January 22, 2017
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Items on the breakfast menu, including the calories, are posted at a McDonald's restaurant in New York. ( ap file photo )

Counting croutons: Restaurants tally items for calorie rules

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NEW YORK — How might a bread basket for the table be counted under America’s new calorie posting rules? What about seasonal items, croutons for salads, or pizza that’s cut into squares?

Restaurant and grocery chains scrambling to post calorie counts on their menus by spring have peppered the Food and Drug Administration with queries that offer a window — often complex, occasionally comic — into the ingredient riddles they are trying to solve.

One example: If a pizza chain gets pepperoni from multiple suppliers, which calorie count should be used? The FDA’s advice: Whichever is fattiest.

Winter’s bounty: Area greenhouses yield fresh heirloom vegetables

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I’m dreaming of a fresh salad...

Unless you count tomatoes brought in from sunnier climes picked way before the sun ripens them, and cucumbers from California and Mexico, Wisconsin’s winter season leaves our dinner plates pretty barren of fresh produce.

Happy New Beer! Bill Siel offers a guide to exploring new beers in the new year

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It’s a new year, so why not taste a new beer?

Perhaps you’ll taste beer in a new way while you’re at it.

Mix it up: This grain salad might be the key to healthier eating this year

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If you’re anything like the rest of us, you might tend to needlessly overcomplicate your life. You plan an elaborate dinner for a Wednesday night. You schedule a meeting across town at rush hour. With all of the small, daily challenges we face, when it comes to healthy eating, the key to success is making life as uncomplicated as possible, so that choosing the right foods is a piece of ... fruit.

You have likely seen pictures with refrigerators stacked full of organized containers and healthy weeknight meals ready to throw in a slow cooker. It’s a great idea that is probably not in the cards for most of us, but it does serve as inspiration to make one or two small changes that can drastically improve the quality of our lives and our lunches.

On all sides, Kenosha enjoys the craft beer boom

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Like the rest of America, craft brewed beer has made an impact in Kenosha and it shows no signs of retreating.

Curious about the particulars of Kenosha’s beer preferences, I set out to three geographically separate points of sale to find out more about the community’s craft tastes. I visited the beverage managers at Tenuta’s Deli, the northside Piggly Wiggly and Woodman’s.

Turkey with a twist: Try brining, flavor injection or grilling as you prepare your holiday bird

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Roast turkey is a special meal, but by Christmas it can seem like enough already.

By the second round of holiday dinner preparation, many start looking for something different to do.

Here comes Samichlaus! Festive beer brewed just once a year

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Santa Claus arrives only once each year and the same goes for Samichlaus beer.

Named after the jolly old elf himself, it’s brewed just once each year on Dec. 6 to commemorate St. Nicholas Day, while on that same date, the previous year’s batch is released.

One sweet, one savory: Easy recipes for delicious food gifts

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It always feels nice to give a gift that’s homemade. You’ve put time, energy and thought into creating something special.

But how many people really have time to toil in the kitchen making individually glazed and decorated Christmas cookies?

A new look at sweet potatoes: Versatile veggies are colorful, healthful

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From Thanksgiving until Christmas, sweet potatoes will be a featured item on many a menu. With stores currently stocking several varieties of sweet potatoes, it seems like a good time to get to know those large, curiously shaped potato-like veggies.

The term “potato-like” is apt because although they both grow underground, botanically speaking sweet potatoes and white potatoes are not in the same family. Where white are related to tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, sweet potatoes are in the family of flowering morning glory vines.

No thanks, turkey! This year, make roast chicken or pork your holiday centerpiece

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Time to get real, people, and own up to Thanksgiving’s dirty little secret. That 20-pound bird you spend so much time fretting over and slave to get in the oven? Um, nobody loves it.

Your family might like it well enough to eat it at your holiday dinner, so long as there’s a boat full of gravy within reaching distance or a big jar of mayo in the fridge for the next day’s sandwiches.

How to make the world’s best waffles

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We all know that superlatives have lost whatever meaning they ever had (thanks, internet!). But we can also all agree that waffles are one of the reasons it’s good to be alive. And I’m prepared to stand behind the assertion that the recipe here produces the world’s best waffles.

The batter must be made 12 to 24 hours in advance, which requires thinking, “Do I want the world’s best waffles tomorrow?” (Answer: YES.) If it seems a bit inconvenient at the time, wait until the next morning, when your genius forethought means all you have to do is plug in the wafflemaker, take the batter out of the fridge, stir and — waffles.

A Cascade of flavors to savor

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Some beers are hard to describe quickly and naming them can be equally challenging.

I was a bit unprepared for the surprises awaiting me the first time I opened a bottle from Cascade Brewing Company in Portland, Ore.

Hunting for your dinner: Experts offer tips for cooking wild game

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As the chill of fall advances, Wisconsin hunters are taking to the woods and marshes, returning home with deer, elk, geese, ducks and pheasants.

An abundance of wild meat means hunters and their families are continually finding ways to preserve, cook and enjoy it.

Pumpkin takes a walk on the savory side

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It’s hard to make it through fall without stumbling over a bright orange pumpkin, but that doesn’t mean many end up on your dinner plate. Besides the ubiquity of pumpkin pie, most pumpkins end up as decorative items — carved up as jack o’ lanterns or displayed as some colorful harvest scene. This is a shame, because they are extremely versatile in the kitchen, working well in both savory and sweet dishes.

You just need to make sure to buy the right kind. Avoid the enormous basketball-size pumpkins used for carving, because they are fibrous and flavorless. Instead, look for what are referred to as pie pumpkins (or sugar pumpkins), which are smaller — usually about 2 pounds. When cooked, the flesh becomes tender and sweet, which pairs extremely well with these creative recipes.

An apple for everyone

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Comparing apples to apples is more complicated than the idiom suggests.

In fact, the fruit is multifaceted and complex. There are about 7,500 varieties of apples grown around the world, and 2,500 varieties just in the United States.

Beers to you: Passing years improve these beers

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Have you ever had the opportunity to sample a 30-year-old beer?

It’s quite an experience.

Cooking with confidence: Class builds on basics, sharpens technique

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The other day I made Broccoli Cheddar Soup. The right way.

Using several new techniques picked up in a cooking class this summer, my onions were chopped efficiently and evenly and sweated to perfection. My roux was smooth and the resulting soup was a winner with my family.

Pop goes the flavor: Crunchy treats for the fall season

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Popcorn, much like fall, is a crunchy treat.

And it’s even more of a treat when you pop it up with the flavors of the season — Halloween and football-friendly flavors like pumpkin spice, peanut butter and honey, white chocolate and candy corn, Buffalo Ranch, bacon Parmesan.

Beers to You: The changing flavors of Oktoberfest

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It’s that time of year when Wisconsin doesn’t mind misspelling October, especially on beer labels.

Yes, it’s the heart of Oktoberfest season even though most of it is in September. The holiday opens on the third weekend of September and closes on the first weekend in October — a move made long ago in favor of milder weather.

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