Oscar Party

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Tomorrow night is the Oscars and a great time to reveal a few celebratory appetizers and cocktails that you may like to try at your Oscar party. The appetizer recipes follow in today’s following posts, the cocktails in Sunday’s posts.

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The Grenadier Restaurant

Milwaukee’s Grenadier’s Restaurant hosted presidents and, throughout its 29 years, stood out not only in Milwaukee, but also competed with Chicago’s finest restaurants.

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In 1978, the Chicago Tribune wrote, “With all its fine dining rooms, Chicago has nothing, except perhaps for its exlusive private clubs, quite like Milwaukee’s Grenadier’s Restaurant.” The Grenadier Restaurant was my dad’s favorite place to dine.  It was very British and very formal and fine dining at its best.  Coat and tie a must. It has been missed since its closing.

Today are a few of the rare recipes collected from this famous restaurant, including the dish Owner and Chef Knut Apitz served to President George Bush and the game recipe’s Grenadier’s Executive Chef Charles Weber provided to the Chicago Tribune.  (The links to the original articles are provided with the recipes.)

Grenadier’s Seared Duck Breast with Wild Rice Griddle Cakes and Tart Cherry Sauce

This wild duck recipe was provided by Grenadier’s Executive Chef Charles Weber to the Chicago Tribune in 1998 and Abby Mandel’s original article can be found http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-04-12/news/9804120310_1_duck-breasts-tablespoon-kosher-salt-tart-cherry-sauce.

Weber grew up in Wisconsin and blended his knowledge of hunting with his art of cooking.

Grenadier’s Seared Duck Breast with Wild Rice Griddle Cakes and Tart Cherry Sauce

Sauce Ingredients:
1 c. dried tart cherries
3 c. reduced chicken broth or duck , see note
¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Duck breasts:
8 duck breasts, skin lightly scored
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Grenadier’s Brazilian Black Bean Soup

The Grenadier Restaurant provided this recipe to the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1982. The chef noted that this soup can be prepared with pork shanks, pork knuckles or sausage to make it a main course.

Grenadier’s Brazilian Black Bean Soup
12 oz. black beans
1 lb. bacon
2 stalks celery
1 lg. onion
1 med. carrot
2 qts. pork stock
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Grenadier’s Grilled Quail Salad with Caramelized Tart Apples and Sherry Vinaigrette

Grenadier’s Executive Chef Charles Weber’s Grilled Quail recipe was provided to the Chicago Tribune in 1998 and Abby Mandel’s original article can be found http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-04-12/news/9804120310_1_duck-breasts-tablespoon-kosher-salt-tart-cherry-sauce.

Grenadier’s Grilled Quail Salad with Caramelized Tart Apples and Sherry Vinaigrette
Vinaigrette:
1 tbsp. each: Dijon mustard, honey
1/2 c. olive or walnut oil
1/4 c. aged sherry vinegar or apple cider reduction
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Grenadier’s Artichoke Salad with Pea Pods & Mushrooms

This recipe, with its amazing blend of flavors of dill, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, pea pods and almonds, was Grenadier’s contribution to the charity cookbook, Dining In Milwaukee.  More about this can be found at the Art of Natural Living at http://artofnaturalliving.com/2014/03/01/artichoke-salad-pea-pods-mushrooms/

Grenadier’s Artichoke Salad with Pea Pods & Mushrooms
Salad Ingredients:
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, cut in half or quartered if large
½ c. white mushrooms, sliced
1 c. pea pods, strings removed, lightly blanched
½ c. sliced almonds, toasted

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Byerly’s Cheesy Artichoke Jalapeño Spread

Byerly’s, an upscale grocer in Minneapolis, is renown for great recipes. Back in 1992, the store copyrighted this twist on the traditional artichoke dip recipe and advertised it to customers on give away recipe cards. It can be made ahead for parties, but, you are pressed for time, Byerly’s offers a great spinach artichoke dip in it’s delicatessen. (Or…if you prefer spinach to jalapeño, just substitute!) Serve with crispy crostini or sliced, toated French bread.

Byerly’s Cheesy Jalapeño Artichoke Spread
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts
1 (4 oz.) pkg. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. hot red jalapeño peppers, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
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Crispy Cottage Fries

A pretty simple, always delicious recipe for a cold Saturday night. The trick is in the beauty of the creamy sweet Wisconsin Russet Potato. This russet produces lovely, crispy fries that are soft inside and taste even better when watching high school hockey state tournaments!

