Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Heart Coffee--Barriques Market



I love coffee. I would say that I am addicted to it, but I am not sure if that is the case. I have gone without coffee for days, even weeks sometimes, without any physical side effects. I think I hold more of an emotional bond with that earthy, bitter drink.

As the mornings start later and grow colder, the warmth of that first sip helps me ease into the day. For the most part I make coffee at home, smoothing out the rough edges with some cream and a bit of sugar. Sometimes, however, I like to enjoy my coffee with friends at any one of Madison’s great coffee houses. I usually just get a regular cup o’ joe, but once in a while I splurge on a whole milk latte--I like to see the fun designs that the barista swirls into the froth.

Recently I have been enjoying my coffee at Barriques Market on Monroe Street in Madison, WI. The back of Barriques is filled with a great selection of wines (they even offer weekly tastings). An eclectic assortment of tables are set up in the front, where you can people watch out the large front windows, chat, or bury yourself in your computer. A few large wooden tables reflect the warmth of the wood floors, while smaller blue tables echo the colorful and funky gift shelf.

Aside from coffee and other standard beverages, Barriques offers house made scones, pastries from Madison Sourdough and very reasonably priced breakfasts. The breakfast sandwich, which includes eggs and local Hook’s cheddar on a French roll is only $2.50! Add local bacon or ham for another $1.25. The Hash Wrap looked superb, featuring a mixture eggs, potatoes and Hook’s cheddar all wrapped in a fresh tortilla, all for $5.65. Again, add meat for a small price.

Seasonal drink specials include a Pumpkin spice latte or Gingerbread man latte, with two shots of espresso and whipped cream.

I think I’m in love….

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Food Round-up

Wisconsinites pride themselves on the state's beer and cheese, with good reason. We (ahem) produce some of the best of both (in my non-biased opinion).

But Wisconsin also produces some wonderful wines. And we all know that there's nothing better than wine and cheese pairings (except perhaps beer and cheese pairings.)

This weekend you can sample delicious local wine and cheese at two separate events(as listed on The Daily Page)

Friday (today!) November 20
, from 5-7 p.m. James Norton and Becca Dilley will be at Fromagination to celebrate their book Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin with a reading and cheese tasting that’s doubling as a launch party. Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., 5 p.m., free. Call 263-0734 for more info.

Saturday, Nov. 21, Wollersheim Winery
of Prairie du Sac is throwing a tasting party marking the release of Ruby Nouveau 2009 in its annual Beaujolais nouveau celebration. This latest vintage and other Wollersheim wines will be paired with various specialty Wisconsin cheeses provided by Roth Käse at the tasting, which will also include a self-guided “wine journey” detailing the creation of the Nouveau. Wollersheim Winery, 7876 Hwy. 188, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free. Call 608-643-6515 for more info.

Take a sip for me!

Hint-of-Mango Applesauce (for grownups, too)


What is so great about mashed up apples, except that it is an easy way to get kids to eat fruit, and an easy food to digest after getting the flu?


That's how I have felt about applesauce—until I made it myself.


I recently scrounged the seconds produce bin at our local food Coop (yep-budget shopping!) and ended up with a bag full of locally grown apples, including some Macintosh, Ida Reds, and Honeycrisp.


On a whim, I stewed some up to top over waffles on a Sunday morning. The result? Amazingly delicious applesauce. In fact, it is so good, I am now officially an applesauce addict, along with the rest of my family.


I ended up canning five quarts of applesauce last week. Three are gone. This is not just for kids!

Now, if only I had bought that second bag of apples.


Easy and Delicious Hint-of-Mango Applesauce


A lot of apples (I had a 13 quart stock pot heaped with apple pieces), peeled, cored and diced

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp cinnamon

½ cup mango nectar or puree


These are starting amounts. I tasted it and added more honey, mango, and cinnamon until it had a flavor I liked.


1. Place peeled, diced apple pieces in stock pot. They will cook dpown, so don’t worry if it looks like there isn’t enough room.

2. Cook over medium heat until they are simmering. Stir occasionally so all of the pieces start to cook.

3. Add the sugar and cinnamon, and continue to cook until the apple pieces are soft. Some pieces might still be chunky depending on the type of apple you have.

4. When the consistency seems right, add the mango nectar, lemon and honey, continue stirring until the mixture starts to simmer again.

5. Taste and adjust flavors or sweetness to your liking.


Store in clean glass jars. Keeps in fridge for one week.


I used this link for canning instructions. Super easy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mexican Jicama-Cabbage Slaw


I made this slaw to top steak tacos the other night. It has a nice balance of tart, creamy and sweet, and adds a delightful crunch. A nice substitute for the same old salsa--or in addition to it.

Slaw

1 small head napa cabbage, shredded or thinly chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced finely
1/2 medium jicama, sliced thin or grated
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Dressing

1/4 cup each olive and canola oil
Juice of 2 limes (more or less to taste)
Juice of 1 orange
1 tsp lime zest
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey or sugar
1/2 tsp salt
hot sauce-optional

Put vegetables in a bowl. Mix dressing and pour over slaw just before serving.
Great by itself or as a topping to sandwiches and tacos.

Monday, November 9, 2009

And the Envelope Please....

Tilapia and Potatoes
En Papillote


I love getting mail the old fashioned way—in envelopes. Our predilection for email and other online forms of communication has left “snail mail” by the wayside.

I’m as guilty as anyone; I rarely send letters through the mail anymore, though I used to have pen pals all over the world.

Nowadays, I mostly receive bills and advertisements, but once in a while I get an envelope, hand addressed to me. It’s usually from my mom, but what she sends is always a sweet surprise—photos from recent visits (real photos on paper!), a clipped article (with titles like “Storing Your Wedding Dress” or “Easy Crafts for Kids”), a fun recipe or just bits of news about her garden or latest house remodeling project.

Maybe that’s what makes opening an envelope so divine—the mystery of what awaits inside never grows old. For a recent dinner I decided to stuff some envelopes and surprise my family. Not with letters or photos, but with dinner—fish and potatoes. Tilapia and a mix of potatoes and sweet potatoes en papillote.

Ah, a good ol’ fashioned family meal! I hope that never goes by the wayside.

Tilapia En Papillote

1 fillet of tilapia, or other fish
Juice of ½ lemon
Some fresh or dried herbs
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
4 tbsp dry white wine
1 clove garlic

(serves 2)
Lay fish on a large square of parchment paper. Squeeze lemon juice over the fillet, add oil and wine, season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs (I used thyme, oregano and parsley), and clove of garlic cut in half. Wrap parchment paper so that no steam can escape. Bake or grill at 350 for about 15 minutes, until tilapia is cooked through. Thicker fish may take a bit longer.
Open paper and serve on a plate. Enjoy!

Potato Medley En Papillote

2 sweet potatoes
3 regular yellow potatoes
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, left whole
salt
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp crushed sage
1 tsp rosemary
¼ to ½ tsp cayenne powder (or to taste)

(serves 4-6)
Peel and thinly slice potatoes (about 1/8 inch by 1 inch pieces). Place on a large sheet of parchment. Add other ingredients and lightly toss. Feel free to adjust seasonings to taste. Cover with another large piece of parchment and fold under until sealed. Place on grill or in 350 degree oven and cook for about 30 until potatoes are tender and pieces along edge of paper are just beginning to brown. Try not to check too often—trust you nose and gut!
Take out of paper and serve garnished with fresh parsley.