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oN your PLatE By myLEs daNNhausEN Jr.


T e View From the Line


ome restaurant cooks bounce around the kitchen like a jit- terbug, as if the fl oor is made of hot coals and there’s a med- dlesome fl y buzzing around


their head. T ey hop from fl at-top, to fryer, to the prep cooler, then to the grill and back to the prep cooler. T ey shout instructions to prep cooks, fi nd seconds to question a server and double-check a ticket, then toss buns on the grill and cheese on a Philly.


Finally, in a fl urry a casual observer


would never see coming, they’re fl inging a line full of food into baskets and sud- denly eight orders appear in the window.


“Kari, YOU’RE UP!” T en it starts all over with the next


fl urry of tickets.


If those cooks are rattling through an eight-hour salsa dance, Big Mike, the veteran cook at Husby’s in Sister Bay, is


CREAM OF REUBEN SOUP


Here’s how I scaled down and modifi ed Big Mike’s restaurant-sized recipe to serve six people at home.


Ingredients:


2 cups boiled corned beef brisket, cubed 1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing 1/2 cup fl our 1/3 cup chicken soup base (paste-style) 4 tablespoons butter 6 slices dark rye bread 1 cup Door County Kraut 1 yellow onion, diced 3 stalks celery, chopped 6 slices Swiss cheese 3 pints heavy cream 1 pint milk Lawry’s seasoned salt White pepper


68 Door County Living Winter 2011/2012


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the corned beef brisket, simmering for 2 to 3 hours with seasonings. You can also use pre- cooked corned beef. Cut into small cubes. Once the brisket is cooked, start making the rest of the soup. Make your roux by whisking fl our into 2 table- spoons of melted butter on low heat. Set aside.


Sauté the onions and cel- ery with 1 tablespoon of butter until the onions are translucent. Season with a little Lawry’s seasoned salt and white pepper.


Chop the sauerkraut, then brown it in a frying pan on medium-high heat for 3 minutes.


While the onions and celery sauté, start the base of the soup by melting 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot on low heat. Once it melts, add the heavy cream, milk, chicken base, and Thousand Island dressing, mixing with a whisk.


performing a patient waltz. Somehow it works just the same, as decades of expe- rience behind the line have created ef- fi ciency where he lacks fl urry.


Mike Meyer learned to cook at the foot


of his mother at his parents’ tavern, the Crowbar in Mishicot, Wisconsin. He was 10 and helped set baskets and soon was throwing burgers on the grill. But it was his older brother Doug, a culinary school graduate, who became his kitchen mentor.


“Anytime there’s something I don’t


know,” Mike says, “I call him up, and he’s always got the answer for me.”


T ere’s a lot to be said for fi ne din-


ing, for an exotic preparation and an eccentric server. But even in an age of health-crazed eating (of which I’m an enthusiastic participant) the lure of greasy comfort food remains irresistible.


T ere are few better to satisfy that craving than Big Mike. He’s worked just


about every kind of kitchen you can fi nd – fi ne dining, supper clubs, diners, even his own bar for a stretch. But at Husby’s, behind the tavern line, he seems most at home.


His red hair and scraggly goatee can


make him look intimidating, a trait all good cooks seem to develop – some by appearance, others by tempera- ment. When he gets control of the ra- dio (and when your name is Big Mike, that’s more often than not), he prefers to grill to the sounds of Rush, Metallica or Ozzy Osbourne (he once had a dog named after Ozzy).


But Big Mike is an approachable sort, especially if talk turns to cooking, grow- ing herbs, or good beer.


“I’m always picking up cookbooks,”


he says. “I love those little ones you get at the grocery store, too. You can always fi nd ideas.”


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