| CHILI CRUNCH
spenser personalizing food & drink.
CITY people COUNTRY dairy
modern farmette's SPRING LAMB RETHINKING cast iron ancient grain MODERN MILL spring 2014 | ISSUE TEN spensermag.com
EAT YOUR HEART OUT.
C O M F O RT. F O O D . Located in the heart of historic Downtown Scottsdale, Hotel Valley Ho is the Valley’s vintage icon. Serving up classic cuisine with modern flavor, ZuZu’s ever-changing menu features a mix of classic comfort foods and fresh new favorites, utilizing local in-season produce for the best-tasting eats around. Monday Night Chef’s Table, the exclusive monthly culinary event, hosts special guests like winemakers and farmers, and showcases off-the-menu, specially prepared courses and beverage pairings. OH Pool and OHasis Pool are the places to lounge, imbibe, and indulge in a selection of gourmet poolside snacks and cocktails. VH Spa’s treatments focus on health and vitality with treatments inspired by our favorite fare, like Champagne scrubs and Coffeeberry facials. All this, on one historic property with vintage character and culinary excellence found nowhere else in the valley.
ZUZU | VH SPA | OH POOL BAR + CABANAS | OHASIS POOL 6 8 5 0 E . M a i n S t . S c o t t s d a l e , A Z 8 5 2 51 | h o t e l v a l l e y h o . c o m | 480.248.2000
features: 80| OUT LIKE A LAMB: Spring in the Irish countryside
by Imen McDonnell
96| BOROUGH FURNACE:
Where the process is the product
by Brendan Lynch
48| BLUE HERON FARM:
Graceful flight of small dairy farming
by Cyndi Flores
60| BREAKING BREAD: Cooking with farm-to-table flours & grains
by Mike Dundas
departments: BUTLER'S CHOICE: timeless style
STOCKING THE PANTRY: chiles & chocolate
STOCKING THE BAR: tea & "tonic"
TABLE SETTINGS: spring into linen
MEREDITH'S PAGE: open up to spring
SEASON'S SWEET: flower power
SEASON'S HARVEST: cardoons
BUTCHER'S BLOCK: spot on
recipe index: pasta Fettuccine with Cardoons, Mint, & Chiles | 39 Homemade Cavatelli with Roasted Cauliflower, Spring Onions, & Fennel Sausage | 76
salads Cardoon & Fingerling Potato Salad with Anchovy Dressing | 38 Curly Kale Salad with “CRanch” Dressing | 19 Salad of Beet, Strawberry, Wheat Berry, Yogurt, & Vadouvan | 75
surf & turf Grilled Spot Prawns with Chimichurri Butter | 43 Salt-Roasted Spot Prawns | 45 Wildflower & Herb Rubbed Roasted Leg of Lamb | 92
sweets Lavender-Earl Grey Mini-Cakes with Lemon Ganache | 34 Meyer Lemon Curd with Semolina Shortbread Cookies | 78 Rhubarb Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream | 95
tea Thai Iced Tea | 23
6 | spensermag.com | spring 2014
letter from the editor:
t took a while to snap out of the frozen grip of the polar vortex, but spring is finally here, if just a little late. Peas, favas, rhubarb, and other harbingers of the season are everywhere; cherry blossoms are in full bloom in our nation’s capital; and the new Major League Baseball season is under way. Just a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it. With blizzards in Upstate New York and hurricane force storms in Western Ireland, our contributors were fighting the elements to pull together our spring features. Thankfully, we are blessed to have an amazing production staff, who work on what amounts to a 45-day cycle, from the first photo shoot to the final page proofs. The tight work of our production folks, namely Jen White, Corey Absher, and Leigh Flores, allows our contributors the opportunity to shoot in the moment of the season, with real ingredients produced by the very folks highlighted in each issue. We don’t run off of a bank of canned stories and, around here, there aren’t any Easter spreads in early December or pumpkin filled barns in July. Of course, that sometimes means Mother Nature throws us a curve. But the throes of winter just make spring that much
more welcome. In those first few truly warm days of the year, we feel rejuvenated. To celebrate the spring, we visited Hayden Flour Mills in Phoenix, Ariz., where the Zimmerman family is collaborating with local farmers and chefs to revive the practice of growing and milling of ancient grains like White Sonora wheat and Chapalote corn to great success. And if a field of Arizona spring wheat isn’t green enough for you, we traveled along with celebrated food blogger Imen McDonnell of Modern Farmette, as she journeyed to Maiden Hall, a centuries old family farm currently focused on raising the rare breed of Zwartbles sheep on the rolling green hills of County Kilkenny, Ireland. Through the words of staff writer Brendan Lynch and the lens of New York-based photographer Liz Clayman, we are introduced to the creative mind of John Truex, a 31-year-old Syracuse University professor of art and industrial design, who is rethinking the cast iron pan from the ground up, turning it into something handmade, environmentally sensitive, and attuned to the time. And, lastly, two of our editors, Hilary Kline and Cyndi Flores, headed down to Houston, on the heels of an ice storm no less, to learn the art of cheesemaking from husband and wife team, Christian and Lisa Seger, owners of Blue Heron Farm — home to “spoiled goats” and “fresh cheese.” I was going to note the old saying that the month of March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, but considering that it’s already April, let’s just celebrate that spring has finally arrived.
mike dundas editor-in-chief
spring 2014 | spensermag.com
magazine MIKE DUNDAS
co-founder & editor-in-chief LEIGH FLORES
co-founder & executive editor JEN WHITE
design director COREY ABSHER
interactive producer CYNDI FLORES
lead copy editor HILARY KLINE
lead photo editor JOEL LEVANGIA & BRENDAN LYNCH
staff writers MEREDITH PAIGE
meredith's page editor & staff photographer contributing writers
CYNDI FLORES, IMEN McDONNELL
contributing photographers LIZ CLAYMAN, IMEN McDONNELL, DENISE WOODWARD
spring interns KATHERINE FLYNN, MARGOT TUCHLER
JACKSON, KAUFMAN, MAEBY & OLIVER in loving memory: CHASE
advertising & sales inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
editorial & business inquiries, questions & comments: email@example.com
cover photo: SPRING LAMB photograph by IMEN McDONNELL
spenser magazine commits to donating 1% of profits to charitable causes in support of ending hunger in America and abroad this commitment supports spenser magazine’s desire to help promote the need to end hunger everywhere
spenser disclaimer: Spenser Magazine is published on a bi-monthly basis by Spenser, LLC. All rights are reserved. Neither the publication, nor any portion thereof, may be reproduced in any manner or in any form without the prior written authorization and permission of Spenser, LLC. Spenser Magazine and Spenser, LLC are not responsible for the accuracy of advertiser claims or advertiser content. Notwithstanding, every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the content contained in the publication and on the Web site.
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contributors: CYNDI FLORES | WRITER Cyndi is an information technology project manager who lives near Washington DC and tries to make a difference in the world by living and working responsibly. She loves travel, new experiences, good food, and the company of friends or dogs (or both). She learned to cook from her mother who only measured the first time she made a recipe and canned fruits and vegetables every season. From her father she acquired the taste for hot peppers, fresh tortillas, mustang wine, and good strong black coffee. For this contribution she was taken back to days in Texas when her father bought a gristmill and decided to raise Nubians and, just perhaps, bartered a little raw goat milk on the side.
HILARY KLINE | PHOTOGRAPHER Hilary Kline is a food, lifestyle, and portrait photographer based in Alexandria, Va. Sheâ€™s happiest with a camera in her hands, capturing images of the people and places around her. She loves her dog (named Maeby), Sunday night dinners, good stories, Masterpiece Theater, lame jokes, and West Texas. She thinks manifesting is overrated and under no circumstance will you ever be able to convince her that there should be beans in chili. Images of her work can be found at hilarykline.com.
LIZ CLAYMAN | PHOTOGRAPHER Liz Clayman is a freelance photographer. She specializes in food and restaurant culture, but loves shooting really anything that brings people together via food. Her work has appeared in lots of great publications that her parents have never heard of, but they're super proud of her anyway. She has been based in Brooklyn for ten years, but still calls Maine home. Her work can be seen at lizclayman.com.
IMEN McDONNELL | WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHER Imen McDonnell is a food and lifestyle columnist for the Irish Farmers Journal and Irish Country Magazine. In a former life, she spent her days working in broadcast production while living in New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. She now resides on her husbandâ€™s grass-fed dairy family farm in rural Ireland and shares stories of farm life & food on her popular blog, Farmette.ie. Her first book, "The Farmette Cookbook, Stories and Recipes from Life on an Irish Farm" will be published by ROOST BOOKS in Autumn 2015.
BRENDAN LYNCH | WRITER Brendan Lynch is a rural Midwesterner who developed a passion for food upon transplanting to San Francisco. From the famed Frog Hollow peaches at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to dive bar cyclist BBQ haunts, the Bay Area was Brendan's culinary proving ground. Having recently moved back to Southern Illinois, Brendan now buys, preps, and cures whole heritage hogs from an Amish farmer and has been known to transport entire feasts via bicycle. He misses the Bay Area, but has the space to grow heirloom tomatoes and house a freezer large enough to hold a pig's head, an otherwise unimaginable flight of fancy in his old studio in San Francisco.
#nofakefragrance #mountainsinabottle #lifeonthetrail
juniperridge.com made in Oakland, Calif.
TIMELESS PANTRY STYLE
Suzanne Kasler doesn’t mind if you call her interiors pretty. “I like things to be pretty. I want to give the eye a treat. But that doesn’t mean that everything in a room has to be museum quality,” says the Atlanta-based designer. “Timeless Style” (Rizzoli 2013) is Kasler’s look at eight properties, including her own, categorized under authentic, organic, natural, classic, and more. Here at spenser, we’ll just call them pretty. Relaxed is the theme for the home of Sam and Mary Celeste Beall. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Sam is part of the Beall family that owns Blackberry Farm in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Sam and Mary Celeste manage the 4,200-acre property and enlisted Kasler to help them create spaces in their house that would accommodate the needs of their five children as well as serve as a backdrop for impromptu entertaining.
