Dining

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. 

The art of tasting artisan chocolates

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:32

Madison Chocolate Co.'s chocolates.
— Photo: Megan Hile

Sweets for the sweet is a time-honored Valentine’s Day tradition, and no sweet is more beloved than chocolate. And when you’re buying for Feb. 14, there’s all the more incentive to buy the best.

Tender trend
As prices drop, home cooks get immersed in sous vide cooking

Written by MICHELLE LOCKE,
Associated Press writer
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 12:32

Call it the tender trend. Sous vide cooking, once strictly the province of professionals, is spreading to home kitchens as cheaper equipment puts the once avant-garde technique within reach.

Sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French, is a so-called modernist method of cooking in which food is sealed in plastic bags (often vacuum sealed, though that’s not mandatory) and submerged in hot (but not boiling) water for long, slow cooking. The result is juicer food because no moisture is lost and cooking temperatures can be maintained within tenths of a degree.

Seek the savory side of chocolate in the new year

Written by By MELISSA D’ARABIAN for The AP Sunday, 28 December 2014 11:23

While I still pay attention to what I eat during the holidays, I nonetheless allow plenty of small splurges. And those splurges mostly can be summed up in one word: chocolate!

Trouble is, the holidays eventually pass, but my cravings for the deep flavor of a perfectly-roasted cocoa bean linger. Even more than the sweetness that accompanies most chocolate desserts, I miss the unctuous coating cocoa leaves on the palate. But who says healthy eating must mean the end of that deliciousness? Enter unsweetened chocolate! All the richness of the flavor without the sugar.

Have it your way with a mix and match take on mac and cheese

Written by ALISON LADMAN,
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 09:10

Do you love macaroni and cheese? Stupid question, right? OK, so let’s try this one: How could you love macaroni and cheese even more?

Now we’re talking. Because there are all sorts of simple ways to doctor an already awesome pan of basic mac and cheese to take our love of this dish to a whole new level. But let’s start with the basics — our classic take on macaroni and cheese. Since everyone is pressed for time, we kept it simple with a stovetop version that will have you ready to eat in about 20 minutes.

Bos makes mead modern, not medieval

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 12 February 2015 12:24

Bos Meadery produces four varieties of mead at its Washington Avenue location.
—Photo: Jason Hendricks

Is the next big trend in craft beer not a beer at all?

Breweries big and small go gluten-free

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 15 January 2015 16:38

Greenview’s Alt Brew label makes gluten-free beer. — Photo: Greenview Brewing

In Madison, as elsewhere, the craft beer movement is booming, and Trevor Easton is one more veteran homebrewer who’s decided to go commercial.

Say ‘cheese’ when holiday entertaining

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 11 December 2014 12:57

In Wisconsin, cheese isn’t merely a food — it’s part of the lifestyle. As such, a well-considered cheese platter should be a staple of your holiday entertaining.

Death of the bake sale: New rules mean healthier fundraisers

Written by MARY CLARE JALONICK,
Associated Press
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 13:04

When it comes to school fundraisers, bake sale tables loaded with sugary goodies are out. Fun runs, auctions and sales of healthier treats are in.

Government rules requiring schools to hold more nutritious fundraisers, along with a trend toward healthier eating in schools, could mean trouble for the long-beloved bake sale. In response, schools are selling everything from fruit to kid-friendly shoe laces.

Salvatore’s brings tomato pies to Madison

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:30

One of Salvatore's Pies. — PHOTO: Danielle Chaviano

A young Bob Dylan, passing through Madison in the late 1960s, is rumored to have said that the best things about Wisconsin’s capital city were its pizza and its Quaaludes.

Kohler Co. launches new, locally focused foodie event

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Friday, 16 January 2015 03:35

Kohler presents Wisconsin Food Favorites. — Photo: Kohler Co.

When Wisconsin’s needle-sharp winds start to pierce the parka, it’s time for a midwinter getaway. But if you’re a foodie, don’t head south this January — try looking in a more northerly direction, toward a new culinary event in Kohler, Wisconsin.

French vs. American wines? Vive la différence!

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 11 December 2014 21:52

In 1976, a handful of California winemakers entered a wine competition in Paris hoping to gain attention from the elites who governed the European wine trade. No one was more shocked than the French judges themselves when the series of blind tastings resulted in overwhelming wins for American viticulture.