Spring is here!

Posted: 4/24/2013

It is finally starting to feel like spring in Wisconsin. The temperature is slowly rising, the sun is starting to peak out, and farmer's markets are starting. Perfect spring vegetables to incorporate into recipes right now are mushrooms, rhubarb, asparagus, spinach, and artichokes, so I tracked down some of my favorite recipes using just those items!  I am going to start with my favorite, the Les Frères Bake. Although mushrooms are not a spring vegetable, more of a year round one, it is always something you can find at the farmer’s market. For those of you have not tried the Les Frères Bake it is amazing!

Les Frères Bake

  • 1  ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics-Les Frères wheel (about 2-3 pounds)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette, cut into ¼ inch thick slices

Place porcini mushrooms and wine in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat; remove from heat. Let soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer porcini mushrooms to work surface and coarsely chop.

Melt butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add crimini and shiitake mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until brown, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Add shallot and stir until soft, about 2 minutes. Add chopped porcini mushrooms and wine. Boil until almost dry, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove Les Frères from paper, using a sharp knife, cut top rind from Les Frères; discard. Place Les Frères on an oven safe plate that has a fluted edge. Mound mushroom mixture on top of Les Frères.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until cheese begins to melt and mushrooms are warmed through, about 10-15 minutes. Serve with baguette slices.

The second recipe I have is our Les Frères Pizza, which uses asparagus.

  • 1  pre-baked 10 or 12 inch pizza crust
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 Pre-cooked asparagus spears, roasted with salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup sliced mushrooms, sautéed
  • 8 ounces Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics -Les Frères, cut into thin slices

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place pizza crust on pizza pan. Brush pizza crust with olive oil. Arrange asparagus and mushrooms on pizza. Place cheese wedges over entire pizza. Bake about 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.

To use spinach and artichokes, I have a recipe for Spinach and Artichoke Mashed Potatoes.

  • 3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 2 cups Crave Brothers fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 14 ounces artichoke, drained and chopped
  • 4 oz Crave Brothers mascarpone
  • 4 oz Crave Brothers Les Frères
  • 10 ounces chopped spinach, salt & pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water (peeled if desired), drain.

While the potatoes are boiling, combine mozzarella, sour cream, Parmesan, garlic, artichoke hearts, mascarpone, Les Frères and spinach in a large bowl; stir until well-blended.

Mash the boiled potatoes with the butter and cream. When thoroughly mashed, add the spinach, artichoke and cheese mixture; stir until well incorporated.

Spoon mixture into a large baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with 2 ounces of additional Parmesan, bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Lastly, I recommend a Ginger - Rhubarb Compote.

  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups) 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, honey, butter, cinnamon and ginger in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and pierce once or twice to allow steam to escape. Microwave until the rhubarb is tender, about 6 minutes. Carefully remove the plastic wrap, stir and let cool.

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