Monday, March 28, 2011

Turkey Wing As Big As My Head, and a Recap of the Week

One full week down!  I'm feeling pretty successful.  I cheated a little, but I feel okay about it, and I tried some new things.  Dinner last night was grilled turkey wings.  Nothing fancy... I can't say that I can tell the difference between a local turkey wing and a store bought one specifically, except the ones from the farmer's market were huge!  No real recipe, I just seasoned them with salt, onion powder, and garlic powder and grilled them up!  The side dish was pretty impressive, though:

Grilled Winter Vegetables
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (this was not local, but I have several in my pantry and I need to eat them up before they go bad.)
  • 2 medium turnips, ends chopped off and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • Mixed mushrooms, ends cut off and washed (I was my mushrooms.  Some people think that's bad.  Do what you want.)
  • 1Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 large clove minced garlic
  • Kosher Salt
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Place sweet potatoes in a small pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook until they just start to soften.  The point here is just to get them started cooking, since they need a lot less time than the rest of your vegetables on the grill.  Once they're slightly softer, drain the water and transfer the potato slices to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, onion, garlic, salt, paprika, and pepper.  I used just a sprinkle of both the paprika and pepper, but if you want these spicier you could certainly add more.  Slowly, whisk in olive oil to combine.

Mix turnips, potatoes, and mushrooms in a large bowl.  Pour olive oil mixture over the vegetables and stir to coat them.  Grill on medium high heat until mushrooms and sweet potatoes are cooked through and turnips are crispy.

I actually thought this preparation of  turnips (which I have also never had before this week) was much better than the apple preparation from Wednesday.  The crispness and slight spiciness paired well with the smoother sweet potatoes. And I love mushrooms regardless.  I also only lost TWO turnip slices to the grill - which is really good for me.  I love grilling vegetables, but really suck at keeping them on top of the grill as opposed to down below the heating elements.  I need one of these or something to that effect.

Overall, though, I feel this was a successful first week.  Here is my recap:

Things I used that weren't local, but that I already had in my house (so I don't think they should count against me...):
  • Olive Oil
  • Brandy
  • Wine
  • Tomato Paste
  • Flour
  • Spices
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Boxed pasta
  • Raspberry Blush Vinegar
  • Dijon Mustard
Things I had to buy that were not grown locally:
  • Shallots (from my local co-op)
  • Garlic (from my local co-op)
  • Apples
  • Lemon
  • Shrimp
Things I tried, that I have never eaten before, and would not have eaten had it not been for this challege:
  • Herring
  • Turnips
  • Elk ring bologna
The first list looks pretty reasonable to me.  There are things that I simply cannot get in WI, and that I know I can't live without.  I'm sure I can get the second list down a lot as soon as things start growing again... and the third list is only going to continue to grow!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

An Adventure in Fish

This weekend I had an adventure.  A FISH adventure.  It was awesome.  It started on Friday when, on my way home from work, I stopped at Sweet Water Organics in Bay View.  I didn't know much about Sweet Water, but what I did know was they were raising perch and tilapia organically, as well as hydroponically grown greens.  I've actually bought these greens for such recipes as my Caesar(ish) salad.  I also knew that they had just opened up their storefront to the public.  So, I headed over on my way home from work, expecting something like a tiny grocery store.

