Tag Archives | Jenna Kashou


Holiday Entertaining

Tips From 5 Local Foodies

Story by Jenna Kashou
Photo courtesy of Bill Johnston

The holidays are a time of togetherness and nothing brings people together more than food. Whether you follow family traditions, or create your own, being a good host is an art. Five local foodies—pros and amateurs—dish about what they’re excited to put on their holiday table and the real makings of a get-together.

The Party Designer: Bill Johnston

Use lots of candles. Everything looks better by candlelight, and don’t forget to have extra ice on hand, always! —Bill Johnston

When you love to cook, eat and drink like Bill Johnston, you’re destined to be a good host. Johnston grew up in a large, close-knit family that was always entertaining large groups. “Everyone pitched in and brought their best to the table,” he says. A few special family recipes have remained intact over generations and graced the table at his gatherings: a creamy dip known as “Reuteman,” Grandma Alice’s caramel rolls and his great-great grandfather’s sausage. Johnston’s signature dish is a wild mushroom tart—a mixture of sauteed wild mushrooms with fresh herbs and brandy, braided into a puffed pastry strudel with cheese.

Johnston really shines when hosting … Read More

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Amaranth Bakery and Cafe

The Little Bakery That Could

Story by Jenna Kashou
Photography by Joe Laedtke

At 10:30 AM, I was already too late for the coveted morning rolls, cinnamon buns and scones. They’ve been plucked up and devoured by some other lucky early riser, ready when the doors opened at 7 AM.

People continue to enter the door in a steady stream—this must be the lunch crowd. Apparently everybody except me knows when to arrive to score exactly what he or she is craving. Bakers carry out trays of savory brioche, bubbling over with artichoke, red pepper and goat cheese, and sweet tarts with overlapping, glazed pear slices fanned out in a perfect circle.

Amaranth Bakery and Cafe, named after the ubiquitous red flower in gardens and the ancient grain, is located on a sparse stretch of Lisbon Avenue. The cafe itself is not much more than a handful of a mismatched tables, chairs and a few overflowing bookshelves. The menu changes daily, but the quality and “wow” factor is consistent. However, the spectacular and coveted food isn’t owners David Boucher and Stephanie Shipley’s only objective.

“Our reason to be is less about us and more about the people that walk … Read More

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Nostalgic? Bryant’s Takes You Back

Milwaukee’s Original Cocktail Lounge

Story by Jenna Kashou
Photography by Joe Laedtke

Change can be a good thing, but sometimes, it’s just not necessary. Customers of Bryant’s, Milwaukee’s oldest cocktail lounge, would tend to agree. Bryant’s opened their doors in 1938 and, after nearly a century of slinging drinks, they’ve clearly achieved cocktail nirvana. They even made Bon Appetit’s list of “Best Bars in America” this year. If you’re from here, you know that they’ve been “Milwaukee famous” much longer.

People flock to Bryant’s for the skillfully prepared retro and modern cocktails—but also to visit a place that, for years, has preserved its own unique identity. “The nostalgia factor plays a big part for many customers,” says Bryant’s owner John Dyer. “I hear people say all the time, ‘My parents—or even grandparents—used to come here.’”

Dyer bought the bar seven years ago. He was a customer with more than 20 years of bartending under his belt, including eight years at Brady Street’s popular Hi Hat Lounge. He had been working in real estate when he got the inside scoop on this historic landmark for sale.

Bryant’s longevity could be credited to their location. “It’s a bit off the beaten … Read More

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Making Elecciones Saludables (Healthy Choices)

Milwaukee’s Latino community seeks access to healthy food

Story by Jenna Kashou
Photography by Rob Gustafson

There’s a serene spot in the city with breathtaking views. Look up and you can see Milwaukee icons like the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower and The Basilica of St. Josaphat. Look down, however, and you see neat rows of peppers, lettuce and squash next to towering plants of chamomile, tomato and corn.

On the rooftop of Walker’s Point’s new Clock Shadow Building, a small nonprofit is catalyzing a community health movement by growing fresh produce. Situated between the city’s flourishing dining district and the predominantly Hispanic South Side, CORE/El Centro serves a diverse population hungry for change.

On a Monday night in summer at CORE, adults of every age zigzag, chacha, and shake to a Zumba routine, while their kids receive healthy snacks and learn how veggies grow. This is all part of CORE’s Garden and Nutrition program that has been able to reach its full potential since moving into its new building (130 W. Bruce Street) in 2012. The organization serves over 4,000 families a year with its programming and estimates about half take part in the nutrition classes.

