Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - December 31, 2008

Thank you for bringing back your empty plastic bags!

This Week's Share Contains
Mixed Yellow Potatoes; Mixed Colorful Carrots; Yellow Storage Onions; Sweet Salad Turnips; Red Cabbage; Bunch Curly Parsley; Butterworks Farm Black Turtle Beans; Vermont Cranberry Company Cranberry Juice; Pete's Greens Kitchen Frozen Pureed Squash; and Sunflower Oil from State Line Farm.

Storage and Use Tips
Red Cabbage - Though very similar in taste to green cabbage, red can have slightly more pronounced peppery notes. In my opinion, it can also tolerate longer cooking cycles without becoming too acidic and "stinky." If alkaline ingredients like eggs are present in your pan when cooking red cabbage, it can turn blue on you. To stop this from happening, add a bit of acid to the pan in the form of lemon juice, vinegar or wine. Classic braising red cabbage preparations often call for adding a little red wine, cider vinegar or both to the pan during cooking. Apples also make a perfect match with red cabbage. Cabbage can be stored loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for weeks. If the outer leaves wilt or turn spotted, just remove them and use the good leaves below. Once cut, keep the remaining cabbage in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer.
Colorful Carrots - Our colorful carrots are a mix of varieties that we grow during the summer months, including cosmic purple, Yellowstone, sugarsnax, atomic red and lunar white (possible). If you are having trouble getting your kids to eat their carrots, perhaps you can use these names to generate some enthusiasm. These varieties are beautiful shredded in salads. I like to cut them crosswise on a slight angle, producing an eye-catching irregular oval. Carrots should be stored unwashed, loosely wrapped in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Sunflower Oil - Sunflower oil is ideal for salad dressings and for frying up to medium temperatures and imparts a pleasant, slightly nutty taste. It is high in vitamin E and low in saturated fats. It is made up of 69% polyunsaturated fat and 20% mono-unsaturated. With a smoke point of 450F, it can safely be used for sauteing vegetables, but not for high-heat stir-fries. Once you go above an oil's smoke point, the oil can break down, burn and become unhealthy to ingest. For best storage results, transfer oil to a glass jar, dark if you have one, and keep in the refrigerator. The oil will get thick with the cold, so take it out a few minutes before use to warm up. If the oil should begin to get cloudy, don't worry, it's still good. Just set the jar in a bowl of warm water to restore its natural color and consistency before use.
Frozen Squash Puree - After pick-up, you can either continue to thaw the squash in your refrigerator or keep it in the freezer. If you will not be freezing the squash, thaw and use in the next 4-5 days.

New Year's Eve Pick-up
Even though it's the eve of a holiday, pick-up will be on its normal day and time this week. Please make an extra effort to get your share by the closing time for your pick-up location, respecting the plans that your site host may have planned for the evening. Also, given the next day is New Year's day it will be more difficult, if not impossible, to track down and retrieve forgotten shares. Besides, you'll want to have the lovely cranberry juice on hand to make a special cocktail to ring in the New Year!

Pete's Musings
Minor disaster down on the farm. Four nights ago it was as windy as I have experienced it in the four years I've lived in Craftsbury. I never sleep well on very windy nights as years of having greenhouses have taught me not to. Our largest greenhouse (the one that is built out of wood poles) has had the same plastic on it for 3 years. That is pretty much the lifespan of greenhouse plastic so I am prepared for it to fail anytime we have serious wind.

The morning after the wind, Meg was the first up and first to look out the window at the greenhouses. (I was trying to avoid reality). No problem with the greenhouse I had feared would have trouble, but one of the new moveable houses had lost half its plastic!

This did not make any sense, as there is no reason why new plastic should fail in 50-60 mph wind. All we can figure is that a piece of ice blew off the ground and sliced the greenhouse plastic. Probably, this happened at one of the windiest moments and then the wind grabbed the tear and tore a big rip down the peak. I have never had this happen to a greenhouse, but friends who live in places with more frequent ice events say it is common.

Unfortunately, the claytonia house took this hit and we will not have greens this week. If we can get the house covered quickly, (driving to Montreal tomorrow to get new poly), I think we can still save the greens. Regardless, we are going to start growing sprouts this week. So, if all goes well there will be something green next week.

'Hope you all have a great New Year. The new year of planning is starting on the farm and we are excited to be better than ever next year. -Pete

Central Vermont Culinary Destinations
Anyone who reads the New York Times Dining section, even on an infrequent basis, knows the name Mark Bittman. He writes the Minimalist column and is known for sharing recipes and techniques that deliver quality results with minimal time investment. The man knows food and lives in a place where you can find just about everything. Last week, however, he wrote about a "culinary destination" in the Travel section that is far from the big city. I may quibble with referring to the 20-mile radius around Waterbury as the "Backwoods," but I would have to agree with his choice of dining spots in our area.

In his article, he highlights Hen of the Wood, Kitchen Table Bistro, Green Cup Cafe, Red Hen Baking Company and the Alchemist, five admirable picks for the area. He commends them on their use of and commitment to local food. We are honored that four out of the five source at least some of their produce from Pete's Greens.

Check out the full article at the New York Times, then celebrate the cuisine of the season by visiting at least one of these treasured dining spots.

Localvore Lore
It seems that we had to wait the whole year for the 2008 sunflower oil crop, but here it is right under the wire. This share we have freshly-pressed sunflower oil for you from State Line Farm in Shaftsbury, Vermont. John and Betsey Williamson and their children have been producing maple syrup, honey, sorghum syrup and hay for many years, at least since 2004 when they finished up with their dairy herd. Recently, they have added oil products to their mix, with a focus on biofuels.

In fact, John has been very involved in biofuel studies and trials in conjunction with the folks at the UVM extension. Their separate on-farm company, State Line Biofuels, provides an on-site facility for processing the seed crops into oils.

Since 2005, the Williamsons have invested significantly in infrastructure that will allow them to press not only their own oil seed crops, but also those of their neighbors. Partially funded by grants, they have built a new building to do the processing, as well as the necessary equipment for harvesting, cleaning and pressing the oils. This past year, they made further investments to build a seed drying and storage facility to ensure that the seed crop stays dry and fungus free while it waits to be processed into oil.

John has been trying out a variety of different crops for oil, including sunflower, canola, mustard, safflower and camalina. The wet weather was hard on a number of the crops this summer, though they did end up with a large sunflower harvest. John is currently very interested in experimenting with his crop rotations to optimize his oil production.

When selecting the press, John made sure that the equipment was certified for pressing oils for human consumption as well as biofuels. After the oil is pressed, the resulting "meal" can be sold as animal feed. The sunflower oil today has been grown using no herbicides or pesticides. As he is following organic practices, John is considering applying for organic certification. Though it wouldn't make much difference on the biofuel side of things, it would mean higher prices for his animal feed meal and possibly his oil for human consumption.

Read this great article for more information on the work they are doing to promote the growing of biofuels in the state.

Another crop that was hard hit by this summer's moisture was beans. Ben Gleason's crop was extremely small compared to last year and another farmer that we talked to had an unusually low yield for their beans this year. We feel lucky to have secured the black turtle beans from Butterworks Farm for you this week.

The squash puree is a blend of winter squash, both from our farm and High Mowing Seeds. There is a bit of acorn squash in the mix whose skin did not come off as cleanly as expected when we put it through the food mill. If you see some little green flecks in your squash, that's the skin. Don't worry, though, the acorn squash skin is edible even if it looks a bit odd.

Last but not least, we have ruby red cranberry juice from Vermont Cranberry Company in the share this week. We saved it for New Year's because it makes such a festive spritzer or cocktail. According to Cranberry Bob, this is the only single strength cranberry juice sold that is not from concentrate. It is very strong and tart. So, you may find that you may want to water it down a bit just to have a glass of cranberry juice. Bob uses it in place of vinegar when making salad dressing. Try making a dressing of 1 part juice to 1 part sunflower oil. The juice should last 3-4 weeks in your fridge.

Recipes
Three Sisters Chipotle Chili
In this recipe, pureed winter squash takes the place of tomatoes as the base of the chili. The addition of black beans and corn gives us all three of the American Indian mythical sisters. I like this chili made with pork, but you could substitute tempeh or leave the meat out all together. Serves 10.

