Serenbe Style and Soul

with Marie Nygren

Wednesday

26

November 2014

Thanksgiving Traditions, Nygren-Style

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

Serenbe Harvest -0077Thanksgiving in the Nygren family is a little less traditional than you might think. When the girls were little and their schools closed for the holiday, we’d take family trips to places like Disney World and Mexico. And when they got older, the whole family pitched in to make Thanksgiving dinner at The Farmhouse a success, often waiting until the end of the night to eat the last few shreds of turkey and dressing.

But we were together, doing what we all do best: Creating an atmosphere where people can enjoy good food … and each other.

That’s the thing about family—we’re together, even when we’re apart. This year, my daughter Kara will spend Thanksgiving with her fiancé, Micah. That’s right, I said “fiancé.” Kara is officially engaged and we will have the first Nygren wedding next fall.

I’m grateful every year for the girls, my family and Serenbe, but this year I’m especially grateful for Micah. I could not have picked a more amazing person to be my daughter’s husband or my son-in-law.

IMG_0926What makes Thanksgiving special isn’t the turkey or the dressing or the buttery crust under your pumpkin pie. It’s the people around the table. The people on the phone. The people sitting next to you on that beach or bench in the middle of Epcot.

When the stars and plans align and we are all around the same table again, I plan to make this arugula salad full of roasted pears, pecans, cheddar cheese and an incredibly easy white balsamic vinaigrette. And we’ll eat and talk and laugh and my heart will be full of love and gratitude. Whether it’s November 27th, December 13th or January 27th, that’s Thanksgiving to me.

Arugula with Roasted Pears, Pecans, Cheddar Cheese and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves 6-8

  • 8 cups arugula, washed
  • Roasted pears, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 4-6 oz sharp white cheddar, shaved into thin strips with vegetable peeler

White balsamic vinaigrette, recipe follows

  • Roasted pears:
  • 4 firm Bartlett Pears, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place baking sheet in oven to heat. Combine butter and honey in bowl. Add pears and toss to coat.

Put pieces on heated pan, making sure each slice is flat on surface. Place in oven and roast for 10 minutes until browned. Flip slices and roast another 5- 10 until golden brown. Remove and let cool.

  • Vinaigrette :
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine vinegar, honey and salt. Whisk in oil until combined.

To assemble:

Place arugula in a bowl. Toss greens with vinagrette. Place greens on plates. Top with roasted pears, then cheese slices and pecan pieces.

Wednesday

19

November 2014

Legwork and Hand Pies: The 14th Annual Afternoon in the Country

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

An Afternoon in the CountryAt the first Afternoon in the Country, a benefit for the Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International held annually at Serenbe, a grassroots team of volunteers assembled old wooden folding tables from a church and made directional signs out of #10 cans, lumber and nails to guide 150 people to their seats.

Fourteen years later, it is a sold out event with people coming to Serenbe a few Sundays ago to sample food from 60 chefs, plus wine, beer, liquor and coffee vendors. There was a silent auction and cake raffle. And it was all held under five tents with massive electrical that took the better part of a week to set up.

Though the surroundings have upped their game a bit, the feel of Afternoon in the Country is the same as it was 14 years ago. This is no parking lot food festival—it’s held on the green grounds on The Inn with gorgeous fall trees all around and the smells of the season in the air. It was the kind of day when you’re just in love with everyone and everything. And people can’t get enough: It is the most successful Les Dames fundraiser in the United States.

This is the first year I didn’t do a dish, which left me free to socialize and sample other chefs’ dishes. Chef Steven Satterfield did a lovely chicken stew with White Oak Pastures chicken and Anson Mills polenta. Kevin Gillespie was up all night cooking a pig, which he pulled and put on a homemade bun with coleslaw. And Anne Quatrano did all kinds of hand pies—some sweet, some savory, all delicious.

