These are one of our favorite appetizers right now because they taste like summer, especially if you can get your hands on some really good little grape tomatoes. We’ve been getting lucky and have been able to get tomatoes that don’t taste like they were grown in the deep freeze. The sweet-tart tomato, creamy-milky mozzarella, smoky bacon, and balsamic glaze all really get along and even a novice cook can probably pull this recipe off without a hitch. Here’s how to make them:
NUESKE’S APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON, FRESH MOZZERELLA, & TOMATO SKEWERS
- 1 lb. Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Sliced Bacon
- 1 lb. container ripe grape tomatoes
- 1 lb. container of Belgioioso Ciliegine Fresh Mozzarella Balls
- Balsamic Glaze (we used Cucina Viva Traditional Balsamic Cream)
- Small Skewers or Bamboo Picks
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For those of you who enjoy a really serious breakfast, corned beef hash is about as hearty as it gets. A meal that originally arose as a frugal way to extend the last bits of cured beef with stomach-filling potatoes, it’s now a breakfast classic both here in the U.S. and across the big pond. Nueske’s corned beef hash is made with savory corned beef and tender diced potatoes. If you are currently – or have ever been – eating your corned beef hash out of a can, please do yourself a favor and try ours. You won’t go back to the tinned stuff.
Our favorite way to serve (and eat) our corned beef hash is simple (2 steps!):
A few weeks back, on Twitter, Grub Report shared what seemed to us to be a pretty good idea: They took a recent gift of Pimento Cheese, made a sandwich out of it, and fried that sandwich in Nueske’s bacon fat. People come to us with terrific ideas for our bacon – and its leavings – on a fairly regular basis, but this particular sandwich really stood out for a couple of reasons:
1) It’s straight-up comfort food. In Wisconsin, this has been a particularly wicked winter, both in terms of temperature and general cold-weather malaise. Cabin fever kicked in hard and early. It seems like – all New Year’s resolutions aside – comfort food is attractive to most everyone in our state right about now, and if it’s warm, cheesy, and wonderful, it’s a winter winner.
2) Pimento Cheese is amazing. While it’s truly a Southern thing, if you look at the ingredients, you would swear that a Wisconsinite must have created the first batch, save the more spicy elements. Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, real mayo (paramount importance!), pimentos and various other zesty, savory ingredients, like worchestershire or your favorite hot sauce, all mixed up and equaling one big, tasty amalgam of things we like to eat. There are loads of pimento cheese recipes out there but we ordered the good stuff from our friends at Zingerman’s. They make this right over in Ann Arbor. It’s worth noting that Grub Report used the pimento cheese from Zingerman’s for their sandwich, too. If you are intent on making your own, start here.
3) It’s grilled in bacon drippings. Nueske’s Bacon drippings. Since we smoke our bacon for quite a bit longer than your standard supermarket brands, you won’t see as much grease left in your pan after cooking our bacon; a lot of it cooks out in the smokehouse. If you cook up a pan or two of our smoky slices, you’ll still have enough drippings for a decent batch of these sandwiches… and some bacon to enjoy, on the side. If you really want to guild the lily, you could add the bacon slices to this sandwich, but the faint smokiness of the drippings is really enough flavor and doesn’t compete too much with the pimento cheese… but do what you will! People have long used our rich, smoky bacon drippings for popping popcorn and even basting other meats during the roasting process, but as the “butter” in a modified grilled cheese? We had to try it.
On the rare occasion that we give a special tour at Nueske’s, almost invariably the favorite thing for our guests to observe is a skilled Nueske’s team member hand-glazing our spiral-sliced hams. It involves a blow torch, our unique blend of honey and spices, and a fair amount of talent is needed to avoid scorching the glaze. We’ve even had some Wisconsin celebrities (Stephanie Klett, Kyle Cherek) try their hand at glazing a Nueske’s ham, with varied results and tons of enthusiasm.
Wisconsinites know that winter is almost upon us and we respond accordingly by pulling out our stash of warming comfort food recipes and getting things simmering on the stovetop. Here’s a list of our top three favorite winter soups. While we certainly aren’t going to dissuade you from ordering a ham or turkey just to try one of these soup recipes, a route you might want to go is order one of our Applewood Smoked Hams or Turkey Breasts for the holidays and then try your hand at making a soup recipe or two with the leftovers – if there are any.
Smoked Ham & Potato Soup (Recipe Here)
We adore dairy products and take nearly every opportunity to use our home state’s bounty of good milk and cheese. We really enjoy this soup for how hearty, simple, and satiating it is; everything we look for in a soup for the chilly winter months. We use Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese (Hook’s is a good one!), fresh butter, diced potatoes, smoky ham and green onions. This soup only takes about a half an hour to get on the table, so you can whip this recipe up after work, with no trouble.
