Nettle and Mushroom Risotto

Nettles' dark green leaves are so nutritious! If you do not have access to fresh nettles, you can substitute kale or spinach. As far as I am concerned, risotto is as flavorful and nutritious as the broth you make it with. I made this with homemade chicken stock and the soaking liquid from dehydrated mushrooms.

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Beet Pancakes

On June 20, Red Fire Farm hosted their annual Strawberry Soirée. This event is a day-long festival celebrating these juicy, bright red berries. You can see all the fun here in Red Fire's photo album

The day concludes with The Feast in The Fields, a vegetarian, farm-centric meal. For the last two years, I've had the pleasure of being the chef for this event. It's a lot of fun and engaging professional challenge to prepare many courses, for many people, from the gorgeous fruit and vegetables grown on the farm. 

Whenever I feed a large group of people, I'm always curious to see which dish is the most popular. Sometimes the group is split as to a favorite, but last Saturday these beet pancakes were the belle of the ball!

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Crouton Rags

I call these Crouton Rags because the bread is torn apart, giving them an appealing tattered texture. I think the croutons are best made with a Polenta Bâtard (page 219), but they’re also tasty made with a Pain de Campagne Bâtard (page 163). Don’t try to make all the croutons the same size—a range from 1 to 21/2 inches across is good. I keep them on the smaller side to use in the Della Panzanella (page 227) or make them slightly larger for the Tomato Bread Soup. Tear the bread into pieces a bit bigger than you want the crouton to be; they shrink up a bit when toasted.

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Mushroom and Lentil Salad

This salad is a great way to showcase fresh mushrooms. We used large oyster mushrooms in our version, but you can use shiitake, portobello, or even crimini or button mushrooms in a pinch. There are a few components to this dish, but the lentils and dressing can be made several days ahead.

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Shiitake Ginger Glaze

The recipe, courtesy of Julia at Mycoterra, produces a sweet-salty glaze that is perfumed with the fragrance of shiitake mushrooms. This recipe can made several days ahead. Slather it on chicken, fish or tempeh before roasting or broiling. For a quick supper, toss it with rice noodles and shredded greens and top with a fried egg.

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