I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wisconsin Soup

We had some leftover bratwurst from a cookout last weekend. I found a recipe for a cheddar cheese and bratwurst soup that looked pretty tasty. Wisconsin soup was very tasty and a good way to use up your leftover brats.

Wisconsin Soup

2 T butter
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
3 shallots, chopped
14 oz can vegie broth
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cream
1 t caraway seeds
1/2 t pepper
salt to taste

10 oz cheddar cheese
4 cooked brats, sliced
12 oz beer

Saute the onion, carrot and shallots in the butter until onion is soft and golden. Mix broth and flour in a jar and shake until well combined. Drop into the onions. Add cream, caraway and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes until thickened. Gradually stir in cheese until it melts. Stir in brats and beer. Cook, stirring frequently until well heated.

We served it with jagerschnitzel. You can see that recipe by clicking here.
Our little one wants to say that that was a scratch and not a pick.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Northfield Minnesota

On the way up to MW supplies last weekend I stopped by Northfield Minnesota. 'Our Man in the Field' discovered an Indian restaurant there some time ago.
On the right you see a big red building. It is a historic hotel called the Archer House. On the ground floor are several gift shops and the Indian Restaurant. We had an excellent meal at their buffet.

I was very impressed by Northfield. I especially liked the downtown. There is a river that runs through town. There is a walkway along the river and little bars and restaurants. It seemed to be a very prosperous town. I am planning a little weekend getaway up there.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Experimental Pizza

I made another experimental pizza the other night. This one is worth writing about. I based it somewhat on Sicilian pizza or "pizza in teglia". The dough is a high hydration dough (I made it to 72%). The flour is a mixture of 85% Caputo 00 flour with 15% semolina flour. I will try one with 85% bread flour at some point.

As far as the toppings, I used my typical pizza sauce - a mix of crushed tomatoes and some whole peeled tomatoes that have been pulsed in the blender. I added a little oregano and some salt. The cheese was special - 50% mozzarella, 25% provolone and 25% white cheddar. I topped it with some sausage, pepperoni, diced ham and bacon.

It is baked in a square pan with a little oil in the bottom. I baked this one at 450 on the bottom rack until it looked done.

For my 14 inch square pizza, the recipe is as follows

Caputo 00 flour 359 g
Semolina flour 63 g
water 304g
rapid rise yeast 1 package
salt 8g
olive oil 8g

I kneaded it for about 15 minutes in the mixer and then put it into a gallon ziplock bag and into the fridge overnight. The next day I put it on the counter about 6 hours before I wanted to use it. You have to stretch it out gradually in the pan. Stretch it out as much as you can and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then try again. It takes several stretching and resting periods to get the dough all the way out to the sides of the pan.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I learned to make pesto sauce from a general surgeon in Topeka Kansas. One day we went to his house for lunch and he chopped a bunch of fresh basil off the bush. It is super easy to make. All you need is a buttload of basil, some olive oil, a few cloves of garlic, some salt and some parmesan. You just add the basil to the blender with a little olive oil. Keep adding more oil until all of your basil is smoothly blended. Add a few cloves of garlic and some parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup for a good sized batch). Blend that up well and taste. Add salt if needed.

My naughty Aunt in Des Moines sent a huge bag of basil home with my wife on Tuesday. Seeing such a massive quantity of basil, I could not resist.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Deep in Enemy Territory

I'm stuck in Columbus Ohio at a wound healing course. As if 2 years of training in Plastic Surgery didn't teach me enough about wound healing, the hospital wanted me to go to a special wound healing course so that I can work with their wound healing center.

For a college town, Columbus sucks. I'm sorry but it just stinks compared to Iowa City. There really isn't a "college town" feel to it. The convention center where I am taking the course keeps the air conditioning at levels that would make a penguin shiver. Of course all I brought was short sleaved stuff. So yesterday I walked to their pathetic little "campus town" area with like 3 buildings and 14 Chinese restaurants with nothing else. There was only one place to buy clothing! So I got a hoody and I couldn't pass up a pork pie hat. It was just way too cool and plus I've been wanting to buy one ever since Derby.

I've been trying to put a Jynx on their football team. I have to keep up my training this week so I have been running. Yesterday I ran a bunch of laps counterclockwise around their stadium. I hope it helps.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Last Meal for a while

Last night we decided to have a special meal. I have to go to Columbus Ohio for a week for this wound care course. I won't get any home cooked food there so we put together a real spread.


To go with everything we made up some spatzle with my new spatzle tool.

Spatzle Batter

Combine 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup water in a mixing bowl. Add 1 3/4 cups flour and stir until well combined. It should make a batter that is gooey and a little thicker than pancake batter. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Next heat a pot of water to boiling. Drop in the batter using your special spatzle tool.

