A L L  T H E  L O C A L  N E W S,  G O S S I P,  R E C I P E S  &  L O R E  T H A T' S  F I T  T O   P R I N T

H O L I D A Y   2 0 0 8

Wickwood's Banana Cake
Our Christmas gift to you ... finally the Banana Cake Recipe.

In Wickwood's Kitchen ...


Most mornings when we serve this cake, we’re asked numerous times for the recipe. So, finally we’ve taken the time to write it down. It’s a deliciously moist cake with banana flavor that comes through loud and clear. You’ll soon understand why. It’s what we expect. Serves 18-20.

1 cup golden raisins
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup canola oil
1½ cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream
4 bananas, mashed
1 cup walnuts

Wickwood's Banana Cake

1. Soak raisins in warm water for 2 - 4 hours
2. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 10 cup bundt pan.
3. Measure flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
4. With a hand mixer, cream butter and oil together. Add sugar and continue to cream. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Beat thoroughly.
5. In a large bowl, mix sour cream, bananas and nuts and fold together by hand.
6. Add creamed butter/ sugar mixture to banana mixture. Then fold in dry ingredients until blended. Drain raisins and fold into cake batter.
7. Place batter in bundt pan, bake 35-40 minutes until golden and until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake rest ten minutes and invert onto a plate. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve warm. Wonderful topped with a dollop of softly whipped cream.

These chewy, gooey chocolate cookies were with us from day one at The Silver Palate, and then I forgot about them for about twenty five years. How could I??? They’re so scrumptious and best of all so easy!

Long ago, they were made with walnuts, but we much prefer the combination of chocolate with hazelnuts (filberts to some). And, we prefer them the size of a quarter, but find the size you like best. They’re best devoured within a couple of days, if they last that long. Makes 48.

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2¾ cups toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Hazelnut Clouds

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the cocoa powder and salt, followed by the chopped hazelnuts.
3. Add the egg whites and vanilla and beat until the batter is moistened (do not over beat or it will stiffen).
4. Spoon the batter (½ teaspoon at a time for the tiny cookies) into evenly spaced mounds, and bake 12 - 15 minutes until the tops are glossy and slightly cracked. Rotate the pans to ensure even baking. Slide the parchment paper onto cooling racks to cool completely before removing them to an airtight container or directly to a cookie plate for serving.

You don’t ever have to admit that these stunners are so simple. Just strut as you serve them! Serves 6

1½ cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
1 vanilla bean
Zest of 1 lemon, cut into fine julienne
6 large pears, peeled leaving stem on
1 pound of best quality dark chocolate
2 cups sliced almonds, toasted

"The pear is the grandfather of the apple, ... a fallen aristocrat "
Francois Pierre de la Varenne

1. Combine the sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, vanilla bean, and lemon zest in 1 quart of water in a medium sized stock pot fitted with a cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Poach the pears in the syrup, standing them upright until tender but not mushy, about 15 - 20 minutes. Baste them periodically. Let the pears cool in the poaching syrup. Place pears on paper towels to drain.
3. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt two-thirds of the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted remove it form the heat and add the remaining chocolate, incorporating it well, to temper it. Let it cool for 10 - 15 minutes. Meanwhile, using a paper towel, dry the bottom 1/3 of the pears, so that the chocolate will adhere to the pear’s surface. Leave the rest of the pear coated.
4. Place a large serving spoon under each pear and dip the entire pear into the chocolate up to the level you’ve dried. Place the pear on a plate or wax paper to let the chocolate set for 45 minutes. As it becomes tacky, but not hard, roll them gently in the toasted almonds, or affix them by hand. Serve with pride.


Salmon spoken here

We’re eating more and more wild salmon each week. We love it and it’s abundance of Omega 3 is so beneficial. These recipes are just three ways we try to keep the “variety is the spice of life” advice alive.

