December 15, 2013 – December 21, 2013

Cream Potato Lefse From 'The New Midwestern Table'

Lefse is a Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes, cream, and a whole lot of care. Prepared and eaten at holiday gatherings, the tender bread requires finesse, experience, and many hands on deck to make properly. But, much like making homemade tortillas, the time and effort is worth it. Amy Thielen's recipe in The New Midwestern Table is a clear, specific, and helpful guideline for those wanting to dip their toes into lefse cookery. More

Peppermint Snowball Cookies

All it takes to mint-ify these cookies is is a simple swap of the usual vanilla extract for peppermint, and instead of dusting the cookies twice with confectioners' sugar, you conduct the second coating with crushed candy canes. The resulting cookies are kissed with mint, which works rather well with the rich butter and nut mixture. It doesn't give this cookie a completely different personality, but it's different enough to make you appreciate snowballs anew. More

The Fine Feller Cocktail

This recipe from bartender Daniel Hyatt finally gives you a way to work pine needles into your cocktail routine. It's essentially iced tea with a kick, offering well-balanced sweetness and subtle evergreen flavor. Christmas trees, beware! More

Old-Fashioned Pounded Cheese With Walnuts and Port Syrup From 'The New Midwestern Table'

Making pounded cheese from Amy Thielen's new cookbook, The New Midwestern Table, was a jump into uncharted territory for me. Dropping blocks of gorgeous aged Cheddar into a food processor was an act of faith. But drizzled with sweet port syrup and chopped walnuts, the final dish is an entertainment-worthy appetizer for any and all cheesehounds. More

Ango Nog

Instead of rum, brandy, or whiskey, this nog from Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston uses a generous pour of Angostura bitters as the base spirit. The Angostura adds a punch of winter spices (and a burnt sienna color) to the classic drink. More

Crispy Cabbage With Poppy Seeds From 'The New Midwestern Table'

Amy Thielen's recently released cookbook, The New Midwestern Table, has more than a few recipes involving cabbage. Most are simple, familiar preparations—steamed, simmered, and slawed. But one rendition caught my eye: A crisp, sautéed version flecked with poppy seeds and scented with ginger sounded light, fresh, and a flavorful contrast to a hearty hotdish or roast. More

Sous-Vide City Ham With Balsamic Brown Sugar Glaze

Ham is not for everyone, but if you're a ham lover, lucky you, because ham is one meat that's darn difficult to mess up. Want to make it even juicier and more foolproof? Cook the sucker sous-vide. Because hams are pre-cooked, it's really just a matter of reheating them. Typically, I'd suggest removing meat from its retail packaging, seasoning it, then re-sealing it in a sous-vide bag before cooking it. But since ham's pre-seasoned, it can be cooked directly in the package it comes in, making the whole process even more appealing. More

Duck Fat Crackers

This recipe is based on a lavash cracker recipe and when the dough is handled minimally with almost no flour added in the rolling process it results in a perfectly light, crispy cracker which is still sturdy enough to stand up to a slice of cheese perched atop it. More

Classic Chicken and Wild Rice Hotdish From 'The New Midwestern Table'

Before reading Amy Thielen's recently released cookbook, The New Midwestern Table, the one Midwestern dish I had heard of was the hotdish. Thielen's chicken and wild rice hotdish is a fairly simple version, elevated above the canned soup variety with a homemade mornay sauce filled with cream and aged cheese. Earthy wild rice is a welcome companion to the rich sauce, adding texture and color to the casserole. More