2 TB sunflower oil or lard
3lbs pork chops cut into ¾” cubes, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 lg. onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup lager, such as Otter Creek Vermont Lager
1 cup chicken or vegetable both
3 cups pureed winter squash
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 chopped chipotle chilies in adobo, plus 2 tsp sauce (or more to taste)
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups cooked black beans
2 cups cooked Jacob’s Cattle or other white beans
¼ cup maple syrup, or to taste
apple cider (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat oil or lard in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides in batches. Reserve browned pork on the side. Add onion and garlic to empty pan, sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and turning brown, about 7-8 minutes. Add lager and broth, stirring to deglaze the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer rapidly for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid. Add squash, cumin oregano and chilies. Bring to a simmer. Add browned pork and both types of beans. Add syrup, to taste. If chili is too thick for your liking, add extra broth or apple cider as needed. Add frozen corn. Bring back to a simmer. Cover and bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Season with salt, pepper and cumin to taste. Serve warm, garnished with a dollop of crème fraiche and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Bubble and Squeak
This dish is said to be named after the sound that the vegetable mixture makes as it fries. Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serves 4.

1 lb yellow potatoes, peeled (optionally) and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 lb red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cover potatoes with cold salted water by 1 inch and bring to a boil, then boil, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 18 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Heat butter in a 10-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté cabbage with salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, mashing and stirring them into cabbage while leaving some lumps and pressing to form a cake. Cook, without stirring, until underside is crusty and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sweet Salad Turnip Salad with Yogurt
Adapted from The Silver Spoon Cookbook. Serves 4.

4 small to medium sweet salad turnips, thinly sliced
1 apple
scant 1/2 cup plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
minced fresh parsley for garnish

Place sliced turnips in a salad bowl. Peel and core apple and cut into wedges. Using a very sharp knife, cut the wedges into water-thin slices and add to the turnips. Combine the yogurt and a pinch of pepper in a bowl, add to the salad, toss, garnish with parsley and serve.

Cosmopolitan
The cranberry juice adds a local touch to this festive cocktail. Serves 6.

1 1/4 ounces Vermont Spirits or Sunshine Vodka* (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 3/4 tablespoon)
1/4 ounce Cointreau (about 3/4 tablespoon)
1/4 cup cranberry juice
1 cup ice cubes

In a cocktail shaker combine all ingredients. Shake well and strain into a Martini glass.

*Although I was going to recommend Vermont Spirits Gold vodka, made from distilled Vermont maple syrup, their website suggests that other vodkas are preferable for cocktails mixed with fruit juice.

Swede Hollow Café Pumpkin Cookies
One of our shareholders, Joyce Hendley, who also happens to be a contributing editor at Eating Well magazine, sent me this recipe last week. She has been making and enjoying them. I agree with Joyce, it's a great and different way to use winter squash. (Adapted from Fresh from the Garden, a cookbook by the Children’s Garden Project, Minneapolis). Makes about 3 dozen.

Cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (try using all or part maple sugar)
1 large egg
1 cup pureed cooked pumpkin or other winter squash
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

Frosting:
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
½ cup maple or brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup milk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350? F. Grease 3 baking sheets or line with parchment or silpat. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add egg; beat until blended. Beat in squash and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add into butter mixture, beating just until blended. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time if possible, 11 to 13 minutes or until firm and lightly browned at edges, 12-15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough; cool completely on a rack.

To make frosting, place butter in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high until melted, 30 seconds-1 minute. Stir in sugar and salt; microwave on high 1 to 1½ minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Beat in milk on medium-low speed until blended. Continue beating and add confectioners’ sugar gradually, until smooth, creamy and spreadable. Frost cooled cookies.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays from Pete's

Thank you to all of our members, site hosts and friends of the farm for helping to make 2008 a successful and fulfilling year on the farm!

We are all on a journey together, learning how to produce and thrive on local food year round in this challenging climate. We appreciate the tremendous support you have provided us with this year. We have only just begun this journey and I can't wait to see what another year or three brings. Eat Local!

Best,
Pete

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Thanks

We got done packing the pre-Christmas shares late, 8:45 at night. I popped in to help for the last 2 hours, some of the crew had been working on it since 6 this morning. So, in this season of thanks, thank you to the Pete's Greens crew. They deal with tough hours, miserable weather, and a sometimes annoying boss. Thanks to Tim, salesman, delivery driver, shipping organizer, the guy you can always count on when you really need a hand. To Steve, who drives and maintains equipment and fixes everything- without you the farm would grind to a halt. To the amigos and amigas who arrive every spring from Mexico and treat this farm as their own. We could not do it without you, Feliz Navidad!. To Deborah, tough, cheerful, and adaptable-she recently stepped into the difficult role of running the washhouse and is doing a great job. To Nancy who runs Good Eats with professionalism and grace-how does she come up with all those crazy recipes? To Meg, who has gone south for the winter but did so many important things here over the past year. To Donna, who keeps our books spit-shined and somehow seems to understand the activities of the farm even though she works from home. And to Michael who is not here many hours per week but performs some tricky mental jobs in the time he is here. And welcome to our newcomers Jodi, Theo, and Steve. We hope you like it here and will stay and do great things! -Pete

Good Eats Newsletter - December 17, 2008

This is an updated version of the newsletter sent on 12/16/2008, including a corrected date for no delivery on December 24th, and an additional recipe for celeriac.

Thank you for bringing back your empty plastic bags and egg cartons!

This Week's Share Contains
Orange Storage Carrots; Cippolini Onions; Celeriac; Mars Onions; Bunch Curly Parsley; Mixed Gold and Chioggia Beets; Bag Claytonia (Miner's Lettuce); Sorrel*; Leeks; Red Norland Potatoes; Red Shallots; Carnival Squash; Tullochgorum Popcorn; Pete's Greens Kitchen Applesauce; Champlain Orchards Macintosh Apples; Champlain Valley Creamery Triple Creme Cheese; and Elmore Mountain Flax Seed Bread.

* Sorrel will be delivered this week to: Montpelier, Hardwick and NOFA. Craftsbury, Middlesex, Waterbury, Burlington, Stowe and Morrisville received chard last week instead of this week's sorrel.

Hen of the Wood shareholders should also be receiving the red kuri squash that was supposed to be delivered last week.

Storage and Use Tips
Carnival Squash - Resembling a festive acorn squash, dressed up with stripes and polka dots, carnival squash has a hard, thick shell and golden flesh. Reminiscent of sweet potatoes and butternut squash, it is delicious steamed and baked, and pairs well with apples. Store squash in a cool, dark, but not humid spot. As it is getting close to the practical end of squash storage season, eat sooner rather than later.
Red Shallots - Shallots are a member of the allium family and have a milder taste than onions. Often times they are included in recipes when the addition of a mild onion flavor is desired without the distinguishable texture of onion. This is why you will usually see the instructions to mince the shallots. In a pan sauce, gravy or salad dressing, the tiny shallot pieces all but melt into the flavored liquid. Store shallots as you would onions, in a cool, dark, dry place away from potatoes.
Macintosh Apples - Wikipedia had some interesting information on the Macintosh variety: "Every McIntosh apple has a direct lineage to a single tree discovered in 1811 by John McIntosh on his farm in Dundela, a hamlet near Morrisburg, in Dundas County in the Canadian province of Ontario. Offspring of the Mac include the firmer Macoun (a Jersey Black cross), Spartan (recorded as a Newtown Pippin cross), Cortland, Empire, Jonamac, maybe Paula Red, Jersey Mac, and others." Macs keep well through the winter and are equally suited to making applesauce, cider, pies and eating out of hand. Apples will last longer if stored in your refrigerator, but try to keep them in a drawer separate from other fruits and vegetables. The ethylene gas that they give off will hasten the (over) ripening of other produce.

The Christmas Share
This week we have an extra-generous share in store for you, both with vegetables and localvore items. Since there is no delivery next Wednesday, December 24th, we are stocking you up with roots, squashes, alliums and cheese that will last you until New Year's. The greens and bread, of course, are better enjoyed right away. There are so many possibilities for wonderful soups, tarts, pies, sandwiches and snacks to be created out of this share. We hope you are inspired to create the festive dishes and meals befitting the spirit of the season!

