Today’s column is all about Doris Streiff who lives on a farm in New Glarus and doesn’t have a clue that she has been on my mind lately as a person I’d enjoy living next door to, especially after reading Volumes II and III of her own “Down On The Farm” cookbooks totaling 550 pages. They’ve been within reach for more than a few years. I have enjoyed them immensely and sense Streiff’s passion for homemade family and ethnic favorites as well as her stories of what living on a farm offers throughout each year.

She describes the past as a wonderful culinary experience of learning to prepare old traditional Swiss dishes from her paternal grandmother as well as preparing Norwegian favorites with her mother. Soon to celebrate with her 69th wedding anniversary with husband, Dean, she mentions their favorite recipes being a “link between the past and the future, the old and the new, between those who have gone before and those who are yet to come as a form of nourishment with other far reaching ethnic favorites to strengthen family ties.”

While searching for recipes to answer some reader requests, I discovered that Streiff’s old fashioned baking powder biscuits took first place at the Green County Fair in 1940 when she was a member of the New Glarus 4-H club and is the favorite biscuit today of her granddaughter, Victoria. This might be exactly what a reader has been patiently waiting for.

Baking powder biscuits

2 cups sifted flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup chilled butter

½ cup cold milk

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. If you don’t have a “sifter,” mix it well. Add chilled butter to flour mixture and blend with a pastry blender or cut it in with a knife until butter is about the size of peas. Stir in milk; if it seems dry, add a tablespoon more milk. Don’t mix too much or you will have tough biscuits. Knead gently about 6 times and roll out to ½ inch thickness. Cut out with biscuit cutter or a glass; brush with milk. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Here is another simply delicious “Down on the Farm” biscuit.

Quick Italian biscuits

1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ teaspoon basil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Flatten biscuits into 4-inch round circles and arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. Combine remaining ingredients and spread on biscuits. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

There have been many requests lately for salad dressings from favorite restaurants. Unfortunately, a few requested by Glennda Brandt have not been available.

Streiff’s daughter, Nancy, is described as “taking great pride in her own salad dressings” and her Swiss salad dressing is a recipe she received from a “Swiss lady” in their New Glarus community.

Nancy’s Swiss salad dressing

2 tablespoons minced onions

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoons brown mustard

½ teaspoon salt

½ Knorr Aromat seasoning (see Note)

Dash Maggi seasoning

1/3 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons water

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup cream (or substitute buttermilk or plain yogurt)

Put all ingredients in a jar and shake. Good on green salad or cucumber salad.

Note: The Swiss seasonings and flavorings are available at Esther’s European Imports in New Glarus.

This is another Streiff favorite salad dressing that makes a low-fat dressing for a green salad or vegetable dip.

Dill dressing or vegetable dip

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

¼ cup light mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 grind of pepper

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

Mix all together and marinate for several hours.

Another Streiff favorite might be just what Mike Repas has been searching for after tasting an exceptional mushroom soup a few years ago at a small State Street restaurant.

Mushroom soup

4 tablespoons butter

1 small onion

½ teaspoon minced garlic

¾ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons flour

1 chicken bouillon cube

½ cup water

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2 cups half and half

¼ cup sherry

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Chopped parsley

Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender. Add mushrooms and saute 5 minutes. Add flour and make a smooth paste. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley and cook on low heat until thickened. Garnish with parsley. Serves 4.

Another Streiff family favorite that draws many compliments.

Red pepper stroganoff

2 pounds tenderloin, sirloin, or less tender cut of beef, cubed

Salt and pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 dill pickle, diced

¾ cup Burgundy wine

2 bouillon cubes

½ cup water

¼ teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 green pepper, sliced lengthwise

1 red pepper, sliced lengthwise

2 cups cultured sour cream

¼ cups chopped fresh parsley

Brown beef cubes in butter in a skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry until well browned and remove from pan. In the same pan, saute onion and mushrooms. Return meat to skillet. Add chopped tomatoes, dill pickle, wine, bouillon, water, paprika and cayenne pepper. Simmer until tender. Tenderloin will be done in the least amount of time, sirloin will take about 15 minutes, and less tender cuts of meat about 30 minutes longer. Stir in fresh pepper slices 10 minutes before serving, and simmer. Just before serving stir in sour cream and garnish with parsley when serving with noodles or mashed potatoes. Serves 8.

This has been made “dozens of times and everyone loves it.”

German apple torte

½ cup butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

4 cups apple slices, firm apples, thinly sliced

2 8-ounces packages cream cheese, softened

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

¼ cup sliced almonds

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Blend in flour. Spread dough into bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Spread sliced apples evenly over dough. Combine cream cheese and sugar and mix well. Beat in vanilla and eggs for 2 minutes. Pour over apple slices and sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until top is light brown. Cool and store in refrigerator. Serves 16.

There will be even more Streiff recipes in the future.

Responding to a request for shortcake recipes, Carol Frontz, Baraboo, shared the following as a longtime favorite.

Meringue shortcake

1 tablespoon butter

½ cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder


½ cup milk

2 egg yolks

Mix together all ingredients and spread in a 9-inch square pan.


2 eggs whites

½ cup sugar

Beat egg whites. Gradually add sugar and do not under beat, beating until stiff and glossy and sugar dissolves. Spread over shortcake. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. This is delicious with strawberries.

Requests: Mel, a reader, remembers the exceptional Caesar salad served at The Living Room restaurant/bar, no longer in business. Can you help?

A rhubarb pudding cake recipe arrived from Donna K. with no way of reaching her so I’d like to ask that she contact me at her convenience.

Contact the Cooks’ Exchange in care of the Wisconsin State Journal, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI, 53708 or by email at greenbush4@aol.com.