Pudgies inspire cast-iron creativity

Summer may be waning, but campfires are forever, which means that you can make pudgie pies all year. What's a pudgie? It's the grilled sandwich that emerges from a pie iron, a cast-iron clamshell of sorts at the end of a long handle. Line one side with bread, top with stuff and another slice of bread, then close it and hold it over a fire for about 10 minutes. Those basics take a back seat to creativity in "Pudgie Revolution! Pie Iron Cookin' for Food-Lovin' Campers," a self-published cookbook by three friends, Jared Pierce, Carrie Simon and Liv Svanoe. They grew up together in Whitewater, Wis., and have camped all over the state, where they began experimenting with different pastry shells and different fillings.

When they began raising money for a possible book, their $5,000 Kickstarter goal topped out at $7,000, convincing them that they were onto something. The recipes reach far beyond Wonder Bread and canned apple pie filling. Here's a rangoon with egg roll wrappers, cream cheese and crabmeat; a samosa with crescent roll dough, cubed vegetables and mango chutney; and a fish taco with a tortilla, fish and the fixings. For dessert, they've even concocted a baklava with phyllo dough, nuts, honey and spices.

While campfires or fire pits are traditional, pudgies also can be made over grills and even propane burners. The ideas look delicious, but mostly, they look like fun. The book is $15. To order, visit their Facebook page at Pudgie Pie Revolution or their blog at pudgierevolution.com.

Land O'Lakes debuts premium butter

Arden Hills is going Euro. Our very own Land O'Lakes, based in the north metro community, is introducing Land O'Lakes European Style Butter, a super-premium butter made with sweet cream, slow-churned to give it a rich flavor and creamy texture by reducing the moisture content more than traditional butters. Oh, and the fat content gets a boost from 80 to 82 percent. U.S. butter consumption has been steadily on the rise, as fat, however in moderation, has come into favor again. European-style super premium butters comprise about 1 percent of the entire market, but the category is growing, especially among cooks and bakers seeking a more intense butter flavor and richness, qualities that were readily apparent in a sample of the product provided by Land O'Lakes. The butter is available in both salted and unsalted varieties, and sold in two individually wrapped sticks per half-pound package. For recipes, visit landolakes.com and type "European" in the search field.

For the younger set

Ingredient magazine (a publication for children curious about food) now has a younger sibling, Butternut, which is geared toward preschoolers. Its first issue features a young girl looking for the perfect pumpkin on a farm. The magazine is heavily visual and created for emerging readers. Editor Jill Colella, a former English teacher, notes that the visual vocabulary and icons in the magazine help preliterate readers with a sense of "reading." Each issue centers on a nonfiction story and includes recipes and activities. While the magazine highlights the phrase "food literacy for young readers and eaters" on its cover, Colella says it does not have a public health agenda. Think Mr. Rogers rather than Alice Waters for its tone. The magazine's goal is to build both food and reading literacy, Colella said. The ad-free, sponsor-free publication, based in St. Paul, comes out six times a year at a cost of $35 for the print edition and $10 for digital. To subscribe, go to butternutmag.com.