This month's trip was to 4 & 20 Bakery & Cafe, 4and20bakery.com, located at 305 N. 4th Street, for a special class in crust and pie making. This wonderful small cafe is located across the street from East High School next to Milio's. It has served delicious coffee, breakfasts and lunches for the past 2 years and has become somewhat of a neighborhood center with its relaxed atmosphere and tasty food. The cafe has been a site for several students from the Work-Learn program at East. We were warmly greeted by Evan and Mandy, two of the three owners of the cafe, (Scott is the 3rd). Evan's previous experience includes being sous chef for L'Etoile and Mandy was bakery manager for Monty's Blue Plate Diner. They told us about their business and general philosophy. Besides using seasonal and locally grown foods, they also do some foraging for wild edibles, do some of their own curing of meats and make all of their bakery items. After providing the participants with cups of tea, Mandy began her demonstration. Afterwards she cut into a pie that she had made earlier and shared it with us. Yum!! Pie Crust Recipe for 1 Double Crust Pie: 3 C. Flour 1 t. salt 1 t. sugar 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into cubes 1/2 C. vegetable shortening Put dry ingredients in food processor. Add butter and shortening and pulse until consistency of coarse cornmeal Add: 3/4 C. ice water 1 T. apple cider vinegar Process until mixture comes together in ball. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 7 days. Pie Filling: 4 C. fresh or frozen peaches 2 C. fresh or frozen blackberries 1/2 C. white sugar 1/2 C. brown sugar 1/2 C. cornstarch 1 t. cinnamon Mix together dry ingredients, add fruit and mix together. Fill pie crust and add top crust. Spritz with water and sprinkle top with white sugar Bake at 350 degrees for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours until bottom crust is cooked. Tips: * Roll pie crust between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. * Use glass pie plate to monitor browning of bottom crust * Trim top crust with scissors * Roll up excess crust before crimping * Check after 45 minutes to 1 hour and cover top with aluminum foil when it is properly browned We'd like to thank Evan and Mandy for their generosity in opening 4 & 20 Bakery Cafe to us for this special event and to Scott for helping set this up. This was a great opportunity to learn about pie making before the holiday season!
On September 20th, a baker’s dozen of early birds showed up at Madison Sourdough for our latest Urban Market Forage. David Lohrentz, who is co-owner with baker Andrew Hutchinson, presented us with sweet treats as he discussed the history of MSD and his own personal history that led him to this business.
MSD’s philosophy is Craft. Nourish. Community. All that and more was evident at our visit. A wonderful selection of breads using top grade flours, including heritage wheat varieties being grown again in Wisconsin after a long absence; delightful pastries made by the aptly named Pierre; a bustling café filled with regulars enjoying a delicious breakfast.
Bakers rotate through the bakery from middle of the night to middle of the afternoon. Height and strong arms are important characteristics for successfully loading and unloading the enormous oven. Though the work is precise and demanding, there was a lot of good cheer on display, and it shows in the final product.
On Saturday, June 22, UMF started its field trip at Underground Meats production
facility at 931 Main Street. Both Underground Meats and Underground Butcher are part
of a food collective which also includes a catering service and Forequarters Restaurant
on E. Johnson Street. We met Jerry, a mechanical engineer who learned of sausage-
making and now is a member of the collective. He gave us a butcher’s eye view of
salami and salumi (other cured meats). Jerry told us that the pork they use is from
heirloom hogs that are pastured-raised locally on small family farms. They also use local
lamb and goat as well.
Jerry explained the process of making salami from the pork– mixing it with fat, spice
blends, lactose and a nitrite/nitrate blend to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and
mold. The meat is extruded into casings and painted with an edible mold which further
prevents the growth of unwanted organisms. The mold gives the casings a white
Next the sausage is hung in a locker which is controlled for humidity and temperature.
The pH is monitored frequently to assure food safety. The meat is then transferred to
another locker where it is cured. This process can take 4-6 weeks for the salami and up
to 6-9 months for the prosciutto and other cuts.
Underground Meat offers classes on sausage-making, etc. and collaborates with other
aspiring butchers and meat producers. They provide meat to many of Madison’s
restaurants and to their affiliates, Underground Butcher and Forequarters Restaurant.
They are a regular presence at the DOT Farmers Market on Saturday AM’s and venture
down to Chicago to sell their products at a farmer’s markets there.
After sampling some delicious salami and chorizo, we walked to Underground Butcher
at 811 Williamson where we met Michael and Casey who told us about their part of the
collective. Here they offer cuts of locally raised grass-fed beef and other meats. Michael
explained that usually the meat from grass-fed animals looks different with the fat being
more yellow in color. Besides selling the dried and cured meat from Underground Meat,
they also make fresh sausage from rabbit, chicken, pork and beef. Both facilities
welcome special orders and are happy to share information on preparing their delicious
Underground Butcher also sells cheeses, wines, beer and other gourmet foods and
products. They offer a sandwich menu with a daily special.
