Dining With Denise Neil

Get recipes from some favorite Kansas restaurants, home cooks

Frank and Jayni Carey will discuss their book, “The New Kansas Cookbook,” as part of a Kansas Day celebration on Sunday at the Wichita Public Library.
Frank and Jayni Carey will discuss their book, “The New Kansas Cookbook,” as part of a Kansas Day celebration on Sunday at the Wichita Public Library. Courtesy photo

Back in 1989, Frank and Jayni Carey published “The Kansas Cookbook,” a collection of recipes that reflected the culinary history of Kansas. It became a classic, and nearly 30 years later, copies of the book – full of well-used, food-stained pages – still sit on shelves in many Kansas homes.

But the couple, longtime home cooks who live in Lawrence, noted recently that cooking has changed in Kansas, and so have ideas about food. In October, they published a follow-up to their original cookbook, this one called “The New Kansas Cookbook: Rural Roots, Modern Table.” It includes 220 recipes, some solicited from home cooks and farmers across the state, as well as stories about Kansas foodies and food trends. It also includes more than a dozen recipes provided by some of the state’s most popular restaurants and cafes.

The couple will appear as part of a Kansas Day celebration at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Wichita Public Library, 223 S. Main. They’ll talk about their experiences putting the books together.

“In the first cookbook, we explored the foods of Kansas and the heritage of the farm traditions,” said Jayni, who also has a weekly show called “Jayni’s Kitchen” that airs on an independent cable news station in Lawrence. “This time around, we wanted to write a more modern book that talks about how Kansans cook today.”

That includes more nods to farmers markets and farm-to-table cooking, the couple said. And it acknowledges the influence of restaurants and cafes across the state. The couple invited dozens of restaurants to share recipes as part of the book, and many favorites did, including Gella’s Diner and LB Brewing in Hays, Keller Feed & Wine Company in Cottonwood Falls, Rye in Leawood and Reece’s Cafe in Alden.

(The hardback book, published by University Press of Kansas, is curiously devoid of recipes from Wichita, the largest city in the state. But it’s not because the couple didn’t ask, Jayni said. They sent out several invitations to Wichita restaurateurs, but none responded.)

Many of the recipes in the new book are modern updates on the originals, the couple said. The 1989 book included a recipe for basic sloppy joes. The new book has sloppy joes, too, but they’re made in a pressure cooker using brisket rather than ground beef.

The old book had a recipe for burnt sugar pie, a Kansas kitchen classic. The new one offers instructions for making burnt sugar custard with crispy caramel sea salt topping.

The recipes the couple solicited from Kansas restaurants also are keepers, the authors said. They’re particularly excited about the pork shoulder sandwich recipe provided by Bryan and Janice Williams of Keller Feed & Wine Company and the rainbow trout from Harry’s, the restaurant in the Historic Wareham Hotel in Manhattan.

The book also is meant to be enjoyed by noncooks, said Frank, who points to the 31 stories the book includes on topics of interest to foodies, including stories about the history of grilling, beer brewing and distilling in Kansas, as well as restaurant bios.

People are still buying the first cookbook, the couple is happy to report. They still frequently receive royalty checks.

But fans of the first cookbook have said they appreciate the update.

“The recipes from the first book were family favorites and recipes passed down families,” Jayni said. “The new book is about how people cook today.”

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil

Get the cookbook

Watermark Cafe at 4701 E. Douglas is selling copies of the book, which retails for $29.95, for 20 percent off this month.

It’s also available at amazon.com for $25.92.

Pork shoulder sandwiches

This recipe was provided by chef Bryan Williams and his wife, Janice Williams, of Keller Feed & Wine Company, a restaurant in Cottonwood Falls. Bryan said that, for several years, he smoked pork shoulder before he started using the slow-roasting method and found his customers preferred it.

