Illinois Squash Iowa Cheese
Grilled Ribeye 2 (1 inch thick) grass-fed, bone-in ribeye steaks from Q7 Ranch 1 tablespoon Standard Market steak dust Preheat grill to medium high heat. Remove steaks from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with Standard Market steak dust on both sides. Grill steaks on each side for 4–6 minutes for medium rare.
Butternut Squash Gratin 1 small butternut squash 8 oz Prairie Rose swiss style cheese For garnish: microgreens Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel butternut squash. Cut squash in half widthwise, separating the bulbous part from the long, thinner part. Set aside the bulbous part for another use. Using the long, thinner part, cut the squash into 1/8 inch thick slices. Using a sharp 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut 12 rounds out of the sliced squash. Slice Prairie Rose swiss blend into 1/8 thick slices. Using the same cookie cutter, cut 12 rounds out of the cheese slices. Grease a small sheet pan or baking dish. Beginning with a layer of butternut squash, create two stacks by alternating butternut squash slices and Prairie Rose slices. End with a layer of Prairie Rose. Bake for 30 minutes until squash is tender and the cheese is melted on top. Garnish with microgreens.
Apple Reduction 1 cup apple cider vinegar 1 cup beef demi-glace 1 /4 cup diced apples Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and simmer until mixture is reduced by half. Serve atop or alongside ribeye steaks.
Caramelized Cipollini Onions 6 cipollini onions 2 tablespoons Kalona butter 2 tablespoons dried currants 1 teaspoon LocalFolks stone ground mustard 2 tablespoons Madeira 1 teaspoon cane sugar For garnish: small mint leaves Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat. Melt butter in the sauté pan and add cipollini onions. Cook until onions are tender and caramelized. Add currants, mustard, Madeira, and cane sugar, and cook for 2 minutes more. Garnish with small mint leaves. 333 East Ogden Avenue Westmont, Illinois 60559 standardmarket.com
fall harvest 2012
CONTENTS Seasonal Recipes 06 Old-Fashioned Turkey Frame Soup 09 Mix and Match Cookies 10 Poached Pears with Whipped Cream Filling and Chocolate Ganache 11 Seasonal Pumpkin Bread 17 Pear, Fennel, and Black Walnut Salad 17 Black Walnut Pumpkin Pie 18 Grandma Henrietta’s Black Walnut Lemon Pound Cake 25 Maple Whiskey Crisp Cupcake 36 Pumpkin-Salt Cod Soup
02 FOOD FOR THOUGHT Editors’ Welcome
04 NOTABLE EDIBLE Go Local for your pasture-raised turkey and holiday meats
08 COOKING WITH THE SEASONS Baking Holiday Treats By Dana Benigno
12 LOCAL and IN SEASON 14 Fall Foraging: Go NUTS! By Terra Brockman
21 CALENDAR OF EVENTS 22 INCREDIBLY EDIBLE Guilty Pleasurez Cocktail Cupcakes: Sinfully Good By Anne Spiselman Photographs by Kaitlyn McQuaid
26 FROM THE GOOD EARTH Oriana’s Orchard: The Fruits of Her Labor Story and Photographs by Monica Kass Rogers
29 ChicaGROWS Fresh Moves: Produce on Wheels Story and Photographs by Judith Nemes
Cover: Photo by Grant Kessler/GrantKessler.com. Above: Photo© Ejwhite/shutterstock.com
32 THE LAKE EFFECT The Boka Restaurant Group: Farm-to-Fork Chefs By Amelia Levin Photographs by Grant Kessler
37 LIQUID ASSETS Illinois Produced Wines for the Holidays
38 THE EDIBLE SOURCE GUIDE With Your Drink and Dine Local Listing
40 EDIBLE INK: FRUITCAKE Original Illustration by Bambi Edlund
Food for Thought
PUBLISHER/CO-EDITORS Sweet Pea Media, LLC: Ann Flood + Becky Liscum
