I’m a huge fan of Rukmini Iyer and am revisiting an old favorite Dinner’s in the Oven: Simple One-Pan Meals (Chronicle Books 2018; $19.95), featuring wonderfully easy sheet-pan recipes that always wow people when you bring them to the table. Hah! Little do they know how quick they are to assemble and cook. But we’ll let that be a secret between us.
First of all, the cookbook is beautiful as would be expected as Iyer, who is based in London, is a food stylist and has worked for such businesses as Fortnum & Mason, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Macmillan Coffee Mornings, The British Heart Foundation, Phaidon, Quadrille Books and Kyle Books, the latter three are three publishing companies known for their cookbooks. Her other cookbooks include Vegetarian Dinners in the Oven: One-Pan Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes, the Roasting Tin series which have sold over 1.75 million copies to date, and the recently released India Express: Fresh and Flavorful Recipes for Everyday.
The great thing about her recipes is that once made they look sophisticated but are extremely easy. But to make it even better, Iyer has composed the book so that it starts off with the easiest recipes first so you learn as you move more forward plus she shows how we can make adaptations and provides charts on how to do so.
“The nicest thing about oven-made meals is that they are versatile and forgiving,” Iyer writes in the introduction to her book, adding that the recipes require the barest minimum in terms of effort—a little light chopping to start, then tasting and adjusting the salt or lemon juice at the end. “Most importantly, they leave you free to do something else while dinner looks after itself—have a bath, help the children with their homework, or, my preferred option, flop on the sofa with a glass of wine.”
Iyer describes the French Tomato and Mustard Tart with Tarragon as one of the easiest and most satisfying dishes in the book in her book.
“The paprika gives it a wonderful smokiness,” she says, “but you could easily use a combination
of honey and mustard as an alternative. It’s that simple.”
From Hoosier History Live the Award Winning Show by Nelson Price; Produced by Molly Head.
“I love that there are still inns where Lincoln stayed,” says travel writer Jane Ammeson, who has been a popular Roadtrip correspondent on Hoosier History Live for several years.Although her radio reports, magazine articles and books cover a range of historic topics, Jane has narrowed her focus in her newest book,Lincoln Road Trip: The Back-Roads Guide to America’s Favorite President (Red Lightning Books).As most Hoosiers know, Abraham Lincoln grew up in southern Indiana. As a 7-year-old, he and his family moved from Kentucky to the wilderness area that became Spencer County; the Lincolns arrived in 1816, the same year Indiana achieved statehood.We will reach beyond the boundaries of Indiana when Jane joins Nelson as a studio guest to explore some of the inns, homes, mills and recreated historic sites with a connection to Lincoln (1809-1865), his extended family and the historical events associated with his life.
Our itinerary for the show will include traveling to Kentucky to explore the Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, which opened as an inn in 1779. Abe Lincoln was about five when he stayed at the inn; according to Lincoln Road Trip, it is considered “one of the oldest taverns in continuous operation in the United States and the oldest stagecoach stop west of the Allegheny Mountains.”
Guests at an inn in Corydon, Indiana’s first state capital, included Josiah Lincoln, Abe’s uncle. Josiah (the brother of Thomas Lincoln, father of the future president) visited the Kintner Tavern after he moved to Harrison County to establish a 160-acre farm near Corydon in the early 1800s, according to Lincoln Road Trip. Although the original tavern was destroyed by a fire, its owner, Jacob Kintner, later opened the Kintner House Inn, which still stands. And here’s another Lincoln-connected bit of trivia about Harrison County: Because there are no direct descendants remaining of Abraham Lincoln – the last, his great-grandson Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985 – descendants of Josiah Lincoln are considered, as Jane puts it, “among the closest living kin of the greatest American president.”
Many of Josiah Lincoln’s descendants continue to live in Harrison County or nearby.Thousands of visitors from across the country have seen the burial sites of Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, and his older sister, Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Spencer County. The site includes a recreation of the log cabin the Lincolns built when they moved to the Little Pigeon Creek settlement in the wilderness. “It was a region with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods,” Lincoln recalled later in life. “There I grew up.”Our guest Jane Ammeson notes that the Lincoln family was related through marriage to the extended family of frontier explorer Daniel Boone. So Lincoln Road Trip highlights historic sites associated with the Boones, which we also will explore during our show.
These sites include Squire Boone Caverns in Harrison County, which Jane describes as a “magical and mystical” cave system with an underground waterfall. Squire Boone, Daniel’s younger brother, lived near the caverns in southeastern Indiana for the final 11 years of his life. When he died in 1815 at age 71, Squire Boone asked his children to bury him in one of the passageways of the cave system.
