Roasted Corn Stock

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 When corn is in peak season, it is a  very special thing. I can't lie, in the middle of the spring, I  catch myself looking around for the first pop up farmstands on the side of the road selling fresh corn.   The supermarket corn could be good as well, but there's no comparison to the stuff that was picked day we have also found that some of the best corn we've ever tasted comes from farms that have their own life stock. Obviously, composted manure plays a key role in supplying the nitrogen needed to grow super sweet corn.

if your corn is organic, feel free to use the husks on the outside as well, as we did. We brushed themwith a touch of roasted garlic oil before roasting to protect them from burning.  Throwing away those Cobbs you pay good money for is a sin! There is an awesome sweetness  and flavor you can extract by putting them in cold water with other vegetables and bring it to a simmer for an hour.  The next Time you get your hands on The freshest seasonal corn you can't, we urge you to try this recipe below. It's one of the most amazing vegetable stocks you will have!

 

For the stock:  

6 corn cobs  

1 small carrot

1 small fennel bulb (or half of a large)

1 small red onion (sliced)

a handful of the inner corn husks (lightly brushed with oil) 

2 ribs of celery (chopped) 

1 tsp of whole black peppercorns  

pinch of dried thyme (we used lemon thyme) 

1. In a 400 degree oven, roast all of the above on a sheet tray until desired color (golden brown)

2. Plus all the ingredients above enough stock pot and cover with cold water just until filled. Bring almost to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook stock for an hour, then drain through a colander. 

Thats it!  

  

 

Seckel Pear & Hazelnut Tart with caramelized raw honey

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Seckel Pear & Hazelnut Tart

Yields 9-inch tart (6-12 servings)

Tart Dough
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cold
1 large egg, lightly whisked
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs (room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups hazelnut flour
3 ripe seckel pears, peeled, halved, and cored

2 tablespoons honey (for brushing tart)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cube the butter and add it to the dry ingredients by rubbing it between your fingers until the dough resembles coarse sand. Add the lightly whisked egg and vanilla extract, folding the mixture until the dough comes together.

Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, or until cold.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch tart pan with parchment paper, or spray with non stick spray.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer into the tart pan, trim the edges, and poke the bottom of the pan with a fork several times to prevent the dough from rising while baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir in the hazelnut flour until uniform. Spread the filling evenly into the tart shell with an offset spatula.

Place the pear halves in the filling and press down gently. Brush with the honey and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the hazelnut filling is baked through and appears lightly browned. Cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.

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Nectarine & Berry Upside Down Cake with Hickory Nuts & Molasses

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Nectarine & Berry Upside Down Cake with hickory nuts & molasses

 


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For the cake:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (4 Tbsp reserved to cook fruit)
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 4 cups nectarines (large dice)
  • 1 cup mixed berries (we used blueberries & raspberries)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup hickory nuts (pecans are a great substitute if you can't score hickory nuts)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 4 tablespoons butter in a 9-inch round cake pan or cast iron pan, and melt over low heat. Sprinkle brown sugar & evenly over butter and add the molasses.. 

  2. Arrange fruit in an even layer in pan. 

  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 6 tablespoons butter on high until light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions yogurt, and beat to combine. 

  4. With a spatula, spread batter over nectarines. Bake until cake is dark golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, approx 45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack, 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan and invert cake onto a serving plate. Garnish with the hickory nuts & serve warm. We also buried this beauty in piles of vanilla ice cream!

Peach & Blackberry Slump with buttermilk & maple sugar biscuits

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Peach & Blackberry Slump with maple & buttermilk & maple sugar biscuits

  •         5 sliced peaches (skin on is fine)
  •         1 cup blackberries
  •         2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  •         4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  •         2 1/2 tablespoons of maple sugar
  •         2 teaspoons cornstarch
  •         1 tablespoons lemon juice
  •         1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  •         3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  •         1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  •         1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  •         Pinch of salt
  •         2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  •         2 1/2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
  •         1/3 cup water

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a 10” cast iron pan, stir together the fruit, lemon juice, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cornstarch, water and cinnamon. toss to combine.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the flour, 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated maple sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a fork, work in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk, and stir into the flour mixture until just combined. It should be wet and sticky.
  5. Drop the dough in a few large clumps over the fruit, sprinkle more maple sugar over the dough, and bake in the middle of the oven until the biscuits are golden and cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes
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Easy Pita Bread

Have you ever attempted to make your own pita bread? It is really stress free and delicious. It has more of a chew than the ones that are bought in stores, and we think that is a good thing. The soft pillowy texture of these babies will have you forgetting about store bought pita forever. Don't get me wrong, I love classic store bought pita. I grew up eating those!

This recipe just simply makes it much harder to go back to those. That's all. Oh, you will also be the star of the show serving these at a dinner party with whatever ingredients you love to stuff inside of them. We paired these with grilled lamb koftie, pickled beets, yogurt, dill & cucumbers. We would also suggest to try these served warm, on their own, brushed with salted cultured butter. So delicious!

For the pita dough

200g / or 1+ 2/3rd cups all purpose flour (we used organic King Arthur)

  • 4g / or 3/4 tsp salt

  • 2g / or 1/4 tsp active dry yeast 

  • 120g / or 1/2 cup warm water

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast and warm water; stir to blend. Let the yeast stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Stir in the salt. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated and the dough forms into a ball, about 4 minutes.

  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it's smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled (olive oil in recipe) bowl, turn it over to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

  • Place a large pizza stone on the lower oven rack, preheat the oven (and stone) to 500 degrees F.

  • Punch the dough down, divide it into 6 pieces, and form each piece into a ball; keeping all of them lightly floured and covered while you work. Allow the portioned dough to rest, covered, for 15 minutes so they will be easier to roll out.

  • Using a rolling pin, roll each dough ball into a circle that is about 8-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Make sure the circle is totally smooth, with no creases or seams in the dough, which can prevent the pitas from puffing up properly. Cover the disks as you roll them out. Cook pita rounds on the hot pizza stone for qbout 3 minutes. They should puff up nicely.  Place on a rack to cool for 5 minutes. They should deflate on thier own. 

  • Carefully rip one of the edges to expose the pocket. They are best when served warm!

