Archive | November 2012

Beth and Annalie’s Garden Dinner

Beth and Annalie live and garden in Dalarna, Sweden–a picturesque region of small farms and iron-oxide-red barns and houses tucked into the hills along narrow, winding roads. They live in an old farmhouse; the barn is now their woodworking shop. Their yard is the old barnyard–a small plot of land so densely planted I almost got lost wandering the paths between garden spaces, admiring the garden gates and compost pile.

Willow Compost Bin

Dalarna is in central north Sweden–a challenging place to garden–so Beth and Annalie planted a living fence of willow to shield their vegetable garden space from the wind and create a warmer microclimate. Theirs is a free-spirited, rambling garden…pathways lace through raised beds of rich, dark earth, and plants jumble together–cilantro in the asparagus, borage in the kale, and calendula and poppies everywhere. There are beds of thriving potatoes, wildly happy garlic, and a forest of the biggest strawberry plants I have ever seen. It is a permaculture garden of flowers, herbs, vegetables, berries, and fruit trees finding a home together. The surrounding forests and meadows are a mushroom hunters’ heaven.

Swedish Garden

There is amazing diversity here–hazelnuts, apples, pears, cherries, gooseberries, raspberries…all loaded with fruit. An herb garden spills over with giant angelica, sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, mint, dill, and lemon balm. Everywhere you look there are plants bursting into the long days of Swedish summer. This has been an especially cool and wet spring and summer in Sweden, so the garden is full of cool-season crops: parsnips, carrots, peas, fava beans, kale, collards, cabbage, turnips, celery, lettuce, bunching onions, a very tasty pigweed, and arugula. A tiny glass house provides a warm environment for Beth’s hot peppers, a few tomatoes, and basil; window-frame tents create shelter for squash and cucumber. Out of this bounty Beth and Annalie cook wonderful garden meals.

Strawberries

Potato Salad with Green Sauce

Potato and Olive Salad

Beth used freshly dug small new potatoes for her salad. Any smooth-skinned new potatoes or fingerlings–red, white, or yellow–will work.

The Potatoes: Chop 1 1/2 lbs. potatoes into roughly 3/4-inch cubes. Cook them in a vegetable steamer until they are tender and easily pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes. Put them in a bowl with 4 finely chopped shallots or green onions, season with kosher or sea salt, and toss with 3 Tbs sherry or cider vinegar.

Ch0p 2 tsp fresh thyme, 2 tsp fresh oregano, 4 Tbs parsley, 4 Tbs cilantro, 1 cup arugula, and 1 cup pigweed (substitute endive, radicchio, or escarole). Mix the herbs into the potatoes. Add a small handful pitted green olives.

Make a paste with 1 minced garlic clove and a pinch of coarse salt. Whisk together with 1 tsp whole grain mustard, 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, and 5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil. Toss the dressing with the potatoes. Serve with Green Sauce.

The Green Sauce: Steam 4 cups chopped mixed greens (spinach, chard, kale, collards, borage) until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid. Put the cooked greens in a blender with 1 tsp fresh thyme, 1 tsp fresh oregano, 2 Tbs parsley, 2 Tbs cilantro, 1/4 tsp red chile flakes (or 1 small minced hot chile), 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 2 large garlic cloves. Puree smooth. Mix the puree with 1 cup thick whole milk Russian or Greek yogurt. Add salt to taste.

Green Dip

I was irresistibly drawn to the robust, whirling garlic scapes in Beth and Annalie’s garden. They had never tried garlic scape pesto, so I harvested a bunch to make some. The scapes are chopped into 1-inch pieces (to make about 2 cups) and blanched in salted boiling water 1 minute. Scoop them out and put in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, and 2 or 3 Tbs toasted nuts (we had peanuts). Puree to make a smooth sauce. Add 1 or 2 Tbs of the blanching water to make the pesto thinner.

Garlic Scapes

Wild Forest Mushroom Soup

Beth took us to her secret mushroom spot in a boggy birch forest. There was deep moss underfoot and the smell of  rain-soaked leaves and fallen logs. We looked for patches of small chanterelles–like golden nuggets hidden in the forest floor. We found just enough for a taste, so Beth made her mushroom soup mostly with dried chanterelles, full of wild and woodsy flavor. Other varieties of wild or “cultivated wild” mushrooms–shitake, oyster, morels, cremini, or porcini can be used for the soup, with different and delicious results. You can also use a combination of dried and fresh, or cultivated and wild mushrooms.