Today, Squire Boone Caverns is a popular tourist attraction, and visitors often stop in the area that includes his casket.Also during our show, we will explore the Colonel William Jones State Historic Site near the town of Gentryville in southwestern Indiana. Jones ran a general store during Abe Lincoln’s teenage years, employing him as a clerk and discussing political issues with him. After the Lincoln family moved to Illinois, Abe Lincoln spent the night at Jones’ house during a return visit to Indiana.During the Civil War, Jones was killed at the Battle of Atlanta in 1864, his former clerk serving as commander-in-chief. The house in Gentryville, which Jones designed in the Federal style, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Chicago, an international food destination, is once again hosting the prestigious James Beard Awards on June 3-5. To buy tickets, see below. Chicago also recently was recognized by Food & Wine’s new Global Tastemakers Awards in the following categories:
○ 10 Best Cities for Neighborhood Restaurants in the U.S. (#4) ○ The Best Cities for Food in the U.S. (#6) ○ The 10 Best Bars in the U.S. (The Violet Hour, #10) ○ The 5 Most Creative Bars in the U.S. (The Violet Hour, #1, The Aviary, #2)
James Beard Awards 2023: full list of Chicago nominees
One of the James Beard Awards’ highest honors, Outstanding Restaurant recognizes establishments that “demonstrate consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, and hospitality.” Helmed by husband-and-wife duo John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, this tasting menu spot is grounded in pristine products and produce grown in close collaboration with small farms. The menu, which evolves constantly, is served in a welcoming atmosphere with an open kitchen, so guests can watch the chef’s creativity in action.
Last year, executive chef Erick Williams of Virtue took from the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes. This year, his chef de cuisine Damarr Brown is being recognized for displaying “exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability”. Brown, a fan favorite on Top Chef, has been demonstrating his culinary expertise in Virtue’s kitchen in the Hyde Park neighborhood, composing elegant versions of classic Southern American dishes.
A hidden gem no more, Khmai has received local and national acclaim for its authentic Cambodian cuisine. Executive chef Mona Sang draws on her Cambodian heritage to compose the restaurant’s weekly menus, which are all served family style for the entire table to enjoy. Khmai is located in the Rogers Park neighborhood — be sure to make a reservation before you go.
Chicago is home to a plethora of excellent French restaurants, but Obélix has still managed to stand out from the pack. The intimate space in River North serves up elevated takes on modern French fare. Diners will find favorites like French onion soup, escargots, and steak frites, alongside creative dishes like foie gras macarons, lobster crepes, and confit squab.
A longtime favorite in the West Loop neighborhood, this venerable institution has earned this nomination for “fostering a sense of hospitality among its customers and staff that serves as a beacon for the community”. The menu melds rustic and refined elements in a way that’s both classic and approachable. The four-course tasting menu offers various options, including sourdough cavatelli, truffle fried chicken, dry-aged beef striploin, and more.
This funky space in the West Town neighborhood is a jack of all trades — wine shop, cheese counter, intimate restaurant, and community gathering space. You can grab some small plates at happy hour, enjoy a weekend brunch, load up on ingredients for the perfect charcuterie board, or just kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy the laidback vibes.
These regional accolades recognize chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities, while contributing positively to their broader community. The following Chicago chefs have been nominated for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2023:
For more than 30 years, the James Beard Awards, among the nation’s most prestigious honors, have recognized leaders in the culinary and food media industries. This summer, nominees and Award winners will be honored through a weekend of events sure to be the industry’s and food lovers’ highlight of the year, gathering nearly 1,500 of the country’s top chefs, restaurateurs, food media, and culinary enthusiasts in Chicago with millions more tuning in live and on TV. More than 70 Awards will recognize excellence in the categories of restaurants and chefs, books, broadcast media, journalism, leadership, and lifetime achievements.
Join us as we celebrate excellence and community while recognizing our rich and diverse culinary heritage and those who tell its story.
James Beard Media Awards Saturday, June 3 at 5:00 P.M. CT, Columbia College Chicago
A theater-style seated awards ceremony honoring broadcast media, cookbook, and journalism nominees from around the country. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony, highlighting chefs and other luminaries, including those from the Chicago culinary scene. 400 guests are expected.
This Academy Awards-style event will feature red carpet arrivals and an awards ceremony honoring the best of the best in the restaurant and chef industry. This premier event will be broadcast live. 1,650 guests are expected.
