Tag Archives | Spring 2012 Recipes


This quiche recipe showcases the beautiful Araucana egg variety. The rich, creamy filling is studded with baby spinach, cherry tomatoes and Gruyere cheese.

8 servings

1½ tablespoons butter
⅔ cup chopped shallots (about 3 medium)
1½ cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
Coarse salt and ground white pepper, to taste
6 large farm-fresh eggs, beaten, such as Araucana
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme, plus thyme sprigs for garnish
1 (9-inch) refrigerated prepared whole-wheat piecrust
1½ cups shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
8 cherry tomatoes, halved

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook until just wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. When cool enough to handle, transfer spinach to a paper towel and squeeze out any excess water. Set aside. Whisk together eggs, cream, milk, nutmeg, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spread spinach mixture evenly over bottom of piecrust. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese on top of spinach and carefully pour egg mixture over cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and arrange tomatoes over filling. Bake until egg mixture is still slightly wiggly in center, approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
  4. Cut into wedges and serve garnished with thyme sprigs.
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Maple Scones
Photograph by Carole Topalian

These scones celebrate Vermont’s first spring crop: maple syrup. Scones have always been a breakfast favorite in my house, easy enough to bake even without having had any coffee yet. However, these maple drop scones can even be made the night before, because the maple syrup helps them retain their tender crumb without drying out.

I spent two weeks baking several variations of these scones before I found the balance I was looking for. By the final batch I began to fear my family would grow tired of them and refuse to eat them for months. But after eating the last scone my 7-year-old glared at the now-empty baking tray, complaining that there were none left.

It is rare to find any baked good that can be coveted by my picky children after eating it several times a day for two weeks!

The maple in these is admittedly subtle; I think the scones are a balance between sweet and rich with a slight nutty flavor from the wheat and an elusive taste from the maple syrup.

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour or white whole-wheat
1 cup unbleached white flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into tablespoon-size chunks
1¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup grade B maple syrup
1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Pulse the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor to mix. Add the cold butter and pulse the food processor until the mixture is broken into coarse crumbs with no large pieces of butter. Add the heavy cream, maple syrup and egg to the dry ingredients and pulse again until the dough is mixed and comes together. Use a light hand when mixing in the wet ingredients; if you mix the dough too much, the scones will be tough.
  3. Scoop out the dough onto 2 half-sheet pans, using a commercial scooper, leaving 1½ inches between scones. Use anywhere from a #16 (5½ tablespoons) to #30 (2½ tablespoons) scooper.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size, or until some of the scones are toasty brown around the edge.

Note: If you want a more obvious maple flavor, replace the sugar with another ¼ cup maple syrup, and reduce the amount of heavy cream by 2 tablespoons.

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Pie pastry for 2 crusts
1 cup crushed maple sugar (good ½ pound)
1 tablespoon flour
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup cream

Mixed crushed maple sugar with flour, nutmeg and salt. Beat eggs well and add the sugar mixture. Add cream. Pour mixture into pie plate lined with pastry. Cover with top crust; prick holes in it. Bake in 450° F. oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue baking for about 25 minutes longer.

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Shredded pork shoulder on steamed buns

Asian steamed buns are sometimes filled with spicy pork, but in this recipe, Aaron and Nate make them into succulent sandwiches.

Serves 4 to 6

Braised Pork

1 (3-pound) bone-in pork shoulder
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sriracha (Thai hot chili sauce)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 cups water

Steamed Buns

Makes 8 to 10, depending on size of bun

2 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, at 110°
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon shortening or lard
1½ teaspoons baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 300°; place pork shoulder in a large Dutch oven.
  2. Combine soy, sriracha, hoisin and water and pour over shoulder. Cover and cook, basting every 20 minutes, until the pork is very tender and looks lacquered, about 3 to 4 hours. If you start to lose too much braising liquid or if the liquid gets too dark—and the pork is still not finished cooking—add water, ¼ cup at a time.
  3. Cool pork in braising liquid. When it is cool enough to handle, pull the meat apart and add enough of the marinade to moisten the meat to your taste.
  4. Dissolve sugar and yeast in water; let sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes, until foamy. Place flour, shortening and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix at medium speed to combine. With mixer running at medium speed, slowly incorporate yeast mixture until the dough comes together into a ball and is smooth and elastic. (If your dough won’t come together in the mixer, knead it a few times by hand.)
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and let rise for about 1½ hours, or until it doubles in size. Punch the dough down and divide into 8 to 10 equalsized pieces. Form into balls and place on an oiled baking sheet to rise again, uncovered, until doubled.
  6. Meanwhile, place a metal steamer basket in a large, wide pot, adding enough water to just skim the bottom of the basket (or, use a bamboo steamer if you have one). Place 3 or 4 buns (as many as will fit at once without touching), cover and steam until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove the buns from the steamer and cook the remaining buns.