The stock: Beth made her soup with a combination of the mushroom soaking liquid and vegetable bouillon. Other options include homemade or good quality canned mushroom, vegetable, chicken, or meat stock.

Make your own Stock:

*Wild Mushroom Soup Stock: Start with 1 oz (3/4 to 1 cup) dried mushrooms and/or mushroom stems (porcini, shitake, any flavorful mushroom…) Wash the mushrooms well to get rid of grit. Put the washed mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups hot water. Weight them with a small plate and let sit 20 to 30 minutes, until soft. Strain, reserving the liquid. Squeeze out excess liquid and chop into small pieces. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter or cloth.

Warm 2 Tbs olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 large chopped onion, 2 diced carrots, 2 thinly sliced celery stalks, 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves, and 2 bay leaves. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Add 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 4 or 5 Tbs roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, the soaked mushrooms, their strained soaking liquid, and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour. Strain the stock through a sieve. Store in the refrigerator up to 5 days or freezer up to 6 months if not used right away.

*Basic Vegetable Stock: Warm 4 Tbs olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups chopped onion, 1 cup chopped leeks (including green part), 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots, 3/4 cup chopped celery with leaves, and 4 lightly smashed garlic cloves. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned. Note: An alternative method is to toss all the vegetables with the oil, spread them out on a roasting pan, and roast them in a 400-degree F. oven until browned, about 40 minutes. Either way, you want the vegetables to be lightly caramelized before adding the liquid. Add 2 bay leaves, 3 or 4 branches flat leaf parsley, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, and 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns to the vegetables in the pot. Add 8 cups water; bring to a boil, and simmer, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Strain the stock and store in the refrigerator up to 5 days or freezer up to 6 months if not used right away.

*Easy Chicken Stock: I like to make chicken stock from the bones left over from roasting whole organic chickens stuffed with fresh thyme, lemons, and lots of garlic. I put 2 or 3 chickens’ worth of bones in a slow cooker, cover the bones with water, and let the pot simmer all night. Alternately, roast 3 or 4 pounds organic chicken parts (wings, backs, legs, necks…) in a 400-degree F. oven 45 to 60 minutes until well browned. Scrape the chicken and any pan dripping into a large stock pot or slow cooker, add 1 or 2 coarsely chopped carrots, 1 thickly sliced onion, 2 celery stalks, 4 lightly smashed garlic cloves, and 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently, covered, 3 hours to overnight. Strain the stock. Cool and remove the fat. Store the stock in the refrigerator up to 5 days, or in the freezer up to 6 months.

*Beef Bone Broth: Use big meaty bones from grass-fed beef  (our neighbor Rodney gave me some from a bull he butchered). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Fill a roasting pan with the bones, roast them for about 1 hour, until well browned. Pour off the rendered fat, put the bones in a slow-cooker or large stockpot, add water to cover, and simmer 4 to 12 hours. Strain the broth, cool, and remove the fat before using or storing. Store in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 6 months.

*Quick Stock (Improving Canned Chicken Broth): Sauté or roast coarsely chopped aromatic vegetables in olive oil until lightly browned. For about 6 cups canned broth, use 1 medium onion, 2 carrots, 1 celery stalk with leaves, 2 lightly smashed garlic cloves, 2 branches flat leaf parsley, and 1 bay leaf. Simmer the sautéed vegetables, covered, in the canned chicken broth about 30 minutes. Strain the broth before using or storing.

The Soup: Use about 2 cups dried wild mushrooms (2 oz), a combination of 1/2 oz (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup) dried wild mushrooms and 8 to 12 oz fresh wild or cultivated mushrooms, or 1 to 1 1/4 pounds mixed fresh wild and cultivated mushrooms. Prepare the dried mushrooms as for the mushroom stock. Clean and slice the fresh mushrooms about 1/4-inch thick.

Warm 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Stir in 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion (2 medium onions). Reduce the heat and cook the onion slowly until very soft.