“Sam had fond memories of a home he once lived in as a child,” says Kasler. Instead of a formal entry, you walked straight into the dining room. Right away, it said that place was all about food and love and getting together over a meal.” Between the chef’s kitchen and the dining room (yes, it’s the first thing you see when you walk through the entry) lies the butler’s pantry where Kasler chose black lacquered cabinets and a mirrored backsplash to give a bit of elegance to the space that serves as a bar area during those impromptu gatherings. The mirrored backsplash also creates the illusion of a bigger space and carries the feel of elegance. Kasler also had a hand in designing the Barn at Blackberry Farm, where relaxed gentility prevails. As Kasler says, guests at the resort are encouraged to take part in any and all farm activities in order to reconnect with the land. The center of all the action at Blackberry Farm is the Barn. In the lounge space that also serves as the area for a demonstration kitchen, Kasler chose linen slipcovers for wicker chairs juxtaposed with tree trunk tables and splended white ware dish displays making for a natural setting that’s – well, pretty. What was catching to our eye is that the entire room was designed to house the Bealls’ collection of antique silver and crystal. Glass doors allow the expansive collection to be admired even when the items aren’t in use. Simple wood cabinets and fixtures and Kasler’s choice of white walls allow the details in the antiques to shine. Most of all, the design reminds us folks here at spenser why we love pantries — space, and the things that go in it, can create timeless style. Photos on this page by beall + thomas photography. Photo on opposite page by Erica George Dines Photography. From "Timeless Style" by Suzanne Kasler. Copyright 2013. Published by Rizzoli.
stocking the pantry:
Careful! Chile Crunch is addictive. It isn’t unheard for us to go through an entire jar in a single week, leaving us wanting for more. We blame Susie Hojel, Chile Crunch’s creator, for dreaming up this seemingly simple blend of roasted chiles, crispy bits of garlic and onion, herbs, spices, and canola oil. For those who might be a little timid to try it, know that Chile Crunch isn’t too spicy. In fact, we wouldn’t mind if Susie and her team released a hotter version for chile heads. While Chile Crunch’s flavor profile is decidedly Mexican in origin (Hojel was raised in Mexico City), it is quite versatile in the kitchen. We’ve found that this crunchy condiment adds a creative dimension to many things from burritos to bibimbap and from pizza to pot stickers. It even punches up our favorite recipe for homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. The dressing is so good, we’re thinking about registering a trademark on the name, “CRanch.” Until then, you’ll know where to find us … with our spoon in the jar of Chile Crunch. $10.50 for a 9 oz. jar. Sold retail in California, Colorado, New York and New Mexico and online at chilecrunch. com.
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"CRanch" Dressing Makes about 2 cups 2 tbsp. Chile Crunch 1 cup Kewpie mayonnaise ½ cup crème fraîche ¼ cup buttermilk 1 tbsp. minced chives 1 tsp. garlic powder 1 tsp. onion powder 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper 1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients. Mix in a good pinch of salt and 8 to 10 grinds of pepper, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt or pepper if necessary. The dressing may be used immediately, but it will taste better if stored in the refrigerator overnight. If refrigerated overnight, you will need to whisk in another ¼ cup of buttermilk to the dressing to make it pourable at fridge temperature.
stocking the pantry:
Curly Kale Salad with "CRanch" Dressing Serves 4 as an entree or 8 as a side salad 2 large bunches curly red kale 1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled, pitted & cubed ¼ cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced 1 recipe Buttermilk “CRanch” Dressing 4 oz. chunk Hook’s 10-year-old Cheddar 1. Add the first four ingredients to a large salad bowl. Mix in ½ cup of dressing and toss until the ingredients are evenly coated. Taste, adding more dressing if necessary. Divide the salad among the serving bowls. Using a microplane, shave a generous coating of Cheddar over each salad.
DICK TAYLOR Tastes may ebb and flow like the tides, but we think it is safe to say that the chocolate being produced under the Dick Taylor label at this moment is the best in the country. Yes, the beans are fair trade. Yes, the bars are certified organic. But so are many others these days. What makes Dick Taylor Chocolate special, what sets the product ahead, is the ownersâ€™ handson, painstaking approach to transforming raw materials into finished product. When you think about it, going from building furniture and wood boats to making bean-to-bar chocolate isnâ€™t that much of a stretch. Both processes, whether shaping a plank or roasting a cocoa bean, require patience, dedication, and devotion. These are traits that Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor, cofounders of Dick Taylor Chocolate, have in spades. Their process of turning beans to bars takes more than a month to complete but it results in a pure product made with just two ingredients, cacao and cane sugar. The guys are hands-on every step of the way. To start, each bean that moves through their small factory in Arcata, Calif. is delicately roasted in a restored and modified Royal #5 coffee bean roaster. And at the end, the bars are hand-foiled and wrapped in packaging that they print, in-house, on an antique letterpress. By not cutting corners or taking shortcuts Dick and Taylor are able to harness and highlight the distinct flavor differences in the cacao from different parts of the world, whether it be Belize, Madagascar, Ecuador, or the Dominican Republic. Without added vanilla, cocoa butter or other emulsifiers, every bar has a brightness of flavor that we just donâ€™t find in most other chocolate. Our favorite is the 72% Belize Toledo bar, which comes plain or flavored with coconut that has been caramelized in maple syrup. We think you will enjoy eating it as much as they enjoy making it. $7.50 for a 2 oz. bar. Available in gourmet stores nationally and online.
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stocking the pantry:
stocking the bar:
ARBOR TEA Thai Tea is one of many sweetened Southeast Asian beverages that are addictively delicious. At one end of the Asian-inspired caffeine spectrum is the robust Vietnamese coffee, made with dark roast drip brew and sweetened condensed milk. At the other end is the cooling mango lassi from India, a blend of fresh mango, yogurt, water, and (oftentimes) sugar. Thai iced tea falls somewhere in the middle there. The most common version of this popular drink, found in pretty much any Thai restaurant in the U.S., is made with a packaged mix that contains tea leaves (either black or green) and artificial food coloring, which gives the Thai tea its signature orange hue. We wanted to find something different, with higher quality tea and all natural ingredients, for the spenser pantry. Our search led us to Arbor Teas, a Michigan based company focusing on organic, fair trade tea leaves and tea blends. Arborâ€™s Organic and Fair Trade Certified Thai Iced Tea is a mix of strong black tea, vanilla, cardamom, and anise seed. When brewed, the delicate flavors of the vanilla and spice balance out the assertiveness of the black tea. The spice mix works so well with the tea that we often find ourselves drinking it over ice without any milk or sugar added (adding maybe just a squeeze of lime). Of course, the restaurant-style Thai iced tea is what started our search. It satisfies the craving of any sweet tooth and tames the fiery foods often found on the Thai table. To keep from masking the unique spiced flavor profile of the Arbor Thai tea blend, we forgo the traditional condensed milk in favor of just a touch of milk and sugar. The resulting tea is a perfect choice for those first few warm days of spring and a natural expression of this delicious drink.
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stocking the bar:
Thai Iced Tea Makes 1 serving This recipe calls for a double strength cup of tea with just a touch of milk and sugar. To make in larger batches for groups, just multiply the ingredients accordingly, following the same steps. 2 tsp. Arbor Tea’s Organic Thai Iced Tea blend 8 oz. water (brought to a rolling boil) 2 tsp. sugar 1 tsp. half & half 1. Steep the tea blend in 212°F water for five minutes. Strain and then add sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Store in the refrigerator until chilled. Transfer to a tall glass filled with ice. Pour in the half & half immediately before serving. Enjoy. Note: To make the more traditional version, mix the brewed tea with sweetened condensed milk. You would then add cream, half & half, or even coconut milk just before service on top of the ice cubes to create that a layered effect in the glass. Arbor’s Thai Iced Tea will not turn orange when dairy is added, but will appear a natural light brown color.
stocking the bar:
BRAULIO To be honest, we’ve wanted to feature Braulio in these pages since our first issue was published. We know we weren’t the first Americans to discover this delicious amaro in some small village in Northern Italy, nor were we the first to go out of our way to find space to fit a liter bottle or two in our suitcase in advance of our flight home, but we may have been the first to plan to return to the scene of the original purchase (in our case, Lillia Salumeria next to the Hotel Royal Victoria on the Piazza San Giorgio in Varenna, Italy) just because our last bottle was running low. Well, call off the immediate trip to Italy because Braulio is now available in the U.S. for the first time. Although now owned by Averna, this bittersweet liqueur is still made in the Valtelline Valley, nestled in the Italian Alps, using a near 140-year-old secret family recipe. For years, even after the domestic explosion of popularity in the amaro category (think Fernet, Averna, and Ramazzotti), Braulio wasn’t sold stateside. Rumor has it this delay had something to do with the fact that the TTB wanted to see that “secret” ingredient list before allowing importation. We now know that the base spirit (made from grapes) is infused with thirteen alpine herbs, berries, flowers, and roots, including gentian, juniper, wormwood, yarrow, and star anise and then aged for two years in oak barrels before being bottled. Poured straight, over a single ice cube, Braulio tastes both herbal and floral with that perfect balance of bitter and sweet. It is our favorite amaro, which is why it holds a now permanent space on the spenser bar. $32 for a 750 ml bottle. Available nationally at better liquor stores.
SPRING INTO LINEN
It started with a spenser mom and grandmother who both used to pull out drawers and drawers of monogrammed napkins, tablecloths, and cocktail napkins all neatly ironed and creased with precision. It didn’t take long for a certain spenser staffer to start sneaking a quick grip on a napkin to watch how the material gave into her squeeze – adding new ceases to her delight and her grandmother’s chagrin. So, for us, “Linens: For Every Room and Occasion” (Rizzoli 2014) is a true spring treat. As the book’s author and founder of the fine linen company, Leontine Linens, Jane Scott Hodges explains, the book is meant to be an a resource for the “endless interpretations” of applique, embroidery, weaves, colors, and monograms that linen has to offer. The overall takeaway from the book – that the luxury of linen is best when matched with casual dinners by the fire or breakfasts on patios – matches our sentiments. For us it is more than the beauty of the fabric, but also what entertaining really is about – ease of elegance, which allows us to create special moments and spend time over the dinner or patio table with friends and family. While we’ve already bookmarked the chapter on building a bed of linen elements, layer by layer (how else do we get these issues of spenser done if not for good sleep), we were delighted that dining and entertaining pieces were highlighted throughout the book.
26 | spensermag.com | spring 2014
Photos on this spread Paul Costello from "Linens: For Every Room and Occasion" by Jane Scott Hodges. Copyright 2014. Published by Rizzoli.
Our biggest weakness when it comes to linen? Well, it’s cocktail napkins and good monograms. The book showcases the many shapes, sizes, and, of course, colors that create not only a great looking napkin, but add to a casual and formal table alike.
delightful color palette of monograms and napkin colors in pinks, purples, yellows, and other colors for inspiration. Our favorites are the bold use of bright yellows and oranges depicted in the many table settings photographed for the book.
Cocktail napkins are a spenser staple. It doesn’t have to be a formal occasion – even if we’re pouring a drink in a Picardie glass, a cocktail napkin with a monkey (top right photo) adds the touch of whimsy to the occasion.
Visual treat aside, we also took notice of Scott Hodges tips for storage, care, and cleaning and you bet that staffer walked away happy with Scott Hodges' tip to iron the back of the napkin to best preserve any applique or embroidery details and prevent the shiny marks on the napkin’s face. Although once she’s ironed her napkins, there’s some squeezing to do.
People tend to think of standard colors – white, black and green on a simple white napkin, but the book provides a
OPEN UP TO SPRING
I don't know about you, but spring cleaning seems overrated when I consider all the spring READING at the ready! Here are a few selections that might distract you from dusting and yet still improve your household aesthetic.
â€“ Meredith firstname.lastname@example.org
Brooklyn by Design Yep, Brooklyn is cool. We get it, but a look through this book ups the ante by exploring the renovation, restoration, and innovation of private residences, neighborhood haunts, and commercial properties throughout the borough. Oh Brooklyn, you are so cool.
I have a crush on the Novogratz family and their relaxed, almost poetic style. So it was with more than a bit of excitement that I cracked into their latest book on home design. Each chapter of the book profiles a specific project, laying out starting goals, an analysis of the budget, design plans, and client wish lists. Scattered throughout are helpful interviews on things such as vintage fabrics and constructing built-ins. Despite a bit of craziness that can be expected whenever Robert and Cortney get to work, they always manage to end every project in a way that keeps my crush going strong.
Plant A Colorful Recipe
Typically, my recipe collection involves food, but since I love flowers and lack the ability to arrange them in any recognizable or non-lopsided manner, this book (opposite page) helps me bring my flower arranging game to the level of my tortellini folding game (kidding, still working on how to best fold those suckers). The companion plant arrangements book (this page) contains great inspiration and unique suggestions for containers as well.
spring 2014 | spensermag.com
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We’d be the first to admit that cooking with lavender isn’t easy. Aside from using a mortar and pestle to blend a bit of lavender with coarse sea salt (as a dip for grilled lamb chops) or with honey (as a syrup for one of our favorite cognac-based cocktails), we don’t reach for it all that often. That was until we first tasted Valerie Gordon’s Lavender– Earl Grey Mini-Cakes with Lemon Ganache from her wonderful new cookbook "Sweet" (Artisan 2013). Gordon balances the delicate, floral quality of spring lavender with the sharp bergamot flavor of Earl Grey tea. Gordon gives fair warning that using a “heavy hand” with lavender “creates a flavor more akin to that of potpourri than dessert.” But there is no need to worry when following her lead. In fact, now that Gordon has led us to success in the kitchen with lavender we find ourselves reaching for it again and again. Not ready for mini-layer cakes? Consider grinding lavender buds in a spice grinder and then mixing with granulated sugar. You can substitute this lavender sugar in recipes for many sweets like shortbread cookies, pie crust, or lemon poppyseed muffin batter. Or, steep the lavender in warm whipping cream, chill it, and then whip it for use as a topping on lemon bars, strawberry shortcake, or milkshakes.
Lavender–Earl Grey MiniCakes with Lemon Ganache Recipe by Valerie Gordon Makes nine 3-inch round mini-cakes For the Cake 1 ½ cups (7.5 oz.) all-purpose flour 1 ½ tbsp. finely ground Earl Grey tea ¾ tsp. ground dried organic lavender ¹⁄³ tsp. baking powder ¹⁄³ tsp. salt 1 ¾ sticks plus 1 tbsp. (7.5 oz.) unsalted butter, softened 1 tbsp. light corn syrup 1 cup (7 oz.) sugar 3 large eggs 3 tbsp. crème fraîche or sour cream 1 tsp. vanilla extract For the Lemon Ganache 2 tsp. powdered gelatin 3 tbsp. cold water 11 oz. 31% white chocolate, chopped 1 cup (8 oz.) heavy cream 3 tbsp. light corn syrup 9 tbsp. (4.5 oz.) unsalted butter, softened 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest ½ cup (4 oz.) fresh lemon juice For the Lemon Glaze 2 ½ cups (13.5 oz.) 31% white chocolate chips or fèves or chopped 31% white chocolate ²⁄³ cup (5.5 oz.) heavy cream 1 tsp. light corn syrup 3 ½ tbsp. (1.75 oz.) unsalted butter, very soft ¼ tsp. lemon oil Dried organic lavender for garnish To Make the Cake 1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 13-by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray or butter and line with parchment paper. Smooth the parchment, making sure there are no air bubbles. 2. Sift together the flour, tea, lavender, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, corn syrup, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 4. Whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche, and vanilla in a small bowl, then pour into the creamed butter and beat until smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and the paddle and mix until smooth. 5. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three batches, mixing for 1 to 2 minutes after each addition. Scrape the bowl again and mix for 15 seconds. 6. Scrape the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula. 7. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, until the cake appears firm and has a matte finish. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Chill the cake for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes before building the mini-cakes. To Make the Ganache 1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, until the gelatin softens. 2. Put the chocolate into a medium bowl and set aside. 3. Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan just until it boils. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it is completely dissolved. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Using a small rubber spatula, begin stirring the mixture in one direction, concentrating on the center, until the ganache is smooth and glistening. Add the butter and stir until it is completely melted, about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir. Put the ganache in the coolest part of your kitchen and let set, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, for about 1 hour before using. (The ganache can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks). To Assemble the Cakes 1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 27 rounds from the cake and set on a cooling rack. 2. Place 9 cake rounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Using an offset spatula, spread approximately 2 tablespoons ganache over each one. Top each with a second round and 2 more tablespoons ganache; then top with a third layer of cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the ganache is firm.
To Make the Glaze 1. Put the white chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan just until it boils. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. 2. Using a small rubber spatula, begin stirring the white chocolate mixture in one direction, concentrating on the center, until it is smooth and glistening. Add the butter and stir until it is completely melted, about 1 minute. Whisk in the lemon oil until just incorporated. 3. Pour the glaze into a 2-cup measuring cup or a small pitcher. Let cool to 85° to 90°F before using, monitoring the temperature with a candy or instant-read thermometer. To Glaze the Cakes 1. Set the cakes on a cooling rack and set the rack on a baking sheet to catch the glaze drippings. Pour about ¼ cup glaze onto the center of each cake. When all of the cakes are coated, pick up the baking rack and gently tap it to even out the glaze—use a delicate hand here, as the cakes are light and can topple over. If you missed a spot or two, using a bench scraper, collect the glaze from the pan and pour it back into the measuring cup. Place the rack back on the baking sheet and pour the glaze over the bare spots. Top each cake with a few pieces of dried lavender. 2. Allow the glaze to set completely, 10 to 15 minutes, before moving the cakes. Or, if your kitchen is warm, move the rack into the refrigerator until the glaze becomes firm, just a few minutes. 3. Run a hot offset spatula under the bottom of the cakes to release them from the rack and transfer the cakes to a serving platter. Refrigerate the cakes until slightly chilled before serving. Storing The cakes can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Tip: Grind the tea and dried lavender in a clean coffee or spice grinder. If your grinder has a strong coffee aroma, wipe the blade and interior with white vinegar and let dry completely, then wash the inside with soap and warm water.
THISTLE WHILE YOU WORK
The cardoon is a giant, leafy celery-shaped plant with the flavor of an artichoke, which makes sense since it is a member of the thistle family. Some research, like that published in Oxford University’s Annals of Botany, suggests that the wild cardoon may even be the “progenitor” of the globe artichoke. In other words, the cardoon has old-school street cred, giving you reason enough to try it. Cardoons are most popular in Italian cooking, where it is considered native and has been cultivated for centuries. As evidence of the cardoon’s longstanding place on the Italian table, look no further than the far right side of Caravaggio’s 17th-Century painting Natura morta con fiori, frutta e verdure. Traditional cardoon recipes are generally rich and heavy making them better suited to the winter, when the European crop is flourishing. Since the cardoon crop here in the U.S. is more of a spring vegetable, like the artichoke, we were conjuring something lighter and brighter. We came up with a fun Caesar-like potato salad and a light pasta with cardoons, chiles, and mint, but the possibilities are endless. Anything that tastes great with artichokes will also pair perfectly with cardoons. One note on timing in the kitchen, however. Cardoons are only edible when cooked… well. Tough and fibrous, cardoons need to be trimmed and then braised or boiled into tenderness, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Because a single cardoon stalk can grow up to 18 inches long, there is less initial prep work than working with a basket full of artichokes, so you can get right to cooking.
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Cardoon and Fingerling Potato Salad with Anchovy Dressing Serves 4 Kosher salt 2 lemons 6 12-16-inch cardoon stalks 12 small fingerling potatoes Â˝ cup extra-virgin olive oil 6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and coarsely chopped 3 large garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar Freshly ground black pepper 1 hardboiled egg, white separated from yolk Sea salt 1. Add 3 tbsp. kosher salt to large pot of water and bring to boil over high heat. Juice lemons into a glass bowl filled with water, adding the spent lemon halves to the same bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the tough outer skin of the cardoons and cut off any remaining leaves. Cut the stalks into 5-inch lengths. Place each cut cardoon in the lemon water, while you peel the rest.
2. Boil the cardoons until tender, about 45 mins. Remove cardoons from water and set aside to cool. Add potatoes to same pot of boiling water and cook until easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 10 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the water and set aside to cool. 3. In a small sautĂŠ pan set over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, anchovies, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is translucent and the anchovies have broken down, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice and red wine vinegar to the pan and season generously with freshly ground black pepper, then remove the pan from the heat. 4. Slice the cooked cardoon stalks on a Â˝-inch bias (like you are cutting celery) and slice each potato in half lengthwise. In a large mixing bowl, toss the sliced cardoons and potatoes together with the warm dressing and transfer to a serving dish. Sieve the hardboiled egg over the salad as garnish, by pushing first the white, then the yolk through a fine mesh strainer. Season the salad with a pinch of good quality sea salt. Serve at room temperature. Chez Us Tip: Swap whole grain mustard for the anchovy to make it vegetarian.
Fettuccine with Cardoons, Mint, & Chiles Serves 4 1 lb. cardoon stalks, peeled & cut into lengths of 5-6 inches (leaves removed) Juice of 4 lemons Kosher salt 1 pound dried fettuccine 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced ½ cup flat leaf parsley, minced ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, minced 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 1 cup Pecorino-Romano, grated 1. Combine cardoons, lemon juice, and enough water to cover in a large stockpot set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook the cardoons until tender, about 45 minutes. They should be easily pierced with a paring knife. Strain cardoons and allow to cool. Slice into stalks, lengthwise, to match the thickness of the pasta. 2. Refill the stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Add 3 tbsp. kosher salt and fettuccine to the pot, cover until the water boils again and cook until al dente (timing will depend on noodle). 3. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the oil and allow it to come to temperature. Add the cardoons and cook, without stirring, for one minute to allow the cardoons to caramelize. Toss the cardoons, and continue to cook, until well browned. Reduce the head to low then add the garlic and crushed red pepper to the pan. 4. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water and add the pasta to the sauté pan. Toss the pasta with tongs, adding some of the pasta water if necessary to extend the sauce. Add the parsley and mint and toss again. Taste, adding kosher salt if necessary. Divide the pasta among four bowls. Drizzle each bowl with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and top the pasta with Pecorino. Serve immediately.