Steamed buns (recipe above)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sriracha, or more to taste
Pickles (Nate and Aaron like pickled cucumbers, onions and shitakes)
Fresh cilantro leaves

Cut the cooked buns in half and griddle them, cut side down, on a lightly oiled griddle, nonstick or cast-iron skillet. Combine mayonnaise with sriracha and spread a generous amount on each grilled bun. Add a small forkful of purchased kimchi and a few pickles. Top with shredded pork and a few fresh cilantro leaves. Enjoy.

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Frisee salad

This hearty salad would make a delicious dinner with a glass of red wine and a hunk of crusty French bread. Aaron and Nate pickle whole yellow mustard seeds, which gives this already assertive bacon vinaigrette a welcome sharp, spicy bite, and make a heavenly contrast to the creamy, soft-poached yolk and bitter greens.

Serves 4

Bacon Vinaigrette

¾ cup water
¾ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
½ cup whole yellow mustard seeds
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
½ pound good slab bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced shallot
3 tablespoons good-quality sherry vinegar
Black pepper

Poached Eggs

2 cups water
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 farm eggs


2 medium heads frisee lettuce, rinsed well, dried and tough exterior leaves removed
½ cup mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon and chervil leaves, or snipped chives
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 recipe Bacon Vinaigrette (see recipe above)
4 Poached Eggs (see recipe above)
Sea salt, for garnish

  1. To make pickled mustard seeds: Combine the water, rice wine vinegar, mustard seeds, sugar and 1½ teaspoons kosher salt in a small pot; bring to a very gentle simmer over low heat. Cook until the seeds are plump and tender, about 1 hour. Remove from heat to cool completely. Store the seeds in their brine in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. They will keep for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  2. To make vinaigrette: Cook bacon pieces in large stainless skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the lardons render most of their fat and are crispy. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until translucent. Turn off the heat, add 1 tablespoon of the pickled mustard seeds, drained, and the sherry vinegar. Carefully stir together and taste. You want vinegar that is bracingly tart. This will help cut through the bitterness of the salad greens. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.
  3. To poach the eggs: Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil in wide, shallow pot over high heat. Carefully whisk the liquid somewhat vigorously to create a vortex; turn heat down to a simmer over medium heat. Crack eggs into water one at a time and poach for 2 minutes. The vinegar will help the eggs hold their shape. Carefully remove the poached eggs from the water with a slotted spoon; drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.
  4. To assemble the dish: In a large bowl combine the frisee, herbs and shallot; season to taste with salt and pepper. Give the bacon vinaigrette a quick stir and, starting with half of the dressing, add it to the salad. You may not need the entire recipe. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette. The warm vinaigrette will ever-so-slightly wilt the frisee, which softens its sharp flavor. Taste the dressed greens and adjust the seasoning to your liking by adding more vinaigrette, salt or pepper. Divide the salad among 4 plates and top each with a poached egg. Sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt and a few grinds of coarsely cracked black pepper on the egg.
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½ tablespoon butter
1½ cups finely diced rhubarb
2 small yellow onions, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 eggs
1 pound ground beef
1 cup breadcrumbs

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and grease liberally.
  2. In a medium pan, sauté together the rhubarb, butter, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, salt and black pepper over medium heat until the vegetables are soft.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a fork until well combined. Add the ground beef, breadcrumbs and vegetable and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Roll the mixture into approximately 26 evenly sized 1½-inch balls and space out evenly on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake the meatballs for about 25 minutes, or until cooked through, rotating the tray once at about 15 minutes.
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Rosemary Rhubarb Maple Cream Brulee
Photograph by Clair Fitts

2 cups diced rhubarb
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon finely diced fresh rosemary
1 cup cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla
2 large rosemary sprigs
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
4 teaspoons maple sugar
4 four-ounce ramekins

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  2. Put the diced rhubarb, maple syrup and diced rosemary in a small pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. While the rhubarb is cooking, put the cream, vanilla and rosemary sprigs into a small pan and, stirring occasionally, cook over medium-high heat until the cream just starts to bubble. In a medium bowl, beat the egg, egg yolk and maple syrup with a whisk until even. While whisking, slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture. Strain the egg and cream mixture into a large measuring cup with a spout (capacity at least 2 cups).
  4. Divide the rhubarb mixture among the ramekins. Place the ramekins in a casserole dish and place the whole dish on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Pour the cream and egg mixture into each ramekin, over the rhubarb mixture (it should just fill the ramekin). Then pour enough hot tap water into the casserole dish that the water reaches halfway up the side of the ramekins. Bake the custards in the water bath for about 35 minutes or until the custards still quivers when shaken but have no liquid beneath the skin. Cool the custards in the fridge for 1 hour, or up to three days.
  5. When the custards are cool, turn on your oven broiler, evenly spread 1 teaspoon of maple sugar over each custard and place the custards on a cookie sheet. Move the oven rack to the highest location in the oven and put the sheet of custards under the broiler. The sugar will take about 5 minutes to burn, although broilers vary widely in intensity, so keep a careful eye on the crème brûlées. The crème brûlée is done when the maple sugar is a mix of light brown and black. Quick-cool the crème brûlées in the fridge for about 1 minute and then serve immediately.
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Dandelion LeekFrittata

