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 W I N T E R   2 0 1 0

"We are what we eat."  Ludwig Feuerbach, 1812

"The destiny of nations depends upon the manner in which they feed themselves.”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

In Wickwood's Kitchen ... Good Resolutions

Each of us begins the year with great new resolve. The question is how to make it stick. Our food has been hijacked by haste, yet adopting good eating habits is paramount to all else. It is life.

We agree with Michael Pollan author of “In Defense of Food” when he states that the more we know about how to eat, the simpler our eating becomes. Eat real food. Mostly fruits and vegetables. Eat less more often. Plant a garden. Savor every bite. Treat treats as treats. Do this 90% of the time, then sometimes break the rules.


Once only the summer porridge of Tuscany, we’ve learned how to make this soup all year long. Our secret, using tomatoes from San Marzano, Italy for the utmost flavor. We love sipping this from a mug. Serves six

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 1 small onion, diced
• 3 cans Italian tomatoes (28 ounces)
• ¼ cup slivered fresh basil leaves or 2 tablespoons pesto
• 6-8 cups Chicken broth (to desired consistency)
• 4 cups tomato juice salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 5 slices day-old best quality country-style bread, ½ inch slices
• ¼-½ teaspoon smoked paprika
• Parmigiano Regginao, grated at table.

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onions, and cook over medium-low heat until soft and translucent, 10 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, basil, broth, salt and pepper. Stir, and simmer for 45 minutes.
3. Tear the bread into 1 inch pieces and add them to the soup. Let cook for one hour, uncovered. Add the Pimenton/smoked paprika for the final 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with chopped basil and Parmigiano Reggiano.


For a long time, the regular evening meal throughout Europe has consisted solely of soup. An evening meal in a restaurant, a rare exception. Add a salad, some wonderful bread, a glass of wine, and thou and you’re all set. You’ll sleep well and feel light in the morning.

A note: we avoided liquid smoke for years, thinking it artificial. It’s not, it’s natural and used far and wide by great curers of pork, and barbeque chefs. The secret is out! Serves 6.

• ½ teaspoon olive oil
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• ½ pound leeks, well cleaned and finely chopped
• 1 shallot, finely minced
• 1 cup of Canadian bacon or ham, finely diced
• 1¼ pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
• 8 cups chicken broth
• 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, all natural
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 3 cups arugula, coarsely chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, shallot, and bacon/ham, and cover. Sweat for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
2. Add the potato, chicken broth, liquid smoke and dill: cover and simmer 25 minutes, or until the potato is tender. Add the arugula and continue cooking another 10 minutes.
3. Remove the potato and place in a blender or food processors with 1 cup of the hot broth. Puree, then whisk back into the remaining soup to thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings.


This simple dish heralds herbs, spiced and quickly sautéed in a hot skillet. It’s a great way to capture the sweet flavor of really good shrimp. We have a pal who shrimps in the Gulf of Mexico and sends twenty-five pounds north to us several times a year. If you can’t find your own “Shrimper”, be very selective about your source. Good sweet shrimp are hard to find and when you do celebrate! Serves 2

• 1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 2 limes, quartered

1. Combine the shrimp with the oil, garlic, herbs, peppers and salt. Let marinate at room temperature for one hour.
2. Heat a dry nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Lay the shrimp in the pan and cook, turning once, for 4-8 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp. Brush the shrimp with the remaining marinade before turning. They should be pink and cooked through. Do not over cook them, as you don’t want to toughen or dry them out. Serve immediately with the limes alongside.


This is our version of a classic Thai dish that is addictive. And so very simple when modified for easy to find ingredients.

• 1 pound large shrimp in their shells
• ½ cup water
• ¼ cup light brown sugar (packed)
• 3 tablespoons Thai Fish Sauce (see Note below)
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
• 1 teaspoon white peppercorns, lightly crushed
• 4 whole cilantro sprigs, for garnish

1. Rinse the shrimp under cold water. Drain and set aside.
2. Mix the water, brown sugar, and fish sauce together in an 8 - 10 inch wide saucepan. Cook, stirring, over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, minced cilantro, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly, 6-7 minutes.
4. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly and coating the shrimp with sauce, over medium heat until opaque and just cooked through, 1½ - 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
5. Chill the shrimp in the refrigerator up to 1 hour tossing the shrimp twice in the sauce and removing with a slotted spoon. Garnish with the cilantro.
Note: Fish sauce is available in Asian grocery stores or in the Asian section of the supermarket.