While the onions cook, warm 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the fresh mushrooms, tossing to coat with oil. Allow the mushrooms to cook without stirring until they soften, 5 or 6 minutes. Add the chopped rehydrated mushrooms (if using) and continue to cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned. You may need to add a little butter or oil if the pan gets too dry. Stir in 2 Tbs thinly sliced garlic, 1/4 tsp red chile flakes, 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, and 4 tsp fresh marjoram leaves. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 2 minutes.

Stir the sautéed mushrooms into the onions. Add 3 Tbs chopped parsley, 1 Tbs tomato paste, 2 or 3 finely chopped sundried tomatoes, 1/2 cup dry white wine, and any reserved mushroom liquid (or 1 cup stock). Bring the liquid to a boil; simmer briskly until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 6 or 7 cups stock of your choice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the soup gently 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbs sherry (optional) and 2 or 3 Tbs cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in 2 Tbs finely chopped parsley leaves.

Serve with toasted, crusty bread and freshly grated Parmesan or other hard, aged cheese. Beth added blue cheese, which was perfect.

The Bottomless Pot: I made this soup with dried shitake, oyster, and porcini mushrooms and Rodney’s bone broth. The mushrooms looked skimpy, so I added more…probably about 3 cups total, and ended up with a lot of soup. If your soup is really thick, like mine was the second day, it makes great pasta sauce. I also used 1 1/2 cups soup mixed with crushed tomatoes and a little red wine to braise meatballs.  I thinned more of the left over soup with broth and added braised red cabbage to make deeply flavored borscht. Finally, I used the last of it to make a wild rice and chard soup.

The Nasturtium Caper: Happiness in a Jar

This is treasure money can’t buy… jars full of the essence of summer and happiness.

Making nasturtium capers involves two of my favorite activities: foraging in the garden and practicing kitchen alchemy. By the end of summer, my garden is overrun with nasturtiums. They self-seed readily, and I love their bright red, yellow, and orange flowers so much that I pretty much let them grow wherever they want. Up until now, I have limited myself to eating the spicy flowers in salads, but I was inspired by fellow gardener and cook Mary Bard to harvest the seedpods to make nasturtium capers.

Real capers are made from the flower buds of the caper bush, found growing wild all around the Mediterranean Sea. Preserved in salt or vinegar, the buds are transformed into intense bursts of flowery, sour, salty flavor used sparingly to enliven many dishes.

The green seedpods of the nasturtium plant have a fiery intensity of their own that comes close to duplicating that of the true caper when pickled. My nasturtiums started making seedpods in mid-September and continued prolifically through October. The pods are found in groups of two or three hanging from curly stems under the foliage, so you have to crawl around under the plants to search for them–that’s the foraging part. Be sure to harvest only the green pods. If they are starting to turn yellow, they will be hard and un-tasty.

Making the nasturtium capers is easy: For every cup of seedpods, make a brine with 1 cup water and 2 Tbs. salt. Bring the brine to a boil and pour it over the seedpods in a glass jar. Cover, and let the jar sit at room temperature for 3 days. Drain the seedpods in a strainer and transfer them to a sterilized 1-cup canning jar. Bring 3/4-cup white wine vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan and pour it over the seedpods. Put a sterilized lid on the jar and screw on the ring. Cool until the lids seal. The capers are ready in 3 days and will keep 6 months or more if stored in the refrigerator or other cool place.

Nasturtium capers are milder and larger than true capers. Serve them with olives and other pickled or roasted vegetables as antipasti. Add a few to pasta dishes, braised chicken, or fish. Sprinkle them into potato, cauliflower, tuna or bread salad. Or, use them to spark up roasted root vegetables.

Caper-Dill Vinaigrette 

With a mortar and pestle, make a paste of 1 garlic clove and a pinch of kosher or sea salt. Whisk the paste together with 3 Tbs white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbs finely chopped fresh dill, 1 Tbs chopped drained capers, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, and freshly ground black pepper. Season with salt to taste.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over grilled or pan-seared salmon, or use it to dress boiled new potatoes or beets.

Tapenade

Tapenade is an intensely flavored spread that is a great topping for bruschetta, foccacia, or flatbreads. I like to play around with the ingredients but always include olives and capers.

