Mayan Jaguar Lettuce Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

The Mayan Jaguar lettuce lends itself to salads with strong, sharp flavors. Add some chicken (or more cheese, if you’re a vegetarian) and you’ve got a main dish salad. Note, this will serve 6 as a side dish

What You’ll Need

  • knife and chopping board
  • whisk
  • immersion blender, aka hand or stick blender
  • measuring cup and spoons
  • large bowl
  • salad tongs

Ingredients for the Salad

  • 1 head Mayan Jaguar lettuce (or other romaine)
  • ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded

Ingredients for the Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2/3-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp walnut or regular Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

How to Make the Vinaigrette

  1. Pour the vinegar into a bowl or tall container and add the salt. Whisk until the salt is dissolved
  2. Add the mustard, shallot, oil, and pepper. Using your immersion blender, blend the ingredients until emulsified and well mixed.
  3. Taste and add salt or pepper as necessary. The vinaigrette will keep, refrigerated, for a week.

How to Make the Salad

  1. Add the salad ingredients to a bowl.
  2. Toss with the about 1/3-1/2 of the vinaigrette. Add a little more if you like it more fully dressed.
  3. Serve immediately.

A Liptauer-ish Cheese Spread

Lip-ity Do Dah

Liptauer is a type of fresh cheese from the picturesque Liptov region in Slovakia, which is, admittedly, far from Flyoverlandia. As in an ocean and much of a continent away. So why am I writing about it here? Because Liptov also gave its name to a delicious cheese spread featuring its famous cheese. Liptauer is the adjectival form of the Germanic name for Liptov: Liptau. The cheese, typically made from sheep’s milk, is mild and fresh and difficult to get in the United States. Liptauer cheese, however, has also come to refer to a spread with said cheese as its base, flavored with capers and caraway and such, and served with dark bread.

So, Are You Going to Get Around to the Flyover Part?

Cool your jets, hold your horses, relax-don’t do it. In a word, yes. Right now. Firstly, it turns out that you can make Liptauer cheese (the spread, not the fromage, unless you have a ewe in the backyard between the shed and the Weber grill). And secondly, it also turns out that you can use cottage cheese, specifically the more accessible Kalona Supernatural cottage cheese to make a reasonable (and quite delicious) facsimile of Liptauer cheese spread. And thirdly, it turns out that the recipe follows below.

Makes 1.5 cups


What You’ll Need

  • a hand blender, food processor, or fine strainer and bowl
  • chopping board and knife
  • two mixing bowls (preferably medium)
  • wooden spoon or hand mixer
  • small bowl of approximately 1.5 cup volume
  • mortar and pestle (optional)
  • a small plate
  • plastic wrap


  • 1 cup of full-fat cottage cheese, preferably Kalona Supernatural brand
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) softened butter—I used Organic Valley’s Pasture Butter, which is lightly salted
  • 1 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cornichons, gherkins, or capers
  • 1 garlic clove, papery skin removed
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (omit for vegetarian version)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp finely chopped parsley or chives
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp fine salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

How To Make Liptauer Cheese Spread

  1. Using your blender and mixing bowl or food processor, blend the cottage cheese until it is a smooth paste; alternately, go low tech and press the cottage cheese through a strainer into the mixing bowl. If the cottage cheese is watery, drain in a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter for 15 minutes
  2. Cream the butter in another mixing bowl. Add the cottage cheese and mix together well.
  3. Put the caraway seeds and garlic clove in a mortar and pestle. Grind into a paste. Alternately, mince the garlic finely and leave the caraway seeds whole.
  4. Add the paprikas, caraway seed-garlic mixture, mustard, cornichons or capers, onion, and anchovy paste (if using). Mix together well.
  5. Add the sour cream, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, mixing thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  6. Line the smaller bowl with plastic wrap. Put the entire mixture into the plastic-lined bowl and then place another sheet of plastic wrap on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours; this gives the flavors a chance to meld.1
  7. Remove from refrigerator and unmold onto a plate. To do this, remove the top sheet of plastic wrap, then place a plate on top of the bowl. Invert the bowl onto the plate, remove bowl, and then remove the remaining plastic wrap.
  8. Sprinkle with the parsley or chives. Serve with dark bread (I’ve used cocktail rye).


All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.Click on the image to enlarge it.

I’ve adapted this from Sara Dickerman’s recipe found in the New York Times (which is itself an adaptation from Joseph Wechsberg’s recipe found in The Cooking of Vienna’s Empire)

1I’ve found that this doesn’t taste very good initially, but fabulous after the Refrigerator Tour of Duty. The flavors really come alive and work well together after sitting in the refrigerator for a few hours.


Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing—Works as a Dip, Too!


What a great way of eating those salad greens that pesky nutritionists always implore you to ingest! Low-carb, too!

The recipe originally came from Alton Brown. It yields about 1.5 cups of dressing and keeps for at least a week in the refrigerator. And sorry, but there’s no way to veganize this recipe.

What You’ll Need

  • a bowl
  • a fork
  • a whisk
  • measuring cup and measuring spoons
  • a jar


  • 4 ounces Maytag Blue Cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, purchased or homemade1
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (freshly ground makes all the difference!)

