Recipe: Almond Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies

This recipe is from our Garden to Table cookbook and created by  author and Chef Moreka Jolar.
Our favourite is Cranberry-Orange Sauce (see recipe below), but these cookies can be a vehicle for any of your preserves. You can’t go wrong…strawberry-rhubarb, ginger-peach, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, apple butter, marmalade… Time to get some of that dusty canning off the shelf and give it new life.

Almond Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 2 dozen

3/4 cup Cranberry -Orange Sauce (see recipe below)
1 cup almonds
1/4 cup confectioners’ or icing sugar
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast almonds in the oven for 8 minutes, remove and allow to cool.

Combine nuts and sugar in food processor until finely ground.

cookies2Add flour and salt and pulse until combined. Add butter, vanilla and almond extracts and pulse a few times until dough comes together.

Roll dough into 1-1/2″ balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using your thumb, make a small indent in the middle of each cookie. Fill holes with 1 tsp Cranberry Orange Sauce and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Makes 2 cups

1 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest
4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup honey (or more to taste)

Bring orange juice and zest to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add cranberries and honey and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until cranberries burst and sauce thickens. Serve warm or chilled.

Moreka JolarMoreka Jolar is most fired up when creating good eats and motivating others to do the same. Her career has taken her from Vancouver’s artisan bakeries to busy island retreat centres. She has been a chef at Hollyhock for 15 years and co-authored the bestselling cookbook, Hollyhock Cooks and just recently, Hollyhock Garden to Table (Spring 2013).  Moreka’s passion for fresh, inspired foods is as infectious as her laughter.

The Magic of Mushrooms

Via Euronews

The incredible properties of mushrooms are being unearthed by mycologists with wide-ranging benefits in various fields from packaging to antibiotics, biofuels to ecological pesticides.

In 2006, a patent was granted to mycologist, Paul Stamets. The patent is perhaps the biggest threat the chemical pesticide industry has ever encountered and this is only one of a string of patents Paul has to his name.

‘I’ve always loved a good challenge and saving the earth is probably a good one’ says Stamets in his Ted Talks on the subject.

Statmets has discovered how to harness the properties of mushrooms to keep insects from destroying crops. They’ve been dubbed ‘SMART pesticides’. They provide a safe and almost permanent solution for controlling over 200,000 species of insects – and all thanks to the ‘magic’ of mushrooms.

Paul does this by taking entomopathogenic Fungi (insect-destroying-fungi) and engineering them to not produce any spores. In the absence of spores, insects that would normally steer clear of such funghi see it as food. But when they tuck into the SMART pesticide, they themselves transform into the mushroom from the inside out.

It sounds pretty gruelling but the invention has the potential to revolutionise the way crops are grown and managed. The existential problem of declining bee populations as a result of widespread chemical-pesticide use and the health problems associated with consuming chemical pesticides could be a thing of the past!

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Other potentially revolutionary patents include, packs containing mycelium spores which lead to habitat restoration. When left in polluted areas, the funghi sanitise chemical, bacterial or even petrol-based pollutants allowing insects to thrive followed by birds and then plants. Once baron landscapes become ‘oases of life’!

Statmets reeled off several fascinating facts about mushrooms including that the biggest living organism in the world is a 2200-acre-mushroom in Oregon; that mushrooms were the first organisms to inhabit land and were the building blocks for life as we know it; and that mycelium produces mushrooms strong enough to burst through asphalt!

‘These are gateway species, vanguard species that open the door for other biological communities,’ Statmet explains.

The next time you buy some Portobellos for dinner, spare a thought for how these organisms’ astounding properties might just save the planet.

Paul Spaul-stametstamets, D.Sc (Hon.), is the founder of Fungi Perfecti and Host Defense Organic Mushrooms, and has been a dedicated mycologist for over forty years. He has written six books and pioneered countless techniques in the field of edible and functional food mushroom cultivation. Two of his books, Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms and The Mushroom Cultivator have been heralded as the ‘bibles’ of the mushroom industry. His latest book, Mycelium Running, How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, has propelled his vision of using mushrooms to help save ecosystems and improve population health to the world stage.

Not Enough

By Jude Bijou, who will be presenting Attitude Reconstruction: Build Joy, Love, and Peace in Vancouver on Oct 22-23, 2016.

Do you feel like you’re never enough? That there’s never enough time? Money? Friends? Great opportunities? Recognition? Do you believe if you had or did something else — got married, earned more, looked more beautiful, danced better, or had more time — you’d finally relax and feel okay? Do you believe more is better? Are you rarely satisfied? Do you feel deprived, unworthy, or anxious no matter how hard you try or what you do? Do you secretly measure everything against an invisible standard and come up lacking?

Continue reading Not Enough

Concord Grape Pie

By Tecuana & Rebeka of the Hollyhock kitchen

For the Pastry:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour ( Pamela’s artisan GF baking flour is a good alt. option)
• 3/4 cups cold butter cut into pieces ( or vegetable shortening for vegan)
• 3 tbsp. sugar
• 7 tbsp. (approx) cold water

Combine the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the butter is fully incorporated. Add cold water one tablespoon at a time, processing on high for at least 30 seconds between additions. When the pastry clumps together and forms a ball remove it, cut it in half and place the two pieces in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes.

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For the Filling:
• 6 cups Concord grapes
• ½ to 1 cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 3 tablespoons corn or potato starch
• 2 teaspoons water plus extra
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 1 large egg

Instructions

1. Slip the skins off of the grapes (take one in each hand, press near the bottom opposite the stem end, and apply firm pressure; the entire grape pulp should pop out), reserving skins in a heatproof bowl. Place pulp in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the seeds start to separate from the pulp, place a strainer over the bowl with the skins and press the pulp through the strainer. Discard seeds. Stir in lesser amount of sugar, taste and adjust. Stir in salt. Combine cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of water to make a slurry, then stir into grape mixture. Cool slightly while you work with the pastry.

2. Roll out 1 pastry disc on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper to a 12-inch round; transfer to dish by placing pie plate face down in centre of the pastry, then flipping the whole lot over with your hand under the parchment paper to hold it in place. Lightly press the pastry down into the pie plate and then gently peel the parchment off. Roll the excess dough around the edges under itself and pinch it with your fingers to create a high-fluted edge. Roll out the other piece of pastry and use a small paring knife to cut leaf shapes. Roll small balls of pastry and vines by hand.

3. Position rack in centre of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Scrape mixture into prepared crust, dot with butter, and arrange decorative cutout pieces, if using. Whisk together egg and a little water to make an egg wash and brush over crust edges and decorative pieces.

4. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is bubbling. Cool on rack.

This pie is amazing with very plain whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

We’re Sitting on a Mould Mine

This interview by Richard Schiffman with Hollyhock Presenter Paul Stamets was originally published in The New Scientist, February 2016. Paul will be presenting Mushrooms: Wild & Mysterious at Hollyhock on Oct 23 -27, 2016

Tell me about the hat you’re wearing.

It’s made from a birch polypore mushroom. Our ancestors realized that you could get this tough bracket fungus off birch trees, hollow it out and put fire in it and carry it for days. This enabled the portability of fire that is so critical for human survival. When the same mushroom is boiled and stretched, it produces a fabric. There are only a handful of people in Transylvania who are making these hats now. Because of deforestation and the difficulty of finding large-enough mushrooms, the hats are becoming very rare.

Continue reading We’re Sitting on a Mould Mine

Hollyhock exists to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better. Our learning centres are located on Cortes Island and Vancouver, BC.