In between meals during my recent visit to Duluth, I spent some quality time browsing through the Bookstore at Fitger's, the sweet indie-owned retailer (it focuses on northeastern Minnesota titles) in the Fitger's shopping complex.
I was delighted to come across "The Duluth Grill Cookbook." Souvenir time.
Published earlier this year, the story- and image-packed volume (produced by author Robert Lillegard and photographer Rolf Hagberg) is filled with more than 100 make-at-home versions of the restaurant's most popular recipes. Here are three.
DULUTH GRILL PANCAKES
Makes about 1 dozen pancakes.
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. plus 2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
2 3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. plus 1 3/4 tsp. cornstarch
2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cornstarch and reserve. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat buttermilk and eggs until well combined. Add dry mixture, stirring until just combined. Add melted butter and stir until just combined.
Preheat a non-stick griddle to medium-high. Make pancakes, 1 at time, by pouring 1/3 cup batter onto hot griddle. When bubbles form on top of pancake, flip and cook until both sides are golden brown. Serve with room temperature butter and maple syrup.
DULUTH GRILL WILD RICE BURGERS
Note: Panko are Japanese bread crumbs. For 5 cups cooked wild rice, rinse 1 1/2 cups uncooked wild rice. In a saucepan over high heat, bring 4 1/2 cups salted boiling water. Add uncooked wild rice. Return to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until kernels puff open, about 45 to 60 minutes (for chewier wild rice, use a shorter cooking time). Fluff wild rice with a fork and simmer 5 additional minutes, uncovered. Drain any excess liquid.
1 c. panko
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
4 eggs, beaten
1 c. diced mushrooms
5 c. cooked wild rice
1 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
4 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
Vegetable oil for cooking
In a large bowl, stir together panko, wild rice and mushrooms. Stir in eggs and mayonnaise. In a small bowl, combine pepper, salt, garlic, cumin and red pepper. Stir seasonings into wild rice mixture. Using a 1-cup metal measuring cup, scoop up mixture and form into patties about 2 inches thick.
In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add patties and pan fry until bottom side is browned. Flip patties and fry until browned and heated through. Serve on toasted buns.
DULUTH GRILL KETCHUP
Makes about 3 cups.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. diced onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 29-oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Dash ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. cornstarch added to a bit of cold water to make a slurry
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onions and cook until transluscent. Add garlic and cook until garlic beings to change color; do not burn.
Add tomato sauce, honey, cider vinegar, molasses, red wine vinegar and cinnamon and whisk together thoroughly and increase heat to high. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Stain sauce through a strainer back into the saucepan over high heat. Stir in cornstarch slurry, increase heat to medium and bring mixture to a boil (you can add more cornstarch if you would like a thicker ketchup, or leave it out entirely if you prefer a thin ketchup). Remove from heat, transfer ketchup to a container and refrigerate.