Saturday, August 10, 2013


I went foraging this weekend with my good friend Matt Wick and found some exciting things other than wild edibles. We just went out into the woods surrounding my home in Northwest, CT. We did not find many mushrooms other than one botele and one dried up chanterelle. We did find loads of wood sorrel and loads of newly growing woodruff. We found some pursalane, bee balm flowers, and some yarrow. We did also find this bath tub sitting on a large rock deep in the woods. Yes, creepy. What is even more creepy is that we also found our missing chicken seed. I found the ripped apart bag under a tree that was only about 30 feet from our home. Apparently our resident bear carried the 25 pound bag of starter (which was leaning against our house) about 30 feet and tore it to shreds. We also found his collection of trash, including some old beer cans. Perks of living in the woods, I guess.


 The missing chicken seed bag

 Bee Balm (hummingbirds love this stuff)

Honeydew Melon

At community table we received a bounty of cucumbers and honeydew this month from various Connecticut farmers. I love the combination of cucumber and honeydew melon and no ingredients represent summer better than melon and cucumber (and maybe tomatoes, ha). I really love the simplicity of honeydew melon compressed in a flavored syrup, like lemon verbena for example, which I use in this dish. I wanted the honeydew to be the main focus of the plate and highlight its sweet, mildy vegetal flavors with citrus-y lemon verbena and sorrel, herbal and somewhat grass-y matcha green tea, and lastly refreshing cucumber. I am really happy with the overall dish especially the mousse. The great thing about the mousse is that it is dairy and egg free. It is essentially only honeydew. The creation of this dish led me to a new way to make sorbets for fruits, especially fruits that should never be cooked nor heated. I mentioned how I love simply compressed honeydew melon so I figured why not transform this into a sorbet. I came up with a formula by calculating how much water was in the melon and compensated it into the recipe. I figured it would be silly to just puree the melon and then make a base with that, since the melon would be too hard and brittle. I simply make a syrup with various sugars, some water, and some citric acid. I then pour this liquid over the melon and then compress the fruit in bags in the cryovac. The fruit absorbs this syrup and becomes very soft and almost pliable. I let the bagged fruit sit in the walk for about 36 hours and when the fruit is soft and has absorbed all of the sugar liquid, I then blend it, and spin it in the ice cream machine. The results are terrific. I use this same method the create the base for the aerated mousse. The sorbet flavor is intensely honeydew melon and not watered down at all. The sorbet base actually only has about 5 percent of added water so it is pure honeydew melon. This method works great with other delicate fruits such as nectarines, peaches, and blackberries. 

Honeydew Melon Mousse
lemon verbena, green tea, wood sorrel, cucumber ice cream

Monday, July 15, 2013

Raspberry Ice

Raspberry Ice
buttermilk, green tea, sorrel, backyard black raspberries

This is one of my newest desserts at CT. We have been receiving massive amounts of berries from all of our local farmers, especially raspberries. I love raspberries and I really enjoy eating them frozen. The concept for this dish was simple. I wanted to serve frozen raspberries in the form of a simple granita served with green tea, sorrel, and yuzu. To add an element of surprise and subtle complexity to the dish, I keep the vibrant red raspberries hidden. The raspberry ice is encased in buttermilk ice, so when the diner receives the dish there is neither visible granita nor any red component in the dish . After "digging in" the diner then breaks open the ice to reveal the intensely red raspberry ice and this makes the dish more interesting by being unexpected.

Living in Cornwall, CT

Long Meadow Farm eggs
Long Meadow Farm


Our neighbors

BBQ + chickens (not barbecue chicken)
Our Barred Rock chicks

wild angelica
Our Concord Grape tree

"Roosevelt" our resident black bear 
photo courtesy of our neighbor Brian Thomas

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sheep's milk yogurt

Sheep's Milk Yogurt, sweet cicely, rhubarb, chartreuse, lemon verbena

Sunday, June 16, 2013


(photo courtesy of the awesome instagram skills of Audra Viehland)

White Chocolate, strawberry, whey, olive oil, nasturtium, ricotta 

Strawberry season is finally in full swing. We are actually getting some awesome strawberries here in northwest Connecticut. So good in fact that I was struggling to figure out what to do with them because I just wanted to serve them as is. I was inspired by salad with italian flavors for this dessert. I love the classic combination of strawberries with black pepper and balsamic, especially on a salad of pepperry greens such as arugula and a soft goat cheese. So simple but still one of my favorites. So with this dish instead of macerating the strawberries in vinegar, I substitute the sour- tangy flavor with whey. We get some great local yogurt and we save the whey which is very versatile. . We use the whey for baking and lacto-fermented, etc. The strawberries are just compressed whole in whey, lightly sweetened with sugar. I also use the whey to make a nice peppery olive oil-whey cake that is cut and then toasted to make "croutons" just like in a salad. I serve it with Calabro ricotta from New Haven (which i clearly love- i use it constantly) that is sweetened. It is garnished with peppery nasturtium, untouched strawberries, olive oil, and served in a white chocolate "egg". Dessert salad- Simple but good.

white chocolate eggs