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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 flower_pot.jpg (1947 bytes)  W I N T E R   2 0 0 6

Wickwood's evening cheese board

In Wickwood's Kitchen ...


The Swiss learned long ago how to warm the cockles of your heart after a day outdoors. Dipping forks communally into a fondue pot is great for conversation and stimulating conversations about the 60’s.

12 cloves of roasted garlic
1½ dry white wine
Juice of two lemon
16 ounces Gruyere cheese
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper
Grated nutmeg, don't be shy
Wooden skewers for the garnished

1. With a fork crush the roasted garlic cloves into pieces and place in a saucepan. Add the wine and lemon juice. Heat for 2 minutes. Cut the cheese into small cubes and add to the saucepan. Cook the mixture for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly until cheese completely melts.

2. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the cheese and whisk it in. Stir the cheese mixture and continue to cook for 3 minutes.

3. Season the fondue with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

4. Place fondue in a flameproof dish over a small candle with the platter of garnishes including:
• 1” cubes of a variety Artisanal Breads
• Roasted New Potatoes quartered
• Dried sausage or ham cut into bite sized chunks
• Broccoli or cauliflower florets
• Cooked Baby Carrots
• Grilled steak or lamb cubes
• Grilled chicken cubes
• Asparagus Spears
• Pretzel Sticks

Note: For Gorgonzola Cheese Fondue – simply add 4-8 ounces (to taste) of crumbled gorgonzola – and stir until melted.

Yields 3 cups

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Winter Comfort Food – of the finest pedigree. We love this crunchier Cheddar version. Once you’ve tasted this classic you may want to up the ante or the cayenne – and/or more importantly use some of your favorite artinsale semi-hard cheeses – manchego, smoked gouda, monetary dry jack, aged goat cheese, or Romano. Be creative

3 tablespoons butter
12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
12 ounces American cheese or cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1 pound elbow pasta, boiled in salted water until just tender, drained, and rinsed under cold water
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
⅔ cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano



Goat Cheese


1. Heat oven to 375°. Use one tablespoon butter to thickly grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Combine grated cheddar cheeses and set aside two heaping cups for topping

2. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, cheeses, cayenne (if using) and salt to taste. Place in prepared pan and evenly pour milk over surface. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top, dot with remaining butter and bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Pour heavy cream evenly over macaroni and cheese. Grated Parmesan on top. Raise heat to 400° and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until crusty on top and bottom.

Yield: 8 servings


We start with a yellow cake that’s been our favorite for years. It’s light and moist and works every time. Then we top it with a Bittersweet Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge Frosting – what could be better.

2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dry white wine
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose
½ teaspoon salt
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour muffin tins or use paper cupcake liner.

2. Beat sugar and eggs together, using an electric mixer, for 30 seconds on medium speed. Add oil, wine, flour, salt, baking powder and vanilla; beat for 1 minute.

3. Pour batter into the prepared pans. Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until cake has pulled away from sides of pan and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes. Turn them out on rack and let cool before frosting with Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge Frosting.

Yield: 18 cupcakes

A very sophisticated frosting.

1¼ cups shelled hazelnuts
2 tablespoons brandy
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate,
   coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons brewed coffee
Pinch of sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter,
   cut into small pieces

1. Roast hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a 350°F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until their skins have loosened. Remove from oven and rub between towels to remove skins.

2. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and run machine until nuts begin to form a paste, like peanut butter in texture.

3. Scrape paste into a bowl and add brandy. Let sit for 20 minutes. (Can be prepared in advance and refrigerated. Let return to room temperature before proceeding with recipe).

4. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate until smooth. Remove from the heat and with rubber spatula, stir in 2 or 3 pieces of butter at a time. Gently add the hazelnut/brandy mixture, combining until smooth. Let frosting stand until spreadable and frost cupcakes. If you have any left over, please refrigerate and eat by the spoonful. Remelt in a small pan and use to top ice cream, or often (on the counter) and spread on toast. You’ll thank me.

