Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Newsletter 12/5/07

Pete’s Greens Good Eats Newsletter Dec. 5, 2007
This week’s share vegetable/localvore share includes: yellow onions, sweet potatoes, napa cabbage, parsnips, celeriac, mini pumpkins, leeks, vegetable soup base, bread (whole wheat flour, spelt flour, roasted potatoes, sourdough, salt), cream, hard winter wheat flour, and vinegar
This week’s root share contains: sweet potatoes, parsnips, celeriac, carrots, beets, and kohlrabi
Please note that this week veg/localvore shares are in tan bags and root shares are in purple bags. Please return bags and egg cartons to sites. We will gladly reuse them.
Weird root storage and lore
Celeriac: Also known as celery root, this has a lovely celery flavor. It goes well in soups and stews. You can make a cream of celeriac soup. Don’t be scared by the wild gnarly shape, it peels relatively easily. We store these with the soil on for better keeping. They are cleaned and trimmed before we send them to you, and so will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Parsnip: It looks like a white carrot, but is a closer relative of parsley. These roots are sweet and mild
Kohlrabi: Think of this as something between broccoli stems and turnips. The bulb of kohlrabi grows above ground at the base of flat kale-like leaves. In the spring you may see these with the leaves on, but the primary vegetable is the bulb. Peel it and it will look just lovely. Put it in soup. The flavor gets stronger with storage, but it keeps fine in the fridge.
Localvore Treats
I had hoped to have all the grains here from Québec for this share, but it wasn’t to be. With production difficulties at Michel Gaudreau’s mill, and now this exceptional snowfall, it will have to wait until next week.
The localvore items this week include Butterworks cream and Patchwork bread, falsely advertised for last week. Again, I want to apologize for that unfortunate mistake, all mine to be sure. We also have more flour from Ben Gleason in Bridgeport, VT; fine whole wheat bread flour. I made a delicious flatbread and also a rosemary focaccia last week to try it out. While yummy, the gluten content was low and neither bread was as chewy as it would be with some unbleached flour. I asked Ben about unbleached white flour and he said he doesn’t mill it for two reasons. One is that he would need more equipment, but more importantly, the whole wheat is better nutritionally.
And lastly, we are so excited to have found a source for Vermont made organic apple cider vinegar. Reed Miller is both the grower and the vinegar producer. It was especially fun to connect with him because his daughter, Ruth, is a student here in Craftsbury at Sterling College. That’s my other day job! You will see from the label, it’s from all the way down in Dummerston, but he dropped it off when he brought Ruth back after Thanksgiving. Carpooling must count for something when you’re dealing in localvore miles.
Recipes
This week, Pete challenged me to create recipes for a couple interesting items in the share. The soup base is a puree of potatoes, carrots and beets that Meg and Maria made at the Food Venture Center in Fairfax. The scrubbed and trimmed roots were cooked in big steam kettles and put through a food mill. I’ll admit I was skeptical about it at first and now I’m a convert! It’s so mellow, sweet and smooth, making for a rich and creamy soup. The mini pumpkins were a different challenge all together. I found their flavor quite delicate; the texture is fine and not at all dry. It’s been fun trying some different ideas. I hope you enjoy the results from my “test kitchen”. About ginger, I guess the weather has put me in a mood for some spicy heat. While I’m considering it a spice, of course it’s not localvore at all, so omit it if you like.
Here’s a very loose and adaptable recipe for using the frozen soup base and whatever vegetables you have on hand. You can give it a spicy ginger kick, or keep it totally localvore with earthy herbs such as rosemary and thyme. Last night I made this with squash, carrots, beets and parsnip with the ginger seasonings. It was creamy thanks to the vegetable base, and had a nice heat from the spices. It would also be delicious with a single vegetable, such as winter squash if you still happen to have that pretty sugar pumpkin decorating your counter!
ROASTED VEGETABLE SOUP
1 QUART VEGETABLE SOUP BASE
1 QUART WATER
2 TBSP VEGETABLE OR OLIVE OIL
3 CLOVES GARLIC, CUT IN ½
1 LARGE ONION CUT IN WEDGES
8 CUPS PEELED AND CUBED ASSORTED WINTER VEGETABLES; CARROTS, BEETS, PARSNIP, WINTER SQUASH, SWEET POTATO, CELERIAC, LEEKS, ETC
SALT TO TASTE
SEASONING OF CHOICE:
1 TBSP MINCED GINGER, 1 TSP CUMIN, ½ TSP CORRIANDER, ½ TSP RED PEPPER FLAKES
OR
2 TBSP FRESH ROSEMARY, PINCH THYME, BLACK PEPPER, PARSLEY
2 QT WATER OR VEGETABLE BROTH
PREHEAT OVEN TO 425
PLACE SOUP BASE AND WATER IN A SAUCEPAN, COVER AND SIMMER UNTIL MELTED. STIR OFTEN TO MAKE A NICE SMOOTH PUREE.
