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Jeff Crump

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Earth to Table

Earth to Table

Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged : seasonal
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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.

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Earth to Table Every Day

Earth to Table Every Day

Cooking with Good Ingredients Through the Seasons
edition:Hardcover
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Our Story

The steel town of Hamilton, Ontario, was where we became friends and colleagues, and where we found the creative space and support to fashion an earth-to-table experience that set us apart and started us on our inevitable course towards building our first restaurant, Earth to Table: Bread Bar. (We refer to it, in this cookbook as in life, simply as Bread Bar.) In 2005, as the executive chef and the pastry chef at a local establishment called the Ancaster Mill, we started hunting for farmers to buy local food from. Soon after, Chris Krucker of ManoRun Organic Farm approached us about ordering his produce for our kitchen. Chris appeared at a moment of synchronicity—we had long wanted to pro­vide a dining experience that would illustrate the journey of food from farm to restaurant. ManoRun would supply our kitchen with delicious locally grown, seasonal produce, and we and our staff would have the opportunity to dig in the dirt by working at the farm. What followed was a deep lesson in the differences between restaurants and farms, and farmers and chefs, and it was the inspiration for our first book, Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm.
 
Earth to Table followed a year-long journey of food from Chris’s farm to our restaurant tables at Ancaster Mill, and celebrated the glorious benefits of eating seasonally. For us it was a watershed moment. Much has happened since Earth to Table was published in 2009. Back then, farmers’ markets were just beginning to wedge themselves into urban spaces in towns and cities across the country. Today, throughout spring, summer, and autumn, you can find local farmers, both new and old generation, selling hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and free-range eggs alongside locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh-baked goods, and artisanal honey in urban parking lots and disused spaces between buildings. All that delicious growth affected us in powerful ways and was the motiva­tion behind long-held dreams.
 
As chefs tend to do during punishing restaurant hours, we fantasize about opening our own place: Jeff wanted to open a pizzeria; Bettina, a bakery. Push led to shove led to leap and—with some outside encouragement—Bread Bar was born. We were astonished at how quickly the res­taurant became a popular hangout on the local dining and take-out scene. When we first opened, we needed a single 50-pound bag of flour a day to make pizza dough. Now we go through many, many more.
 
At first, we planned to offer counter service only, but the overwhelming demand for food made with “good ingre­dients that matter” led us to add a bar and more restaurant seating a year or so later, and the basement eventually became baker’s central for all our operations. It wasn’t long before we opened another Bread Bar restaurant, this time in Guelph, and as we write this there are plans for a third. Our restaurants embrace the earth-to-table philosophy that permeates our seasonal menus and our approach to food. Customers immediately welcomed our fresh, seasonal dishes and supported us as we experimented to find a balance between food that was familiar and comforting and a menu that changed with the weather.
 
One of the lessons we learned through our relation­ship with Chris Krucker and ManoRun Organic Farm is that we are not farmers. Just like the restaurant life, farming is gruelling work and not for the faint of heart or body. Nature can bless and damn you in the same year. Thankfully, there are more young farmers willing to dig deep and take on the challenge so that we can focus on cooking good food.
 
But one thing we noticed is that for many new farmers, the greatest barrier to living their dream is a lack of access to land. This challenge was one of the reasons we decided to purchase some farmland with our company Pearle Hospitality in 2010. There, in partnership with an amazing organization called Farm Start, we set up an organic “incu­bator farm,” at the time one of only two in Canada. We set aside fifty acres to rent out to budding farmers who practise organic agriculture, and each farmer gets four years to make their efforts work as a complete business. Rowena Cruz, a computer animator who originally showed up at the Ancaster Mill’s kitchen door selling her tomatoes, was one of those incubator farmers. Today, she is one of our field managers and probably the most successful farmer to come out of the Earth to Table farm. For Bread Bar, we currently plant six acres, on which Rowena is growing cucumbers, squash, lettuce greens, tomatoes, and much more for us. Every winter our chefs meet to pore over seed catalogues and plan for the spring planting.
 
Something else that became apparent was that through our connection with local farmers, we connected even more deeply with the community around Bread Bar. People came to us for coffee, business lunches, pizza runs, family dinners, and celebrations. Even the core contingent of recipe testers for this book hail from the neighbourhood. They are committed to our food and what it represents.
 
That community goodwill made us realize it was time to write another cookbook—one that celebrates how good food can enrich your life every day. We are a duo of food hedonists: Bettina nurtures the authentic connection with the community and delights customers with her delicious and thoughtful approach to baking. Jeff is always seeking and exploring fresh flavours to create new favourites. You’ll find all that salt-and-pepper goodness in this book’s recipes because there is no pretense when it comes to Bread Bar’s motto, “Good ingredients matter.”
 
According to Lenore Newman, author of Speaking in Cod Tongues, Canadian cuisine has several defining features: wild food, indigenous food, and seasonal food, with a focus on ingredients ahead of recipes. All these elements are in tangible evidence at Bread Bar. Bettina has foraged for garlic ramps for topping pizza and hauled a bumper crop of rhubarb from her backyard to the restau­rant to use in pies and scones. Wild rice in a spicy lentil salad and rainbow trout cooked campfire style embrace the indigenous element. And the summer heat floods us with sweet tomatoes from local farmers for our Heirloom Tomato Salad (page 58), an homage to the seasonal along with many other fruits and vegetables.
 
The tricky thing about eating seasonally is that it’s much harder to achieve in a four-season climate where the growing season is unpredictable. By the time spring’s bounty starts to arrive at our doorstep, people are wearing shorts in anticipation of summer’s heat and may not be interested in eating asparagus or ramps. August is one of those months where we simply can’t keep up with the amount of fresh produce arriving daily at the kitchen, though we do our best to preserve as much as possible for use during the dreary days of winter.
 
Bread Bar excels at showcasing good ingredients in simple dishes that keep drawing customers back. For us, delicious, good food is the priority. And that begins with the choice of ingredients. When you read a menu, your cravings often guide your choice of meal, and often that means locking on to an ingredient that you know and love, whether that is beets or arugula, steak or chicken, vanilla or chocolate. And when that familiar ingredient is prepared and presented with creativity and thoughtfulness, it can become something new and exciting, familiar and fresh simultaneously. That is the essence of good food.
 
For us, ingredients are paramount, but not just the ones that ripen on vines or are hidden in the soil, or live in the fields and on farms. The ingredients of goodness, community, comfort, taste, and joy are interwoven in every dish that graces our tables. That sounds complicated, but it isn’t. It’s essentially what we all hope for when we sit down at a family meal. We encourage home cooks to visit the farmers’ markets rather than the grocery store and not only rediscover where their food comes from but experi­ence the fun of doing so. Above all, this book insists on experiencing the flavour of joy.
 
Good food is neither simple nor uncomplicated when you consider the chemistry of flavour and texture. But it can be simple if you take the time to savour it. Eating a meal isn’t supposed to mimic speed-dating. In an era where mindfulness is marketed as an antidote to the “fear of missing out,” the case for enjoying good food is
not an opportunistic public relations gimmick. You will miss out on something good—and miss out on joy—if you treat a meal as immediate rocket fuel, ingredients as a medicine chest, and cooking as a chore.
 
This book explores familiar ingredients and dishes in a fresh way, and encourages you to respect the flavour inherent in good food. Enhance it, but don’t overwhelm it. That’s part of Bread Bar’s secret to success, and what we want to share with you in this book. This is our version of seasonal, fresh, delicious food.

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