Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - March 12, 2008

Important Share Information
Please remember to cross your name off on the clipboard when picking up your share. The day's pick-up instructions are on the clipboard behind the names sheet. If you don't immediately see the names sheet and clipboard, keep looking. The person before you may have put it down where it's a bit harder to find.

Farm Update
Meg is doing a great job managing the wash house now that Melissa is gone. She's got Eden, Laura and Julie working with her every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Laura and Julie both attend local colleges. Eden splits his time between Pete's Greens and Jay Peak, working and riding. During this time of year, sacks of vegetables are hauled from our cooler, cleaned in the barrel washer, sorted for quality and packed for delivery. The crew of four somehow manages to wash, sort, bag and pack an enormous amount of vegetables every week. And, this is our slow season. In addition to assembling all of the produce for Good Eats, they are also responsible for getting out the wholesale orders, readying vegetables for market, and putting together the bulk orders. Speaking of bulk orders....

Pick-Up Your Bulk Order This Week!
Bulk orders will be delivered this Wednesday, March 12th. If you've placed an order, please note that vegetables and localvore items (ordered at the end of the last share period) will be in a box or bag with your name on it. If you've also ordered meat and/or frozen tomatoes, please check the coolers for bags with your name on them.

This Week's Share Contains
Green or Savoy Cabbage, Sweet Storage Carrots, Mixed Yellow Potatoes, Rutabaga, Copra Onions, a mix of sunflower, radish, and cress sprouts, Champlain Orchards Squash Puree, Champlain Orchards Empire Apples, Vermont Milk Company Cheddar Cheese, Pete's Eggs and Anadama Bread.

Elmore Mountain Anadama Bread: Quebec sifted organic wheat flour, Butterworks cornmeal, Butternut Mountain Maple, water, sea salt, yeast.

Vegetable Storage and Use Tips
Cabbage - Wrapped loosely in a plastic bag, cabbage will keep in the crisper drawer for several weeks. Discard any exterior leaves that may have begun to tear and/or discolor before using.
Sweet Storage Carrots - Store these carrots unwashed and loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Potatoes - Potatoes should be stored in a cook dark place away from onions. The moisture given off by potatoes can cause your onions to spoil.
Rutabaga - Known as "swede" in the U.K., the rutabaga is believed to have originated as a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. Sweeter than a turnip, rutabagas should be peeled before use.
Copra Onions - Great keepers, the Copra have a high sugar content for storage onions. They are wonderful in French onion soup and cooked with meat. Store in a cool, dark place, away from potatoes.
Sprouts - We weren't sure if they were going to make it in until the last minute. The sprouts are included for free this week because we are unhappy with the amount of husks left on the sunflower sprouts. You will need to pick them off before eating. We're developing a system so that the husks come off during washing.
Butternut Squash Puree - It's fabulous to get organic squash ready to use, no peeling or cutting required. The squash was frozen, and likely mostly thawed by the time you get it. You will want to refrigerate it when you get home and use it soon for best quality. We are their first customer for this product. Though they are still learning, we're sure you'll enjoy having it!

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Champlain Orchards brings us both ingredients for a terrific Gingered Squash and Apple Soup, (recipe below). How is it that an Orchard is also selling Butternut squash puree, you ask? Bill Suhr, a tall blond fellow with long apple-picking arms, is an innovative farmer, that's how. Before I ever met Bill, Pete told me that he is the most creative entrepreneur grower he knows. I believe so, too. Champlain Orchards is a well-diversified, yet traditional Vermont apple orchard with a pick-your-own operation and wholesale accounts selling fresh apples. They also have pick-your-own raspberries, a CSA offering their own organic vegetables, apples, apple products, and local meat, and a commercial kitchen. From the commercial kitchen, they produce dilly beans, winter squash puree, apple pies, apple butter, applesauce, peeled apple slices, and more. And of course, you can't forget the cider. These guys are bu! sy and Bill is always trying new ideas. I hope to get down there to Shoreham, (south of Middlebury) soon, maybe to get a fruit tree pruning lesson, and of course to see their kitchen. Perhaps I'll even get to bake a few pies with them. Their excellent Website is champlainorchards.com

Our other localvore offerings include Elmore Mt Anadama bread, Vermont Milk Company cheddar cheese, and Pete's eggs. The chickens are still snug in their coop, perhaps feeling a bit too cooped up by now. I know I am! With these longer days, their egg production is really picking up. I hope to include eggs in the share regularly. So far at Pete's we've been fortunate to avoid predators. Just across the street at my place, weasels, skunks, dogs and even foxes plague me. There's also a feral cat who likes to eat my pullets, (teenage chickens). I don't know why Pete's is enchanted, but I just brought my last 2 chickens over to his chicken refuge yesterday. A weasel got the other 5. Sigh!

