Food columnist Judi Leaming continues to enjoy her travels to Door County, Wisc., and she has chosen to share a few delicious recipes she and her husband, Spence, have been enjoying from the bountiful breakfast buffet at Rowleys Bay Resort. week, highlighting the tastes of Grandma's Swedish Bakery.
I am writing this column while enjoying the changing colors of fall at the Rowleys Bay Resort which is located up at the north end of Door County, Wisc. For years I had heard wonderful things about Door County and when Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) advertised their "Door County's Cooking, Cuisine and Culinary Arts" program, I easily convinced Spicer that this was something that we needed to participate in.
If you look at your left hand, try to imagine Green Bay (home of the Green Bay Packers) as being at the base of the V between your thumb and your index finger. Then realize that Door County is your thumb and that the left side of your left thumb is the actual Green Bay basin of water while the right outside of your thumb is Lake Michigan. Rowleys Bay is located up near the end of your fingertip.
The land here is rocky because this entire area was created by glacial action at the end of the last Ice Age. Door County is actually a western extension of the Niagara escarpment that was created as the glaciers proceeded south. Gradually nature brought some dirt onto the island to lightly cover the rocky surface and trees began to thrive here. This relatively unpopulated island was covered with trees — until logging during the late 1800s and early 1900s left the island denuded of the mighty cedars that had thrived here. Many of the early settlers in this area were from the Scandinavian countries and they gradually realized that the fields that remained would provide an almost ideal climate for developing apple and cherry orchards. They set about to wisely use the land and today it is known for the apples and cherries that are harvested here.
In the mid-1900s folks living in Chicago, Milwaukee and even St. Louis realized that this little finger of land sticking out into Lake Michigan provided an ideal climate for vacation homes that have allowed them, ever since, to escape the summer heat in their cities. Fortunately strict zoning laws have prevented "big-box" and "fast-food" enterprises from moving into this pristine area and so, even today, family-run resorts such as Rowley's Bay dot the shorelines and provide wonderful getaways for those seeking a quiet place to enjoy nature. Door County has also become a mecca for many artists who find inspiration from the beauty that abounds here.
Rowleys Bay Resort came under the ownership of Leonard and Alice Peterson in 1970 and they made vast improvements to what had once been a fishing and hunting camp. The resort today is operated by the Petersons' daughter Jewel and her husband Bob Ouradnik. One of the charming features of this resort is their reliance on treasured Peterson family recipes, many of which are still on the menu, in the resort's dining room and offered for sale in Grandma's Swedish Bakery, which is an integral part of the resort.
I have chosen to share with you three of the delicious recipes that we have been enjoying from the bountiful Breakfast Buffet this week. IF you want their recipe for Grandma's Pecan Rolls, contact me and I'll forward it to you. The bakery is well known for these irresistible breakfast treats but I suspect that it may be too lengthy for most of you so I'm hoping that you'll be so delighted with these three recipes that you'll be eager to make the Pecan Rolls too. And, yes, the bread pudding is served for breakfast and I indulged in servings almost every morning. After all, aren't eggs, milk and bread essential for breakfast?
Grandma's Swedish Pancakes
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Warm the milk and butter together until butter is melted then set aside to cool to lukewarm. Beat eggs lightly, then add lukewarm milk mixture. Add dry ingredients gradually while beating slowly until smooth. Preheat a greased griddle to medium. Pour 1/4 cup portions on hot griddle and spread batter. These pancakes are thin and delicate. Cook until the edges are dry and pancake is golden brown, about one minute. Turn over and bake for about 30 seconds more. Serve with butter, lingonberries or applesauce. Also good with jelly and powdered sugar. Batter will keep in refrigerator in a sealed container for four to five days.
Swedish Limpa Bread
1 cup milk
1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 envelopes active dry yeast
2 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons dark molasses
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon anise or fennel seeds
2 tablespoons grated orange peel or orange marmalade
1 1/2 cups rye flour
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Scald milk. Mix milk and water in a large mixing bowl and cool to warm, but not hot. Add yeast and salt and stir. Set aside until yeast starts to form bubbles. Add shortening, molasses, honey, brown sugar, salt, caraway seeds, anise or fennel seeds and orange peel. Beat slowly until well mixed. Add rye flour and beat well. Add half of the all-purpose flour and beat. Continue to add flour until dough has a satiny look and dough will not easily absorb any more flour. Pour onto a floured board and knead, firmly, adding flour as needed until dough is not sticky and will bounce back when punched down with your hands.
Put dough into a greased bowl, turning to grease all sides of the dough. Cover and let stand until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Turn out onto a floured board and divide in half.
Let stand for about 10 minutes. Grease a large cookie sheet. Form dough into round loaves and place on cookie sheet. Cut two or three slits, about 1/2-inch deep, in to the top of each loaf with a sharp knife. Cover with a clean dry kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees while bread is rising. Bake loaves for 35 to 40 minutes until crust is light brown and loaf has a hollow sound when top is tapped. Take off cookie sheet and cool on wire racks. Wait at least 20 minutes before slicing. When completely cooled, seal in plastic bags to store. Double wrapped, this bread will freeze well for two to three months.
Grandma's Bread Pudding
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups scalded milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon if using coffee cake
3 cups cubed bread or coffee cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, sugar and salt lightly in a medium mixing bowl. Beat in milk, then vanilla and cinnamon. Place bread or cake into an 8x10-inch glass baking dish. Pour egg mixture over bread and let stand for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with a small amount of additional cinnamon. Place baking pan in a sheet cake pan filled with one-inch warm water. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes or until table knife inserted close to the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and take out of pan of water. Cool baking dish on a rack. May be served warm or cold.
Food columnist Judi Leaming can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.