A walk-around tasting reception held at Union Station will immediately follow the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards. Attended by over 1,600 chefs, restaurateurs, food media, and culinary enthusiasts, the event will feature food and beverage stations highlighting chefs from around the country.
Reservation Policy: All reservations are non-refundable.
The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability.
This Mother’s Day show your appreciation for mom and mom figures by putting these three little words into action: Breakfast in Bed, says celebrity chef Curtis Stone.
Australian-born, Stone is an award winning chef and is chef/owner of Maude in Beverly Hills, Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant–and English-style butcher shop eatery, and Georgie by Curtis Stone in Dallas.
Unsure what to whip up? Not too worry. Stone’s got you covered with his ALL-NEW breakfast in bed recipe (approved by his wife Lindsay and kids), that blends savory and sweet in a “sparkling” delicious way using Waterloo Orange Vanilla Sparkling Water.
“My cooking philosophy is to keep it simple and cook with naturally produced ingredients just as Mother Nature intended,” says Stone who is an Iron Chef and is one The Iron Chefs from the new Netflix show (left to right): Marcus Samuelsson, Dominique Crenn, Curtis Stone, Gabriela Camara and Ming Tsai.
Orange Vanilla Crepes with Whipped Mascarpone and Caramel Sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Waterloo Orange Vanilla Sparkling Water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
4 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbs unsalted butter
8 oz mascarpone cheese, chilled
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
To make crepes:
1. In blender, combine flour, Waterloo Orange Vanilla Sparkling Water, cream, eggs, sugar, and pinch of salt and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. Heat medium (10-inch) frypan over medium-low heat. Melt 1 tsp butter in pan.
3. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into center of pan and swirl to coat bottom thinly. Cook 2 minutes, or until edges of crepe are light brown.
4. Loosen edges gently with thin spatula and carefully turn crepe over. Continue cooking 1 minute, or until bottom begins to brown in spots.
5. Transfer crepe to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter to pan as needed, and forming about 10 crepes in total.
Meanwhile, to make whipped mascarpone and caramel sauce:
6. In medium bowl, using whisk, lightly whip mascarpone, cream, and zest until soft peaks form. Set aside.
7. In medium saucepan over low heat, stir sugar and 1/4 cup water until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring for about 8 minutes, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush to dissolve any crystals, until caramel is golden brown. Remove pan from heat and slowly whisk in cream and pinch of salt; caramel will bubble vigorously.
To assemble and serve crepes:
8. Lay one crepe flat on work surface and spread some whipped mascarpone over crepe in thin layer. Repeat to assemble remaining crepes. Divide crepes among plates. Spoon caramel over crepes and serve.
Serves: 4 (makes about 10 crepes)
Prep Time: 35 minutes; Cook Time: 25 minutes
Make-Ahead: Crepe batter can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated.
About Waterloo Sparkling Water
Waterloo, founded in 2017, is committed to creating better-tasting, better-for-you sparkling waters that support a healthy, active lifestyle. With a focus on sustainability, the water used in Waterloo is filtered and manufactured in zero waste plants, packaged in recyclable aluminum cans from 70% recycled material, and actively managed to reduce miles in transit – on average just one day from plant to retailer shelf.
Their flavor recipes are custom-created by in-house flavor artists and include such flavors as Blackberry Lemonade, Lemon-Lime, Cherry Limeade, Peach, Grape and two new flavors Ginger Citrus and Orange Twist.
Lisa Kingsley quotes the French gastronome Jean Antheime Brillat-Savarin who famously wrote “Just tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are,” in the introduction to her new book, Smithsonian American Table: The Foods, People, and Innovations That FeedUsthat culls the vast archives of the Smithsonian Institute where just the word “food” yields tens of thousands of results. The Smithsonian, which opened over 175 years ago, is the nation’s museum, and it’s not a stretch to say that food is the nation’s passion. What Kingsley, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute, has accomplished is to provide snapshots of how our environment, availability of foods, and migration have played an important part in what our ancestors ate and what we eat now.
Trying a variety of foods is often called grazing, and Kingsley, who has been writing about food for more than three decades and is currently the editorial director of Waterbury Publications, a company in Des Moines, Iowa that produces and packages books for publishers, authors, personalities, and corporate brands, has created the literary equivalency in presenting a history of foods for our reading pleasure.
“The long history of hot sauce began about 7000 years ago in Bolivia, where chile peppers grew wild,” writes Kingsley in her chapter, “Food Fads & Trends,” which also includes the history of not only our addiction to fiery sauces but also explores snacking, fermentation, the craft beer movement, fad diets, the backyard cookout, and, among others, community cookbooks and sushi. The latter had a much shorter trajectory to fame and availability than one would ever expect of a dish consisting of raw fish and rice often accompanied by wasabi paste and fresh ginger.
