Ribs & Biscuits

Photos by Meghan Horvath

Photos by Meghan Horvath

By Amelia Chen

Sometimes the satisfying thing about eating is not just the food itself but the primal nature of eating with your hands, gnawing on bones and just making a huge mess. Wings and drumsticks are perfect meat lollipops for casual Friday nights around the television. Chops are meant to be licked clean at the end of a comforting dinner. But what really satisfies that primal urge for me is a sticky, juicy and tender rack of ribs.

Barbeque can mean different things for different people and, hailing from North Carolina, that usually means pork for me, whether it’s just the shoulder or the entire hog. Or a sticky, juicy and tender rack of ribs.

Like any low and slow meat dish, ribs are incredibly low maintenance. They require a watchful eye once they go in the oven, but the next time you have big plans to study while doing laundry, maybe make some ribs instead. Somehow, I think taking down a rack of ribs is the perfect reward after a couple hours of productive work.

And if you’re a scavenger like myself, save and freeze the bones for a good homemade stock down the road.

Spicy Date Dr Pepper Ribs adapted from Pioneer Woman

6 ounces dates
½ cup sugar
1 can Dr Pepper
5 ounces chipotle peppers in adobo
⅓ cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon distilled vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 packages baby back ribs

Bring all ingredients except ribs to a gentle boil for about 20 minutes or until dates break down and sauce is reduced and thick. Allow to cool completely before blending sauce until smooth. Divide into two portions.

Brush half the sauce on ribs, wrap with foil and refrigerate for eight hours or overnight to marinate.

Preheat oven to 275°F. Place covered ribs on pan and roast for two hours. Remove foil and brush more sauce onto ribs. Increase temperature to 300°F to finish cooking another 30 to 40 minutes. Remove when fork tender and ready to fall off the bone. Serve as with pear walnut biscuits.


Pear Walnut Biscuits

1 ½ cup milk
1 ½ tablespoon distilled vinegar
1 large pear, peeled and cubed
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup shortening
1 cup roasted walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 475 °F.

Simmer milk with pear chunks until softened. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Add vinegar and let sit a couple minutes to curdle.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening until coarse crumbs form. Add in walnuts. Slowly pour in milk until it comes together.

Turn out dough on floured surface and lightly knead before rolling out into a rectangle. Cut out rounds with biscuit cutter, being careful not the twist cutter. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Honey Trout Gravalax

Photo by Libby Geboy

Photo by Libby Geboy

By Libby Geboy

Gravlax is a salty, sweet way to prepare fish, specifically salmon or trout. Originally from Sweden, the traditional way to prepare a whole side of fish involves wrapping the fillet in dill or pine needles (neither of which I used in this recipe out of personal preference). Feel free to wrap the fish with them and let it marinate in the greenery.

This recipe can be modified in many ways, using whatever spices you have on hand, like bay leaves, coriander, dill, caraway, fennel seeds (add about one tablespoon per filet of each spice) and brown or white sugar.

Only use the freshest of fish, as the fillet isn’t fully “cooked” but rather it is cured. I find my fish at the local farmer’s market, where I can count on the fish being clean and healthy up to its harvest. The vendor had told me that the fish I was purchasing had been swimming in fresh water until the day before it was caught, so I bought it!

The fish can marinate for up to 48 hours, but needs to be marinating for at least eight. It can be stored for a few days, but if it starts to smell funny before then, just get rid of it. It’s easy to eat on toast with sour cream, dill sprigs and a squeeze of lemon, so I bet it’ll be gone in no time!

1 medium-large filet of trout (or salmon)
1/3 cup natural honey
1/3 cup coarse grain salt
2 tablespoons cracked black or white pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar

Remove any pin bones that are along the thick side of the fish, careful not to disrupt the flesh as much as possible. Trim any fins or excess skin that might be on the sides of the filet. Place into a sheet of plastic wrap that will be big enough to wrap the fish in.

In a bowl, mix together the honey, salt, pepper, sugar and any other spices you are using. Rub onto the fish, massaging it gently. Place the fish onto the plastic wrap, skin side down. If using dill/pine, place a mass of it on top of the fish flesh. Tightly wrap the fish in plastic wrap, using another layer to fully wrap the fish. Put the wrapped fish into a shallow baking pan (I used a bread pan, as it fit the length of my fish), or a plate. This is so any liquid that escapes is caught in your drip pan.

Let the fish marinate for at least eight hours (but up to 48) in your refrigerator. When ready, open the wrapping, and remove the fillet. If desired, wash off the fillet to remove excess honey/salt. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the fish, avoiding the skin.

Serve chilled, on top of toast with sour cream, more dill, a squeeze of lemon, with chives, or with oranges in a salad.

