Breakfast Buns

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

October 24, 2016

America’s love affair with cinnamon rolls is alive and well. Cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, coffee cakes…I’ve featured recipes for all of these by request. But lately I’ve had more queries, well, “pleas” is probably more accurate–for a good, old-fashioned-tasting, gluten free version. Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Apple Cake (Gina’s Hubba Hubba Apple Cake)

October 19, 2016

Gina DePalma thinks her mom got the recipe for this gorgeous, not-too-sweet apple cake from a ’50s women’s magazine. When Gina was little, her mom made it Saturdays, for Sunday supper. These days, Gina makes it year round and affectionately calls it her Hubba Hubba Apple Cake. It’s basically a dump cake–just whisk and stir liquid ingredients into the dry ones, layer the batter with cinnamon-sugared apples, bake it off and there! You’ve got an impressively tall and tasty cake.  Continue Reading…

Pie Revival

Shaker Lemon Pie

October 10, 2016

Except for the no-sex and separation-from-the-world rules (pretty hard to overlook), I admire most everything I’ve read about Shakers. Progressive thinkers who supported full equality for men, women and all races, Shakers embraced technological advancements, were amazing architects and craftspeople and made a not for the faint-of-heart lemon pie. Continue Reading…

Gone But Not Forgotten

Madison Guerrilla Cookie (….or comes close!)

October 6, 2016

I just had a great conversation with Monica Eng of WBEZ about how people’s recollections of recipes they loved, but lost, can sometimes eclipse their experience of the actual recipe : ) I once spent weeks tracking down a long-closed-restaurant recipe for a mushroom barley soup that ran in the Tribune more than 30 years ago and didn’t exist in searchable archives. I was thrilled when I finally found the thing, complete with the actual dated clipping. I typed it up, e-mailed the recipe to the guy who requested it and in short order, got a reply stating that the recipe was the wrong one. “The soup I remember,” said barley-soup lover, “had much more bacon in it.” Ha hah! And so it goes. Recipes are fluid things, as are our memories of them. Where were we when we ate that beloved dish? With whom? And could it be that the cook that night was just extra generous with the bacon?

Well, the recipe for the Madison guerrilla cookie is of that ilk. First created by Mary MacDowell (UW MA ’67) riffing on ingredients from 1960s Tigers Milk protein bars, MacDowell shared the recipe with ’64 UW graduate Ted Odell, who tweaked the ingredients and baked them for the Quercus Alba Bakery. Hearty and filling, the cookies were sold in six- and twelve-pack sleeves through the Mifflin Street Co-op and other University of Wisconsin shops and became a student staple.  Continue Reading…

Meaty Mainstays

Kirk Douglas’ Favorite Meatloaf

October 5, 2016

Before there was Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct and a zillion more movies,) there was Kirk Douglas, a 1940s matinee idol with the deep cleft in his chin some of my boys have, but dislike. (They call it a “butt chin”…) If it weren’t for Ant Man, in which Michael had a nice role, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which Noah considers “epic” for it’s crude special effects (first sci-fi shot in Cinemascope), my kids would be unfamiliar with either of these actors. But back in the seventies, Kirk was still, very much, a familiar film legend. Which is where this meatloaf comes in… Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Persimmon Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

October 4, 2016

I’d been drawn to these orange-y red beauties in fruit markets for years. Pretty, plump with a beguiling scent, I’d start seeing them in the fall, which made them even more tempting. Three years ago, rambling through Joseph Dabney’s Southern Appalachian cooking tome “Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread & Scuppernong Wine,” the section on persimmon puddings convinced me to bring some persimmons home. I’m so happy I did. They’re fabulous simply scooped up with a spoon, and also make a lovely pudding, or beautiful cake. Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Scotch Eggs

September 30, 2016

So a little history…Go to the website for British gourmet food retailer Fortnum & Mason and you’ll find the claim that the classic Scotch egg was invented by Fortnum’s in 1738.  Others say origins go back to farther to a Moghul, egg-stuffed, kofta-ball  snack, but the basic gist is the same: Take a boiled egg, wrap it in seasoned sausage and breadcrumbs, fry it ’til crisped, and you’ve got a hearty, portable lunch. There are plenty of variations on the theme, from a black pudding version, to scrumpy (with apples, onion and sage) to Fortnum’s hammy, pinkish version. Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Cheesecake Like Little Jack’s

September 30, 2016

From the time it opened in 1905, until it closed in 1962, Little Jack’s restaurant was a force in the Chicago restaurant dining scene. At its peak in the ’50s, the sprawling three-dining room restaurant reportedly served between 600,000 and 1 million meals annually. Named for John H. “Little Jack” Levin (1887-1971), Continue Reading…

Featuring Fruit

Fig Preserves & Fig Cake

August 14, 2016

It probably wasn’t an apple. Apricot, pear or pomegranate…maybe. But mythologists suggest that the eye-opening, original-sin-ushering fruit Eve plucked from the Tree of Knowledge was likely a fig. “Ancient Hebrews wouldn’t have known an apple from a hole in the ground,” sums Alan Ridenour, writing in his Offbeat Food: Adventures in an Omnivorous World, “They knew figs however and specifically mentioned fig trees growing in Eden,” leading scholars to suggest that the fig was the fruit intended. And honestly? With its lush fecundity, tender fruit and beguiling fragrance, it’s hard not to give a fiddle for a fig. Continue Reading…

Cookie Kitchen

Homemade Fig Bars

August 14, 2016

There are lots of new takes on “newtons” out there. Our vintage version riffs on Ann Pillsbury’s classic ’50s recipe for Fig-Filled Bars, featured in her beloved Butter Cookie Cookbook pamphlet, but uses the recipe we’ve featured from Belinda Hulin (of fig cake awesomeness.) Continue Reading…