“Propelled by an economic boom in Japan and bolstered by American hipster culture, what started as a street snack almost 200 years ago is now as likely to get as a hamburger or hot dog,” writes Kingsley who describes sushi spreading from California where it appeared in a restaurant right next to a Century 21st Century Fox studio to everywhere. That includes your local grocery store.
Trends are fascinating, but so are the other subjects in this book that are highlighted in such chapters as “Innovators & Creators.” That list would have to include Irving Naxon who applied for a patent on a slow cooker he invented in 1936. Now, out of almost 123 million households in the U.S., approximately 100 million have a slow cooker tucked away in a cabinet or pantry or even on the counter. On the opposite side of slow cooking was Percy Spencer whose application of microwave technology to cooking led to the Radarange, the first microwave oven, which was both the size of a conventional oven and sold at a costly $1295 in 1955.
In Chapter Five, we meet the “Tastemakers,” such as early cookbook authors Fannie Farmer, Lizzie Kander, and Irma S. Rombauer as well as chefs who would be the early innovators for the boom in the cult of television chef celebrities of today. Lena Richard, the host of the Lena Richard’s New Orleans Cook Book show that aired in 1948, was the author of the New Orleans Cook Book said to be the first Creole cookbook by a person of color. She would be followed by now better-known names of those early cooking shows like James Beard and Julia Child.
Each of the chapters is illustrated not only with historic and current photos of people, foods, and products but also full color photos of the 40 plus iconic recipes included in the book such as Beard’s Cocktail Canapes and Child’s Smoked Salmon & Dill Souffle. Of special interest are the sidebars such as “The Black Brewmaster of Monticello,” a reference to Peter Hemings, the enslaved chef of Thomas Jefferson.
Kingsley’s preparation, research, and organization of this book is a wonderful account of the foodways of America and how they came about, and it can easily be read from front to back or delved into according to the reader’s interest. Either way, it’s our history and after reading this you can now look at a chunk of artisan cheese, a photo of the Harvey Girls, or a plate of Korean Fried Chicken and know how they—and so many others—became part of our national food conversation.
The following are from Smithsonian American Table.
Southeast Michigan is home to the country’s largest Arab American population. The first influx of immigrants began in the early 1900s, when — according to local legend — there was a chance encounter between a Yemeni sailor and Henry Ford, who told the sailor that his automobile factory was paying $5 a day. The sailor took word back to Yemen, where it spread. For decades, as people fled conflicts in the Middle East, many sought economic opportunities near Dearborn, bringing their food traditions with them. This recipe comes from Patty Darwish of Dearborn, whose great-grandfather immigrated from Lebanon in the late 1800s. Note: You want the texture to be somewhere between couscous and a paste. If you don’t grind the chickpeas enough, the falafel won’t hold together, but if you overgrind, you will wind up with hummus. This recipe must be made in advance.
From “Smithsonian American Table,” by Lisa Kingsley in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution (Harvest, 2023).
For the falafel:
2 c. dried chickpeas
1 c. coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1 c. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 of a green bell pepper
1 serrano chile, seeded and coarsely chopped, optional
Soak the chickpeas in 3 cups of water at least 12 hours or overnight. (Be sure chickpeas are always covered with water. If necessary, add more.) Drain and rinse.
In a blender or food processor, grind beans in batches until almost smooth (see Note). Transfer to a large bowl. Add parsley, cilantro, onion, green pepper and chile (if using) to the blender. Blend until almost smooth. Add to bowl with chickpeas and stir until well combined. Add the cumin, garam masala, chili powder and salt and black pepper to taste. Stir until well combined.
No more than 15 minutes before you cook the falafel, add the baking powder and stir well to combine. Form into patties, using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture per falafel.
In a large deep skillet, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Cook falafel 5 or 6 at a time until golden brown on both sides. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Meanwhile, prepare the tahini sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, water and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more water if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
To serve, place falafel in the middle of a pita bread. Add desired toppings and drizzle with tahini sauce. Fold and serve.
Lena Richard’s Crab a la King
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 c. light cream or half-and-half
1 c. whole milk
8 oz. lump crabmeat
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp. finely chopped green pepper
3 tbsp. chopped pimiento
1 tsp. Coleman’s dry mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg yolks, beaten
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. dry sherry (optional)
4 puff pastry shells, baked according to package directions
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk until combined. Slowly whisk in cream and milk. Add crabmeat, mushrooms, green pepper, and pimiento. Add dry mustard and salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Add eggs and lemon juice. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in sherry, if desired.
