Category Archives: Milwaukee

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Boerewors

I love this time of year. The fall weather slowly approaches, the color of the leaves on the tree are beginning to turn color, and well, it’s comfort food season. That’s probably what I really love about this time of year! Back when our farmer’s market opened for the year, I was browsing some vegetable plants, and a lady next to me was saying that she had purchased from this one particular farmer last year, and the squash planted yielded an abundance of butternut squash. So with that said, I decided to but the plant for four dollars, and went on my merry way. Weeks later that plant began to grow in, and all over my backyard. I was cool with that, and recently after rummaging through the long grass, I also had an abundance of squash! I’ve been waiting for something to make with it for some time now, and I was giving a unique opportunity to also make something with a local sausage maker in Milwaukee.

Stuffed Squash with Boerewors

SA Braai, LLC make really amazing sausage known as Boerewors, typically known by many South Africans, but not so many Wisconsinites, well, at least not until now. This sausage is made with beef and pork and plenty of spices. Let’s just say that this husband and wife are making a really phenomenal sausage. With all of this said, I set out to create something I knew my wife would fall in love with, and hence where the stuffed butternut squash with boerewors came into play.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup of barley
  • 1/2 basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of red chard, chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 links Boerewors Sausage, casing removed
  • 1 butternut squash, sliced lengthwise in half
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by making the stuffing for your squash. Bring a medium-sized pot to medium-high heat. Add in the butter, and let that melt. Toss in your lentils, rice, and barley and give this a good stir. Cook, and continue to stir for a few minutes. Next add the carrots and onion. Season with salt and pepper, then toss in the red chard. Stir, then add in your chicken stock. Give another good stir, then simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from the hit, and partially open the lid to prevent it from over cooking.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Once you have sliced your squash, take a knife and make score marks, about 1/2 inch down. Rub the skin with the canola oil, and place the squash onto a baking sheet, skin side up. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes.

During this time, heat another large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the Boerewors sausage to the preheated skillet, and cook until the sausage is fully cooked. Make sure you crumble it along the way. Add the lentil mixture to the sausage, and give a good toss and stir.

How to make stuffed squash

When the squash are done cooking, let them cool until you can handle the squash, about 10 minutes. Carefully turn the squash over, and use a spoon to remove the cooked squash, leaving the shell in tack.

Add the squash to the lentil and sausage mixture, mixing well, then add this back into the cavity of the squash. Place the stuffed squash back into a preheated 425 degree oven and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the sausage mixture gets nice an crunchy.

Plate and serve.

Stuffed Squash Recipe

The result is nothing but a truly comforting fall recipe. You get this great bite of the lentil mixture. The lentils are not overcooked so there is still a bite to them, and when paired with the chard, and carrots, you know you are in good hands. It reminds you of a warm bite of mashed potatoes, but then you get this great texture and spice of the Boerewors sausage that just brings everything together. Let’s just say my wife fell in love with this one.

Wisconsin Bratwurst Pizza

Wisconsin is known for a lot of great things. If you are not familiar with the state of Wisconsin, well, let me just say that it is beautiful. Great state parks, the great lakes, awesome summer festivals, the “Fonz“, Laverne and Shirley, cheese, beer, and let us not forget, brats.  That’s right, brats. The infamous bratwurst. You see the brat is a very common tailgating sausage, as well as the standard when it comes to grilling out. The brat screams summertime, and with that said, I figured I would make some brats for dinner, not realizing that I would take it as far as making a pizza out of them.

Wisconsin Bratwurst Pizza

I wanted to make brats because my middle child loves them, and that is simply why I made them. My other two kids are not a big fan of the bratwurst yet, but I knew that these would feed him throughout the week should he desire to warm them up for lunch. Yes, he loves them that much. In Wisconsin, it is also a bit traditional to precook the brats in beer and onion before finishing them off on the grill. Yes, beer.

So this pizza not only has great beer and brats from Wisconsin, but it also has an awesome cheddar cheese beer sauce to boot. Do I have your attention?

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the pizza dough: (Makes 2 pizzas):

  • 3 3/4 cup of bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 3/4 tsp plus a pinch of sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups of room temperature water

Ingredients for the Wisconsin Bratwurst Pizza: (Makes 1 pizza)

  • 1 cup of pizza sauce
  • 1 portion of pizza dough, stretched
  • 2 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Johnsonville bratwurst, cooked, sliced
  • 12 oz pilser beer
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese beer sauce
  • chives, finely chopped (optional)

Ingredients for Cheddar Cheese Beer Sauce:

  • 12 ounces of light beer
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper

To make the cheddar cheese beer sauce, add the beer to a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil. Toss the flour with the cheese. Once the beer is boiling, add the cheese and flour mixture, dial down the heat, and stir constantly. Toss in some salt and pepper. Stir, and add to a serving bowl.