Use a food processor to make a coarsely chopped paste of 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes (or oven-dried), 1/2 cup pitted olives (Nicoise, Kalamata, or oil-cured black), 3 to 4 Tbs rinsed and drained capers, 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, 1 large clove finely chopped garlic, a pinch red chile flakes, 4 Tbs chopped parsley, and 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil. Add salt, black pepper, and fresh lemon juice to taste.

Great additions: caramelized onions, roasted red pepper, mint, anchovies…

Pepperonata with Capers and Olives

Use this tangy sauté of sweet peppers to top bruschetta, pasta, or polenta. Make the pepperonata with ripe red, yellow, or orange bell peppers or long Italian sweet peppers of the Corno di Toro type.

You will need 3 or 4 bell peppers or 4 to 6 Italian sweet peppers (about 1 lb.) Stem and seed the peppers and cut them into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices. Warm 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the peppers and stir well. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt and sauté, tossing often, until the peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tsp minced garlic and 1 finely chopped hot red pepper (or a large pinch red chile flakes). Sauté 20 to 30 seconds. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata or Gaeta olives, 1 Tbs chopped capers, and 1 Tbs red wine vinegar. Sauté 1 minute, then remove from the heat and stir in 3 Tbs chopped parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Alternative flavorings:  Add 1/2 tsp crushed fennel seed with the garlic and chile. Replace the parsley with 2 Tbs fresh mint or basil. Add some toasted walnuts or pine nuts to the finished dish. Add 2 or 3 finely chopped anchovy fillets with the capers and olives.

Roasted Leeks with Capers and Green Olives 

Serve this as a salad, a side dish, or an appetizer. It can also be made with roasted red onion. Allow 1 medium leek or 1 medium onion per serving. Add thinly sliced raw fennel bulb for a dynamite combination.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat it lightly with olive oil.

Trim 6 to 8 medium size (1-inch diameter) leeks of tough outer and upper leaves. Remove the roots, keeping the base intact. If the leeks are small, leave them whole. Otherwise, cut each leek in half lengthwise and wash well to get rid of dirt trapped between the layers. Dry thoroughly. If using onions, peel and cut them in quarters, leaving enough of the base to hold them together.

Drizzle the leeks or onions with 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil and toss gently to coat well. Sprinkle with a pinch or two coarse salt. Place them on the baking sheet cut side up and roast 25 to 35 minutes. Turn them over after 15 minutes. The vegetables should be tender and starting to char on the edges.

Arrange the leeks and/or onions on a platter. Distribute 1/4 cup chopped green olives and 2 Tbs chopped capers over them. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a splash or balsamic vinegar.

To make a salad, chop the leeks into 1-inch pieces. Toss with the chopped olives and capers, 1 small finely sliced fennel bulb, and 2 or 3 Tbs chopped fennel greens. Dress with fresh lemon juice or vinegar.

Pasta Puttanesca

This sauce is deeply flavorful and robust, with a lively cast of characters contributing to the complex flavor… garlic, red chile, parsley, oregano, olives, and capers. Traditionally, Puttanesca sauce includes a “secret” ingredient–anchovies. This ingredient is secret only because the strongly flavored little fish melt into the sauce, lending a trace of savory brininess… an essential undertone. Make this with garden-ripe fresh cherry or plum tomatoes in summer, or with good quality whole plum tomatoes any time of year.

Warm 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Stir in 4 Tbs finely chopped onion and sauté 5 or 6 minutes, until softened. Stir in 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 minced small hot red pepper. Sauté 1 minute. Add 3 or 4 chopped anchovy fillets (well rinsed if stored in salt), stirring with a wooden spoon until they melt into the oil. Add 4 Tbs chopped parsley leaves, 1 tsp dried oregano, and one 28-oz can Italian plum tomatoes or 1 qt home-canned plum tomatoes and their juice. Break the tomatoes into pieces with your hands or a wooden spoon. Add 1/4 cup dry red wine and simmer briskly 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add 4 tsp capers (chopped if large) and 8 to 10 Gaeta or Kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half. Stir well and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat, or continue simmering to thicken, if you prefer. Taste the sauce for seasoning.

Serve tossed with pasta or spooned over polenta, with freshly grated Pecorino, Romano or Parmesan cheese.