A history major and bread aficionado, Ellen King became intrigued by the abundance of grains once available and commonly grown in the United States that had, since World War II, completely disappeared from the marketplace and which often didn’t seem to exist anymore.
“I spent some time in Norway and bread was about all I could afford to eat,” says King, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and then attended the Seattle Culinary Academy and worked in several Seattle restaurants before she moved to Evanston, Illinois. Shocked at finding that Chicago didn’t have the types of breads she yearned for, she began a search for heirloom grains and began making bread the old fashioned way—using natural wild yeasts as an ingredient, mixing and turning the dough by hand for several hours and then injecting steam for a crisp crust while it bakes in an imported European oven.
What good was opening a bakery if I couldn’t find good ingredients, King remembers thinking. Partnering with farmer Andrea Hazard who was interested in growing heirloom grains, the two finally connected with Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder and the Director of The Bread Lab at Washington state University. Jones, who earned a PhD in Genetics from the University of California at Davis, suggested she and, a farmer who was interesting in growing heritage wheat, read old farming journals to find out what varieties that were grown at the turn of the last century.
“There are literally over 10,000 varieties of wheat,” King says. “One person told me 100,000.” The names are romantic–Rouge de Bordeaux, Turkey Red and Marquis. But the seeds seemed ephemeral. Take Marquis, a hard red spring wheat first introduced in Canada in 1895. It was among the most widely grown wheat in the United States between the 1910s through the 1930s. During the 1920s, Marquis accounted for 59% of the wheat produced in Wisconsin. By the time King went looking for it, Marquis was no longer grown and she couldn’t find the seeds.
But her years during historical research paid off. Countless queries led to a college professor who had 2.2 pounds of Marquis wheat. Planting the seeds King and Hazard were able to produce 30 pounds the first year. Now they hope to have 3000 seeds which will yield enough to both make bread and save seeds.
“That way we can grow more and share with other farmers,” she says.
Selecting a loaf of bread from Hewn is like taking a step back into history. The menu of hand-forged breads made from organic, locally sourced re-discovered wheat varieties include those made with Turkey Red, a heritage variety of wheat grown in Wisconsin and Kansas Lower in gluten the bread has a nutty flavor and Red Fife–a heritage variety of wheat grown and milled in Wisconsin.
Why did these varieties disappear, I ask King.
“After World War II the cherished varieties fell out of favor,” she says. “And when we did that we lost the uniqueness of each region where the wheat grew and we lost the flavor. Along with the homogenization of our wheat, we added fertilizers and products like Round-Up and made bread less healthy.”
It was all about efficiency and mass production.
“General Mills flour is always exactly the same and large scale baking needs that consistency,” she says. “At Hewn, I invest in people, not machinery. For us, it’s about training the baker in how to treat and understand the flour.”
Just as wine connoisseurs can recognize the terroir of grapes, King can do the same with wheat. And though heirloom produce like tomatoes, squash and peppers has become a major player in farming, she says wheat varieties are still lagging.
But she enjoys the challenge of finding farmers who are growing them.
“There are more and more people doing it,” she says. “I met this guy who is growing Pedigree Number 2. At first I couldn’t find any one growing Red Kharkoff anywhere, but now I’m connecting with a farmer in Washington state who is growing it and all sorts of grains. It takes time, but it’s worth it—it’s better for the soil, for the environment and for our health. It tastes great. And also, it’s history.”
Heritage Corn and Berry Muffins
Excerpted with permission from Heritage Baker by Ellen King
Note: Most of the recipes in Heritage Baker require preparing a starter which is a process that takes several days. King recommended that beginners start with one of her muffin recipes as they are the simplest to make. She also notes that the flavor of flint corn is rich and pronounced but if you can’t find Floriani, any flint corn variety from your region will work well for this recipe. You can also, more easily, substitute regular or coarsely ground cornmeal which is found in supermarkets. Be sure to avoid finely ground cornmeal. Brands available in grocery stores like Bob’s Red Mill offer coarse ground coarse meal and a variety of flours. There are several places in Michigan where you can order specialty heirloom flours.
Country Life Natural Foods in Pullman, Michigan is a wholesaler but also sells in small amounts. They offer mail order and delivery. 641 52nd St., Pullman, MI 800-456-7694.
