Wickwood Inn Notebook recipes
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  A N D  L O R E  T H A T' S  F I T  T O   P R I N T Topiary S P R I N G  2 0 0 9

"Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler."
Albert Einstein

We’re simply bursting to make our version of Michael Bras’ glorious ” Gargouillou” (gar-gu-YU) at Wickwood. It is the iconic celebration of Spring fields in full, rich flower. An entire field from Nature on a plate and an inspiration for every cook.

In Wickwood's Kitchen ...

We are all eating healthier these days, but sometimes you need something comforting, a taste treat, that gives you the gumption to stay “on track” for the long haul. Sausage, cheese, butter, intense tomato flavors, and chocolate are some of our favorite indulgences.

 "A recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation."     Madame Jehane Benoit


When we’re dependent on grocery store tomatoes, we like to always have Roma’s on the windowsill. Many feel that they don’t ripen but au contraire, to our mind. They redden, sweeten and soften after three or four days in the sunshine. If we really want to intensify their flavor, we’ll quarter them, drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, and roast for 30-40 minutes at 400. That said, this brings sunshine to cloudy days, especially atop a few buttered noodles.

• 1½ pounds sweet Italian sausage
• 1½ pounds hot Italian sausage
• ¼ cup best-quality olive oil
• 1 large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
• 2 yellow or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
• 8 fresh Italian plum tomatoes, quartered
• 1 cup favorite Tomato Sauce
•  cup dry red wine
• ½ cup minced fresh Italian parsley
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• ¼ teaspoon Pimenton or smoked Paprika (optional)

1. Cut the sausages into ½ inch slices. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat and add the sausage. Cook stirring occasionally, until the sausage pieces are well browned, perhaps periodically covering them.
2. Add the onion and garlic and cook another 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer the meat mixture to a deep casserole.
3. Set the casserole over medium heat and add the peppers. Cook, stirring until the peppers are slightly wilted, about 7 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine and parsley and season. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Taste, add Pimenton, correct seasoning, and serve immediately sprinkled with chopped parsley atop noodles or rice, or a mess of greens.


This is a great basic white lasagna to which you may add a little pesto, chicken, sautéed vegetables, as you like. When there is no tomato sauce, the other flavors, particularly the cheese shine through. With no-boil lasagna this has become one of our weekday dinners. Serves 6

• 1 cup minced shallots, about 9
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
• 3¾ cups whole milk
• 1 cup rich chicken broth or store bought
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• ½ cup dry Marsala
• ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1½ cups grated Gruyere
• 12 (7x3 inch) Barilla no boil egg lasagna sheets

1. Preheat oven to 350°F placing rack in middle
2. Cook shallots in butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, 3-4 minutes.
3. Add nutmeg, then slowly whisk in milk and broth. Bring to a boil, whisking, then simmer, stirring occasionally, just until sauce lightly coats the back of the spoon, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to warm. Add eggs, Marsala, sea salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and ½ cup cheese.
4. Spread about 1¼ cups sauce over bottom of an 8x8 inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of 3 lasagna sheets. Repeat layering 3 more times, and then top with sauce and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until browned 45-55 minutes. Serve immediately.

"Everything in a pig is good. What ingratitude has permitted his name to become a term of opprobrium?"
Grimod de la Reyniere


This old Silver Palate favorite is a great Saturday lunch or simple mid-week supper. Serves 4

• 2 fat, long loaves French bread
• 8 ounces bulk spicy pork sausage
• 8 ounces ground beef chuck
• 1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
• Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cut off the ends of the loaves and hollow out the core of the loaves with your fingers. Process the soft bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade to coarse crumbs. Reserve the bread ends.
3. Lightly brown the sausage in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and onion and cook until the beef is lightly browned, just having lost its rosy color.
4. Combine the bread crumbs, meat mixture, egg, mustard, parsley, fennel, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Spoon the mixture into the bread shells; attach the bread ends with small skewers.
5. Melt the butter over medium heat and stir in the garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds, then brush the loaves with the garlic butter and wrap in separate pieces of aluminum foil. Bake until heated through, 15-20 minutes. Cut into 1-inch slices or larger as you wish and serve with a variety of mustards and chutneys.