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, chopped into rounds and washed well to get rid of all grit
2 teaspoons each salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh dandelion greens
6 eggs
1 teaspoon each cumin and coriander powder
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard (no salt added)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add leek pieces. Reduce heat to medium low. Add salt, black pepper; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add dandelion greens. Simmer for 10 more minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked out of the vegetables. Place in a pie plate that has been greased with a little olive oil
  4. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the cumin, coriander, lemon juice and a splash of water. Pour egg mixture over the greens and bake for 40 minutes.

Healing Properties*

Eggs: each one contains 6 grams of protein, 9 essential amino acids and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat; rich in lutein, which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts; improve human lipid profile, thereby balancing cholesterol; contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

Dandelion greens: these iron-rich, fiber-filled spring greens stimulate the bitter flavor on the palate, which encourages bile production, thereby strengthening digestion and aiding liver rejuvenation.

Leeks: strengthen lungs; antimicrobial; antibacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.

* “Healing Properties” source information:
Foods That Heal
. FoodsThatHeal.blogspot.com
Plants for a Future
. PFAF.org

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Nettles are rich in potassium, magnesium and iron. You can find them growing wild in deciduous forests or plant them in a lonely corner of your garden. They thrive in poor soil, and will over-winter and become perennial. Just make sure to cut them back and keep eating them so that they do not get unruly! To harvest stinging nettles, wear gloves and use scissors. Cut the nettle stem just below the first bunch of leaves. Choose leaf tops that have not yet flowered.

Left: Stinging nettles in the wild

¼ cup salt
¼ pound fresh stinging nettles
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup olive oil**

  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add ¼ cup salt and bring to a boil. Submerge nettles in water and let them boil for a few minutes. Drain them and set aside.
  2. As the nettles boil, place garlic, lemon juice, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend, adding water as needed until a paste forms. Add ¼ cup olive oil and the boiled nettles. Blend once more. You can add a little more water to keep the paste-like consistency. Adjust seasonings.

Enjoy with frittata, sourdough bread from one of our skilled Vermont artisan bakers and perhaps a glass of Black Sparrow dry white wine from Vermont’s Lincoln Peak Vineyards.

Healing Properties*

Nettles: iron-rich spring greens that cleanse the blood, revitalize the liver and harmonize the body’s mineral balance while providing fiber to support consistent digestion and elimination.

Lemon: awakens the pungent flavor in the body, detoxifies the lymphatic system and provides vitamin C.

Olive Oil: anti-inflammatory; rich in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, which enhance colon health.

Sunflower seeds: contain selenium to detoxify liver and blood; contain magnesium to strengthen bones, calm nerves and support immunity.

* “Healing Properties” source information:
Foods That Heal
. FoodsThatHeal.blogspot.com
Plants for a Future
. PFAF.org

**A word about olive oil: Try to choose an organic brand from California, a state whose labeling we can trust. If you have a true source of Italian olive oil, you can choose that instead. To learn more about the challenges surrounding truth in olive oil labeling, read Tom Mueller’s Extra Virginity: the Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil (Norton, 2011). This book, as the New York Times review explains, “demonstrates the brazen fraud in the olive oil industry and [seeks] to teach readers how to sniff out the good stuff.”

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For those who planted them last fall, parsnips are one of the first root crops to dig out of the garden. If you do not have your own, ask a local farmer when the fresh crop will be available.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced vertically into ¼-inch crescents
4 tablespoons white wine (if desired)
4–5 large parsnips, ends cut off and sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 teaspoon each dried thyme, coriander and nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
A few grinds fresh black pepper
7 cups water

  1. Pour olive oil into a stockpot and heat on medium high. Add onion, reduce heat to simmer. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the wine (if using). Then add the parsnips, herbs, salt and pepper and cook for 10 more minutes.
  2. Add the water, stir to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the parsnips are tender—about 30 minutes.
  3. Mash the parsnips into the broth using a hard spatula, immersion blender or potato masher. Taste for salt. Garnish with fresh, chopped scallions or fresh, minced parsley and savor each velvety bite.

Healing Properties*

Parsnips: parsley family members that provide folate, fiber and phenolic acids, which may help reduce production of cancerous cells. They contain ample amounts of soluble fiber, which moderates fat and cholesterol absorption in the intestines while diluting bile acids to prevent reflux.

Thyme: contains thymol, an antimicrobial volatile oil that can help prevent colds; rich in flavonoids whose antioxidant activity keeps blood pH in balance.

* “Healing Properties” source information:
Foods That Heal
. FoodsThatHeal.blogspot.com
Plants for a Future
. PFAF.org

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