13/4 cups sifted heritage flour, such as White Sonora or Richland
1/2 cup fine-milled Floriani Flint or other heritage cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup strawberries, quartered, or blueberries
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup stone rolled heritage oats
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 12-cup muffin pan.
To make the batter, stir together the granulated sugar and eggs in a large bowl until combined. Stir in the heavy cream, sour cream, and vanilla, followed by the melted butter. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir just until combined.
Using a wooden spoon, very gently fold in the berries. Do not overmix. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups; the cups should be three-quarters full.
To make the streusel topping, combine the brown sugar, oats, and butter in a small bowl. Using a spoon or your hands, stir until the mixture becomes crumbly. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the topping over each muffin.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a metal skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, or freeze in a resealable plastic bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, set on the counter until thawed and warm in a 325°F oven for 10 minutes.
Hewn in the News: Food & Wine magazine featured Hewn as one of the Best Bakeries in America and in the article The Best Bread in Every State. Hewn was listed among the Best Bread Bakeries at the Food Network, and as one of the Best Bakeries in Chicago by Thrillist. Click here to listen to their recent interview on the WBBM Noon Business Hour. Click here to read Midwest Living Magazine’s “Best of the Midwest.” Click here to watch Steve Dolinsky’s recent segment on the bakery on NBC5 Chicago. To learn more about their expansion to Libertyville, click here.
Vegan and vegetarian doesn’t have to be boring. Hard to believe? Then check-out The Spicy Plant-Based Cookbook. Featuring 200 easy-to-make, plant-based recipes that transforms everyday meals from “blah” to “bam,” this book is perfect not only for vegan and vegetarian eaters but for anyone wanting to increase the number of plants into their diet and are looking to kick things up a notch by adding spicy flavors.
From Jalapeno Hash Browns to Mango Chili Sorbet, this book has recipes for every meal of the day and also includes a beginner-friendly guide to the plant-based diet (plant-based is plant-forward, but doesn’t necessarily require followers to cut all animal product options).
Here are some recipes to try.
Bourbon and Chili Brownies
yields 12 big brownies
This recipe yields dense, chewy brownies with spicy hints of chili and bourbon. Sprinkle extra chili powder on top after baking for extra heat.
4 ounces vegan chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick vegan margarine, softened and cut into small cubes
1 cup granulated sugar
Egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup bourbon
1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8″ square baking pan.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and margarine. Microwave 20 seconds at a time until melted; stir until smooth. (You can also melt the chocolate and margarine in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat.)
Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Add sugar and stir to combine.
Add egg replacer and stir until smooth. Add vanilla and bourbon, then stir.
Add flour, salt, cinnamon, and chili powder. Stir gently until smooth.
Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and bake for 20–25 minutes, until just set in the middle and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
Let brownies cool before cutting.
Calories: 218 | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 31mg
Cajun Tempeh Po’Boy
This hot and spicy recipe makes two very large sandwiches, so bring your appetite—or you can save some for later.
1 (13-ounce) package tempeh, cut into small, bite-sized squares
1⁄2 cup olive oil
5 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium loaf French baguette, sliced crosswise and then lengthwise in half
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced
In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except bread, lettuce, and tomatoes. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
Assemble the sandwiches on bread by layering the tempeh, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Note: All “dressed” up
Traditional New Orleans po’boys are served either plain or dressed. Dressed means it’s topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mayonnaise, but you can substitute Vegenaise to keep the sandwich vegan.
Yields 2 cups
Salsa has a variety of uses, and this recipe adds color and variety to your usual chips and dip or Mexican dishes. Garnish with extra chopped cilantro and enjoy with tortilla chips.
1 medium mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped
2 medium tangerines, peeled and chopped
1⁄2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1⁄2 medium red onion, peeled and minced
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1⁄2 medium jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Gently toss to mix well.
Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend. Store any leftover salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
“even if we never make these dishes of ancient times, Miller’s book is a fascinating read.”
“They say ‘history is written by the victors,’ but in my experience, history is written by those who write stuff down, and food is no exception,” writes Max Miller in the introduction to Tasting History, his new cookbook that delves into the foods we’ve eaten throughout millennia.
Four years ago, Miller had little interest in cooking. But when a friend became sick while they were vacationing and they watched seasons of a cooking shows while overindulging on nachos, that all changed. Developing a passion for baking, he soon was taking his cakes and pastries to Walt Disney Studios where he worked. Besides sharing his creations, Miller also explained the origins of the recipes. Suggestions from friends influenced him to start a YouTube show titled “Tasting History with Matt Miller.” Shortly after, the pandemic hit, Miller was furloughed from his job, as were many others, and his show became a hit to all those stuck at home.