Stephanie Calloway, nutrition program coordinator, … Read More

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Courtesy of Jenna Kashou

I dedicate this to my Teta (Arabic for grandmother). The rattle from her stack of gold bracelets clanking together, the sweet aroma of onions caramelizing in olive oil, a flickering TV screen always on in the background showing a dramatic Arab soap opera—these are the sounds, smells and sights of my childhood. Azizeh Kashou (1929-2014) raised a family of five and cooked every day for nearly 75 years. Born in Ramallah, Palestine, she prepared traditional Arab fare, heavily laden with allspice and, as often as possible, with lamb. The recipe below is a Kashou family favorite. The Spanish have paella and the Arabs have makloubeh. This rice-based dish with vegetables can be also be made without the meat, but that would just be a mistake. The crowning moment in successfully preparing this recipe is the flip at the very end, so be sure you have a set of strong hands and a sturdy platter.


  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 medium sized eggplant (optional), peeled and sliced thin 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 ½ lbs. lamb, cubed (shanks or stew meat)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2
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Raising Lamb, Delivering Locally

Delavan’s Pinn-Oak Ridge Farm doubles as processing hub

Story by Jenna Kashou
Photography by Joe Laedtke

Wearing a tan, canvas baseball cap embroidered with her own logo, Pinn-Oak Ridge Farm owner Darlene Pinnow patiently awaited me at Bavette La Boucherie, the hippest new butcher shop in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

Darlene sat with her hands neatly folded and a nervous smile on her face – eager to chat, but unsure what to expect. She was slightly out of her element – a country girl in the big city. Pinnow grew up in a farming family; between Darlene and her husband Steve, there are five proud generations of farmers. So when the two married 43 years ago, it was only natural that they buy their own farm.

We had agreed to meet at Bavette because Darlene was there every Thursday to hand-deliver Chef Karen Bell’s order. As she told me about how she got started in this business, I was still trying to grasp the idea that the lamb she was delivering had just been harvested and processed on Monday in Delavan. It was as simple as that: farmers and chefs, working in perfect harmony – with no middleman and no … Read More

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Brewing as a Family and Community Business

Biloba Brewing Co. on tap in Brookfield

Story by Jenna Kashou
Photography by Rob Gustafson

There’s an old saying: “Give the people what they want.” Milwaukee and its surrounding neighborhoods want beer, and lots of it—an unquenchable thirst that has lasted ages and branded our city. But a recent surge in demand for microbrews has spurred several local entrepreneurs to launch small-scale breweries, pouring out fresh suds made with local ingredients.

Biloba Brewing Company in Brookfield, set to open this spring, has been a long-time dream for a pair of passionate brewers. Husband-wife team Gordon and Jean Lane owns the 2,000 square-foot tasting room and microbrewery, and their children, Kathryn (31), Kevin (29) and Kristen (24) also pitch in. Kathryn and Kristen will work in the tasting room and handle social media and marketing, while Kristen is learning how to brew. Kevin, a former pilot plant brewer for MillerCoors, also helps with production part time. Jean calls herself the ideas person and will focus on tastings, tours and more.

Gordon and Jean have lived in Brookfield for 24 years, and both previously lived nearby for 20-plus years. Aside from having a short commute to work, they wanted to offer the … Read More

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Sugar Bee Sets Sights on Mushroom Markets

Milwaukee’s only dedicated mushroom farm

Story by Jenna Kashou
Photography by Rob Gustafson


Jutting out of dewy, straw-filled bags are gnarly creations in rainbow colors that look more like sea creatures than the blanched, lifeless mushrooms most Americans are accustomed to on supermarket shelves. But the oyster mushroom – pleurotus ostreatus – is in high demand for creative culinary types and adventurous eaters. And the crops coming from Sugar Bee Farm are nothing short of edible works of art.

The name Sugar Bee might make you think of a familiar sweet, golden, oozy substance, but the choice crop at Sugar Bee Farm is spongy, delicate oyster mushrooms. Sarah Wisniewski and Dave Grow own and operate this year-round farm – the only devoted mushroom farm in Milwaukee – producing eight varieties. They plan to add bees and honey to their repertoire next.

With the help of a USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) micro loan, Wisniewski and Grow moved into a warehouse space on July 1 and within five weeks had their first harvest. Sugar Bee is the latest addition to Milwaukee’s Green Corridor running along 6th Street from Howard to College Avenue on Milwaukee’s Southside.

A tour of the farm … Read More

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