Bulk Order Pick-Up This Wednesday
If you placed a bulk order, please pick it up with your share this week. Look for a bag or box with your name on it!

Who Will Be the New U.S. Secretary of Agriculture?
As Robin McDermott wrote in the Mad River Valley Localvore news, we should all take the opportunity to share our views with the President Elect. If you have not yet seen it, please read the letter below and then add your voice to the process by signing the petition. You will be in good company...with Michael Pollan, Bill McKibben, Marion Nestle, Wendell Barry, Alice Waters and many, many more.

Dear Friends,
Please consider signing this petition NOW (time is of the essence) and forwarding it to others in your networks who are concerned about sustainable agriculture - http://www.fooddemocracynow.org.

This is a letter to President-elect Obama asking him to appoint someone to the position of Secretary of Agriculture who is committed to protecting and promoting sustainable agriculture. We need someone who will advocate for practices that can restore economic viability to rural America while protecting puLinkblic health, worker safety, the environment, and animals both inside and outside of agriculture; restoring justified confidence in the food and fiber system; and delivering a full spectrum of healthful, nutritious food.

We are asking only individuals, not organizations, to sign on, in keeping with the grassroots nature of this effort. The original letter and signatories, plus a sign-in page, can be found at http://www.fooddemocracynow.org.

Thank you for your help!
Online Community
Every so often a shareholder will ask us about ways to connect with other Pete's shareholders. We've been considering the idea of creating some kind of online community for Good Eats members for the last year or so, but have come to no conclusions. I am wondering what people think of having a Pete's Greens Facebook group where shareholders can exchange recipes and tips, etc? It's also a place that we can easily post status changes to shares that sometimes happen. If you have an opinion, or any other ideas about an online community, please email me. Thanks!

Steve's Farm Equipment Odyssey
As Pete wrote about a couple of weeks back, we have been on a farm equipment shopping spree of sorts. Pete has particularly had his eye on an older model Kubota cultivating tractor, popular with tobacco farmers. As this specific model, the L245H, is both hard to come by and expensive in the northeast, Pete has been looking to the tobacco growing regions in search of good condition used specimens. Pete found two that he liked, along with some other equipment, and sent Steve on a 72-hour quest to collect his purchases.

Steve began his journey at 5am on a Thursday morning, flying to Atlanta, GA, to pick up a 28' Penske rental truck with a car-hauling trailer. The 16 lanes of traffic he found on the Atlanta highway was a far cry from the 6-lane I89 he just left! Fortunately, Steve only needed to drive about 45 minutes out of Atlanta to pick-up the first Kubota that was sitting at a mechanics shop filled with antique tractors and old VW bugs. He got the Kubota loaded on the truck and headed for Tallassee, Alabama, about another five-hour drive.

Though both the tractors were in fairly good condition, Steve favored the Kubota he picked up at Holt Auto & Equipment in Tallassee. He loaded this second tractor onto the trailer and drove another 4 hours north towards Tennessee before stopping for the night, about 60 miles south of the border. In the morning, he got up and continued on to a working farm in Liberty, KY. There, Pete had lined up a brush washing line, waterwheel transplanter and a plastic mulch layer. The brush washer, a gentler option to our barrel washer, will take up the job of cleaning our potatoes, squashes and beets. The transplanter is able to water each individual plant as it is placed in its transplant hole. Pete is very excited about all of these new additions to our farm's toolbelt.

After this last pick-up, Steve drove a bit farther before checking himself into a motel for a good day's rest. And, it's a good thing he got that rest, because Saturday he headed for home with a loaded truck and trailer. Just about the time he was wondering if he would hit any lake effect snow, he slammed right into a wall of it in Cincinnati. He spent the next 500 miles in a line of trucks, plodding through the snow at 35 miles an hour, but managing to stay on the road.

After all of this, you might think that Steve would be hunkering down and shying away from any more equipment runs, but you'd be wrong. He said he loved the journey and is ready for the next trip anytime!

Localvore Lore
It's another apples, cheese and bread kind of a share. We're very excited about including the triple creme from Champlain Valley Creamery this week. Carleton had included a sample the last time we ordered cream cheese. We all loved the cheese and managed to devour the crottin (disk) within a few minutes. Their website describes this cheese as, "a beautiful soft ripened triple crème cheese with a bloomy white rind. Produced from cultured whole milk and cream, Champlain Triple is hand ladled into traditional crottin molds and aged approximately 10 days. It has a rich, creamy interior flavor that is offset by a delicious earthy rind with hints of mushroom."

Of course this cheese is perfect for eating on bread with apples on the side. You can also dress it up by baking it in puff pastry and topping it with some sauteed apples.

Pete made the applesauce in the shares this week from fruit we purchased from Champlain Orchards. We brought some of it to the last Montpelier Winter market and sold out easily. It makes a great simple side dish, or a fruity flavor addition to soups, sauces and baked goods.

We love the Tullochgorum popcorn from Ormstown, Quebec. You'll notice that the kernels look blue in your bags. If only they could retain that blue color when popped, my boys would be particularly excited. Alas, they pop white and delicious and make a terrific snack for hungry school children and movie watching adults alike. If you aren't a popcorn eating fan, it's a good time of year to string it and hang it on a tree. Or, try making popcorn balls, sweetened with honey from last week's share. Sticky, but delicious!

Finally, Andrew and Blair are baking up flax seed bread for us, made with flax seed from Michel Gaudreau. It is a sourdough-leavened bread with whole wheat. The addition of Quebec flax seeds gives it a delicious nutty flavor, as well as increased nutrition. Kudus to Elmore Mountain for continuing to bake us innovative loaves using a myriad of local ingredients!

Bread Ingredients: Milanaise Bread Flour, Milanaise Whole Wheat, Quebec Flax Seeds, Spring Water, Sourdough, Sea Salt.

Recipes
Carrot with Toasted Almond Soup
Beth Lewis, one of our shareholders, highly recommends this recipe from Epicurious.com. As she said, "even the kids like it!" I've modified it slightly to reflect the contents of this week's share. Garnish with plain yogurt or creme fraiche, if it's in your fridge. Serves 4 as a first course.

1 cup sliced shallots (about 4 large)
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Rounded 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/3 tsp dried, crumbled
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 small boiling potato (3 oz), peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz), or vegetable stock
1 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Cook shallots, bay leaf, ginger, curry powder, and thyme in butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened and pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add potato to shallot mixture along with carrots, broth, applesauce, water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Purée soup in 2 batches in a blender until smooth, transferring as blended to a large bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to saucepan to reheat if necessary. Serve soup sprinkled with almonds.

Cooks' notes:
•Soup can be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over low heat. Thin with additional water if necessary.
•Almonds can be toasted 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Blue Cheese, Apple & Leek Tart with a Spiced Whole-Wheat Crust
I recently came across this recipe in the 2007 Appetizer issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. I plan to serve it, as adapted, as an appetizer for Christmas dinner. Serves 8-10.

For the tart shell:
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 oz) sifted whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground mace
pinch cayenne
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits
4 - 6 TB ice water

For the filling:
1 medium leek, light and green parts only, split lengthwise, sliced crosswise, washed and drained
1 TB unsalted butter
1 medium apple, unpeeled, cored and cut into 1/4" dice
3 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 lb blue cheese, trimmed of rind and crumbled

To make the shell, stir the two flours, coriander, mace, cayenne and salt together in a medium bowl or food processor. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter bits resemble oatmeal. Mix in just enough ice water to form a ball of dough. Gently flatten into a smooth disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Once chilled, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and place over a 10-11" fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Fit into pan, trimming any excess, making sure there are no holes in the pastry dough where the filling may leak out. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge while you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven to 375F. To make the filling, heat butter in a medium skillet; add the leeks and apples. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the leeks are brightly colored and the apples are softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Lightly beat the eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Place the tart pan with dough on a cookie sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper. Distribute the cooled leek mixture evenly over the tart dough. Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese over the mixture. Pour the custard over the top. Bake until the custard has set in the middle and the top begins to turn golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Triple Creme and Apple Salad with Honey Vinaigrette
Carleton from Champlain Valley Creamery suggests using a sweet vinaigrette on salad made with the triple creme. Serves 6.