Now Miller has taken it to the next level with this deep dive into food history that includes original recipes and Miller’s adaptations for home chefs as well as photos, original drawings, anecdotes, and cook’s notes.
The recipe for this stew is easy, but even if a person could, though it’s unlikely, find the fatty sheep tails, another ingredient—risnatu—has no definite translation, though Miller says it’s commonly agreed upon that it’s a type of dried barley cake. He solves both those problems in his adaptation of the recipe by providing appropriate substitutions that honor the dish’s origins but make it available to modern kitchens.
But even if we never make these dishes of ancient times, Miller’s book is a fascinating read. As we get closer to our own times—the book is arranged chronologically—we find dishes that are more recognizable such as precedella, a German recipe originating in 1581 that instructed cooks to “Take fair flour, a good amount of egg yolk, and a little wine, sugar and anise seed and make a dough with it.”
Of course, modern pretzels don’t typically have wine and anise seeds in them, but Miller provides a recipe using all those ingredients so we can get the same flavor profile as the precedellas that were baked almost 500 years ago. It is indeed tasting history.
Miller has culled recipes from around the world. The book also includes the foodways of medieval Europe, Ming China, and even the present with a 1914 recipe for Texas Pecan Pie that Miller describes as “a time before corn syrup came to dominate the dessert.” His adaptation of the original recipe uses sugar since corn syrup didn’t begin to dominate until the 1930s. The 1914 recipe also calls for a meringue topping, an addition not found in modern pecan pies. So even within a short time span of just over 100 years, Miller shows us how a recipe has evolved though he assures us, we’ll like the 1914 version best.
I still remember the lard we used during my high school cooking class — big cases of off-white clumpy fat that looked and smelled unappetizing but turned our pie dough and biscuits into luscious tasting triumphs. So I couldn’t resist a cookbook with lard in the first word of its title. And it didn’t disappoint.
“Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking With Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient” (Andrew McMeel) offers 150 sweet and savory recipes, beautiful photos and fond anecdotes from cooks nationwide about an ingredient once frowned upon and now (doesn’t this always happen) purported as healthy in some ways as it contains only 54 percent of the saturated fat found in butter and is free of trans fats when rendered with care.
And, of course, as I found out long ago in junior year cooking class, lard is the secret to turning out such marvels as southern fried chicken, green tomato pie and intriguingly the much more sophisticated Beef Wellington.
The recipes were culled from the archives of Grit, a bi-monthly magazine that’s a paean to rural traditional and values featuring articles like “Modern Day Barn Raising” and “Beyond Iceberg: Heirloom Lettuce Varieties.”
Founded 130 years ago, the names of the recipes found in the cookbook — Sand Hill Plum Dumplings, corn pone, World War II Cake with Basic Buttercream Frosting and Hot Cross Buns — read like a time capsule. And though lard figures into everyone, it often plays a small part, maybe just a tablespoon like that used in Old Fashioned Green Beans.
“Lard makes awesome fried chicken,” says Hank Will, Grit’s editor-in-chief who holds a doctorate in lipid chemistry and molecular biology from the University of Chicago and was a college professor for 16 years before quitting to farm full time. “If you look at lard, it’s very similar to butter. What we did is vilify it.”
Will, who still farms part time, renders his own lard from the pigs he raises. He doesn’t spread it on a piece of bread for lunch like his grandfather did back in North Dakota, but he and his wife use it for baking and cooking.
He blames lard’s demise on the industrial food industry. And indeed, reading about the development of Crisco, the first hydrogenated — the process of turning liquids into solids — shortening shows how advertising and testimonials helped convince a nation that hydrogenated shortening was good and lard was bad. Common wisdom became that unsaturated fats or trans fats of hydrogenated vegetable oils were better than saturated fats found in butter and lard.
Though scientific studies indicated even back in the late 1950s that trans fats weren’t all that good and might be the reason for an increase in coronary heart disease, it took 30 more years for it to finally be established.
And so by returning to lard, Will believes we’re not only returning to a traditional “real food” that improves the taste of what we eat but also is better for us.
But even a lardophile like Will doesn’t recommend gobbling up a lot of lard. It is a fat after all, but like butter healthier than trans-fat.
“Butter and lard are both animal fats — lard from pigs and butter is mostly from cows,” says Corinne Powell, former extension educator Consumer and Family Sciences at the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service Lake County. “If you read the labels you’ll see a lot of hydrogenated fats in baked goods because it lengthens their shelf life.”