For anyone who’s going to be in our neck of The Northwoods this weekend (Oct 4th & 5th, 2013), you’re invited to our open-to-the-public 80th Anniversary Celebration. We’ll have loads of food, music, prizes, and family-friendly fun… and if it rains, we have many large tents to keep you dry and shelter the weekend’s festivities. Event details and schedule are here and if you have any questions after checking out the event schedule, please call us at (715) 253-4000 or email email@example.com – we can help you out!
Here’s a bit of our history for you: Nueske’s was founded in 1933, in the heart of The Great Depression, by R.C. Nueske. Times were hard for everyone and R.C. hoped to sell some of his family’s smoked meats to ease the burden. The Nueskes had been making traditional smoked meats for generations, all created with recipes that the family brought over from the Old World.
We trim our chops by hand, cure them, and then slowly smoke them over logs of sweet Wisconsin Applewood. Each chop is pre-cooked, so all you have to do to get them ready to serve is warm them gently (medium heat works well), for a few minutes on each side, on your grill or in a pan. They make a really impressive entrée and have a quick, simple prep, so they’re a natural go-to for easy summer meals.
Guests are always impressed by these tender, rich smoked pork chops served hot off the grill. These big, half-pound bone-in chops are perfect for casual grilling or for a more formal dinner. If you do the later, we suggest pan-frying and glazing the chops with a recipe like this one, for Smoked Pork Chops with Maple-Glazed Apples.
This salad makes a perfect Thanksgiving side with its warm, inviting flavors – and it adds the pretty color of fresh greens to your table. Chef Dave served this salad for us at the 2012 Food Network New York Wine & Food Festival and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Chicken & Roasted Mushroom Salad
By: Chef Dave Martin
Yields 6-8 servings
4 oz. mixed greens
2 cups roasted mushrooms (see below for preparation)
8 oz. Nueske’s Smoked Boneless Chicken Breast, cut into cubes or small strips
4 – 6 oz. lemon vinaigrette (see below for preparation)
2 oz. shaved or grated Parmesan Cheese
We hope you enjoy this sweet, lightly salty, subtly smoky treat from Chef Dave Martin, using our Wild Cherrywood Smoked Bacon. When we make these, the whole batch disappears really quickly and people are amazed to learn that bacon is an ingredient. Chef Dave served these for us at the 2012 Food Network New York Wine & Food Festival, where they were a big hit. Happy baking!
Recipe By: Chef Dave Martin of Top Chef
Yields about 4 dozen
12 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. Nueske’s Wild Cherrywood Smoked Bacon drippings, rendered from cooking the bacon
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped, cooked Nueske’s Wild Cherrywood Smoked Bacon pieces
1 ½ cups dried cherries
4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp. kosher salt
In a stand mixer, add butter, bacon drippings, and sugar, and blend using your paddle attachment or with electric beaters until mixture is light yellow in color. Add vanilla and sift in the flour and salt. Continue blending until everything is incorporated/blended well, and then add in the cherries and cooked bacon pieces. Remove the dough and then use a little bit of flour and work it into a roll (like a refrigerated grocery store cookie dough-sized roll). Then wrap the roll in plastic wrap and chill for about 30-45 minutes so that the butter in the dough sets. If you bake right these away, without chilling the dough first, the cookies will flatten out too much during baking.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough roll from fridge and slice into ½ inch-thick circles and place the circles onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow them to cool; cookies will harden a bit more as they cool.
If you’ve ever stopped in at our Company Store in Wittenberg, Wisconsin, you’ve seen our large refrigerated case filled of some of Wisconsin’s tastiest cheeses and have likely had the opportunity to sample some of the finest cheeses that our state has to offer: aged cheddars, bricks, parmesans, and the new blues. We decided to share the experience with our mail order customers and throughout the past year, we’ve taken our time carefully selecting cheeses from several local producers that really showcase the best of the best. It was very hard to choose because of the bounty of excellent dairy goods that our home state has to offer – but we’ve made our selections. We can ship anywhere in the U.S., so these are great gifts for displaced Wisconsinites and anyone who appreciates really good food. These fine examples of cow’s milk cheese will make any cheese lover happy:
Widmer’s Traditional Trio
Joe Widmer is a third-generation (hey – just like us!) cheese-maker located in Theresa, Wisconsin. At Widmer’s, they still use the same recipes and cheese forms that Joe’s grandfather, John Widmer, used when he began the business in the early 1900’s. Joe is one of only eight Certified Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers and we are proud to feature three of his traditional cheeses in this sampler: Mild Brick, Colby, and Mild Cheddar.