Wednesday

12

November 2014

Steve’s Bowl

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

IMG_2805

When Thaddeus Barton moved to Serenbe to take over the kitchen at The Farmhouse, he brought his fiancé Lane Hajack with him. Lane is a very talented chef in her own right, having studied the culinary arts at the Art Institute in Chicago and worked in kitchens from Chicago and Martha’s Vineyard to Manhattan—so we snapped her up and put her in charge of the kitchen at The Blue Eyed Daisy.

What I love most about Lane is her enthusiasm. She jumped right in and figured out the flow, as well as the little details of the day. It wasn’t long before she realized that, every morning, Steve would bring a bowl of red rice into the Daisy and ask them to top it with poached eggs and jalapenos.

The red rice was suggested by Steve’s accupressurist as a natural cholesterol reducer and alternative to prescription drugs. So every morning he’d cook the rice here, take it across the street, get his eggs, eat it and inevitably leave our bowl in their stack of dirty dishes.

“Lots of people in the community would order ‘Steve’s Breakfast,’ even though it wasn’t on the menu, and didn’t realize he would add red rice and other elements to the dish,” Lane says. “So when the breakfast menu was set to change, I thought we should make a dish that was composed of all the elements of Steve’s breakfast, and eliminate his need to supplement the dish!”

Now that Lane has added “Steve’s Bowl” to the menu, Steve leaves the house each morning empty-handed, knowing a big bowl of red rice topped with two poached eggs (or egg whites), guacamole, pico de gallo and cojita cheese is just a few steps away.

It is delicious, a huge seller and the reason all my bowls are back in the cabinet where they belong.

Steve’s Bowl

  • Serves 4
  • Pico de Gallo:
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed & small diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 clove minced farlic
  • ½ jalapeño, seeds removed and minced
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients. This part is best if assembled a few hours before serving.

  • Avocado Mash:
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste

Mash with a fork until creamy yet still chunky.

  • Other ingredients:
  • 8 eggs, soft poached
  • 2 cups cooked Bhutanese red rice (follow package instructions)
  • 1 head romaine, chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves picked
  • 1 cup pickled jalapeños (store bought or home made)
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • Olive oil

To Assemble:  

Toss the pico de gallo with a small handful of romaine per person (this is not a salad so no need to offer a ton of lettuce).  This mixture goes on the bottom of the bowl, making sure each bowl gets enough pico de gallo.  On top of that, your warm red rice, then your perfectly poached eggs.  This is garnished with a heaping spoonful of avocado spread, a sprinkle of crumbled cotija cheese, a few pickled jalapeno and some fresh leaves of cilantro.

Wednesday

5

November 2014

Creating Communities and Chicken Pot Pie

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

skillet-chicken-pot-pie-l

A few weeks ago, we hosted a developer conference for Nygren Placemaking, Steve’s consulting business for those interested in creating their own version of Serenbe. People came from all over the country to learn the secrets to Steve’s success, though they are not really secrets because he is happy to share.

Over the course of a few days, Steve filled them in on a variety of topics—sustainability, arts, agriculture, design, zoning, etc.—then brought them to me at the Bosch Experience Center. There I talked about the most important aspect of creating a community: hospitality.

Steve and I share a history in the food business and I think it’s a big part of why Serenbe is beloved by so many. Being a child of Mary Mac’s, I grew up seeing how my mother used food as a way of nourishing people. When people are well fed, they feel taken care of and it opens up their senses to other forms of nourishment.

From the farm and farmer’s market to the Inn and Farmhouse, food—and the hospitality that comes with it—is a big part of what draws people to Serenbe. You can have all the pretty houses you want, but neighborhoods alone don’t nourish people.

The Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop was our first commercial endeavor not by happenstance, but by design. Steve and I understand the central role food plays in a community and how quickly neighbors become friends over a hot cup of coffee and a buttered biscuit.

And to prove my point, I served the developers my chicken pot pie. It’s a Southern staple and wonderfully simple dish. This recipe, which I adapted from my favorite cookbook author, Lee Bailey, has a cornbread crust. I serve it in a huge cast-iron skillet with jasmine rice, a green salad and cranberry hot sauce on the side. My dear friend Ryan Gainey likes to say, Marie, if you’re coming to visit me, you’d better bring a chicken pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie with Cornbread Topping

  • Serves 8
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup carrot rings
  • 1 cup butterpeas
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 8 drops Tabasco
  • 1 package White Lily cornbread mix
  • Salt to taste

Parboil chicken breasts in the stock for 5 minutes. Remove breasts and let cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Simmer the butterpeas in the stock for four minutes then add the carrots and continue cooking an additional four minutes. Drain and set aside, reserving stock and straining it.

Saute the onion in butter until wilted. Stir in flour and mix well. Slowly stir in the stock, whisking constantly. When smooth, add seasonings.

To assemble, sprinkle chicken cubes, peas and carrots into the baking dish. Pour the stock sauce over the top. Top with 1 recipe of White Lily mix, made according to package directions. Bake until cornbread is set and golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.

Wednesday

29

October 2014

Can-Do Attitude: FDR, Miss Doris and Preservation

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

IMG_1136 (1)After reading my two previous posts, one might think that the most fascinating person I met during my trip to Rhinebeck for the FDR Victory Garden fundraiser—a benefit to bring back the victory garden at FDR’s estate—was Alice Waters. Now Alice is a lovely woman and getting to know her better was wonderful. But she’s no Miss Doris.

As soon as I saw Miss Doris—who was a volunteer during my private tour of the FDR estate—I knew she was a character. I saw fascinating things during that tour, including Top Cottage, FDR’s private estate, and Val-Kill, Eleanor’s private estate, but the only thing I wanted to know more about was Miss Doris.

I walked right up to her and said, “I’m Marie. Who are you?” Turns out, Miss Doris is 93 years old, has lived in the Hyde Park area most of her life and was friends with FDR and Eleanor. She’d have dinner with them when they were in town. Can you imagine the stories this woman could tell?

She had a spirit that could not be denied. I wanted to put her in my pocket. I may wind up hosting my own fundraiser for the FDR victory garden at Serenbe, and if I do, the very first order of business will be making sure we get Miss Doris on a plane.

As Miss Doris would tell you, FDR encouraged all Americans to grow a victory garden during his presidency to offset food rations during WWII. His own victory garden, which eventually became a parking lot, was two acres and full of produce his mother sent him in packages when he traveled.

What didn’t fit in those packages was often pickled. Preservation was very important then and it’s enjoying quite the renaissance now. FDR might not know what to think of the $12 jars of pickles available today, but I bet he’d approve of this recipe for pickled squash and onions, which keeps summer alive all year long.

Pickled Squash and Onions

Makes 6 cups

  • Scrub and slice very thin:
  • 2 pounds small yellow squash
  • 1 large white onion (about ½ pound)

Place one layer of squash, then one layer of onions, in flat crockery or glass baking dish.

Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons salt.

Cover with crushed ice and let stand for about 3 hour or place, covered overnight in the refrigerator.

  • Mix together in a 2-quart saucepan:
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 4 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons mustard seed
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric

Bring vinegar mixture to a boil. Drain water from squash and onions. Add them to the boiling vinegar and bring mixture back to a rolling boil for 2 minutes. Cool quickly by immersing pot in sink of cold water. Place in clean glass jars with good seals and refrigerate. Will keep for about 2 weeks.

Wednesday

22

October 2014

Chances and Choices: Dinner and Breakfast with Alice Waters

Written by , Posted in "serenbe blog", "serenbe style", Miscellaneous

alice waters

Last week I wrote about packing up some Many Fold Farm cheese and jetting off to see the legendary Alice Waters. Alice lives in Berkeley, California. I live in Georgia’s Chattahoochee Hills Country. So how did we wind up in the same house in Rhinebeck, New York? Well …

My husband, Steve, is on the board of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation with a man named Bob Fox. I met Bob’s wife, Gloria, at a board meeting earlier this year and it was one of those things where we just looked at each other and thought, oh, we’re kindred spirits, aren’t we?

