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

Chanterelle Cheesecake

Chanterelle Cheesecake 

Mushrooms are probably the last thing you’d expect to find in a dessert.  Most of us are familiar with supermarket mushrooms that have a deeply savory, earthy aroma that pairs best with meat or cream sauces.  Wild mushrooms don’t follow those same rules, and they can smell or taste like just about anything.

Chanterelle Mushrooms smell fruity, more like apricots or sweet cider than mushroom.  Like many mushrooms, their flavor infuses easily into heavy cream or butter, but once it’s there, the sky’s the limit, and they’re just as at home in a savory chanterelle risotto as they are in a sweet chanterelle ice cream.

I made this chanterelle cheesecake with yellowfoot chanterelles, which are available in the fall months in my home state of Vermont.  In warmer areas, they can be found throughout the winter. The cheesecake itself has mushrooms infused into heavy cream and then pureed with a stick blender so that they permeate the entire dish.  It’s then topped with caramelized chanterelles, similar to the ones featured in this candied chanterelle panna cotta.

Any cheesecake recipe containing heavy cream can be modified to include chanterelles.  I used this one from the NYT Cooking.  Simply start by infusing about ⅛ of a pound of chanterelles (roughly 1 cup) in the heavy cream.  Bring the cream and mushrooms to a low simmer for 2-3 minutes, then turn the heat off and allow them to infuse and cool for about an hour.  Use an immersion blender to completely pulverize the mushrooms and then proceed with the recipe as it’s written.

Caramel Chanterelle Cheesecake

Once the cheesecake is cooled, leave it as it is, or top it with caramel covered chanterelles.  To make caramelized chanterelles, follow a basic stovetop caramel recipe and once it’s cooked, stir in chanterelles that have been sauteed in butter for about 8-10 minutes. Keep in mind you might not need all the caramel, so use your best judgment and adjust to your tastes.

Ashley lives in a solar and wind powered home in Vermont with her husband and two young children.  She writes about gardening, foraging, DIY and all things off grid at Practical Self Reliance.  You can find pictures of her adventures on Instagram, or follow along on Facebook or Twitter.

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.

Apple Crumble Bars


Photo by Sue Van Slooten

Fall is Apple Time, when the ever versatile fruits ripen and fill our markets, or if we can go apple picking, our baskets. I happen to be extremely lucky: In my yard is an ancient tree several decades old (estimates are 60-70 years) that produces incredible quantities of apples every year. I don’t treat this tree, just have it pruned occasionally, and it always rewards me with a bounty of delicious apples. I have in turn made pies, crisps, bars, cookies, applesauce, cakes, mincemeat, condiments, etc, to the delight of everyone who tastes these products.

This week I received a new book I had ordered, Barry Parson’s Rock Recipe’s Cookies, and promptly went nuts. Barry is a man after my own heart: He loves food, he loves cookies, and I love his recipes. I have all his books, so no, you cannot get me any for Christmas.You can get the book off Amazon or bookstores. In this recipe that I am about to provide you, I took a recipe of his, melded it with a recipe of mine, and what was originally blueberries, became apple just in time for Thanksgiving and the fall. If you are not up to chopping the apples, if you have any thick applesauce or apple butter, feel free to use it.

Apple Crumble Bars


For the filling:

about 3 lbs. apples, chopped *(see below)
1/3 cup brown sugar (more or less to taste, and the tartness of your apples)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Cider or water to moisten, I prefer the cider


1. Combine all the above ingredients, using just enough cider or water to moisten the bottom of the pot and keep the apples from sticking.

2. Cook over low medium heat util the apples are soft, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

3. After apples have cooked, turn off the heat and let cool. Oh, and your house will smell wonderful right about now!

I used a food mill to process the apples, which eliminated the peeling and coring that normally goes with this kind of recipe. If you have a food mill, run the cooked apples through the mill, and it will produce a nice thick applesauce. 

*If you do not own a food mill, then you should peel and core all the apples, just continue with the cooking as described.

For the cookies:

This is Barry’s part of the recipe.

The Shortbread Base:

3/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350F.


1. Combine all ingredients, and as Barry suggested, I used a food processor, spin for a short time (the butter should be well cut in),

2. Pat into a greased and parchment lined 9X9 inch pan.

3. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.

For the Graham Crumble Topping:

1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut in small cubes


1. Again, cut in the butter well. Barry makes his topping into handfuls of  “crumbles” whereas I put it through the food processor, very quickly.

