Most of the recipes in Tracey Medeiros's Vermont Farm Table Cookbook are of the homey sort, fashioned by farmers and cafe owners to make the most of their seasonal crops. There are, however, a few more composed, restaurant-y dishes, like this one, from the Twin Farms resort and spa.
The small plate combines hearty red polenta (Twin Farms grows their own, but it's easy to substitute), savory mushrooms in their cooking broth, and soft ricotta cheese. Gently fried garlic chips and whole parsley leaves round out the picturesque dish. It's a nod to the upcoming fall season, but isn't so heavy that you can't enjoy it in September.
Why I picked this recipe: Mushrooms and polenta make for a seriously comforting pair, and I liked that this plate was dressed up enough to serve at a party.
What worked: The interplay between the sweet polenta, earthy 'shrooms, and creamy ricotta was totally on-point.
What didn't: I had a hard time frying the garlic in 1 teaspoon of oil. Live a little and use a tablespoon or two.
Suggested tweaks: You could use any flavorful wild mushroom here in place of the oysters. And if you don't have elephant garlic, you can, of course, use thinly sliced regular-size cloves. If you want to serve the dish as a main course, you will want to double the amount of mushrooms.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.