Cardoon photos on this spread & previous pagespring by Denise of Chez |Us. 2014 |Woodward spensermag.com 39
West Coast spot prawns are the closest thing we have in flavor to langoustines here in the U.S. and we are coming into the heart of the season. Some say the sweetest spot prawns, which aren’t actually prawns but rather large shrimp, come from the waters west of Santa Barbara, among the Channel Islands. Wherever they are harvested, whether near Santa Barbara, Portland, or Vancouver, you are in for a treat if you have never tasted the firm, sweet meat of this ocean-going crustacean. Reddish-orange in color, the spot prawn has, with no sense of irony, large white spots on either side of its body just below the head. They also have distinctive red and white “barber shop pole” markings on their antennae and front legs, given them a strikingly beautiful appearance. Our first experience eating spot prawns happened many years ago, at Providence Restaurant in Los Angeles. There, Chef Michael Cimarusti prepares what has become a signature dish: live spot prawns roasted in salt, then garnished with a squeeze of lemon and top notch olive oil. It is one of those beguilingly simple, yet refined dishes that highlights the sweetness of the main ingredient. Cimarusti’s dish serves as a lesson for how the spot prawn should be handled no matter the form of preparation: quickly and simply, whether roasted, grilled, or raw. In season, during the spring and summer, spot prawns are a delicacy. Given the prevailing prices, north of $20 per lb. for the live shrimp, we recommend only serving two per person as a light appetizer. Live spot prawns, while expensive, are the preferred choice. As with many species of crab, once a spot prawn starts to die, the body releases an enzyme that ruins the meat. If you are lucky, you might be able to find "fresh" spot prawns at ¹⁄³ the price of the live, but do feel the tails to see whether they are still firm and avoid any that have black stains under their shells.
spring 2014 | spensermag.com
Grilled Spot Prawns with Chimichurri Butter Serves 4 as a light appetizer 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar ¹⁄³ cup flat leaf parsley, minced 2 tbsp. fresh oregano, minced 1 garlic clove, minced ½ tsp. red pepper flakes 8 spot prawns Good quality sea salt 1. Prepare your grill for use. While the coals are pre-heating, add the first six ingredients to a mixing bowl. Using a silicone spatula, fold the herbs, garlic, and spices into the softened butter until thoroughly combined. 2. Slice each raw spot prawn in half, lengthwise, and set on a tray shell side down. With scissors, trim off the small swimming legs next to the meat. Using the spatula, smear a small portion (less than 1 tsp.) of the chimichurri butter mixture on top of each piece of exposed meat. (Reserve leftover butter, tightly wrapped, in freezer.) 3. When the coals are ready, spread them out evenly, in a single layer. Cover with the grill grate, allowing it to preheat for one minute. Grill the prepared spot prawns, shell side down, for 2-3 minutes over the open coals. Remove from the grill and sprinkle each spot prawn with a few grains of sea salt. Serve immediately.
Salt-Roasted Spot Prawns Recipe inspired by Chef Michael Cimarusti Serves 4 as a light appetizer Diamond Crystal kosher salt (2 boxes will do) 8 spot prawns 8 sprigs fresh rosemary 1 tbsp. best quality extra virgin olive oil 1 lemon, quartered 1. Preheat your oven to 500째F. Fill a large deepsided baking pan (see note) with the kosher salt. Heat salt in the oven for 25 minutes. Once salt is very hot, remove pan from oven to a heatproof surface. (DO NOT touch the salt with your hands. It will burn). Using a large ladle, transfer a one-inch layer of the hot salt to a clean, deep-sided pot. Remembering NOT to touch the salt, place the spot prawns in one even layer on top of the salt in the new pot, adding one rosemary sprig next to each prawn. Using the ladle, pour the remaining salt from the baking pan over the spot prawns and rosemary. Allow the prawns to roast in the salt for 5 minutes. 2. Using tongs or forks, carefully remove the roasted spot prawns from the salt. Remove the small swimming legs with scissors, then slice each spot prawn in half, lengthwise. Use a brush to remove any clumps of salt that stick to the shells. Place four halves on each plate, drizzling each piece of meat with a few drops of great olive oil. Serve with a lemon quarter. Note: Use an old pan, something not used for table presentations, to heat the salt, as the high oven temperature could stain/darken the exterior.
story by Cyndi Flores â€˘ photography by Hilary Kline
(Clockwise from left across both pages) Texas Farm Road 362 just outside of Waller, Texas; The entrace to Blue Heron Farm; Penny Lane, a mother to two newborn kids.
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Nubians are bred for the high butterfat content of their milk, but these dairy goats are also known for their floppy ears and their proclivity to vocal expression. And so it was with great homage to her breed that Penny Lane heralded the arrival of two new kids this spring. Penny’s human guardians, Christian and Lisa Seger, owners of Blue Heron Farm, were never far from her side as she bellowed cries of astonishment. One provided warm molassas water, which Penny slurped up with the same vigor her kids would soon apply to suckling the nipple on a beer bottle filled with colostrum. The other gently grasped the tiny hoofs of the emerging kid and pulled until there was a gentle plop on a fresh towel. And so begins the production of milk, which begets the making of cheese, which enables the vision of humane and sustainable dairy farming as practiced daily by the Segers and other small producers like them. The Farm — As Lisa Seger explains it, “It was just crazy talk. I was totally city people.” She continues, “Christian was born and raised in Houston, so theoretically he should be too. And then eventually his vision became more specific. He’d say ‘We are going to live in the country and have goats.’ And I'd say ‘that's great, Hun.’” But once the vision had its foothold, the move to a farm was only a matter of time. For a small operation like Blue Heron Farm, being close enough to the buyer — close enough to community farmers markets, restaurants, and chefs — is essential. The further from the city, the less expensive the land, but the higher the transportation costs. For the Segers, proximity to Houston was also a necessity to allow Lisa to keep her job while establishing the farm and business.
(Both pages) Blue Heron Farm co-owner Lisa Seger making fresh goat's milk feta cheese.
“Ten acres was a minumum,” Lisa explains. “And the cost per acre was around $12,000, but this place came with the barn and a livable house.” There was an additional investment to build the cheese production facility adjoining the milking station. They kept that expense to a minimum by doing all of the finishing themselves and scavenging eBay and Craigslist for reuseable equipment. “Christian is amazing,” Lisa quips. “He can build or do almost anything. Unfortunately that means sometimes it doesn’t work right the first time, so we bought things like the pasteurizer and milking machines that we needed to have work immediately.” The Goats — Listening to Lisa Seger’s banter about her husband’s transformation from city dweller to would-be farmer, it’s apparent her heart was captured by his vision even if her head hadn’t quite caught up yet. “We both read Omnivore’s Dilemma… and we said we either need to do something or shut up,” she recalls. “So I bought him a community education course on raising goats, and I thought ‘Okay, I'll buy him this class and we'll stop all this crazy talk.’ But it sort of had the opposite effect. Christian was saying ‘I can't do this,’ and I walked out of there going 'Goats, goats, goats!’” Goats, indeed. Dairy goats are bred to... well, breed. Nubians, which constitute 100% of the Blue Heron Farms “spoiled" goats, are a favored dairy goat, especially in dry, hot regions, due to their tolerance for such weather conditions and their long breeding season. From breeding, the does then lactate, and from the production of milk, a dairy farm is made. Simple enough, one would think.
At Blue Heron Farm, there are currently 36 goats, with two bucks servicing a well defined breeding plan that includes about 25 does. The Segers keep meticulous records on matings so that kidding is easily determined in a fairly narrow date range. But billies will be billies. “You don’t know how much time we spend making sure they don’t get pregnant,” Lisa laments. “Their gestation is 5 months, and depending on when they kid, they might come into estrous the same month. We generally prevent [mating] from happening.” Nubians, all desirable qualities notwithstading, are not necessarily the highest yield dairy goats. In order to have milk year round while honoring their belief in sustainable farming, the Segers have developed a delicate balance of breeding and stockpiling. Large farms use tricks for getting goats to produce regular levels of milk out of season, but the Segers resist the push to use hormones. “It feels exploitative to me,” Lisa says. “The whole reason we got into this was to show that you could treat animals with dignity and respect. So we freeze cheese curd and we use that along with fresh curd to make sure we can produce cheese throughout the year.” The Man — All business is subject to regulation. And any business where human health is at risk can expect more than just a few yards of red tape to stand between the vision and the reality of running said business. The Segers fully acknowledge regulations as a barrier to entry, especially for small dairy farmers. But they also know that not everyone would develop safe practices without regulation. As an example, Lisa explains that theirs is one of the first small pasteurizing machines developed. “It costs as much as a car,” Lisa says. “In fact we call ours ‘The Corolla,’ so it is a barrier for entry to really small producers.” From her perspective, though, pasteurization, while a regulatory requirement, also has benefit to her product.
As she explains, “Fresh goat cheese is supposed to taste smooth, and pasteurization helps remove the bacteria — not dangerous bacteria — but you might get flavors with the bacteria that compete with the flavor you are trying to achieve in the cheese.” Not dwelling on the negatives of regulation, the Segers offer sage advice about the importance of meeting with regulators and working with inspectors. But the reality is, according to Christian, Blue Heron’s customers are the ultimate inspectors. Standing in the middle of the production floor, having just finished describing the drains and cleaning agents and temperature gauges that are all part of regulatory compliance, he says, “We sell cheese in here. We have customers who will call us and say I'm near by, can I come buy cheese? And so we may only get visited by the inspector once a month, but people 'inspect' us five times a week. Plus, as owner-operators it’s our ass if someone ever got hurt.” The Weather — At least the regulatory process is documented and somewhat predictable. The weather is anything but, and there is nothing that can effect a farm so quickly as Mother Nature. The worst drought year in Texas history occurred in 2011, and unless predictions about El Nino hold true, drought could continue through 2014. Skirting evacuation threat from wildfire brought on as a result of drought, in 2011, Blue Heron Farm set the bar by taking in goat refugees, producing a “Fire Chèvre” and using social media to broadcast the plight of the small farmer. Perhaps less sensational, cold weather in Texas, like that experienced during the polar vortex this past winter, is also a factor. The farm and production building are not temperature controlled, so goats climatized to warm, or even severely hot weather, do not particularly like the cold. Getting them to leave the huddled conditions in the barn to move to the milking room when temperatures hover in the teens is a little like getting a different kind of teen to get out of bed in the morning. And once there, the resulting yield can be low. spring 2013 | spensermag.com
(From left across both pages) Christian Seger, co-owner of Blue Heron Farm, fills a beer bottle with colostrum to feed to the newborn goat; Penny Lane checks on her newborn, which is only minutes old.
In a final bit of learned wisdom on the nature of goats, Lisa laughs, “If anything changes they get totally weirded out.” Keeping routine, avoiding any type of changes, like transport, unless absolutely necessary, and above all reducing stress, is important to milk quality and quantity, as well as their principals of animal dignity. The Process — Simply stated, combine milk with rennet, strain the whey and you have cheese. Lisa refers to it as "magic," and she is a self-taught magician. Aside from having fallen in love with goats seven years ago at that fateful community education course, for Lisa, the allure of a dairy farm had much to do with her entry into the “food business." While they divide labor — Christian normally tending animals and machinery, Lisa generally making and packaging cheese — they are very conscious of the need for both of them to be able to do anything in the operation. Their process has evolved from mistakes made and conscious experimentation, but it remains well patterned around the twice-daily milking lineup, the production of chèvre or feta, and the twice-weekly (and sometimes more frequent) trips to farmers markets. On cheese making days, the process starts with milking the goats, then pasteurizing the milk, adding rennet to produce cheese, cutting the curd, straining the
whey, and finally adding the flavorings employed for the line of Blue Heron Farm products. Many of the tools of the trade are standard issue — a well used Kitchen Aid mixer, two freezers converted to refrigators by addition of a temperature override, numerous plastic tubs and containers — but a few are inspired. One example is the pasteurization machine built especially for small producers to double as a cheese vat once pasteurization is completed. “So basically milk goes in [a little rennet gets added] and cheese comes out,” Lisa smiles in celebration of the magic. While Lisa freely admits to having learned the basics of cheesemaking from the Internet, she aptly demonstrates as she pokes a finger at the bottom of a hanging bag that not all things can be adequately described. In a self-deprecating way, she apologizes, “I'm super control freaky, and we have quality control standards that if it is outside a really narrow margin, it gets fed to the pigs. So I've learned over time the tricks to bring it inside the narrow margin.” The Product — While there is no documented origin of cheese, goats were among the first domesticated species. And while today's sheep and goat cheese are sold in far fewer quantity and variety than cheese produced from cow's milk, it
is probable that the first cheese produced some 4,000 years ago, came either from sheep or goat milk. Blue Heron Farm produces and sells fresh cheeses such as chèvre and feta, as well as cajeta — wickedly delicious Mexican caramel. They also sell goats, t-shirts, calendars, and cards. And as a sustainable enterprise, they use the whey bi-product to feed both their and neighboring farmers’ pigs. Since they only sell cheese products in Texas, and mostly in the Houston area to chefs and select farmers markets, it may not be possible to enjoy their exceptional cheeses. But it is possible to subscribe to another product, which they freely distribute at blueherontexas.com — that is information and experiences around sustainable farming, dairying, and just darned cute animals. (Writer's note: Traveling from Houston to Austin, I had to stop at Hruska’s in Ellinger, Texas, for what should be a world famous pan sausage and cheese in an absolutely heavenly bun. But even as I savored its mouth feel, I couldn’t help think perfection could be improved with Blue Heron Farms goat cheese! Perhaps the proprietors of these two businesses could get in touch and get me a little closer to paradise during my next visit to Texas.)
spring 2014 | spensermag.com
story by Mike Dundas â€˘ photography by Meredith Paige
(Clockwise fromt left across both pages) A field of White Sonora wheat at Pinnacle Farms in Waddell, Ariz.; Janna Anderson, owner of Pinnacle Farms, checks on a wheat berry; Jeff Zimmerman, on left, talks to a farmer; White Sonora wheat berries ready to be milled.
Wheat is described as fundamental, foundational, even elemental to cooking. Together with other ancient grains, wheat forms the base of the original food pyramid, makes up one of the “basic four” food groups, and dominates a large section of the new “MyPlate” nutrition guide introduced in 2011 by First Lady Michelle Obama. Yet, the flour produced from milling wheat berries remains one of the few ingredients that most followers of the farm-to-table food movement still take for granted. Hybridized, industrialized, and heavily processed, wheat varietals, and their respective cooking traits when milled into flour, are still unknown to most home cooks. For many of us who can rattle off heirloom tomato varieties like Green Zebra and Brandywine or name the farmer who raises our meat or the species of fish that are the most sustainably caught, there is still just generic “all-purpose flour” sitting in our kitchen pantry. Our daily bread is treated in much the same way. Take a look at the ingredients on a loaf of store-bought bread, not just the pre-sliced and bagged bread in the aisles, but also the baked-in-store bread that comes from wellliked brands. One popular “100% Whole Wheat” bread contains whole wheat flour, water, sugar and other a few other sweeteners, added wheat gluten, monoglycerides, calcium propionate, calcium sulfate, citric acid, and soy lecithin. It is a far cry from flour, water, salt, and leaven. In response to this trend, a few pioneers scattered across the country have set out to grow, harvest, and mill heritage and ancient varieties of wheat and other grains. From Glenn Roberts, the visionary, long time leader of Anson Mills in South Carolina, to the upstarts Nan Kohler and Marti Noxon of Grist and Toll in California, these folks handle grains in much the same way a wine maker uses grapes. For Jeff Zimmerman, founder of Hayden Flour Mills, in Phoenix, Ariz., the idea of growing grain and running a mill stemmed from the desire to both reconnect to the small farm values of his childhood growing up in rural North Dakota and to create a sustainable business that could support his family. Inspired by his wife, who is a nutritionist, Zimmerman began baking his own bread years ago, using flour ground from whole grains in a KitchenAid Grain Mill attachment. He only milled enough flour to bake one loaf at the time, but it was enough to spark his interest in something larger in scale. “The idea to actually get into the milling business came from my research into heirloom grain varieties for our home baking,” says Zimmerman. “It was a natural extension of other foods we were eating like heirloom tomatoes, heritage chicken, and grass fed beef.” Zimmerman’s first step, re-registering the now expired trademark of the historic Hayden Flour Mills, which operated in downtown Tempe from 1874 until 1998 and, at its peak, was milling some 100,000 pounds of flour per day. The mill was so central to the development of Tempe that the main boulevard running through downtown is named Mill Avenue.
“The great advantage that Charles Hayden had, and that we have, is that our climate is perfect for growing small grain,” says Zimmerman. “Almost 100% of the time, our crop is going to turn out fantastic, because of our lack of rain in the winter.” With the nostalgic trademark in hand, but no wheat, no mill, and no physical location, Zimmerman set out to change the way grains were produced in Arizona. It didn’t take long for the local food community to sink their teeth into the idea, starting with a chance meeting at a farm-to-chef conference hosted by Edible Phoenix magazine. “Before we met Jeff, there was a disconnect between the farmers and the bakers. There was no middleman miller,” says Marco Bianco, brother of James Beard Award winning pizza master Chris Bianco and head baker for the Bianco restaurant group. “After having the chance to talk to him at that conference, we told him, if he was really serious, Chris would give him space in the back of our bakery for a mill.” Arizona has a long history of wheat production and it had always been in the back of the Biancos’ minds to use local flour. The problem was one of sourcing. The large, industrial wheat farms near Phoenix sold their crops as futures, years in advance of the harvest. It was impossible for a small restaurateur, even one whose menu prominently features pizzas, pastas, and breads, to find a local supplier. “There are some 250,000 metric tons of durum wheat being grown in Arizona and exported to Italy each year,” says Marco. “It was easier for the Italians to source Arizona durum wheat than it was for us to buy it here. We saw Jeff’s idea as the lynchpin for our being able to access local wheat.” With the Biancos supporting him, Zimmerman took the leap of buying a stone mill from Austria. But there was still no seed to sow, no crop to harvest, and no wheat to mill. Enter Gary Nabhan, co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH and Roberts, of Anson Mills. Together, Nabhan and Roberts provided the much needed seed and expertise that Zimmerman needed to entice farmers to begin growing heritage varieties like the White Sonora, Red Fife, Emmer, and Golden Durum.
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(This spread) Head miller, Ben Butler, loading wheat berries into the German stone mill used at Hayden.
Clockwise around image, starting with top left: Hayden Flour Mills semolina; "Pasta Flour," which is a mix of Golden Durum and White Sonora; White Sonora Wheat Berries; Polenta.
(From left across both pages) Freshly milled polenta from Hayden Flour Mills; Products for sale at Pane Bianco in Phoenix, Ariz.
Janna Anderson, who has been farming 40 acres for more than a decade in nearby Waddell, Ariz., a small agricultural and horse community just west of Phoenix, actually approached Zimmerman after reading about Hayden Flour Mills in the local paper. “Farming is something I’ve always enjoyed,” says Anderson. “I have a degree in nursing, but I still remember that high school aptitude test, which told me that I would be best suited to be a farmer. I thought it was crazy at the time, but here I am.” Zimmerman gave her the White Sonora seed to grow at her Pinnacle Farms, but made no promises about buying the wheat. Many farmers won’t grow wheat without a contract, but, always up for a challenge, Anderson produced a bumper crop of perfect wheat berries in her first go. This year, she has planted ever more White Sonora along with a few acres of the ancient Emmer variety wheat also known as farro. “I had never thought about growing wheat, until I met Jeff,” says Anderson. “But I love the challenge of trying something new. I typically say, let’s plant this and see how it grows. It’s just how I do things.” As a boutique grower who follows natural farming practices, focusing on a commodity crop might seem like a bad business decision. Take a quick drive by the commercial wheat farms near Anderson’s property and you will see pristine rows of high yield, uniform looking, and weed-free hybridized wheat that grows little more than 18 inches tall, making it less susceptible to rain and wind damage. Anderson’s White Sonora crop, which is grown without the use of pesticides, is fast approaching four feet in height despite it still being early in the growing season. It is a risky venture, even on this small scale, but knowing how this sustainably grown wheat will be used makes it worthwhile. Don’t let Anderson’s sense of adventure distract you from the fact that growing heritage grain takes true skill. The primary reason large-scale farmers use the hybridized wheat is to increase yields while reducing labor. Conventional wheat grows uniformly, with set fertilization and watering schedules. The use of pesticides to eliminate weeds makes farming conventional wheat even easier. Also keep in mind that Zimmerman isn’t a farmer by trade. He provides the seed, but each of Hayden Flour Mills farmers still have to learn how to grow these grains from experience, trial, and error. In the true spirit of community, they come together at the end of each season to share what works and what doesn’t. That collaboration, coupled with the assistance of Nabhan and Roberts’ expertise, has allowed the farmers to find success in just a few short years.