 

Potato Wheat Bread with Honey & Cream

Potato bread is one of my favorite breads. So is honey wheat. So I decided to try my hand at making a hybrid of the two, without sacrificing the integrity of what I like about both of them. I love the soft, pillowy texture and buttery flavor of potato bread. Who doesn't? I also love the rustic flavor of fresh milled whole wheat bread with a touch of honey. The crust gets a deep caramelization from both the natural sugars in the grains, as well as the honey. 

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We used incredibly delicious, freshly milled, organic wheat from Maine grains in the recipe. We only use enough to add some deep aroma to the bread, so that we keep the potato bread nice and soft. The use of heavy cream really adds to the soft consistency of the bread. Don't have any cream? Don't sweat it. We tried using whole milk and it worked great as well. The quality of the butter is key here as well. Check out the recipe below! It will have all the step by step details on how you can easily make this bread at home!

The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.

The finished bread is soft & buttery from the potatoes and aromatic from the honey, wheat and yeast. Enjoy!

The finished bread is soft & buttery from the potatoes and aromatic from the honey, wheat and yeast. Enjoy!

1 medium Russet potato peeled and quartered

2 quarts cold water (for cooking to potato. Once cooked, reserve 3/4 cup of the water before draining)

1 1/8 teaspoon of dry active dry yeast

3 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup butter melted

2 tablespoons of heavy cream 

two eggs divided (One for recipe, one for brushing the loaf prior to bak

3/4 teaspoon of salt 

1 1/2 cups of bread flour 

1/2 cup of wheat flour

Place the potato in a medium pot with the water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potato is fork-tender. Drain the water, reserving three-quarters of a cup. Cool the potato and cooking water to lukewarm. Place a container water in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let sit 5 minutes. Whisk the honey butter, cream, and one egg until combined. Mash the potato until it is soft and only use a half cup of the mash. Ad the salt to the mixing bowl, whisking to combine. Add the flours and mix by hand until a soft dough forms. Cover with a clean damp towel and let rise one hour. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll into an oval loaf. Place a loaf into a buttered 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf pan and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Beat the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water in a small bowl. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through, rotating once halfway through baking. Remove the Loaf from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, we move to a cooling rack, and cool to room temperature before slicing. 

 

Parsnip Cake with Bacon Fat Buttercream & Maple Sugar Pecans

I obviously love parsnips. The thought of making a carrot cake recipe using parsnips seemed to be a good idea. Parsnips can be drier than a carrots, so I was careful to add a touch more butter and vegetable oil, to make up for the difference. It worked out fine. In fact, it was a complete hit. Parsnips take over a hundred days to grow from seed and they are well worth the wait. 

There is something about the fresh parsnips that you buy at a farmers market that are light years away from the ones you buy in the grocery store. The ones I have grown have a very distinctive flavor, like a cross between parsley, carrots and mint. We played off of these flavors in this recipe by adding dried ginger and ground star anise to the cake batter.

The maple sugar pecans were definitely something we wanted to add for texture and flavor. We made some bacon for breakfast that morning and had leftover rendered fat. It just seemed appropriate to carefully add that light, smoky flavor to the buttercream. This is a very simple cake to make! The buttercream has just a good amount of cream cheese in it too because, well, cream cheese rules.  

It's good to make sure that the cake is chilled before frosting the layers. More info in the recipe below!

 

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Parsnip Cake Recipe

2 1/2 cups all purpose-flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground star anise 

1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1 stick butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 large eggs room temp

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

3 cups (packed) grated parsnips 

To Make the Cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 f.

Cut the bottoms and sides of a springform cake pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter and line with parchment paper on the bottom. 

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices into a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment ( or in a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer ) beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes

Whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla in a small bowl, pour the mixture into the creamed butter, and beat until smooth, two to three minutes. Scrape the bowl and beat for one minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing for two minutes after each addition. Scrape the bowl. Fold in the parsnips and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading it evenly. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the cake appears firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 10 to 15 minutes in the pan on cooling racks, then remove and cool completely on the rack. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble. 

 It is best to decorate or frost the cake while the cake is cold. 

For the Bacon Fat Buttercream

12 oz ofcream cheese, softened

3 oz rendered bacon fat (room temperature)

1 stick of butter, softened

2 tsp grated lemon zest, microplane works best

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar 

To Make the Frosting

In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat the cream cheese on medium speed for about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides.

Add the butter, juice, zest, vanilla and bacon fat and beat until smooth.

Scrape the bowl and reduce the speed to low, then slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth.

We sliced the cake into thirds lengthwise and frosted between the cake in layers with an offset spatula. 

Stuffed Venison Neck with yellow foot mushrooms & chestnuts

I am fortunate enough to know a few hunters in the area. Believe it or not, most of them have no idea how to properly butcher! I usually get phone calls throughout the hunting season, to come and help teach hunters how to break down the different cuts and how to get a better yield. I enjoy it. I am always happy to share techniques and ideas. After all, someone took the time to teach me. I have a couple of close friends that are butchers. If you were to ask them what muscle is their favorite, it would most likely be the neck. It has a great ratio of meat to fat. It's also very versatile. I was gifted the whole neck (and then some) for helping out a friend of mine. Some of the first ingredients that come to mind when preparing wild game, are wild edibles. There is something so natural about cooking things that reside in the same habitat. We had some dried yellow foot chanterelles from last summer that seemed perfect for this recipe. I use the term "recipe" loosely in this particular story, as it is more of something that I threw together using what I had laying around. I hope to inspire someone out there to do the same. However, I will be sharing the cooking technique of how we pulled off this beautiful roulade! 

The stuffing was made out of sautéed onions, roasted garlic, thyme, rosemary, rehydrated yellow foot mushrooms, chestnuts & Madeira wine. We bought the chestnuts that were already peeled and ready to go (we usually roast our own, but we have three kids, give me a pass!). You can buy them at specialty stores or online. We seared the chestnuts in the pan in butter before we added the onions and it landed a deeper flavor to the stuffing. We then added the mushrooms and cooked for a minute or so to develop more flavor. Then we added roasted garlic and deglazed the pan with the Madeira and cooked it all the way down. After that, we added a bit of the water that we used to rehydrate the mushrooms and cooked that down as well. Then we added a knob of butter and the chopped fresh herbs. Easy as that. There was no bread in this particular "stuffing". Don't get me wrong, I am always pro-bread, we just didn't have any. It is stuffed into the neck, so it is technically "stuffing".