We’d like to thank the people of Underground Meats and Underground Butcher for
sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for their craft and their delicious products. We
enjoyed the tours and the wonderful sausage that we brought home with us! Night Train
Sausage made with smoked beer, anyone?
Our eleventh market tour took place on May 5th, a quiet Sunday morning, at The Kitchen Gallery (http://thekitchengallery.biz/) with new owner Katrina Kelly. Kelly recently bought the business with husband Matt Kelly, from former owners Stephanie Kessenich and Tom Christensen. Formerly located on Willy Street, The Kitchen Gallery moved downtown to King Street in 2012. Being near the Saturday morning Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Capitol Square has helped bring in walk-in traffic. A new Saturday lunchtime attraction features knife sharpening demonstrations by former chef and Siglinda (http://siglinda.com/) owner, Josh McEachen.
Emphasizing high-quality, durable goods that given proper care will last a lifetime and in turn become heirloom pieces, The Kitchen Gallery also tries to source regionally and offer items made with natural materials, such as wooden bowls made in Michigan, jute floor mats, and dish brushes with replaceable heads. Katrina considered enrolling in professional cooking school when she lived in Washington, D.C., but instead chose to focus on cooking for family and friends. She enjoys talking with customers about favorite cookware lines (Mauviel, for stainless steel and copper pans; Staub, for enameled cast iron pots; and Kuhn Rikon, for pressure cookers), or favorite foods (Rancho Gordo dried heirloom beans). Knife buyer Steven Weiss discussed the store’s selection of European and Japanese knives, and pointed out brands, features, and materials one might consider in choosing a knife.
Personable, knowledgeable staff and hand-picked, long-lasting kitchen goods: a perfect match for Madison food lovers.
Saturday, March 10th we had an urban market forage to the Chocolaterian on Madison’s east side.
Chocolaterian is the newly established home base of Leanne Cordisco, the creator of Christine’s Toffee and Caramels. The café lives in the historic Schenk-Huegel building on 2004 Atwood Avenue, which was remodeled from its retail origins into a café and candy-making haven. Chocolaterian features decadent desserts like macaroons, crème puffs, ugly cookies (cocoa, pistachios, and toffee) and a rich Parisian hot chocolate, but the showcase pieces are the toffee and caramel. A large glass window gives visitors a view into the kitchen where they can see the shop’s treats being made. For most of the day, Leanne and co-owner Kimberly Vrubley are in there working on making their candy.
Leanne brought us behind the glass to give us a toffee-making demonstration, taking us from the initial heating of the large vat all the way to the cooling, cutting, and chocolate coating. Whether it was the infrared gun at her hip or a simple dangling stick above the pot, she kept a thermometer nearby throughout the process. Making the candy is all about precision—the main difference between toffee and caramel is temperature—and Leanne tells us that being off by even just a few degrees is the difference between candy and garbage. Leanne and Kimberly are comfortable with the science however: both spent most of their life at a company that worked with medical devices. The transition from corporate to chocolate has been a dream fulfilled for both women.
After snacking on bits of toffee and chocolate, many of us reached for the bacon toffee next. The famous concoction, which has starred in Emmy Awards goodie bags, has been a hit for Christine’s. The flavors trigger all five of your taste buds, producing an experience that is both overwhelming and immensely pleasing. It’s the secret, she tells us, to making an irresistible piece of candy.
On Sunday, February 10th, a small, by necessity, group went to the tiny and delightful Oriental Shop on South Park Street. Though in operation since 1979, the little white house with red trim is easy to miss.
Our visit was off to a good start as we were all greeted with a cup of hot tea that was a combination of green tea and toasted brown rice.
Despite the name, the shop is primarily geared towards Japanese foods given that its lovely owner, Tamaki, is from Japan. Her husband is Taiwanese, so some Chinese items dot the shelves and a few Korean canned and frozen foods are available too.
Fresh baked goods are delivered every Wednesday. There are many products in the coolers and freezer. There is no real room for produce, so that is limited to a couple of types of fruit and a couple of vegetables varieties in small bins.
One of the greatest draws, however, is sushi grade fish, which is delivered every other Saturday. Their loyal clientele often order in advance because it is highly coveted. The next delivery will be on March 30th.
We ended our visit with a type of mochi (glutinous rice cake) called Sakura Mochi. It is filled with sweet red bean paste and wrapped in a lightly salt-pickled cherry blossom leaf. These are traditional eaten for Girls’ Day, March 3rd. They sell various types of mochi including Sasa Dango, which is wrapped in bamboo leaves and tied in bunches.