8 pounds pork shoulder (preferably bone-in)

1/4 cup yellow mustard


1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup smoked Spanish paprika

2 tablespoons granulated garlic

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons course ground black pepper

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Hard rolls or hamburger buns, toasted or warmed

Barbecue sauce

Set the pork shoulder out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking to take the chill off the meat. Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels and place it on a large plastic cutting board or a baking sheet. Slather the entire shoulder with the yellow mustard.

Rub: In a small bowl, combine the dark brown sugar, smoked Spanish paprika, granulated garlic, kosher salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cover the entire pork shoulder with the rub.

Place the shoulder in a roasting pan or a Dutch oven with a lid. Cover and place in a 200-degree oven for 12 hours. When done, the shoulder should be very tender. Remove it from the pan and let rest for 30 minutes on a cutting board. Pull the meat apart, discarding the fat. Pile the pork on hard rolls or buns and serve with barbecue sauce.

From “The New Kansas Cookbook” by Frank and Jayni Carey

Muscat cake

Jayni Carey said she used sweet wines from Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery in Basehor and BlueJacket Crossing Vineyard & Winery in Eudora for her cake.

12 to 16 servings

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Muscat, Moscato or other sweet white wine

Muscat glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup Muscat, Moscato or other sweet white wine

1 bunch of red or green grapes, separated into small clusters, for garnish

Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by greasing the sides and bottom. Cut parchment or waxed paper to fit the bottom of the pan, place it in the pan and grease the top side of the paper. Dust the interior of the pan and paper with a small amount of flour and tap out the excess.

In a large bowl using a mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat well. Blend in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking power and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture alternately with the wine, ending with the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 55 minutes or until a thin wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with very moist crumbs

Cool the cake in the pan on a cake rack for about 10 minutes. Remove the pan sides from the base and continue cooling. When the cake is cool enough to handle, carefully remove the base and peel off the parchment or waxed paper. Return the cake to the cake rack to glaze.

Muscat glaze: In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and wine, stirring or whisking until smooth. Using a toothpick, poke holes in the top of the cake and pour the glaze over it. If some of the glaze pools in the center of the cake, brush it to the outer edges using a pastry brush. Let the glaze soak into the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving. Transfer the cake to a cake plate. Cover if serving later.

Garnish the cake plate or individual servings with small clusters of red or green grapes.

“The New Kansas Cookbook” by Frank and Jayni Carey

Grilled strip steaks with bourbon mushroom sauce

2 strip steaks (10 to 12 ounces each, 1 to 1 1/3 inches thick)

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Bourbon mushroom sauce:

8 ounces medium-size button mushrooms

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup bourbon

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Season the steaks with salt and pepper and set them aside while the grill heats up. Prepare and measure all the ingredients for the bourbon mushroom sauce in advance.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high heat. Place the steaks on the cooking grate and cover. Sear for three to five minutes, turning a quarter turn after the first two minutes to mark the meat. When the steaks are well browned on the first side, turn them over, cover and cook for three to five minutes more until the meat registers 130 to 135 degrees for medium rare. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board, tent with aluminum foil and let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, make the mushroom sauce.

Bourbon mushroom sauce: Clean the mushrooms, trim the stems and cut them into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Set aside. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter, reserving 1 tablespoon to finish the sauce. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft, about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the mushrooms, stirring and tossing until they are soft, release their juices and are nicely browned.

Raise the heat to medium-high, stirring in the molasses, bourbon and chicken broth, and allow the sauce to reduce until lightly thickened, four to six minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. To finish the sauce, stir in the reserved tablespoon of butter, letting it melt slowly and thicken the sauce. Maces about 1 cup of sauce.

Just before serving, slice the steaks into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange a portion on each of the four dinner plates. Spoon the sauce over the steak slices and serve immediately.

Tip: The bourbon mushroom sauce can be made in advance and kept warm but not hot until ready to serve. If the sauce becomes too hot, the butter emulsion will break.

“The New Kansas Cookbook” by Frank and Jayni Carey