The Cat, Big Boy, Enjoying the Garden

Visiting Wille and Gunnel: Swedish Breakfast and the Food of Kindness

Wille and Gunnel live amid fields of summer wildflowers–bluebells, hawkweed, daisies, wild geranium, lupines, surrounded by a dark forest of birch and spruce, which could well be home to trolls. The road to their home winds through former pasture and hay land before ending at their neat compound of red-painted farm buildings on a bluff above the rusty-red River Ore. A steep, forested ravine drops down to the river, and on the other side we can see the farm where Wille grew up working with horses in the fields and forest. Their farmhouse is flanked by a sauna house, bake house (now a guest cabin), and the old barn (now Wille’s woodworking shop). A short walk through the woods leads to the traditional “lust house”, a hidden get-away for long summer days and nights–a small, hexagonal gazebo overlooking the river.

Wille tends a large patch of potatoes, and Gunnel’s garden is laid out in tidy rows of carrots, onions, beets, fennel, lettuce, cabbage, parsnips, chard, radishes, dill, and parsley. Squash, beans and broccoli grow under row covers, and a tiny glass house shelters the tomatoes. It’s been a cold and rainy season, so the garden is late this year, but we get to sample tender young lettuce leaves, sweet crunchy radishes, and sprigs of parsley and dill. A deep, cold pit dug under the kitchen holds the end of last year’s potatoes and carrots; baskets of onions are stored in the shop.

Sitting down to a meal with Wille and Gunnel is more than sharing food. It is sharing tradition and a deep feeling of contentment with what the land provides. The table is set with wooden spoons and bowls shaped by Wille’s hands and laden with dishes prepared with vegetables from the garden, wild berries gathered in the forest, and local farm products. Simple and straightforward, the food is full of the flavor of the Swedish countryside and the kindness and generosity of our hosts. It is the flavor of goodness.

The first morning of our visit we joined Wille and Gunnel for Swedish breakfast– the perfect balance of good eating and good sense. Thin wholegrain  crispbreads, porridge and muesli, and an array of wonderful things to eat with them are the basics. Crispbread (knackebrod, or “cracker bread” because you have to break off a piece from the hard, thin disk of bread) is traditional in the north, where a half-year’s worth of bread was baked in wood-fired ovens and stored hanging from the rafters. These breads are most often made from rye and wheat, but variations made with barley and oat flour are common as well.

Toppings for bread start with butter and continue on to soft and hard cheeses, ham, hard salami, smoked fish, hard-boiled egg, and fish roe. Further adornments include lettuce leaves, fresh herbs, and slices of radish, tomato, and bell pepper. Wille’s special version is a piece of flatbread topped with butter, cheese, lettuce, and raw garlic.

Swedes also have a mind-boggling selection of yogurt products, ranging from stringy “langfil” (a kefir-like cultured milk) to rich, thick Bulgarian and Russian style yogurts. Most of the ones served for breakfast are thin and pourable, all the better to mix with muesli or crushed flatbread. First fill a bowl with yogurt, stir in muesli or broken knackebrod to soften, and add fresh fruit and wild blueberry or lingonberry preserves. This is heaven.

Swedish breakfast is hardy enough to get you through the morning, or at least until “fica“, or mid-morning snack. This is when many Swedes have their second round of strong black coffee. This is also when the good sense is gone and the pastries, cakes, and cookies appear.

Porridge

Wille makes a stick-to-your-ribs porridge of wheat, oats, and potato every morning. The porridge I cook at home is made from steel-cut oats (oat groats cut into small chunks). They cook into a chewy, creamy porridge with fuller flavor than rolled oats.

The process is simple: For 4 servings, mix 1 cup steel-cut oats with 4 1/2 cups water and a 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer partially covered for 20 to 25 minutes. Add a few tablespoons to 1/2 cup more water if you like a thinner porridge. Soaking the oats in the cooking water overnight will reduce the cooking time by about 1/3.

Muesli

Sweden is full of small grain crops–rye, oats, wheat, barley, and spelt–of exceptional quality and flavor. These grains make great bread, as well as delicious muesli, a breakfast cereal made from a mixture of flaked grains, seeds, nuts, and sometimes dried fruit. Unlike granola, muesli is not toasted; the ingredients are mixed together and left raw (rolled or flaked grains are steamed before they are flattened, so are semi-cooked). Stir muesli into yogurt or other cultured milk and leave to soften a few minutes before eating. Add fresh fruit or preserves as desired.