Encouraging farmers to take on unusual crops is nothing new for Scottsdale chef Charleen Badman, owner of FnB Restaurant and Bodega Market. She is known for her vegetable-driven menus that highlight local, seasonal produce with primarily Mediterranean, North African, and Middle Eastern flavors. Having singlehandedly created the market demand in Arizona for certain vegetables like Gilfeather turnips, she has turned her focus to encouraging Hayden Flour Mills to source new products like buckwheat and freekeh, which is a green wheat that is often toasted over open flames so it takes on a bit of smokiness. “We’ve seen it with meat and vegetables -- having a direct connections to the farmers who provide our food,” says Badman. “Grains are the next step in knowing what we are putting into our body and where our food comes from.” Hayden Flour Mills products are sprinkled throughout her menu, from the crispy polenta served under grilled asparagus and a fried egg to the wheat berries in a spring salad of strawberries and beets to the chickpea flour mixed into what may be the best and most unique (i.e. non traditional) falafel in the country. While Jeff Zimmerman may have been the spark for Hayden Mills, the day-to-day operation of the business has fallen to Emma Zimmerman, Jeff’s daughter, and Ben Butler, the company’s head miller. Together, they carry out Jeff’s vision and carry on the original Hayden Mills legacy, starting with customer education at the local farmers markets.
(Clockwise from far left across both pages) Emma Zimmerman; Stickers hang, ready for use, at Pane Bianco in Phoenix, Ariz.; Working the wood-fired bread oven at Pane Bianco; Each wholesale order packaged at Hayden Flour Mills is hand labeled.
(This spread) Scenes from Pizzeria Bianco & Pane Biaco, with Chris Bianco (sitting at bar) and Marco Bianco (working in the bakery).
Unlike most other small mills, which bag only single varietal heritage grains each with their own cooking traits, Hayden Flour Mills highlights specific blends that combine the best traits of different types of wheat. For the customer, that means bags of “pasta flour,” “pizza flour,” “scone mix,” and “pancake mix.” This helps with customer education, introducing home cooks to the culinary benefits of the varying wheat varieties. “We try to blend variety and use,” says Emma. “The type of flour will always be listed on the labels, but we think our blends provide balance, helping you enjoy the product without having to be an expert in the product.” Since they mill to order, Butler, who first learned to mill flour and bake bread when cooking for his parents and siblings, will go through one large bucket filled with about 250 to 300 pounds of wheat berries each day (about one ton of wheat every two weeks). In addition to producing the various flour mixes, Butler mills farro flour, chickpea flour, and polenta, which is quickly becoming a local chef’s favorite. He still bags each batch by hand, using a small scoop and simple funnel. “There’s a lot of experimenting even today,” says Butler. “The stone mill we use is German and there was no English language manual so we’re always learning. We started out with six grains and are expecting to harvest twelve this year, including an Iraq durum wheat, three types of barley, and the heirloom ‘bluebeard’ wheat.” Most of the milled product is sold wholesale to bakeries, restaurants, and even breweries around the state. The wholesale customer list now includes more than 100 small businesses, including the Bianco restaurants, which helped start it all. “We are only as good as our ingredients. I am nothing without the miller and the miller is nothing without the farmer,” says Chris Bianco. “We all help each other understand how to get the most out of these amazing grains.” And get something out of them he does. For the past twenty-five years, Chris has been making a living selling just six pizzas and two or three salads plus an antipasto platter at his namesake, Pizzeria Bianco, in downtown Phoenix, so you know he’s doing something right. Chris may tell you that he is only as good as the last meal he’s served, but his pizzas have been consistently listed among the best in America by the New York Times, Food & Wine, and Bon Appetit. Still, he is quick to spread the credit around and considers himself less a creator and more a classical music conductor, coaxing things into what they want to be. There is no secret sauce here. Just a simple collection of wood-fired offerings that range from the traditional Margherita to the signature “Rosa,” which is made with red onion, Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh rosemary, and locally grown pistachios. “There are a lot of people looking for the secret recipe to something like great pizza,” says Chris. “But for me, it is about the transparency of ingredients and where your food is from. Pizza dough is just flour, water, yeast, and salt, but what type of flour are you using, and how is it grown?”
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In the next few weeks, Hayden Flour Mills will be moving out of Pane Bianco and into its own space. Butler and the Zimmermans are expanding their production by bringing in three new American mills to operate alongside the German one that started it all. And while the White Sonora wheat is their flagship today, there is no telling what the future holds. Jeff sees the company staying small with a definite focus on locally grown and locally milled ancient and heritage grains; a niche supplier in a market dominated by five or six companies that supply 80% of the country’s flour. As for potential competition, yields are low for heritage grains, so working with them is not attractive to larger companies. But that could change in the future, where anybody might be able grow White Sonora, making it worthwhile for the larger companies to enter over the market. That’s fine for the Zimmerman’s, who are all about sharing knowledge with the region’s farmers. “You can’t own seed,” says Emma. “That’s want Monsanto does and is not what we want to do. We will always be looking for the next grain, for something new and unusual for chefs that can set them apart. That is how we will thrive in the long term. That is what we look forward to with each new season.” Let’s hear it for the millers.
spring 2014 | spensermag.com
Salad of Beet, Strawberry, Wheat Berry, Yogurt, & Vadouvan Recipe inspired by Chef Charlene Badman Serves 4 5 or 6 large mixed beets (red, pink, golden, candy stripe, & white) 1 tbsp. + ¹⁄³ cup + 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered 1 cup wheat berries, cooked al dente and chilled 5 oz. baby red leaf lettuce (or mixed field greens) 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper ²⁄³ cup Greek yogurt 1 tbsp. Vadouvan spice mix (optional) 1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, toss beets with 1 tbsp. olive oil so that they are evenly coated. Transfer beets to a small baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the beets until tender and easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 50 minutes. Remove dish from oven and allow beets to cool, then peel by scraping skin with a spoon. 2. Add the cooled beets, strawberries, wheat berries, and lettuce to a large bowl. Toss all of the ingredients with ¹⁄³ cup olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper to the salad and toss again. Taste a leaf ot lettuce, adding more salt, pepper or vinegar if necessary. 3. In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, Vadouvan, 1 tsp. olive oil and pinch of salt. Spread a large spoonful of the yogurt mixture on the bottom of four plates. Evenly divide the dressed salad between the plates, placing salad on top of the yogurt. Serve immediately.
Homemade Cavatelli with Roasted Cauliflower, Spring Onions, & Fennel Sausage Recipe by Chris Bianco and Robbie Tutlewski Serves 4 To make the Pasta 5 cups Hayden Flour Mills Pasta Flour (or subtitute 4 cups semolina flour & 1 cup "00" flour) 1 to 1 ½ cups tepid water Pinch kosher salt To finish the Pasta 1 head cauliflower 3 tbsp. + 2 tbsp. olive oil 3 tbsp. butter 4 spring onions, medium diced 5 garlic cloves 4 bay leaves 12 oz. fennel sausage 1 cup white wine 1 cup stock (either chicken or vegetable) 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated 1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix well. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the water a little at a time, stirring with your hands until dough is formed. You may need more or less water, depending on the humidity in your kitchen. Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead it like bread until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes, adding flour to the surface as necessary. You can tell when you have added enough flour when you stick your finger in the middle of the dough and it comes out moist not wet, sticky, or dry. 2. Cover the dough and let it stand for 10 minutes at room temperature. Form the dough into a round and cut into quarters. Working with one quarter at a time (cover the remaining dough with an inverted bowl to keep the dough from drying out), on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rope ¼ inch in diameter. With a knife, cut the rope into ½-inch pieces. Using a gnocchi board or fork, with your index and third fingers held together, gently press down on each piece, beginning at the top and moving down toward the bottom, dragging your fingers toward you and causing the pasta to roll over on itself. Place the cavatelli on a sheet tray that has been dusted with semolina flour, cover the pasta with a clean dishtowel, and set aside until ready to use. This pasta will keep in the freezer for up to two weeks. 3. Break the cauliflower into 1-inch florets. In a large, high-sided sauté pan, heat 3 tbsp. oil on high then add your cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Cook for four minutes then add the butter and cook for an additional two minutes (the butter will help to give the cauliflower a really nice color). You can now add your onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Sauté for two minutes then deglaze with the white wine. Reduce by ²⁄³, then remove from the heat. 4. In a clean pan, sauté the sausage on medium heat in 2 tbsp. olive oil. When almost fully cooked chop up the sausage in the pan with your tongs into quarter size pieces. You are looking for nice crispy caramelization on the sausage. When fully cooked, add the roasted cauliflower mix. Sauté for two minutes, then add the stock and cook for 1 minute. Boil the cavatelli in salted water until al dente (about 3-5 minutes). Strain the pasta and then add to the pan with the cauliflower. Add in the Parmigiano-Reggiano to the pan and stir. Divide between four plates and serve.