We used a touch of transglutaminase on the edges of the meat to adhere both the roulade to itself, as well as the bacon to the exterior. Transglutaminase, also known as TG or "meat glue"  keeps the roulade from coming apart once cooked. I have used this ingredient in many professional kitchens. TG is a naturally occurring enzyme in plants, animals, and bacteria. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts in chemical reactions; they speed up reactions and make reactions occur that otherwise wouldn’t. Confusing? Some people freak out when they here the words meat glue, because some chefs that have no idea about safety and sanitation use it to stick together scrap meats and form them into "steaks" which to me, is both appalling and uncalled for. When used properly, I see no issues with it. After all, if you love Turkey sandwiches, or cold cuts from the deli, you have been eating it your whole life. We got this product online. For more factual information on this product we provided a couple links at the bottom of the story from the International Culinary Center and the huffington post. 

Back to the recipe. Pack the stuffing into one edge of the butterflied meat and roll it over onto itself, nice and tight. Make sure that the dusted edges overlap each other. 

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This is New Hampshire cob smoked bacon. It is a little too thick for what we needed so we stuck it in between two pieces of plastic wrap and flattened it with a meat hammer. We used bacon to this recipe, to add some well needed fat to the lean neck meat during the cooking process. It also adds a ton of delicious smokey flavor. 

Roll the bacon around the roulade and lightly dust the edges of the bacon with transglutaminase.

Only dust the edges as seen above. The seems will most likely come apart if you skip this step.

Only dust the edges as seen above. The seems will most likely come apart if you skip this step.

This is the finished roll all tied up and ready to go. From here we cryovaced in a foodsaver, then cooked sous vide for 36 hours at 138. f

This is the finished roll all tied up and ready to go. From here we cryovaced in a foodsaver, then cooked sous vide for 36 hours at 138. f

Once you follow the instructions above, lay down a couple layers of plastic wrap, side by side, until you have enough to generously wrap the roulade. Then roll the bacon wrapped neck in the plastic wrap as tight as you can. Leave a good amount of plastic wrap on both sides of the roulade. Pinch both sides of the plastic wrap and roll the hell out of it until it is tight. Using more plastic wrap (about a 8 inch piece), tie one edge of the roulade tight with a regular knot. Then repeat the process on the second side making sure that the roulade is tight on both sides. (this is to form the meat into a cylinder so that it cooks evenly) From here, we sniped off the excess plastic wrap (as pictured above) and cryovaced the roulade in a foodsaver bag and cooked sous vide at 138 degrees F, for 36 hours. Set it and forget it! This allows the meat to break down and tenderize, while keeping the meat pink and juicy, cooked medium. 

This is a picture of the finished product cooked all the way. This was sliced cold to show the stuffing. From here we cryovaced 4 each 6 oz portions individually. We sous vide the individual portions with a knob of butter and reheated to order in the circulator, then we glazed in veal stock & the remainder of the yellow foot chanterelle juice with just a touch of cider vinegar. Cook the liquid down before seasoning the glaze. 

This is a picture of the finished product cooked all the way. This was sliced cold to show the stuffing. From here we cryovaced 4 each 6 oz portions individually. We sous vide the individual portions with a knob of butter and reheated to order in the circulator, then we glazed in veal stock & the remainder of the yellow foot chanterelle juice with just a touch of cider vinegar. Cook the liquid down before seasoning the glaze. 

Feel free to post your questions below. The finished product was glazed and juicy. The consistency and texture of the meat was tender and delicious. 

Although this is recipe is not for beginners, it is a stunning display of how to utilize the neck of any animal. We will be posting more simple recipes on neck muscles as well as other "off cuts". We just wanted to share this badass technique. We hope to inspire you! Cheers. 

Here are the links for further information on transglutaminase.

http://www.cookingissues.com/primers/transglutaminase-aka-meat-glue/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/23/defense-meat-glue_n_865545.html

Country Ham with Heritage Breed Pork

I have made a few hams in my day, but none of them came out nearly as great as this last one. We followed the step by step recipe from the University of Kentucky and the results were stunning! You can find the recipe by clicking here. We let this beauty age for just over 18 months before cutting into it. We were waiting for the perfect time to have our first ceremonial slicing and we found it. Our Italian friend Luca is one of the best cheesemakers in the area and was over our house for dinner with some other long time friends and we had to get into it! Luca brought a pile of his cheeses from Wolf Meadow Farm, his cheese company. The meat and cheese board was stacked with deliciousness. He spoke of his childhood memories of rubbing bread on the hams and salami curing in his basements back in Campobasso, Italy. He said the fat on this ham had that same nostalgic character as the hams of his childhood. He went on to tell us that he was not allowed to touch the hams growing up, until special holidays, so they would try to rub the flavor into the bread and not get caught by his mother! 

The quality of the pork is the heart and soul of the flavor, so we went with a beautiful custom cut leg from Snug Valley farm in East Hardwick, Vermont. The breed of pork was 100% pure bred Berkshire. The color of the meat was a lush, dark burgundy. The fat was like cream and the ratio between the 2 were perfect. 

In the winter, their pigs live in one of two winter pig barns that have open-air sides and one barn has large outdoor loafing areas for each group. They use deep bedded pack with first cut hay to keep them warm and allow them to eat grass throughout the winter.

They also never use antibiotics and they use a feed natural grain and their own hay, supplementing with brewers grain, organic veggies and organic bread, when available.

When we were in Spain, we literally ate dozens and dozens of different dishes, all over the south. One dish we would get everywhere we went, was the regional Jamòn! From the coastal cities of Malaga & Mijas, to the mountain villages of Ronda, we would start our dinner with a plate of expertly sliced ham. The ham was always sliced to order and served as is. They would offer 3 types based on age. 8 month, 12 month & 18 month. They also offered different breeds like Iberico (black hoof) & the most coveted, acorn fed Iberico bellota. I loved them all, but there was an umami thing going on with the 18 month that was really special and the texture was perfect. We wanted to have that experience at our fingertips whenever we wanted and we were ready to wait it out through curing our own leg. 

It took way more skill than I imagined to cut it perfectly thin, making sure to get a good fat to meat ratio with each slice! 

It took way more skill than I imagined to cut it perfectly thin, making sure to get a good fat to meat ratio with each slice! 