For the vinaigrette (inspired by Champlain Valley Apiaries recipe):
1 TB honey
6 TB balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
1 TB chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

6 - 8 cups claytonia or other salad greens
1 Macintosh apple, cored and cut in a 1/4" dice
1/2 cup roasted beets, cut in a 1/4" dice
1/2 crottin triple creme cheese, cut into small pieces
handful pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place all vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until ingredients are completely combined. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Place greens in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Dress with vinaigrette to taste. Toss and serve.

Breaded and Fried Celeriac
From Mark Bittman's cookbook, "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," this process results in crunchy, yet tender celery root strips. Serve with the parsley pesto below. You can also try this procedure with winter squash served with a curried mayonnaise.

1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper
1 cup plain bread crumbs
large celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/4" inch thick slices
3 TB butter, plus 3 TB olive oil for frying

Set out three shallow bowls, next to each other in order, one with flour, another with eggs and third with bread crumbs. To bread celeriac, toss with flour, shaking off extra. Immerse in eggs, then toss to cover with bread crumbs. Set on a parchment-lined cookie sheet until all pieces have been breaded. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium to medium-high heat, so that oil reaches about 350F. Fry celeriac, allowing space between each piece, until golden. Flip and fry the other side, about 5-10 minutes total. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining celeriac. If you have a lot of vegetables to cook, keep fried vegetables warm in a 200F oven set on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. Serve with parsley pesto.

Parsley Pesto
1 cup parsley leaves (thin stems are okay), rinsed and dried
salt
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 cup sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil, or more
1 tsp apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the parsley with a pinch of salt, the garlic, and about 1/2 the oil in a mini-food processor, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary, and adding the rest of the oil gradually. Add the vinegar, then a little more oil or some water if you prefer a thinner mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - December 10, 2008

This Week's Share Contains
Orange Storage Carrots; Parsnips; Garlic; Mars Onions; Bunch Curly Parsley; Red -or- Green Cabbage; Bag Mesclun; Bright Lights Chard;* Butterworks Farm Yogurt; Pearled Barley; Oyster -or- Shiitake Mushrooms from Amir Habib; and Red Hen Squash Bread.

* Chard will be delivered this week to: Craftsbury, Middlesex, Waterbury, Burlington, Stowe and Morrisville. Next week, Montpelier, Hardwick and NOFA will receive theirs.

You May Also Receive....
We are catching people up this week in order to make all shareholders even from the Thanksgiving delivery. Can you tell that we were short handed that day? Thanks to all for your patience with the holiday rush. Please see what to expect below:

Grove Street and Adams Court - 2 squash each shareholder; purple top turnips.
NOFA and Hen of the Wood - 1 squash; purple top turnips.
Red Hen - Purple top turnips.
Hardwick - Purple top turnips.
Craftsbury - Cornmeal;

Storage and Use Tips
Curly Parsley - Many claim that flat-leaf parsley has more flavor than curly, but I have found them to be mostly interchangeable in recipes. Curly parsley stands up especially well in cold salads, with its bright green color and more rigid demeanor. Try adding parsley stems to your simmering stock, both to impart flavor and help clarify the broth. Store the parsley bunch with stems in a glass of water, like flowers in a vase. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and keep in the fridge.
Mesclun - It seems so decadent to be giving out these luscious greens so deep in a Vermont December. Wasn't it yesterday that the high only made it into the single digits? We pre-wash our mesclun before it goes in your bags. Most of us at the farm are fine with this single wash and serve the greens in a salad straightaway. Store the greens in a loose plastic bag in your crisper drawer. If the greens seem damp, throw a cloth napkin or dishtowel in the bag with the greens to absorb any excess moisture.
Mushrooms - These delicate mushrooms are best used within a few days after pick-up. You will receive shiitake or oyster mushrooms. Remove the stems of shiitake mushrooms before cooking. Save the stems for making a stock. Store mushrooms in the refrigerator in a paper bag.
Pearled Barley - Pearled barley is barley that has been de-hulled, with some or all of the bran removed. It makes a great substitute in recipes calling for brown rice, is wonderful cooked, cooled and used in cold salads, and adds a nice texture to soups and stews. It also cooks down into a really nice risotto, without all of the attention and stirring required with Arborio rice. Barley packs a nice nutritious punch into a small package. One cup of cooked pearled barley provides 12% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of iron and 6 grams of dietary fiber fiber, all for only 193 calories. Keeping barley sealed in a cool dark place, it will last at least 6 months. One cup of dry barley makes about 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked. If you give these guys a soak for 6+ hours in cold water before use, you can reduce your cooking time by at least half. Without soaking, you'll want to let them simmer in water for a good hour. I like to cook barley like pasta, that is I use a lot of water (4-5 cups of water to 1 cup barley), then drain what's left over.

No Delivery Xmas Week!
Just a quick reminder we will be taking Christmas week off. As we explained in our brochure and on the website, we padded the veggies for the first six weeks of the share and will provide an extra-bountiful share next week to compensate. So, the next two deliveries will be Wednesday, December 17th, then December 31st.

Quick Farm Update
Yesterday evening I made a quick stop in our dry goods storage room before heading home for the day. At the last minute, I thought that I would grab a bag of barley to do some test recipes with. Thankfully, I made this decision, because as I walked in the room, I could hear water running from somewhere. As there is no light in the room, I couldn't tell where the water was coming from, but I knew there shouldn't be any. I ran down to the barn to grab Tim, who came straight up to turn off the water in the farmhouse. It turns out that one of our pipes had frozen and was leaking water. Steve was slotted to fix the problem this morning. Though we managed to save most of the grains and remain in good shape for including grains in the CSA shares, our ability to fill some of the localvore bulk orders may be impacted. See below.....

Bulk Order - December 17th Delivery
These are the final days to get your order in for the December 17th Bulk Order delivery. You can purchase our stored roots, aliums, t-shirts and some extra localvore products on the order. The prices on our bulk vegetable orders rival those that we offer to our stores, so it is a very economical way to purchase local, organic produce.

The orders that have come in so far have wiped us out of the extra cornmeal and mixed cracked grains we had on hand. These items have been removed from the updated bulk order forms. We are still assessing how our leaky water pipe impacted our barley supply. If it turns out that we've oversold any of the grain items, I will contact you to see if you would like an alternative product or a refund.

To place a bulk order:
Print & fill out our Order Form.
Mail your form and check to the farm to arrive no later than Dec. 13th.
Pick-up your items on Dec. 17th.
Find out more about our bulk orders here. Get more info on our organic T-shirts here.

Cabot Cheese and rBH Growth Hormone
I recently received an email from one of my friends regarding Cabot's use of milk coming from cows treated with rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone). It appears that Cabot is taking comment on their continued use. Here's what April had to say:

"Please take a moment to call or write Cabot Cheese to oppose their practice of continuing to use milk from cows treated with rBGH (recumbent bovine growth hormone.) I called today to get an update and talked to their product specialist, Michael Provos. Cabot has received a lot of pressure in the past year to stop this practice. They are making progress. 92% of their milk is rBGH-free, though reporting is voluntary from farmers. The Cabot board of directors is deliberating about the issue and Michael said Cabot may make a decsion in the spring or summer to go completely rBGH-free. The sense I got was that COMMUNITY SUPPORT WILL REALLY HELP them make a positive, final decision in a timely manner. The company cares very much about consumer feedback. There is info below to educate you about the issue. In short, Europe, Japan and Canada have banned rBGH due to the evidence linking the hormone to breast and colon cancers. For years, Monsanto and the FDA have downplayed, covered-up and some say lied about the health risks associated with rBGH. Unless a product says rBGH-free, it is likely to be contaminated. Organic milk products are safe and Hood, Booth Brothers, Ben & Jerry's and Stonyfield Farms have pledged not to use milk containing the hormone.

Please take a minute to write or call Cabot and tell them to stop using rBGH milk in their products. Robert Stammer is the CEO, and the address is: Cabot Creamery, One Home Farm Way, Montpelier, Vermont 05602. Their parent company is Agri-mark, their CEO is Paul Johnston, at PO Box 5800, Lawerence, Massachusetts 01842.

