Mushroom Hunting

The forests have been feeding us.  Wild mushrooms in omelettes and piled on frshly baked flatbreads have been on the NoFo menu over the past couple weeks.   The rest of the bounty has been preserved – either dried or sautéed down and frozen – to be enjoyed at a later date.

Naropa (pictured right) had his most successful harvest day ever a few weeks back.  He found an incredible amount of Chantrelles (Cantharellus cibarius) and Boletes (Boletus edulis); some Hawk’s Wing (Polyporus squamosus), Lactarius deliciosus, Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus), Puffballs and Candy Caps.

This is the first time I’ve ever tried a Candy Cap and they are extraordinary.  They taste (as you might imagine) like candy – which clearly the name gives away but when you pop it in your mouth you can’t help but be surprised and awed.   They’ve got the same compound in them (sotolon) that is responsible for the aroma in maple syrup.  Culinarily they are used in desserts and when dried can be rehydrated in warm milk, much like how we use dried vanilla beans.  We found this one remarkable.  Hooray for Naropa broadening our culinary world!!
Check out this video of him walking us through his impressive harvest:







Farm to Table Recipe: Apricot Crumble

We’ve been preserving farm to table apricots like mad over the last two weeks.  Cooking them down and either canning or freezing them.  We’ll be able to pull these glorious summer flavors all winter long.  We have jars of apricots sweetened with local honey and flavoured with vanilla for sale.  Simply take these preserves and add a simple crumble topping, bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so and enjoy a delightful summer dessert.
Crumble topping: 2cups rolled oats, 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup coconut flakes, 1 cup brown sugar, 1-2 cup coconut oil, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt.  Mix all together.  Place NoFo apricot preserves in a baking dish; top with crumble and bake.  Enjoy warm with ice cream or whipped cream.



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Farmers & Chefs: Good Together

This New York Times article talks about how farmers are the ones bringing the “star ingredients” to restaurants these days and, for this, we shout “hooray!” In our books, Flavor is King….or Queen, perhaps…either way, it rules and you can’t get flavour from a factory farm be it animal or vegetable.

At NoFo we work with farmers very closely. Molly is NoFo’s official farmer, growing and harvesting food for us and keeping us up to date on what is happening in the fields – what’s looking good, what’s struggling, what’s about to pop and what we’ve got to move fast on, because the season for foods is a fleeting one. Molly also helps us stay in close touch with other farmers in the valley so that we can get our hands on the food with the finest flavours – get it into our kitchen so that we can pass on that flavour and nutrition to you. Often times this food is not the prettiest, and this is important, because our consumption of food has become about as materialistic as anything else in our modern society. Farmers have trouble selling imperfect produce to stores and markets. A recent piece on PBS Newshour highlights the INSANE amount of food wasted because food is considered flawed to the human eye. This reckless waste in a current culture of the “starving obese” – people overeating on junk food yet who’s cells are dying for actual nutrients – is criminal. We all have the right to food that will nourish us, sustain life and enhance our quality of living. So, let’s let the farmers, the real food experts in our communities, tell us, the consumers, what foods should be trending and“hot” in the restaurant world and beyond – it’ll be doing us all a favour.
– Meg