Very Good Chocolate Chip Cookies


Photos by Emily Buck

By Kara Evenson

It’s safe to say most moms have a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but my mom’s is the best. She has yet to reveal the true origins of her recipe, but I have unconfirmed suspicions about the back of a chocolate chip package. Instead she likes to claim that it is a 200-year-old family secret. It’s not.

All throughout my life my mom has been making these cookies; from sporting events, hunting trips and work parties to whenever she just feels in the mood, chocolate chip cookies end up in the oven, and a recycled ice cream pail is ready to be filled with the most delicious cookies ever.

So I could tell all of you some sappy story from my childhood about coming home to the smell of chocolate chip cookies in my kitchen, I have a few. However, most of the time I wanted my mom to bake anything but chocolate chip cookies. We had them around a lot.

Photos by Emily Buck

Photos by Emily Buck

I am just now starting to appreciate exactly what these cookies mean. From elementary field trips and long bus rides for high school sports to moving away from home the first time and my first internship, my mom’s cookies have always made an appearance in everything I do.

That’s why, instead of a recipe that is more unconventional, I wanted to share my mom’s Very Good Chocolate Chip Cookies with all of you.

1 cup butter
½ cup olive oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
a dash of salt
3½ cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips


Photos by Emily Buck

Preheat oven at 350 °F.
Mix butter, olive oil, sugar, brown sugar and eggs in a large bowl until combined.
Add in vanilla, baking soda and salt and mix until fluffy. Add flour, mix until combined.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Sweet Potato Corn Cake Tamales

Photos by Ashley Truttschel

Photos by Ashley Truttschel

By Ashley Truttschel

Spring is the most inspiring time for me. New Year’s may be a fresh start for many, but to me, spring signifies new beginnings and opportunities. More sunshine, vibrant colors and shedding layers of clothes make me feel like a new person. I am always in a happier mood come spring and that happiness is reflected in the food I eat. These Sweet Potato Corn Cake Tamales are perfect for the transition from winter to spring. They are not only colorful and light, but they also offer a little bit of warmth for those days where winter just does not want to go away.

Adapted from Fools, Folks and Fun and Budget Bytes

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes
4 large sweet potatoes
1 cup corn
2 green onions
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Salsa Verde
2 small tomatoes
4 ounces diced green chilies
1 green onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Pico De Gallo
1 large Roma tomato
1 tablespoon red onion
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Southwest Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Prick each sweet potato and wrap in a paper towel. Microwave individually for 6 minutes or until soft in the middle. Once cool, remove skins and place into a large bowl.

Slice green onions and chop cilantro. Add green onions, cilantro, corn, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and egg into the bowl. Stir until well combined.

Stir in cornmeal and breadcrumbs.

Cover and refrigerate for a half hour.

Add all of the Salsa Verde ingredients into a food processor and pulse until combined. Refrigerate.

Chop all of the ingredients for the Pico de Gallo. Mix with lime juice, salt and pepper.

Mix mayonnaise, white wine, water, sugar, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic powder for Southwest Sauce. Refrigerate.

Once the sweet potatoes are chilled, heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Form the sweet potatoes into small patties and cook about two minutes or until golden brown. Place on paper towel to drain.

Spread Salsa Verde evenly on each plate. Place sweet potato and corn cakes on top of the salsa. Top with Pico de Gallo and Southwest sauce. Add optional toppings such as avocado, sour cream or cheese.

Makes 12-18 cakes depending on size.

Strawberry Cupcakes

Photos by Annie McGrail

Photos by Annie McGrail

By Annie McGrail

Winter is over, the snow has melted and the flowers around Madison will soon be blooming. Cravings for the comfort of chocolate are transforming into a desire for lighter flavors and foods resembling the lightness of spring.  Because of this shift, strawberry cupcakes are ideal this time of year.

From Cupcake Wars to endless specialty cupcake shops, cupcakes are the trend of this generation. There’s not much better than strawberry cupcakes topped with a strawberry buttercream frosting. The rich batter mixes with freshly chopped strawberries and bakes into an irresistibly fluffy cupcake.  Swirled on top is the buttercream frosting, which has fresh strawberries stirred in to give it a fresh, spring flavor.

Strawberry Cake adapted from Martha Stewart


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped strawberries, plus small strawberries for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, three to four minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.

In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about four minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping 1/4 cup batter.

Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto rack; then reinvert and let cool completely, top sides up. Frost cupcakes with strawberry meringue buttercream, swirling to cover.

Cupcakes may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Garnish with strawberries just before serving.


Buttercream Frosting adapted from Food Network

Photos by Annie McGrail

Photos by Annie McGrail

6 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cup butter
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons whipping cream
1 ½ cups finely chopped fresh strawberries

In a standing mixer fitter with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed to medium and beat for another three minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for one minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Mix in strawberries.