I will only give the credit to our basement temperature & humidity, because it just so happened to be clean and consistent throughout the aging process. The rest of the credit goes to the quality of the snug valley pork and the excellent, detailed, step by step recipe from the University of Kentucky. After all, Kentucky ham is some of the best in the states. Salt ratio and before & after weights are key to figuring out when your ham is ready to eat. 

The finished product served as is. So damn delicious!

The finished product served as is. So damn delicious!

Making Koji

Here is a shot at the steaming set up. We lined a bamboo steamer with a clean towel and covered it over a water bath in a medium sized "rondo" or large, heavy bottomed sauté pan.

Here is a shot at the steaming set up. We lined a bamboo steamer with a clean towel and covered it over a water bath in a medium sized "rondo" or large, heavy bottomed sauté pan.

I am a huge fan of miso. I am also a huge fan of Instagram. I find it to be a massive gateway to a whole universe of inspiration. I've connected with so many like minded individuals over the past couple of years and Rich Shih is one of them. After months of watching his waterfall of cooking and fermentation ideas on social media, he coincidentally reached out for a meet up. At that time, I was running a restaurant on a 200 acre farm in the Seacoast of NH and we were looking to learn as many preservation methods as possible in order to keep up with the harvest. It only made sense to have Rich come in and help us learn how to make koji, a key ingredient for a multitude of Japanese preservation techniques. We ended up using the koji he brought to make miso out of as many things as we could. We used chestnuts, black walnuts, peanut butter, smoked acorn squash seeds, crab apples & dehydrated milk for the protein, heirloom beans, you name it. We also made a "fish sauce" or "garum" by feeding equal parts koji to wild Maine mussels with 33% salt. After a few months, it was really frigging weird and mysteriously delicious. It smelled like grass & ocean air and it was packed with umami.

After a year went by, Rich and I reconnected to taste some of the aged miso we made together. We also agreed to do a koji making session. The first key step to making koji is to properly steam the rice. When you cook the rice, you want to make it "al dente", for lack of a better term. This is to maintain the structural integrity of the rice so it will have space between the grains for the aspergillus oryzae to grow. It's the point when the rice is cooked enough to make the carbohydrates accessible to the mold for consumption and before the grains start to stick together.

 

The rice was steamed until it was about 90% cooked. It took about 35 minutes

The rice was steamed until it was about 90% cooked. It took about 35 minutes

Rice fresh off of the steamer. Ready to slightly cool down and add the aspergillus orzae. 

Rice fresh off of the steamer. Ready to slightly cool down and add the aspergillus orzae. 

We used about 1 tsp of spores for 4 pounds of rice

We used about 1 tsp of spores for 4 pounds of rice

Once the rice cooled down to about body temperature (must be less than 110 degrees F), we sprinkled on the aspergillus oryzae and tossed to combine with the rice.

Rich had the idea of creating a stable environment between 80-95 degrees F using an immersion circulator. We rigged it up so that the water came only half way up the side of the 9x13 pan and covered the inoculated rice with a clean damp towel. The top of the circulator was covered with plastic wrap to keep the humidity in.

This set up worked great! it was a large deep plastic hotel pan with four pint sized mason jars turned upside down to hold the 9x13 pan right in the water line. Higher temperatures convert starch to sugars (Koji made at these temperatures tend to be sweeter and used in making sake, etc, while lower temperatures which digest proteins are often used for miso.)

This set up worked great! it was a large deep plastic hotel pan with four pint sized mason jars turned upside down to hold the 9x13 pan right in the water line. Higher temperatures convert starch to sugars (Koji made at these temperatures tend to be sweeter and used in making sake, etc, while lower temperatures which digest proteins are often used for miso.)

The water was around 84.5 F and only had to be "topped off" once. This temperature gave us great results. The total time was 36 hours.

Rice grains after 36 hours of inoculation. You could pick this whole thing up i one piece. It stuck together like a cake.

Rice grains after 36 hours of inoculation. You could pick this whole thing up i one piece. It stuck together like a cake.

The aroma and flavor of the koji was floral and sweet. It was great on its own. I've dehydrated this at a slightly high temperature in the past and made "koji crisp" for a white chia pudding with kefir & lacto-boocha cherries. Armed with delicious dessert at competition, I was crowned the 2016 Boston Fermentation throwdown champion! (more on that in another story)

A closeup of the spores blooming on top of a bed of jasmine rice!

A closeup of the spores blooming on top of a bed of jasmine rice!

Pictured above: 2 year aged Peanut Butter Miso, Smoked Acorn Squash Seed Miso, 1 year Avocado Miso, Crab Apple & Dried Milk Miso, 2 Year Lacto-Fermented Yogurt Hot Sauce, Cooked Grains (mated rye & white lentils), Marfax beans from Maine & Koji Spore Innoculated Jasmine Rice Grains, etc

Pictured above: 2 year aged Peanut Butter Miso, Smoked Acorn Squash Seed Miso, 1 year Avocado Miso, Crab Apple & Dried Milk Miso, 2 Year Lacto-Fermented Yogurt Hot Sauce, Cooked Grains (mated rye & white lentils), Marfax beans from Maine & Koji Spore Innoculated Jasmine Rice Grains, etc

Rich is good people. He is dedicated to spreading that koji love wherever he goes. He was most recently in L.A at some of the top spots in town, sharing his techniques with all who would listen. If you would like to get the details on the interesting things he’s done with koji, check out this page on OurCookQuest.com. If you would like to see his current ideas, follow @ourcookquest on Instagram.

 

 

We will be using ours to make all sorts of deliciousness from sake to soy sauce. I'm really looking forward to sharing the process! Stay tuned!

 

Goat Butter Cookies with Acorn Flour & Hickory Nuts

I have been addicted to shortbread cookies for as long as I can remember. I used to hide in the corner and eat like half of a container when I was a kid. You know, the ones that you can buy at your local drugstore that came in a round tin can?. I used to eat them, one by one, trying to figure out what made them so damn good. Butter. Butter and salt to be exact. I've been thinking about how much character goat butter has and I figured, what better way to let it shine, than to make a butter based cookie?  You can find all sorts of goat butter online. It's definitely not cheap, but it has a certain character to it that I feel is worth the money. Its expensive because goat milk, unlike cow milk, is naturally homogenized. This means the cream doesn’t separate as easily to the top of the milk. Eventually the cream will rise to the top if the milk is left undisturbed for a few days, but the yield is small and it’s a tedious process. We totally plan on making our own goat butter this spring, when we visit our long time friend Donna Lee at hickory nut farm. Speaking of hickory nuts, we have a bunch that were gathered and processed last fall. We figured those would be the perfect compliment to the flavor of the butter in this recipe. 