How to make the dressing

  1. Place the cheese into your bowl
  2. CheeseInBowl

    Remove the wrapper first. The dressing will taste better without plastic and paper.
  3. Using your fork, mash it up.
  4. CheeseMashedBowl

  5. Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking until they are fully mixed.
  6. WhiskedDressing

  7. Put the dressing into a jar and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour (overnight is even better), allowing the flavors to meld.

1Omit the garlic and chive from this recipe if you are making your own mayonnaise for this salad dressing.


Maytag Blue Pecan Potatoes

Full disclosure: I have not tried this recipe, which is why you won’t find any pictures of the recipe, only the card. I do not like to do that (after all, if I’m posting a recipe, I insist on vetting it first). The only reason I am making an exception here is because Maytag Dairy Farms offers recipe cards to visitors who stop by for a tour. Being a Flyover Foodie, I naturally took all that were available.
A couple of the recipes were “dip-like”, which I deemed too similar to the salad dressing recipe. This one is a bit unusual, sort of like the sweet potato casserole with the brown sugar, but using white potatoes instead. I look at the recipe cards as gifts given by Maytag Dairy Farms and am sharing a gift with you.

What You’ll Need

  • a large saucepan
  • a small saucepan
  • a fork
  • a knife for peeling
  • a potato masher
  • measuring cups
  • a knife for chopping
  • chopping board
  • a casserole dish or a baking dish


  • 2 lbs. red-skinned potatoes
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • 8 ounces Maytag Blue Cheese, divided
  • 4 ounces (8 Tbsp or 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • salt and pepper

How to Make the Potatoes

  1. In a large saucepan, boil the potatoes until fully cooked.
  2. Drain, then peel half of them.
  3. Mash the potatoes (all of them, peeled and unpeeled) roughly with 6 Tbsp (3/4 stick or 3 oz) of the butter and the heavy cream.
  4. Crumble half (4 oz.) of the cheese. Stir it into the potatoes, along with half (2 oz.) of the parsley.
  5. Add more cream if the potatoes are too thick for your tastes. Then season with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish.
  6. In a small saucepan, brown the pecans with the remaining butter and the brown sugar. Do not let the pecans burn.
  7. Crumble the remaining cheese over the mashed potatoes.
  8. Drizzle the pecan mixture over the cheese-topped potatoes. Garnish with the rest of the parsley.

Using Up Your Market Bounty—Gado Gado

Hopefully those Dane County Farmers Market posts have inspired you to seek out your local farmers market or farmstand. If so, you’ve probably returned home with a veritable plethora (oh, how I love that word) of produce—the bounty that is late August and early September. Cucumbers and zucchini crowd your vegetable crispers. Tomatoes of many colors and stripes fill your bowls and counters. Basil and parsley and thyme add their herbaceousness to the scent of your kitchen. You tear up in poetic appreciation for the abundance bestowed upon you by the hard work of your local farmers. You sit back, satisfied.

Okay, maybe not. But you came home with a few tomatoes and cucumber. Perhaps you even grew them yourself. As you eat your fill of this fresh produce, you may be looking for an usual treatment for it. Enter Gado Gado, an Indonesian peanut-coconut sauce served with rice and vegetables.

Wait, you say. Hold on. Indonesian??? How is that Flyover? Well, dear readers, the Flyover parts are your local vegetables. And it may come as a surprise to some, but the Flyover States are home to people of non-European ancestry or origins. To wit, the largest concentration of Hmong Americans are found in Minnesota. Fort Wayne, Indiana, is host to the largest concentration of Burmese immigrants. A vast number of Arab Americans reside in the Greater Detroit area (specifically Dearborn). So, a look at Flyover Food incorporates some global cuisines. And while the Indonesian American population isn’t found in the Midwest and Plains, this dish serves to showcase the gorgeous local produce that IS Flyover in origin. So, here’s a version of Gado Gado for your Flyover Culinary Enjoyment! And it’s vegan, to boot.

This serves 8

What You’ll Need

  • chopping board and knife for vegetables, garlic, and ginger
  • garlic press (optional)
  • 2.5 quart saucepan
  • whisk
  • wooden spoon
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • grater—box or Microplane



  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil (peanut, roasted peanut or canola—not olive)
  • 1 or 2 dried, crushed hot chile peppers (or more if you like it spicy!)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 cups coconut milk (lite is okay) or 1 14-oz can
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (can add a little more to make it more peanutty)
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce (regular or wheat free)

How to Make the Gado Gado

  1. Saute onion in 1 or 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. When onions soften and become transparent (don’t let them brown), add garlic and saute for another minute or two.
  3. Add all of the other ingredients EXCEPT for the peanut butter and stir to combine.
  4. Add the peanut butter, whisking so it is fully incorporated in the sauce.
  5. Turn up heat to high and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn down heat to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring or whisking often. The sauce becomes thick and can stick to the bottom of the pan, in which case you run the risk of it burning. So pretend this is like a Chicago election—stir early and often.
  7. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes, and serve with some combination of rice, vegetables (e.g. cucumbers, steamed carrots or cabbage or cauliflower, bean sprouts), fried tofu cubes, and (if it doesn’t have to be vegan) slice hard-boiled eggs or cooked shrimp.

I actually prefer to make this a day ahead. I find the flavors blend together better with the benefit of an extra day. This also freezes beautifully—you can divide the sauce in half, serving one and freezing the other. Additionally, this is nice tossed with rice noodles.


Here I’ve used the sauce on a salad with greens, cucumber, and heirloom tomatoes.