Real Food
Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.


Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup Recipe

 

This soup is delicious and hearty on a cold winter day. With maybe a green salad, a bowl makes a good meal. I leave it very thick, what Rachel Ray calls “choup” — it’s nearly a stew. If you want more broth to soak up chunks of homemade bread, just add a little more stock.

When I make this for the New Orleans branch of the family, I use the andouille sausage, which is quite spicy. For friends closer to home, an Italian sausage works better. Just taste and add the pepper cautiously. Some like it hot, some don’t.

6+ servings. Makes nearly 3 quarts

Ingredients:

• Medium onion, diced
• 2 cups diced celery
• 1 cup diced carrot
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• sea salt
• several sprigs fresh thyme (see note)
• 6 fresh sage leaves (see note)
• 1 cup white wine
• 4 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon chicken paste (see note)
• 4 cups water
• 3 cans organic cannellini beans, liquid and all
• 1 pound hot pork Italian or Andouille Sausage
• dash or two espelette pepper, if available
• several grinds of pepper
• Parmesan or Asiago cheese to garnish

Directions:

1. Earlier or the day before, cook the sausages until almost done through. I bake them in the toaster oven. You could elect to cook slowly stovetop.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, pour a little extra-virgin olive oil, add the vegetables and lightly salt them. Sauté diced vegetables until softened but not browned at all. Toss in the herbs and add the white wine. Bring to a simmer.

3. Add the Better Than Bouillon chicken paste and the water and stir until the Better Than Bouillon is dissolved. Add the beans.

4. Cut the sausages in half lengthwise and then into ¼-inch slices. Add the sausage to the soup. Add the ground peppers cautiously to your taste. Heat to a low simmer and cook until the beans are very tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning, probably adding salt.

Garnish with shredded cheese.

Note on herbs: If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use cut, dried, about a half teaspoon each. Don’t use ground powder herbs. Make a note to bring in some potted herbs next fall.

Note on the Better Than Bouillon for stock: Some time ago, on an America’s Test Kitchen episode, the staff did a taste testing of store-bought chicken stock. The organic brand I had in my cupboard was pronounced “possum road kill”. Another brand was voted best taste, but Better Than Bouillon was the runner-up for taste and then pronounced the best buy, because a small jar keeps in the fridge for up to two years.  I wouldn’t be without it — soups, gravies, etc.

Wendy Akin is a happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Injera: Ethiopia's Super Bread

 

Teff, Ethiopia's traditional grain, has been enjoying its well-deserved spotlight as a recently discovered superfood. Teff is extremely healthy and nutritious, and certainly worth getting acquainted with. You can find teff in health food and ethnic stores. There is a darker variety and a lighter one, and it's worth trying both to see which you like better.

Teff is most often prepared and eaten in the form of injera, an Ethiopian staple that is best described as a flat, round, spongy pancake with a characteristic flavorful sour taste. The sourness comes from fermentation, which enhances the nutritional value of the grain.

If you've ever tried your hand at sourdough, the process of making injera is very similar: take some teff flour (be sure to sift it first and discard any impurities), mix with water to form thick batter, and leave it be. That's it! No need to add sugar or anything else. I let my batter ferment in a glass bowl with cling film stretched over the top, but covering with a clean kitchen towel would do as well.

An Ethiopian friend told me that in cold weather she adds just a tiny pinch of store-bought bread yeast to speed things up, but waiting an extra day or two does the trick if you have patience. I started my batter on Sunday, and made the injera on Thursday.

Every day, stir your batter. You should see bubbles forming, and a slightly sour, yeasty smell will appear. On the last day, dilute the batter to a consistency you would want for making pancakes. Take a large, very lightly greased pan and ladle some of the batter into it. Cook for a few minutes just as you would pancakes, but without flipping over to the other side.

Traditionally, injera is served with all sorts of dips made of lentils, vegetables and meat, but it's really very versatile. True to our principles of culinary fusion, we enjoy it with tahini, hummus, butter, and cream cheese. Its spongy texture makes it great for sopping stuff up - dips, soups and sauces.