Meyer Lemon Curd with Semolina Shortbread Cookies Adapted from a recipe by Chris Bianco and Robbie Tutlewski Serves 8 To make the Lemon Curd 2 sheets gelatin 2 cups Meyer lemon juice 1 ¹⁄³ cups granulated sugar 6 eggs, whisked together 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) cold butter 1 pint heavy whipping cream 1 vanilla bean To make the Cookies 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature ¾ cup granulated sugar ½ tsp. kosher salt 1 ½ cups Hayden Flour Mills White Sonora Flour (or substitute all-purpose flour) ¹⁄³ cup semolina flour Sanding sugar, for decoration 1. Bloom gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes. In a metal mixing bowl, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, and eggs until combined. Place the bowl over pot of simmering water and stir with a spatula until thickened, about 15 minutes (mixture should coat spatula). 2. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add to a mixing bowl. Squeeze out the water from the gelatin and add to the bowl. Strain
the lemon mixture through a mesh strainer into the bowl with the butter. Emulsify the butter, gelatin, and lemon mixture with a hand blender running on low to medium speed and then portion equally into 8 oz. glass mason jars. Cool the curd to room temperature and then cover each jar with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 3. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with the butter wrappers and then line the bottom with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add in the salt. With mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour and semolina. Continue mixing until well incorporated, scraping down the sides at least twice. Spread the dough into an even layer in the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. 4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle shortbread with sanding sugar. Bake until the cookies are pale gold in color and a toothpick inserted into the center of the shortbread comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Carefully remove the shortbread from baking pan to a cutting board and cut into small rectangles with a serrated knife. 5. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. While the cream is whipping, split open the vanilla bean with a knife and scrape the seeds into the bowl with the cream, discarding the pod. When ready to serve, dollop each jar of lemon curd with a spoonful of vanilla cream and serve each with two shortbread cookies.
story & photography by Imen McDonnell story by Brendan Lynch â€˘ photography by Mikka Tokuda-Hall
Nothing symbolizes the start of spring in the Irish countryside more than newborn lambs dotting the rolling harlequin green fields across this craggy, emerald isle. From coast to coast you will mostly find flocks of beautiful snowy sheep – Kerry Hill sheep, Connemara sheep, Mayo Blackface sheep, and others. Recently I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a fascinating farmer in County Kilkenny who is rearing the rare breed of black Zwartbles sheep. On a more washy than wishy day in March, I arrived at the quaint gates of Maiden Hall, a stone’s throw from Bennettsbridge, County Kilkenny. This beautiful farm estate dates back to the 1700’s. It is slicing rain as I slowly drive up the picturesque lane that divides two steep fields filled with rams, lambs, and ancient oak trees anchored in a tapestry of daffodils and purple anemones. I reach the early Georgian-style house and farmyard at its hillcrest, and, at that very moment, the rain clears and the clouds part, giving way to the warmth of strong sunlight. It is one of those masterful, beguiling Irish weather moments that always seems to signal a wonderful adventure in the works. As soon as I turn off the engine, I am greeted by the sleepdeprived, yet vivacious shepherdess ordering me to, “Get your Wellies on and come and see Sugar, she’s just had a pair of twins in the maternity shed.” I do as I’m told and follow her into the stone structure which is fitted out with individual birthing bays built for each ewe who is due to lamb. Sugar is there, happily minding her two so-new-theyare-still-wet lambs that are lying peacefully under a heat lamp. Shepherd Suzanna Suzanna Crampton has been farming these fifty acres in South Kilkenny since 2008. Maiden Hall has been in her family for seven
generations, and while Suzanna, born to an Irish mother and American father, grew up on the estate, she left after secondary school to attend university in the United States.
perfect smallholding animal. I caress the head of “Little Wren” who sadly lost two of her lambs the night before and appeared to be utterly depressed.
Her mother still owns the land, but has never farmed it. Her maternal grandfather, the celebrated Irish essayist, Hubert Butler, was a bit of a market gardener and he turned some land into orchards while leasing out the larger fields. Farming essentially skipped two generations before Crampton came back to Maiden Hall to live permanently.
I try console the crestfallen ewe, while Crampton arranges for her to adopt two other babies from another mother who lambed a foursome earlier in the day. Once the adoptees start drinking Little Wren’s milk, she will hopefully begin to bond and nurture the lambs as if they were her own.
Crampton studied agriculture, forestry, and wildlife management in Vermont and completed her lambing apprenticeship on two different farms in Ireland in County Wicklow and County Carlow in the early 1980’s. Afterward, drawn toward her “other” passion, she attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. When it was clear that the culture of American television and film acting were not her genesis, she moved to London to dabble in the theater. Ultimately farming stole back her heart and she was once again drawn to the land. She returned to Ireland in 1997 the year after her grandmother, Susan Butler, the sister of famous playwright Tyrone Guthrie, died and began looking after the farm for her mother who resides stateside. Zwartbles We walk around the farmyard as Crampton introduces me to more of the flock. I am struck by the friendly, calm disposition of this breed. Almost pet-like in nature, they appear to be the
First introduced to the Zwartbles (pronounced “Zwart-ables”) breed in 2008, it was a farming friend and neighbor who recommended that Crampton get involved with a pedigree sheep rather than a commercial flock. Despite the historical lineage of the farm, Maiden Hall hadn't the land to allow Crampton to make a sustainable living from a larger number of animals. After a visit to the local Ploughing Championships she spotted the striking Zwartbles sheep, with distinctive black fur offset by a white nose (or blaze), white “socks” on their lower legs, and a white tail tip, which is traditionally left undocked. The same day she bought three hoggets (young sheep in their second year of life) and one pregnant ewe from a farmer in County Louth. As luck would have it, two of the hoggets happened to be in lamb so she immediately doubled her flock in no time. Presumed to have originated in Friesland, the northernmost coastal region of the Netherlands, Zwartbles are known for their ability to produce quality milk, a trait that Crampton hopes to one day accommodate on the farm. (This page) Suzanna Crampton holds a newborn lamb at Maiden Hall farm in South Kilkenny, Ireland.
(Clockwise from left, across both pages) The striking Zwartbles sheep are given free range at the farm; The stone gate entrance to Maiden Hall; Local road signs near the farm; Crampton and her flock.
“It’s a sizeable investment to add a dairy to the farm, but I would love to produce sheep’s milk ice cream at some stage in the future,” she says. I strongly encourage her to proceed after having a taste of freshly churned sheep’s milk rhubarb ice cream she’s made with milk from a local sheep dairy. Creamy, rich, and lactose free, I long to stock this ice cream in our deep freeze. A lesser known, but imminently recognizable, quality of the Zwartbles is the flavor and texture of their lamb and mutton meat. And since Crampton’s flock is completely grass-fed, and also finished on grass and apples, her livestock yields lean, yet very tender and exceptionally delicious meat. It is no surprise then that the meat is sold at a premium price and is sought after by top quality restaurants in Ireland and the U.K. After spending an afternoon with Crampton and her flock, witnessing at least one live birth while awaiting several others including one ewe who has up to five lambs inside, and cradling a baby lamb that was brought into the house for extra incubation by the Aga stove, we sit and have some cake and a few cups of Ireland’s national drink: tea. I set back on my way home with happy visions of baby Zwartbles dancing in my head, one Zwartbles blanket, and a prized recipe for Suzanna’s sheep’s milk ice cream on the passenger seat. Pavane pops up on my play list and the soliloquy of strings seem to bring together my day’s experience as I glide through a countryside flourishing at the beginning of a new cycle of life. From my expat lens, I am struck once again by how my adopted country inherently and profoundly respects its livestock and the land. I have come to realize that this revere for the wellbeing of animals simply comes as second nature, and is deeply embedded in the fabric of Irish farm life. Grass-fed on pasture, Irish farmers have never known any other way. I pass a paddock of Friesian cattle and find myself smiling when I think about how my husband keeps retired dairy cows on the farm instead of taking them to be processed. Then I panic and wonder how many heifers have calved while I’ve been away and ring to make sure everything is okay in our own green “maternity ward.” Farm animals are part of our family, and like Crampton’s Zwartbles, they are treated with absolute dignity from the time they are born until they take their very last breath. The following day, we sat down at our own farm to a lamb feast of epic proportions. And, while I imagined the experience of eating Zwartbles meat could prove a heavy a mantel after my magnificent visit, it was nothing short of remarkable. The succulent, robust flavor and the distinctive meltingly tender texture was absolute ambrosia.
ZWARTBLES WOOL IS SOFT AND VELVETY -- DEEP, dark chocolate brown in color with sun bleached creamy tips. Suzanna Crampton instinctively knew she wanted to do something useful and beautiful with her herds’ fleece. So it was absolute serendipity when she discovered nearby Cushendale Woolen Mills in Graig-na-managh, County Kilkenny. When the local wool miller, Philip Cushen, made a concession to allow the use of his mill for a small amount of wool, Crampton set out to source a half-ton of purebred Zwartbles, with help from the Northern Ireland branch of the Zwartbles Sheep Association. “I crossed the length & breadth of Ireland, North and South to collect Zwartbles wool for this first wool run,” she recalls. This year she has already collected over 1200 pounds of raw wool from 16 flocks for her next run at Cushendale. And for good measure. Out of the wool, breathtaking Zwartbles blankets and travel rugs, all designed by Crampton, were spun. These blankets were selected for the Craft Council of Ireland exhibition at the London Design Festival 2013. The Irish President Michael D. Higgins has also chosen them to give as presents to Heads of State.
fall 2013 | spensermag.com
Wildflower & Herb Rubbed Roasted Leg of Lamb Recipe by Imen McDonnell Serves 6-8 as a main course Ed. Note: you may substitute nasturtiums, chive blossoms, or arugula flowers for the heather. Be sure to wear gloves when handling uncooked nettles (that includes rubbing the herb paste on the lamb) and discard the nettle stems, cooking only with the leaves. Imen serves her lamb with roasted Hasselback potatoes, honey-cumin carrots, au jus, and braised greens with mint sauce. 1 5-7 lb. leg of lamb, Frenched with inner bone removed by butcher for easier carving For the herb rub ½ cup chopped fresh curry leaves, plus more for garnishing ½ cup fresh thyme ½ cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped ¼ cup heather flowers, crushed ¼ cup young stinging nettle leaves, minced ¼ cup fresh garlic, 2 tbsp. grated lemon zest 2 tbsp. sea salt (Imen uses Irish Atlantic brand) 1 long stem of rosemary 1. Add chopped herbs, flowers, garlic, salt, and lemon zest to a food processor and pulse until a paste is formed. Slice ¼-inch grooves into the fat cap of the lamb in a criss-cross fashion. Slather top of lamb with wildflower and herb paste, being sure to rub into slash marks. Place long rosemary stem on top and tie the lamb with butcher string. Wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator overnight. 2. Take leg out of refrigerator an hour before roasting time and allow to sit at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover roast with tinfoil and place in wire rack inside of a large roasting pan. Pour one cup of water into roasting pan and place in hot oven. Roast for 1 hour and remove tinfoil. Cook for one more hour (for medium rare) or longer if preferred. (Note: lamb will be at medium rare when internal temperature reaches 130°F. Allow to rest on a carving board, tented with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing.)