Homemade Pesto Pizza

Photos by Thomas Yonash

Photos by Thomas Yonash

By Emma Doenier

Ironically, I’ve never enjoyed following recipes. At most, I’ve always thought they should be considered “guidelines,” not steadfast rules. However, I do appreciate recipes, not for their instructions, but for the ideas they inspire; cooking is my form of artistic expression.

Due to my penchant for breaking recipes, I’ve avoided baking for the most part (although my roommate could tell you a few horror stories about some monstrous microwave concoctions I’ve made in our apartment).

When my dad, an avid baker and follower-of-recipes, gave me a baking stone for Christmas, I was both ecstatic and skeptical of my ability to:
1) not break the board
2) not burn down the apartment
3) not accidentally poison my roommate.

However, I think I’ve since learned how to skirt the recipe within reason, at least when baking bread. Now, my dad says my bread looks better than his. This testament to my progress has spurred me to experiment with my baking skills, and so, the baking novice has become the mad baking scientist. My baked goods are edible though, even delicious.

The following recipe calls for both a little recipe following – though by all means, please experiment – and creativity. I encourage everyone to make this recipe his or her own!

Photos by Thomas Yonash

Photos by Thomas Yonash

Pizza crust:
*makes two 13-15 inch pizzas

1 cup warm water (~110°F)
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
extra flour

Dissolve the yeast in water. Let stand for five to 10 minutes; you should see a little fizzing/ bubbling. Add salt to water/yeast mixture and swirl.

Put flour into a bowl. Make a well in the flour and add half of the yeast mixture.

Work in the yeast mixture with your fingers, then add the olive oil and work in. Add the rest of the yeast mixture and knead vigorously for approximately 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.

If you have a food processor, add half of the flour to the processor. Add the yeast mixture and pulse until homogenous. Add olive oil and pulse. Keep adding remaining flour to food processor and pulsing (five to seven minutes), until dough is smooth and elastic.

*Add some chopped rosemary to dough (one to two tablespoons. to taste) and knead in for more flavorful dough; depends on type of toppings you want later though, so choose wisely!

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Place a damp cloth over the bowl and cover with a plastic bag. Let the dough rise for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500°F with a baking stone inside. If you don’t have a baking stone, an alternative could be a large cookie sheet.

Lightly flour a work surface. Divide dough into two equal halves. Roll each half into a 13 to 15 inch circle (~1/8-inch thick). Liberally flour/cornmeal a pizza peel (or whatever you have on hand to get the pizza easily into the oven – I use a plastic cookie sheet).

Fold the dough in half, then in half again, and transfer onto the floured pizza peel. Unfold.

Now rub a thin layer of olive oil (approximately one tablespoon) over the dough surface and top each shell with you favorite pizza toppings, leaving some space around the edge for the crust! You can also freeze one of the dough halves for a later date.

Photos by Thomas Yonash

Photos by Thomas Yonash

White Cheddar Pesto:
1 1/2 to 2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil (add more if needed)
1/3 cup walnuts
2 to 3 garlic cloves
½ cup sharp white cheddar and/or parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in food processor and blend. Add more olive oil if needed.


Toppings for pesto pizza:
Olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
cherry tomatoes, halved
5 to 10 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces (to taste)
~½-1 teaspoon oregano
1/3 red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup mushrooms
meat of choice (I like Italian seasoned turkey meat, or Italian chicken sausage)
salt to taste
1 package goat cheese or feta

Sauté all the ingredients, except the cheese.

Scoop pesto onto pizza shell and spread evenly, leaving about one inch edges for the crust. Spread the sautéed ingredients over the pesto. Dollop goat cheese onto pizza evenly.

Ease decorated pizza off of pizza peel and into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then check the pizza. Keep checking it every couple minutes if not done until the pizza has a golden brown crust.


S’mores Cheesecake

Photos by Annie McGrail

Photos by Annie McGrail

By Annie McGrail

Summer is approaching and late night campfires are upon us. Soon we will be roasting marshmallows over hot campfires, creating the staple summer dessert with two graham crackers and Hershey chocolates topped with perfectly roasted marshmallows. But until then, we can combine that signature summer flavor into a different type of dessert, a cheesecake. Specifically, a S’mores Cheesecake.

Adapted from Will Cook For Smiles

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
¾ cup mini chocolate morsels
1 cup marshmallows

4 8oz packs of cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
2 eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup white granulated sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 tsp vanilla extract

10 oz hot fudge topping, warmed
2 cups marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 325 and grease a 9 inch springform. You will need a large roasting pan (one that’s bigger and longer than the springform. I use the aluminum foil disposable ones.)

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, vanilla extract and brown sugar. Mix very well.

Spread crumb mixture in the bottom of the springform, evenly, pressing it over the bottom and half way up the sides.

Spread mini chocolate morsels and marshmallows over the bottom, evenly.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for another minute.

Add corn starch and sugar and mix until combined.

