Mikey’s Food Resolutions for 2012

The last few years, Mrs. Mike and I have done New Year’s resolutions together on New Year’s Day. And I must say, we’ve stuck to many of them, often referring to our lists as the year wears on. That’s what resolutions are intended for, but many of us forget about them on or around January 3. But I thought it would be fun to put together a few food resolutions for 2012–feel free to add yours below or on Facebook:

Try one new kind of cheese per month–I started doing this in 2011 and got sidetracked or disinterested. But wait, I live in Wisconsin. Disinterested? Not an option, so I’m going to follow through this time. There are simply too many good cheeses to try in this part of the country.

Try a few things that are out of my comfort zone–I’m not a big fan of seafood, or anything in the organ meat vicinity. But in a meal at Graham Elliott in Chicago this past September, Mrs. Mike and I had a meal that had cooked fish; a deconstructed Caesar salad with a whole anchovy on top; and a foie gras lollipop with watermelon pop rocks. That was enough out of comfort zone for a whole year for me, but the foie gras was phenomenal–and I’m glad I took a step out of my comfort zone to try it.

Eat less junk–and by junk I mean stuff like candy, snack cakes and greasy chips. I am vowing to get back into shape in the New Year, and especially after having back surgery in February. And while I don’t think there is anything wrong with occasional junk food, I ate far too much of it in 2011. Time to start eating more nuts, dried fruit and sensible snacks when possible.

Work even harder to eat what’s in season–we belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture) but found ourselves not using everything in our box before some of it went bad. I want to make more of an effort on that one.

Teach our son to eat better–our four year old, who has autism, is very picky about his food. We work hard on this, but it’s extremely difficult to get him to open his mind with food. I think we can work harder at it.

Revive “a can a week”–that was a fun column I started here but need to revive it, reviewing a canned food item per week, be it a new product or one that we’ve been eating for decades.

Use the deep fryer more–I don’t think I took that thing out at all in 2011, and that’s a shame. Who doesn’t love fried food (except me, when my doctor is reading this!)?

Find more cool restaurants and review them here–We live in Madison, one of the coolest food cities on the planet. Mrs. Mike and I love trying new places to eat but need to do so more often. And I’ll bring you the play by play here.

DVR more food shows–I keep seeing press releases and then forget to DVR the shows.

Eat more tofu–seriously? No, that was a joke. Blech.

Thanks for reading, and happy new year!


What’s your favorite fried food?

I’ve got fried food on the brain today. Maybe it’s because I haven’t eaten much today, or maybe it’s because I just love anything fried to a golden brown and crispy. I mean, what’s not to like? Of course, cardiologists and personal trainers dissuade eating this stuff, but we all do at some point. So rather than go into my favorite fried foods (I’ll do that soon), I wanted to pose this to you readers–give me your favorite fried food item, either something that you make yourself or order in a restaurant. E-mail me at and I’ll publish them next week…..stop it, you guys are making me hungry!


Grub for Guys: chicken fried hamburger with cheddar sauce and tomato-pickle relish

Here is another recipe I had fun making for Grub for Guys: chicken fried hamburger with a cheese sauce and tomato-pickle relish:

For those of you who love cheeseburgers and anything fried, I’ve got a recipe for you that I promise you’ll want to make again and again—chicken fried hamburger. The first time I tested this out, I used brown gravy and it wasn’t quite right. This time, I had the idea of making a cheese sauce to in effect create a cheeseburger, and then added a tomato-pickle relish to cap it off. Success! The only warning here is that we don’t suggest telling your cardiologist about it, okay?

½ large tomato, seeded and chopped
4 crunchy dill pickle spears (such as Claussen), seeded and chopped
1-2 Tbsp ketchup
1-2 Tbsp. prepared mustard

½ stick butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. flour
½ cup whole milk (or more as needed)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp. hot sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

1 pound ground beef
½ cup flour
2 eggs, beaten in a bowl
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
Salt & pepper to taste


Combine relish ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

For sauce, heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When melted, whisk in flour for about 20 seconds. Add milk, and continue to whisk until it starts to thicken. If it’s too thick, add a splash or two more of milk. Then add cheese, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, set aside, covering to keep it warm.

For burgers, form beef into four oval patties. Then set up three shallow bowls in a row with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, respectively. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to each. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Then dredge the patties in the flour, followed by the egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Gently add each patty to the pan, and cook for about 4 minutes per side or until crispy on the outside and at least medium to medium-well on the inside.

Slide patties onto a plate, top with cheese sauce and relish, and serve. Makes four servings, or two two-patty servings for you guys with big appetites.


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