Stinging Nettles and Mushroom, Red Fife Galette

I'm putting Red Fife Flour into everything these days.  When I tried it the first time around I was hesitant.  I used it in bread and that was about it.  This time around I'm just putting it in with regular flour and mixing it all up in just about anything (except for the chocolate cookies that I made recently) and hoping for the best.  The coolest part is that things are turning out wonderfully.  I made a quick bread.  I made this.  I made another tart using half red fife and half all purpose... all of it was great.  Am I healthier for it?  Don't have a clue.  I know that I've said this before but when it comes to me and cooking - it's the challenge.  And not the challenge in the way you might think of a cooking challenge.  I couldn't give a rats ass if it's fancy or has the right combination of crunchy/smooth or whatever.  I want to see if I can make something taste good.  That's pretty much it.  Can I take something that nobody cares about anymore, or something that is good for you and make it into something that's great. Red Fife is like that for me.

Challenges can be funny things.  D and I are pretty driven people.  D has taken up running since shortly after I started and with my foot in the shape he's been doing much harder and longer runs than me.  I bike - a lot.  He works out regularly.  We're active.  I'm always doing crazy stuff in the kitchen - like I never stop really.  He's always jigging around with our computers/internet/tv settings and set up and all that crap that is completely foreign to me.  What's interesting to me though is that we don't challenge ourselves or feel driven in any serious way toward things.  Ex.  We've been in our house for just over ten years.  Sure it's a little small but it works for us and we've got no real plans to go anywhere for a while.  We've hardly done anything around the house - I don't know if we've even painted.  I've created a garden in the back but there's a serious pay-off for me in that.  In short, we're not terribly house proud nor are we aspiring toward the bigger house.

This is what our front hall looks like at the moment - pretty much at any moment... yikes.
Same with our car.  Same with... most stuff. We love being able to purchase art from our artist friends (serious artist friends).  We couldn't survive without music in our house and on our ipods.  But it just seems strange to me that I can care so little about some things and so much about others.  It strikes me that a true type A person would be just going for it in everything.  Probably giving themselves a stroke in the process.  D was telling me that he was lamenting the fact that he hadn't been practising in a while and hadn't done something or other around the house that he was supposed to do... 'it's sheer laziness' he was saying to himself.  Then he realized that he was having this inner conversation while he was totally killing a 14k run.  Nope.  Not lazy.  Something else I guess... we just don't know what yet.
So as I'm thinking about what drives and challenges me I keep coming back to the kitchen and how this stupid little bag of red fife flour has been occupying my consciousness lately.  I've been thinking of what else to do with it to see if it works.  To see how it would taste.  Maybe it's about curiosity, I wonder.  Either way this galette recipe lent itself beautifully to red fife flour and the stinging nettles were awesome.  I loved being able to stick to something seasonal and come out with such a great meal at the end of it.

Nettles and Mushroom, Red Fife Galette adapted from 'Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone' - Deborah Madison
serves 2 very hungry or 4 moderately hungry people

Galette Dough

1 cup Red Fife flour (use whole wheat pastry flour if you don't have red fife)
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
11/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup ice water
1/4 cup plain yogurt


4 - 5 cups stinging nettles or other green, stemmed and finely chopped
1 cup onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups mushrooms (I used fresh shitake but something else would work too)
1 boullion cube dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp herbs - I used a combination of fresh (mint/chives/parsley/oreg) but dried herbs are fine too (basil, oreg/parsley) you get the idea. 
1 1/2 tsp salt
1  tsp pepper sauce (optional)
2 tbsp cream
1/2 - 2/3 cup strong cheese (I used aged cheddar)
1/2 - 2/3 cup goat cheese chevre

Combine the flours, butter,salt and sugar together in a bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or a couple of knives start to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it's combined enough to look pretty crumbly. Add the water and the plain yogurt and mix until it forms a dough ball.  Refridgerate for about 15 minutes. 
Cover a baking pan (I use a cookie sheet or a pizza pan) with parchment or a non-stick baking mat.  Set aside.
On a barely floured surface roll out the dough to somewhere around 1/4 of an inch thickness.  I should be in a rough circular shape.  Carefully fold it up and move it to the baking pan to unfold it.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add in about 2 - 3 tbsp of the oil of your choice.  Add in the onion and turn the heat down just a little.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add in the garlic and nettles.  Cook together just until the nettles have begun to wilt.  Add in the water mixed with boullion.  Cook for another minute.  Remove from the heat.  Add in the rest of the ingredients.  Check the taste and adjust if necessary. 
Scoop the filling into the centre of the dough circle.  Spread the filling out so that only about 3 inches or so of dough is left free all around the edge.  Fold the dough over the filling, overlapping where necessary and leaving some space in the centre for just the filling. 
Bake for about 35- 40 minutes or until the dough is just nicely browned. 
Remove and cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Wild Leek (aka Ramps) and Sausage Pasta

