Every now and then the kitchen action is just too good. This spring has been great. Unemployment hones the foraging skills and our new enterprise at the Regional Market has brought some dynamite flavors into the house.
Bob and his delicious harvest. Note the red trillium at his left shoulder
It all started with the ramps, of course. First was the scramble with ramps, but the best of all was the roasted ramps with the Easter lamb, rampilicious! A little toothwort horseradish set it off. Seems like we had ramps every other night for a while, sometimes with eggs, sometimes with farro, sometimes pasta. Always good. Our preferred roasting is with Stony Brook toasted squash seed oils. How can anything be so good?!
chervil pesto on linguine with carrot salad
The other night I scrounged around for something green to boost our chlorophyll content. Can there be too much green in a meal? Out in the neglected garden I found scallion, garlic greens, parsley and lots of chervil. Don’t ever plant chervil. Or do if you are a lazy gardener and you want green stuff in your food. Chervil has a lovely anise like scent that is SO good with carrots. Bob chopped an apple, grated a couple of carrots and added a generous amount of chives. Then he dressed it so simply and deliciously with toasted Delicata Squash Seed Oil and white balsamic vinegar. Oh my goodness! We had that with linguine dressed in chervil pesto, all those greens from the lazy garden. Toasted pumpkin seeds and Parmesan topped it off. Heaven. Bob and I just basked in flavor.
No morels at our place this spring : (
I was once at the old Split Rock munitions site during morel season. The munitions ruins is a must see. The plant exploded in 1917 and rocked the city of Syracuse. Now it is a herpetologist’s heaven, huge foundations on the dry limestone bedrock of the Split Rock. In the split, a delicious ravine, is a lush forest that is a refuge for a large diversity of migrating birds, rare plants and illicit human activities. These kinds of places are truly refuges, like Rome Sand Plains (don’t feel you need to watch the whole video). I wouldn’t be surprised to find a corpse.
The explosion distributed a shower of ceramic and lead litter. It is always interesting to noodle around in this shrubby edges above the cliff. And that is where I saw a trove of morels interspersed with chunks of lead.
This spring I found no morels, just dryads saddle (I need a picture, Bob!) and oyster mushroom. Did I say just? Dryad may not be morel, but if you catch it young it is good eating and if you have oyster mushrooms to add to the mix, eating is good.
Which brings me to one more culinary delight. We have been selling Gianforte’s flours at the market, or at least offering it for sale. Do people no longer bake? If time is the problem here is the answer:
Jim Lahey’s no work bread. Check out his Sullivan Street Bakery (Manhattan). I have made many a no knead bread and I like them. They aren’t artisan, but they are delicious hot out of the oven with butter and toasted with peanut butter. Jim Lahey has added a twist to the no knead that is very worthy- the cooking vessel.
it came out of MY oven!
We love sponges and sour doughs for the flavor they develop in the wheat. Time and microbes can fix any bread dough, wine or cider. Lahey’s twist is lovely. Flour, salt and a pinch of yeast mixed with water to make a wet, sticky dough. Put a cover on the bowl and set in in a draft free room temperature spot for 12-18 hours. Never work the dough. Casually but carefully but the dough in a generously floured table and fold the sides of the dough to the middle. In the same deft manner, turn that dough folded side down on a generously floured tea towel (no terry, just smooth weave) and put it to rise a couple hours. Half hour before the baking starts heat the oven to 475.
And here’s the trick. Set the shelf at the bottom third of the oven and put a covered, heavy, dutch oven size pot in to heat with the oven. When the dough is maybe doubled, take the pot out of the oven, unwrap the dough and quickly, casually and gently invert the dough into the pot so the fold seams are now on the top. Put the cover back on the pot and put it all in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover the bread and let it bake another 15 or 30 minutes. I like to do 15 or 20. Thirty seems to blacken the bottom more than I like.
This is superior home made bread. No work. Just plan ahead the day before to mix the flour, water, salt and yeast.
I’ve made the bread with Judy’s bread flour and with her Red Fife heritage flour. Both are great. The bread flour makes a delicious whole grain bread. What can I say? The staff of life. The red fife makes an amazing “porridge” bread. I love this bread. It is like a cross between porridge and bread. It has a very nice crust – that covered pot creates the moist environment needed for a good bread crust, and the center is like a polenta type porridge bread. You just have to try it.
Time is the breadmaster, humidity the crust.
I flubbed the recipe this last time, but no matter, it is delicious! The dough was so wet it stuck to the towel and the pot was a bit small so the dough flubbed into a amorphic blob. It worked!
And don’t forget to have a glass of kefir mixed with apple cider molasses with a piece of fresh Fife bread and butter before bed.