Or pick up the phone and call Michael Provos at 802.371.1265.

Thanks for your time and please pass this on to friends.

You can find more information about rBGH at the following websites:


Localvore Lore
When putting together this week's share, I had warm (Amir Habib) mushroom barley soup on my mind. Serving it with a dollop of Butterworks yogurt and a warm, buttered slice of Red Hen squash bread on the side, would make a perfect meal for the upcoming cold evenings in the forecast.

The barley is yet another grain from Michel Gaudreau up in Quebec. Back in October, Tim and I loaded in the truck and headed north for the border. We had two stops on our list: first, Michel's, then on to Les Aliments Massawippi for tamari and miso (coming up later in the share).

It was a beautiful late fall day and it was fun to spend the day "shopping" in Quebec with Tim. Though I had originally planned to make the trip by myself, we decided at the last minute that it would be better if Tim came with me. The truck was really acting up for us at this point and Tim had the driving experience. In order to make sure the truck would drive safely home, we had to gingerly balance the pallets of grain to one side of the truck.

Michel has quite an organic grain milling operation in Compton, QC, only about 1 1/2 hours from our farm. In English, his company's name is Golden Crops. In French, it's called Les Moissons Dorées. You drive through quaint farming backroads before coming upon his mill. Michel processes many types of local grains from his neighbors' farms, as well as grains from much farther afield. When we order from Michel, we make sure to specify Quebec only grains.

While up at Golden Crops, we bought organic barley, rolled oats and flaxseed. We also picked up blue popcorn from Tullochgorum Farm that had been delivered to Golden Crops for us the previous day. Spoilers alert: the popcorn is scheduled to show up next week.

The other interesting story this week has to do with the bread that Randy George is making for this week's share. He sent me the following message to include in today's newsletter:
"We thought that it would be fun to try to make a bread that made use of something from the farm, so we've devised this bread that features squash that was cooked down and pureed at Pete's. The squash itself is a mix of those coming from Pete's Greens, as well as squash that Pete procured from Tom Stearns at High Mowing Seeds.

The squash flavor in the bread is by no means overpowering... o.k., it's pretty subtle, even though it comprises about 15% of the ingredients. You can definitely see it in the color and the flavor is unmistakable too (as long as you eat it fairly unadulterated). You know something about the origin of the squash, but it is fun that we also can tell you a little story about the particular wheat flour in this bread too.

A few weeks ago, 3 of us went for a visit to a new mill in Quebec that has developed working partnerships with over 200 Quebecois wheat farmers. Robert Beauchemin, the founder and miller, and his farmers are engaged on a quest to investigate how variety selection and various growing practices influence the baking characteristics and flavor of the bread that is eventually made with the wheat they grow. Meanwhile, this bustling mill churns out 7000 lbs. of flour an hour (6 days a week, 24 hours a day... and 80% of the wheat comes from within the province!). They work closely with their farmers and requires that they abide by pesticide-free and no-till growing practices.

The white flour that is used in the squash bread is from this mill. There is some whole wheat in this bread too and it is milled from Quebec wheat as well. It comes from a smaller, certified organic mill which Robert started 30 years ago and still operates. Although our daily breads use organic flour exclusively, we are very excited by what Robert is doing at his new mill and thought that this week's CSA bread would be a nice way to feature this flour in conjunction with another, even more local ingredient from other innovators (that'd be Pete, Tom and their winter squash).

As bakers, it is unusual to be able to trace the origin of each major ingredient in our bread. We hope you like it. Let us know. In the coming months, we plan to include other local ingredients in the CSA loaves."
I spent some time speaking with Randy about his trip to the Quebec mills and was really excited to hear of all of the things that they are doing right. The organic mill Randy refers to is called La Meunerie Milanaise. You may be familiar with this name, as the flour that Elmore Mountain uses comes from them as well.

According to Randy, Robert Beauchemin, the mill owner, started out much like Ben Gleason back in 1972. He was growing the wheat and grinding it himself. As he got more interested, he convinced other local farmers to begin growing wheat, which he ground at his Milanaise mill.

Robert Beauchemin is very interested in growing flour that is optimized for baking better bread. To this end, he has his own agronomist on staff to analyze the wheat and flour at the mill. Using the statistics she has gathered she is able to help both the farmers and the mill to make a better product.

This past very wet summer, she took a look at the statistics and the weather forecast and contacted the mill's farmers early on to convince them to harvest their crops right away. This goes against the conventional wisdom that advocates waiting for the weather to dry out before cutting the wheat.

As it turns out, the agronomist's was the better strategy. The farmers who harvested when she advocated ended up losing only 15% of their wheat crop this past summer. Compare this to most wheat farmers in the area who lost 90% of their crops!

The mill has its own onsite bakery and works with other high-end bakeries to test the bread flour being produced. They are constantly looking at all the factors to improve their loaves. One interesting thing that their 30 years of research has exposed, is that using less nitrogen in the growing of wheat will increase the quality of the resulting bread.

One of Robert's hopes is that by encouraging farmers to go pesticide-free and employ no-till practices, along with providing sound information on improving growing practices, wheat farmers will convince themselves of the advantages of going organic. He's already had one or two who have come to this conclusion.

Recipes
Mushroom Casserole
Adapted from 101cookbooks.com, this is comfort food at its healthy-finest. Serves 8.

2-3 TB olive oil or bacon fat
1/2 pound (8 ounces) mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, well chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dry sherry
3 cups cooked barley (from about 1 cup dry), room temperature
1/2 tsp crumbled dried thyme
2 large eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup freshly grated hard Vermont cheese or Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Rub a medium-large baking dish (somewhat smaller than a 9x13) with a bit of olive oil or butter and set aside.

Heat oil/fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt to taste and saute. Stir every minute or so until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute. Add sherry and cook, stirring constantly until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Add the thyme and the barley to the skillet and stir until combined.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt/sour cream, and salt.

Add the barley mixture to the cottage cheese mixture, and stir until well combined and then turn out into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or until hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and enjoy.

Stir-fried Veggies with Ponzu and Garlic
Although this recipe originally appeared in a summer Culinate newsletter, it was easily adapted to fall greens and barley. Serves 2-4.

1 bunch chard
3 carrots scrubbed and sliced crosswise, very thin
1/2 head caggabe
canola oil
1 small onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Fresh ginger, a 1-inch piece, peeled and minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Ponzu (citrus-flavored soy sauce available at natural and int'l groceries)
Toasted sesame oil
3 cups cooked (leftover/cold) pearl barley

Have at hand three medium bowls. Prepare the vegetables by first washing them; shake off the water but don’t bother to dry them. Prepare the Swiss chard by first removing the ribs from the leaves; finely chop the ribs and place them in a bowl, then cut the leaves into slivers and place them in another bowl. Add the carrots to the chard stems. Finally, slice the cabbage very thin, and place in its own bowl.

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. When hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add the cabbage — and another slug of canola oil if necessary — and cook stirring occaionally for about 5 minutes. Add the chard and carrots and cook over medium heat until almost tender, stirring often. Add the chard leaves and continue to stir-fry until almost tender (or turn the heat down, add a bit of water and cover, to steam instead of stir-fry).

Turn the heat up to medium-high (removing the lid first, if you were steaming) stir-fry for a minute or two, lower heat to medium, then add a big splash of ponzu and a drizzle of sesame oil. Stir to mix, then push vegetables to the outside rim of the pan and dump barley into the center. With a large wooden spoon spread it out in the pan. Once the barley is warmed through, stir the vegetables into the barley. Season to taste with extra ponzu. Serve hot.

Mushroom Barley Soup
Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serves 8.

1/3 cup pearled barley, soaked 6 hrs. in cold water
1/4 oz dried porcini (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 parsnips, peeled and choppped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 lb fresh oyster mushrooms thinly sliced, or shiitakes-stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup medium-dry Sherry
3 cups low-salt beef or rich vegetable stock
soy sauce to taste
chopped fresh parsley

Simmer barley in 3 1/2 cups water in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot, uncovered, until almost tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain in a colander. While barley is cooking, soak porcini in 1/2 cup water in a small bowl until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain in a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel set over a bowl, reserving liquid. Rinse porcini to remove any grit, then coarsely chop.