This is one of the signature dishes at The Spotted Pig in NYC and we repeatedly order it. It’s rich, so just a few with a big arugula salad more than satisfy. Our version serves 4-6.

• 2 cups whole milk ricotta (fresh is best)
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 1½ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
• ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• 24 fresh sage leaves

1. Stir together the ricotta, eggs, 1 cup cheese, nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Add flour stirring to form a soft, wet dough.
2. Shape dough on a lightly floured surface with floured hands into 2, 1inch thick ropes. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces with a lightly floured knife. Set aside in 1 layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.
3. Bring 6 quarts of water, with 2 tablespoons of salt, to a boil. Cook gnudi a few at a time stirring occasionally until cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Lift out with slotted spoon and drain in colander.
4. Meanwhile, melt butter and sage in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium low heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Toss gnudi with brown butter and sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately. Sublime.


Springtime always makes us think of New Orleans ... Mardi Gras, The Heritage Festival, and strolling along Royal Street at sunset with the air filled with a different fragrant kitchen aroma every few feet. This is easy cooking, casual like the city itself. If you have sausage, you add it, or chicken, or shrimp, or zucchini ... just go with the flow. Serves 6.

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
• 3 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 teaspoons Tabasco
• 1½ cups chopped yellow onions
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 6 cloves garlic, peeled
• 1 cup seeded and chopped red bell pepper
• ¾ cup seeded and chopped canned tomatoes
• 4 cups chicken broth
• ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
• 1 cup thinly sliced green onions, green and white parts
• 2 cups brown rice

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Season the ribs with 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon Tabasco. Cook, covered until well browned on all sides, about 45 minutes. Be careful turning the meat watching for spatters.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ribs to a bowl and drain off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat in the pot. Add the onions and sauté, scraping the brown bits off the bottom, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and ribs to the pot and cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Pour in the broth and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes more. Stir in the parsley, green onions, rice, the remaining salt, black pepper and Tabasco. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, over low heat until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered for 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Lip smacking allowed.


This past Christmas, The Women of Wickwood had great fun baking for two days and sending off 40 Christmas boxes to Company A, First Platoon in Iraq. We were afraid that we might get arrested by the Booze Police for sending this, but nope, and, clearly, it was their favorite. It’s no wonder as it’s so chocolaty and moist and not shy on bourbon ... a real keeper.

• 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened. More for greasing pan
• 2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting pan
• 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, good quality
• ¼ cup instant espresso powder
• 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup bourbon and more for dousing
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• Confectioner’s sugar or softly whipped cream for garnish

1. Butter and flour a 10 cup Bundt pan. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Over simmering water, melt chocolate. Let cool.
3. Put espresso and cocoa powders in a 2-cup (or larger) glass measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to come to the 1 cup measure. Mix until powders dissolve. Add whiskey and salt, and let cool.
4. Using an electric mixer, butter until fluffy. Add sugar and cream until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla, baking soda and melted chocolate, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
5. On low speed, beat in a third of the whiskey mixture. When liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup flour. Repeat, ending with whiskey mixture. Scrape batter into Bundt pan and smooth top. Bake until cake tester comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Transfer cake to rack, unmold after 15 minutes and sprinkle warm cake with more Bourbon. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. YUM.

Note: We like Ghirardelli 60% or 70% cacao for baking.

"Looks may be deceiving. It's eating that's believing!"
James Thurber


We’ve been obsessed (there’s no other word) by these little chocolate marvels, shaped like corks, since first tasting them sitting at the Bouchon bar in Yountville, years ago. They were simply the richest chocolate brownielike morsels ever.

Over the years, we never made them, though the recipe is in Keller’s cookbook simply because I needed the proper pan. Now all of that has changed.