Beat in eggs until well incorporated.

Add sour cream, vanilla extract, and heavy cream and beat until mixed well.

Transfer batter into the springform and spread evenly. (If you are not sure about your springform holding up in water, you can wrap the springform in heavy duty aluminum foil from bottom up to the sides.)

Place roasting pan into the oven and place cheesecake springform inside the roasting pan. Carefully add water to the roasting pan, about half way up the side of the springform.

Bake for 90-95 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door half way. Let cheesecake rest for 10 minutes in the oven.

Let it rest for 10 minutes on the counter and then gently run a butter knife between sides of the cheesecakes and the springform to carefully separate it. (You don’t actually have to take the cheesecake out of the pan until ready to serve.)

Cool cheesecake for an hour.

Photos by Annie McGrail

Photos by Annie McGrail

Turn on the broiler in the oven.

Spread warm hot fudge over the top of the cheesecake and spread marshmallows evenly on top.

Place cheesecake back in the center of the oven, under the broiler. Let marshmallows toast for only 30 seconds. Watch it closely because they toast very quickly. Take the cheesecake out once marshmallows are lightly browned.

Cool cheesecake completely, cover gently and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Cheesy, Garlicky Mashed Cauliflower

Photos by Amelia Chen

Photos by Amelia Chen

By Amelia Chen

I’m probably all alone in this, but I have an aversion towards mashed potatoes. I still haven’t figured out why – call it a repressed childhood memory. But that just means I’ve had to get creative with the mashed root vegetables. Carrots, parsnips and celery root all make great purees and mashes. But why stop there? I’m talking about cruciferous vegetables. Cauliflower in particular.cc

My excitement for this bland albino tree vegetable started when I came across a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust for the low-carb inclined. Then I saw cauliflower fried rice and cauliflower steaks if you’ve had one too many portobello steaks. Cauliflower is incredibly versatile.

So now, whether you are obsessed with mashed potatoes, could really do without them and or are anywhere in between, you’re going to want to try this easy mashed cauliflower. Feel healthy and spring-ready doing so.

Mashed cauliflowerccc
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 head garlic, roasted*
⅓ cup parmesan
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss cauliflower florets in olive oil and roast for 20-25 minutes at 400F until softened.

Put roasted cauliflower, garlic, parmesan, and stock in processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Serve as a side for beef, lamb, or in this case, pork chops.

*Cut off heads of whole head garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Roast 350F for 30 minutes.cccc


FDN recipes

Farro with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale and Cranberries
Jenni Wolf, adapted from milkfreemom.com and vegetariantimes.com.21832303969_cf4ea126e8_o

1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into one-inch cubes
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups pearled farro, rinsed and drained
1 bunch fresh kale, tough stems removed, finely chopped
½ cup of dried cranberries (can substitute chopped, dried apricot or golden raisins)
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan (optional)
½ cup sliced or slivered almonds toasted (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cubed butternut squash with one teaspoon of oil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast squash for 30 minutes, or until tender.
-While the squash is roasting, heat the remaining one teaspoon of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until soft and translucent. Next, add the garlic, thyme and black pepper to the pot. -Cook for an additional 2 minutes, or just until fragrant.
-Add the farro and vegetable or chicken stock to the pot, cover and bring to a boil.
-Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the farro is soft and chewy. Drain out excess stock if desired.
-Stir in the kale and cranberries, cooking only another minute or two, or until the kale is wilted.
-Gently fold in the roasted butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
-Garnish with grated parmesan and toasted almonds if desired.
-Serve and enjoy!


Mixed green salad with candied pecans and fresh apples (Serves 4)
Liz Schnee and 2015 FDN Slow Food Interns21377380993_e5ddc4f4fa_o

2 apples
4 cups mixed greens
2 cups spinach
1 cup candied pecans (homemade or purchased)

For balsamic vinaigrette:
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
salt and pepper

Combine olive oil, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey and salt and pepper for dressing. Mix mixed greens and fresh spinach. Add chopped apples and candied pecans. Toss with dressing.


Chocolate dipped crackers with fennel, ginger and dried cranberries
Liz Schnee, Adapted from Greg Johnson21831053310_42b185e478_o

2 cups melted dark chocolate chips
1 package water table crackers
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
½ cup fresh ginger
½ cup dried cranberries

-Melt dark chocolate chips until smooth in double boiler or in microwave, stopping to stir frequently. You may need to add vegetable oil if chocolate becomes too solid.
-Dip crackers ¾ of the way into chocolate mixture.
-Place on parchment paper on baking sheet.
-Sprinkle 4-6 fennel seeds, 2-3 cranberries, and 2-3 small chunks of ginger onto crackers.
-Place in fridge, or let set in room temperature for a few hours.
-Finished crackers last in fridge or freezer for up to 1 week.