What I got, instead, was a tour of a working fish farm.  I've never seen such a thing, and it's a little hard to describe.  It's not a "pretty" place, but it was clean, and everyone there was very friendly, funny, and helpful.  I first walked in and asked for enough fish for fish boil for four (my mom and step dad were coming over for dinner.)  I was sent into the
Happy fish are a little camera shy.  Those orange looking bits are
them.  They're not goldfish, I promise!
 back, the farm itself, where Paul, the production manager and a very funny man, proceeded to scoop the fish out of a large tank.  The farm area was not especially large, but it was tall with layers of scaffolding growing microgreens and other things, and, combined with seeing my dinner being caught in front of me, I was instantly overwhelmed.  Paul must have sensed that, already, things were not going how I expected and he asked, cautiously: "You did know you were getting whole fish, right?"
Me: "Uh... No?"
Paul: "Have you ever cleaned a fish before?"
Me: "Uh... Probably?  I think so"  (I'm thinking, I bet my dad let me think I was cleaning a fish once when I was little, and then he threw the whole mess away and we ate some other fish.)
Paul: "Do you have a really sharp knife?"
Me: "Yes!" (Finally, I got one right!!)
Paul: "You'll be fine."
He gave me a pat on the back, and went back to scoping fish and depositing them into a large bucket of ice.  Once he had scooped out the pre-determined number of fish, he told me to take a walk around and he'd have the fish ready for me in 15 minutes.
Each layer had greens growing.  The bottom is one of many
large fish tanks.  I never got a real explanation, but I think
the water from the tanks is going up to water the plants as

I'm not entirely sure what he did in those 15 minutes, but I appreciated the opportunity to walk around.  Apparently they also offer tours, so I think I will have to go back and catch one of those some time.  There was also an area set up for educational events.

Once the 15 minutes were up, Paul came back out with a bag of fish.  He handed them to me while giving a warning: "They're all dead, but they might twitch a little.  Nerves and all, you know." 

I did not know, but I nodded like I did.  Then one of the fish twitched under my fingers and it took everything I had not to scream and drop
them on the ground.  Note to anyone who goes there (and you should!  This story is an awesome one, and I am certainly going back), bring a grocery bag.  There is something discerning about walking out of the building carrying a clear plastic bag full of twitchy fish. 

Then came the process of cleaning and filleting the fish.  Sweet Water did give me a helpful step-by-step "how to" guide with pictures.  It was very useful for cleaning the fish and skinning it after it was filleted, but less so for the actual filleting process itself.  In the end I just made up
my own way, which, I'm sure, was wrong.  But it got all the fish off the bones, and isn't that all that counts in the long run?  I'm not going to say I'm skilled, but I did get better.  Which isn't saying much.  After filleting the first fish, I almost cried.  This poor fish gave up his life so that I could have one TINY bite of fish?   But I got better, and at the end I was pulling two full, thick fillets off of each fish, and leaving hardly any meat on the bones.  And, after eating, I believe only three bones were found in our meals - which is less than I've gotten at a lot of restaurants' Friday Fish Fries.
Water from the fish tanks being filtered

I did not take any pictures of the actual fillets or the filleting process.  I probably should have, but by the time I was done I was SO covered in fish guts and slime that I wanted nothing to do with cameras.  I just wanted to clean up my mess and take a hot shower.  Sorry.

What I can tell you is this.  Here is what I started with:

 Here's what I ended up with:

Yes, you see shrimp in there.  I totally cheated and bought shrimp.  Hey, I filleted four plus servings of shrimp and I wanted it!  It came from the St. Paul Fish Market at the Public Market, though, so I was still supporting the local economy.

Fish (and Maybe Shrimp) Boil:
(Serves 4)
  • 12 small potatoes (red, or Yukon Gold, or a mix), halved or cut into thirds depending on the size
  • 6 small onions, peeled, ends cut off, but left whole
  • 4 servings fish - preferably that you had to fillet yourself, because it makes it taste better!)
  • Butter
    (All of this was local)
  • 1 lb shrimp, deveined but still in the shell
  • 3 tbsp shrimp and crab boil seasoning.  The Spice House has a great blend, and also has these awesome cheese cloth bags that you can put it in.
  • Salt
  • Lemon
Fill a large soup pot half way full with cold water.  Add a large handful of kosher salt and the shrimp and crab boil seasoning.  Bring the water to a boil.  Once boiling, add the potatoes.  Bring back to a boil and allow to boil gently until potatoes are about half done.  Add onions.  Bring back to a boil and cook until potatoes and onions are soft.  Add shrimp and fish, and cook just until the water comes back up to a boil.  At this point, the fish and shrimp should just be cooked through, but if not let it cook a little longer.  Don't over cook the fish and shrimp, and don't allow the water to boil hard enough that the shrimp falls apart.

