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Lorine Niedecker Cookbook

May 12th marks poet Lorine Niedecker’s 111th birthday. The critically acclaimed poet spent much of her life in Fort Atkinson. Poet Emilie Lindemann tells us about one of her non-poetry works – a personal cookbook.

Photo: Friends of Lorine Niedecker


Homemade Bitters for a Holiday Tradition

The holidays are filled with traditions and returning to these traditions year after year can be one of the most comforting and memorable parts of the season. Today, Alyssa Tsagong tells us how she found a new way to be a part of an old tradition in her family. 

Judith Siers-Poisson produced this story.

Photo: Alyssa Tsagong


Grandma Truesdale’s Butternut Pie

This was the extent of what Grandma gave me more than forty years ago, when butternuts were abundant and I was a “back-to-the-lander.”  She baked pies in her woodstove, where the time and temperature were unpredictable.  A 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes worked for me. Her pie was always delicious.  Mine was too, but, alas, I was not so meticulous about removing the nutshells!  A few trees remain, without many nuts.  If you find some, dry them for a few months, cracked them with a hammer, and then very carefully separate the nuts from the shells. - Marilyn Rinehart

Grandma Truesdale’s Butternut Pie

1 cup chopped butternuts

1 cup sugar

1 cup bread crumbs

1 ¼ cup milk

A dash of nutmeg

Mix and put in an unbaked pie shell


Red Cabbage and Berry Salad

From Modern Maple by Teresa Marrone

Ever get a craving for fresh, raw, colorful vegetables and fruits that are simply prepared? Here’s the perfect fix. I came up with this combination one day when I was staring down a half of a red cabbage lurking in the crisper drawer. Suddenly I knew I wanted to combine it with blueberries and raspberries. The method just came together as I was fixing supper, and I have to say, it’s really delicious. I’m sure it’s chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants; deep purple, red, or blue foods simply radiate good health. Serves 4–5.

½  medium red cabbage (you might not need it all)

½ cup thinly sliced white onion

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 ½  teaspoons kosher salt

½-¾ orange, peeled

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons olive oil or vegetable oil (Smude Farm’s sunflower oil is very good here)

1 cup fresh blueberries

½  cup fresh raspberries, large berries halved before measuring

Cut cabbage into two quarters. Remove core from one quarter and discard, then cut the wedge crosswise into ¼-inch-wide slices. You’ll need about 3 cups of sliced cabbage, so you may also need to core and slice some of the second quarter. In a large nonreactive mixing bowl, combine sliced cabbage, onion, vinegar, and salt; stir well. Set aside at room temperature to marinate for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring several times. At the end of the marinating time, fill the bowl with cold tap water and swirl the cabbage to rinse off the salt and vinegar. Pour into a wire-mesh strainer and drain, then rinse again; let drain for 5 to 10 minutes.

While cabbage is draining, separate the orange into segments. Use your fingers to break each segment into ½-inch pieces, holding the segment over the empty mixing bowl so the juices drip into the bowl; add the orange pieces to the bowl as you go. Add syrup and oil to the bowl; stir to mix. Return drained cabbage mixture to the bowl; add blueberries and raspberries and stir gently to mix.


Duck Confit (recipe)Duck Confit

Confit was originally a method of preserving salted meat in fat; today we use the technique more for flavor than preservation, and indeed, there’s little more appetizing than a succulent leg of duck that’s been spiced, salted, and then simmered slowly in duck fat to maximum tenderness.

Making confit is not difficult, but it can be a little messy. The first thing you need is a pot of duck fat.

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Homemade Sauerkraut in Jars Kraut in Jars

This is a simple method for homemade sauerkraut in small batches. Instead of committing to a big crock full of kraut, here the cabbage is fermented in quart jars. The method of fermentation is exactly the same for cabbage, beets, and kale. With the cabbage, you can do green or red or a mix. To any of these you could also add some carrot, turnip, chili, garlic, or ginger. Some people add caraway or fennel seeds, black peppercorns, or juniper berries.

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Braised SauerkrautChoucroute Garnie

Serves 4 to 6

Humble ‘kraut simmers to magnificence with wine, stock, bacon, and aromatic vegetables and herbs.  This preparation is the basis of the famous Alsatian dish choucroute garnie, in which sauerkraut (choucroute) is “garnished” (garnie) with mounds of smoked meats and sausages. 

