The wine list at Porter's Steakhouse in Collinsville has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Wine Lists in the U.S.
OpenTable asked diners to tell the online reservation company which restaurants they consider to have the most "Notable Wine Lists." The list of winners is based on more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Also in the bi-state area, check out other winners: Robust in Webster Groves and Copia Restaurant and Wine Garden in St. Louis.
OpenTable provides free, real-time online reservations for diners at more than 25,000 restaurants around the globe, including Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Great Britain.
I had a reader request a recipe for hush puppies, so I turned to someone who would naturally have the recipe: The Colonel. KFC recently put out an online cookbooklet with recipes from Col. Harlan Sanders. Here's his recipe for the treat that supposedly was named when bits of fried cornmeal were given to dogs to keep them quiet.
3 cups cornmeal or cornmeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
Vegetable oil for frying
Combine cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in eggs and enough milk to form a soft dough. Stir in onion.
Prepare your deep-fryer and heat oil to 375 degrees. If deep-frying on a stovetop, use a cooking or candy thermometer and a pan or pot deep enough to submerge the Hush Puppies.
Drop batter by the tablespoonful into the hot oil. You can fry 8 to 10 at a time, but don't crowd the pan. Remove when they are golden brown, using a slotted spoon or strainer. Drain on paper towels. Makes about 2 dozen.
With so many varieties of apples at the store and markets, I thought this recipe, which is baked in a 9-by-13 pan, would be just right for a weekend dessert or breakfast. It comes from pastrychefbaking.blogspot.com.
Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding
12 ounces egg bread, such as challah or brioche, preferably stale, sliced 1/2-inch thick
For the Caramelized Apples:
3 medium apples, peeled and cored (Fujis or Galas work well)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Butter a 9-by-13 inch baking pan (preferably Pyrex or other glass or ceramic pan), dust the inside with sugar and tap out the excess.
Line a roasting pan that the baking pan can fit inside of with a double thickness of paper towels. Set aside.
2. If your bread is not stale, spread it out on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut bread into chunks and set aside.
3. To caramelize the apples: Cut each apple in half from top to bottom, cut each half lengthwise into 6 to 8 slices and then cut each slice in half crosswise.
4. Put a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and when it melts, sprinkle the 3 tablespoons sugar over it. Cook the butter and sugar for a minute or so to caramelize but not burn.
Toss in the apple slices and cook, carefully turning the apples once or twice, until they are tender but not soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the apples and buttery liquid to a bowl or plate. Set aside.
5. Pudding: Bring the milk and cream just to a boil.
6. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in a quarter of the hot milk mixture to temper the egg mixture. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the rest of the milk mixture. Add the vanilla and whisk to blend.
Pour the custard over the bread in the bowl and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help it absorb the liquid. Let bread soak in the mixture for about 30 minutes, pressing occasionally with the back of a spoon.
7. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
8. Assemble: Place the caramelized apples in an even layer on the bottom of the baking pan, then gently place the soaked bread over the apples, covering them completely. Pour any remaining liquid over the bread.
Place the baking pan into the roasting pan and set on the oven rack. Fill the roasting pan with hot water. (The wet paper towels on the bottom will keep the baking pan from sliding around.)
9. Bake 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep in the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Here's how to reach me: Phone, 239-2664; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org; or write, Suzanne Boyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.