We scored some acorn flour that is milled in neighboring Vermont. It has a slight earthy bitterness to it that we really thought would be great in these cookies. We added just a touch to give the dough some body. The results were killer! We ended up with a cookie that showed off the butter with a unique flavor from the acorns in the backround.  You can source the acorn flour here.

Although this acorn flour is naturally gluten free, we used all purpose flour in the recipe to keep the ''crumb'' of the cookie similar to a shortbread. We have some friends of ours that make a living out of wild edibles in the forest and we got some really nice hickory nuts off from them. Hickory nuts have a flavor comparable to a pecan, but i would consider them richer in flavor. They are a pain in the ass to process to say the least, but if you have some time, patience and a pair of tweezers, they are most worthy of the process. 

Overall, this recipe started with the idea of making a cookie, that was simple and full of the delicate flavors of goat butter & acorns. It is a simple cookie with a crumbly structure and a satisfying earthiness. 

Get the recipe here

Parsnip Donuts with Honey Bergamot Glaze

Ahhhh doughnuts. America's go-to morning treat. America alone makes over ten billion doughnuts a year, so how could we not take a stab at these snack staples. We've had amazing doughnuts and doughnuts that taste like lard, leaving a nasty film on your mouth. We set out to make the best doughnut we've ever had. A doughnut so good that the guilt disappears. According to our sugar and gluten coma from taste testing I think we've created just that.

We roasted the parsnips the day before we set out to make the dough. It was one of those things we could do while we went about our day, saving us a step the day we made the dough. It is a yeast risen dough, so we made it the night before we planned on frying them up! In the morning we drank our coffee and put on a record while we made the glaze. The dough seemed virtually weightless when we checked on it in the morning a sure sign of a great dough.

We were scrambling for a biscuit cutter of some sorts to punch the donuts and we settled for the top ring of a large mason jar lid. It worked PERFECTLY!

We were scrambling for a biscuit cutter of some sorts to punch the donuts and we settled for the top ring of a large mason jar lid. It worked PERFECTLY!

We were screwed last minute for a hole puncher so we used the back of a pastry tip and it worked great!

We were screwed last minute for a hole puncher so we used the back of a pastry tip and it worked great!

The dough at this point, is literally light as air. 

The dough at this point, is literally light as air. 

We keep the glaze room temp. Dipping the fresh fried donuts into the glaze almost "wakes" the glaze back up so that it can coat all of the fresh fried dough! Roll those suckers all around in the glaze, being sure to coat all the sides. We used chopsticks to make it easier to handle. 

We keep the glaze room temp. Dipping the fresh fried donuts into the glaze almost "wakes" the glaze back up so that it can coat all of the fresh fried dough! Roll those suckers all around in the glaze, being sure to coat all the sides. We used chopsticks to make it easier to handle. 

 The glaze consists of honey from our neighbors bees and floral Bergamot orange, giving it a distinctive aroma that you will not find in other doughnuts. The flavor of fresh local parsnips are almost "minty" in a way. The marriage between the two is so damn delicious and addictive. 

Once the glaze is set, it is perfectly stuck to the donuts, and it doesn't stick to your fingers. 

Once the glaze is set, it is perfectly stuck to the donuts, and it doesn't stick to your fingers. 

As we tore into these bad boys they were so soft. We looked at each other even before eating them in anticipation with what was to follow

Parsnip Donuts

3 medium or 2 large parsnips (peeled)

2 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil (plus much more for frying)

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 cups of A.P. flour (and a little more for work surface)

1.5 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamom 

 

  1. Wrap the parsnips in foil and roast in 400 degree oven until completely soft. 
  2. Place in a food processor with 1/2 cup of the milk and puree until smooth. Set aside to cool. You will need about 2 cups for this recipe. 
  3. Combine the 2 cups of milk, oil, and sugar in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat to melt the sugar. Let the mix cool down to about 100 degrees, and add the the yeast. Stir to combine. Make sure that the milk mixture is not too hot, so that you don’t kill the yeast. This is important. You also want to make sure that the mixture is nice and warm, if it is too cold so that the yeast can do the damn thang!
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the parsnip puree and the slightly beaten eggs. Mix well.
  5. Stir in 5 cups of flour a little at a time and reserve the other cup for later on. Mix the dough until combined, then cover and store in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough doubles in volume. 
  6. Combine the remaining cup of flour with all of the spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk well.
  7. Knead the seasoned flour mixture into the dough until smooth. Cover and rest for another 30 minutes.
  8. On a floured surface, knead the dough a couple of times until it is smooth. Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick and cut out donuts with a floured biscuit cutter of your choice. Cut holes out of the donuts (obviously) Once the donuts are all cut out, let them rest for about 20 minutes until they are light and airy before frying. (You can also re-work the dough scraps into a ball and roll out for more donuts! Just try not to overwork the dough. Don’t be “that guy”)

 

For the Honey & Begamont glaze

400 grams confectionary sugar

100 grams whole milk

4 grams kosher salt 

1/4 cup Raw Honey

2 Bergamot (or meyer lemons) (Microplane for zesting)

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together until combined. Then zest the bergamot into the glaze and mix well. 

Now Fry Those Bad Boys Up!

Set the temp of the fryer to 360 and fry in small batches. Do not overcrowd the fryer, let them cook for about 2 minutes per side (depending on size) until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and dip in the glaze, then set on a wire rack to cool. 

 

 

 

Crispy Pork Cracklin's with Ranch Powder

I have made many cracklin's in my day. This recipe is the result of many trials. If you look online or in old books, the process of cooking the skin can vary. I have found that when I sous vide the skin, it allows me to really control the end results of the chips. I want them to have the texture of a really crunchy "cheese puff." I am not into the soft ones. After all, its a frigging crackling'! If you do not have an immersion circulator at home, they are pretty affordable online and they give you an advantage to many recipes and techniques. We got ours at anovaculinary.com, and it has been such a game changer in our kitchen functionality. If you aren't in the market for one,  you can cook the skin in a pot of water over medium heat for about 2 hours, or until you can pierce the skin all the way through with your finger. You will want to weigh the skin down with a small plate. 

