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Journey to Malawi

American flavors, African roots

By Brette Ashley Jackson

In 1923, my maternal great-grandparents, Percy and Arlethia Heath, moved from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Philadelphia. Like the nearly seven million African-Americans who relocated between 1915 and 1970 during the Great Migration, they ventured there for work and a better life.

Like many before and after them, they held on to their Southern culture, most notably in the foods that they ate. New Year’s Day, for instance, was ushered in with a plate of black-eyed peas that was believed to bring prosperity. But this quintessential Southern dish is actually of African origin, and, like so many foods that hail from the South, its history is linked to the transport of Africans to the Americas.

In the introduction to High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, cookbook writer and food historian Jessica B. Harris writes about her first experience traversing the markets of West Africa, observing how familiar vegetables and fruits—okra, black-eyed peas and watermelon—made evident the connection between the foods of Africa and the foods of the descendants of Africans who were forcefully taken to the Americas centuries ago.

Her book examines the staple foods that have … Read More

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A New World Awaits at Los 3 Mangos de Michoacán

Passport, airfare not required

By David Seymour, with Joel Barrett | Photography by Peter Ringenberg    Los 3 Mangos de Michoacán
2102 W Western Avenue
South Bend, Indiana  

Succulent green foliage illuminated by a blazing sun. Perfect waves in crystal clear bodies of water. Trees and market stands showing off their colorful bounties of comestible goodness.

Not your ordinary ice cream: tickle your taste buds with mango shaved ice with spicy syrup and chile powder (shown), or goat’s milk caramel, queso (cotija cheese) or tequila ice cream.

Now that I have your attention… Make at least one local stop before planning your long-awaited escape from yet another never-ending Midwest winter. South Bend’s new Mexican ice cream shop, Los 3 Mangos de Michoacán is well worth a visit. Aptly named for a state in Western Mexico that produces the magically delicious fruit, this fabulous ice cream parlor has more than meets the eye.

On our first visit, bright lights and warm glows of color greeted Joel and me as we approached the storefront, conveniently located a few moments from downtown in the Western Avenue corridor. Not knowing what to expect, we quickly surveyed the landscape—with me in the lead because of my … Read More

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More Than Just a Coffee Break

In Sweden, fika punctuates the day

By Leah Schroeder 

Take Time to Fika

Functioning as both a verb and a noun, the concept of fika is simple. It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it. You can do it alone, you can do it with friends. You can do it at home, in a park or at work. But the essential thing is that you do it, that you make time to take a break: That’s what fika is all about.

—From Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall, available for pre-order now at www.betterworldbooks.com

Photo by Leah Schroeder.

My family and I were thrilled to find ourselves in Sweden this past summer. Besides fantastic furniture design, beautiful landscapes and friendly natives, during our three weeks in Sweden I discovered a new love of a daily Swedish ritual, fika. In Swedish, fika simply means “to drink coffee,” but it is much more than that.

I have lost track of the many times I experienced fika last summer. I enjoyed fika on a … Read More

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Chokladbollar served up at coffee break. Photo by D. Lucas Landis.

Chokladbollar

Chocolate Balls

Chokladbollar served up at coffee break. Photo by D. Lucas Landis.

Recipe by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall from Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Illustration by Johanna Kindvall.

In the Swedish kitchen you can never be afraid of butter. This recipe is all about butter … and a little chocolate. Although they are served at most Swedish cafés, chokladbollar are very popular for making at home because they are so easy. Because they’re so commonplace, you can almost judge an entire café based on the quality of its chokladbollar: A good one has a creamy chocolate texture, offset by the chewiness of the oats. Made with oats, they’re also gluten-free.

Makes 20–25 balls 

2 cups rolled oat
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
About ½ cup shredded coconut

In a food processor, pulse the oats into a coarse meal. You want just a little bit of texture, so don’t grind them all the way. If you don’t have a food processor, use the smallest oats you can find, as they are better for the final texture of the chocolate … Read More

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Jerusalem artichokes are not artichokes, but tubers in the sunflower family.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, Gratin and Purée

A ray of sunflower to brighten your plate

Jerusalem artichokes are not artichokes, but tubers in the sunflower family.

Jerusalem artichoke. Sunchoke. Sun root. Earth apple. Whatever you call it, this earthy vegetable, the tuber of a species of sunflower, is a world traveler.

Enjoyed by Native Americans long before Europeans came to this part of the world, the Jerusalem artichoke was taken to Europe in the 1700s and quickly gained popularity. (The name Jerusalem artichoke, incidentally, has nothing to do with Jerusalem. It is said to be a corruption of the Italian word for sunflower—girasole.) Jerusalem artichokes continue to be an important part of French cuisine and are used throughout Europe. They are traditionally made into a distilled spirit in Germany. More locally, look for Sunchoke Brandy from KOVAL, the Chicago-based distillery.

Jerusalem artichokes form below the soil during the summer and fall, winter over well and are plentiful at Michiana farmers markets from February through May. They cook up into velvety soups and nutty baked dishes. (Note: Jerusalem artichokes contain inulin, which some individuals find difficult to digest. Start by eating small amounts.)

Selecting: Look for firm, crisp Jerusalem artichokes with smooth skin and no black … Read More

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bunsSteps

Vetebullar

Swedish Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

Recipe by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall from Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Illustration by Johanna Kindvall.