So simple. Serves 2-4
2 salmon fillets (1½ to  ¾ pounds), skinned and boned
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Lemon wedges

Grilled Salmon

1. Prepare a charcoal grill and place a rack 4 inches above the coals. Or, preheat the broiler.
2. Rinse the salmon fillets and pat dry. Rub with garlic on all sides, Place in a large glass dish.
3. Whisk the honey, soy sauce, and pepper flakes together. Pour over the fish and turn to coat evenly on each side. Let marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature; most of the marinade should be absorbed by the fish.
4. Remove the fish from the marinade and place in a fish basket or on foil on the broiler rack. Cook for 3- 4 minutes per side, depending on it’s thickness. Do not overcook. It should flake when pierced with a fork. Serve immediately garnished with lemon wedges.

This is very interesting combination of flavors It’s a much simplified adaptation of an old Fredy Giardet (before retirement, considered the world’s best chef) recipe. Always festive .Serves 4

½ cup currants
4 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 pounds Spanish onions
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg salt and freshly ground pepper
1 vanilla bean
4 skinned salmon fillets (about 6-8 ounces each) rinsed, and patted dry
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup finely minced fresh Italian parsley


1. Soak the currants in the brandy for about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 500° F.
3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent and soft, 15 - 20 minutes.
4. Transfer the onion to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bury the vanilla in the onion. Pour the chicken broth over the fish and bake for 5 - 7 minutes, or until just done; be careful not to overcook.
5. To served, divide the onion mixture among four heated plates, and top with the salmon fillets. Discard the vanilla bean. Garnish the plates with chopped parsley and serve immediately.


Every Holiday Season, we find ourselves making more and more of this to serve not only alongside the turkey, and the leftovers, but atop a crostini smeared with chevre for hors d’oeuvres, on a grilled cheddar sandwich, with pork roast, with game or guinea hens, or simply as a dip over cream cheese. It’s just that addictive! Serves 12

2 cups dried tart cherries
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
6 tablespoons apple juice
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped lemon zest
1 cup toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts (or black walnuts or hazelnuts)

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring well.
2. Cool the chutney to room temperature; cover tightly and refrigerate. The chutney will thicken as it cools and will keep up to two weeks, refrigerated.

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.” Samuel Pepys


Sugar and spice and everything nice!

4 cups pecan halves
● 1 cup bourbon
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 300° F
 2. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and toss until the nuts are evenly coated.
3. Transfer the nuts to a baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are crisp and golden. Transfer the nuts immediately to a plate or bowl to stop the baking process. Store in an airtight container.

Spice with more pizzaz!

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups pecan halves
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons Pimenton (smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon Tabasco
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Heat the butter in a 12“ skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and mix constantly until the nuts are taste, about 5 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and continue stirring until pecans are evenly coated. Continue cooking until fragrant, 1 - 2 minutes. Transfer pecans to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spread in a single layer, letting cool and breaking up occasionally.

Guinea Hens

Pearl guinea hens are some of the best eating around!!! Inherently juicy rich and deeply flavored with a delicate texture, this game bird is adored the world over. Heritage Foods USA is offering them for the first time this Holiday Season. The supply is limited so order early. Heritage turkeys can still be ordered. They all arrive certified with the breeder’s name and address. You’ll love them.

Great things can be expensive, yet, sometimes one special gift says more than many. This Tuscan olive oil is extraordinary! Chefs Pierre Gagnaire, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Heston Blumenthal all agree and use it in their restaurants.
Or perhaps you should just treat yourself!!! This year their Holiday Gift boxes each contain 2 bottles, one each of of Per me and Per Mio Figlio Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Tuscany at 44 euros, or if you like the Manni White Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil is 44 euros a bottle.

Manni calls their oils a decadent experience, and we agree. www.manni.biz





Wickwood Inn   |    510 Butler Street P.O. Box 1019   |   Saugatuck, MI 49453
Tel (800) 385-1174   |   
www.wickwoodinn.com    |    Bill and Julee Rosso Miller, Proprietors