Entries in nova kim (2)


where the wild things are. the blue pearl.


One afternoon, a couple years ago, around a tiny fire outside their farmhouse in Southern Vermont, Les Hook and Nova Kim cooked up some wild mushrooms we had gathered that morning nearby. In a  large cast iron pan, they seasoned them with nothing more than a little butter or olive oil and some salt and pepper. It had just begun to snow steadily when we set out to gather. Large fat flakes  floated around us amd landed on our eyelashes.Les pulled over in his red Subaru, flashers glowing in the wild flurry of white. He deftly put up a twenty-foot ladder against a slippery maple tree and quickly climbed up. He pulled of the biggest Blue Pearl Oyster Mushrooms I have ever seen off that tree. We drove back to their place and lit the fire. It was then that Nova told us about her non-turkey, perfect for vegetarians on turkey day or for any feast any time of the year for that matter. You must start with a large fan of a mushroom, as you can see from the photo it kind of sweetly resembles a turkey's tail! Though I have roasted many a mushroom from them, it took me two years to get to this post. I asked Nova to save me a large Blue Pearl that I would pick up from the New Amsterdam Market. Luckily my snail mail reached her in time and I was able to get a beauty from them the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I kept in a paper bag on my fire escape until cooking day. Now I know I have sung their praises before but people, if you have not been to the market on a day when they are there then you are SERIOUSLY missing out. If you are interested in finding out when The Vermont Wild Food Gatherer's Guild will be in town go to The New Amsterdam Market website and check the vendor and calendar listings! They always have something special and if you have never been to the market then what are you waiting for? It is every Sunday from 11-4pm.

Back to the mushrooms...

The mushroom I got from Les and Nova was held together by a stretch of bark. I left the piece of bark on the mushroom while I roasted it.

I brushed the mushroom with a generous amount of olive oil and sprinkled it with French sea salt cracked black pepper and thyme.

I put in my largest Cast iron pan...this was a BIG mushroom 14 inches across at least. I threw it in the oven at 350 degrees for a slow roast and when it started to brown at the edges I put about a 1/4 cup of water in the pan and covered it with tin foil to add a little more moisture. Mushrooms are essentially like sponges so they soak up all that moisture. I may not have needed to do this if I had roasted it right away but since I had waited a few days I thought it might help to add the additional moisture.. I took the tin foil off for the last five minutes or so of cooking. I can't give you a specific cooking time because it depends on how big or small the mushrooms are that you are roasting. So use your intuition. You want it to be moist and almost meaty when you slice it.

We loved this so much that we could almost forego the turkey next year and just eat this!

It was really good with gravy... 


Thank you Nova for this brilliant idea!



Roasted Wild Blue Pearl Mushroom Tail

Set your oven to 350 degrees 


1 large Blue Pearl Mushroom fan approx 12-14 inches in length

1/4- 1/2 cup olive oil brushed and drizzled on the mushroom

Seas salt to taste

Cracked black pepper to taste

Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

Gently brush any dirt or debris off the mushroom with a small mushroom brush or a small pastry brush

Place the mushroom upright in a large roasting pan or cast iron skillet

Brush and drizzle with olive oil. Mushrooms really soak it up so be generous with your application.

Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper

Add some fresh thyme leaves and a sprig or two for looks


Place in the preheated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of our mushroom.

Put about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water in the pan and cover with tin foil

When the water is all evaporated the mushroom will be done. 

Uncover for the last five minutes or so.

The mushroom should be moist and easy to slice along the grain.


Cooking time really depends on the mushroom size so keep and eye on it!@ You don’t want it to be too tough!!!


As always, a word of caution where wild mushrooms are concerned. Leave the gathering to an expert!!











sap for the soul


 sap and dried steele cut oats. use maple  sap in place of water in recipes 

 Copyright © 2011 Andrea Gentl all rights reserved


It seems there has been a lot buzz lately about the benefits of drinking maple sap. I have heard of a few companies in Canada starting to produce sap drinks and friends in Brooklyn are contemplating a company selling the stuff. We have some friends who live up in Northern Vermont. They are,  among other things, Wildcrafters and Plant Spirit Medicine experts. They really know how to use the land and thier surroundings with thought and care and with a truely sustainable spirit. You will see and hear more about them here over time, as we are currently working on a documentary about them; but more on that later. When I spoke to Nova Kim of wild gourmet food earlier this week she told me that they had given up water for a while and turned to drinking sap during the maple season,  (she said they are drinking about 80% sap to 20% water).  Anyone and everyone who has ever collected syrup has tasted the sweet nutrient, mineral rich sap. It is impossible to resist the taste. The liquid is clear like water and has a delicate sweetness that is so light and faint and almost mildly floral.

Sap has an enormous amount of calcium and iron and other minerals and has been used for it's health benefits for thousands of years in Korea, China , Japan and amongst Native Americans.. There is evidence that Native Americans drank sap for purification purposes. There is a very interesting  article in the New York Times that chronicles South Korean's love affair with maple sap. They drink Fifty gallons per person at a time. They believe they sweat out the toxins and replace the fluids with sap. They call thier maple the "tree for the good bones" as the sap is full of calcium and helps with osteoporosis.

Overall, Nova contends that it, basically, adds a touch of sweetness to everything, a completely natural sweetness. She obtains the health benefits of sap by drinking it straight and using it in her everyday cooking. In the morning she occaisionaly makes oatmeal with it, substituting it anywhere she would normally use water. She recently made a fifteen bean stew with a sap base. She used a smoked ham hock and the sap as the base flavor to her bean stew. She threw it all in a crockpot and let it rip. I love this kind of one pot cooking. I will see if I can  wrangle a recipie from her, but you get the basic idea. 

if you are not tapping your own trees, you can find a sugar house or a farmer near you and perhps buy some sap from them. ( go to your local farmers market and talk to the syrup guys) It does take roughly forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Syrup has commanded some pretty high prices in the past few years based on availability due to shorter sap seasons and climate change. The sap start to flow when the days are warm  (over 40 degrees and the nights are below freezing) the word is that this will be a long cool spring and that makes for an excellent syrup season. If you are lucky and persistent, you may find a farmer willing to part with some of the good stuff or...you can revert to some yankee ingenuity and go find a maple tree, get a drill then tap in a spout, and wait patiently for the plunk plunk plunk... not only will you and your family have a greater appreciation for where your food comes from, but it will be all that much sweeter for your efforts.


 NOTE: as with any kind of harvesting...it is important to do it with care and sustainability. Don't overtap your trees! You will bleed them to death!!