“Why am I so soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?” --- Paul Simon


We love this rustic Italian dish, this time with Chicken, and always the classical Gremolata garnish which just makes the entire dish sparkle. It’s a good lesson on how to perk up many stews and casseroles. You could even add more veggies. We like this served over a mixture of wheat pilaf and wild rice or polenta. Serves 6-8

• 1 chicken cut into 8-10 pieces
• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 pounds of mixed Portobello and white mushrooms, stemmed, in slices
• ½ inch thick
• ½ cup finely chopped shallots
• 8 cloves garlic, sliced
• 1 cup dry red wine
• 1 cup beef stock
• 8-12 ounces of dried or pre-cooked chorizo or other spicy sausage
• 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• ¼ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh, plus extra for garnish
• 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons flour

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a 5 quart casserole (with top) over medium high. Add chicken and brown on both sides. Remove and set aside. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring about 5 minutes, until they start to wilt and no longer look dry. Remove and set aside.
2. Reduce heat to low and sauté shallots and garlic until just starting to brown. Brown sausage. Deglaze with wine and stock. Season generously with pepper. Stir in vinegar. Return chicken, sausage and mushrooms to casserole, add thyme, cover and cook for 1½ hours, uncovering for the last ½ hour, and basting chicken a few times.
3. Meanwhile in a small bowl blend the softened butter and flour. Place the casserole over a medium high burner, uncover and add the butter/flour mixture, stirring with a whisk. thickening the sauce for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a warm platter, serving the sauce on the side if you wish. Garnish with thyme sprigs.


Marcel Proust immortalized these cookie/cakes in “Remembrance of Things Past” his Belle Epoque memoir, but we’ve always thought there was "much ado about nothing", even when sampled in Paris. We became intrigued upon spying mini-Madeleine pans in W-S over The Holidays and decided to give them one more try. Now I get it!!! They are just as magical as Proust described, particularly when lightly glazed. Of course, they’re best warm, but oh-la-la with tea, they’re truly heavenly. Yields 60 miniature Madeleines.

• 3 large eggs, at room temperature
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon salt, rounded
• 1¼ cup flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• zest of one small lemon, minced
• 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds.
• ¼ cup sugar
• ¼ cup lemon juice

1. Brush the indentations of 2 mini-Madeleine (20 per tray) molds with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess and place in the freezer.
2. In a medium sized bowl using electric mixer on medium high, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
3. Spoon the flour and baking powder into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. Steady the bowl on a damp towel if necessary.
4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, and then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until the butter in incorporated.
5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (Batter can be chilled for up to 48 hours.)
6. Preheat oven to 425
°F. Place the batter into the center of each indentation with enough batter that it will fill to 3/4. Just eyeball it; you might have to test this. You don’t want to spread the batter.
7. Bake 8 - 9 minutes until they begin to turn golden brown around the edges. Meanwhile as the cakes bake place the sugar and lemon juice in a small sauce pan and heat until the sugar melts. Once you’ve removed the Madeleines onto a cooling rack, remove the cakes with a knife point, place on a plate and brush the glaze on lightly (onto the scalloped side) with a pastry brush. Best served warm, or on the first day, but they’ll last 3 days. Store in a tin or plastic container, not tightly wrapped.


Every now and then, particularly in Winter when there’s time for Sunday afternoon baking I make this, Wills’ favorite with it’s streusel topping. I love this basic piecrust with both butter for flavor and shortening for flakiness. Truth be told I’ve also been known to cheat and use pre-made crust, so don’t be shy about using your own favorite. It’s still pie, which is always better than no pie. Please serve warm with ice cream atop. Serves 6-8

One 9” Favorite Pie Crust, defrosted if frozen

• 5-6 apples, a mix of tart and sweet if you have, peeled, cored, cut into wedges and sliced
• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon allspice
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest from ½ lemon, minced

• 2/3 cup flour
• ½ cup light brown sugar
• 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F and place a large baking sheet on middle oven rack
2. Mix together zest, cinnamon allspice, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Gently toss with apples and lemon juice. Set aside.
3. Mix flour, brown sugar and butter by hand or cutting together with two knives until crumbly.
4. Place apples in pie crust, heaping if necessary
5. Sprinkle streusel atop. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375
°F and bake 35-45 minutes until browned. Cool slightly before serving.