Go to Park Street, meet Tamaki, and marvel at how many intriguing and delicious things you can find in the little white house with red trim.
Urban Market Forage started the New Year with a visit to Vom Fass on University Avenue. Vom Fass, which is German for From the Cask, first opened in 1994 in Regensburg, Germany. In 2008, the first American Vom Fass opened right here in Madison. There are now about a dozen shops in the U.S. and about another 250 across the globe.
All the products come from small producers, many practicing organic agriculture and working exclusively with Vom Fass. The exact location/farm of every item in the store is noted on the product tag. Many items also have cooking and pairing suggestions.
For anyone who has more salads on their list of resolutions for 2013, you couldn’t ask for a better destination. We were treated to tastings of many, many delightful oils, ranging from olive to argan, pistachio to avocado, hazelnut to grapeseed.
The vinegars were also stellar. From brightly acidic wine vinegars to syrupy balsamic-style fruit vinegars that would be more at home on a dessert plate or in a cocktail. Shane, our staff guide was very knowledgeable about cooking and enjoyed the Slow Food gang’s eagerness to try as many different flavors as possible.
After all that oil and vinegar, we transitioned to the stronger stuff. First some red wines, both mellow and fruity. We tasted liqueurs, grappas, scotches, whiskies and brandies. We also got a lesson in the history of absinthe. Vom Fass stocks a very tasty version and sells a variety of pretty spoons for your sugar cube.
Go, taste, create.
On December 2nd, 2012, UMF moved from ethnic market to specialty shop and visited the charming and very delicious Fromagination. Owner Ken Monteleone and our guide, cheese lover and Slow Food board member Alyssa Henry, treated us to a wonderful time honoring Wisconsin’s dairy industry.
Ken left the corporate world several years ago to follow his dream of providing full flavored, traditional, artisan foods to Madison. Despite opening in a recession, he created a store that Madison has enthusiastically embraced. Ecologically minded building materials, from slate floor tiles salvaged from a Chicago roof, to reclaimed timber beams, give the shop a warm, friendly glow.
Fromagination’s cheeses and their “perfect companions” showcase Wisconsin’s bounty, but also include the small, artisan traditions of other states and nations.
Ken offered the Slow Food participants several tastes, including a warm, runny, divine Rush Creek Reserve, the autumnal treat from Uplands Cheese Company. On top of this generosity, participants were also given a discount on their purchases. A happy and tasty and memorable outing.
On Saturday, November 10th, Urban Market Forage made its 5th foray to visit a local market. This time it was Mercado Marimar on S. Park Street. It may be a relatively small space, but it provides a big boon to lovers of Mexican cuisine.
Owner Maria Garcia has been in this location since 2000, but in the Mexican food business for much longer. She is one of Madison’s pioneers in the Latino market community. She arrived in the U.S. by herself at age 17 and has run many successful businesses since. Marimar is Maria’s name combined with that of her partner, Martín.
Our guide, Leonardo Zalapa, was charming and knowledgeable. He shared his favorite ingredients and recipes. The shelves are crammed with imported items. There is a butcher, a produce section and a tiny bulk section for staples like dried beans. If you go on the weekend, you will not escape the whining and groaning of the tortilla machine, which, by the time we were standing in front of it, was on siesta. We were able to see the masa dough inside and see (and taste!) the delicious results.
The small kitchen turns out delicious tacos, tamales, carnitas, pozole, etc. 6 of us stayed for an incredibly tasty carnitas lunch, served with a huge stack of fresh tortillas, limes, onion and cilantro. Red and green salsas, crema, and an avocado sauce dot every table. Maria also treated us to nopales salad on the house.
Lovely staff, wonderful food. A true Madison gem!
On October 6th, 2012, Urban Market Forage spent its 4th outing at Yue Wah on South Park Street. Leading us was Chef Paul Tseng of Willy Coop West. Many people are familiar with this huge store, which carries food items from all over East and South Asia as well as the Middle East and Mexico. Chef Tseng guided us through the items he was most familiar with from both his childhood in Taiwan and as a chef in the U.S. Participants had plenty of time to browse the aisles on their own and compare notes on foods they were already familiar with.
The produce and frozen food sections are among the best of Madison’s ethnic markets. There is definitely something for everyone.
We learned from the owner that the original store was about 1/5 the size and focused primarily on Chinese and Thai foods. When the current owners bought the space in the 1980s, they kept the name but slowly expanded both the size and the product lines.
It’s a great place to try a little something from various cultures. Prices are reasonable. Go home with the makings of a pan-Asian feast, some Middle Eastern sweets and some Mexican soaps and candles.