David Swanson wears many toques. His company, Braise on the Go
Traveling Culinary School, offers what he explains as a
"one-of-a-kind outdoor dining or learning experience." From
mushroom hunting in the Kettle Moraine to a cooking class in the heart
of a Washington Island wheat field, Swanson showcases bounty from area
farms. Using fresh produce and other seasonal ingredients, he creates
a spectacular feast, which is then served in an open-air tent.
Swanson’s mantra is "buy local!" In addition to serving
as the co-leader of the Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast, Swanson
recently formed the nation’s first Restaurant Support Agriculture
program. The object is to make it easier for restaurants to purchase
food produced by small, regional farmers.
But at the heart of all of his activities, Swanson is a chef —
first and foremost. His impressive career in the restaurant world
includes working at the prestigious Le Francais in Illinois and as the
chef de cuisine at Sanford for six years. He lives in Bay View with
his girlfriend, Stacy Van Alstyne, along with Umbry, their yellow
Labrador, and Feezil, a rescue shelter cat.
Swanson’s dream is to open his own restaurant. Stay tuned. It may
happen before you know it.
Oil Braised Vegetables with Horseradish Crème Fraiche
8 ounces baby beets, blanched, peeled and quartered
4 ounces carrot, cut into 1/2-inch logs
4 ounces rutabaga, diced
4 ounces parsnip cut into 1/2-inch logs
4 ounces celery root, diced
4 ounces leeks cut into rounds
3 cups olive oil
1/4 cup fresh marjoram or thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper
Horseradish Crème Fraiche
1 cup Crème Fraiche
2-3 tablespoons horseradish
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. In a small bowl, whisk horseradish, lemon juice and salt into
crème fraiche; set aside.
2. In medium saucepan, add 2 cups of olive oil, carrots, rutabaga,
parsnip and celery root. Bring to simmer and gently cook vegetables
about 20 minutes or until tender-crisp. Add leeks and cook until all
vegetables are tender.
3. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, add 1 cup of olive oil and beets.
Bring to simmer and cook 20 minutes or until tender.
4. Add marjoram (or thyme) to both saucepans and gently heat to
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. To serve, gently spoon warm vegetables and beets into serving
bowls and top with a dollop of crème fraiche.
Notes: Beets are cooked separately as not to discolor other
vegetables. Olive oil can be used again for this recipe or in another
application, i.e. a vinaigrette. The flavor of the oil will become
more flavorful over time. Strain and store in a mason jar in the