2. Spread your applesauce over the shortbread base, and sprinkle the topping over the filling.

3. As Barry says, press down lightly and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

4. Cool completely before cutting into bars or squares. Make some tea and enjoy.

References:Parsons, Barry. “Rock Recipes Cookies: A Decade of Decadent Recipes.” St. John’s, Newfoundland: Breakwater Books, 2018.

Also see:

You can follow the further adventures of Sue or sign up for a class at her website: or email:

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.

Praise the Lard

Pumpkin Pie with Lard Crust

Pie season is upon us and that means pie crust! Butter makes a delicious pie crust, but do you know what makes an even more amazing pie crust? Lard! We are big believers in 'nose-to-tail' whole animal butchery, meaning no part of the animal goes to waste just because it may seem 'gross' in our society. Pig fat is an amazing nutritional resource that can be utilized and cooked down into lard.

Types of Lard

Leaf Lard: is considered to be the highest quality coming from the ‘leaf’ of fat surrounding the kidneys. Best for baking as it is flavorless.

Fatback: is considered second highest in quality and makes up the largest volume of fat off a pig as it is the hard, subcutaneous fat from just under the skin.

Caul Lard: lower in quality, this is the ‘lacy’ looking fat surrounding the digestive organs.

Not just for the flakiest ever pie crust though, lard is great for all general cooking such as pan frying, sautéing, browning and baking, both for sweet and savory. Lard has a high smoke point; it is high in fatty acids such as oleic acid; it has zero trans-fats; full of monounsaturated fats {MUFAs} and if it comes from pasture raised pigs, they have spent a lot of time in the sunshine which translates to high levels of Vitamin D {10,000 IU/tbsp}. I do recommend that you do find a high quality lard source- pastured pigs, humane conditions and untreated. Some commercialized lard can often be hydrogenated, bleached, deodorized and have additives. Even better, having your own fat to render, either from your own pigs or sourcing from your local hog farmers or butchers. As always, know your food!


Lard has gone many years with a bad reputation, replaced for many decades with highly processed vegetable oils, but people are returning to the idea that lard is truly one of the healthiest fats you can use for cooking. Historically speaking, lard was very widely used until the industrial revolution, even taking the place as a spread on bread in many rural areas. Speaking of lard as a spread, have you ever had ‘Whipped Lardo’? It’s whipped lard mixed with garlic and herbs, giving you the creamiest savory spread around. I have a recipe for it here. Lard also fits well into many of today's popular diets such as the Paleolithic Diet, Ketogenic Diet and the Primal Diet.

Different breeds of pigs also produce a difference in lard. Some of the best known ‘lard pig’ breeds are Mangalitsa and Large Black pigs. In 2016 we butchered a Large Black pig and in early 2018 we butchered our first Mangalitsa Cross pig...the amount of lard was amazing! The fat cap was the biggest I had ever seen, not to mention the beautiful marbling throughout the meat, and we have been enjoying that lard in many different ways.

Not just for cooking, lard can also be used to make soap. All soap recipes require fats for the saponification process, and lard creates a creamy and conditioning bar of soap. As you can see, lard really is a great resource we have available to us as a byproduct of pork farming. The more that people can get on board with the idea of ‘nose-to-tail’ or whole animal butchery, the closer to nature our food supply becomes.

If lard is something you’d like to incorporate into your life, visit your farmers markets, befriend the butchers or talk to your local farmers. Lard is a sustainable, healthy and traditional fat we are happy to have in our kitchen. As always, praise the lard!

Nicole Wilkey transitioned from a corporate job to small-scale farmer in 2015. Since then she has run the California based Flicker Farm to accommodate meat pigs, mini Juliana pigs, pasture based poultry and sell goats milk soap and lotion. Connect with Nicole on Instagram and Facebook.

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.

Concord Grape Hull Pie

concord grape cluster

A perfect use for fresh-from-the-vine concord grapes is grape hulll pie. Photo by Carole Coates

We’ve been trying to grow grapes, mostly concord, for years up here on our mountainside, but frost always came before most of the fruit ripened. Until last year. Hallelujah, we finally harvested enough grapes that even after we’d gotten our fill of straight-from-the-vine-into-our-mouths concord deliciousness, we still had enough grapes to make this wonderful pie.

My grandmother introduced me to the delicacy of grape hull pie many moons ago. For years, I remembered it with mouth-watering nostalgia, but I had no recipe to satisfy my salivary glands. Then one day, like magic, a reader-submitted recipe appeared in my local newspaper. As usual, I made a few tweaks. Here’s my version, straight from our garden. This recipe will make one deep-dish pie or two regular sized pies.

