Tag Archives: tomatoes

Wolf Peach: Milwaukee, WI

5 Dec
by Deanne

Wolf Peach: Milwaukee, WI

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Steve and I went to Milwaukee. Our goal was to volunteer at Will Allen’s urban farm called Growing Power.  

Before our journey, I researched a variety of good options for locally sourced food.  The restaurant that captured my attention was Wolf Peach.  The unusual name that tells a story.  According to their website, the scientific name for tomato translates, literally:  Wolf Peach. 

Photos of Wolf Peach, Milwaukee
This photo of Wolf Peach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

A quote from the executive chef explains the concept further:

I love the idea of turning peasant food into something that people love. Nothing overworked. Nothing crazy. Just really good food.” – Chef Dan Jacobs

Peasant food is something Steve has been talking about for awhile now, so I figured this was our chance to see how one restaurant interprets the concept.

Review: (Real Local Cooking’s criteria)
Localness: 4

Local ingredients are the whole premise of the restaurant. It appears, by reading articles in the press, that they preserve tomatoes for use in dishes served this time of year.  Many dishes have tomatoes incorporated into them in some form.  According to the article I read, the restaurant has a farm in Sheboygan County, where they grow their own produce.   If you are looking for meat that is raised on local farms, they mention Yuppie Hill Farms and Hometown Sausage Kitchen.

Flavour: 5

The two of us shared a total of three small plates and one dessert.  For a starter, we had a chickpea bruschetta, with preserved lemon, garlic, and chile.  It was very good and my first time to taste preserved lemons.  The flavor drew out my curiosity without overpowering my senses.  

The next item was pan seared shishito peppers with romesco.  When I got home I looked up romesco and discovered it is a sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, roasted pepper, and nuts.  I think it also contained smoked paprika.  When ordering I asked about shishito peppers.  The wait person explained that they are mostly mild but that eating them would be a bit like playing Russian Roulette, because every once in a while a person gets a very hot pepper.  We avoided the lurking loaded cylinder because all  the peppers on our shared plate were pleasantly mild. 

The final small plate was wood-roasted broccoli, apricot with calabrian chile and almonds.  This dish took the flavor scale over the top.  We soured to new heights of broccoli love.  Who knew broccoli could taste so good?

For dessert we had an excellent, but maybe just a tad too sweet rice pudding.

Photos of Wolf Peach, Milwaukee

Pleasant Surprise: Yes

The decor was a pleasant surprise.  It is rustic with rough woods elements and community high top tables.  That goes with the peasant food theme. But just when I thought I had the decor figured out, I turned to see a crystal chandelier hanging above our table.  It is whimsical and makes me think the peasants stole a chandelier from a nearby manor house.

This photo of Wolf Peach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Comfort+Coziness = The C factor: 5

When I arrived Friday night without a reservation, I was prepared to be turned away because the place was buzzing.  The host was very helpful.  He invited me to go downstairs and decide if we would want to sit at the bar but order the full dinner menu.  When I checked it out and suggested Steve park the car, I wondered if the downstairs host might have other opinions about the two of us showing up.  She was equally friendly and suggested we sit at a community table.  We joined a table with seven diners as our wait person arrived.  She was helpful by explaining their service concept of “Como Viene” which means “as it comes.” The food and conversation flowed which made for a fun evening.

Overall Rating: 14+

There are a lot of farm-to-table or locally sourced options in Milwaukee.  I am sad that I didn’t get to try more, based on our time frame.  However, I am supremely happy with our whimsically romantic evening of good food and lovely laid back service at Wolf Peach.  The affordable pricing for ample small-plate portions that can be shared by two or more diners. If you are dining with people who choose different types of diets, there is plenty to choose from for all: vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters.

Wolf Peach on Urbanspoon

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Quick Garden Tour: Early October

8 Oct
by Deanne

Photo of October Garden Tour

In the spirit of our summer-long monthly garden tours, I took a picture the other morning that says a lot about the state of our garden.

Photo Seven Sheets of Tomatoes

Today, Steve decided to bring all the tomatoes inside. Now we have seven baking sheets of tomatoes spread out in various stages of ripeness.

Last year green tomato time didn’t happen until the end of the month. 

Hmm…I wonder if I should make Rescue Me Pie again this year?

Or how about muffins with green tomatoes?

Hmmm….I think I remember Francine mentioning that she made a Green Tomato Soup.

How is your garden doing? Do you have any green tomatoes?

Home Sweet Tomato

26 Sep
by Deanne

Like most gardeners who travel in late summer, we returned home to the reality of lots and lots of tomatoes. 

Thanks to my in-laws, the tomatoes were already picked and ready to be processed.   They where even so kind as to cover our raised beds for a few chilly Minnesota nights while we were away.

Photo of Tomatoes Waiting to Be Processed

Here is what we found in our commercial kitchen’s walk-in cooler.

My mother in-law shared an idea from a blog called Squash House Quilts.

It includes four simple steps: 

1. Washing

2. Cutting

3.  Roasting – include a drizzle of olive oil and garlic and salt and pepper, roast in 350 oven for about two hours

4. Blending- add some fresh basil.  (I forgot the basil but it was still good)

Check out the original post with beautiful pictures.

Photo of Tomatoes for Roasting

Photo of Roasted Tomatoes

Hmm….what should I make with my sauce?Photo of tomatoes in blender

Fiery Corn and Black Bean Salsa

3 Sep
by Deanne

Yesterday in our garden tour  post, we showed pictures of our abundant tomatoes.  Here’s a delicious way to use them up and practice your knife skills at the same time! In his most recent GamerKitchen episode, Luke makes a great tasting salsa that can double as a snack or dinner-sized salad.

