It’s been quiet over here on the blog front. We’ve been in the midst of summer, happily enjoying visits from out-of-town friends, swimming, cooking and of course eating delicious meals together. My sister had a beautiful baby girl. YAY! Most recently, we were in Minnesota visiting family and took a little road trip to Madison, Wisconsin.
Madison is a lovely college town, home to University of Wisconsin. It is situated between Lakes Mendota and Lake Monona. We stayed at a charming B&B with a garden view, located within a ten-minute walk to the State Capitol.
Madison is a big foodie town. It is home to Willie Street Cooperative, www.willystreet.coop, a market full of organic fruits and vegetables which is very reminiscent of our markets back in Berkeley.
Madison is also famous for the Dane County Farmer’s Market, www.dcfm.org, held in the square grounds surrounding the State Capitol. The market attracts hundreds of people and vendors, operating since 1972. I was inspired by all the local produce and even more pleased to see the number of people buying and supporting Midwest farmers.
The stands at the Saturday Farmer’s Market are set up in a circular pattern around the State Capitol.
If you are visiting Madison and get a chance to visit the Dane County Farmer’s Market, please say hello to Felix at Capri Cheese, www.capricheese.com. His cheese is made from goat and sheep’s milk. His feta cheese is so soft with the perfect hint of tanginess. His other hard cheeses are aged and taste delicious served over pasta or eaten with fruit and crackers. Felix is a lovely man whose story is even more interesting. He started his cheese making when his son was born because he was having a difficult time gaining weight and digesting cow’s milk. A friend suggested goat’s milk. His son was better able to digest the milk and quickly gained weight. So Felix purchased some goats and that is the beginning of Capri Cheese!
We also took a drive out to the country to visit Rainbow Fleece Farm, www.rainbowfleecefarm.com located in New Glarus, Wisconsin. It is a domestic fair trade farm with over twenty acres of land where lamb, chickens and turkeys are raised with sustainable practices. Animals have access to fresh air and sunshine; grass-based, free-range; no antibiotics or hormones are used. We came home with pasture-raised eggs and ground lamb which we turned into lamb burgers for dinner.
There is always that small period of time in between seasons where it is no longer summer and not quite autumn. Time stands still and yet you can feel summer’s magic hand waving goodbye to longer days, children swimming and warm weather.
As I pass one of the final stalls at the market, I notice the last of the watermelon shines brightly on the bottom of the crate. What perches above it, waiting patiently are the broccoli, carrots and beets waiting for their earthy debut into fall. Just in time for harvests of squash and pumpkin to be wonderfully transformed into soup, pumpkin bread and other endless possibilities. All of which have their own sweetness too.
Sweet corn is abundant these days in the Midwest. There are so many options when it comes to cooking with corn. Cornbread is such a summer staple. It’s great served as a side with grilled sausages for an easy weeknight meal. We also love it with roasted tomato soup.
Free from: tree nuts, peanut, sesame, soy
Adapted from Melissa Clark, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup millet seed
- 1 cup full fat yogurt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup olive oil or avocado oil
Preheat oven to 375.
Whisk in a large bowl; cornmeal, flours, baking powder, salt, and millet seed. In another bowl, whisk together; yogurt, buttermilk, honey, eggs, oil & baking soda.
Gently fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined. Do not over-mix.
Heat a lightly oiled 9-inch cast iron pan on the stove top for a few minutes. Pour in batter and smooth out top.
Bake until top is golden and toothpick is inserted into center and comes out clean about 25-30 minutes. The crust should be crisp and golden.