Grape Hull Pie

First off, you’ll need to prepare dough for a double crust pie using your favorite recipe. Double your recipe unless you’re going the deep dish route.

Preheat oven to 400°F. (You may want to delay this until a bit later in the process, since the next steps take longer than needed to preheat the oven.)


• 4 cups pulp from concord grapes--see below for directions (You can substitute scuppernong or muscadine grapes if you prefer.)
• 4 tbsp cornstarch
• ¾ cup sugar (more if your sweet tooth is especially strong)
• 1 tbsp fresh or bottled lemon juice
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tbsp butter


1. Pop freshly washed grapes with your fingers, putting the skins into a small pot and the pulp into a medium-sized one.

2. Barely cover the skins with water and boil for five minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Simultaneously, boil the pulp for five minutes. Pour the cooked pulp through a colander into a bowl, pressing with a spoon, if necessary, to separate the pulp from the seeds and push the pulp through the colander. (Don’t let this step put you off. It’s easy to do, and it’s even possible the pulp will be fully liquefied with no mashing needed.)

4. Return seedless pulp to the pot. Add the hulls with their liquid and stir.

5. Stir in all remaining ingredients and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally.

6. Pour into pie shell. Cover with top crust and make several vents with sharp knife.

7. Cover crust edge with aluminum foil or silicone pie shield to prevent edges from burning. Bake on rack in center of oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove shield and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until top crust is nicely browned. (You may want to place a parchment-covered cookie sheet on lower rack to catch drips. I recommend  not placing pie directly on cookie sheet so the lower crust cooks more evenly.)

8. Place pie on cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve plain or top with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Life will never again be the same!

Carole Coates is a gardener and food preservationist, family archivist, essayist, poet, photographer, modern homesteader. You can follow her Mother Earth News blog posts here.You can also find Carole at Living On the Diagonal where she shares her take on life, including modern homesteading, food preparation and preservation, and travel as well random thoughts and reflections, personal essays, poetry, and photography.

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.

Lemon Blueberry Scones


Lemon Blueberry Scones

I woke up craving these this morning. It reminded me I should share the recipe. I made these a few months ago. I like scones, but find many recipes and store bought are so dry and taste like baking powder. I played around with ways to add a little moisture to the texture. A small amount of yogurt, honey instead of sugar, and far less baking powder than most scone recipes results in a moist, cakey mouth feel.

These are sweet, tart, moist and delicious. They are best served warm, right out of the oven, but can be warmed in the microwave for a few seconds if using at a later time.

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Yield: 8 scones


2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tbsp cold butter
1 egg
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
6 oz fresh blueberries
Zest of 2 lemons


1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp honey 



1. Preheat oven to 375º

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Combine dry ingredients in bowl.

4. Cut in cold butter with pastry cutter until crumbles are berry sized.

5. Whisk egg, yogurt and honey together.

Combine liquid and dry ingredients

6. Pour wet mixture into flour. Mix just until combined and rough dough is formed.

Combine liquid and dry ingredients

7. Gently stir in lemon zest and blueberries.

8. Turn dough out on piece of lightly floured parchment paper.

Pat dough to 1' thick

9. Gently pat dough out to about 1” thick.

10. With a glass dipped in flour or biscuit cutter cut into 8 pieces. Dough can be formed and pressed together using all the edge pieces.

Place on parchment lined baking sheet

11. Place scones on parchment lined baking sheet.

12. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and centers are done

13. While scones bake make icing

Make icing

14. Combine powdered sugar, honey, lemon juice and yogurt in a small bowl with a fork until smooth. If icing is too thick add a bit more lemon juice.

15. Cool scones several minutes on a wire rack

16. Place parchment lined baking sheet underneath rack

Drizzle icing over scones

17. Drizzle icing over scones. Garnish with more lemon zest

Best served warm. Yum!

Photos and recipe by Stephanie Bishop

Stephanie Bishop is an award-winning floral designer, cook, wedding and events planner, gardener and author in Central Wisconsin. Follow her aBetter Path Wisconsin, where she connects like-minded individuals about environmental, social and civil interests, and promotes green, healthy, sustainable living. View thousands of her food, floral and animal images on her Facebook page at Stephanie Bee and browse floral design ideas at Bishop Wedding & Floral Art. Read all of Stephanie’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.

Easy Peanut Butter Goat-Milk Fudge


Making fudge is only as hard as you make it. This simple recipe is pretty much screw up free. Your arm will get a little tired during the stirring phase. So, I suggest having a team mate to tag in and out with. If you must do it yourself you can do that too, I have with no problems.