The Melting Pot
In the Swiss Alps, the tastiest aprés ski option is the classic gooey fondue.   Tradition says that if a woman loses a morsel while she’s dipping into the fondue pot, she has to kiss someone at the table, while a man must buy a bottle of wine.  We think this is true etiquette!!

Chocolate Heaven

There are just classic flavors that when combined become something magical. To me dark, bittersweet chocolate and hazelnut is just that. I’m addicted. While some are fond of Nutella (French school children and adults crave it on a baguette) which is available in most US supermarkets.. Some are hooked on the Italian gianduja cream (Zingermans). I like them all! That’s why long ago we created The Silver Palate Chocolate Hazelnut Cake in the original and today we serve Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroons at the Inn. Pace yourself. I haven’t. I may have to start a twelve step program.

Sea Salt

So much has been written about chef’s secret sea salt, in recent years. I’m surprised that many home cooks have still not incorporated sea salts into their pantries. Do yourself a favor and try them – you’ll notice a world of difference at your table.

There are numerous kinds formed naturally on the many beaches of the world. Of course, the sea gris and the fleur de sel of Normandy, Brittany and the Isle of Ré are most well known from France – and the light crystals of Malden from England – but then there are Sicilian Sea Salt, Hawaiian pink, kefir lime and coconut, and cinnamon smoked from Bali. Black smoked, Brazilian, Pink Murray River from Australia and on and on. They are available at the Saugatuck Spice Merchants (saugatuckspicemerchants.com) and at specialty food shops.

A note: If you’re like I am (primarily, for health reasons) – always hesitant to rely too much on salt as many chefs do in cooking to intensify natural flavors, I use salt solely for its own flavor. That means sprinkling it lightly on some foods at the table – eggs, lamb chops and steak, some vegetable dishes – I generally rely on freshly ground pepper and the salt sparingly but when I do, I want it to add its mild and crisp sparkle.

The interesting sea salts available now – create a new taste dimension of flavor. It’s well worth spending the time to find the ones you enjoy!!


Fleur de sel, the mineral-rich and intensely flavored crystals that form on the surface of shallow beds filled with seawater, has made a comeback in recent years. Salt has always been a subtle, but important, ingredient for caramels, balancing their sweetness.

About 50 pieces

Flavorless vegetable oil for the
1½ cups (10½ ounces)
   granulated cane sugar
½ Tahitian vanilla bean, split
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy whipping
2 tablespoons (1⅓ ounces by
   weight) light corn syrup
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) unsalted
   butter with 82% butterfat,
½ teaspoon Fleur de sel in fine
Tempered 61% to 70% chocolate
   if dipping Fleur de sel in fine
   grains for finishing confections
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate


1. Line the bottom of an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat the paper and the sides of the pan with flavorless vegetable oil.

2. Put the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Use an unlined copper pot if you have one. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pot. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sugar melts. Then continue to cook, without stirring, until the sugar turns dark amber, 5 to 6 minutes. To check the color, dab a small amount of the syrup on a white plate. If any crystals form on the sides of the pan as the sugar darkens, wash them down with a wet pastry brush.

3. While the sugar is cooking, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar is the correct shade, stir in the corm syrup. Remove the opt from the hear and put a sieve or splatter guard over it. Wearing an oven mitt, slowly pour the hot cream into the sugar syrup a little at a time. The mixture will sputter and foam. Be careful, as it is very hot.

4. When the bubbling subsides, return the pan to medium heat and cook undisturbed until the mixture registers 252°F. on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, immediately add the butter, and stir with the wooden spoon. Add the salt and stir until evenly distributed.

5. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and let cool at room temperature.

6. Invert the pan of cooled caramel onto a work surface. Peel off the parchment paper. If you dipping the caramels in chocolate, line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a ruler as a guide, cut the caramel square into 1-inch squares with a lightly oiled knife. Temper the bittersweet chocolate and then dip the squares. Place them on the prepared pan. Sprinkle each square with a few grains of fleur de sel before the chocolate sets. When the chocolate has set, store caramels in a cool, dry place, not in the refrigerator.
* by Michael Recchiuti "Chocolate Obsession".

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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