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|May 28- June 3, 2009
• Bring on the BBQ
Sauces are the strong suit at Downtown Boulder’s Rib House
by Clay Fong
• The Dessert Diva
A local chef shares her sweet secrets
by Danette Randall
From the garden to the table
Young mother prides herself on growing her own food
by Karen Herzog
She’s a young mother. She grows her own food. And she prides herself on the fact she made all of her 2-year-old son’s baby food from scratch.
It’s no surprise to her mother that Julie Tokheim is so into food. As a child, she was a “pretend” waitress and cook for everyone in her family. She developed a passion for cooking while watching and assisting her Italian grandmother, Josephine Mason, and her mom, Karen Tomczyk, in her childhood kitchen in Greendale, Wis.
Now 30, Tokheim lives in McFarland, Wis., with her husband, Miles, and son, Drew.
“I was the oldest granddaughter,” Tokheim said. “And my grandmother really enjoyed sharing her specialties with me. Whenever you were at her house, you were eating, whether you were hungry or not. She’d say, ‘You’re too skinny. You need to eat.’ She made a lot of spaghetti and meatballs, salmon patties, pizza and soups.”
Her grandmother was always teaching her something, whether it was judging the freshness of produce at the store or advising her how to keep produce fresh at home, Tokheim said.
At Greendale High School, she was further mentored by consumer education teacher Barb LaSee, who still teaches there.
Tokheim became interested in health and nutrition as a teen. She became a vegetarian, though now eats meat occasionally, the result of her husband’s influence.
She earned a family and consumer education degree, and then a master’s in curriculum and instruction, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She taught five years at LaFollette High School in Madison, where she met her husband, who teaches technology classes.
Tokheim took an extended maternity leave from LaFollette after Drew was born.
Her father-in-law, Mike Tokheim, has inspired the young family to plant two large vegetable gardens. So now, Tokheim and her husband grow everything from onions, garlic, tomatoes and peas to beans, beets, tomatillos and broccoli.
“You name it, we pretty much grow it,” she said. They also do some canning.
What they don’t grow they buy at the Dane County Farmers Market, where they shop weekly during the season.
“The farmers market in Madison is one of my top five reasons to stay in Madison,” Tokheim said. “Environmentally, it makes sense to buy things grown locally. We also use minimal chemicals in our garden. I prefer food that isn’t transported long distances.”
She also relishes cooking with fresh ingredients, whether it was baby food for Drew or dinner for the family as her son has gotten older.
“It’s so neat to go into the garden and pick onions and garlic and tomatoes for a pasta sauce. It’s very rewarding.”
Drew already is benefiting from his mom’s sense of adventure.
“He eats curry and salsa, and he picks cherry tomatoes and raspberries out of the garden to eat, fresh,” Tokheim said.
She prefers cooking to baking for one simple reason: She doesn’t like to measure ingredients.
“I get ideas from recipes, and I wing it from there,” she said.
Julie Tokheim enjoys making this vegetarian lasagna, which is among her family’s favorites.
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Makes about 8 servings
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (divided)
1 large onion, chopped
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, cleaned and chopped in 1-inch cubes (see note)
5 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
5 tablespoons flour
5 cups milk
1 bay leaf
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 pound no-boil lasagna noodles
Prepare filling: Heat 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add squash, three of the garlic cloves, salt and pepper and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add parsley and sage. Let filling cool.
Prepare sauce: In large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter and add remaining minced garlic, stirring one minute. Reduce heat to low and whisk in flour, adding more butter if mixture is too thick. Cook three minutes, stirring constantly. Return heat to medium-low and gradually whisk in milk. Add bay leaf. Bring sauce to a boil, continuing to whisk. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
To assemble: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13-by-9-inch pan. Toss cheeses together.
Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of pan. Lay 3 lasagna sheets lengthwise and add part of a fourth sheet to fill in. Spread 2/3 cup sauce over noodles, then 1 cup filling, then 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Repeat layering pasta, sauce, filling and cheese until four noodles remain and filling is used up. Top with final layer of pasta and remaining sauce and cheese.
Cover lasagna tightly with well-greased foil. Bake in center of preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, until noodles are soft. Remove foil and bake until cheese is golden, 5 to 10 minutes.
Note: Butternut squash is in season in fall but available in some supermarkets now.
Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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