According to Powell, many companies put labels on the front of their products saying no trans fats but that doesn’t mean there’s no fat in it and therefore, it’s important to read the list of ingredients.
“Fat is a good source of energy and it provides satiety,” she says, “which is that feeling of being full.”
Alas, we can’t just run out and buy a container of lard at the local grocery store.
“Most lard at the grocery store is hydrogenated,” says Will. “But artisan meat producers and farmers markets should have lard that hasn’t been hydrogenated.”
And though Powell notes that all fats, including lard, have a lot of calories she has tasted its goodness too.
“Lard is usually considered to be the best to use for pie crusts — it has a good flavor and makes flaky pie crusts,” she says. “I’ve judged pie crusts at fairs and the best usually have lard.”
Old-Fashioned Green Beans
1 tablespoon lard
12 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 cups water
2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
DIRECTIONS: In a large skillet, melt the lard over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry, stirring frequently, 5 to 7 minutes, until browned. Add the sugar and water; stir and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the beans and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes, until the beans are soft and all the liquid has been absorbed. Serve immediately.
1 (6.5-ounce) can crabmeat, drained
½ cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chopped green onion (white and green parts)
Salt and black pepper
Lard, for frying
DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, place the crabmeat, bread crumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, and onion. Season with salt and pepper; mix well. Shape into 4 equal-sized patties. (If more moisture is needed to form patties, add a dash of melted lard.) In a large skillet, heat the lard over medium-high heat. Fry the patties 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Strawberry Soda Pop Cake
3/4 cup lard, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, plus more for dusting the pans
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (7-ounce) bottle strawberry soda pop
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten
2 tablespoons lard, softened
Pinch of salt
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 (12-ounce) bottle or can strawberry soda pop
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 9-inch cake pans with lard; dust lightly with flour and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the lard and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on low speed. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternately add the flour mixture and the strawberry pop to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in the nuts; fold in the egg whites. Distribute the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. To prepare the frosting, combine the lard, salt, confectioners’ sugar, and just enough strawberry pop to moisten the mixture; blend well until smooth and creamy. To frost the cake, place one cake layer on a cake stand and frost, using an offset spatula. Position the second layer atop the first and repeat.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-¼ cups lard, cold and coarsely chopped
5-½ tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vinegar
DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the lard until the mixture is very fine. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, water, and vinegar. Make a small well in the flour mixture and add the liquid; mix just until the dough comes together in a ball. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and flatten into disks; wrap individually in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling. To make a double-crust pie with a solid top crust, roll out 2 disks of dough about 1 inch larger than the pie plate. Fit one crust into the bottom of the pie plate. Fill the pie with the desired filling; slightly moisten the edge of the bottom crust. Take the second crust, fold it in half, gently place it over the pie filling, and unfold, centering it on the pie plate; press the edges into the bottom crust to seal. Trim the excess dough to leave and overhang of about ¾ inch. Crimp or flute the edges with your fingers. To allow steam to escape, gently prick the top crust with a fork several times or slash vents with a sharp knife.
Makes 4 single or 2 (9-inch) double crusts.
Grandma’s Homemade Biscuits
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon lard, cold and coarsely chopped, plus more for greasing the pan
2-½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon salted butter, melted (optional)
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with lard and set aside. Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and the salt in a large mixing bowl; whisk together. Using a pastry blender, work the lard into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the milk and stir. On a sheet of wax paper, sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of flour. Turn the dough mixture onto the wax paper and knead for 5 minutes. Roll out the dough to a 1-inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter; alternatively, drop the dough using a large spoon and pat down onto the prepared baking sheet spaced 1 inch apart. For color, brush the biscuits with melted butter, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
Makes 1 dozen.
Henrietta’s Spicy Fried Chicken
1 to 2 teaspoons black pepper
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1 (2-½ to 3-½ pound) frying chicken, cut up into 8 pieces
¼ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
2-¼ teaspoons garlic salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon celery salt
Lard, for frying
DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, combine the black pepper, poultry seasoning, paprika, cayenne, and dry mustard. Dredge the chicken pieces in the spices. In a paper or plastic bag, combine the flour, garlic salt, salt, and celery salt; shake to mix. Add the chicken, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. Heat the lard to 340 degrees and 2 inches deep in an electric skillet or on medium heat in a large cast-iron skillet. Add the chicken pieces and fry for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Increase the heat to 355ºF for an electric skillet or medium-high for a regular skillet. Fry for an additional 5 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink at the bone. Remove the chicken from the fat and drain on paper towels.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
SOURCE: “Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking With Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient”