Fall kitchen smells are off the hook at Leafhopper Farm! Took some duck fat and bone broth (from a local farmer I helped with duck butchering), added potatoes from the garden, kidney beans, chipotle peppers (from Tucson AZ), winter chanterelles (picked locally), and a little spice for flavor (cayenne pepper and cumin). This stew will keep warmth and richness close during the misty wet days of Fall.
Mushroom season is on in our forests too, so a lot of preservation is happening at home using the dehydrator. Puffballs and chanterelles dry out and store well in glass jars with a tight lid. This is how most of my mushrooms end up so I can enjoy them for special occasions. Many are also cooked fresh- and Bernard made a great soup with tomato and fresh chanterelles last weekend which was divine! There will be lost more mushrooming to come, also look for my other blog post about what we’re finding up in the mountains and bringing home to the kitchen.
Any good soup should have a nice bread to go with it, so I took some wheat berries sourced in state near Palouse WA and ground it up to make a few loaves of fresh bread. In this baked treat I also added some home grown seeds like plantain. I’m waiting for yeast to rise as we speak, and hope to have the whole meal ready by this afternoon. Bread baking can be a fickled sport, with chemistry demanding your full compliance to reach maximum success. Because my yeast is stored in the fridge, it takes a little longer to activate with warm water and the flour.
The key to fluffy bread is lots of yeast rise, and I’ll be letting this chemical reaction happen twice before I bake, meaning I have to follow a strict timeline and not get distracted by animal antics or other lovely farm flavors beckoning out the front door.I’ve lost a loaf or two when the yeast rose too much and finally collapsed in the oven and I was left with a flatbread I had not intended. These culinary risks are great lessons in how precise cooking can be.
One other fun taste of the kitchen comes in the form of simple home brewing. I took some frozen blackberries, boiled them for the juice, poured off into carboy and cooled down a little before adding honey and the juice of two grapefruits. I’m trying this recipe in trust that there was enough natural yeast on the berries to coax fermentation on with the sugars from the honey. My airlock is bubbling a little- I’m sure if it was a little warmer, things would be more active, but that’s brewing in The Pacific Northwest, temperatures can fluctuate quite a bit, which is why there is a sweater on the carboy- it also shuts out light. I plan to let this jug sit for a few months, then rack it off a second time and add more honey to encourage more fermentation before bottling the final project as a fruity wine. Let’s hope there was enough natural yeast!
From mushrooms to wine, Leafhopper Farm is churning out inspiration for your culinary exploration of local taste and flavor. The recopies are general guidelines -I rarely use measurements outside of 1 cup. and often add a dash of this or that. It’s really about flavors you like coming together to create something edible and fun. At food production is a big focus of this farm and my own life, I try to share what’s being consumed to pair the harvest with the table. Enjoy!