COMBINE CUBED VEGETABLES WITH ONION WEDGES, GARLIC, 2 TBSP OIL, SALT, AND GINGER IF USING. ROAST IN OVEN FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR; STIR OCCASIONALLY.
WHEN VEGETABLES ARE TENDER AND NICELY CARMELIZED, COMBINE IN A LARGE STOCK POT WITH THE PUREE AND ADDITIONAL WATER OR BROTH AS NEEDED. PUREE WITH A STICK BLENDER, OR IN BATCHES IN A FOOD PROCESSOR OR BLENDER. ADD WATER OR STOCK AS NEEDED TO MAKE A SMOOTH AND CREAMY SOUP. ADJUST SEASONING AND SIMMER 15 MINUTES TO BLEND FLAVORS.
These pumpkins make a lovely side dish to impress company or delight your children. Omit the ginger to make these completely localvore.
MINI PUMPKINS WITH MAPLE GINGER APPLES
4 MINI PUMPKINS, TOPS SLICED OFF AND SEEDS SCOOPED OUT. SAVE THE TOPS
4 APPLES
1 SMALL ONION, IN THIN VERTICLE SLICES
1 CLOVE GARLIC, MINCED
1 TBSP OIL
1 TBSP MAPLE SYRUP
1 TBSP GRATED FRESH GINGER
DASH RED PEPPER FLAKES
SALT
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350
BAKE PUMPKINS IN A BAKING DISH WITH AN INCH OF WATER FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES.
CORE AND CHOP THE APPLE. IN A SMALL SKILLET, HEAT THE OIL AND SAUTE THE ONION, GARLIC AND GINGER UNTIL FRAGRANT. ADD SALT, AND THE RED PEPPER IF USING AND SAUTE A FEW MINUTES MORE. ADD APPLES AND MAPLE SYRUP; COOK FOR 5 MINUTES. REMOVE FROM HEAT AND FILL EACH PUMPKIN WITH ¼ OF THE APPLE MIXTURE. RETURN TO OVEN, ALONG WITH THE TOPS FOR 20 MINUTES, UNTIL PUMKINS ARE COOKED THROUGH AND THE APPLES ARE TENDER.
The following is a recipe I saw in the Williams-Sonoma catalogue that came in the mail last week. Then, since this share has all the vegetables and the cream it calls for, I decided it was meant to be. I would probably cut the cream with half milk, since the Butterworks cream is so rich. I have not tried it yet, so if you do, please let me know.
ROOT VEGETABLE GRATIN
1 TBSP BUTTER
3 CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED
3 CUPS HEAVY CREAM (½ MILK ½ CREAM, OPTIONAL)
SALT & PEPEPR TO TASTE
¼ TSP NUTMEG
1 LB PARSNIPS
1 LB SWEET POTATOES
1 LB CELERIAC (CELERY ROOT)
8 OZ GRUYERE OR OTHER STRONG, SHARP CHEESE, GRATED
1 TBSP FRESH THYME, OR 1 TSP DRY
3 TBSP MINCED FRESH PARSLEY, OR 1 TBSP DRY
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 AND BUTTER A 3 QUART BAKING DISH
MAKE CREAM SAUCE:
IN A MEDIUM SAUCEPAN, MELT THE BUTTER AND SAUTE THE GARLIC FOR A MINUTE. ADD CREAM, SALT, PEPPER, AND NUTMEG. HEAT JUST UNTIL BUBBLES FORM AROUND THE EDGES OF THE PAN, 5 MINUTES. REMOVE FROM HEAT, STIR IN THE HERBS AND LET STAND 10 MINUTES
PREPARE VEGETABLES:
PEEL AND THINLY SLICE THE VEGETABLES.
ASSEMBLE GRATIN:
ARRANGE A LAYER OF HALF OF THE VEGETABLES: PARSNIPS, THEN SWEET POTATOES, THEN CELERIAC. SPRINKLE WITH HALF THE CHEESE AND POUR OVER HALF OF THE CREAM SAUCE. REPEAT LAYERS WITH THE REMAINING INGREDIENTS, ENDING WITH CHEESE. COVER WITH FOIL AND BAKE FOR 1 HOUR. REMOVE FOIL; LIGHTLY PRESS GRATIN DOWN WITH A SPATULA. RETURN TO OVEN FOR ANOTHER 15-30 MINUTES, UNTIL THE VEGETABLES ARE TENDER AND TOP IS GOLDEN BROWN. LET STAND 15 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING.
Heather

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