We bought some pork belly to make Bao and it made no sense to pay for skin, just to throw it away. When you are cleaning the fat off of the skin, it's important to make sure that you get as much of the fat off as possible before cooking. 

We reserved the fat in the freezer for later use. Most likely, it will end up in our lamb sausage.

We cryovaced and sous vide the pork skin at 180 degrees (fahrenheit) for about 12 hours until the skin is fully cooked and has a slight give to it. From here, you will need to dehydrate the cooked skin until it is fully dried out. You can either dry it whole, fry, then break into pieces. Or, you can cut into manageable strips, dehydrate, then fry individually. Fry in your favorite oil (peanut oil works best) at 400 degrees until they puff up and stop bubbling. Dry on paper towels and immediately toss in the ranch powder. (Recipe below) Let cool for about 3 minutes. Crunch time! 

Airy crunchy goodness!

Airy crunchy goodness!

For the ranch powder.

  1. 1 tablespoons dried parsley.
  2. 1 tablespoon dried chives.
  3. 1 teaspoons garlic powder.
  4. 2 teaspoons onion powder.
  5. 2 teaspoon dried dill.
  6. 1/2 cup dry buttermilk.
  7. 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
  8. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  9. 1 tsp dried red bell pepper
  10. 1 tsp dried red chile flakes
The perfect crispy bubbles!

The perfect crispy bubbles!

Yuzukosho with lemon drop chile's

Yuzu is one of my favorite citruses. If you are fortunate to come acrross them, snag a few for the hell of it and try this simple recipe for yuzukosho.

This recipe is so simple and it can be used for such a wide variety of things like soups, sashimi, crudo's, rice dishes, cocktails, etc. It is great as a marinade and its awesome to say the least, when used as a cooking base. It is only three ingredients. Yuzu, salt & fresh chile's. 

You can use whatever chiles you would like. The ones mostly used are red Thai bird. I wass lucky enough to score a couple small & fiery lemon drop (aka aji limon) chiles from a local farm this year. These hot little suckers originally hail from Peru and pack a spicy, citrusy punch, which really works well in this recipe.

Yuzu & chiles edited_.jpg

These beautiful peppers also allowed me to make a yuzukosho that was pure bright yellow. We took the seeds out of the peppers to keep it from being too spicy. (Balance that heat baby!) 

This is totally worth trying with other citruses if you can't score any yuzu in your neck of the woods. Basically, the ratio is 2 to 1, citrus to chile, and 10% salt to the weight of the mix. We got about 6 yuzu and peeled the zest off with a vegetable peeler. The weight of the yuzu & peppers combined was about 3 oz so I added 0.3 oz of salt. This is not crutial. If you don't have a scale handy then just sprinkle that ish on and keep a close eye on it. 

yuzu robot coupe.jpg

Put the zest into a food processor, along with the salt & seeded chiles and let it rip. Blend all the ingredients together and add a little of the reserved yuzu juice to get it spinning. You can add a touch of water if you need as well. Just don't add too much. You can leave the mixture to ferment for at least a few weeks before using, It will develop further in flavor and complexity.  Enjoy!

yuzu scene overhead.jpg

 

Recipe: 3oz yuzu peels, .3 oz salt, 1.5 oz chili peppers, 2 to 3 Tbsp yuzu juice. Thats it!

 

Kimchi with White Carrots & Heirloom Chiles

Ahh, yes. Kimchi. I love the simple beauty of a few ingredients turned into something that is truly unique. I've overheard many arguments in the kitchen about what kimchi should be made of, what kind of ingredients to use, and even what kind of pot to ferment it in. I have respect for all of these arguments, because they are all right in their own way. If you look up the definition of Kimchi, it is "a vegetable pickle seasoned with garlic, red pepper and ginger." It is also the national dish of Korea. (Korean astronauts actually brought some with them to the international space station) I have heard from a few sources that when some people smile for the camera in Korea, they don't say "cheese" they actually say "kimchi!" 

I wanted to play around with a "non-traditional" version with a few different vegetables that we grew this year. I am personally a huge fan of the "original" fermented version made with the aromatic & unmistakeable dried gochugaru chile powder. I also love the depth of flavor you get by adding the traditional fermented fish of your choice. (fish sauce, dried shrimp, salted oysters, etc) so I added a touch of them to this version as a background flavor. I sourced some really special heirloom chiles this year from the farm. A couple of the varieties we used were: Reza Macedonian & Fish peppers. We dried some of them out to preserve them and save them for the winter.

Dried Rezha Macedonian peppers & dried heirloom fish peppers from Wainer Family Farm

After drying them out, we lightly pounded them in a mortar & pestile to loosen the seeds and release the oils. We removed as many of the seeds as possible to lower the spice level a bit. (these suckers are HOT enough as it is!!) This is also important for when you grind them into chile powder. You can save the seeds for another use like sausages or infused oils, etc. 

QUICK TIP: If the dried peppers are slightly pliable, you can toast them in a 300 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, then let them rest at room temp for 15 minutes or until they are completely dry , before grinding. They will crisp up and be ready to go!

QUICK TIP: If the dried peppers are slightly pliable, you can toast them in a 300 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, then let them rest at room temp for 15 minutes or until they are completely dry , before grinding. They will crisp up and be ready to go!

Here is a pic of one of our stunning heads of napa cabbage that we grew from seed this year. This is such a beautiful plant! After all the waiting for this to grow, it truly deserves to be fermented and preserved for months to come. 

Here is a pic of one of our stunning heads of napa cabbage that we grew from seed this year. This is such a beautiful plant! After all the waiting for this to grow, it truly deserves to be fermented and preserved for months to come. 

We harvest these beauties throughout the season. I try to plant the seeds in stages so the we can always have some on hand. Out of all the things that we grow, Napa cabbage is definitely  one of our staple/go to veggies. It's delicious raw, cooked, steamed, fermented, stuffed, you name it! Its always ready to back me up in a pinch.  For this kimchi recipe, we like to cut the heads of cabbage into 2 inch by 2 inch pieces. 

Slice the cabbage lengthwise into thirds. Then, slice the opposite way into large 2" x 2" pieces. 

You can ferment the whole head, or cut in half, etc. If you want smaller pieces, you can feel free to do so. Once it is cleaned and chopped to your liking, you can mix together with onions or leeks and toss with salt & a touch of unrefined sugar. (sugar is optional) 

 Try to shred the carrots the long way so that you can get the thickest and longest "strings" as possible. You want to avoid them from being small and mealy.