A few months later, I visited with Gloria at her home in Rhinebeck and shortly afterwards she called to say she’d been asked to host a fundraiser at her home to re-create the victory garden at the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York. And who’s on the board of that effort? Alice Waters.

I immediately checked my calendar and saw I had two events on Saturday and one event the Sunday of the benefit in New York. I lamented the conflict to my dear friend, Austin Ford, who said, “Tell me again why you can’t go, Marie?” And that helped me realize I had more choices than I thought. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. one morning thinking about it, had a ticket by 7 a.m. and called Gloria to say, “I’m coming!” That weekend I hopped on a plane, then hopped on a train and wound up eating duck breast cooked in a cast-iron skillet over an open fire with Alice Waters.

I’d met Alice years ago at an event in Atlanta, but this was the first time I’d had an opportunity to have an intimate evening with her. She was lovely and incredibly gracious with everyone, including the young chefs who’d done extensive research to find her favorite duck breast recipe.

After the event, Gloria, Bob, Alice and I sat around and talked until we were hungry again and had leftover duck with broccoli rabe, sautéed mushrooms and a cheese-and-chocolate course with the Many Fold Farms cheese. Alice had a board meeting the next morning, so we got up early, went on a hike and had Alice’s favorite breakfast when we returned: a piece of toast, egg over easy and a sliced tomato

Since then, the victory garden effort has been on my mind—I’ll write more about it next week—especially as I’ve thumbed through Alice’s newest cookbook, The Art of Simple Food II. This recipe for Yellow Finn Potato and Black Trumpet Gratin, a rich, earthy mix of potatoes and mushrooms, pairs perfectly with the season.

Yellow Finn Potato and Black Trumpet Gratin

Yellow Finn potatoes are rich in flavor and have the perfect texture for a gratin. They become soft and luscious without breaking down into a puree. For added color, alternate with rows of red-fleshed potato such as Cranberry Red. Black trumpet mushrooms (also called black chanterelles or horn-of-plenty mushrooms) can harbor sand. Be sure to rinse them well before cooking.

Gently tear in half lengthwise:

¼ pound black trumpet mushrooms

Swish them in a bowl of cool water to clean; drain well. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Measure in:

1 teaspoon butter or oil

Add:

A pinch of salt

1 large thyme sprig

Fresh-ground black pepper

When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring now and then, until all the water has evaporated and the mushrooms just start to sizzle. Remove from the heat to cool. Taste for salt and add more as needed. Remove the thyme sprig.

Peel:

2 pounds potatoes (Yellow Finn, Cranberry Red or Yukon Gold)

Hold in cool water until ready to use to keep them from browning.

Rub a 6-inch-by-8-inch baking dish with:

A peeled garlic clove

Allow to dry a little and rub the dish with

2 teaspoons butter

Measure:

2/3 cup crème fraiche

Pour into a small pot and warm:

½ cup half-and-half

A pinch of salt

Once all the ingredients are prepared, preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice the potatoes ¼-inch thick. Use a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife to make the slices as consistent as possible. Using one-third of the sliced potatoes, make a layer of potato slices on the bottom of the baking dish. Season with:

Salt

Fresh-ground black pepper

Spoon one-third of the crème fraiche over the potatoes, followed by half the mushrooms. Repeat, making another layer with half the remaining potato slices. Add seasoning, half the remaining crème fraiche and the rest of the mushrooms.

For the last layer of potatoes, carefully arrange rows of potato slices overlapped like shingles and completely covering the surface.

Dot the surface with the last of the crème fraiche and gently add the half-and-half, pouring down the sides of the baking dish to avoid washing off the crème fraiche and salt.

Put the gratin in the oven and bake until tender and golden, about 1 hour. After it has been cooking for 35 minutes, press the top layer of potatoes under the cream with a spatula. Press again after another 15 minutes. This keeps them from drying out.

