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. 

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Death of the bake sale: New rules mean healthier fundraisers

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.