I hope you will have fun experimenting, and add injera to your array of healthy traditional fermented foods.

Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna, her husband and their four children live on the outskirts of a small town in northern Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna's books are on her Amazon.com Author PageConnect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blogRead all Anna's Mother Earth News posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

How to Grow Your Love of Local Food into a Community of Like-Minded Locavores: An Interview with Urban Food Forager Pattie Meyers

 

When it comes to bringing people together around food and creating a stunning atmosphere imbued with rustic charm, Pattie Meyers is one of the most extraordinary women I’ve met. I made her acquaintance almost a decade ago when I moved to the Austin, Texas, area and our newspaper ran an article about the local-food-lover’s society that she had helped create called “The Nomadic Table”.

“The Nomadic Table” is essentially an itinerant potluck dinner party with one cardinal rule: recipes must feature local organic products. The result? Magic!

The focus on local food leads to a combination of two elements that equal magic: the locations and the people. First, Pattie Meyers finds the most fitting and unexpected places to host these pop-up dinners: inside an organic greenhouse at night; in a butterfly garden; at the local produce market where she was the primary food forager... or, surprising places like a barn filled with restored vintage cars.

Next, the focus on local ingredients attracts like-minded locavores. Put the two together and you have an enchanting evening!

I have no doubt “The Nomadic Table” has the potential to become a movement that will sweep the nation. But, how do you start a “Nomadic Table Society” near you? What does it take to organize an itinerant local-food potluck? And, what are some tips for sourcing the best local products?

I interviewed Pattie Meyers to find out how she came to found the first Nomadic Table, learn about the procedure for organizing the event,  get tips on local food foraging, and find out what her latest projects are…

How did you come up with the idea of the Nomadic Table?

It was a collaboration with two other people: a photographer and a party rental owner. I was working as a food forager at the time which just kind of fed into it. We were having some drinks one night and just talking about “wouldn’t it be fun if we could throw a potluck that would use these locally produced foods making sure the focus was about our basic tenants, which were: local and organic?”

So we just cobbled together a first one. The photographer’s wife’s idea was to call it “the nomadic table”, because the idea was to move these dinners to different locations with each meal. And so, we’ve had that event off and on throughout the years in different locations. I hope to place an upcoming one at a local goat farmer’s place. Outdoor locations are always the goal.

Can you tell us how the Nomadic Table works?

From our mailing list we just: let people know our date and location; reiterate that they need to create a dish for six that uses locally grown or produced products; also remind them to bring their own place setting and be creative with the place setting if they like.

The place settings have been a fun part of this: People have brought antique dishes and glassware that they like to show off which has been a real treasure. Bring your beverage of choice…. That’s kind of the “how”.

We just get a head count from the RSVPs so we know how many chairs and tables we’ll need to set up. Once you find a location and set up the tables it just kind of makes itself.

How did you start your mailing list? How did the first people find you and the Nomadic Table?

In the market specialized in local organic food where I was the forager, we put up a sign up sheet and a little info sheet explaining what the Nomadic Table was and asking if you’d like to join us for a potluck to please sign here. We had a great response from that. People were coming in to buy local vegetables so they were obviously the right population to come to a potluck that used local.

Why did you decide to do the Nomadic Table?

Just because I enjoy the party itself and I think it is worth pursuing. It is always a great event to go to and I’m motivated to do it just so I can be there. We always get a great response: people love it. It is just delightful: the people we’ve met and the places we go.

Tell us about the time you spent working as a Food Forager. What is a Food Forager?

Initially I thought it meant foraging in the forest for edible things; but, in today’s world “foraging” can mean that you are searching for food items in a different classification: to find local organic producers of grown and ranched items, eggs, dairy, honey, olive oil and so on within 100 miles.

My job was to find producers, make a connection with them, and look at their practices. I got to visit each farm and ranch and farmer in their location to see how they produced what they produced, establish a relationship and talk about delivery times and dates and prices and so on.