a few words from edible chicago According to the sages, experience is the best teacher. That adage is especially true in farming. The unpredictable and unusual weather this spring and summer devastated the fruit crop. One Michigan farmer lamented that an orchard that usually produces 1,400 bushels of Honeycrisp apples a year, this year only generated 200. There was no surplus this summer—a scarce supply of apple cider for sale at the local farmers markets and fewer apple pies on our tables. What was a hardship for the farmers became a teachable moment for the consumer— to make the best of what is available, including “seconds” (the fruit that isn’t perfect looking yet still has the flavor). Consumers this year learned, just as generations before us have done when faced with a lean harvest, do the best with what you’ve got. And we do mean the best! Check out the recipe for a very special Black Walnut cake in our In Season column. Read about how this recipe has been handed down for generations and the story behind it. For some, baking is nostalgic, for others, baking is a whole new experience. In Cooking With the Seasons see how to mix and match ingredients to create a special batch of cookies to give away this holiday season. And, while we have you in the kitchen, check out Incredibly Edible for a local twist on a guilty pleasure: cupcakes with a kick. We begin with fruit and we end with fruit. In From the Good Earth, read the inspiring story about The Pear Lady, Oriana Kruszewski, who taught herself the art of grafting, and after many years of persistence and experimentation, created a marvel—literally the fruits of her labor. Experience is the best teacher. This harvest season, consumers got a glimpse into the challenging life of the farmer and learned not to take anything for granted. And, we learned how to make the best of a bad situation—reinvent our approach to cooking, revitalize our recipes, and reexamine how to improve things in the future. Read on…
The Perfect Holiday Gift! Subscribe to Edible Chicago and never miss a single issue with pristine copies delivered right to your door! Subscribe for yourself, or as a thoughtful gift for one of your favorite foodies. It’s a gift that will last all year. Subscribe online at: www.ediblechicago.com, or mail a check for $28.00 payable to: Edible Chicago, 159 N. Marion St., #306, Oak Pak, IL 60301. Edible Chicago is supported by our advertisers and subscribers. With your paid subscription, you help support our mission by telling the stories of our local farmers, chefs, growers, and food artisans.
edible chicago | Fall Harvest 2012
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COPY EDITOR Debra Criche Mell
ART DIRECTOR Marianna Delinck Manley
WEB DESIGN Andras Ratonyi
CONTRIBUTORS Dana Benigno + Terra Brockman + Bambi Edlund Ann Flood + Amelia Levin + Becky Liscum Judith Nemes+Monica Kass Rogers Anne Spiselman
PHOTOGRAPHERS Grant Kessler + Kaitlyn McQuaid Monica Kass Rogers + Judith Nemes
EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER Kaitlyn McQuaid
VIDEOGRAPHY Sweet Pea Media, LLC
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Edible Chicago 159 N. Marion St., #306, Oak Park, IL 60301 708.386.6781 + Fax: 708.221.6756 info@ediblechicago Edible Chicago ® is published seasonally— four times per year by Sweet Pea Media LLC/dba Edible Chicago. We are an advertiser and subscriber supported publication, locally and independently owned and operated and a member of Edible Communities, Inc. Distribution is throughout Chicago land and by subscription for $28.00 per year. @2012 All Rights Reserved. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and let us know.
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KingArthurFlour.com recipes, baking tips and more
Pasture-Raised Poultry What is “pasture-raised” poultry? “Pasture-raised poultry” refers to the production system that raises poultry directly on pasture. This model has been developed over the last 20 years. The birds receive up to 30% of their food intake from pasture forage and bugs. This is important for their health and the nutritional value of their meat and eggs. Typically, this model is found only on small farms; it doesn’t lend itself well to large commercial operations.