Doesn’t everyone love this pie ... especially when you don’t have to don a bathing suit in Key West. I’ve never favored this scrumptious pie made with sweetened condensed milk, it tastes artificial to me. So, here’s my year round version, any place. Serves 8

• 2 cups Graham crackers, crushed
• 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
• ½ cup sugar
• 1¼ cup sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1 cup lime juice ( key limes preferred, but not critical)
• 6 large eggs
• 6 large egg yolks (retain whites)
• 9 tablespoons butter
• 1 teaspoon cream of tarter
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon lime zest

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a mixing bowl combine the Graham cracker crumbs, the sugar and the butter until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, press the mixture firmly into a 9 inch pie pan and bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
2. Combine the sugar and cornstarch well in the top of a double boiler or in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the lime juice, eggs, and yolks and whisk for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and holds a shape when the whisk is lifted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter bit by bit. Cool to room temperature. Strain the curd, if necessary, through a fine-mesh basket strainer into the crust. Shake the pan gently to distribute the filling evenly. Chill in refrigerator for two hours.
3. Place the egg whites and cream of tarter in a clean mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until the egg whites form soft peaks, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the remaining sugar until the whites form stiff, glossy peaks, another 2-3 minutes. Do no over mix or the whites will dry out.
4. Spread the meringue over the chilled pie covering the top of the pie. Use a blowtorch, caramelize the meringue or place it 3” from a broiler to lightly brown. Sprinkle lightly with lime zest.

Jump Start Your New Year

Good eating and exercise is a lifetime habit. Everyday, forever. For a head start, the five eating plans with the best tested* results are:

#1. “Volumetrics” by Dr. Barbara Rolls. Simply add LOTS of low calorie vegetables and fruits to your favorite real food recipes plus exercise. Six months: avg. 20 pounds gone!
#2. “The American Medical Association Fat Free and Low Fat Foods". 1500 calorie days, and exercise. Six months: avg. 14 pounds gone.
#3 “The Atkins Diet”. Low carb but good lifelong habits? Six months: avg. 13 pounds gone.
#4 “The Mediterranean Diet” by Walter Willett of Harvard Lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, olive oil and little red meat. Six months: avg 10 pounds gone.
#5 Weight Watchers. Recognized as developing lifelong new habits. Six months: avg 12 pounds gone. *Source: The NIH

"If you create an act, you create a habit. If you create a habit, you create a character. If you create a character, you create a destiny." --- Andre Maurois

Our Food Rules**
(cut & put on your fridge)
• Eat Food
• Not too much
• Mostly plants
• Plant a garden
• Cook
• Breakfast like a king
• Lunch like a prince
•  Dinner like a pauper
• Eat meals
• Eat real food
• Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother didn’t
• Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.
• The banquet is in the first bite
• Avoid foods with more than five ingredients
• Eat slowly
• Consult your gut
• Stop eating before you’re full
• Eat less
• Eat at a table
• Try to eat with someone else
• Spend as much time shopping as preparing as enjoying the meal
• Buy smaller plates
• Serve proper portions
• No seconds
• Eat more like the French, the Japanese, the Italians or the Greeks.
• Eat mostly plants especially greens
• Treat meat as an occasional food
• Eating what stands on one leg is better than eating what stands on two legs, which is better than eating what stands on four legs.
• Eat your colors
• Drink the spinach water
• Eat animals that have themselves eaten well
• Leave something on your plate.
• Have a glass of wine with dinner
• Eat well-grown food from healthy soil.
• Eat wild foods when you can.
• Get out of the supermarket every chance you can
• Shop the peripheries of the supermarket.
• Stay out of the middle.
• Buy your snacks at the farmer’s market.
• Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state, growing in nature
• Buy a freezer
• Eat like an omnivore
• Pay more, eat less
• If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
• Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans.
• Eat only foods that will eventually rot
• Don’t overlook the oily little fishes
• Sweeten and salt your food yourself
• Eat sweets that you find in nature
• Avoid foods that contain ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce
• Avoid food products that make health claims
• Avoid foods that are “lite”, “low-fat” or “nonfat”
• Avoid foods that have some form of sugar or sweetener in the top three ingredients.
• The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead
• Favor the kinds of oils and grains that have traditionally been stone-ground
• It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language
• Don’t eat foods made by people wearing surgical caps
• It’s not food if it arrives through your car window
• Treat treats as treats
• Enjoy your food
• Break the rules once in a while.