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Irish Nettle Soup

  • 2 cup nettles (young leaves only, no stems)
  • 4 teaspoon butter 1/2 cup Irish (steel-cut) oatmeal
  • 4 cup stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 cup milk (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg (optional)

Homemade Nettle Soup

Photo by H is for Home

Wearing gloves and using scissors, harvest fresh nettles by cutting leaves into basket, avoiding brushing plant with bare skin. Coarsely chop nettles in a food processor; if chopping by hand, wear gloves to protect against stinging. Melt butter in large saucepan, then add oatmeal and cook 5 minutes to toast it slightly. Add stock and bring to boil, then add milk if using. Bring back to boil.

Add nettles and cook 10 minutes on high. Add seasonings and serve immediately, adding a dollop of sour cream if desired. Reheats well; simmer gently on stovetop to reheat.

Serves 4.


Irish variation: add two diced potatoes to stock, cook until soft, puree before adding nettles.

Cornish nettle soup: cut up one link sausage per person; add to soup and warm thoroughly before serving.

Scottish nettle soup: simmer one each minced onion and carrot in butter; add stock and continue as above. Garnish with chives.


Patti LaBelle’s Screamin’ Mean Greens

Ingredients:Screamin' Mean Greens

  • 5 pounds assorted greens (collard, kale, mustard, and turnip greens, in any combination), tough stems discarded
  • 2 medium onions , chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 jalapenos , seeded and minced, optional
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) smoked turkey wing
  • Seasoned salt and freshly ground black pepper


Tear the greens into large pieces. Wash the greens well in a sink full of cold water. Lift the greens out of the sink and transfer to a large bowl, leaving the grit to fall to the bottom of the sink. (Be sure you get all the grit out of the greens. If necessary, wash again.) Do not drain the greens in a colander.

In a large pot, combine the onions, two cups water, oil, and jalapenos, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat. Gradually stir in the greens, allowing each batch to wilt before adding more greens. Bury the turkey wing in the greens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until the greens are tender, about 30 minutes. Do not overcook the greens or they will lose their color and fresh flavor. Remove the turkey wing. Discard the skin and bones, chop the turkey meat, and return to the pot. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the greens to a serving dish. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6

Nutritional Information:

302 calories, 14.6 grams of fat, 1.2 grams saturated fat, 54 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, 24.2 grams carbohydrates, 24.3 grams protein, 8.8 grams fiber


Nodji VanWychen’s Cranberry Wine Relish


16 oz. (4 cups) fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cup cranberry wine

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 fresh orange, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 TBS grated orange zest

½ cup chopped walnuts


Combine all ingredients except walnuts in a saucepan and stir well.  Cook over medium heat until cranberries pop open, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, skim the foam off the surface of the mixture and discard.  Stir in the chopped walnuts. 

Cool the mixture to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate.  Cranberry relish will keep for 3 months in the refrigerator, longer if frozen.


Trout Caviar

From Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager (Minnesota Historical Society Press) by Brett Laidlaw 


¼ cup trout roe

¼ tsp salt


Rinse eggs and drain in a sieve. Put the roe in a small bowl and gently mix in salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 3 to 4 hours; the salt penetrates quickly. The caviar will keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

Serve with dark bread or blini, good butter, sour cream or crème fraiche.


Roasted Beets


3 medium beets (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil


Freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a shelf in the middle. Rinse the beets and trim off any leafy tops. Wrap completely in aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip skins from the beets with a paring knife or your fingers.

Slice the beets, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Rambo Apple Crisp

Adapted from Apple: A Global History


3/4 cup all-purpose flour, leveled

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

3 pounds apples, such as Rambo, Empire, or Gala, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Topping: In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cut butter into flour, using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze mixture until large, moist clumps form. Place in refrigerator to chill while you prepare apples.

  1. Filling: In another large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Transfer to an 11 x 17-inch baking dish or other shallow 2-quart baking dish.
  2. Assemble: Remove topping from refrigerator and sprinkle on apple mixture. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden and bubbling, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8. 


Hull Corn Soup


2 cups dehydrated corn

¾ lb cooked salt pork or venison

2 cups cooked beans (red, kidney, or pinto)


Cover corn in enough water to cover and soak overnight. Pour corn in stockpot and add enough water to cover corn by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the salt pork or venison and beans. Simmer 1-2 more hours. Check frequently to make sure water covers ingredients throughout cooking process.

Serves: 12