If you don't have a spatzle maker, put some of the batter into a colander with large holes and use a spatula to ram the batter through the holes and into the boiling water.

You'll have to do several batches. When the noodles rise to the top let them cook for a couple minutes and then fish them out.

Let them rest in an ice water bath until you are just about ready to eat. When you are just about to serve the noodles heat a skillet over medium heat and add some butter. Saute the noodles in the butter and serve immediately.
Spatzle goes real well with some gravy from whatever meat you are eating. Since I had smoked pork chops I decided to add just a little parmesan cheese. It was tasty.

Arabian Roasted Eggplant Spread

Since I had the grill fired up last night I decided to make up some roasted eggplant spread. It goes by another name baba ghanoush. I like the recipe in The Arab Table. It is called betinjan mutabal in The Arab Table. It is really tasty because you roast the eggplant over charcoal and the spread has just a hint of smokiness.

Arabian Roasted Eggplant Spread
2 pounds eggplant
1/2 cup sesame paste (tahini)
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 t salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T plain yogurt
1 t red pepper flakes

Roast the eggplants over charcoal until they are blackened and nice and mushy. Then peel the eggplants and put the pulp into the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. To serve, sprinkle over some paprika, a little olive oil and some crushed dried sumac if you have it.

Smoked Pork Chops

Last night I decided to smoke up some Iowa Chops. I wanted them to be smoked but I didn't want the typical bar-b-que flavor with the sauce and all. So I made a dry rub that doesn't taste like your typical bar-b-que.

Dry Rub for Smoked Chops

makes enough for 4 chops

1 1/2 T sugar
1 T salt
1 t garlic salt
1 t onion powder
1 t ground black pepper
1 t ground yellow mustard
1/2 t celery salt
1/2 t ground ginger

To smoke chops all you have to do is get your smoker going and throw them on. You'll want to baste them a couple of times during smoking with olive oil. It doesn't take long at all, like an hour and a half to 2 hours. After an hour and a half check the temperature of the meat. You shouldn't let these cook too long or they could be dry and tough.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympic Games, China Style

I watched a little of the opening of the Olympic Games in China.

It was pretty amazing.

It was so beautiful.

I couldn't stop thinking, however,
that everyone would be getting the naughtiest of areas shocked later if everything didn't go perfectly.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Goldfield Cheese Mart

We stopped by the Goldfield Cheese Mart yesterday.
We used to go there when I was a kid. I remembered that they had really tasty pizza cheese so I made a pilgrimage to get some. They still make it and it is still just as good. We bought some pizza cheese, some young Swiss cheese and some 5 year aged cheddar. We also got a nice plate to display our new cheeses on.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


My favorite donut is the Bismarck. They are sold in grocery stores in Northern Iowa. I thought I would post a photo because, believe it or not, they don't sell these everywhere. You might find an imitation but it won't be called a Bismarck. The one I ate today had yellow icing piped on it, which is not typical. Usually you just have the white frosting.

A Bismarck is actually based on a donut called the Berliner. Berliners are traditionally eaten to celebrate on New Year's Eve (Silvester) as well as the carnival holidays (Shrove Tuesday). A common practical joke is to secretly fill some Berliners with mustard instead of jam and serve them together with regular Berliners without telling anyone.

8K race

Yesterday I ran in an 8K race in Humboldt. It was a lot of fun. I am used to running much longer distances at slower paces so I am pretty sore today.

The race starts at the Humboldt dam.

It runs along the Three Rivers Trail and ends at the Rutland Dam.
The race was part of a river festival in Humboldt.
The winner was super fast. He runs for a college cross country team but I'm not sure which one.
I ran pretty well. I had my fastest pace for 5 miles ever. I am running another one in a month and I hope to improve a little more.

Update from the Jackson Hole Correspondent

Our man in Jackson Hole sends the following word:

Damn-near dropped a lung hiking up to Amphitheater Lake today, which is at an elevation of close to 9,700 feet.

The trail head is around 6,400 feet. Round trip the hike is 9.6 miles. Plenty for a guy not used to the altitude. The vista is serene at the destination. The Grand Teton looms in the background. I did not dare taking a dip in the lake. The air temperature is none too warm up there. Glad I made the trip though. I was due for an adventure since I've been busy at work the past week and a half. In one picture I snapped and included with this update, I was waiting for Julie Andrews to bound into the frame. That particular picture shows Bradley and Taggart Lakes.
Editor's note - suggested listening music:

Friday, August 01, 2008

Scotch Eggs