Make the dough by adding the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Mix. Add the water, and with your wooden spoons, or hands, mix until blended. I use my KitchenAid for this process to keep everything in the bowl during the rising process. Mix for about 30 seconds. The dough should be a bit stiff. Cover the bowl with a towel, and let it sit at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume, about 2 hours. You can do this ahead of time as well, and place in an oiled container, big enough to house the dough, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

How to make a Wisconsin Bratwurst Pizza

Add the brats to  medium sized pot. Toss in half of the sliced onions and then entire beer, and bring this to a simmer, cooking for about 25 minutes. Remove two brats, and slice into about 1/2 inch rounds. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees, and place your pizza stone, or sheet pan in the oven to preheat. Once preheated, let the stone stay in the oven for about 10 minutes to get nice and hot.

Once the dough has risen, divide into two portions. With one of the portions, add some flour to a large pastry board, and take that portion of the dough, and form into a large enough piece to place onto your pizza stone.

Place the dough on the preheated stone, then add the pizza sauce, making sure you get a nice, thin coating around the entire pizza dough.

Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese, then scatter half of the thinly sliced onions on top of the cheese. Place the sliced brats onto the pizza, then drizzle the cheddar cheese beer sauce on top of the pizza.

Wisconsin Bratwurst Pizza

Place into the preheated oven and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly and the crust is a dark golden color.

Remove from the oven and place onto a pizza sheet, shower the pizza with the chives, and let the pizza rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.

OK, the result is truly an awesome pizza. At first glance one might think it is just a sausage pizza, but then you get that awesome aroma from the beer brat. Biting into it yields everything you would want in a great brat, and then the onion, and that cheddar cheese beer sauce that melts right into the pizza, need I say more!? This pizza is a real winner, and I am glad that I can introduce you to some of the fine things that Wisconsin has to offer. I hope you enjoy!

Wisconsin Bratwurst Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Pizza
Cuisine: Pizza
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A great Wisconsin pizza that uses bratwurst cooked in beer and onions and topped with a cheddar cheese beer sauce.
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the pizza dough: (Makes 2 pizzas):
  • 3¾ cup of bread flour
  • 2½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ¾ tsp table salt
  • ¾ plus a pinch of sugar
  • 1⅓ cups of room temperature water
  • Ingredients for the Wisconsin Bratwurst Pizza: (Makes 1 pizza)
  • 1 cup of pizza sauce
  • 1 portion of pizza dough, stretched
  • 2 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Johnsonville bratwurst, cooked, sliced
  • 12 oz pilser beer
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of cheddar cheese beer sauce
  • chives, finely chopped (optional)
  • Ingredients for Cheddar Cheese Beer Sauce:
  • 12 ounces of light beer
  • 1½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. To make the cheddar cheese beer sauce, add the beer to a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil. Toss the flour with the cheese. Once the beer is boiling, add the cheese and flour mixture, dial down the heat, and stir constantly. Toss in some salt and pepper. Stir, and add to a serving bowl.
  2. Make the dough by adding the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Mix. Add the water, and with your wooden spoons, or hands, mix until blended. I use my KitchenAid for this process to keep everything in the bowl during the rising process. Mix for about 30 seconds. The dough should be a bit stiff. Cover the bowl with a towel, and let it sit at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume, about 2 hours. You can do this ahead of time as well, and place in an oiled container, big enough to house the dough, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Add the brats to medium sized pot. Toss in half of the sliced onions and then entire beer, and bring this to a simmer, cooking for about 25 minutes. Remove two brats, and slice into about ½ inch rounds. Set aside.
  4. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees, and place your pizza stone, or sheet pan in the oven to preheat. Once preheated, let the stone stay in the oven for about 10 minutes to get nice and hot.
  5. Once the dough has risen, divide into two portions. With one of the portions, add some flour to a large pastry board, and take that portion of the dough, and form into a large enough piece to place onto your pizza stone.
  6. Place the dough on the preheated stone, then add the pizza sauce, making sure you get a nice, thin coating around the entire pizza dough.
  7. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese, then scatter half of the thinly sliced onions on top of the cheese. Place the sliced brats onto the pizza, then drizzle the cheddar cheese beer sauce on top of the pizza.
  8. Place into the preheated oven and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly and the crust is a dark golden color.
  9. Remove from the oven and place onto a pizza sheet, shower the pizza with the chives, and let the pizza rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.
  10. OK, the result is truly an awesome pizza. At first glance one might think it is just a sausage pizza, but then you get that awesome aroma from the beer brat. Biting into it yields everything you would want in a great brat, and then the onion, and that cheddar cheese beer sauce that melts right into the pizza, need I say more!? This pizza is a real winner, and I am glad that I can introduce you to some of the fine things that Wisconsin has to offer. I hope you enjoy!

