Dining

The fine art of the simple tossed salad

Written by SARA MOULTON,
Associated Press
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 15:45

Summer time is salad time. When it's hot out and the garden is bountiful, everyone's in the mood for a light and refreshing entree salad.

And what could be easier? You just toss together a bunch of lettuce with some cooked protein, add an excellent dressing, and boom! You're done. Or not. Turns out that if you pay a little more attention to the components of the salad, you won't need to rely quite so much on the dressing to provide all the flavor. In fact, it's easy to make something wonderful.

South American wines are ‘muy bueno’

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 23 April 2015 21:23

There was a time when wines originating from South America were just cheap commodities, often scarcely palatable. Back then, if your friend served you a South American wine, either he or she had fallen on hard times or it was time to find a new friend.

Local beer weeks bring out the best of the brews

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 10 April 2015 16:29

Whether you like to tipple a tallboy, quaff a cold one or just generally soak up the suds, upcoming weeklong beer celebrations in both Milwaukee and Madison will give drinkers the opportunity to get up close and personal with brands they haven’t before tried, all in the name of beer “education.”

Lamb, Guinness and soda bread offer a fresh take on Irish stew

Written by Alison Ladman,
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 12:41

Chicken and dumplings is a wonderfully simple, deliciously comforting dish — a thick, meaty stew bubbling away beneath a patchwork of moist, pillowy dumplings.

So we decided to channel that comfort for a dish suited for St. Patrick’s Day. Taking inspiration from classic Irish ingredients and dishes, we came up with this over-the-top savory lamb stew with a rich broth made from beef stock, Guinness beer and fresh rosemary.

Core issue: A recipe for pineapple core ceviche

Written by MELISSA D'ARABIAN,
Associated Press
Friday, 15 May 2015 05:57

Eating fresh pineapple always reminds me of balmy vacation nights in Hawaii. And since pineapples run a few bucks a pop, buying them frequently translates into considerable savings when compared to an actual trip to Hawaii, particularly when you're carting along four girls, as I would be. Admittedly, the pineapple is a tad less exotic …

Still, it's a great sweet summer treat.

Do you know the mushroom man?

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 23 April 2015 23:18

Jaime Ramsay grows a wide variety of fungi, including shiitake mushrooms.
— PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

When the Dane County Farmers’ Market opened for the season at 6 a.m. on April 18, vendor Jaime Ramsay was in the same stall he and his wife Diane have occupied since 1992, right where Wisconsin Avenue intersects with Mifflin Street on the Capitol Square. With him, as always: his mushrooms.

Smitten with ‘Salad Love’

Written by J.M. Hirsch,
AP food editor
Saturday, 28 March 2015 14:32

For most of us, salads are mainly unplanned affairs. Which is why the idea of salad cookbooks can seem kind of silly.

Salad assembly generally is a pathetic — and pathetically easy — process that involves grabbing whatever greens haven’t wilted at the back of the refrigerator, piling on whatever other vegetables are handy — and if we’re feeling indulgent maybe some leftover protein and cheese — and calling it good. Follow a recipe? Not likely.

Irish whiskey:
Perfect for a ‘spirited’ St. Paddy’s Day

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 12:37

At the end of the 19th century, Irish whiskey was one of the most popular whiskeys in America, but its fortunes tumbled, along with those of other alcohol products, with the advent of Prohibition in 1920. Today Irish whiskeys are on the rebound, but they still may be one of the spirit world’s best-kept secrets.

Have fork, will travel to Wisconsin food festivals

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 07 May 2015 09:22

Summer in Wisconsin is “Outdoor Everything Season,” and that includes eating and drinking. After wearying winters and sloppy springs, Wisconsinites want to get out and play. If there’s food, so much the better.

Zymbiotics revives the art of fermented food

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 10 April 2015 13:32

Zymbiotics uses age-old fermentation processes to maximize nutritional content.
— Photo: Jeff Ziebelman

Everything old is new again, and one of the latest waves in healthy eating dates back to a time when people depended on fermentation to preserve their food.

Madison’s reluctant chef Jonny Hunter captures the culinary spotlight with Underground Food Collective

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 26 March 2015 14:27

Chef Jonny Hunter got his start running Catacombs, a communal restaurant kitchen, and has since built Underground Food Collective into an unexpectedly successful venture.
— PHOTO: Courtesy

Jonny Hunter moved to Madison 18 years ago in search of intellectual freedom and an environment that embraced a love of learning. After he found all that, he found something else: an opportunity to establish an alternative model for fine dining that has propelled him into the culinary spotlight.

Sip some zesty zinfandel

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 26 February 2015 13:40

California winemakers often like to crow about their cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay and moon over their merlot and malbec as if they were California grapes of their very own. But they’re not.