Can you tell us a little bit about the philosophy of the market that hired you as a food forager?

The goal was to create a retail outlet that for these producer’s items and things that could be used in recipes for their café. They also had an onsite garden.

What was your method for finding local producers?

It grew organically. I had a few good connections in Austin in this food world who were able to suggest and direct me to places that might be a good source. That was a finger, a way to spread the word that I was looking for producers.

I also went on farm tours. The sustainable food bank organizes tours where you are able to buy a ticket to go to visit a farm with a group. From doing that I met farmers who knew of other people who were producers and it just grew from that. I also would visit our wonderful local farmer markets in Austin and walk up and talk to people about food and just ask if I could come out to see their property, see what they were doing and see if they were interested in selling.

Fortunately, in Austin, we have publications that help the process like Edible Austin, so I could read about growers and producers in articles and check out advertisements. Then the word started to spread and people started coming to me and knocking on my door.

A plus was that samples came my way constantly: people were bringing me all kinds of samples of products they had created or charcuterie, meat, dairy that they wanted me to use or because they wanted my opinion. The whole process was fun. I was just thrilled.

What qualities determined that something met your standards?

Taste. Taste. Taste. It’s always all about if it is satisfying and if it takes you back to a higher standard than what we are used to in average retail. You taste a mass produced radish and compare. The difference in experience with a freshly grown, local organic radish… it’s night and day! The methods just produce better food.

What are you doing these days?

I am in the vacation rental business. We have an eight acre vacation rental called “Redbird Farm at Berry Creek” that sleeps eight people in a rural feeling location just outside the city. We offer an opportunity for people to enjoy organic chickens. We have 12 laying hens at the moment so there are plenty of eggs. We have kayaking down on Berry Creek and lots of outdoor space with fire pits.

The people who created the place made dry stack walls all around the place which gives it a big dose of charm. It makes it feel European in my opinion. We created big gravel areas to give it a Provencal feel. The house is up high on a sloping hill overlooking a pasture and below that is a pecan orchard and the water is next to that.

People headed to Austin, choose to stay with us because of the rural setting. If they are going to a hectic people-filled event in the city they enjoy being able to relax out here and it is great if they are traveling with dogs to have the space.

Are there any books you would recommend for people interested in going deeper on this topic?

 

Well what pops to mind are cookbooks that I used as inspiration: Heidi Swanson was a good inspiration for finding the best recipes for using these products.

 

Photos by Anna Kraft

Lisa Gustavson is the founder and owner of Sojourner Tours, a boutique tour company specialized in sustainable tourism for adventurous food lovers. When at home in Texas, Lisa spends her spare time as an informal urban chicken and beekeeper, backyard gardener, cook, writer and photographer. Read all of Lisa’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Orange Cranberry Banana Bread French Toast

 

Whew! Say that one five times fast! This recipe does take some time and effort, but the payoff is so, so worth it. And now that those little, cute oranges (you know the ones I’m talking about, right?) are on sale, this is a great recipe to have on-hand for when you’re in the mood to make something decadent and special.

Ain’t gonna lie, this recipe is full of sugar, gluten, and guilt. It’s not something I make every day, but on the weekends, I think most of us relax our breakfast routine and have, well, basically, dessert in the morning. There’s just something magical about a sweet breakfast and hot coffee that makes my Sunday mornings bombdiggity. And, it’s not like my kids are complaining when I serve anything other than the usual weekday let’s-get-our-butts-in-gear-because-the-bus-is-coming-in-10-minutes breakfast. You know, the sad, cardboard-flavored toaster pastry or the sticky granola bar that serves as just getting something in their stomachs before the hour-long bus ride to school.

Mom tip: Double the bread recipe and make two loaves. You don’t have to make the french toast part, and the loaves freeze well for a few months. Then, we you have, let’s say, a snow day in the forecast, simply pull out a loaf of the orange cranberry banana bread the night before, and you’ll have an awesome french toast breakfast for your family in no time.  