It's getting to be that time.  I'm starting to think a little less about how I can stretch the turnip, rutabaga and cabbage and a little more about the new, fresh stuff starting to roll in.
The food box is shelling out stinging nettles and wild leeks.  I couldn't help myself - I ordered both.  Two weeks in a row.  Who knows how long this stuff will be around right.  Now I've still got some parsnips and carrots that need finishing up but other than that... oh and a little corn and green bean still left in the freezer... but other than that we're moving onward and upward my friends.  Onwards and upwards.  To... Wild Leek Pasta.

I must admit to you that I'm going to kind of miss my winter veg.  I've grown quite fond of celeriac, cabbage and beets.  I'm already missing my beet pickles and I think that roasted beet greens are just as good as anything else I've ever eaten.  I don't know why we don't serve more of this stuff in restaurants.  Is it that no one will eat it?
I was reading an article in Toronto's 'Now' Magazine in which the writer was lamenting that Steven Spielberg has bought the story to the Quebecois film 'Starbuck'.  That's right... he didn't buy distributing rights to the film he bought the story rights and is going to remake it.  The writer thought that the better thing to do would be to purchase the distribution rights and distribute the Quebecois film in the U.S.  It's a wonderful film and why mess with it?  'Cause that's what Hollywood does?  Do bad remakes of wonderful films.  Turns out that statistically less than 50% of Americans ever leave their country.  Seems that rather than watching 'Shall We Dance' in it's original Japanese (with subtitles) most audiences were much more interested in seeing the mediocre American remake.  Don't even talk to me about 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'.  The subtitles... it feels hoity-toity.  It feels 'foreign' and therefor artsy and artsy is... bad(?).  I don't understand it but I think a similar thing only in reverse happens in restaurants.
I would love to see what a chef could do with celeriac or rutabaga or beets or locally farmed goat or whatever.  You've gotta search pretty hard for restaurants like that because it's a hard sell.  That kind of food feels like country food.  Food that poor, unsophisticated country folk might serve.  Something your grandmother forced you to swallow when what you really wanted to eat was chef boy-ar-dee ravioli (or maybe that was just me) and you looked forward to the day when you didn't have to eat boiled turnip anymore if you didn't want to.  You told yourself that when you grew up you could eat McDonalds every day if you wanted to.  And then you grew up and decided that McD's actually made you want to puke but you still never reconsidered those crazy, weird turnips and parsnips.  Yeah, it's like hoity-toity in reverse.

Having said all that, I was still pretty happy to see these locally grown leeks starring up at me from my food box.  I did though, feel a little twinge of sadness too.  I'd say that all in all this dish was a great way to kick off the spring growing season and send off the winter season with a big 'mwaaah'.   Goodbye my winter lovelies and hello my spring lovies.

Wild Leek and Sausage Pasta (I threw this one together myself)
serves 4 (generously) - 6 (appetizer... but who does that?)

4 - 5 cups pasta (like rotini or penne) cooked al dente and drained
1 lg bunch of wild leeks (about 20 altogether) - the whites sliced small and the greens sliced thickly
1 1/2 lbs (about 4 med sized) sausage - I used Garlic and Honey but Italian would be fine too - sliced into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/3 cup goat cheese chèvre
1 veggie bouillion cube dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper sauce
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika

Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add a couple of tbsp's of oil or butter.  Turn the heat down a little and add in the diced leek whites.  Saute just a couple of minutes and then add in the sausage slices and cook together until the sausage is cooked through (about 5 - 6 minutes).  Add in the leek greens and cook together for another couple of minutes.
Turn the heat down a little more again.
Add in the water/boullion cube mixture.  Cool together for a minute.  Add in the cream and stir well.  Let the cream warm in the pot for a couple of minutes.
Add in the parmesan and the goat cheese once the cream is warm.  Stir until the cheeses are melted in.
Add in the salt, pepper sauce (a little cayenne in a pinch), nutmeg and paprika.
Check the taste and adjust if necessary.
Gently toss the sauce with the cooked pasta.

Powered by Blogger.

Archivo del blog

About Me

My photo
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
  • Moosewood Cookbook

About Me

My Photo
Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
View my complete profile



Blog Archive



FBC Member