Why is pasture-raised chicken/turkey healthier? When compared to large-scale commercially raised birds, pasture raised poultry has: • • • •
Less total fat Less saturated fat Less cholesterol Fewer calories
• More vitamin A • More omega-3 fatty acids • Fresh tastes best
(Source: Pasture Perfect by Jo Robinson)
edible chicago | Fall Harvest 2012
Photo © © Bochkarev Photography/Shutterstock.com
THANKSGIVING TURKEYS Arnold Farm Large Broad-breasted White turkeys. No hormones or antibiotics, and using sustainable farm practices. Other meats: pasture grain finished beef, pork, and lamb. Pick up locations in the Chicago-area between Elgin and the Loop. Also farm pick up in Elizabeth, Illinois. (815) 858-2407 • arnoldsfarm.com
Gunthorp Farms Broad-breasted White. No hormones or antibiotics, non-GMO feed, processed on-site in LaGrange, Indiana. Also available chicken, ducks, pork. (260) 367-2708 • gunthorpfarms.com Ordering and pick up at the Fresh Picks warehouse, Niles, Illinois (847) 410-0595 • freshpicks.com
Caveny Farm Bourbon Red (Heritage breed) turkeys. Rouen Ducks available in December. Chicago area pick up locations including Geneva Green Market. Farm pick up also available at the farm in Monticello, Illinois.
Mint Creek Farm Broad-breasted White pasture-raised turkeys. No GMOs. Also organic pastureraised lamb, beef, goat, veal, chicken and pork. Thanksgiving turkeys delivered to Chicago’s Green City Market. Also available for home delivery via UPS.
(217) 762-7767 • cavenyfarm.com
(815) 953-5682 • mintcreekfarm.com
Garden Gate Farm Broad-breasted White, pasture-raised turkeys, supplemented with a hormone-free feed. Sustainable farming practices. Farm pick up only in Fairbury, Illinois.
Slagel Family Farm Natural hormone-free beef, pork, lamb, chicken, duck, rabbit and goat. Turkeys available during the holidays. Farm pick up and weekly Chicago area drop off locations.
Ordering: firstname.lastname@example.org • (815) 692-3518
(815) 848-9385 • slagelfamilyfarm.com
TJ’s Free Range Poultry Broad-breasted White, pastured free-range turkeys. Raised on chemical-free grass and no antibiotics in Piper City, Illinois. Also offering chicken. Available at Chicago’s Green City Market. email@example.com • (815) 686-9200
Triple S Farms Broad-breasted White turkeys. Certified organic, no hormones, antibiotics or GMO feed from Stewardsville, Illinois. (217) 343-4740 • triplesfarms.com
Several Chicago locations for pick up including Chicago area home delivery by Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks. (847) 410-0595 • freshpicks.com
Old-Fashioned Turkey Frame Soup
Makes 5 Quarts. Adapted from Monica Kass Rogers, LostRecipesFound.com Turkey carcass, broken up to fit into a large soup pot
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Water to cover carcass—at least 4 quarts
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon fresh snipped parsley, chopped fine
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped 2 celery ribs, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 1 to 2 cups rough-chopped cabbage 1 can tomatoes, drained and chopped (optional) 1 cup uncooked pearled barley
3 to 4 fresh basil leaves, snipped fine 1 bay leaf ½ teaspoon pepper ¼ teaspoon paprika ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning 1 fresh thyme sprig
1. P lace turkey carcass in large soup pot. Cover carcass with water and heat water to boiling. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. 2. Lift turkey bones out of pot, cool, and pick off any meat. Chop the meat and reserve. Throw away the bones. 3. Strain broth through a fine sieve. Clean soup pot. Pour broth back into pot and add turkey meat and raw chopped vegetables and herbs, tomatoes and barley. Simmer for another hour until vegetables are tender and barley is cooked. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, if using. 4. Serve hot soup with crusty bread and cheese.
edible chicago | Fall Harvest 2012
Photo © Straga/Shutterstock.com
HOLIDAY MEATS Hasselmann Family Farm Humanely raised pork, beef, lamb, chicken raised in a natural environment. Available at Chicago area markets including Geneva Green Market.
Jake’s Country Meats Natural, artisanal pork, raised without antibiotics from Cass County, Michigan and serving the Chicago area. Holiday country hams, pork roasts, sausages. (269) 445-3020 •
(847) 525-3590 • hasselmannfarm.com
Heartland Meats Piedmontese beef rasied humanely in Mendota, Illinois without use of added hormones. Roasts, steaks, soup bones, ground beef and specialty meats. Available in Chicago at Green City Market and Dill Pickle Coop. 877-588-LEAN • heartlandmeats.com
Availability may vary. Information is accurate at press time.
Twin Oak Meats High quality hormone-free pork products and special order hams from Fairbury, Illinois. Chicago land delivery available. (815) 692-4215 • twinoaksmeats.com
Westtstein Organic Farm Whole legs of lamb, pork, beef, chicken. Certified organic from Carlock, Illinois. Winter meat deliveries at The Buzz in Oak Park, Illinois. (309) 376-7291 • wettsteinorganicfarm. wordpress.com
As fresh and local as it gets Join us for a day of exploration and discovery at our Artisans’ Market. We’re supporting the local food community by showcasing growers and specialty food producers in our stores. Visit our featured stores for details: Williams-Sonoma Deer Park Town Center Williams-Sonoma Michigan Avenue Williams-Sonoma Oakbrook Center
Edible Pub Natalie Behmlander
Cheese_Hero_0150.tiff Artmarket_white.ai WS Logo white.ai Size Trim:
Gotham New Century Schoolbook cmyk
Cooking With the Seasons by Dana Benigno
When the weather turns chilly, it’s time to start thinking about comfort food and special meals. Do you know what you’re serving for the holidays? Plan your meals using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Don’t let your menu choices be guided by what the retail marketers tell you to buy. In my experience, I find most home cooks are stumped by what to make for their holiday desserts. Baking is often relegated to a back burner because our day to day focus is on what’s for dinner. To make dessert planning easier, every cook should have three items in their baking repertoire: a great cookie recipe that they can customize, a sweet bread that can be sliced and served for breakfast or brought to a holiday brunch, and one “fancy” dessert that looks gorgeous, but is easy to prepare.
holiday treats Something custom, something sweet and something simple but showy. 8
edible chicago | Fall Harvest 2012
Here are my favorites:
• Custom Cookies
• Seasonal Pumpkin Bread
• Poached Pears with Whipped Cream Filling and Chocolate Ganache
Custom Cookies I developed this recipe a few years ago so I could experiment with new flavor combinations and garnishes. The recipe starts with an oatmeal cookie dough base that you can customize using a variety of ingredients like dried fruits, nuts, spices, or chocolate chips. Experiment and use your imagination to create a custom cookie for your family or create one for a friend based on their favorite flavors and ingredients. Wouldn’t it be fun to give someone special a cookie created just for them, with their own recipe and customized name like “Oatmeal Charolettes” or “Chocolate Charlies”?
Photo left © Jordache/shutterstock.com Photo right © Mady70/shutterstock.com
Mix and Match Cookies: The Baker’s Choice
Dried Fruit Cherries, Currants, Raisins, Cranberries,
Makes 2 Dozen
Start with this basic batter then choose different combinations from list below. One recipe, dozens of different cookies.
¾ cup granulated sugar
Macadamia Nuts, Candied nuts.
1 cup brown sugar 2 sticks salted butter (1 cup)
Pecans, Walnuts, Peanuts, Almonds,
Organic Chips Semi-sweet chocolate chips, Peanut butter
2 eggs, beaten
chips, Milk chocolate chips, White chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla
chips, Toffee pieces.
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 cups oatmeal (if you want to omit the oatmeal, increase the flour to 2 ¼ cups total) 2 cups dried fruit, or 12 ounces organic c hocolate chips or if you prefer both, 1 cup of dried fruit and 6 ounces of chips
Sources for Fruits, Nuts and Chips When it is time to shop for your cookie ingredients, you don’t have to resort to the supermarket for your fruit, nuts and chocolate chips. Organic chocolate chips are available year round in small specialty
1 cup chopped nuts (see options)
stores or can be ordered online. And,
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
check your local farmers markets or winter
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and blend until combined.
and dried fruit. Although the 2012 fruit crop
3. In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking soda together. Add oatmeal to the flour and combine. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just incorporated. 4. S tir in the combination of your choice: fruit, nuts, chips and/or candy. 5. D rop spoonfuls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 4 to 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Serve or store in an airtight container. Tip: For fresh baked cookies on demand, dough can be chilled in the refrigerator and then formed into a roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and parchment paper and freeze. Slice ½ inch slices and bake homemade cookies any time.
produce markets for nuts as well as fresh suffered a couple of serious setbacks (a spring frost followed by a summer drought), the fruit that survived may be small in size, but high in sugar and flavor.
Local, organic flour is available from Breslin Farms in Ottawa, IL. For a complete listing of where to find their products: breslinfarms.com/purchase/
Local, organic oats are available from Three Sisters Farm in Kanakee, IL at Chicago’s Green City Market.
www. scrumptiouspantry. com www.ediblechicago.com
Poached Pears with Whipped Cream Filling and Chocolate Ganache Serves 4 This recipe is nice because you can prepare it in advance and then just assemble it right before serving. Poach the pears until they are fork tender. Even if the pears are not perfectly ripe, the poaching is very forgiving. The sweet wine adds tang, the whipped cream filling is a fun surprise and who doesn’t love chocolate ganache? After all, ganache is fun to say, it’s delicious, and its glossy, dark chocolate surface looks like patent leather! Use a medium sized pear that will stand on its end easily like a Bosc or Anjou. If you want a small dessert, a Seckel pear is a good choice. Choose pears at the market that stand vertically. The pears do not have to be extremely ripe. 4 Bosc, Seckel or Anjou pears (1 per person) 4 cups water
½ cup sugar 1 cup sweet wine such as Riesling or Gewürztraminer
1. Peel the pears. Using a paring knife or the pointed end of a vegetable peeler, remove the core by cutting through the bottom of the pear. Leave the stem of the pear intact. 2. Place the water, sugar and wine in a pot large enough to hold all the pears and bring the liquid to a simmer. Once it is simmering turn the heat to low and place the pears carefully in the pot so they stand up. Place a lid on the pot and simmer for 30 minutes. 3. When the pears are done let them cool to room temperature in the liquid. Place in the refrigerator and store until ready to assemble the dessert. This can be done 1 day in advance.
Ganache 9 ounces of semi sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1. Place the chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. 2. Place the cream in a saucepan and heat until it is simmering. Pour the simmering cream over the chocolate and whisk or stir until all the chocolate has melted. The sauce will be shiny and will thicken at room temperature.
Whipped Cream 1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Chill a stainless steel bowl in the freezer until cold, then remove. Add cream and whip with a mixer or whisk until soft peaks form. Fold in the powdered sugar. Place the whipped cream in a pastry bag or zip lock bag and refrigerate.
Assembly 1. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and place in a pan or on a cutting board. Snip the corner off of the zip lock bag or pastry bag and fill the core of each pear with whipped cream. 2. Place each pear on a dessert plate. Top with the chocolate ganache sauce (reserve some for drizzling) and refrigerate. Just before serving, heat the remaining ganache over a double bowler or in the microwave and add a little more to the pear before serving. 10
edible chicago | Fall Harvest 2012
Photo © jabiru/shutterstock.com
Serves 4 A classic way to make this bread is to bake it in 14 ½ ounce cans. When the bread is removed from the can, it has a nice scalloped edge, which I call “practical fancy”. (Tip: take the bread out of the can before giving it as a gift). A traditional loaf pan works well too. Add your favorite dried fruits to the batter such as cranberries, dried cherries or even chocolate chips for some variety. 3 cups canned pumpkin puree 1 ½ cups vegetable oil 4 cups white sugar 6 eggs 4 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda 1 ½ teaspoons salt 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon 1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg ½ teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1. P reheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour three 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. 2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger; stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. 3. B ake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.
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BIGBOWL.COM ©2012 A LETTUCE ENTERTAIN YOU® RESTAURANT
LOCAL: RUSTIC ROAD FARM, PHOENIX TOFU, CRAFT BEER SUSTAINABLE: SEAFOOD, POST-CONSUMER BAGS
ECOFRIENDLY: ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANSERS, TO GO PACKAGING, PAPER STRAWS, RECYCLED UNIFORMS
NATURAL: CHICKEN, BEEF, PORK
ORGANIC: WINE, COFFEE, TEA Photo © Anna Hoychuk/shutterstock.com
local and in season for fall harvest VEGETABLES
Beets Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Burdock Root Carrots Cauliflower Celery Root Dry Beans Jerusalem Artichokes Leeks Parsley Root Parsnips Potatoes Pumpkins Radishes Varieties include Roseheart, Black, and Daikon Rutabagas Salsify Scallions Sweet Potatoes Winter Squash Turnips
Asian Greens Cabbage Cooking Greens Mustard, Turnip, Collard Salad Greens Spinach
fruit Apples Pears Western and Asian
edible chicago | Fall Harvest 2012
CULINARY HERBS Oregano Parsley Rosemary Sage Tarragon Thyme Mint Lemon Verbena
other Garlic Dried Onions Dried Hot Peppers Dried Dry Corn Popcorn, Cornmeal Wheat Berries Oats Horseradish
Photo ÂŠ mythja/shutterstock.com
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by Terra Brockman
From the Native Forest:
Every autumn, when the leaves and the temperatures drop, so do the wild nuts. And every year, the Black Walnuts take me by surprise. I inadvertently step on one, bruising its green husk so it releases its distinctive, sharp, almost citrus smell. This unmistakable aroma means one thing—the time for foraging wild nuts is here.
He’d crack a pie tin full, and then bring them upstairs to the kitchen and slowly extract the nuts from the crevices of their shells. They would then be stored in Mason jars until my grandmother used the nutmeats in cookies and breads, and of course in her famous Black Walnut Lemon Pound Cake.
For people who grew up with Black Walnuts, the aroma and taste are pure nostalgia. For me, it’s the memory of my grandfather picking up the nuts that fell from the big tree near the farmhouse. He gathered them up before the squirrels did, and then squirreled them away in the basement where he would make his way through the bushels all winter long.
Although the Black Walnut is related to the English Walnut and the Persian Walnut, it seems a breed apart—with a stronger, more complex combination of dark, smoky, earthy notes and sharp, fruity ones. And, it has a softer, denser texture than a regular walnut. Still, you can substitute Black Walnuts in any recipe calling for walnuts, although you may want to halve the amount because of the stronger flavor. My grandmother used the nuts exclusively in baked goods, but other popular uses include salads, vegetable dishes, rice dishes, meat dishes, and killer ice cream and fudge.
Black Walnuts have a strong, heavy shell that is notoriously hard to crack, but my grandfather did just fine placing the nuts on a big piece of steel on his workbench and using a hammer to crack them open. 14
edible chicago | Fall Harvest 2012
Photo © Phillippou/shutterstock.com
Hickory nuts are another wild nut abundant in our autumn woods. I had never had Hickory nuts until a neighbor put some on top of her apple crisp one year. And then I wondered why it had taken me so long to taste a nut that was literally under foot each fall, embedded in its egg-shaped hull. Like the Black Walnuts, they can be a challenge to crack, but the prize inside is worth it. Hickory nuts taste something like a pecan, but richer and earthier. Black Walnuts and Hickory nuts are ubiquitous in the deciduous forests of the Midwest, and were an important food source for thousands of years—high in unsaturated fat and protein, easy to collect, process, and store for eating throughout the winter months. Nutrient-dense and delicious, they made sense then, and they make sense now. What could be more local than a nut native to this area, harvested from trees that grow without the slightest help from cultivation, let alone pesticides or fertilizer? And, what could be more fun than seeking out and processing your own nuts, free for the foraging? With the growing interest in local foods and selfsufficiency, more new farmers are planting nut trees as part of their diverse, sustainable farm operations. Andrea Vozar, a Central Illinois Farm Beginnings program graduate outlined her Black Walnut production schedule in her business plan for Go Nuts Orchard. The plan started with planting saplings in year one, beginning to harvest the first nuts in year five, reaping the bounty of full harvests in years 12 to 20, and then gradually harvesting some of the trees for their valuable lumber in years 60 and 70, with nut-bearing coming to an end in year 120. Yes, she had a 120-year business plan—something you don’t see every day—but a plan that takes the seventh generation into account is something that would have made the Iroquois very comfortable. So this year, look for a farmer or forager who harvests wild nuts. Or if you like the idea of gathering delicious food for free, ask around and you might be surprised to find Walnut and Hickory trees and their nuts nearby. Preparing wild nuts involves several steps: harvesting, hulling, cracking and storage. See the sidebar for a quick how-to, or find an old-timer to show you the ropes. Either way, you’ll have a great time going nuts. ec
With a long family tradition of farming and foraging in Central Illinois, Terra Brockman writes about her experience first hand. She is also the author of The Seasons on Henry’s Farm and is a regular contributor to Edible Chicago.