Serve with melted butter and lemon.

Also: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing 
(Serves 4)
Taken almost 100% from Alton Brown, because he knows best...
  • 8 oz spinach
  • 3 large, hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 8 pieces thick sliced bacon, chopped
  • 6 tbsp. red wine vinegar (I ran out of the local red wine vinegar after 3.  After that I used a raspberry blush vinegar that was not local)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dijon  mustard
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 12 (or so) crimini mushrooms
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
    (all of this was local, except the mustard, and the remaining 3 tbsp vinegar)
Wash spinach, remove stems, and allow to dry thoroughly.

Fry bacon to very crispy.  Remove to paper towels to drain, and reserve 6 tbsp of the rendered fat.  (I recommend saving the rest.  It's excellent for frying up pancakes and french toast.

Toss spinach and onions in a salad bowl.  Crumble bacon, and top with eggs.

In a saucepan, heat bacon fat over medium heat.  Whisk in the vinegar, honey, and mustard.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve spinach and onions, topped with crumbled bacon, mushrooms, egg, and warm dressing.

This was all excellent.  I really preferred the spice market shrimp and crab boil seasoning to the crap you usually buy at the grocery store.  It was a little spicier, and had much more flavor.  I especially enjoyed the way the flavor was infused into the potatoes.

The fish is something I've made a million times, but the salad was brand new and it was great.  I love the flavor of local red onion much more than store bought.  They are both smoother and onionier at the same time, which I know does not make sense, so just try them for yourself.  I found the dressing to be very sweet, but in a pleasant way.  All things being equal, I would recommend using the raspberry blush vinegar.  I actually doubled the original recipe, after seeing how little it made, and I could have used more!  The recipe above is what I made, but next time I will probably bump it up to 9 tbsp. bacon fat and vinegar, 3 tbsp honey, and 1 1/2 tbsp mustard. 

However, this salad probably better than the awful winter salad that I am used to, and even my husband (who hates onions), said it was really good.  When pushed, though, he admitted that was probably just because it was covered in bacon fat!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mmmm.... eggs and carbs....

If there are three things that I love, they are carbs, carbs, and breakfast.  If I could have a big bowl of buttered noodles, with garlic mashed potatoes and a fried egg on top, I would be so totally down.  Unfortunately, that is not really socially acceptable.

If there's one more thing I love, it's my pink Himalayan salt bowl, which I got at the Spice House at the Milwaukee Public Market.  It's so pretty, but there aren't a lot of uses for it.  The one use I have found for it, however, is to make a fritatta.  It looks good for serving, and it gives the eggs a nice salty bite.

This recipe is an adaptation of one I've made a couple times.  I really enjoy a spaghetti fritatta, and I am sure you will see that on here sooner or later.  I had a package of rotini pasta that I wanted to use up, and this seemed like a good way to do that.  You certainly do not need a salt bowl to make this recipe.  A frying pan works fine:

Pesto Pasta Fritatta

  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto (I am 99% sure that this was all local.  I made it last fall when I broke down my garden, and there was still a lot of garlic at the farmer's market then... but I can't guarantee anything.)
  • 1 cup (or so) pasta - you can really use any kind you like (This was not local.  I used boxed, dry pasta.  It was in my pantry.  I'm not going to waste food here, people!)
  • 6 eggs (from my chicken man)
  • Splash heavy cream (or milk, if you prefer - I can find local brands of most dairy products at Pick n' Save.  One of the joys of living in WI)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (from the winter farmer's market)
  • 1/4 cup feta, cubed or crumbled.  Or substitute some other kind of cheese if you don't like feta (I was very excited to learn that Montchevre cheese is all made in WI.  This gives me a lot of options for fancy cheese.  And I LOVE cheese.)
  • 1/2 tbsp (or less) butter

Cook pasta until almost done.  You want it a little harder than al dente, because it will continue to cook in the eggs.  Once pasta is done, stir in the pesto to coat the pasta and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs, and mix in cream, salt (not too much if you're using the salt bowl), and pepper.