Orange Cranberry Banana Bread

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
2 duck eggs (OR 3 chicken eggs), beaten
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup sugar
½ cup flavorless oil (I use nonGMO safflower or grapeseed)
zest and juice of one small orange
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

Instructions

1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

2. Mash the bananas in a separate large bowl. Combine additional wet ingredients.

3. Stir the sifted dry ingredients into the banana mixture. Add zest, juice and cranberries, and stir until combined.

4. Pour dough into a butter-greased loaf pan.Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for about an hour, or until the center is cooked through. You can check this by inserting a butter knife or wooden skewer into the center of the loaf, and if it comes out clean, it is done.

Orange French Toast Batter

Ingredients

3 duck eggs (or 4 chicken), beaten
1 cup whole milk
zest and juice of 1 small orange
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

1. Beat eggs until all yolks.

2. Add milk and stir. Add zest, juice, and spices. Stir to combine.

3. Turn stove burner on medium heat, allowing your skillet to heat.

4. Slice orange cranberry banana bread, no more than an inch in width.

5. Dip the bread slices into the egg mixture.

6. Add about a teaspoon of flavorless oil (I use nonGMO safflower or grapeseed) to the skillet.

7. Add coated bread slices to the hot skillet, careful not to crowd the pan.

8. Cook for two to three minutes before flipping the bread to the other side, or until the bread has nicely browned and is slightly crisp.

Serve with a nice orange glaze made from orange juice, powdered sugar, and a dash of vanilla. Or, real, local maple syrup is perfect, with a dusting of powdered sugar. My kids and I like caramel sauce with this french toast recipe, sometimes with a couple squirts of whipped cream and a sprinkle of orange zest.

Corinne Gompf is a writer and hobby farmer in Morrow County, Ohio. She is a graduate from the University of Toledo, with a BA in English, creative writing concentration. Along with her husband, Matt, and two children, Fletcher and Emery, Corinne raises poultry, Boer goats, rabbits, and chemical-free produce. Connect with Corinne on her Heritage Harvest Farm Facebook page.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Three Sonoma County Wineries in California Fermenting a Greener Future

Quivira Winery with Solar PV System on Roof

After my last batch of DIY home winemaking resulted in five gallons of red wine vinegar, I realized that perhaps I need to leave winemaking to the experts. Fortunately, vintners in Sonoma County, California, share my values of biodynamic and organic farming. These wineries are working together to make Sonoma County the nation’s first 100-percent certified sustainable wine region.

“Research increasingly shows that people want to purchase and use sustainable products that are good for the environment,” explains Karissa Kruse, president of Sonoma County Winegrowers, an organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of this area as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. “Our being hundred-percent certified sustainable means consumers can be confident that when they purchase and drink a bottle of wine with Sonoma County on the label, they know that the farmer is following a rigorous set of farming practices that steward the land for future generations.”

What better way to experience this sustainability mission than by visiting these eco-forward wineries in person. Accompanied by my husband-photographer, John Ivanko, we did our “tour and taste” last fall. With over 400 wineries in Sonoma County, your biggest challenge is narrowing down options. Here are three of our favorites: Quivira, DaVero and Truett Hurst wineries, all a short, scenic drive outside Healdsburg, California, about an hour and a half drive north of San Francisco.

Quivira Winery's Gardens 

Quivira Vineyards

Pigs. Cows. Bees. A five-hundred-yard compost pile. At first glance, you’re more likely to think this is a diversified homestead than an award-winning winery. But at Quivira Winery, family owned since 1981 and organic certified, diversity is embraced and celebrated, realizing a healthy mix of bio-diversity is what adds up to a vibrant landscape that makes them a leading producer of Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Rhone varietals. 

“At Quivira, we pay a lot of attention to detail and cultivation as everything that creates fruitfulness and healthy soils comes from right here on the estate,” shares Ned Horton, vineyard manager and viticulturist. After the grape harvest in late fall, Horton will turn compost into the soil and then sow cover crops, a rich source of nitrogen. Quivira also has extensive gardens for visitors to meander through and the winery was an early adopter of solar power, with a 55 kW photovoltaic system to meet some of their energy needs.