Celebrating “Conviviality of the Table” for 15 years throughout Chicagoland Join us! Upcoming events include: Oct. 28: Trattoria Roma with author Rebecca Ffrench Oct. 30: Carlton Club with Cake Boy Eric Lanlard Nov. 7: Table 52 with author Norman Van Aken Nov. 10: Cordon Bleu with chef Austin Yancey Jan. 13: Katherine Anne Confections Feb. 2: Medinah Country Club with chef Bryan Panico
Chicago Gourmets Visit chicagogourmets.org or call 312-777-1090 for more information.
Where to Get Local Nuts Black Walnut and Hickory nuts grow throughout our Midwest forests, so foraging is quite easy if you keep your eyes open. If you don’t want to harvest your own, look for local nuts at your farmers markets. If you don’t find any, ask the farmers if any of them can forage some for you. If you can’t forage nuts in your own back yard, here are a couple Midwest sources from whom you can order:
Hickory Nuts. Linda Schaalma and her 90-someyear-old father, Ray Pamperin, forage wild Hickory nuts from their Shagbark Hickory trees in Dodge County, Wisconsin. www.rayshickorynuts.com Juneau, Wisconsin
Black Walnuts. Hammons Products of Missouri is the main producer and seller of Black Walnuts in the United States. They are family-owned, and buy Walnuts from foragers around the Midwest. www.black-walnuts.com Hammons Products, Stockton, Missouri
From Nuts on the Tree to Nuts on Your Dinner Table 1. Find the trees and pick up the nuts soon after they fall. The best time is after the first frost, but before December. Enlist children and the task will go faster and be more fun.
2. Hull them. Black Walnuts have an almost fluorescent green hull, full of tannins that will stain your hands. The hull is thick and tough, but it gets softer and darker as it ages. There are various hulling machines and advice on the internet, but I’ve found you can just stomp on the nuts to get it off.
3. Crack them. Native Americans made a divot in a rock to hold the nut, and hit it with another rock. That’s more or less what my grandfather did, substituting a hammer for one rock and a piece of steel for the other. Or you can invest in one of the contraptions invented to crack the hard shell. I must confess though, the $40 contraption I bought some years ago crushed the nuts into oblivion, and made it nearly impossible to get shell shard-free nutmeats.
4. Pick out the nuts and sort them. Once the shell is
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cracked, the nutmeats don’s just fall out in neat halves like they do from English Walnuts. They still have to be loosened and pried out. You can use a nut pick, a small screwdriver, or dental tools to do this. Once you have the nutmeats, you should sort through them carefully to get out any pieces of tooth-cracking shell.
5. Store. The nuts are full of oils which will get rancid if they are kept at room temperature, so use them right away, and store any extra in the freezer.
6. Use! Check out the following recipes, or substitute wild nuts for regular Walnuts or Pecans in your favorite recipes. — Terra Brockman
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edible chicago | Fall Harvest 2012
Pear, Fennel, and Black Walnut Salad ¼ cup Black Walnuts, toasted 4 cups fennel, cored and sliced ¼ cup white balsamic vinaigrette 1 large or 2 small pears, quartered and cut into thin slices 1 to 2 ounces goat cheese in small crumbles 1. P lace walnuts, fennel, and vinaigrette in a mixing bowl, gently toss. 2. Arrange pears on four salad plates, Top with the fennel/walnut mixture, sprinkle goat cheese on top.
