At last nights meeting Jeff Berkowitz gave a cooking demonstration and tasting to the club. Jeff has kindly agreed to share the recipes. The main recipe uses Crème Fraiche which can be difficult to find, there are a few stores in the Pittsburgh area that do stock it but if you can not find it there is a recipe to make it following the main one. Clarified butter or ghee can be found in the international food section of some Giant eagle stores along with local Indian import food stores and Whole Foods and the East End Co-op. You can find out more about Jeffs cooking at the Culinary Philosopher and the New Life Kitchen.

Quartet of Mushroom With Thyme and Crème Fraiche

  • 4 Tbsp clarified butter (or use extra virgin olive oil if you prefer)
  • 4 Tbsp shallots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 lb of your favorite mushrooms
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup crème fraiche (substitute coconut milk and a tsp of lemon juice to make this vegan friendly)
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Fresh Thyme
  • Chopped fresh parsley or chives for garnish

Heat a sauté pan, when the pan is hot add the clarified butter. As soon as the butter is in the pan add the shallots. Sauté the shallots for about a minute until the just begin to brown. Add the mushrooms, let them get a good sear before tossing or stirring them in the pan. Season with some salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms begin to release their moisture add the wine. Reduce the wine by about half and then add the crème fraiche. Let that reduce a bit until the sauce coats the mushrooms nicely. Season with fresh thyme and then taste for salt and pepper. Use the mushrooms as an entrée or as an appetizer, they are wonderful as a topping for crustini.

Crème Fraiche

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup plain yogurt with live cultures
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan and warm over low heat stirring constantly until the temperature is between 80°and 85°F. Remove from the heat and put into a sterile jar. Allow this to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. At which point the cream should be thickened and will thickened more when it is refrigerated. Keep this in the refrigerator for up to a week. The crème fraiche can be eaten as is and the nice thing is that it can be boiled just like heavy cream but has much more flavor.