Heat oil in cleaned pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add carrots, parsnips, shiitakes, porcini, salt and pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms are golden, 4 to 6 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, bay leaf, sherry, stock, mushroom soaking liquid, barley, salt and pepper. If soup looks too thick, add a cup or so of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and barley are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - December 3, 2008

This Week's Share Contains
Sugarsnax Carrots; Chioggia and/or Red Beets; All Blue Potatoes; Brussels Sprouts; Sweet Salad Turnips; Yellow Storage Onions; Bright Lights and/or Ruby Red Chard; Mix of Claytonia and Spinach; Ploughgate Creamery Acer Cheese; Champlain Valley Apiaries Raw Honey; Elmore Mountain Multigrain Bread.

Hen of the Wood Members look for your cranberries this week!

Storage and Use Tips
All Blue Potatoes - These potatoes may be misnamed, as we think their appearance is actually purpler in color. No matter the shade, they have excellent flavor and a nice moist texture. These are truly an all-purpose potato, excellent stuffed, baked or boiled, and outstanding in a potato salad.
Chioggia Beets - An Italian variety, chioggias have alternating white and pink rings of color on the inside. The outside is lighter and more pinkish than traditional red beets. With a sweet peppery flavor, they are smooth and mild tasting. To prevent chioggias from bleeding their color, roast them whole then slice crosswise to show off the beautiful rings. Roasted this way, they make a stunning addition to a salad made with the claytonia and spinach greens. Store beets loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Chard - Some folks will get the ruby red chard, while others will receive bright lights. The leaves of both varieties look and taste just about identical. The name really refers to the stems. The bright lights have a variety of yellow, orange, red and white stems, while the ruby red have, well, red stems. Chard stems are good eating, as well as the leaves. Strip the greens from the stems before cooking. Add the chopped stems to your pan a few minutes before the softer greens to ensure an evenly cooked dish. Store chard loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. Wash thoroughly before use.

Pete's Musings
Part 3 of the refrigerated truck - green house moving series....

At the end of October we finally moved our moveable greenhouses. We have 4 of them, each 35 by 200 ft. They are built with a simple 4 by 4 in. angle iron skid resting on the ground under the hoops. This acts as a giant ski that the greenhouse slides on. We pulled them with a hydraulic winch mounted on the bucket of our 2 tractors, each tractor pulling down one side of the greenhouse. We built all 4 greenhouses before we tried to move them. We had done a little math, factoring the weight of the greenhouses, the friction of the soil, and the pull of the winches. The math indicated it would work, but not by a large margin.

It ended up working beautifully. The greenhouses slowly and gracefully trundled across the field to cover patches of winter greens. They took about 20 minutes to travel 200 ft; slow enough that the short movie Nancy made of it was a real bore. They left behind the detritus of summer crops, wilted tomato vines, withered peppers, and dead eggplants that will rot under the winter snows. We are just beginning to understand the potential with this for increased greenhouse production, both summer and winter. For now we are very gratified that it worked and worked with ease. Much credit to Steve Perkins our mechanic, greenhouse erector, and all around handyman who built much of these houses and is invaluable for solving tough mechanical and facility issues on the farm. -Pete

Watch the greenhouse move on youtube.

Bulk Order - December 17th Delivery
We are continuing our tradition of offering our available roots and alliums for sale in bulk this year. It's a great way to stock up on winter vegetables that you really enjoy. Our bulk order prices are close to the prices we offer to stores, so it's also a great way to save money. In addition to veggies, we are also offering some extra localvore items we have in limited quantities. Finally, you can order Pete's Greens T-shirts as part of the bulk order. (See below).

To place a bulk order:

  1. Print & fill out our Order Form.
  2. Mail your form and check to the farm to arrive no later than Dec. 13th.
  3. Pick-up your items on Dec. 17th.
We tentatively have another bulk order scheduled for January 28th. Find out more about our bulk orders here.

Pete's Greens T-Shirts
Show your support for Vermont, organic farming with these 100% organic cotton
T-shirts. They feature beautiful veggie drawings made exclusively for Pete's.


The perfect agro-conscious holiday gift, our 100% organic cotton shirts are $10 for short sleeved, $12 for long. The shorts are all natural in color; the long sleeved are all white. If you would like a shirt, you can fill out the T-shirt order form on our Website and mail it to the farm with your check. We will deliver your shirt(s) to your CSA site to pick-up with your next CSA delivery. If you are placing a bulk order, you can order the shirts on the same form as the veggies (see above). We also hope to be selling the shirts at the winter farmer's market in Montpelier.

Localvore Lore
I think that you could almost make a fast-food meal with the localvore items in the share today. Think creamy Acer cheese between two toasted slices of bread smeared with honey. If you are feeling ambitious, you could whip up a salad with the sweet salad turnips and serve it on the side.

Ploughgate creamery made a run of Acer for the share this week especially for us. Back in September, Marisa had stopped by the farm with samples of both the Acer and their Mallow. While the Mallow was incredibly good, we thought that the Acer would be an interesting cheese for our shareholders to try. Ploughgate describes it as a "soft ripened bloomy rind cheese made with organic Holstein milk. It has a mild flavor and velvety smooth texture. It is named for the Maple genus, because it was first offered just as the fall foliage was reaching its peak."

Ploughgate Creamery is the combined vision of Marisa Mauro and Princess MacLean, both of whom have worked on some of Vermont's greatest cheesemaking farms, include Bonnieview, Jasper Hill, Woodcock Farm and Shelburne Farms. In addition to their love of cheesemaking, Marisa and Princess share a vision of animal powered dairy farming.

We feel lucky to be able to offer Marisa and Princess's cheese in our share today, as being still small cheesemakers, their cheese can be otherwise difficult to come by. For the best flavor, let the cheese warm up on your counter for about 30 minutes before serving. We hope you enjoy it!

The honey in the share today is from Champlain Valley Apiaries in Middlebury, Vermont. We prefer to distribute this honey as it is jarred in its raw, or crystallized, state. Extracted and packed without processing, crystallized honey is neither heated nor filtered, thus retaining its original flavor, vitamins and other nutrients.

Finally, Elmore Mountain has baked a special multigrain bread for us using mixed cracked grains from Michel Gaudreau in Quebec. It promises to be a hearty and tasty loaf!

Bread Ingredients: Milanaise Bread Flour, Gleason's Whole Wheat, Quebec cracked grains, Spring Water, sourdough, sea salt.

Recipes
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
While in Chicago for the Thanksgiving holiday, we checked out Mado, a new restaurant in the city focused on farm-fresh local foods. Their raw shaved Brussels sprouts were a refreshing departure from a traditional preparation and renewed my appreciation for these mini-cabbage heads. Serves 2.

10 oz Brussels sprouts (preferably on the stalk), any discolored leaves discarded and stems left intact
2 TB good quality olive oil
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 oz shaved parmesan-style, hard cheese

Slice sprouts into very thin ribbons. If you have an adjustable blade slicer, use it, watching your fingers closely. Toss cut sprouts into a bowl to separate layers. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, then toss with the sprouts. Garnish with the shaved parmesan.

Blue Potato-Orange Carrot Latkes
Serves 6.

1 1/2 pounds all blue potatoes, peeled
1 lb. carrots, scrubbed
1 small onion
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
oil for frying
crumbled chevre

Using the medium holes of your box grater, grate potatoes, carrots and onions into large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, and pepper. In large nonstick frying pan over low heat, heat approximately 1/2 cup of oil until hot but not smoking. Drop 3 (1/4-cup) portions of potato mixture into pan and flatten with spatula to form 3 1/2-inch pancakes. Fry until golden-brown, turning once, about 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in oven. Add more oil as necessary and cook remaining pancakes in same manner.

Serve pancakes warm with crumbled chevre and a side salad.

