Huckleberry Jam

In the acidic mountain soil of the northwestern United States and Canada, the tiny, bluish-purple huckleberry fruit begins to ripen mid-August. The picking season might stretch for four weeks unless the bears beat you to them. Unlike its blueberry cousin, huckleberries must be hand-picked, and attempts to cultivate them have been unsuccessful. A pound of fresh huckleberries sells for about $20, the same price as filet mignon--huckleberries are a treat and, unless you plan to visit the alpine meadows of the Rocky Mountains in late August, finding them fresh is next to impossible. Flash frozen berries, however, are available year-round and perfect for making jam. Beware! The intense sweet tart flavor of the huckleberry may spoil the senses. It just may become more than a once a year obsession.

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American Flatbread Salad Dressing

American Flatbread Pizza Company in Warren Vermont is one of the first to speak out about the importance of  food integrity and sustainability. It also happens to make the best wood fired pizza in America. No meal is complete without a healthy serving of the one salad on the menu. Thank you, George, for sharing this recipe nearly twenty years ago. 

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Lobster Brioche Sliders

On every American's bucket list should be a trip up the Maine coast for lighthouse gazing, puffin gawking, and an excursion out to sea with local lobstermen to experience the hauling and trapping of this coveted crustacean. All of course before tying on a bib and heading to a no frills roadside lobster shack where you can gorge on a 2 pounder without breaking the bank. In the meantime, get crackin' at home! These limited ingredient, served hot, ready in minutes, crowd pleasing lobster brioche sliders are perfect for backyard bbq's when frankly it is just too darn hot to build a fire.

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English Pea, Snap Pea & Strawberry Salad

Peas, strawberries, and mint are quintessential English spring tastes, and their arrival is a sure sign that the sun is spending far more time in the northern hemisphere. A French feta made from sheep's milk has a creamy texture and mildly tangy taste that contrasts beautifully with the blanched crunchy peas and smooth, sweet, local strawberries. Gorgeous and simple to make, this sun kissed plate is best when strawberries are available locally grown.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Hazelnut Crisps

It was only a matter of time before a kitchen goddess figured out how to tame the mouth puckering sourness of rhubarb's celery like stalks. When cooked with strawberries and a bit of sugar, rhubarb is a soul satisfying ruby red spring dessert. Crisps are the rustic, no nonsense cousin of the pie--they take less time to bake and the streusel topping lacks the fussiness of rolling and pinching a perfect crust. Enjoy this vibrant pairing only in spring when strawberries and rhubarb are at there peak.

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Tuscan Kale with Truffle Honey, Pecorino & Pine Nuts

One of the few dressed green salads that is just as wonderful the next day, Tuscan kale is a deep blue green, tender brassica suited to eating raw. Pair with toasted pignoli, strong, tangy Ewe's milk Pecorino Romano, earthy tasting black TRUFFLE HONEY and finish with a squeeze of lemon to activate the salivary glands--visions of silvery olive groves, medieval villages perched on hilltops, and fields of sunflowers may momentarily transport you to the sun kissed rolling hills of Tuscany.

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Quinoa, Watermelon, Kale & Feta Salad

A mainstay of the Incan Empire diet since 1200 AD, quinoa looks and cooks like a grain, but botanically speaking is a species related to swiss chard, spinach, and beets. With impressive biodiversity characteristics, exceptional nutritional value, and complete protein composition, quinoa is a tiny superfood. Mild in taste with a delightful texture, quinoa is the perfect protein punch for salads. 

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Vermont Pimento Cheese Spread

This simple, limited ingredient version seeks a flavor balance pleasing to nearly everyone. Vermont cheddar adds a zing--the minerals in the water and soil that sustain the grass eaten by cows provides a unique flavor profile to the cheese that distinguishes this spread from other regional American cheddars.

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Hawaiian Tuna Poke with Wasabi Rice Crackers

Any visit to the Aloha State should include a flip flop and t- shirt outing to a local poke bar. If a journey to paradise is not on the horizon, bring a bit of Hawaiian utopia to the home kitchen. Fifteen minutes and some sushi grade tuna make it possible to serve a healthy, gourmet meal to any fish loving crowd. 

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Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sour Cherries

These are grown up cookies. Rich and not too sweet, the bittersweet chocolate pairs beautifully with a sparkling summer cava. Sour dried cherries from Michigan, the cherry capital of the world, add a variation in texture and an edgy punch to this chocolate connoisseur's dream cookie. Take the whole cookie up a notch and use to make ice cream sandwiches--it hardly gets better when Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream is smooshed between two of these decadent cookie slabs.  