DaVero Winery Old World wine making 

DaVero Farms and Winery

"Grow what belongs here. Be patient." This is the premise summarizing the philosophy behind DaVero Winery and drives everything they do, from how they care for the land to how they craft wine, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

In addition to producing fruit forward wines in the Italian tradition, a unique aspect of DaVero is their olive trees, first planted over twenty-five years ago and now over 4,500 trees. Original cuttings were made from an ancient grove in Tuscany. These olive trees produced the very first American extra virgin olive oil to win a blind tasting in Italy, among other awards. The olives are harvested by hand over several weeks in the fall and are pressed the day they are picked using a traditional stone wheel.

DaVero’s winemaking approach also uses traditional Old World techniques that aim to keep the vineyards on the wilder side with a diverse undergrowth that creates a home for beneficial insects that then enrich the soil.

Truett Hurst Winery 

Truett Hurst Winery

Founded in 2007 by two longstanding winemaking families, Truett Hurst Winery sees sustainability as minimizing their environmental footprint in all aspects of the business, taking a holistic approach inspired by the biodynamic teachings of Rudolph Steiner. Their wine collection covers a variety of palates, from a Salmon Run Rose with nuances of peach, strawberry, key lime and herbal spice to the Dark Horse GPS with aromatics of dark currents and mocha that pairs perfectly with a Wild Mushroom Tartine.

“Biodynamic farming is similar in philosophy to raising children,” explains Paul Dolan, an owner of Truett Hurst Winery and also the president of the Demeter Association, a leading non-profit championing biodynamic practices to heal the planet through agriculture. “As parents we have the opportunity and responsibility to provide a great environment for our children in which they can create and explore. Same thing with our vineyards as we want to create a healthy ecosystem where the grapes and therefore wine can fully express themselves naturally.”

Wineries such as these leading a commitment to the future go behind the landscape and product and also support winery employees and communities. Kruse helped relaunch the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation (SCGGF), a 501(c)3 with a focus on private/public partnerships that provide affordable housing, childcare, education, healthcare and workforce development for the Latino farmworker and their families.

Such strong support in the winery community was clearly evidenced in October, 2017, when the SCGGF spearheaded the support plan after the devastating fires in the area, providing housing and household supplies for the hundreds of agricultural workers displaced by the flames.

“At its heart, sustainability means caring for our community and being there when one of us needs help,” sums up Kruse.

Lisa Kivirist, with her husband, John D. Ivanko, a photographer and drone pilot, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Kivirist also authored Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam and millions of ladybugs.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Easy Farm to Table Appetizer: Wild Mushroom Tartine Recipe

Wild Mushroom Tartine

Here’s a New Year’s Eve resolution to consider: More recipes, less stuff. Any time we ring in the New Year or look to celebrate at an event in our Wisconsin farmstead kitchen, we love to try winter comfort food recipes like this Wild Mushroom Tartine with an herb-infused cream sauce. We enjoyed this dish at SHED, a community-focused food enterprise in Healdsburg, California, when we visited Sonoma County this past fall and lucky for us, Chef Bryan Oliver was willing to share it.

While my husband, photographer John Ivanko, and I and have always loved to travel, we’ve realized the best souvenir is a recipe from a great road trip meal. Recreating flavors like this tartine quickly transport us back to a treasured time and place. I recall vividly the sun-drenched upper room at SHED where we dined, the 2015 Dark Horse Truett-Hurst wine with aromatics of dark currents and mocha paired with the tartine and, most importantly, the inspiring, sustainability-minded people we met that day in this community, including Paul Dolan, winery owner and president of the Demeter Association, a leading non-profit championing biodynamic practices to heal the planet through agriculture.