Bullar (buns) are perhaps the quintessential component to a Swedish coffee break, and vete in Swedish means “wheat.” Vetebullar is therefore the general term for wheat-based dough that can be turned into any number of bun creations.

Kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) and kardemummabullar (cardamom buns) are common variations on this type of bun, and while the traditional “roll” form is common, there are twisted varieties as well. Typically they are baked and served in paper liners. Kanelbullar are such an iconic pastry that an entire day in Sweden is devoted to them (October 4, for those considering celebrating).

This recipe combines both filling varieties, and once you’ve mastered the dough, you can start experimenting with your own fillings. If a Swede knows one thing, it’s this:

No matter what the variation, bullar are always best fresh out of the oven, and make for a wonderful-smelling kitchen.

Makes 30 to 36 buns, or 2 lengths 

Dough

7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons … Read More

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PorkRagu

White Pork Ragù

Recipe by Brad Hindsley, Spire Farm-to-Fork (LaPorte, Indiana)

Serve this rustic ragù over your favorite pasta.

Serves 8

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, ground, to taste
⅓ cup olive oil, divided
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 celery root, chopped
8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
4 sprigs thyme
4 cups brown stock (our tester used beef stock)
2 cups white wine
1 tablespoon honey

Pat pork dry and season with kosher salt and pepper. Heat half of the oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown pork on all sides, 6–7 minutes, then transfer to paper towels to drain. Add remaining oil to the pot. Cook the onion, garlic, celery root, mushrooms and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until softened, 4–5 minutes.

Return the pork to the pot with the stock, wine and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, 3–3½ hours. Using a whisk, break up the meat in the pot. Simmer ragù, uncovered, stirring frequently, 15 minutes.

  Brad Hindsley fell in love with the beauty Read More
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Beer Spoken Here

Talking—and tasting—home brews with the Kosciusko Kettleheads

By Logan Miller | Photography by David Johnson  

When I walked into the dimly lit “Mad Room” in Mad Anthony’s Lake City Taphouse in Warsaw, Indiana, I found an almost medieval scene: 22 homebrewers at a circle of tables, each presenting a few of their creations. I had come to meet the Kosciusko Kettleheads: Warsaw’s homebrew club.

Among the homebrew community, the Kettleheads, who were founded in 2010, have a reputation for pushing the boundaries of traditional styles of beer. I quickly learned that the reputation is well deserved.

Keeping It Light

Among the homebrew community, the Kettleheads have a reputation for pushing the boundaries of traditional styles of beer.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” said Jason Rich, a founding member of the Kettleheads, as he poured me a sample of his oak-aged saison with a grin. “We pay close attention to beer quality and educating brewers who want advice, but we don’t adhere to strict beer styles or rigid guidelines.”

As I handed my own Chinook SMaSH (single malt and single hop) to Rich to be included with the tasting schedule, a few batch titles caught my eye: Rum-Soaked Oak-Aged Coconut … Read More

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salad

Salad Days

Keep fresh, green veggies on your plate all winter

By Tara Swartzendruber-Landis | Photography by D. Lucas Landis  

Fresh greens are a wonderful way to bring a fresh bite to the winter plate as well as a lighter way to eat around the holiday feasting season. Head to the market in the winter months and you will find kale, spinach, salad mix, romaine, bok choy, arugula and other fantastic varieties to liven up any winter brunch, lunch or dinner.

How to buy: Greens should be fresh looking, not wilted, and should smell fresh.

How to store: Take greens home and wash them thoroughly. Remove any wilted or decaying leaves. Dry them well. Store them covered. Greens should keep in the refrigerator for several days to a week.

Greens pair well with: anchovies, apples, bacon, basil, beets, black pepper, blueberries, cheese, chilies, coriander, corn, croutons, curry, Dijon mustard, eggs, fennel, garlic, ginger, green beans, green onions, ham, leeks, legumes, lemon juice, mushrooms, nuts, oil (olive, nut or sesame), oregano, parsley, pasta, peaches, pears, potatoes, red onion, sage, salt, seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), strawberries, sweet potatoes, tarragon, thyme, tomatoes, vinegar.

Hints for making a great salad:

• Think about your toppings and … Read More

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Barman Jason Bodley of Oak & Alley (Warsaw, Indiana) defines craft as attention to detail, creativity and constant innovation.

what is craft?

Michiana Artisans Explain What Craft
Means to Them

Barman Jason Bodley of Oak & Alley (Warsaw, Indiana) defines craft as attention to detail, creativity and constant innovation.

 

 Craft connects us with our origins—the Earth—and the people who developed and honed their abilities over time. Their skills and their knowledge and passion are passed on to us. Then we make the craft our own, combining tradition with innovation, and inspire others. Craft brings people together in the present moment to experience something, new or old, strange or subtle, but beautiful.

Those around us, our community, local and global, take part and enjoy the craft, giving purpose and drive to its existence. These connections create an experience that transcends manufacturing or business—something deeper, more real and far more interesting.

—Hans Westerink, chocolatier,
Violet Sky Chocolate, South Bend, Indiana

Craft is defined by the brewers association as small, independent and traditional. I would add that it is paramount to me that we strive to brew beers as flavor-forward as possible. We adhere to tradition, but we also buck it to push new boundaries. Craft is taking pride in your trade and striving for the highest-quality ingredients to produce an exemplary

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