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Rhubarb Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream Recipe by Suzanna Crampton & Imen McDonnell 2 ½ cups sheep’s milk (see note) ¹⁄³ cup sugar Pinch of kosher salt ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract 7 large egg yolks ²⁄³ cup stewed rhubarb (see recipe on our blog) 1. Combine sheep milk, ½ of the sugar, and pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add pod (or add vanilla extract). Bring mixture just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. If using vanilla bean, cover; let sit 30 minutes. 2. Whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar in a medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in ½ cup warm cream mixture. Whisk yolk mixture into remaining sheep’s milk mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 20-30 minutes. 3. Strain custard into a medium bowl set over a bowl of ice water; let cool, stirring occasionally. Place in refrigerator overnight. 4. Process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding in stewed rhubarb half way through the process. Transfer to an airtight container; cover. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 1 week. Note: Fresh sheep’s milk is a very seasonal food, available from spring until the end of summer so get it while you can.
story by Brendan Lynch â€˘ photography by Liz Clayman
Consider the humble cast iron skillet. Durable enough to help conquer the West and to be pressed into service from one generation to the next, cast iron cookware is heavy in the hand and heart — dense and laden with nostalgia. A cast iron pan signifies cooking, the act of cooking, in a way nothing else does. The cast iron pan is the Platonic Ideal of the kitchen. On the right side of the wrong side of the tracks in Syracuse, N.Y. is a bridge emblazoned with graffiti boldly reminding us that "Fall Leaves and Winter Longs." The building adjacent is a once majestic Albert Kahn space that was exemplar of industrial design intended to flood workers with natural light. Now the windows are sealed and dark. The building is in the process of renovation, the neighborhood is on the mend, the graffiti a koan-like reminder that this part of Syracuse is on the rise. Inside a dark building architected to celebrate light, a foundry burns bright. John Truex is making cast iron pans and he is doing it the hard way. Each day, seven days a week two, three, sometimes four pans are broken from sand molds that were hand filled with molten iron earlier that day. No two are exactly the same, nor will two of his pans ever be, as the sand-casts that mold the pans are destroyed after each use.
the radio, and a fantastically affectionate dog named Pip temper the space as more workshop than factory. Toward the side, what looks like a round enclosed fireplace is sounding a cross between a hiss and a hum. It is a decidedly non-threatening noise for something that is melting iron at well over 2000 degrees. In its current layout an open house would present certain safety concerns to be sure. Truex, a 31-year-old Syracuse University professor of art and industrial design, is driven by the process of casting iron. The resulting pan is just a natural and obvious by-product of his profession. “The process itself was the impetus," says Truex. "The immediate connection with the process is a cast iron pan. Little did I know that would take years to figure out.” To that end, he started at the beginning. The name Borough Furnace is homage to a time when towns and even neighborhoods had their own foundries. The company began as a conversation between John Truex and his cousin Jason Connelly about the process of casting iron. Sketches turned into a Kickstarter project with Truex “pretty sure” it could be done. He began without a prototype, a model no longer allowed by Kickstarter.
Sand and dust from the castings gives a pall to all the exposed surfaces, as befitting Confident of the process nevertheless, a foundry. But the air is clean, NPR is on Truex needed proof that the concept as he
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envisioned it, would work. For that, he contacted “probably every foundry in the country.” Obtaining a one-off prototype of that first pan proved elusive; industries designed for mass production were ill equipped or even disinclined to operate on the micro scale. Persistence paid off and Truex finally located a foundry in his home state of Tennessee that was up to the task. The Tennessee foundry had proven his concept. The next step was to cast in his own way. Foundries conjure Dickensian imagery and not without good reason. It is not a clean process. Casting iron requires furnaces burning at enormous heat in order to melt metal in a crucible. Without the molten metal there is no casting; without the heat there is no molten metal. ”The quickest way with the most predictable results is to burn coke — a coal byproduct,” says Truex. But Truex wanted to take the process in the opposite direction; to go from using fossil fuel to using a clean energy source. He decided that since he was building not just his product, but developing an entire process he should do so in the most (Arcoss both pages) Adam Lindaman, the production assistant at Borough Furnace in Syracuse, N.Y., prepares the mold for a cast iron pan.
John Truex, owner of Borough Furnace, heats the metal that will be poured into the mold.
responsible way. To fill the crucible, recycled scrap iron, often from the automotive industry, would be used. Turning his back on the fossil fuels that have fired furnace foundries since the Han Dynasty, Truex decided to use reclaimed vegetable oil as his fuel source. This had never been done before. To produce a skillet, therefore, he would have to invent, and then build a clean-fueled furnace. And so, the idea for the “Skilletron” was born. Unfortunately, getting vegetable oil to heat a furnace to the requisite 2600 degrees is every bit as hard as it sounds. Sourcing the oil from local restaurants and the iron from local scrap yards, Truex quickly established a supply chain for experimentation. He then fabricated a filtration system to cleanse the reclaimed vegetable oil, but he still had to take something that cooked yesterday’s French fries and make it melt metal. This process was not to occur overnight. The cast iron skillet may be a blunt tool, but casting it proved to be nuanced. Until a cast iron pan is poured and set, it is largely impossible to tell if the pan is good. Molten metal does not lend itself to a quick peek inside. Mold after mold were opened with broken or deformed pans inside. More castings failed, crucibles cracked, and variations of his furnace sputtered. “Hundreds and hundreds of castings failed,” Truex recalls stoically. “But the skillet is only an artifice of the process. For me, the product is more that the skillet, the product is the process.”
Each cast iron pan is seasoned with a good dose of flax oil before being sold. Opposite Page: (Far left) Pip, the foundry's official greeter and mascot.
Truex soldiered on, with help from his assistant Adam Lindaman. His Kickstarter backers waited, mostly patiently.
2600-degree vegetable oil foundry furnace, signed off. Skilletron was now on the City of Syracuse’s books. Borough Furnace could proceed.
Armed with tinkerer’s hands and an academic’s mind, Truex fashioned a furnace from old burner boilers. But it turns out that catching vegetable oil on fire is not as easy as one might think. Getting the oil to burn required a great deal of experimentation with spraying the oil through an atomizer and then into a turbulator in order to produce the correct combustible air/oil mixture, much like the precise air-to-fuel ratio needed to properly run the internal combustion engine in most cars.
Just as a cast iron pan is a product forged in tradition, so, too, are the foundries that produce them. “Cast iron pans all look the way they do because it is easy to make that mold,” says Truex. Huge operations have little to no incentive to change their designs with any degree of frequency.
Truex persevered, noting, “the form of the thing is derived from the tools that create it.”
“Lodge or Le Creuset would not do these forms because the failure rate would be too high,” Truex explains. “But one of the principle benefits of the micro-industrial process is flexibility.”
Eventually a combination of trial and error and academic rigor prevailed and the furnace produced consistent results. The fire inspector, in the unenviable position of giving approval to the just invented atomized, turbulated
A Borough Furnace cast iron pan is an extension, very much, of its creator. Truex gravitates towards simplicity without visual embellishments. Each element of the pan’s design is laden with purpose, from its thick base —
“beefy” is what Truex calls it — to the gussets that dissipate heat, to its long handle that stays cool to the touch. Exquisite care was taken in each element of design; a process that moved from sketch to CAD to proof of concept to pans for sale. The result is elegant, winning a Core77 award, as well as supremely practical. For Truex, however, the pan’s design is not resolved. There will be changes. “Even in mass-scale cast iron productions,” Truex notes, “there is still a lot of argument about the best way to do it.” Fittingly, Borough Furnace’s primacy toward process begs the participation of the end user. The Borough Furnace brand is the whole: handmade, environmentally sensitive, attuned to the time yet nurtured with just a pinch of the nostalgia. The Borough Furnace brand does not promote the selling of a better pan. Instead, it engages customers with a glimpse into process.
(Both pages) Lindaman cleans and polishes each pan with a collection of different tools and power sanders.
The colorful seeds of the sorghum plant.
Opposite Page: (From top) The 9" Frying Skillet from Borough Furnace; A 12" braising pan.
A Borough Furnace pan is precious. It sells for $280.00 — a Lodge pan of equivalent size is priced around $25 — yet each batch sells out instantly online. The end product runs the risk of tilting from handmade tool informed by the vernacular of modern design to luxury product, something Truex wants to avoid. To that end, much of his intellectual energy is being consumed by the problems of inefficiencies in his own processes. The pans are priced as they are at this moment because of the entirety of the process; Borough Furnace is not in the business of producing objets d’arts. As befitting any tool there is a seriousness of purpose. Conscious of the impact of branding, Truex wants everybody who buys one to know the story of how it is made and he wants for that story to be carried forward as the pan is handed down by generation. To that extent, Truex is optimistic as he sees a change in what people find valuable. He sees a harmony with the modern food movement and a desire for authenticity more fully developed than that in the manufacturing world. Borough Furnace’s micro manufacturing brings the two together. Purchasing a Borough Furnace pan is as much a purchase of the process as the pan itself. With enough money and a touch of luck, one can now choose small batch over mass produced — a choice that has not been available in American cast iron since neighborhoods had their own foundries. From Borough Furnace something so common as a cast iron pan can be, once again, delightfully uncommon.
personalizing food & drink Remarks of Andy Hatch, Head Cheese Maker at Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville, Wi., delivered at the Good Food Awards on January 16, 2014.
We milk cows and make cheese on our dairy farm in Wisconsin, and this morning I boarded the plane in the snow, thinking about stocks of winter feed running low and the cows taking shelter from the wind. I deboarded in the sunshine, and started hearing about drought and heat and water supplies running low. Both of these bookends make sense to me, they are places and seasons, and they stand in contrast to the airports and airplanes in between, when I couldn’t tell where I was or what season it was, let alone what time of day. Traveling days like this make me realize how lucky I am not to work in an airport, and how lucky all of us are to make our lives with farming and food – lives that keep time at the particular pace of a particular place. The long, slow winters at home always make me reflective, and time has been on my mind lately. My wife and I have just started having children the past few years, and this year we arranged to buy the farm from the preceding generation, now grandparents in their seventies who seem to be aging in fast forward. Over the past few years, working alongside each other has been a lesson in relative motion – it felt to us young folks like we had to keep slowing down to work at their pace, and it felt to the older folks like we kept pushing the pace until they couldn’t keep up. I think all of our lives are made up of these feelings of being rushed along or held up. The reality, though, is that we’re riding on the same wheel. In a few months, the snow will melt, the cows will calve, the grass will grow and we’ll start making cheese. By Easter we’ll feel like eighteen year-olds, bursting at the seams, and come Christmas, once the snow is down, the cows are dried off and the caves are full of cheese, we’ll feel like eighty year-olds just looking for a seat close to the fire. And of course someday we’ll be eighty years old, ready to step aside and rest. Those of us who work with farming and with food are so lucky to share in this secret of time. No matter how fast it feels like the rest of the world is going, you’ve still got to wait for the snow to melt and the rain to come, for the asparagus to pop up, for the grass to grow and for the cheese to come ripe. Farmers are the real time keepers of the world. Sorry Switzerland. So here’s to all of us keeping time by soil and by season and by food, and here’s to living by the pace of a place.
(From left, across both pages) Uplands award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve, an alpine style raw cow's milk cheese; The bloomy Rush Creek Reserve, also made from raw cow's milk, is bound in spruce bark; Cheese maker Andy Hatch. Photos on opposite page by Becca Dilley; Photo on this page courtesy of Uplands Cheese.
s "There is always something left to love." - Gabriel GarcĂa MĂĄrquez, One Hundred Years Of Solitude