Melt butter along the sides and bottom of whatever you're cooking the eggs in.  If you are using a salt bowl, you will have had it heating up in the oven for probably an hour before this, so the butter will melt fine. Otherwise, just heat up your frying pan on the stove.

Combine eggs, pasta with pesto, mushrooms and feta, and pour into your buttered baking vessel.  Bake in a 325 degree oven until the center is set.  How long this takes will depend entirely on how shallow your baking vessel is.  My salt bowl is pretty deep, and it cooks things slowly to begin with, so this took about 30 minutes.

I served this last night with the last of my salad from Monday night, and it was excellent.

No dinner tonight; my husband Jeff and I are going on a date!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elk Ring Bologna (yeah, you read that right!),Turnips, and Apples over Wilted Spinach

One of the things that I really like about the greater Milwaukee area is the plethora of farmer's markets.  Especially in the summer time, you can pretty much find one every day of the week.  In the winter they get a little more scarce, but they're still there.  Saturdays, we have a lovely "Winter Farmer's Market" at the WI State Fair grounds.  I highly recommend it.  On the other hand, I don't recommend it at all, because right now I can get there at 10:00am and there's still lots left.  If everyone knew about it, I would have to get up early...

So, this past Saturday, I stocked up my freezer with meat.  There were a lot of different things there - more than usual even - and I got some more unusual items including a lamb shoulder, and a package of elk ring bologna.  What did I plan to do with elk ring bologna?  No idea.  I have this memory of being a child and my dad making ring bologna sauteed with onions.  I do not remember enjoying it.  Now, though, it sounds pretty good, in a nostalgic kind of way.

On the other hand, my husband hates onions, so that probably won't work anyway.

I also bought three turnips.  I've never cooked a turnip, but they looked pretty, and the choices for vegetables are fairly lacking at this time of the year.

So, this is what I came up with.  I started with this recipe, but the results really have nothing to do with it:

Elk Ring Bologna, Turnips, and Apples
Makes 2 servings, with probably enough left over for lunch the next day.
  • 3/4 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced (not local)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced (not local)
  • 2 medium turnips
  • 1/2 cup or more apple cider (thank you West Allis Cheese Market, at the Milwaukee Public Market, for having Door County Apple Cider!!)
  • 1 large apple (not local, unfortunately, but bought from my local co-op.  Also organic, and at least from the US)
  • 1 small onion, chopped coarsely
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 lb ring bologna (preferably elk, because it was tasty!), cut into 1/2 inch slices
Cut the tops off of the turnips, and cut them into 1/2 inch wide wedges.  Add to a large pan on high heat, with a splash of the apple cider.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until turnips just start to get soft (5 or so minutes).  Keep an eye on the turnips, and if the pan starts to get dry, add more cider.  However, you do want most of the cider to have evaporated or cooked into the turnips for the next step.

Add the 2 tbsp butter, and allow to melt.  Add garlic, ginger, onion, and apple and saute, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add ring bologna and cook until apples are soft, and bologna is bubbly.

I served all of this over Wilted Spinach:
Makes two servings
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1 clove minced garlic (not local)
  • 1 small shallot, minced (not local)
  • 4 large handfuls spinach
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Fresh lemon juice (not local... although I'm thinking about buying a miniature lemon tree which would fix that problem)
  • Salt and pepper
Chop bacon coarsely and saute in a large frying pan.  Once bacon is crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon.  Add shallots and garlic to bacon fat, and saute gently.  Remove from heat, and add spinach to pan.  Season with vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and toss the spinach until it is nicely wilted.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    No food, just info...

