There is nothing more delicious than a tomato still warm from the sun. Though that is easy to forget when we are surrounded by food shipped to our supermarkets from around the world, the healthiest and most delicious food often comes from farmers and artisans just down the road. In Earth to Table, renowned chefs Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann let nature write the menu. Tender, green things in spring. Ripe, juicy dishes in summer. The bounty of the harvest in autumn. Rich braises and tart preserves in winter.
Earth to Table brings together stories of the seasons on the farm, how-to sections and stunning photography--and, of course, creative and delectable recipes that will leave anyone wondering why they ever considered eating a tomato in February.
Milk and Honey Bread Our restaurant has a long history of bread-making; we have been selling loaves of bread for many years now and roll 70 loaves each day. Milk and honey bread is our standard white loaf. The milk and honey give the crust a beautiful dark color and add to the delicious texture of the bread. Makes 2 loaves6 cups all-purpose flour (approx.), divided2 tsp kosher salt1 tsp dry instant yeast1 cup whole milk1/4 cup local honey2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, salt and yeast. In a large bowl, whisk together milk and honey. Beat in dry ingredients until combined. Using a spoon, gradually work in the remaining flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a large greased bowl, turning dough to grease all over. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a still oven, with light on and door closed, until doubled in size, about 11/2 hours. Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half, roll into two loaves and place into two lightly oiled loaf pans. Cover with tea towels and let rise in still oven until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Bake loaves until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 30 minutes. Let cool on wire racks. HOW-TOCANNING & PRESERVINGTo me, preserving means preserving summer. Each jar of preserves is like a time capsule. When I open it, months later (or perhaps just weeks), I taste terroir and the flavor of long- faded sunshine—in this, a jar of pickled beets is not unlike a bottle of wine. There is another way that a jar of preserves is like wine: we no longer make it to keep the food from spoiling. We go to the trouble of preparing the food and painstakingly handling the jars so we end up with something delicious. It's really just another way to cook, to bring out the taste of the produce. I am looking to create something new, whether it's tomato sauce or sauerkraut. For me, the art of pickling is as much creation as preservation. But before I get into the more esoteric forms of preserving, I should mention a pretty simple one: freezing. This is the best way to take care of berries you want to set aside for winter. I lay them out on a tray and freeze them solid, then store them in zip- lock bags. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries and strawberries freeze very well and have all kinds of uses: we use the berries in crumbles, tarts and sorbets, and the juice in vinaigrettes. The summer flavor comes through pretty much unaffected and brightens any winter meal. Pickling, on the other hand, creates entirely new tastes: bright, satisfying and complex. Pickled vegetables are a pure delight on cheeseboards, on charcuterie and meat plates and in salads that need a tart component. Pickling baby carrots, for instance, transforms a humble vegetable into a spicy, tart, completely different dish. Cooking is about contrast in flavors and textures; put a pickled carrot on a salad, and you've got that contrast in spades. Plus, there is something about pickles that makes you hungry. Most chefs love pickles, and just about any vegetable, from carrots to radishes, can be pickled. Maybe that's what we'll do with the big radish delivery next summer! Though preserves need no further arguments to recommend them, there is still one more: they can be a real pleasure to make. Of course, if you're in a hurry or you have to be somewhere (in other words, if you're thinking about something else), the process of getting food into jars will seem tedious. But I look at the process as something to enjoy. I suppose there is probably some human instinct that takes pleasure from knowing that the harvest has been tucked away and the larder is full. In any case, taking the time to wash and prepare whole bushels of fruit and vegetables that you'll eat much later, sterilizing the jars, watching over bubbling pots in a steamy kitchen— it all adds up to an afternoon to look forward to, particularly if, like me, you keep a bottle of wine open as you go about the work. And there is a unique pleasure that comes from gazing at the brightly colored jars before you (perhaps reluctantly) store them away. Canning and preserving is an art, and there is no way I can make you an expert in a few paragraphs (I'm always learning myself). You'll pick up tricks and recipes as you go along. Nothing can replace experience, and the only way to get that is to start. But before you begin, here are a few things to keep in mind: • There are many books on preserving— look for recipes that produce small batches, ones you are likely to use. • Always use the proper method, and follow the recipe. Canning is an age- old technique, so look for canning books in their fifth or sixth printing—they have stood the test of time. • Choose fresh produce. We are preserving life here, not trying to bring it back. • Work with sterile equipment. Wash all equipment with soap and water. Sterilize all jars and lids, and don't forget the tongs, spoons and utensils you will be using. • Store your jars in a cool, dark place— not in your kitchen, where you can look admiringly at them and show them off, but in the basement or a closet. (Again, not unlike wine.) • Use common sense. If the preserved food doesn't look or smell quite right, don't taste it. Throw it out. Sterilizing jars is the first and most important step. If your jars are not sterile, you won't preserve