When done, the potatoes should be very soft, the top golden and the liquid mostly gone. If the potatoes begin to brown too much before being cooked through, loosely cover the top with a bit of foil.

Wednesday

15

October 2014

Only Ewe: Many Fold Farms and the Perfect Cocktail Party Snack

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

_AMP7393

What does one pack before jetting off to have dinner with Alice Waters—that’s the Alice Waters, the mother of California cuisine and founder of Chez Panisse?

A dress with shoes to match and a big batch of Condor’s Ruin, an aged, ash-ripened cheese from Many Fold Farm.

Many Fold Farm is owned by Ross and Rebecca Williams, a lovely young couple who initially came to Serenbe in search of farm internships. To say they were overqualified is an understatement—read more about their history here— so they bought a house at Serenbe and a farm nearby, where they’ve created Georgia’s first organic sheep dairy.

What I love most about Ross and Rebecca is their passion. They work hard as hell and are devoted to making the Chattahoochee Hill Country the Southeastern version of Napa Valley.

And when I gave Alice Waters a bite of their cheese, she said, “If you hadn’t told me where it was from, I would’ve thought it came from France.” Alice knows her cheeses and so do the judges at the American Cheese Society, who awarded the Condor’s Ruin first place in the sheep’s milk cheese aged 31-60 days category this year.

01002-manyfold-brebis-figs-120dpi-150x150

Not bad for a dairy that’s less than three years old.

The Condor’s Ruin is only available through the end of October, which is when I switch to Many Fold Farm’s Brebis, a fresh cheese that pairs perfectly with a pecan crackers and fig preserves. It’s a super simple spread for a cocktail party with rich, complex flavors.

Many Fold Farm Cheese and Crackers with Serenbe Fig Preserves

Put the cheese in bowl. On a beautiful board, place the jar of preserves, crackers and bowl of cheese.

Wednesday

8

October 2014

Chris Hastings: Good man, great chef, talented teacher

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

I try not to play favorites with the chefs who visit for the Southern Chefs Series. I really do. But when Chris Hastings, chef/owner of Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, shows up at my doorstep, I get really, really happy.

IMG_0355

And even though he was supposed to arrive at 10 a.m. on Sunday and didn’t arrive until 1 p.m. for his cookbook signing—after which we raced to set up for his class—I was still thrilled to have him back at Serenbe filling my world with good food.

One of my favorite things Chris does is go through each recipe with all the attendees first thing. Before he heats the first pot, he hands everyone the recipes and they talk through them so everyone understands the process before they’re in the middle of it. And I love the way he invites us all to hold hands and bless the food before we eat.

Not that he’s ever off his game, but Chris was so on and so vibrant during his visit that the entire class organized a trip to see him in Birmingham. In five years of doing this series, no class has ever done that. He’s going to make us a special menu and we’ll sit at the chef’s table and eat and talk and laugh until everyone else in the restaurant goes home.

Here are just a few things he made: a composed tomato salad with grilled IMG_0369eggplant and goat cheese; bouillabaisse with whitefish, mussels and clams; goat cheese mousse with reduced muscadine jelly, muscadine sorbet and a candied pecan cookie; “swamp cabbage pasta” made of hearts of palm with fresh crab and butter; and goat cheese semifreddo with candied figs and berry jus.

It was a big goat cheese weekend.

IMG_0413He also did a winter vegetable and farmer’s cheese salad—oh yes, we made the cheese—with more steps that we should get into here. But the preserved lemon vinaigrette on top was absolutely to die for, and you can do it at home without an insanely talented chef standing nearby.

 

Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Makes about 3 ½ cups
  • 2 preserved lemons (store bought)
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced shallots

Peel the preserved lemons and discard the inside pulp. Remove the white pith from the lemon peel and discard. Finely dice the lemon rind and place in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside until ready to use, making sure to stir well again before using.

Next up in the Southern Chefs Series: Joe Truex, executive chef of Watershed on Peachtree, November 16-17. For more information, visit serenbeinn.com.