    So, I feel like I should tell a little bit about myself, for anyone who might read this that isn't related to me through blood, marriage, or belly dance.

    First off, I am not a stay-at-home mom.  I'm not a mom at all.  What I mean by that is, I'm not always home to make a complete dinner - or any dinner - and no one is relying on me to feed them something.  I work 40+ hours per week.  On top of that, I am in a full time MBA program.  On top of that, I am a semi-professional belly dancer and dance teacher.  I teach classes two nights a week, and attend classes twice more each week.  Plus gigs.  My husband works 40+ hours per week as well.  On top of that, he's a professional musician with gigs most Friday and Saturday nights.

    My point of telling you this is to explain that I am not home every night making dinner.  There's going to be a lot of quick dinners, and crock pot dinners, and no dinners.  If there's no post, it doesn't mean I cheated.  It means I didn't eat anything worth posting about (read: leftovers or popcorn.  But LOCAL popcorn!!)

    So, please, don't judge my hectic schedule.  It take this challenge seriously, and when I did use non-local ingredients I will admit to it. 

    One last thought: Even if I lose focus and this blog falls off, I feel like I've already succeeded.  In one day, I've learned something new.  I think herring is delicious!  I used to live just a few blocks away from the Ma Baensch's plant, and I never THOUGHT of trying it.  It looks gross.  It's something my grandparents probably ate in the depression.  Yuck.

    But, I needed a vegetable to go with dinner.  I'm lucky that I can find salad greens, considering it's March in the Midwest and there's still snow on the ground, but I'm not finding anything else for my salad!  No tomatoes, no cucumbers, no nothing.  Just greens.  Okay... Caesar Salad.  So I look at Pick n' Save, and at my local co-op, and the Public Market.  No local dressing.  Okay... So I have to make my own.  Great!  I've never made salad dressing before.  It's an adventure.  But, no anchovies.  I guess I could leave them off... but I like them and this salad is already pretty boring.  But wait!  How is herring related to anchovies?  According to Wikipedia, herring is in the family of Clupeidae, which is in the order of Clupeiforms, and Clupeiforms contain the anchovy family.  So they are related!  Sort of.  So, if I substitute herring for anchovies...

    And here we are!  Forced to try to buy locally fist, I spent #3.00 on a jar of herring that I never would have considered buying in the past.  I found a new food I like, and will continue to buy, I supported a local economy, and I learned to cook something new.

    And that is what this blog is about!

    Dinner tonight will be leftovers; dance class goes until 10:00pm, so there is no time for anything else.

    And, yes, I cite my sources.  Even if those sources are Wikipedia!

    Anchovy. (2011, March 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:22, March 22, 2011, from

    Clupeidae. (2011, March 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:22, March 22, 2011, from

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Coq a Vin and Caesar(ish) Salad. Happy Birthday to Me!

    This is my new year’s resolution.  Okay, I’m a few months late, but today is the fist full day of spring.  The equinox means rebirth.   The days start getting longer than the nights, and things can start to grow again.  It’s also my birthday, so it’s the start of my personal new year.  That all sounds more significant to me than midnight on a cold night in winter.  Usually, all I feel on New Years Eve is sadness and annoyance over the fact that I will waste many checks over the next few weeks by putting the wrong date on them!

    So, this is my new year’s resolution: to eat locally, to support local farmers and businesses, to reduce my carbon foot print by limiting the distance my food needs to travel to get to my table, and, hopefully, to eat healthier.  I’m already a pretty healthy eater, but there’s always room for improvement.