Vinaigrette ¾ cup olive oil ½ cup white balsamic vinegar 1½ tablespoons honey salt and pepper
Black Walnut Pumpkin Pie
Place ingredients in jar, cover with lid and shake vigorously.
1 pie crust (frozen or home-made)
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1¼ cups light brown sugar, firmly packed, divided
2 large eggs
1 cup Black Walnuts, finely chopped and toasted 3 tablespoons butter ¼ teaspoon vanilla 2 cups cooked pumpkin or butternut squash flesh
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon ground allspice ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg Whipped cream (optional)
1. P reheat oven to 350°. Put crust into a 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under and crimp. Bake for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, let cool. 2. Increase oven temperature to 425°. Combine ½ cup light brown sugar, Black Walnuts, butter, and vanilla; spread on bottom of baked pie crust. 3. Beat pumpkin, cream cheese, eggs, and the remaining brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer. Add flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg, beating until blended, spoon pumpkin mixture over Black Walnut mixture in pie crust. 4. Bake in a preheated 425° oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°, and bake 30 minutes or until pie is set. Remove pie to a wire rack; cool. 5. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream, if desired.
Photo left © 54613/shutterstock..com Photo right © Elena Elisseeva/shutterstock.com
From Fruits to Nuts: One Tough Season I love all trees—for their shapes and colors and sounds, for the fact that they are homes for songbirds, owls, and squirrels, for their shade and shelter, for their blossoms, and for their delicious fruits and nuts. This past year, fruit tree farmers had a terrible season, with an early warm spring causing the trees to blossom early in March and set fruit. But in April those tiny fruits were zapped by three consecutive cold nights in the 20s and the trees, which were laden with fruit, were suddenly barren. The entire Midwest crop of tree fruits was decimated. One source said the Michigan sour cherry crop produced only 1% of its usual yield—so thank goodness for the hardy Hickory and Black Walnut trees! They suffered the same large swings in temperature, but are more resistant to frost, and they do not all flower at the same time. This means that while some of their baby nuts dropped after the April freeze, others were fine, and the fruits of those trees (delicious, nutritious nuts) are things you can enjoy all winter long. — Terra Brockman
Grandma Henrietta’s Black Walnut Lemon Pound Cake
Recipe adapted by Chef Hoa Dong of Work of Art Cakes 1 1/3 cups chopped black walnuts, toasted
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
7 large eggs, separating yolks into individual cups or dishes
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
½ teaspoon cream of tartar 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 10 x 4 ¼ tube pan and dust with flour, shaking out any excess. 2. Toast chopped walnuts in oven for 5 minutes. 3. Combine flour, salt and baking soda into a sifter and sift into large mixing bowl. Top with lemon zest. 4. In a large bowl add buttermilk, butter and sugar and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, approx. 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of bowl. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating 10 seconds after each addition. Add lemon juice. 5. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until mixed. 6. In separate bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar and whip until peaks form. 7. Fold the egg whites into batter. Gently fold nuts into batter. Turn batter into pan, smoothing surface. 8. Bake on middle rack or oven for 1¼ hours to 1 hour, 25 minutes, or until surface is nicely browned and springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in thickest part comes out with just a few crumbs. Do not over bake. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Run a table knife around the tube and edges of pan until cake is loosened. Turn onto cake plate.
Lemon Glaze 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar (sift if lumpy)
1 ½ tablespoons hot water, plus more if needed
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. In a medium bowl, stir together powdered sugar, butter, hot water, and lemon zest and lemon juice until well blended. Let stand for 2 minutes. If mixture stiffens too much, thin with a little more hot water. 2. Smooth glaze over the cake with a table knife or pastry brush.
edible chicago | Fall Harvest 2012
Photo © sea wave/shutterstock.com
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