Luke used one Serrano pepper – the heat was just right, but I’m sure one jalapeno would be good too.

What heat level do you think you’ll choose?

Garden Tour: Late August 2012

2 Sep
by Deanne

Wow!   We can’t believe it is time to share another garden tour I am excited to get this posted today because it is Francine’s birthday and she loves to see what is happening in Minnesota.  While she is enjoying the historic places in England…she often mentions missing the Minnesota sunshine.  Happy birthday to my lovely daughter, Francine!

During August we were able to plant a few crops for the fall growing season.

Photo of Garden in Late AugustOur new plants include snow peas, lettuce, spinach, and turnips which we planted for the greens. Since this was a last minute decision, we bought the new seeds for ten cents at the local farm and garden store instead of the Henry Field’s seed catalog like we used when we did our winter planning. The seeds were left over from this spring but if they don’t work out, we don’t have a lot invested.  So far all are looking good.

However, we are still getting plenty of bounty from our summer crops!

Green Peppers + Tomatoes = Salsa

Photo of Tomatoes

We look forward to using our salsa in upcoming FarmerChef recipes when the growing season comes to an end.

Photo of pepper plant

Photo of yellow squash

We haven’t tried it yet, but we’ve read that it is possible to eat squash blossoms. 

Have you tried that before?

Photo of our fall spinach crop

Photo of new little sprouts

Do you plant new seeds for the fall growing season?

(Another BIG thanks to Luke for taking the photos.)

Garden Veggie Indian Dish: A FarmerChef Takes On New Flavors

24 Aug
by Deanne

After a busy week of cooking the final meals for customers at our restaurant, we closed down restaurant operations on Sunday.  When the clock struck 9pm, we were tired but uplifted because of the overwhelming support from the community during the past week.

The following day Steve and I celebrated our freedom in the most American of ways – we took a road trip!  We headed south to Des Moines, Iowa to visit Steve’s sister and her family. After a pleasant afternoon visit with family, we ate at an Indian Restaurant we scoped out earlier that day via online reviews.  We have had very little experience eating Indian cuisine in the past, but we’ve been intrigued by the cuisine due to it’s reliance on vegetables and plant-based proteins, perfect for the budding FarmerChef! Needless to say, our dining experience sparked an even greater flurry of interest towards Indian flavors.

In our research after the fact, we found a website about herbs and a terrific explanation of  the confusion I have personally experienced over the term“curry.”  For example the term actually comes from a southern Indian word, kari, which means sauce. When our world traveler daughter, Francine, returned from a trip to India last year, she tried to explain that curry is a word used to describe a sauce rather than a distinct herb.  

A few days later Steve, expressing his passion for combining flavors and ingredients, came up with this surprisingly simple and tasty dish.  It’s loaded with veggies from our garden and carries an enormous amount of flavor too! It also has protein from three difference sources – chickpeas, peas, and tofu. For those of you who are concerned about the spice, don’t worry, this is a mild curry (sauce).


Garden Veggie Indian Dish

makes 4 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 carrots, coined
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 can chick peas (15.5 ounce)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 package firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 5 scallions
Directions:

Dice the carrots, onion, green pepper, garlic, ginger, cucumber, and tomatoes and keep in separate piles before starting to cook.

Heat skillet or pan over medium heat, add canola oil and carrots.  Saute until they start to soften.

Add onions and green pepper and sweat until softened.

Add ginger, garlic, tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes start to break down.

Pour the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. (Add water or soy milk to thin if needed.)

Return mixture to pan and add drained chick peas, peas and curry powder.  Stir to heat.  Adjust for salt depending on your tastes.  (1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp)

Add cucumber and tofu at the last minute and serve the dish over rice of your choice and garnish with cilantro and scallions.

The dish is easy to make and this time of year it is a novel way to use tomatoes and cucumbers which are abundant.   I didn’t even know there were tomatoes in the dish till Steve wrote up the recipe!

What is your experience with Indian cuisine and curries?

Have you ever chosen not to eat a dish because of popular culture?

Chicken Cacciatore: Don’t Let This Dish Pass You By

15 Jan
by Deanne

If you are not from an Italian family, you might have missed this dish. Steve and I prepared it for the family, and I was the only one who’d had it before.  I made it once as a teenager…that must have been back when I was fairly certain I’d marry an Italian. ;)

It’s a hearty, but not heavy, meal for a cold winter’s night.  It’s a great way to use some of the summer veggies you stored from your garden or the farmer’s market: tomatoes, green or red peppers, carrots, and garlic.  We used the tomatoes that we put in the freezer at the end  summer.A photo of summer tomatoesWe adapted several recipes, but below is the basic recipe from my 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking

Our adaptations:

  • We added green peppers and roasted the mushrooms. 
  • We used red wine instead of white wine.
  • We seasoned with fresh oregano and basil instead of the spices listed in the recipe.

Chicken Cacciatore is a versatile dish because even with our recipe adaptations and changes it was still very satisfying.

Chicken Cacciatore or Hunter’s Chicken

from the Joy of Cooking

Cut a 4lb. chicken into individual pieces

Dredge with 2-3 tablespoons flour

Sauté until golden in 1/4 cup olive oil with

  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 minced garlic

Add:

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet marjoram
  • 1/2 to 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or 1/4 cup Muscatel

Simmer the chicken covered with vegetables and spices for 1 hour or until tender.  Serve with boiled pasta or sautéed new potatoes.

We’d love to hear if you have our own version of Chicken Cacciatore or enjoy this dish as a family tradition.