    I don’t plan for a 100% success rate.  In fact, there are things I already know I won’t be eating locally.  Seafood, for example... “But Kate, you live in Milwaukee WI on the beautiful, pristine shores of Lake Michigan.  Can’t you just go out and catch all the fresh fish you can eat?”  How do I spell the sound of my eyes rolling?  There are a few local fish farms where I can get trout, perch, and tilapia, but I like salmon.  And shrimp.  And tuna.  And I’m not finding any of those things around here.  I do, however, have a local fish market.  The same thing goes for spices.  I may not be able to find locally grown Cinnamon, but I can go to my local spice market and still support local business.  There are even things that I know I can find locally that I just might not... like wine.  I’m a wine snob.  Deal with it.  But, again, I have a local wine store that is awesome, so I can still support local business even if my grapes were grown in Spain and France.

    I guess I should clarify the point of my experiment.  The point is not to restrict my diet.  I have, in the past, had food and body related issues, and I have found that saying you MAY NOT eat this, that, or whatever, tends to magnify those issues.  My point is only to find as much as I can locally, and to build my meals around that.

    So, if you are looking for an militant page demanding that you only eat food grown in your back  yard, and suggesting you raise your own chickens and go without anything you can’t find at your local farmer’s market, this blog is not for you.  But, if you are simply looking for some (hopefully) tasty recipes using local, seasonal ingredients, then share in my journey to becoming a locavore!

    Oh, and if you have suggestions for local (within 100 miles of Milwaukee, WI) farms and businesses that you think I should be supporting, please let me know!

    Today’s dinner:

    Coq a Vin:
    (makes 4 servings.  Or, in my house, two dinner servings and about 3 lunches)
    I modified this recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Chicken Cookbook

    • olive oil (not local)
    • 6 small shallots (sadly, not local.  None at the Winter Farmer’s Market this week.  But, I did get these from my local Co-Op, so I feel like that should count for something...)
    • 2 large garlic cloves (Local!  But, sadly, the last of what I got from the final fall farmer’s market.  I wasn’t planning for this then.)
    • ½ lb fresh mixed mushrooms (from the Winter Farmer’s Market:
    • 1 chicken, cut into serving pieces (from my chicken man.  Seriously, I have a chicken man.  He delivers chickens and eggs to my house every Sunday.  It is awesome!)
    • ¼ cup brandy (not local... but WI does drink the most brandy per capita of anyone else in the world.  Based on what Internet site I look it, it appears WI accounts for anywhere from 14-90% of the worlds total brandy consumption.  90% seems a little high... but I have been known to put away a few Brandy Old Fashioneds.)
    • 2 cups quality, dry red wine.  (Not local.  I used “Our Daily Red” California Table Wine.  Just make sure you only cook with wine you would want to drink.  Gross wine will make your cooking gross as well.)
    • 1 cup chicken stock (local-ish... I made this stock right around Christmas.  It would have been made from local leftover chicken parts, but probably not much else local.  It was, however, the last cup I had in the freezer, so I will be making more probably next weekend.)
    • 2 tsp. tomato paste (Not local.  Is this something I can make myself?  An adventure for another day.)
    • ½ tsp. dried thyme (Not local.  But, the snow is melted in my back yard and maybe my thyme plant will start growing soon.  Note to self, move some to a pot so you can bring it inside and use it all winter!)
    • ¼ lb thick sliced bacon (local!)
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (local!)
    • 2 tbsp all purpose flour (not local, although I think I saw some local flour once at the co--op.  Will absolutely look into that once this bag is gone.
    • 6-8 small to medium potatoes - preferably Yukon gold or red - cut into bite sized wedges.  (I used local Yukon golds!)
    • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