  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups goat milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup real butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips


  • 9-inch square pan
  • wisk or rubber spatula
  • sauce pan
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • thermometer



  1. Add milk to the sauce pan and beat in the sugar.
  2. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly to prevent scalding, and cook until the mixture becomes dark and thick (30-45 minutes).
  3. Check the center of the mixture with the thermometer until it reads 245 degrees F (118 degrees C).
  4. Stir in peanut butter, butter, and the vanilla as soon as it reaches temperature. Continue to stir till everything is all mixed and melted together.
  5. The color will become uniformed and the mixture will become smooth and shiny; pour mixture into a greased 9-inch pan or line with wax paper.
  6. Top with the walnuts, chocolate chips, peanuts, or your choice of toppings.
  7. Allow the fudge to cool to room temperature then cut to size.


Now you have wonderful delicious goat milk fudge! Other optional toppings include: Mini marshmallows, butterscotch chips, mint chip, or even M&Ms. 

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Website, and Twitter.

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.

Zucchini and Summer Squash Overload Recipe Rescue: Fritters with Ranch Dressing

Inn Serendipity Zucchini Summer Squash Fritters

As September rolls in, are you still finding zucchinis or summer squash buried in your garden, overgrown and the size of pumpkins? At Inn Serendipity Farm and Bed & Breakfast, this harvest abundance inspires our zucchini fritters, our favorite late summer recipe that uses nine hearty cups of shredded summer squash or zucchini. Our B&B guests love them.

The key here is that unlike some of our other recipes featured in our Farmstead Chef cookbook (like Zucchini Feta Savory Pancakes), this Zucchini Fritters recipe uses up some of the zucchini or summer squash that might not be the best on the outside or have too many seeds on the inside that have to be cut away and discarded. This potluck-friendly savory dish, also loved by kids, makes an easy supper, especially when paired with our homemade ranch dip sauce. 

An important first step when making these fritters is to sprinkle the shredded summer squash and zucchini with salt and let it sit for at least an hour to pull out some of the water in the zucchini or summer squash, otherwise your fritters will have a less appetizing mushy texture.

Any summer squash or zucchini varietal works well in this recipe. We use any size patty pan, crooked neck and eight-ball summer squash, which by this time of year often hide out under big leaves and elude our picking, growing to pumpkin-sized balls or other shapes. Cut out any seeds and peel the squash if the skin is on the tougher side, often common later in the summer.

We’re Wisconsin farmers, so we love our cheeses, an important ingredient for this recipe. We prefer a flavorful, harder cheese such as the award-winning Grand Cru made in our hometown of Monroe, Wisconsin by Roth Cheese. However, any harder cheeses will work well in this recipe, should you make your own.

The recipe may seem like it makes a lot, but one batch serves as a main supper meal for my family of three. If you have a larger family or some friends over, it’s best to double the recipe. Did I just give you a reason to use eighteen cups of zucchini for a double batch? You hit the harvest jackpot indeed.

Still have a zucchini overload, even after you make these fritters? Keep shredding and pack the summer squash or zucchini into gallon freezer bags in nine-cup portions to enjoy this recipe all winter long. When you’re ready to make the fritters, defrost the zucchini then add the salt, making sure to squeeze as much of the water out as possible before using it in the recipe.

Late Summer Squash Fritters

Yield:  About 4 dozen


  • 9 cups shredded summer squash or zucchini
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1-1/2 cups grated cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Place shredded summer squash or zucchini in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Massage the salt into the summer squash or zucchini and let sit at least an hour to draw the water out.
  3. Squeeze small handfuls of the summer squash or zucchini to drain the water and place squeezed summer squash or zucchini in a fresh large bowl.
  4. Lightly beat eggs and add to summer squash or zucchini.
  5. Add in bread crumbs, cheese, garlic and pepper and mix thoroughly with clean hands.
  6. Take one tablespoon of summer squash or zucchini mixture and form into a two-inch long log and line these up on greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until firm enough to pick up and have a golden brown color.
  8. Flip fitters for the last 10 minutes of baking.
  9. Serve hot with Ranch Dressing dipping sauce (recipe below from Farmstead Chef cookbook).

Ranch Dressing

From Farmstead Chef Cookbook

Yield:  About 1-1/2 cups


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2  tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp vinegar (we use rice vinegar)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper


  1. Hand whisk all ingredients until well blended. 
  2. Cover and refrigerate, ideally overnight, before serving.

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.

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