Thursday Giveaway: Win a Copy of Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont

Giveaway: 5 copies of Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont
Authors: Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli. Published by Penguin Books.
Shop: Available from Shelburne Farms for $34.95

Shelburne Farms is a historic farm in Burlington, Vermont, that now offers inspiration to many with their educational programs, commitment to sustainability, and time-tested approach to food and farming. Cooking with Shelburne Farms is a celebration of their past and present, with one hundred recipes featuring ten basic Vermont ingredients—milk and cheese, maple syrup, early season greens, lamb, mushrooms, game, fish, pork, root cellar vegetables, and apples.

Read on to see how you can win one of five copies, and also see a marvelous spring breakfast recipe from the book.

In addition to the mouthwatering recipes, this book brings to life the succulent scenery and beauty of a working farm. From the smoky scent of a steaming sugarhouse to the treasure hunt for the first wild green shoots or prized mushrooms of the season, Cooking with Shelburne Farms will encourage readers to think about the origins of their food and to treasure the land and people who have brought it to them. It is a feast for all the senses.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: Tell us one springtime dish you are looking forward to making soon, or have made recently.

Type a comment in the comment section below by 8:59pm PT/11:59 EST Sunday, April 20, 2008. The winners will be selected at random. Good luck!

US residents only, please.

Springtime Eggs Benedict with Wild Greens and Mushrooms
David Hugo was head chef at Shelburne Farms for five years, but he started out as the breakfast chef creating this kind of seasonal, locally inspired dish. David forages his own ingredients and, ideally, he says, this recipe would use pheasant backs, an early-season mushroom often found near beds of wild leeks, or ramps. He would serve the eggs over O-Bread Bakery’s brioche.
Serves: 4

8 ounces fiddlehead ferns (see Tip, page 58) or 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 tablespoon olive oil
16 small ramps, dark green tops trimmed, bulbs cut in half lengthwise, or 1⁄2 cup chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
8 ounces pheasant back or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1⁄2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt plus more to taste
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces (about 1 cup) grated cheddar (see Before You Start)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 large eggs (see Tip, page 58)
4 soft rolls or buns, split and lightly toasted if desired

Before You Start
Even without fiddleheads, ramps, and pheasant backs, you can still make a wonderful version of this Benedict with cremini (brown button) mushrooms, asparagus, and chives; the last two are both harbingers of the growing season in their own right. For the sauce, use fairly young but sharp cheddar, such as Shelburne Farms six- or nine-month. This is a recipe best made with help, as there are a few things going on at the same time. This recipe calls for lightly cooked eggs—please see Some General Guidelines to Our Recipes page xv, for further information.

1. Put a medium pot of salted water fitted with a steamer insert on to boil. Steam the fiddleheads for 5 minutes just until tender. (Asparagus may need a minute or two more.) Set the fiddleheads aside, but leave the pot of water on the burner on low heat.

2. In a medium sauté pan or skillet set over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until hot. Add the ramps and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2–3 minutes until they start to soften. (If you are using chives, hold those until step 5.) Add the mushrooms and the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and turned golden, and they make a squeaking noise against the pan, 5–6 minutes. Toss in the reserved fiddleheads, adjust seasoning to taste, and cover the pan to keep the vegetables warm.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, bring the heavy cream to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan and simmer for about 12–15 minutes to reduce by about one third. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheddar until the sauce is smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste and cover to keep warm.
4. Increase the heat under the pot of water and add the lemon juice to the pot. When the water is simmering, crack one of the eggs into a large slotted spoon set over a small bowl to strain off any thin strands of white, and then gently lower the egg into the simmering water. Repeat with a second egg immediately. Cook the eggs for about 3 minutes for a medium-soft yolk. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

5. Serve each pair of poached eggs as soon as they are cooked. Place each egg on a roll half, top with a spoonful of the vegetables and, if using chives, sprinkle those on now. Top each with a small ladleful of cheddar sauce and serve.

Tip: When selecting fiddleheads, be sure they are the new growing tips of the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris, also known as Matteuccia pensylvanica). The new growth of a few other ferns is edible but is not as tasty and may cause stomach upset. Unfurled ferns should not be eaten at all. Look for a tight coil about an inch in diameter with an inch or two of stem beyond the coil. Rub off any brown, papery chaff before cooking, and wash the fiddleheads well in several changes of cold water.

Tip: The freshest eggs will yield the neatest poached eggs because their whites are thickest.

Prepare-Ahead Tip: A restaurant trick is to pre-poach the eggs, hold them in a bowl of cold water, and then pop them back in simmering water for 20–30 seconds to warm right before serving.

The foregoing is excerpted from Cooking With Shelburne Farms by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli. All rights reserved. Copyright © Melissa Pasanen and Shelburne Farms, 2007

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(Images: Shelburne Farms)