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Maple Brie with Bourbon Cherries & Almonds

Just when the sun begins to blister New England and most of our cooking has moved out-of-doors, cherries are at their irresistible peak. It is time to make a huge garden salad, pour glasses of pinot noir, and bake a wheel of decadent creamy brie on the grill. A small cast iron plate such as the STAUB 6" CAST IRON GRATIN ROUND BAKING DISH holds a standard supermarket 9" wheel of brie and makes grill to table serving a gorgeous affair and clean up a breeze. A wee soak in bourbon, a handful of toasted almonds, a serious drizzle of maple syrup (BARREL-AGED BOURBON & RYE MAPLE SYRUP even better!), and just a few minutes on the grill or in the oven makes this an irresistible tipsy treat.

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Morels, Stracciatella & Toast

After a long winter's nap, these meaty morsels are a treat worth hunting for (literally). If pulling on L.L. Bean boots and trekking over to the nearest woodland area or old apple orchard to forage seems ambitious, be ready to shell out some serious cash for the filet mignon of the mushroom world. The morel earns its reputation as a polite, tasteful, and wholly worthy of its price dinner guest that will absolutely be invited back.

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Shelburne Farms Cider Glazed Squash & Arugula Salad

Several years ago, award-winning Boston chef, Barbara Lynch, launched a series of cooking demonstrations at her old world european butchery,  The Butcher Shop, in Boston's hip South End. Several times a year, she invited some of New England's best known chefs to share some of their cooking techniques and recipes. Fortunate enough to be at the restaurant when the coveted spaces were released, a reservation for two was secured. At the event, each guest received a signed copy of the newly released Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont, a heavenly meal paired with wine, and an up close and personal experience with the farm's chef, Rick Gencarelli. 

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Roasted Beet Salad with Tahini & Puffed Quinoa

Commingled with quinoa, a grain-like seed boasting the full amino acid chain making it a complete protein, and performance enhancing beets, the garden's autumn ruby and topaz gems, this salad emerges as an easy to prepare in advance, visual eye-catching and conversation inducing plate. Worthy of eating as a full meal, or a sidekick to a holiday feast, this is one plate with crunch that pleases nearly everyone. 

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Quattro Formaggi Zucchini Blossoms

Eaten like a vegetable, zucchini is really an easy going, easy to grow in the garden fruit. Only the female flowers produce the attached squash, so if growing larger zucchini is the goal, pluck only the male flowers (easy to identify by the single long stamen hidden inside--the females have a short balled cluster stamen). Once the food of peasants, these edible flowers are today's easy to prepare haute cuisine. Go ahead plant some vines and feast on flowers!

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato, Goat Cheese & Basil

Gnocchi are the Italian equivalent of Chinese dumplings. Potato gnocchi, dollops of starchy belly filling goodness, take a bit of practice and elbow grease. Ricotta gnocchi on the other hand, are perfect for the gnocchi novice and make delightfully, light, and fluffy cheese pillows. The goat cheese tomato sauce adds a bit of tang and heavenly creaminess to the finished dish. Serve alongside a perfectly roasted chicken and simple plate of lightly dressed greens for a decadent, prepared in under an hour, soul satisfying, Italian-inspired weeknight dinner. 

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Purple Sticky Rice with Toasted Coconut & Mango

A simple satisfying breakfast, or a delightful dessert, the combination of Chinese purple rice, silky coconut cream and sweet, juicy rich mango flesh delivers an easy to prepare Asian inspired dish. So expensive was the chewy, nutty black rice centuries ago, it was reserved for the Emperor and earned the moniker "forbidden rice". Black rice turns a gorgeous aubergine color when cooked and stains the coconut milk violet. The flavors and textures of the mix of fruits and rice are at once sophisticated and pleasantly comforting. 

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Sun Gold Tomatoes with Burrata, Olive Oil & Basil

Sometimes a craving for tomatoes in February is irresistible . Going against the gut to eat seasonally and pausing in the produce section to admire and remember the taste of summer's glorious sun kissed fruit, the urge for the taste of sunshine may be overwhelming. Hide a box or two of coveted tiny tomatoes under something else in the cart and forgive yourself.  Trial and error proves that the only tomatoes worth even trying out of season are the small, tiny ones. If available, up the ante and serve the tomatoes with burratta's cousin, stracciatella. It will be hard to resist getting a spoon and digging in.

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Salmon Tartar with Apple, Celery & Radish

These individual spoonfuls make for a delightful, colorful, and unexpected appetizer. Spiked with zesty horseradish and crunchy cool-season crop radish, this refreshing zingy small plate teases the palate and provides a perfect pairing with GROWER's CHAMPAGNE, a low sugar dosage, single vintner bubbly.

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