Wednesday, April 05, 2006
In the upper peninsula of Michigan, the locals are called Yoopers. In order for a troll (that's Yooper slang for someone that hails from south of Mackinaw City, i.e. "under the bridge") to claim official Yooperdom, it is the local legend that you have to live in the U.P. for at least 7 years. Thanks to my dual major as an undergrad, and then graduate school at Michigan Tech, which is located in the Keeweenaw Peninsula, I can declare myself a Yooper.
A favorite Yooper bar snack is pickled eggs - but not those sweet, beet colored ones you sometimes see in foodie magazines. It's a spicy pickled egg, that goes really well with cheap cold beer. If you can find it, some Wisconsin local brewery beer is best, like Point Beer or maybe some Rhinelander. Long before there were microbreweries, each little town in Wisconsin had their own brewery, like Steven's Point and their Point Beer, which is one of my favorites. Anyway, if you should find yourself in Wisconsin or have the good fortune of having a cheesehead friend that can bring you some back, that is good. If not, any cheap beer like Old Milwaukee or maybe Blatz would be good, make sure it is very cold. Leinenkugel used to be one of those kind of beers, too, but now it is more widely distributed since they were bought out by Miller, and it's got some boutique beers now and cost lots more. I had made the pilgrimage to Chippewa Falls a couple times as a college student (and even as a grown up) to tour the brewery. When I lived in the U.P. in the 80s, you could get a case of Leinenkugel Original in longneck bottles in one of those hard cardboard returnable boxes for $3.12, plus deposit. Ah, those were the days...
In Houghton, where MTU is located. there is a bar called the B&B which is arguably the most famous pickled egg place in the U.P. It's located on M26 on the way to Ontonagon, but it is still in town. The bar features a sticky floor, an unleveled pool table with crooked cues, and is frequented by locals. Most of them will be kind to you if you care to visit, but some do not like "appleknockers" (another yooper term for downstaters). The B&B used to serve a Wisconsin beer called "Gilt Edge", but it no longer exists. I think they serve Old Milwaukee in it's place. Back in the day, you could get a beer in a small pilsner glass (called a "shell" in Yooper speak) and a pickled egg for 80 cents. This was called a "boneless chicken dinner" by the locals. I know people that regularly make a pilgrimage to the B&B from downstate just for the pickled eggs, but I will save you the 500 miles each way by sharing their recipe that someone once gave me when I was a student.
Check out my method for how to make easy to peel hard boiled eggs,
Interested in other U.P. recipes? How about a U.P. Style Pasty?
Yooper Style Pickled Eggs
2 dozen hard boiled eggs (peeled)
4 cups vinegar
1 jar sliced jalapenos, including the juice
1 onion, chopped finely
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon salt
Put peeled eggs in a large glass jar with a lid. Put remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and boil for 10 minutes. Pour over eggs and let steep in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 days. Serve eggs in a paper cupcake liner with Frank's Red Hot Sauce, black pepper and plenty of the jalapenos.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
This family friendly recipe comes from a beloved Detroit icon named Bob Talbert - he wrote a folksy, witty and touching feature column for the Detroit Free Press for a long time. I always read "The Way We Live Section" in the Freep first - I would read "Dear Abby" and then go right to Bob Talbert. He wrote about almost everything Detroit....on Mondays, he wrote a list of gripes called "Outta my mind on a Monday Moanin'" which I really enjoyed most. Anyway, this was a recipe he featured once in his column. I think he got it from some bar up north. I am including it as he wrote it, but afterward, I'll tell you about how I actually make it.
Bob Talbert's White Chili
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, washed and patted dry
2 cans (14 oz. ea.) chicken broth
1 jar (48 oz.) great northern beans with liquid
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 can (3 oz.) chopped green chilies, with liquid
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
Garnish with green chopped onion tops, shredded cheese or tortillachips (optional)Bake chicken breasts at 350 for 30 minutes. Cut in pieces.In a large pot, pour small amount of broth. Add onion and garlic andsimmer until onion is wilted and hot. Add the chilies, stir, then addbroth and beans with liquid. Mix in the cumin and oregano. Bring to aboil and add chicken pieces. Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes.(Serves 6)
I put that chicken and broth in the crock pot, I usually drain the beans, too. I'd add all the ingredients. I let it cook on low for 8 hours or so. I make it more spicy by adding some cayenne pepper. I usually make at least double this size of recipe with it in the crock pot. I'd serve it with white toppings - monterey jack, sour cream, and sprinkled with those green onions.