On a recent trip to NYC we stopped into Williams Sonoma and there, just below an annex of The Bakery, staring us in the face, was Keller’s “Bouchon Bakery Chocolate Bouchon Mix” and The Pan.

This wasn’t a time to hesitate about “a cake mix” ... rather, we snatched up both. The result utterly fantastic!! We encourage you to order immediately. You’ll thank me ... but more importantly, kudos to Thomas Keller!! www.williamsonoma.com


"Less is more."
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

• Butter and Flour for the molds (1 ½" diameter bouchon molds or 2 ½" timbale molds)
• ¾ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Guittard if possible)
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 3 large eggs
• ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 24 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and just slightly warm
• 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
• Confectioner’s sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour the molds. Set aside
2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using handheld mixer, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes until very pale in color. Add the vanilla. On low speed, add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then one-third of the butter, and continue alternating until well mixed. Fold in the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
4. Place the bouchon molds or timbales on a baking sheet. Carefully fill each mold to about ¾ full. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. When the tops look shiny and set (like a brownie) test with a toothpick. It should come out clean but not dry (remember there’s melted chocolate chips inside). Transfer to a cooling rack and after several minutes, invert the molds and let them cool upside down, then lift off.
5. To serve invert the bouchon, dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve with whipped or ice cream. They are at their very best eaten within 30 minutes to 4 hours. Heaven.

*Bouchon Cookbook (published by Artisan)


Our collective passion continues with chocolate covered bacon, chocolate covered chipolte fritos and artisanal chocolatiers opening up in cities and villages across the country.

The best, (read generally most expensive) and the darkest is also the most healthy and satisfying. A little touches your soul and takes you a long way.

Check out: www.temptchocolates.com www.jaquestorres.com www.keeschocolates.com www.valerieconfections.com www.lilacchocolates.com www.mirabellechocolates.com www.evelynchocoate.com www.lamasionduchocolate.com www.franschocolate.com www.tazachocolate.com


If you’ve not developed your braising skills, it’s time to. This cooking technique allows you to slow cook the inexpensive, most flavorful cuts of meat to melt in your mouth falling apart goodness. With not much work.

Simply set your oven at 400°F. Place a drizzle of olive oil in the bottom, salt and pepper your meat well, and brown it for 20 minutes or so. If you like turn it over and brown a bit longer. Then add wine or broth, or some of each to a level of 1-1½ inches (scrapping the flavor bits from the bottom to mix in their goodness ) and some hearty herb, thyme, sage, or rosemary. Cover very tightly with foil and cook for 3 or 4 hours, peeking occasionally to check tenderness and the level of the liquid. Adjust accordingly and if you need to remove the foil to result in a fork tender, moist piece of meat surrounded by just a little juice. Within no time, you’ll get the hang of it and it will become one of your favorite methods of cooking.


Easy does it! Just stock your Chinese pantry so it’s simple.

• 1 pound pork tenderloin
• Cracked black pepper
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 3 cloves minced garlic
• ¼ cup Salted Chinese Black Soy Beans, rinsed
• 4 scallions, chopped
• 1 tablespoon char sui (Chinese barbecue) sauce
• 2 baby fennel, thinly sliced
• ¼ cup chopped garlic or regular chives

1. Thinly slice the pork and sprinkle with pepper. Heat a wok or large n0n-stick frying pan over high heat until hot. Add the oil and heat until just smoking. Cook the pork in batches until just brown and set aside.
2. Add the garlic, black beans and green onion and cook for 30 seconds. Return the pork to the wok and add the char sui sauce, fennel and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add the chives. Serve with brown rice or cooked flat rice noodles.


When you need an intense tomato fix, this hits the spot! And, it adds an easy zest to a burger, roast chicken, eggs or a toasted cheese sandwich. This will disappear quickly.

• 1½ pounds Roma tomatoes, ripened in the sun and coarsely chopped
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes to taste.

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened into jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

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