 Try to shred the carrots the long way so that you can get the thickest and longest "strings" as possible. You want to avoid them from being small and mealy.

These white carrots that we grew this year were so damn delicious! We had to put them in some sort of ferment, so that we can enjoy them later in the year. The next step is to shred the rest of your radishes and then add the grated ginger & garlic. 

The watermelon radish in this pic was born from a random seed that must have fell out of a package. It was sitting there all alone in the garden! We gave it a good home.

The watermelon radish in this pic was born from a random seed that must have fell out of a package. It was sitting there all alone in the garden! We gave it a good home.

Combine all of the ingredients together and check the salt/seasoning. Adjust to your liking, but be sure to pack it down into clean containers and add some of the brine (see recipe) if necessary, to make sure the kimchi is fully submerged in the brine. (we weighed ours down with a clean, large, smooth surfaced river rock.) You should let the kimchi ferment for a least 8 to 10 days before refrigerating. The picture below was fermented for 3 weeks. It is tangy, floral and spicy, with the perfect crunch!

Full recipe below!

.

Kimchi in jar

 

White Carrot & Watermelon Radish Kimchi 
with heirloom chiles & leeks

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sea salt
2 Tbsp sugar
Spring Water
2 heads Napa cabbage, cut into quarters or 2-inch wedges, depending on size of cabbage
2 cloves of garlic separated and peeled
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 cup watermelon radish, peeled and grated
2 cups white carrots, peeled and grated
1 medium leek (whites part only)
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup Gochugaru Chile Powder
2 Tbsp of dried chiles (ground into powder) We used two heirloom varieties called Rezah Macedonia & Fish Peppers.

1.Dissolve 1 cup salt in 1/2 gallon water.

2. In large bowl, combine the cabbage, shredded carrots, watermelon radish, leek, gochugaru, dried chili powder, 1 tablespoon of sea salt, fish sauce and sugar. Toss gently but thoroughly.

(Gloves are recommended due to the spicy chiles!) Let the mix sit for about 10 minutes until it starts to break down in its own delicious juices. .

3. Divide the mixture between 4 (1-quart) jars or 1-gallon jar, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles. (this is key)

4. Let the kimchi sit for 4 to 5 days in a cool place before serving.

You can refrigerate after you get some good fermentation on it to slow down the process. It will get stronger and more sour (better in our opinion) over time!

Veal & Root Vegetable Stew with Heirloom Beans

Eating dinner at the table together is nostalgic for me. As a child my family always ate together at the table. By no means were my parents culinary geniuses, but regardless of what was happening during my parents busy days, we always sat together at the table at night for a meal and conversation. I have found this slightly slipping away lately in our family, as we have been delving back into renovation word before the holiday season hits hard. We have been eating at different times, one of us standing eating straight from the pan, the other waiting until "later" once we've unwound after a long stressful day. So, this dish came haphazardly out of that chaos and lack of dining together.

I quickly ran home on my lunch break to throw something in my crockpot. Patrick has been skeptical on crockpot meals, being a true believer that there are steps to traditional cooking that shouldn't be omitted. "Throwing" something in the crockpot could potentially lack in depth, and I totally understood that. So, feeling guilty turned on the cast iron, tossed the veal in flour and spices and browned it in the pan while I scurried around grabbing my crockpot and everything else I needed. 

I utilized what we had recently harvested from our garden; turnips and carrots and married it with potatoes, kale and some beautiful beans from a local bean farm in Maine that Patrick had from a visit there last fall. I put it all in the pot and said a prayer (thinking it would turn out pretty tasty from the quality ingredients) but was prepared to self criticize and probably never make it again.

The house smelled SO good when I got home. The beans (which were put in dried) had added such a nice consistency to the broth I had cooked down throughout the course of the day. The veal was melt in your mouth tender and hovering over it at the table was just what I wanted. To be honest, I didn't even think about posting this recipe at all. But, we portioned some for a photo and with the spoon of approval from Patrick here it is. It is such a comfort food, a great rainy day dish to enjoy with family. 

Dig in!


Braised Veal Stew with Root Vegetable Recipe

Ingredients:

oil

flour

salt

pepper

1.3 lbs veal (stew meat from shoulder is best)

32 oz organic beef stock

32 oz organic vegetable stock

3 yukon gold potatoes (large dice)

2 medium carrots (we used both white and dragon carrots for color!)

1 cup dried mar fax beans (or what you have on hand)

1 cup dried sulfur beans (or what you have on hand)

4 cups kale chopped

1 small turnip (peeled and diced)

1 small head of garlic (minced)

Note: We used a crockpot for this recipe, but this recipe works well in a dutch oven too! Just adjust your oven to 325f and your cooking time to 3.5 hours.

Pour both beef and vegetable broth into Crockpot and turn on low setting.

Meanwhile, dice potatoes (skin on is fine) and turnips and chop carrots rustically, adding them to the broth. 

Roughly chop the Kale and add to Crockpot.

Mince the garlic and add to the mix

Add the Marfax and Sulfur beans to the broth.

Pat veal dry and toss in flour until evenly coated. Season well with salt and pepper.

Coat bottom of cast iron pan with oil on medium-high heat

Place stew meat in pan and brown on all sides, add to Crockpot when done browning. 

Cover Crockpot and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. 

*Finished product may look a little "soupy". Take a large spoon and gently stir the stew. This will thicken the soup from the beans & potatoes slightly breaking down. 

Finish the stew with fresh torn parsley and black pepper

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Shoot with Edible NH

We are so very blessed to have amazing people and opportunities in our lives. One of those opportunities has been shooting for a Thanksgiving article with Edible New Hampshire magazine. I was lucky enough to write the article thanks to the magazines amazing editor Cait! We welcomed the idea and challenge to host a small group of talented people in our home, to photograph and talk about the food on a Sunday morning. Weeks prior we brainstormed on menu ideas and days prior we recipe tested and stayed up late with cider and bourbon fueling our creativity.

The day was finally here to shoot for the magazine and we were so excited! It was the first big meal and the first (of many) full photography sessions to take place in our new kitchen & dining room. The table was styled the night before (we knew the lack of sleep would get the better of us come six a.m when it was time to put the turkey breast in the oven) and we were so happy with how it came out!