** Our Food Rules attributed to “Food Rules: An Eaters Manual” by Michael Pollan.

"Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout."
--- Benjamin Franklin

New York City Declares War on Salt!

First city health officials battled trans fats and then high-calorie fast food. Now they’re attacking salt. For good reason. Americans eat twice as much salt as needed. Everyone needs some salt in their diet, but experts say this overindulgence is causing high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Seventeen national health organizations have joined the National Salt Reduction Initiative. Prepared foods and chefs (who use massive amounts to emphasize flavor) are the biggest culprits once you’ve limited salt in your own cooking and at your table. We’ve weaned ourselves from salt over thirty years ago (for vanity’s sake), and it takes a few weeks of potato chips cravings but ultimately food tastes much more natural and flavorful.

We applaud NYCity’s efforts and yours in advance.

Food for Thought

• Think like a shark, act like a 5-year old.
• Move your body every 30 minutes.!
• Eat one ounce of dark chocolate everyday. It's a superfood.
• Make your bed. A tiny accomplishment that makes you feel good.
• Do the Cheshire Cat grin, in private, as broadly as you can. Makes the most tired soul feel like smiling.
• Never show up for drinks on an empty stomach.
• Disappear into something soft and cozy once you’re home.
• Tone your middle in transit.
• Knit your front ribs together, hallow, and zip the zipper when you commute. You’ll get toned with this Pilates tip.
• Never, ever clean your plate in a restaurant.
• Spend time with children and animals.
• Hand write thank you notes immediately and often.
• Smile to yourself throughout the day while breathing deeply.


Petite Nuages de Chocolate

We’ve been a bit obsessed with these chocolate treasures for years and have kept them secret. They’re bite-sized versions of Julia’s Flourless Chocolate Cake, an idea she gave us long ago. Finally we've decided to share this embarrassingly simple recipe

Chocolate Bites have a crunchy top and beneath the consistency of a cloud. They simply dissolve in your mouth into lovely silky chocolate. Pace yourself. They’re deceptively rich. Yields 32-36 Little Bites.

• 9 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate (60-64% cacao)
• 1 cup plus
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 5 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1½ cups sugar
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. Roughly chop the chocolate into pieces. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add the butter. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until the two ingredients have melted. Mix well and transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Sift the sugar and flour together, then stir into the chocolate. Add the eggs and mix well. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. The batter will thicken as it stands.
3. Line 1½ miniature muffin tins (24 to the pan) with cupcake papers. Of course, you can make these in regular muffin tins, but they are too rich to be large for our palate. Spoon the batter to ¾ full for each cupcake into the paper-lined cup. Bake 16-18 minutes (if large bake 30-35 minutes) The brownies will still be moist when done, but the tops will puff up and the look crisp and rounded. They will fall slightly as they cool. Let them cool in the pan, if you can leave them alone. They’re fragile and will fall apart if not cool. Best to disappear within 48 hours.

"Are the leftovers fresh?"

Leftovers Are a Gift

Gone are the days when our leftovers and Doggie Bags would linger in the fridge until green. Then get tossed. Now, we embrace them and dinner is done in mere moments. The secret: use them quickly and simply make them taste and look fresh by adding vegetables galore, chopped and wilted spinach or arugula, fresh herbs, a sprinkle of lemon juice, a dash of cayenne or pimenton. Suddenly dinner’s done! Make a salad, roast some fruit, open the wine and you’ve time to linger over dinner.

"You will make the same foolish mistakes you have made before, not only once but many, many times again."

Counting Calories

Best to keep a food and exercise journal if you're serious about losing a few pounds. Consult: www.caloriescount.com

A Four-Day Fix
For a real hard start to a lifetime of good eating - some tips:
• Eat early and eat often
• Eat within one hour of waking
• Eat something every three hours, either protein or carbs. The size of your fist. By munching throughout the day, your body's always burning calories. It's like throwing twigs on a fire.
• Take a Sabbatical from Sugar and Salt
• According to our nutritionist, Oz Garcia, give up a wheat-based breakfast. It triggers appetite, water retention, and belly weight. Try oats or grains instead.

"All these years, and you haven't listened to a damn thing I've said, have you?"

Cartoons all attributed to The New Yorker, January 18, 2010

(cut & put on your fridge)

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