    Slice your bacon into 1” slices.  In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until crispy.  I like to use my large stir-fry style pan because then I can just do the whole recipe in one pan.  You can also use a large dutch oven, but I like the room and low sides of a large frying pan.  Once crispy, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.  Add shallots to bacon fat and saute until lightly browned.  About two minutes before the shallots are done, add the garlic.  Once shallots are browned (about 6 minutes total) add the mushrooms and continue to saute until they give off their liquid and most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan.  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.  Season the chicken all over with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder, or whatever you like to season your chicken with.  Brown the chicken in batches, being careful not to crowd.  You may need to add olive oil throughout the chicken browning process, as the mushrooms probably sucked up all of the delicious, delicious bacon fat.  Once all of the chicken has been browned, take the pan off of the heat and return all of the chicken pieces to it.  Pour brandy over the chicken, and flambe!  (If this scares you, feel free to skip it.  It adds a nice boozy flavor to the recipe, but is certainly not necessary.)  Once the flames subside, transfer all of the chicken to a platter or baking dish, cover, and set aside.

    Use red wine to deglaze the pan.  Add stock, tomato paste, and thyme, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Return the chicken to the pot and cover tightly.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and is very tender.  You could probably go as short as 20-30 minutes, but I like to cook it for about 45 minutes to an hour.  I have also made this recipe in the crock pot with modifications.

    During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the bacon and vegetables.  Once chicken is done cooking, remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover to keep warm.  Skim as much fat as you can off of the surface of the liquid.  

    In a medium bowl, mash together the flour and butter to make a roux.  Whisk about ½ a cup of the cooking liquid into the roux, and then whisk everything back into the cooking liquid (this helps prevent lumps).  Allow sauce to boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened into a sauce - about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Return the chicken and vegetables to the pot, and stir to coat with the sauce.

    Serve over boiled potatoes.  Before serving, toss potatoes in melted butter, salt, pepper, and thyme.

     Caesar(ish) Salad

    (makes croutons and dressing for about 6 salads)

    modified (a lot) from the Williams-Sonoma Salad Cookbook

    I understand this is not a classic Caesar salad.  But it’s still good.  If it angers you, don’t make it.

    • 2 cups cubed day-old (or older) bread (local!)
    • 3 tbsp plus up to ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (not local)
    • salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 4 cloves garlic (very last of the local garlic)
    • 2 herring fillets, plus additional for serving (okay, yes.  I know herring is not anchovies.  But they are in the same family.  And no, there is no herring “grown” in WI, but we are home to Ma Baensch, producer of many varieties of herring.  And those products use local WI products (like sour cream, etc.).  So, Caesar salad purists, go ahead and judge me, but I thought it was quite good!)
    • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (not local.  But you could have guessed that considering I don’t live in Worcestershire...)
    • 2 tsp red wine vinegar (local!  Yes, I found local red wine vinegar.  And other kinds of vinegar too.  A very exciting find.)
    • mixed greens (local.  Spinach from the farmer’s market and mixed “winter greens” from a local greenhouse.)
    • 1 egg (local, from my chicken man!)
    • Parmesan Cheese (local)

    Preheat the oven to 350.  Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet.  Crush and mince two cloves garlic, and saute it gently in the 3 tablespoons olive oil, to flavor the oil.  Brush oil over cubes, and sprinkle cubes with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven to toast, turning once or twice until golden, about 15 minutes total.  Remove cubes from sheet and allow to cool.  This will probably create more croutons than you need, but they save fairly well in an air-tight bag in the fridge.

    Crush the remaining 2 cloves garlic with salt to make a paste.  (I used my mortar and pestle, which I NEVER use, so it was really exciting.  You could also probably use a food processor.)  Crush the 2 herring fillets into the paste.  Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, egg, and ½ tsp pepper.   Slowly whisk in olive oil until it is the consistency you want. This may make more dressing than you need but, again, it will save.  Due to the raw egg, it probably shouldn't be kept more than a week.  Also, disclaimer disclaimer, raw egg can be hazardous to your health.  Do some research on the Internet before eating it.  If you don’t want to eat a raw egg, just leave it out of the dressing.  If you get sick it's not my fault!

    Place mixed greens into bowls.  Toss with dressing and top with shaved Parmesan and croutons.