Beet Risotto with Swiss Chard and Brie
You could use the Acer here in place of brie. It should leave you a few ounces to enjoy with bread while you cook. Serves 4.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 (2 1/2- to 3-inch-diameter) beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
4 large leaves chard, stems and leaves chopped separately
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
5 ounce Brie, rind discarded, cut into small pieces

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add beets, onion and chard stems. Cover; cook until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, heat broth in a small saucepan. Once the onion is soft, mix the rice into the beets and onion. Saute for a minute. Add wine and simmer briskly, stirring, until wine has been absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup hot broth and briskly simmer, stirring, until broth has been absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and waiting until each addition has been absorbed before adding the next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chard greens and brie a minute or two before removing from heat.

Monday, November 24, 2008

November 25th Update

Happy Thanksgiving week to all!
Please don't forget our special Tuesday pick-up this week. The site hours are the same as usual.
We have two updates/changes to the list we sent out on Friday:
  • A small portion of the sausage is now Hot Italian. Carnivores please double-check what you are taking if you have a preference!
  • We ran short on purple top turnips today. Those sites that do not get turnips today will get them next week.
If you have any questions, please email Nancy or call 586-2882 x2.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - November 25, 2008

Pick-up next Tuesday, November 25th!

Thanksgiving Week's Share Will Tentatively Include:
Yellow Potatoes (Some Russets and Other Mixed In); Bunch Kale (Maybe, see below*); Shallots; Mars and/or Torpedo Onions; Turnips -or- Rutabaga; Pie Pumpkin -or- Red Kuri; Parsnips; Brussels Sprouts; Bag of Greens (Probably Mix of Claytonia and Tatsoi); 2 Mini Decorative Pumpkins; Butterworks Farm Early Riser Cornmeal; Fresh Cranberries from Vermont Cranberry Company.

Depending on the share you've signed up for (check the list at pick-up), you will also receive:

Carnivore Shares - Winding Brook Farm Sausage

-OR-

Vegetarian Shares - Dozen of Deborah's Eggs & Organic Quebec Flaxseed

*Though we've been planning kale, the temperatures may not cooperate. It needs to warm up above freezing for a day here before Tuesday in order to harvest. The forecast may not cooperate. I'll send out an update Tuesday morning.

Storage and Use Tips
Kale - We grow many varieties of kale at Pete's, including Green, Lacinato, Red Russian and Redbor. The variety in your share this week is called Winterbor. One of the most winter hardy kales, Winterbor has finely curled, thick, blue-green leaves, handles frosts well and lends itself to successive cuttings. Keep kale loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. Strip the leaves from the stems and wash them well before chopping and cooking.
Torpedo Onions - These are shaped as they're named. We are finishing up the last of these this share. Though some may have a root or two sprouting from the base, they are still good eating. Keep torpedoes in the fridge. Mars go in a cool, dry and dark place, away from potatoes.
Pumpkin vs. Red Kuri - Some sites will get pie pumpkins this week and some will get red kuri's. You can use pureed kuri in recipes calling for pureed pumpkin. Both will do equally well in a pie, custard or the rolls recipe below. Store both in a cool, dark place. If you're going to use them within the week, they should do fine on the counter.
Parsnips - These are the "cream colored looking carrots" in your bags. This is the first time we've had parsnips in the share since back in June. Though a relative of the carrot, they aren't just like them. You'll want to peel parsnips and cook them before eating. They are wonderful sauteed or pureed, as well as in soups and stews. In the Thanksgiving menu below, they are parboiled in salted water, then pan fried in butter. Yum! Keep parsnips unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Pete's Musings
Part 2 of the refrigerated truck-buying saga. Last week, I described how I traveled to Delaware to buy a reefer (refrigerated) truck and returned with a little pickup. I threw myself back into reefer truck research, spending hours some days attempting to locate the perfect truck. Whenever we need a major piece of equipment like this, I prefer to search for it aggressively but for a relatively short period of time, as it is such a distraction.

I found a real gem in Kansas City that Ryder Used Vehicle Sales seemed to have miss -priced. Because the refrigeration unit had some strange names on it that the Ryder pricers did not understand, (the theory is the unit was made in Canada so has a different name), this truck was discounted several thousand dollars compared to similar trucks. I decided I would fly to K.C. and drive the truck home, but really wanted to fill it with cargo to make the trip more worthwhile.

This led to the search for the Kubota L245H. These are mythical tractors in the New England vegetable scene. They are an offset cultivating tractor, meaning that where you sit is not in line with the hood of the tractor. The hood of the tractor is to the left of where you sit. This allows an open view of what you are cultivating with tools that are mounted in the middle of the tractor between the front and rear wheels.

Cultivating in this sense almost always means weeding. These are weeding tractors that do the work of dozens of people. There are many other tractor brands that made similar tractors decades ago but they were all powered with gas and generally had lower horsepower than the diesel Kubota, limiting their use to certain light tasks. Kubota L245H's are nearly impossible to purchase in the Northeast, as those who own them do not sell them. When they are offered for sale, the price is generally $6500-$9000. Adding to the scarcity is the fact that Kubota and all other brands stopped making cultivating tractors 15-20 years ago.

My farming buddy, Jon Satz, had good luck locating L245's in Kentucky a few years ago. Many of these tractors were sold to tobacco farmers in the 80's and many tobacco farms are now out of business. Some quick ebay and craigslist searches found a tractor south of Lexington, KY that was one owner, full maintenance history, low hours, and $4,300. We are changing many of our cropping plans for 2009 and we could use several L245H's. I had room in the truck for 2, but could not find another.

The drive was uneventful. The truck is beautiful and the tractor is just what we need. The tractor was located in beautiful, really poor, old tobacco and coal country in Appalachia, Kentucky. People there said that after tobacco, no one could find any crops that were worth growing in the small mountain valley fields. I'd like to learn more about the area. Is there really no market for good local food or has no one started the movement? Visits to places like these do cause me to appreciate what we have started in Vermont and I hope that we can be a good example to other areas in how to rebuild a local economy. -Pete

Thanksgiving Menu
As I mentioned in the last newsletter, we attempted to design this week’s share around a Localvore Thanksgiving menu. It is actually the menu my family and I followed last year for our holiday feast. We managed to make it an almost all local meal, celebrating the bounty that can be found close to home, save for the Marco Polo exceptions* and a bit of non-local flour in the Red Hen bread, Whether you attempt to make the whole meal, a dish or two, or use your share for entirely different purposes, we wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

For those of you interested in checking out the meal, the localvore Thanksgiving menu includes:

Crispy Kale
Local Cheeses
Red Hen Bread

Roast Turkey with Cornbread and Kale Stuffing
Your Favorite Gravy Made With a Bit of Local Wine
Your Favorite Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Apple Cranberry Chutney
Parsnips Sautéed in Butter
Pumpkin Nutmeg Dinner Rolls

Maple Pumpkin Pots de Crème

*The Marco Polo exceptions for local eating include any spices that would have been freely traded in the time of said explorer, plus leaveners.

Preparation Schedule
I find that it always helps to spread the tasks of big, holiday meal preparations over several days. Here is a guideline for breaking down the tasks of the above dinner:

2 Days Ahead
Make turkey stock
Apple Cranberry Chutney
Cook and puree pumpkin/squash

1 Day Ahead
Make Pumpkin Nutmeg Dinner Roll dough. Form into rolls. Place on sheet pans. Cover and refrigerate.
Make Cornbread
Make Pots de Crème

Day Of
Roast Kale
Make stuffing mixture and stuff bird
Roast Turkey
Slice and parboil Parsnips, set aside an hour or two before turkey is finished
Slice Brussels sprouts and shallots, place on cookie sheet an hour or two before turkey is finished
Take dinner rolls out of fridge to come to rise about 90 minutes before turkey will come out of oven.

Last Minute
Boil and mash potatoes
Pan fry parsnips
Raise temp and pop dinner rolls and Brussels sprouts into oven as soon as Turkey comes out
Make Gravy

Localvore Lore
It was a pleasure putting together the share for this week. I had my eye on all of the ingredients before we even made our first delivery. Of course, a Thanksgiving meal is not complete without the commensurate serving of cranberry sauce. Thanks to Cranberry Bob and the Vermont Cranberry Company, we all have 12 ounces of the state’s finest to work with. Enjoy these cranberries while they last. The fresh ones disappear by early to mid December.