Tartine Paired with Dark Horse Truett-Hurst  

“I could quickly see and taste the difference in the quality of the fruit and the wine once we went organic and that continues to inspire my quest to improve wine quality through better farming practices,” shares Paul Dolan, a fourth-generation California farmer and vintner. Dolan is the first to successfully bring the “triple bottom line” approach to wineries, creating a business that is environmentally sound, socially just and economically viable.

“On this journey, I quickly realized how damaging chemicals are on the biological life of our soil, elements which eventually gets washed downstream and affect the health of our waterways,” adds Dolan.

You can see Dolan’s commitment to clean water when you visit Truett-Hurst winery just outside of Healdsburg. Relax and sample a glass of their award-winning Zinfandel while lounging in a fire truck red Adirondack chair nestled right on the rushing banks of Dry Creek. Truett-Hurst serves as a leader in the Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Project, a partnership project that creates backwater features with large, woody debris to create slow moving pools and provide refuge for juvenile water steelhead and salmon.

 Truett-Hurst Dry Creek Habitat Restoration

Committed to biodynamic growing practices that celebrate Mother Nature’s diversity, you’ll also see native birds, butterflies and beneficial insects flying between the twisted old olive trees and habitat gardens on the vineyard’s 26 acres while goats, chickens and sheep add to the natural cycle.

A “tartine” may sound fancy, but it literally means “slice of bread” in French. You’ll see the term in recipes like this one to describe an open-faced sandwich that really spotlights the quality and flavor of the toppings.

For this recipe, feel free to serve it on slices of toasted bread for a meal or use smaller, baguette-sized slices for an easy appetizer. Pair it with SHED’s Black Butsu Squash Soup and a salad with Vinaigrette Dressing recipe from Jordan Winery and you will bring a full menu of flavors of Healdsburg, California directly to your winter homestead, even if the snow is falling outside!

Wild Mushroom Tartine with Pickled Huckleberries

Courtesy of Chef Bryan Oliver, SHED, Healdsburg, California

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Mushroom Cream:

3 shallots, sliced thin
¼ pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup cream

Mushroom Topping:

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound wild chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half
3 shallots, sliced thin
1/4 bunch thyme
1 loaf good-quality bread, cut into six thick slices (save the ends for croutons or breadcrumbs!)
2 tablespoons butter

Garnish

Pickled berries (Chef Oliver makes pickled huckleberries in the summertime, but store-bought elderberries, huckleberries, or blueberries are all fine)
1 cup garden herbs (Chef Oliver uses chervil, tarragon, fennel, parsley, rosemary, and thyme)

Directions:

Mushroom cream:

1. Cook shallots and mushrooms with salt and pepper in olive oil on low heat until shallots are translucent, stirring frequently.

2. Add thyme and cream and bring to a simmer until mushrooms and shallots are soft.

3. Puree in a blender until smooth.

Mushrooms

1. Heat olive oil in cast iron pan over high heat. Add chanterelles and shallots. 

2. Roast briefly and add whole thyme branches.  

3. Continue roasting until chanterelles are cooked to your liking.

4. Toast sliced bread with butter in a pan on stovetop or in an oven.

To assemble:

1. Smear toasted bread with mushroom cream.  

2. Spread the chanterelles and shallots evenly over each slice.

3. Top with pickled berries and herbs.

Lisa Kivirist, with her husband, John D. Ivanko, a photographer and drone pilot, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Kivirist also authored Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam and millions of ladybugs.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

California Inspired Sustainability: Winter Squash Soup Recipe, with Yogurt and Bee Pollen

Winter Squash Soup from SHED

What pairs well with this tasty Squash Soup from SHED, a community-focused food enterprise in Healdsburg, California? A glass of 2014 Porter Creek Viognier wine and an inspiring lesson in sustainability, as Sonoma County leads the nation in cultivating a collective movement of area winemakers and farmers to steward the land and foster a healthy environment for future generations. 

This Healdsburg story reminds us that changing the word starts in our home community, driven by local leaders thinking beyond their own bottom line and, most importantly, regularly sharing soup together.