My favorite muesli is made with 4 cups mixed grain flakes (rye, oats, wheat, and barley), 1 cup oat or wheat bran, 1 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup chopped almonds, and 1/2 cup flaxseed. Sprouted grain flakes are extra good, if you can find them.

Granola

Homemade granola is easy to make and better than anything you can buy. Use your hands or a food processor to mix the ingredients for muesli with 2 Tbs nut or other flavorful oil and 2 Tbs honey or maple syrup thinned with 1 or 2 Tbs hot water. Spread the mixture on a baking pan and toast in the oven at 200 degrees F until lightly browned and crunchy, about 1 hour. Add dried fruit after the granola is finished baking.

Vary the recipe to suit yourself: Increase the percentage of rolled oats or add puffed grains to the mix for a lighter granola. Add quinoa or amaranth flakes for more protein. Substitute walnuts, cashews, or pecans for the almonds. Use fruit juice concentrate or orange marmalade for the sweetening. Add a tsp vanilla or almond extract.

Knackebrod

I fell in love with all the wonderful Swedish crispbreads, which come in endless varieties. I followed this recipe from a Swedish sourdough cookbook.

First, make a rye starter: If you already have a sourdough starter, you can convert it to rye by feeding it with rye flour for a day. Otherwise, mix together 1 cup lukewarm water, 1/2 tsp dry yeast, and 1 1/2 cups rye flour. Stir in a circular motion about 100 times. Cover, and let the starter ferment at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours, until very active and bubbly.

Day one: Make the dough by mixing together 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs rye starter with 3/4 cup room temperature water, 1 Tbs honey, 1 1/4 cup unbleached bread flour, and 1 1/2 cups rye flour. Knead a few minutes, dusting with additional bread flour as needed, and shape the dough into a ball. Cover and allow the dough to rest 15 to 20 minutes. Add 2 1/2 tsp salt and knead to combine. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a plastic bag. Refrigerate 24 hours.

Day two: Take the dough out of the refrigerator and warm to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Oil, or line with parchment paper, 4 large baking sheets. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and let rest 4 to 5 minutes on a floured surface.

Roll each ball into an oval or circle. You can roll the dough about 1/4-inch thick for a chewy bread, or 1/16-inch thick for a crisp, cracker-like bread. I rolled mine out to fit the 14-inch iron griddles that I use to bake pizza. My dough worked easily, but if the dough is sticky, add flour as necessary. Sprinkle the top with seeds (sesame, sunflower, flax…) if you like, and roll them into the surface. Place the flatbreads onto the baking sheets, cover with a damp towel, and let rise 20 to 30 minutes. Prick the surface of the breads with a fork every 1 to 2 inches.

Bake thin breads 5 to 6 minutes; allow thicker breads 10 to 15 minutes. I preheated my iron griddles and baked the breads on them. If you have a baking stone, use it. If not, any baking sheet will work fine. These flatbreads are delicious fresh from the oven, cut into wedges, and slathered with sweet butter.

Blueberry Scones

Scones are a treat for breakfast or fica. Tiny wild blueberries make them extra special. When I make scones, I try to channel our intern Haley Fox, who taught me the importance of speed and a light touch in mixing the dough. She could breeze into the kitchen, whip up a batch of scones in less than 5 minutes, and leave behind a swirl of flour and good smells from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In as large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or cornmeal, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp lemon or orange zest, and 1/8 tsp salt. Stir to blend well. Cut 6 Tbs cold butter into small pieces and use your fingers, two knives, or a food processor to mix them quickly and evenly into the flour to make a coarse meal. Gently mix in the blueberries.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 large egg, 2 Tbs fresh lemon or orange juice, and 3/4- cup yogurt or buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour the liquid mixture into the well, and briefly mix the two together with your hands or a large spatula or spoon until just combined. Form a ball and turn it out onto a floured surface. Press the ball into a flat circle about 1 1/4-inch thick. Cut the circle of dough into 8 to 12 wedges and transfer the wedges to a baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between pieces. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Scones are best eaten immediately!