Jack Lazor at Butterworks Farm really came through for us. He cleaned out the remainder of last year’s harvest from the corn storage bin and ground it for this week’s share. This year’s corn for his famous Early Riser cornmeal has only recently been harvested and is currently in the aeration silo drying out.

This is the first time that we have meat from Winding Brook Farm. Arthur Meade has been a real treat to work with. He has a very diversified animal operation at his farm up in Morrisville. His menagerie includes lambs, pigs, goats, chickens and turkeys. I'm sorry that I forgot to mention his turkey's last newsletter. He asked me to mention he still has a few turkeys for you procrastinators! You can call him 888.5922.

You might have heard about his work with the state’s Muslim community to create a halal slaughter facility to provide goat meat for their tables. The facility allows Muslims to come to the farm and slaughter their animals themselves according to the laws of Islam. You can see a full article about the halal facility at Winding Brook by Suzanne Podhaizer at the 7 Days site.

This share we have his breakfast sausage to work with. It is a mild sausage, flavored with a bit of sage, perfect for a turkey stuffing!

For our vegetarian shareholders, we have eggs and flaxseed. The eggs are from Deborah, one of our most loyal and efficient crew members. She took the chickens from our farm at the end of last summer and started up her own egg business. Her birds are happy and well taken care of. We’re sure you’ll enjoy her eggs.

The organic flaxseed comes to us from Michel Geuidro’s Golden Crops up in Quebec. It’s one of the grains Tim and I picked up on our recent Canadian buying run. Although ground flaxseed has a very limited shelf life, the whole seeds that we are delivering in this share will stay fresh for 2 to 3 years if stored in a cool dry place, like a bottom drawer or cabinet. You will want to grind the seeds up in a coffee grinder before adding to a recipe.
Link
Flaxseed is naturally rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and high in fiber. It has been attributed with many health benefits, including reducing cholesterol, decreasing the risk of cancer and heart disease and fighting constipation. You can find out more about the benefits of flaxseed, as well as peruse some delicious sounding recipes at the following Websites:

FlaxHealth
About.com

Recipes
Turkey Giblet Stock
Adapted from Epicurious.com. Makes about 5 cups.

the neck and giblets (excluding the liver) from 12- to 14-pound turkey
5 cups chicken broth
5 cups water
1/2 small turnip or rutabaga, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

In a large saucepan combine the neck and giblets, the broth, the water, the turnip, the carrot, and the onion and bring the liquid to a boil, skimming the froth. Add the bay leaf, the thyme, and the peppercorns, cook the mixture at a bare simmer for 2 hours, or until the liquid is reduced to about 5 cups, and strain the stock through a fine sieve into a bowl. The stock may be made 2 days in advance, cooled, uncovered, and kept chilled or frozen in an airtight container.

Crispy Kale
This is so easy and makes a nice light snack that won't interfere with anyone's appetite for the main event. Serves 6.

1 - 2 bunches of kale, washed and spun dry
1 - 2 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 300F. Remove kale ribs and chop into bite size pieces. Wash kale and spin dry. On a large cookie sheet or sheet pan toss kale with oil and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. Place in oven and toast kale for 25-45 minutes, tossing occasionally, until kale is crispy. How long kale will take to dehydrate depends on both the variety of the kale as well as how dry it is when it goes into the oven. Serve as an appetizer or side dish.

Cornbread (for Stuffing Recipe)
Adapted from Epicurious.com. Makes about 4 cups.

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups early riser cornmeal
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

In a bowl whisk together the flour, the cornmeal, the baking powder, and the salt. In a small bowl whisk together the milk, the egg, and the butter, and stir the mixture into the cornmeal mixture, stirring until the batter is just combined. Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch-square baking pan and bake the corn bread in the middle of a preheated 425°F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is pale golden and a tester comes out clean. Let the corn bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, invert it onto a rack, and let it cool completely. Crumble the corn bread coarse into 2 shallow baking pans and toast it in the middle of a preheated 325°F. oven, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is dried and deep golden.

Cornbread and Kale Stuffing
Adapted from Epicurious.com. I like adding about a pound of sausage. The Winding Brook Farm in the share would be ideal. Serves 8.

1 lb. mild breakfast pork sausage, crumbled (optional)
2 large onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 small turnip or rutabaga, chopped fine
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large bunch of kale, stems discarded and the leaves rinsed well and chopped (about 10 cups)
about 4 cups corn bread for stuffing
1 tablespoon crumbled dried sage (or 2 TB minced fresh)

If including sausage, fry until mostly brown in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain, remove from pan and reserve. In the same pan, cook the onions and the turnips with salt and pepper to taste in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened. Add the kale in batches, stirring until each batch is wilted, and cook the mixture until the kale is bright green. In a bowl combine the mixture with the corn bread and reserved sausage, stir in the sage and salt and pepper to taste, and toss the stuffing gently until it is combined well. Let the stuffing cool. The stuffing may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. (To prevent bacterial growth, do not stuff the turkey in advance.)

To cook, either stuff the bird, or place in a well-buttered casserole dish. You may find that you fill the bird and still have enough to bake in a casserole dish. Drizzle stuffing in dish with 2/3 cup stock and 1/2 cup of turkey pan juices. Bake in a 325F oven for approximately an hour.

Apple and Cranberry Chutney
This assertive chutney balances the sweetness in the rest of the meal nicely. I find the apple and cranberry combination a refreshing change from the standard cranberry sauce. Serves 8.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 medium onion, chopped
2 lb macintosh apples (about 4 or 5), peeled, cored and cut in 1/2" dice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
12 oz fresh cranberries

Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add apples, saute for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the cranberries. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in cranberries and continue cooking until cranberries are softened and most of the liquid is absorbed. Taste and adjust seasonings and sweetness as desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots
Serves 8.

2-3 TB melted bacon fat, sunflower oil or olive oil
2 lbs. Brussels spouts, washed and halved
3 medium shallots, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Toss Brussels sprouts and shallots with melted bacon fat or olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in 400F (375F convection) oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pumpkin Nutmeg Dinner Rolls
Adapted from Epicurious.com. Makes 14 rolls.

1 1/4-ounce package (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup maple sugar
3/4 cup milk, heated to lukewarm
7 to 8 cups whole-wheat bread flour (or 1/2 all-purpose, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 large whole egg, beaten lightly
2 cups fresh pumpkin purée*
an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water

In a small bowl proof the yeast with 1 teaspoon of the sugar in the milk for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is foamy. In a large bowl combine well 7 cups of the flour, the nutmeg, the salt, and the remaining sugar and blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the whole egg, the pumpkin purée, and the yeast mixture and stir the dough until it is combined well.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it, incorporating as much of the remaining 1 cup flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking, for 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to a well-buttered large bowl, and turn it to coat it with the butter. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it is double in bulk. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide it into 14 pieces, and form each piece into a ball. Fit the balls into a buttered 10-inch springform pan and let them rise, covered with a kitchen towel, in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until they are almost double in bulk. Brush the rolls with the egg wash and bake them in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Let the rolls cool slightly in the pan, remove the side of the pan, and serve the rolls warm. The rolls may be made 1 week in advance and kept wrapped well and frozen. Reheat the rolls, wrapped in foil, in a preheated 350°F. oven for 25 minutes, or until they are heated through.

Pumpkin Pots de Creme
Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serves 10.

1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup pumpkin puree*
7 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: 10 (2- to 3-oz) custard cups* or ramekins

Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together cream, milk, syrup, and pumpkin in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat. Whisk together yolks, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl.

Add hot pumpkin mixture to yolks in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup, then divide among custard cups (you may have some custard left over, depending on size of cups). Bake custards in a hot water bath, pan covered tightly with foil, in middle of oven until a knife inserted in center of a custard comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer custards to a rack to cool completely. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 2 hours. Serve garnished with whipped creme fraiche sweetened with maple syrup.

*My preferred method of making puree is to cut the pumpkin in half, then oil, salt and pepper the flesh. I put the halves, cut side down in a baking pan with about 1/4" of water in it. I then bake the pumpkin/squash in a 350F oven until the flesh is soft. Let the pumpkin cool slightly, then scoop the flesh into a food processor and puree.