Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Boucher Farm Pork Stir-fry

Boucher Farm Pork Stir-fry
This recipe comes from one of my very first cookbooks, Better Homes and Gardens Cooking Chinese.  While I still own many of their cooking series from the late 80’s my copy of this book devolved into sticky pages held together by paperclips. 

We parted ways long ago.

The Stir-fry Basics

1) Peanut oil and aromatics: garlic, onion, ginger, chilies

2) Sliced or diced veggies: carrot, sweet pepper, cabbage (mushrooms)
3) Thinly sliced or diced meat, marinated 24 hrs.

4) Sauce (cornstarch, wine, stock)

My go-to “secret” is using Wickle’s Pickle juice to marinate the meat, but any Italian-type dressing will work.

Half Pint Farm Pea Shoots

Pork & Pea Shoot Stir-fry
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Chinese
Serves 4

1 lb. Pork Cutlets (Sliced thinly across the grain, marinated overnight) *
1 Cup Shallots and Spring Onions, (thinly sliced)
3 Dried Chinese Peppers
1 Handful Pea Shoots (Half Pint Farm)
½ Cup Stock or White Wine
1 TB Cornstarch

Peanut Oil for frying


Prepare and marinate the meat overnight. 

Drain well, and slice your veggies of choice.

Combine stock and cornstarch together, and arrange all your ingredients by your cooking station.

Heat the wok over medium-high heat (indoors or on the grill).

Dried Peppers and Onions
Add a tablespoon or two of peanut oil, then the dried peppers and onions.  Stir briskly for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add pea shoots, and keep stirring until just starting to wilt. Remove to a bowl.

Add another tablespoon of peanut oil.  Add ¼ to ½ of the meat to the wok, and stir until no longer pink. Add to shoots.

Stir the cornstarch/stock and add it to the wok. Stir until clear.

Last Step
Add the meat and veggies back to the wok and coat them with sauce.

Serve over baby spinach or with rice or noodles; sesame oil, soy sauce, Chinese vinegar, or chili oil on the side.

* Tip: It is easier to slice meat when it is slightly frozen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sautéed Pheasantbacks

I’ve been scouting in the woods for weeks, ever since two morels popped up under an apple tree in the yard. 

I found: nothing.

I went ‘shrooming with my husband Dan last Sunday; he found one medium-sized Pheasantback. 

I found: nothing.

I’ve never prepared one before, so I consulted Mara Welton’s blog (Half Pint Farm, Burlington Farmer’s Market).

To paraphrase:

Never consume any wild mushrooms without proper identification!

It's not easy to mistake other fungi for a Pheasantback; please check with an experienced forager or guidebook if you are unsure.

Pheasantbacks (a.k.a. Dryad’s Saddle) fruit from May to November and are found on deciduous deadwoods such as poplar, maple, willow and birch. 

If you can’t cut through it, it is too old to eat.

To prepare one, discard the stump and any other hard or sketchy-looking bits. 

The tenderest section is the outer edge; harder parts may be saved, frozen, and used for the stockpot.

Remove the thick "skin" on top of the mushroom. You may need to use a knife to get it started; peel off with your fingers.

Spray forcefully with water (normally a no-no with mushrooms). It is a polypore, so there are lots of holes on the underside for critters to hide in. You may even have to soak it for an hour or two to dislodge stubborn grit and debris.

Place pore-side down on a paper towel and press with a weight to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Portion into bite-sized pieces.  Now, you’re ready to begin!

(Visit Half Pint Farm’s blog for illustrations and step-by-step instructions, plus more local recipes.)
Wild Mushroom Fresh Spring Rolls

Sautéed Pheasantback Mushroom
Recipe by Mara Welton of Half Pint Farm
Serves 4

1 or 2 Medium (hand-sized) Pheasantbacks
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Optional: Chopped Garlic and/or *White Wine


After cleaning and peeling mushroom(s), set a sauté pan over medium heat. 

Add olive oil and a pat or two of butter to coat the surface.

Add prepared mushroom pieces; cook until they start to sizzle.

If desired, add garlic, salt and pepper.

Continue to sauté until beautifully browned. 

Transfer to drain on paper towels.

Use in stir-fries, pizza, or in fresh spring rolls.

* You may add a splash of wine at any time. Wine, garlic & mushrooms are a classic pairing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

King Arthur Flour Gluten-free Ramp Pierogies

Gluten-free Ramp Pierogies

I first had hand-made pierogies at the defunct Le Chalet restaurant in Enosburg Falls.

Back in the day, Le Chalet was the place locals ate if they couldn’t get in to the Abbey Restaurant. 

Both the food and service were stellar, and it eventually became our personal go-to for local brews on tap and really great food.

My husband and I even had a favorite table – the “fire pit,” a recessed area in front of the real working fireplace. 

Back to the story!

We brought my brother and his wife out to lunch.  Her family is Polish and she was thrilled to see pierogies on the menu.

She had to convince me to order them. They were absolutely delicious, prepared simply in a light buttery broth.

I have heard that a person always remembers their first slice of pizza.

I remember my first pierogies.
Local Ingredients
The majority of ingredients in this recipe are from Vermont, right down to the Boucher Farm bacon fat: Chappelles potatoes, Farmer Sue’s ramps, and Grafton Cheddar.

GF Ramp Pierogi
Gluten-free Ramp Pierogies
Adapted from a recipe by King Arthur Flour
Makes 24-30 dumplings

1 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
4 Duck Egg Yolks (or large chicken egg yolks)
1 Duck or Chicken Egg
2 - 4 TB Whey or Water
Reserved Egg Whites


4-6 Fresh Ramps
1 Cup Rough Chopped Boiled Potato (skin-on is fine)
2 oz. Diced Cheddar (Grafton Maple Smoked)
Kosher or Sea Salt


Place all filling ingredients in a food processor fitted with a blade.
Pulse until smooth (taste, adjust for salt), set aside.

Place flour and xanthan gum in a bowl.

Add eggs and mix, then knead a few times, adding only enough
liquid to form a smooth dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
Flour both sides of the dough. Using a rolling pin or pasta
machine, roll out thinly. (Final roller setting #3)
Pierogi Progress
Cut circles of dough with a water glass or cookie cutter.

Lightly brush pasta surface with beaten egg whites.

Add filling – one heaping teaspoon or a tablespoon, depending on dumpling size. Fold and crimp.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a medium boil and add dumplings one at a time.  When they float, wait 2-3 minutes more and remove to a plate.
Boiled Gluten-free Pierogies
Serve immediately with butter, or panfry in bacon fat.