Crispy Cottage Fries
6-7 Wisconsin White Russet Potatoes
1/2 – 1 stick salted butter, or vegetable oil
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Paprika
Onion Powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Scrub the potatoes clean with steel wool. Cut in wedges about 1/4 inch thick and place into mixing bowl. Melt butter and pour to taste over cut potatoes, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and onion powder to taste and toss well.

Spread sparingly on large ungreased sheet pans (may use parchment paper) and place in hot oven. Let potatoes roast for 30-45 min., or until the bottom of the potatoes brown. Turn potatoes and contue roasting until crisp on the outside, and soft inside. Serve.

Italian Pork Loin with Polenta

This great Italian recipe comes to us from a famous New York restauranteer, “Mother Leone.” imageThe introduction to Luisa Leone came through a well-worn copy of her son Gene’s  1967 cookbook, perched high on a bookshelf in a dusty antique store in northern Wisconsin.  The teal cover, missing its dust jacket, protected old, authentic recipes, the kind that pass from one generation to the next.

Leone’s was a New York institution, now gone, but still very much missed.

Luisa Leone entered the restaurant business in 1905, her son Gene writes in the introduction. Just a year earlier, she was only dreaming about running a restaurant. That changed the night Leone’s husband Geralomo invited fifty members of the Metropolitan Opera to their home for Luisa’s birthday, including the great opera tenor Enrico Caruso. Caruso, himself, encouraged her to make the restaurant a reality and convinced Geralomo to agree.

Luisa’s resaurant began in her converted living room, then grew to twenty seats, and then to a larger space, then an even larger space in the heart of New York’s theatrical district on West 48th Street, and to eventually to fill two buildings and seat 1,500 guests, serve more than 6,000 dinners on busy evenings. Leone’s had become a multi-million dollar affair that catered to the famous, including W.C.. Fields, George M. Cohan, Presidents Truman and Eisenhower (who wrote a forward for the book). After Luisa died in 1944, her sons continued the business. Later, one son, Gene took over with his wife.  The place became a New York staple, serving Luisa’s cooking far into the early 1990s. Sadly the restaurant closed, but the recipes, of course, live on.

Here’s Leone’s Pork Chops with Spaghetti, except substituted inch-thick sliced pork loin for Luisa’s pork chops and served her sauce and pork over her wonderful polenta instead of pasra.

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Italian Pork Loin with Polenta
3 tbsp.. olive oil
1 1/2 c. butter, melted
2 lg. garlic cloves, mashed
1/3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
4 lean slices of pork loin 1″ thick (Leone called for pork chops)
1 tsp. crumbled, dried rosmary
1/2 tsp. salt
4 med. ripe tomatoes or 2 c. canned peeled plum tomatoes, chopped
10 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only, chopped
1/4 c. fresh, shredded Parmesan cheese
Polenta, recipe follows (Leone called fo 3/4 lb. spaghetti cooked in salted water 10 min.)

Combine oil and half the butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and heat garlic black and red pepper 2 min. Sprinkle pork with rosemary and brown in the pan, 5 min. per side. Lower heat to medium, add tomatoes, salt and parsley. Cover and simmer 20 min. Uncover and simmer 20 min. more, until pork is done and tender. Taste for salt.

While cooking prepare spaghetti as in the original recipe, or try the polenta below.

Loeone’s Polenta
1 1/2 c. corn meal
1 1/2 c. water
4 c. boiling water
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
Grated parmesan cheese

Soak the cornmeal in the cold water. Stir it into the boiling water, add salt and butter. Stir constantly and simmer 20 min. to a creamy consistancy. Taste, add salt if needed. Once polenta is cooked, spread it on a warm plate, sprinkle with a little cheese and arrange the cooked pork and sauce on the polenta, sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Inspired Linguine with Italian Ham

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I have the 1963 The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook, which is great for proper ways to slice meats and entertain. But on page 3, it warns the reader, “No recipe, even Good Housekeeping’s, can rate raves if you fail to follow it with meticulous care.” Problem is, hmm… I first read that sentence this morning, 12 hours after heavily reworking, changing and failing to “meticulously” follow the recipe for Baked Italian Ham and Spaghetti. I am grateful for the inspiration, though, because it turned out amazing! Here’s the revision.

