A couple of weeks ago I visited Fungi Ally, a local mushroom grower in Western Massachusetts, and I picked up about 3 lbs of assorted mushrooms. That probably sounds excessive, but let me explain.
Over the last couple of years that I have been sourcing almost exclusively from farmers markets, I’ve noticed the lack of available locally grown mushrooms. I asked the woman in charge of one of the markets I visited why there weren’t any mushrooms anywhere, and she told me something interesting. Most of the mushroom suppliers in New England are small businesses, like a lot of other food producers in N.E., but because the demand for mushrooms is so high, most producers sell directly to institutions or restaurants who can place a big order and buy their entire inventory. This is good for the mushroom vendors and the institutions, but not great for the consumer. The only mushroom vendor I’ve seen is Mycoterra Farm at the Wayland Winter Market, which is only open for 10 weeks of the year. There aren’t even mushrooms at the Boston Public Market, which has everything else! So I decided to drive out to Western Mass, where Mycoterra and Fungi Ally are based, to get the inside scoop from the growers (stay tuned for that story!).
So while I was at the Fungi Ally, I picked up a huge bag of mushrooms to satiate my mushroom deprived family (I mean me). I was thinking up different ways to use them, and one of my favorite ways is to sauté them with onion, sage, and cranberries. But that’s a fall/winter recipe, and we started spring a month ago. Or did we? It still feels like winter outside (I can see snow flurries from my window this morning), so I figured why not make one last winter recipe? At the bottom of the barrel, I found a few Cortland apples at Freitas Farms’ farmers market stand this weekend, so I decided to make Baked Apples Stuffed with Quinoa, Mushrooms, and Dried Cranberries, most definitely a fall/winter recipe. I’ve still got overwintered onions and dried sage to go with my overwintered apples, so this recipe is perfect.
Baked Apples Stuffed with Quinoa, Mushrooms, and Dried Cranberries
Makes 8 baked apples
Total time: 25-30 minutes
In My Basket
4 medium Cortland Apples (from Freitas Farm, Middleborough MA)
1 cup Shiitake Mushrooms (from Fungi Ally, Hadley MA)
1/4 cup Red Onion (from Stearns Farm, Framingham MA)
1 tbsp dried Sage (from Stearns Farm, Framingham MA)
2 tbsp Ghee (from Full Moon Ghee, Greenfield MA)
1/4 cup dried Cranberries (from Cape Cod Select, Carver MA)
1/2 cup grated Cheddar Cheese (from Narragansett Creamery, Providence RI)
From the Pantry
1/4 cup quinoa
1 cup water or broth
salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°. Wash and dry all fresh produce apples and mushrooms. Small dice mushrooms and onion.
- Bring water or broth to a boil in medium saucepan. Stir in quinoa and cook about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
- Heat ghee in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onions, sauté 5-7 minutes, or until starting to brown. Stir in sage and cooked quinoa, increase heat to medium high. Toss to combine and cook 2-3 minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in cranberries. Set aside.
- Halve apples through the stem. Remove the core and seeds, discard, then scoop out the flesh so that a 1/4 inch wall remains around the cavity. Slice a little off the bottom of the apple so that they sit flat. Fill each apple half with a spoonful of quinoa mixture.
- Place in a baking dish so that the apple halves fit snugly together. Fill the bottom of the dish with 1 cup water or broth, cover dish with foil, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Uncover, top with grated cheese. Recover, bake for 15 more minutes or until soft.
- Serve hot. Enjoy!
Alice Kathryn Richardson is a new media photojournalist and creator of The Clean Food Club. She previously spent two years working on Deserts in the District, a series of short-form documentaries exploring food access and hunger in Washington, DC. She is committed to supporting local and sustainable food businesses by telling their stories with photo and video. Follow her on Twitter @AKR_Pictures.