Cookbook cover for Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie


Edited and with an introduction by Peggy Wolff

University of Nebraska Press
November 2013
$19.95/Trade Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0-8032-3645-5

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Peggy Wolff has written on food and food culture for publications including theChicago TribuneLos Angeles TimesHartford Courant, and Orlando Sentinel. She is the food editor for REALIZE Magazine.

With its corn by the acre, beef on the hoof, Quaker Oats, and Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, the Midwest eats pretty well and feeds the nation on the side. But there’s more to the midwestern kitchen and palate than the farm food and sizable portions the region is best known for beyond its borders. It is to these heartland specialties, from the heartwarming to the downright weird, that FRIED WALLEYE AND CHERRY PIE invites the reader.

The volume brings to the table an illustrious gathering of thirty midwestern writers with something to say about the gustatory pleasures and peculiarities of the region. In a meditation on comfort food, Elizabeth Berg recalls her aunt’s meatloaf. Stuart Dybek takes us on a school field trip to a slaughtering house, while Peter Sagal grapples with the ethics of paté. Parsing Cincinnati five-way chili, Robert Olmstead digresses into questions of Aztec culture, while Molly O’Neill discusses the heartland as the center of the next food revolution.  Harry Mark Petrakis reflects on owning a South Side Chicago lunchroom, while Bonnie Jo Campbell nurses a sweet tooth through a fudge recipe in the Joy of Cooking and Lorna Landvik nibbles her way through the Minnesota State Fair. These are just a sampling of what makes FRIED WALLEYE AND CHERRY PIE—with its generous helpings of laughter, culinary confession, and information—an irresistible literary feast.

Chocolate Pistachio Cake

Recipe by: Bonny Wolf

Illustration by: Zoe Gutterman

Yield: 12 to 14 servings


1 (18-1/4 ounce) box white or yellow cake mix
1 (3-1/2 ounce) box pistachio instant pudding mix
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
4 large eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup chocolate syrup
Confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan (or a 10-inch tube pan).

In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, orange juice, water, eggs, oil, and almond extract. With an electric mixer, blend at low speed until moist. Beat for an additional 3 minutes at medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until well blended.

Pour about two-thirds of the batter into the pan. Add the chocolate syrup to the remaining one-third of the batter. Mix well. Pour over the batter in the pan.

Bake for one hour. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Loosen cake with a blunt knife and turn onto a cake plate. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, if desired.


Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Caramelized Figs

Recipe by: Gale Gand

Makes 6-8 servings

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
4 teaspoons cold water
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
11 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh Capriole goat cheese (softened)

Sprinkle the gelatin over the 4 tsp water to soften.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the heavy cream and sugar.  Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat but do not let it boil, then turn off the heat and whisk in the softened goat cheese, whisking until the pieces of cheese are totally incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

Add vanilla and softened gelatin and whisk again to dissolve gelatin and then whisk in the buttermilk.  Strain the hot mixture through a fine sieve into a pitcher with a pour spout.

Pour into 6-8 ramekins or custard cups and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  To un-mold and serve, briefly and carefully dip the bottom of each ramekin in a baking pan of hot water.  Run a thin knife around the edge of mold to loosen the panna cotta.  Wipe the bottom of the mold dry and invert the mold onto an individual, chilled dessert plate.  Or serve in the ramakin. Garnish with caramelized figs.

For the Figs
4 ripe figs, cut in half
1/4 cup course sugar

Dip the cut faces of the figs into the sugar and caramelize them with a blow torch or by placing them under a broiler.


These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie by Peggy Wolff. (University of Nebraska Press; November 2013; $19/95/Trade Paperback; ISBN-13; 978-0803236455).

Contact: Rosemary Vestal
(402) 472-7710