Wednesday

1

October 2014

How Juicy Is Your Life?

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

Coffee Almond

How juicy is your life? Is it luscious and sensuous? Is it delicious?

How do you feel when you hear the word “juicy?” How does it sound in your ears and feel in your body? For me, it’s like dropping an eff bomb—it has a real energy and power.

My goal is always to live a juicy life—a life full of adventure, risk, joy, love, friends, family, food and laughter. Life’s just too short to live any other way. It’s like Rosalind Russell says in Auntie Mame:

Live! That’s the message.

Yes, life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Lately I’ve been living a juicy life in more ways than one. Serenbe’s Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop has started carrying Bamboo Juice, a line of vital juices created by Kelley Sibley, a woman who spent 15 years studying the blue zones of the world, or the areas where people are 10 times more likely than Americans to live past the age of 100. She found that a plant-based diet was a major factor and created an amazing line of raw, organic, cold-pressed juices.

Kelley approached Thaddeus Barton, our chef at The Farmhouse, and his wife, Lane, of the Blue Eyed Daisy, who connected her with my daughter, Garnie. Garnie became a financial investor, connected Kelley with Serenbe Farms and helped her set up a plant just down the street in Palmetto, Georgia.

Shortly thereafter, these juices became part of my daily routine. I am never far from my Coffee Almond, full of almond milk, dates, vanilla extract, sea salt and organic coffee grounds that have been infused with medicinal mushrooms. It gives me what I need to make each day as juicy as possible.

Wednesday

24

September 2014

Bites, Best Friends and Breaking Up With Email

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

Image courtesy of Bacchanalia

I’m married to a man who gets between two and three hundred emails a day. And between my work and personal correspondence, I get a fair amount myself. I do a pretty solid job of staying on top of it, but a few weeks ago, while project managing some renovations at the Art Farm, I stopped checking email for a week so I could focus fully on the project.

And it was wonderful.

I figured, if someone really needed me, they’d call. And I was right. My best friend, Connie, who lives in Maryland—the one with whom I sit in a car at the Atlanta airport and drink mint tea—called to say she was coming to visit. We have a yearly ritual of going to Bacchanalia, just the two of us, and indulging in whatever the kitchen sends to our table.

In-between the cured eggs, cured meats on lavash and beef tartare, we talk for hours, only stopping to comment on a truly exquisite bite. Of course, we’re at Anne Quatrano’s restaurant, so this happens often. A few of the dishes, like these preserved chanterelle mushrooms, were so delicious that we agreed we could never take another bite of anything and be happy.

And then we’d eat some more, letting email, texts and life in general wait while two old friends catch up on each other’s lives.

Preserved Chanterelle Mushrooms

  • From Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality by Anne Stiles Quatrano
  • Makes 2 quart jars or 4 pint jars
  • 2 pounds chanterelle mushrooms
  • 4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup dry sherry wine

With a paring knife, trim the mushroom ends and scrape the stems, removing the outer layer of skin. Wash the mushrooms three times in cold, clear water, gently tossing so as not to bruise the flesh. Allow to air dry thoroughly on paper towels; if possible, place them in front of a table fan to speed up the drying process. Cut the dry mushrooms lengthwise into quarters, or sixths if they are large.

In a large (preferably 14-inch) sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until lightly smoking. Add one-fourth of the mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat, adding another 2 tablespoons oil and another one-fourth of the mushrooms to the pan. Repeat two more times to sauté all the mushrooms. Place the hot, drained mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Add the shallots and garlic to the hot skillet you cooked the mushrooms in, reduce the heat to low, and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan and add the thyme and bay leaf. Add the vinegar, scraping up any browned bits, then add the wine and toss to coat the mushrooms. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed by the mushrooms, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining oil (about 3 ½ cups) to cover the mushrooms. Heat the oil to 145 degrees F, or until just hot to the touch. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Spoon the mushrooms and oil into quart or pint jars, cover and refrigerate. They will be best after standing for a day and will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.