 

Red Elephant Chocolate

This week I was fortunate to receive a sample of Red Elephant Chocolate. Red Elephant Chocolate? I thought the same thing when I heard the name, and as I am anxious to find out how this company came about their name, I am equally as excited to try all of their products. I normally do not write about any particular products besides Nueske’s, as we all know how awesome Nueske’s is, but I thought that I would give it a shot. If someone took the time to write to me and send me product, then heck why not.

Please keep in mind that these reviews are subjective in nature, and only my opinion. Your acceptance of these products may vary.

Red Elephant Chocolate in Milwaukee

When I got home from work the other day, my son said, A Fed Ex person dropped something off for you today. I knew exactly what it was. I opened the package and my first reaction was ‘what very cool, and clean packaging’. It was simple. Red and white colors with a prominent logo of an elephant. It made sense in terms of the name; Red Elephant Chocolate. Their tagline is “A Chocolate Experience You’ll Never Forget”. Awesome. I could not wait.

Let me stop for just a second and let you know that I am typically not a ‘sweets’ person. I am typically not the person who order dessert after a meal, nor am I one sitting around eating candy or sweets. I know, crazy right?

I was actually excited to open the box of chocolates. The last time I received quality chocolate was from one of my vendors during a website redesign, and that was very cool. I never realized chocolate like that existed, so I was anxious to see what Red Elephant Chocolate had in store for Milwaukee.

Red Elephant Chocolate in Milwaukee

The box contained an array of dark and milk chocolate including their elephants on parade, chocolate coconut macaroon, bittersweet orange truffle, red elephant ganache footprint, tumbled almods, coffee beans, sea salt caramel, and a cashew cluster. Not only did they nail it in clever names, but lifting up their tag sheet unveiled a beautiful assortment of chocolate.

Again, I am not really a sweets type of guy, but excitement moved through me. I almost felt like I was a kid in a candy store. Maybe it was the names alone that excited me, or maybe it was how pretty each one looked. Whatever it was, I was thrilled.

After our Friday night fish fry (yes, this is how we roll in Milwaukee), I brought the box over to my wife and told her the story of what I knew of Red Elephant Chocolate. I then exposed the chocolates. I can tell you she was just as excited reading the names as I was, and then at first sight the expressions were the same. “Wow, those are gorgeous!”.

Red Elephant Chocolates in Milwaukee

We began sharing the chocolates. Starting with sea salt caramel, over to the cashew cluster, and then the ganache, and then a couple of almonds.

All I can say is that each of these chocolates were not only elegant, but they were loaded with amazing chocolate. I can say that products like these can easily sway a non-sweets guy like myself.  Did I mention they also have premium coffee and hot chocolate?!

I am excited for Milwaukee, and Red Elephant Chocolate. Their store will be opening this November in Milwaukee.

You can find out more by signing up for their newsletter, or following them on Facebook.

Red Elephant Chocolate Café
333 N. Broadway St.
Historic Third Ward
Milwaukee

Beer Battered Fish Fillet Sandwich

For those of you who have been following me for some time, you probably know a couple of things. One, I am from Wisconsin, and two, Wisconsinites love their fish fry. This history of the fish fry dates back who know when, but most likely during Lent, and the population of Roman Catholics in the midwestern states, had fish every friday. I guarantee if I ask my wife what she wants for dinner, on a Friday, it is going to be a fish fry.  Actually, I have no problem making a fish fry, probably due to the fact that I save a lot of money, and well, I prefer my fish fry over many of the restaurants in town. My wife and kids do as well.

Beer Battered Fish Sandwich Recipe

So most often, after work on a Friday afternoon, I gather my ingredients, and begin preparing a fish fry. I am a believer that you should get more than two pieces, or at least the option, when it comes to a fish fry, and with that belief, well, I always have leftover fish. To me, that is never a problem as Saturday mornings and afternoons can be rather busy for us. A quick reheat in the oven, always yields a great leftover meal.