anything. Jars should be free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic or metal lid, and require a rubber seal. Two- piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum- seal as they cool. To ensure everything is sterile, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids, open side up and without touching, on a tray. Set oven to 175°F and heat jars and lids for 25 minutes. Or, boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes. Use tongs when handling the hot sterilized jars. Be sure the tongs are sterilized too, by heating the ends in boiling water for a few minutes. As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands. Some of the recipes in this section call for a boiling water bath, which is used in canning acidic foods like pickles, tomato sauce and preserves. The boiling water bath eliminates any airborne microorganisms present in the pickling jar while it is being filled and sealed, and forces the air out if the food and canning liquid, creating a vacuum and perfect seal that prevents spoilage. Processing in a boiling water bath for preservation longer than a few weeks is definitely not optional and should be done with care. Boiling water baths are sold commercially and are quite reasonably priced as a kit. I suggest you use them. Once filled, the jars must fit in the pot on the rack with 1-inch space at the bottom and enough room at the top to cover the jars by two inches. This allows the water to flow freely around the jars. It is important to remember never to tighten the lid before processing or the air will not be able to escape, and the lid won't seal. Remember it is not you that is making the seal but the jar itself; as the contents of the jar and the air space at the top shrink, the lid is sucked down firmly onto the rim. Check the seals after one day. A concave lid indicates a proper vacuum. If the lid clicks up and down when pressed, the seal is not complete. You will have to start again. Tips for Your Next Trip to the Market DON'T WORRY ABOUT ORGANIC VERSUS NON-ORGANIC. You are at a farmers' market, so the moral battle is won. Ask questions: some farmers who do not practice organic agriculture for various reasons still practice sustainable agriculture. TASTE, TASTE, TASTE. Most stalls want you to try their wares. You are not committed to buy. Go to the market with an open mind. BRING CASH (IN SMALL BILLS). These farmers and beekeepers and artisans aren't going to take credit or debit cards. They'll have a cash box, and I encourage you to do your best to fill it. TAKE YOUR KIDS. These are the times we reminisce about as adults, even though we didn't appreciate them in the moment. TRY SOMETHING NEW. If it looks good but you don't know what to do with it, ask. That's what the farmer is there for. Asking about preserving methods is a good idea as well. It is in season, so learn how to preserve that flavor. BRING A COOLER and leave it in your car. It will keep those tender greens you came across fresh during the ride home. BRING A CLOTH SHOPPING BAG (or five). Reuse, recycle. You know the drill. BRING YOUR OWN COFFEE MUG. Most markets have a really great fair-trade coffee stall. Mulled Cider and Cranberry Both apples and cranberries are at their best in the fall. This recipe brings together these two great autumn flavors to make a delicious warm drink. Makes 6 cups4 cups pure apple cider1 cup cranberry juice1/2 cup granulated sugar2 tbsp brandy1/2 tsp ground nutmeg2 whole cloves1 cinnamon stickGrated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orangeApple slices and fresh cranberries In a saucepan, combine cider, cranberry juice, sugar, brandy, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon stick, lemon zest and orange zest. Heat over medium heat, just to combine flavors; do not boil. Strain and serve warm. Garnish with apple slices and cranberries.
French Onion SoupAt the restaurant we have the luxury of being able to make our soups with wonderfully thick, rich stocks. This may be difficult to achieve at home so we suggest the addition of a little flour to help with the thickening process. If there is one item our regular guests will never let us take off the menu, this is it. The recipe can easily be halved for a smaller party. Serves 83 tbsp unsalted butter1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil3 lbs medium yellow onions (about 5), thinly sliced1 tsp granulated sugar1 tsp salt1 tbsp all-purpose flour8 cups Beef Stock (see recipe, page 296)2 cups local dry red wineSalt and freshly cracked black pepper2 cups cubed baguette, toasted41/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (about 1 lb)2 tsp minced fresh thyme In a large, heavy pot, heat butter and oil over medium-low heat. Add onions, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add sugar and salt; sauté, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, until onions are softened and a deep, rich brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in 2 cups of the stock, then add the remaining stock and wine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Divide baguette cubes among 8 individual ovenproof bowls. Fill bowls with onion soup and sprinkle each with a thick layer of cheese. Set bowls on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until cheese is browned, about 8 minutes. Garnish with thyme. Sweet Potato GnocchiAdding sweet potatoes to a gnocchi recipe makes it a little easier for the home cook to pull off, because sweet potatoes have less starch than potatoes, and a high starch content can make gnocchi dense and tough. The combination of sage and sweet potatoes is one for the ages. Serves 6 as a main course4 medium sweet potatoes (about 41/2 lbs)4 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 4 lbs)3 cups all-purpose flour2 tsp salt1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper2 extra-large eggs, beaten3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese12 fried sage leaves (see tip) Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place sweet potatoes and potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until soft, about 2 hours. Let cool slightly, then cut in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. (This should yield about 5 lbs of roasted potato mixture.) Add flour, salt and pepper to the potato mixture and mix together until smooth. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs. Using a fork and starting in the center of the mixture, incorporate eggs into mixture. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a soft, slightly sticky, spongy dough forms, being careful not to work dough too much. Shape into a ball and place on a lightly floured cutting board. Cut ball into 8 pieces and cover with a clean tea towel. Dust a baking sheet with flour. On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the rest covered, roll each piece into a 20-inch rope, about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rope into 1-inch lengths. Using your thumb, roll each piece of dough over the back of the tines of a floured fork, leaving an indention from your thumb on one side and the markings from the fork on the other. Place gnocchi on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. (Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day, or freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month.) Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Plunge half the gnocchi into the boiling water. Once they float to the surface, cook for 1 minute longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking sheet or plate and continue cooking the remaining gnocchi. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan and fried sage leaves. White Truffle Risotto with CauliflowerMake this dish when wild mushrooms become available at your local farmers' market. The greater the variety of mushrooms, the more flavor your risotto will have— each mushroom adds its own complex flavor, aroma and color. In the restaurant, we use foraged wild mushrooms. While in Italy, I had the opportunity to purchase a beautiful Italian white truffle, so I jumped at it. Serves 43/4 cup unsalted butter, divided5 cups wild mushrooms (such as oyster or shiitake), thinly sliced3 cups small cauliflower florets2 shallots, finely diced1/4 cup diced pancetta11/2 cups Arborio rice1 cup dry white wine4 cups hot Chicken Stock (see recipe, page 297), divided1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese1 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley1 tsp minced fresh thymeSalt and freshly ground black pepperShaved fresh white truffle (as much as you can afford), or 2 tsp white truffle oil In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp of the butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, cauliflower, a pinch of salt and a splash of water; sauté until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms appear dry, about 15 minutes. Transfer mushroom mixture to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, melt 2 tbsp of the butter over medium heat. Add shallots and pancetta; sauté until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in rice until well coated (do not let brown). Stir in wine and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1/2 cup stock and cook, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed before adding more. It will take about 20 minutes to incorporate all the liquid. Stir in mushroom mixture and cook until vegetables are tender and rice is creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter, cheese, parsley and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand for 2 minutes. Ladle risotto into warm bowls and garnish with shaved truffle or drizzle with truffle oil. Roasted Autumn Fruits with Torched SabayonWhen you try this recipe, make sure your fruit pieces are all about the same size. This will allow you to roast it all at the same time. Also, when choosing apples and pears, look for firm green varieties. In the restaurant, we use a blowtorch to brown the sabayon. Try it at home! Blowtorches are available at many kitchen equipment stores. Serves 6FRUIT20 red or green grapes3 large plums, cut into wedges2 medium pears, cut into wedges2 medium green apples (such as Granny Smith), cut into wedges1/2 cup granulated sugar1/2 cup melted unsalted butter SABAYON6 large egg yolks3 tbsp granulated sugar1/4 cup late harvest sweet wine Prepare the fruit: Preheat oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet, combine grapes, plums, pears, apples, sugar and butter; toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Bake until soft, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, prepare the sabayon: In a large, stainless steel bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Set over a pot of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water). Pour in wine and whisk vigorously to incorporate air until mixture has doubled in volume and is thick like whipped cream, about 10 minutes. You can use an electric mixer if it's easier. To assemble: Divide fruit among 6 dessert plates. Spoon sabayon over fruit. If desired, quickly wave a blowtorch over the surface to brown the sabayon.
JEFF CRUMP worked at a number of the world's top restaurants, including Lumière, Chez Panisse and The Fat Duck. He is a Canadian Slow Food pioneer and the executive chef of Landmark Restaurant Group.
After being the Pastry Chef at the Ancaster Mill for ten years, BETTINA SCHORMANN is now the driving force and owner of Earth to Table: Bread Bar, where she aspires to teach the Earth to Table philosophy to the next generation.
"A beautiful book in every way." Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma
"Elegant recipes, sumptuous photography and charming essays capture the appeal of eating local, seasonal cuisine." The Globe and Mail
"This cookbook will resonate with the do-no-harm category of cooks. It's an inspiration for those who want to eat seasonally, locally and organically." Vancouver Sun
"I've always believed the mark of a good cookbook is how banged up and stained the pages become, and if I judged Earth to Table by this metric after my week of testing it, you'd assume good food must live here. Coincidentally, it does." Porsha Perreault, Taste T.O.
"A wonderful cookbook." Billy Munnelly, Billy's Best Bottles