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October is my favorite month of the year. The month when rainy days instill coziness and comfort, and the sunny days are warm yet crisp. The colors of vivid oranges, reds, and yellows take over the bright array of greens from the summer past and spices and aromas from home baked recipes waft the homes on weekend mornings.
October is savory and sweet. Sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, and mushrooms galore, all spiced with savory herbs, find their way to our dinner tables. However, out of them all, mushrooms, especially chanterelles, signal October abundance to me. Not only because you see them in mounds at Farmers Markets displayed in large woven baskets, but also when you come across chanterelles in the forest, hunting for them with a trained eye. The woody and earthy smell reminds me how much I enjoy them.
So today, mushrooms capture my lens and my cooking.
Mushrooms are a great source of plant-based vitamin D2, offering a food source for this sun-based vitamin. Vitamin D3, which is the activated form of vitamin D2, has many hormonal functions in the human body, including bone health and maintenance, immune support, insulin regulation, and muscle health, as well as many other unknown roles. Because of its great influence within the body, it is important to obtain adequate vitamin D either through diet or sun exposure. In the Pacific Northwest, sun exposure can only offer adequate vitamin D during the spring and summer months if the individual is outside and without sunscreen for twenty minutes. However, during the autumnal and winter months people living above the 37th parallel are not able to obtain adequate vitamin D from the sun. This puts many people at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency, unless they consume vitamin D rich foods, such as salmon, milk, and mushrooms, or take a supplemental form.
How many mushrooms do you have to eat to get enough vitamin D? Well, 100 grams of chanterelle mushrooms offers 53% of your daily vitamin D as well as 20% of your daily iron and copper. Copper is needed to help you utilize iron. Therefore mushrooms are a great way for vegetarians to consume their daily iron as well as vitamin D!
GF Buckwheat Crepes with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and a Chanterelle Gravy
Makes about 4-5 Servings (two crepes per person)
For the Crepes:
100 g buckwheat flour
100 g sorghum flour
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 cup milk
½ cup plain yogurt
Butter for frying
For the Sweet Potatoes:
3 medium-small sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Generous pinch sea salt
Pepper to taste
For the Chanterelle Gravy:
1 tablespoon organic butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, cut into thin half moon shape
300 g chanterelle mushrooms, pulled into thin sections
1 cup red wine
1 cube vegetable bouillon (Rapunzel is my favorite brand)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup warm water
¾ cup whole milk
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey or your sweetener of choice
Season with additional sea salt and pepper to taste
Plain chèvre (goat cheese)
Mixed salad greens
Freshly minced parsley
Prepare the Crepes: Mix together both flours and sea salt in a medium bowl. Make a hole in the center and crack the eggs into the hole. Then while pouring in the milk fold the flour into the egg milk mixture until fully combined with a wooden spoon. Finally mix in the yogurt. When fully combined and smooth cover and allow mixture to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile roast sweet potatoes.
Reduce oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the mixture and add additional tablespoon or two of water to reconstitute to a soupy/runny batter. Heat a large frying pan (I used non-stick) on medium heat. Add about a teaspoon of butter (should be sizzling) and swish it around the pan. With a small ladle, pour the batter into the center of the pan. Then carefully turn the pan from side to side, up and down, to evenly spread out the batter until the entire bottom is covered with a thin layer. Allow to cook about 30 seconds to one minute and flip. Cook another 30 seconds to one minute and then place into the oven on a baking sheet to keep warm. Continue with the rest of the batter.
Prepare the Sweet Potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Dice the sweet potatoes into small cubes (skin on) and mix with olive oil in a medium bowl. Toss with salt and pepper. Place on to a baking sheet and roast in oven for 20 minutes or until tender.
Prepare the Chanterelle Gravy: Heat the butter in a medium saucepan until sizzling. Add the onion to the buttered saucepan and sauté until glassy. Meanwhile heat a large frying pan to medium and add the pulled mushrooms. Stir often. This is a dry-heat method for cooking the mushrooms which release only a little water and keeps a lot of flavor. Add the cup of red wine, vegetable bouillon cube, and garlic to the onions. Let the wine simmer for a few minutes to allow the bouillon cube to dissolve. Meanwhile mix corn starch and warm water together with a whisk. While whisking slowly pour the cornstarch mixture to the simmering wine sauce. Continue to whisk until combined, allow the mixture to quietly simmer. Your wine sauce should now be thicker. Quickly add the milk and stir. Check on the mushrooms to see if they are tender. Add them to the sauce and allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes, and continue to slowly stir the mixture.
Finish the gravy with the balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Add the teaspoon of honey, salt, and pepper to taste. If you like it even more sour, just add additional vinegar but be careful, it can quickly become too sour. Only add 1 teaspoon of vinegar at a time. Also if the mixture is too thick you can add more milk/water to thin it to your liking.
Assembly of the Crepes: Spread a little bit of goat cheese on a crepe and top with roasted sweet potatoes. Spoon a little chanterelle gravy over the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with mixed greens and a pinch of fresh parsley. Finally roll the crepe. Repeat.
Place two crepes onto a plate. Prior to serving ladle additional gravy over the crepes and garnish with a little goat cheese and fresh parsley. Serve.
1. WH Foods: Vitamin D
2. Johnson, Lana R. (2010). "Vitamin D Insufficiency Due to Insufficient Exposure to Sunlight and Related Pathology." Student Pulse, 2(12). Retrieved from: <http://www.studentpulse.com/a?id=346