I was treated to the opportunity to experience these flavors of SHED and connect with the Sonoma County Winegrowers, a group of family farmers working to produce high quality grapes that are the foundation for their world class wines, during a recent trip to Healdsburg with my husband-photographer John Ivanko. What struck us most, beyond the amazing flavors of what was on the dining table, was the buzzing community vibe and leadership committed to sustainability.

Launching in 2014, Sonoma County Winegrowers has been on a mission to become the nation’s first 100% certified sustainable wine region, embracing the intersection of conservation and business by recognizing the community itself needs a healthy environment to grow the best grapes that make the world class wines.

“We really wanted to put a stake in the ground and bring Sonoma County into the global dialogue of what sustainability looks like and what our future can be,” shares Karissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, an organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. “At our heart, we are an agricultural region and community of small-scale farmers. Approximately eighty percent of our farms are under 100 acres and twenty percent are under 20 acres and we grow sixty-six different varietals of grapes.” 

With a goal of supporting farm vibrancy, this initiative Kruse is leading looks at sustainability from an inclusive lens and acknowledges a diversity of components, from improving water quality in the tributaries of the Russian River to utilizing renewable energy. “The key of sustainability is continuous improvement, and every farm and winery can contribute in different ways,” adds Kruse.

“The magic behind Healdsburg and Sonoma County roots in the diversity of both our landscape and community,” explains Doug Lipton, the co-owner with his wife, Cindy Daniel, of SHED. “My vision for SHED is to be a modern grange that really celebrates the words of Wendell Berry, who is such a personal inspiration to me.”

Doug Lipton Presenting at SHED 

Berry’s words motivated Lipton to career pivot from playing in a jazz band to receiving his doctorate in soil science and a lifetime career committed to sustainability. Established in 2013, Healdsburg SHED has encompassed a café, a fermentation bar, a market selling food, garden tools, and cookware, and an events space. Starting in 2019, however, SHED will move to an online presence, featuring a proprietary Pantry line, curated collection of goods, and ongoing educational content.

Share in this Healdsburg sustainability spirit in your own farmstead kitchen with this recipe courtesy of SHED for their Black Futsu Winter Squash Soup which you can garnish with yogurt (great of you make your own) and bee pollen, especially if you’re a beekeeper.

The Black Futsu is a Japanese heirloom varietal of winter squash with a bright orange flesh and a flavor crossed between a pumpkin and a chestnut. It’s sweet, buttery and slightly nutty. Feel free to also substitute other winter squash varietals in the recipe. We still have piles of butternuts piled up in storage at Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B, thanks to our best year ever for squash. So, we're good to go.

Add a salad with this Vinaigrette Dressing recipe from Jordan Winery and you have a fully Healdsburg inspired meal!

Black Futsu Winter Squash Soup with Yogurt and Bee Pollen

Courtesy of Chef Bryan Oliver, SHED, Healdsburg, California

Yield:  Six servings

Soup Ingredients:

2 black fustu squash
3 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
2 quarts vegetable stock
3 cups cream
1 tsp picked thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sage
3 tbsp salt
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 star anise pod

For Garnish Ingredients:

Greek yogurt
toasted pumpkin seeds
pumpkin seed oil or olive oil
bee pollen

Directions:

1. Split squash in half and remove seeds.  Discard seeds or save for another use. Roast squash cut side down on a baking tray for 35 minutes. Flip squash over and dress with the olive oil and salt to taste. Continue to roast for another 35 minutes or until soft.

2. Melt some butter in a large pan and cook onions over medium heat until translucent.  Add in cream, vegetable stock, and all spices and bring to a simmer.

3. Once squash is cool, scoop out pulp and discard the skin.  Add the squash to the liquid base and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Blend on high speed using a jar blender or immersion blender, until smooth. Pass through a fine mesh strainer.

4. Before serving, garnish soup with a dollop of yogurt, toasted pumpkin seeds, bee pollen, and oil.

Lisa Kivirist, with her husband, John D. Ivanko, a photographer and drone pilot, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Kivirist also authored Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam and millions of ladybugs.


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