn’t finish his second piece.

About to pitch his left-overs, I glanced at my precious pet – my old dog, Sam. Sam is no gourmand – he eats roadkill and worse. But he also is no picky eater. Sam ENJOYS food. There he lay in the kitchen, next to me, next to the trash, looking up at me. Enquiring eyes asking, “Would you really discard the Perfect Peach Pie?” I looked at the pie then back at him, – his telepathic pleading continued. “Haven’t I been a faithful friend? – Guarding your house? Leading you out of the woods when you got lost, time and time again? Haven’t I been good to your children – letting them pull my tail and dress me in doll clothes?” I couldn’t stand it any more! Nuts to his prescription diet! Into his dish went the remains of Dave’s piece of perfect peach pie. Sam reveled in sweet peaches. Yes, the old dog’s life was now complete. I had done a good deed.

So if you owe someone a good deed – or if someone in your life needs a sign of your appreciation – and especially if that someone happens to be you, then it’s time to bake Suzanne Breckenridge and Marge Snyder’s fresh peach lattice pie. Click on “Continue reading…” for the recipe.

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Recipe for Twisted Easter Egg Bread Rings – An Edible Easter Centerpiece Enjoyed On Wisconsin Farms

“If you want people to enjoy the food you cook, you have to enjoy cooking it.”

easter-bread-1Darlene Kronschnabel’s mother would say this as she stood over a hot wood stove in her floral feed sack apron and bake 8 loaves of bread on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. There were lots of hungry people to feed on Darlene’s farm, not only the immediate family, but hired hands, neighbors, and business associates, -anyone who happened to pass by at mid-day was invited to share the meal. “Times were hard” in Wisconsin in the 1930’s  when Darlene was helping her mother and grandmother cook. The family moved from farm to farm as her father took a series of jobs as a tenant farmer before finally able to purchase his own farm. But surrounded by loving family and eating fresh, nourishing food with good friends and laughing over tall tales told by passer-bys, Darlene never felt poor, -even in the most uncertain of times.

Darlene describes growing up in rural Wisconsin, and raising fruits, vegetables, and livestock. Her recipes for farm food reveal the flavor of her life and give a taste of the time. Some recipes arrived in Wisconsin with her Hungarian grandmother, and others came in recipe swaps with neighboring farm women. Darlene writes that on the farm, what folks ate changed with the seasons. She describes this cycle of tastes through recipes and stories in her book, Seasons in a Country Kitchen Cookbook.

I happened upon Darlene’s stories when I renewed my search for an edible Easter centerpiece. I found Darlene’s recipe for Twisted Easter Egg Bread Rings, -a holiday bread that looks festive as a centerpiece and is fun to make with kids. But before I hurried into the kitchen, I read Darlene’s description of Easter on the farm. My urgency dissipated, and I read her other stories as well. The stories made me re-think the rushed ‘quick-n-easy’ recipes I favor in this hurried 21st century. I decided it’s time to get back to basics, -time to bake bread. I haven’t baked bread in years, -so here goes. Here’s Darlene’s recipe for Twisted Easter Egg Bread Rings and pictures of my attempt to make them. easter-bread-2 

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