Our menu consisted of some of the Thanksgiving staples of turkey, pumpkin and stuffing, but not in the way that most are used to. When we started thinking about our menu and the entire concept of the Edible shoot we were faced with "What do we do and how do we make it different?". When it came down to it, we decided that the "First Thanksgiving" has been overdone but there are some aspects of this that we enjoy. 

There is something special about Thanksgiving in New England. The first Thanksgiving occurred not all that far from where we live. As a child I took field trips to Plimoth Plantation, which for all you non-New Englanders is a beautiful museum set up outdoors within a recreated early settlers village. If there is any place that one would want to try to recreate the first Thanksgiving it would be here in New England with similar resources available. We did of course focus on locality and seasonality when creating our menu. The vast majority of the meal was foraged or grown nearby or grown in our own garden.

Cait, her friend Brianna and Jenn (of Jenn Bakos photography) showed up around 9am to start the shoot. We had JUST pulled the turkey from the oven and the table-scape was on it's way to being finished with final touches. I channeled my inner Joanna Gaines late the night before folding napkins and placing the décor to my liking.

Turkey 2 ways

Our turkey was prepared two ways. The first was a more traditional roast, however we only roasted the breast so that we could add both variety and assure that the legs/thighs and the breast each got the cook time that they needed. More often than not, the breast is over done and the thighs end up perfect, so we accept this and douse our meat in gravy just to make it taste better. These parts of the bird need different cook times, so why not do turkey two ways?! The thighs and legs were made into a roulade which ended up being slightly more tricky than we had anticipated, but only for a lack of the right plastic wrap. We ended up having to make a very large sheet out of various pieces, which, is as much of a disaster as you think! So, we highly suggest getting your hands on 18" plastic wrap if possible-you can always find it on Amazon! After that though it was smooth sailing! As far as cooking ahead goes, this menu makes the day of easy, and in my opinion enjoyable. There is some prep work involved to get to that point, BUT if you throw on some good music and are in good company you'll be done in no time!

Turkey Roulade Recipe

 

Stuffing is frigging delicious. I just had to state that. I am a sucker for StoveTop (don't hate me) but it didn't seem fitting for such an important meal. We are totally enamored with a variety Flint corn (Floriani Red) after seeing it's huge stalks at a barn dinner we attended a few years ago. Since then, we've used it in many dishes, and we thought this would be the perfect use for it! We went ahead and made the corn bread the day before and let it sit out over night. We happened to have some sour dough bread that we had dried out and set aside (so that made our lives super easy) but you could always grab a loaf from a local bakery a few days ahead, dice it and let it dry out if you don't make your own. The Floriani Red Flint corn we used has more bite than you may be used to in a "typical" cornbread, but we truly love the depth of flavor and texture! We are HUGE fans of mushrooms in this household, and used some rehydrated locally foraged beauties in this recipe which only added to its depth and flavor.

Cornbread Recipe

Stuffing Recipe

Being Fall and living in New England we HAD to include pumpkin somewhere-no pumpkin spice lattes in this house (ugh). I know it may be the most popular seasonal coffee drink and candle scent ever, but I just can't do it. Pumpkin Pie is a hit in this house, as it is everywhere this time of year. For our pumpkin incorporation this year we recreated an idea I stumbled upon while researching Thanksgiving.  I couldn't find a recipe, but did read briefly about the concept of cooking an Indian Pudding of sorts over coals (mentioned by William Bradford). We incorporated the pumpkin, flint corn and molasses and crossed our fingers that it would work! Luckily for us (and you) it did!!! It was so amazing that the kids were eating it by the bowl full for days after. By no means are we knocking the traditional pie, but if you want to try something different this is a conversation starter. Served inside the pumpkin it is both beautiful and functional (one less dish!). 

We omitted the cranberry sauce, but replaced it visually on the tablescape with beet and autumn olive chutney which was sourced entirely in our neighborhood. I looked like a complete creep with garden shears running through our neighbors yard, but behind their shed I clipped away to add autumn olives to the table and the dish. It added the most stunning pop of color to the table, and it was delicious. 

Entertaining friends and family is something that we love to do more than anything. To open our home to people we love and spend time at the table with a delicious meal, is amazing. This past year has been a whirlwind of change, from completely gutting the first floor of our home (while living in it with 3 kids) to Patrick now being home normal hours of the day and having full weekends off. We now have more time together to do the things we love. Documenting these moments in our lives is such a gratifying experience and there is nothing that we would rather do.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! Dig in!

Life Without Passion is Unforgivable

"Life without passion is unforgivable"...I saw this sign hanging at a local farm-stand today while "farm hopping" to get out of the house during our home renovation. It resonated with me. Mostly because we have been talking about starting this blog since May, when Patrick made the decision to leave the kitchen of a 200 acre farm as an executive chef in order to be home  more with our growing family. Chef hours are not for the early bird or faint of heart. I couldn't imagine doing it, standing on my feet with the insane pressure of each plate going out to people who are expecting their meal to "live up to the hype". Tickets hitting the floor and food going to the passe as your stomach grumbles, because despite being around food all day, you haven't had a chance to eat. Sounds glorious, huh? Well for Patrick it's what made him tick. The rush and creativity made him do it day after day despite the crazy hours. Nights and weekends off were impossible as that is when most people are out dining. The only explanation for this self induced abuse? Passion. Patrick is undeniably the most passionate person I have EVER met. Whether it be educating himself on wine, or learning how to garden organically, he is all in. Every fiber of his being.

I have been creating for as long as I can remember. Whether it be a painting, writing music or stapling countless pieces of construction paper together to make "magazines" at age 12, it is what I love. There is something to be said about the end result of seeing a thought in tangible form. Something that you envisioned and now you can share with the world. That's what "Digging for Roots" is for me. Passion of creating something beautiful and unique. 

We are taking that fire for life and pouring it into this blog. We want to share our passions with anyone willing to listen, or I guess read in this case. We are taking the time to teach our children that there is more to life than iPhones and keeping up with the Jones's. We aim to give them a sense of identity in a world where everyone is the same. Who knows, maybe they will think making fettuccine by hand is boring, or cleaning the chicken coop is "for the birds" (ha, see what I did there?). One thing is for sure though; they will never forget it. It will be a part of who they are, a part of their history. I hope that they see our passion and pour it into all that they do. 

Photo of Patrick courtesy of Betty Liu of Betty Liu Photography