Inspired Linguine with Italian Ham
Ingredients
¼ tbsp. plus 1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. onion, cut in thin rings
4 small stalks celery, cut in long slivers to mimic linguine
4 cloves garlic, divided
2-3 tsp. thyme
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The search for Hard Rolls, Milwaukee Style

Milwaukee hard rolls were something that was taken for granted growing up. These large, light rolls, with their dry, hard, crusty, flaking top, and ever-so-slightly tangy, soft, airy center were ever present.

They were there for “hot ham and rolls” after church, and especially Easter morning. They were stuffed with grilled Milwaukee brats (white bratwurst) at Brewer’s baseball games or brought to tailgate at County Stadium before we cheered on “the Pack.”  I ignored them, they were always there.

Funny, I kind of treated the Lake Michigan shoreline the same way, just expecting it to be there. And like Lake Michigan, I always thought these rolls always would be easily found. I never realized how very special these hard rolls were until years later when I moved away and lived in other cities.

Now every city has its charm, its special dish.  But I miss those dang hard rolls (almost as much as I miss Lake Michigan). And living in the Twin Cities, there just is not any roll that compares. So, to find them, I just had to learn how to make them.

Here, in separate posts, are two recipes for those now, not-so-elusive Hard Rolls.

Hard Rolls, Milwaukee Style #1

photo 5The first Milwaukee Hard Rolls recipe is exactly as we remember! It has that great dry crusty top and the cornmeal bottoms we love, and comes from Gordon King a Milwaukee baker who ran Wilbert’s baker, which closed back in 1993. Note: It requires high protein bread flour and a little more yeast.  And, while the directions make the tops of these rolls plain, feel free to top rolls with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

An article, with his recipe for hard rolls appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and is preserved here: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=20050511&id=VS4zAAAAIBAJ&sjid=dggGAAAAIBAJ&pg=6793,3364570

Wilbert’s Bakery/Gordon and Barbara King’s Authentic German Hard Rolls
Makes about 2 dozen rolls
Sponge: 3 tbsp. active dry yeast (4 packets)
2 3/4 c. lukewarm water
3 tbsp. sugar

Dough: Continue reading

Hard Rolls, Milwaukee Style #2

The second Milwaukee Hard Rolls has the precise inside we remember. Light and airy, yet with a “chew”, and that very, very slight, sour taste we remember. And this recipe uses hardly any yeast.

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This is a terrific roll, yet the crust that isn’t quite right. Do not remember the split top, but it is hard and stays hard. But not as flaky.  Perhaps it is the egg wash. Also, the recipe directions result in rolls that are smaller than traditional Milwaukee Hard Rolls. So, if one wants the traditional Milwaukee Hard Roll, just double the size of the roll to make 8-10 rolls instead of 12, and replace the egg white wash with the a starch wash, as in the previous recipe. Make it plain, as directed, or add sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Oh, and be sure to use high protein bread flour!

Anyway, the recipe is the Crusty European-Style Hard Rolls, with great instruction and pictures from PJ Hamel and King Arthur flour on the post “Flourish” at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2011/03/08/they-once-were-lost-but-now-theyre-found-crusty-hard-rolls/.  Here it is, repeated, but please visit her page, as she take you step by step, with pictures!

Crusty European-Style Hard Rolls
Makes 12 small rolls.

Starter
½ c. cool water
1 c. King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/8 tsp. instant yeast
dough
all of the starter
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Crusty Rolls, Milwaukee Style #3

These rolls come from the 1955 Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book and turn out great! The recipe calls for “enriched flour” and shortening, but I slightly revised the recipe, using high protein bread flour, Dakota Bread Flour and lard instead of shortening. I added the salt last so that it did not prohibit the yeast, and slightly shortened the rise time. Oh, and I made only 8-10 rolls instead of a dozen or more.

That seems to be the difference, and the key to producing rolls that look like they come from a bakery. Please note below, this can be altered to make crusty rye rolls, too!

1955 Woman’s Home Companion Crusty Rolls, slightly revised
1 c. water, boiling
2 tbsp. lard
1 tbsp. sugar
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