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Chef speak
David Swanson - Chef and owner Braise on the Go

By PAM PERCY

Chef 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.

 

 

 

Olive Oil Braised Vegetables with Horseradish Crème Fraiche

(Serves four)

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

Salt

 

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 warm through.

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 refrigerator.