As I typically would reheat the beer battered fish in the oven, and eat with a slight pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon, I could not help but think of the McDonald’s fish fillet sandwich.

It has been years, heck, I do not even know when, since I tried a McDonald’s fish fillet sandwich, or any sandwich from them for that matter. Now sure, I do have an occasional egg McMuffin, but even then, that is far and few. But those visions of a fish fillet sandwich, I could not shake. So, I decided to make my own version, which we all know blows McDonald’s out of the park.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz Can of cold pilsner beer
  • 2 cups Bread flour
  • 1 large fillet of cod, cut into 3 inch medallions
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Canola oil, approximately 4 cups
  • 1 sturdy sandwich roll, sliced
  • 1 cup of lettuce, thinly sliced
  • Your favorite tartar sauce, to your liking
  • 3 slices of Wisconsin cheddar cheese
  • Pickles, optional

Rinse the fillets and pat dry. In a large bowl, add roughly one cup of bread flour, or all purpose flour, and to that add one 12 oz. can of beer and stir to make a thick batter. If you want a thicker batter, add more flour. Add in a generous pinch of salt and pepper to season. This is where it gets a bit messy, so before diving in, heat a medium-sized pot with roughly four cups of oil and bring to a medium to high heat. You want the oil to reach about 375 degrees in temperature. In a separate bowl, add more flour, and season with more salt and pepper. Now it is time to get messy.

Take your dry fillet, one at a time, and place it in the batter. Carefully remove the fillet from the batter, letting any excess batter drip back into the bowl, and then place the fillet into the the bowl of seasoned flour, tossing to coat with the flour. Repeat witha  couple of more fillets. When your oil is ready, add your fillet into the hot oil and cook until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the fillets..

How to make a fish fillet sandwich

When they are golden brown, remove to a strainer lined with paper towel, season with salt, and let cool. These will be piping hot.

Now to serve as a fish fillet sandwich, take your sliced but and add a generous amount of tartar sauce to the bottom bun. Top that with the sliced lettuce. Add on your fish fillet and top the fish with the cheese. Place on the top bun, and poke a couple of pickles with a toothpick if you desire. I like the pickles as they cut through some of the flavors of the fish and balance everything out.

Well, you know what to do now. Take both hands, pick up that sandwich, and dig in. This could be one of the best fish sandwiches I have ever had. Enjoy.

Beer Battered Fish Fillet Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Forget the idea of a McDonald's fish fillet sandwich, and create your own, making it 9 times better. Yes, I said 9.
Ingredients
  • 12 oz Can of cold pilsner beer
  • 2 cups Bread flour
  • 1 large fillet of cod, cut into 3 inch medallions
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Canola oil, approximately 4 cups
  • 1 sturdy sandwich roll, sliced
  • 1 cup of lettuce, thinly sliced
  • Your favorite tartar sauce, to your liking
  • 3 slices of Wisconsin cheddar cheese
  • Pickles, optional
Instructions
  1. Rinse the fillets and pat dry. In a large bowl, add roughly one cup of bread flour, or all purpose flour, and to that add one 12 oz. can of beer and stir to make a thick batter. If you want a thicker batter, add more flour. Add in a generous pinch of salt and pepper to season. This is where it gets a bit messy, so before diving in, heat a medium-sized pot with roughly four cups of oil and bring to a medium to high heat. You want the oil to reach about 375 degrees in temperature. In a separate bowl, add more flour, and season with more salt and pepper. Now it is time to get messy.
  2. Take your dry fillet, one at a time, and place it in the batter. Carefully remove the fillet from the batter, letting any excess batter drip back into the bowl, and then place the fillet into the the bowl of seasoned flour, tossing to coat with the flour. Repeat witha couple of more fillets. When your oil is ready, add your fillet into the hot oil and cook until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the fillets..
  3. When they are golden brown, remove to a strainer lined with paper towel, season with salt, and let cool. These will be piping hot.
  4. Now to serve as a fish fillet sandwich, take your sliced but and add a generous amount of tartar sauce to the bottom bun. Top that with the sliced lettuce. Add on your fish fillet and top the fish with the cheese. Place on the top bun, and poke a couple of pickles with a toothpick if you desire. I like the pickles as they cut through some of the flavors of the fish and balance everything out.