Recipes
Given that St. Patrick's Day falls this coming week, we couldn't resist including the ingredients for some traditional Irish dishes in the share. Meat eaters need only add a corned beef to round out a Celtic feast for St. Patty's day.

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Based on a recipe found at Cooking.com, this preparation with rutabagas added is a family favorite. Serves 4-6.

2 medium yellow onions, peeled
6 whole cloves
3 1/2-lb. piece corned beef, preferably bottom round
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
1-2 large, or 3-4 small rutabagas peeled and cut into large chunks
6-8 yellow potatoes, peeled and halved
1 medium head green or savoy cabbage, washed, cored and cut into six wedges
Salt and pepper to taste

Stud onions with cloves. Rinse corned beef in cold water to remove brine. Put beef in a large pot and add onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and reduce heat. Simmer beef for 2 1/4 hours, skimming occasionally.

After 2 1/4 hours add the carrots, rutabagas and potatoes. Return to a simmer and cook, covered for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the cabbage and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Transfer beef to a cutting board. Tent loosely with foil. Transfer vegetables to a platter. Remove cloves from onions. Strain cooking liquid, discarding bay leaves and peppercorns. Return liquid to pot and cook over high heat until reduced by one-third, 20-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Return vegetables to stock and heat through for about 5 minutes. Cut beef across the grain, in 1/4"-thick slices. Arrange beef and vegetables on warmed platter. Moisten with stock. Serve with additional stock and hot mustard if you like.

Corned Beef Hash
After all, the hash is the best reason to make corned beef and cabbage in the first place. Recipe adapted from the March Bon Appétit Magazine. Makes 4 servings.

6 slices bacon
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped cabbage reserved from corned beef
1/2 cup chopped vegetables (mixture of carrots and rutabagas) reserved from corned beef
2 cups finely chopped corned beef
2 cups chopped potatoes reserved from corned beef
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter or olive oil

Poached or fried eggs.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat; saute bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, leaving 2-3 TB of drippings in the pan. Add onion to skillet and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage and chopped root vegetable mixture and sauté 5 minutes. Transfer vegetable mixture to bowl; stir in corned beef, potatoes and bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add beaten eggs and toss to coat.

Melt butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add corned beef hash mixture and cook until golden brown on bottom, occasionally pressing down with spatula, about 4 minutes. Turn hash mixture over in small portions and cook until second side is golden brown, occasionally pressing down with spatula, about 3 more minutes.

Serve topped with poached or fried eggs.

Irish Colcannon
A meal in itself, this traditional Irish dish is comfort food through and through. Serves 6-8.

2 pounds yellow potatoes, scrubbed
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
1 large onion, thinly sliced
12 cups green or Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1 medium head)
2 TB white wine or water

Cut larger potatoes in 1/2, so that all pieces are of basically uniform size. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserts easily through potatoes. Warm 4 tablespoons butter and milk together. Drain potatoes and mash. Add milk and butter and mash until fairly smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Meanwhile, heat remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add cabbage, sprinkle with a bit of salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage wilts, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of wine or water, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8 minutes.

Add the cabbage to the potatoes. Mix and mash to desired consistency. Taste for seasoning.

Irish-Inspired Soda Bread
I suspect that many of you may still have some of the whole-wheat pastry flour, if not dried cranberries, hanging around from previous weeks. With all of the modifications, this bread may be more appropriately named Vermont Soda Bread. It would be perfect served with Corned Beef and Cabbage. It is also delicious, fresh from the oven, served with butter. Best eaten the same day as you bake it, it can be wrapped it tightly in plastic and served a second day.

4 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 TB (1/2 stick) cold butter
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 1/2 cups milk, clabbered* with 4 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles coarse crumbs; stir in the dried fruit. Whisk the clabbered milk with the eggs and syrup, then add to the flour mixture. Stir the mixture until it forms a dough. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Halve the dough, with floured hands shape each half into a round loaf, and transfer the loaves to prepared baking sheet. Bake the loaves in the middle of a preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer the loaves to racks and let them cool.

*This is an excellent substitute in recipes calling for buttermilk. Stir vinegar into milk and let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before using in recipe.


Here are a couple recipes for using the squash. I'm loving it. Hope you enjoy it, too.
- Heather

Gingered Squash and Apple Soup
6 servings

3 C squash puree
3 Tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
1 lb apples, peeled & diced
salt & pepper to taste
pinch red pepper flakes
5 c vegetable broth
1/2 c dry white wine
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro
cream or creme fraiche, optional

Saute onions in butter for 5 minutes, add apples with a pinch of salt and saute another 15 minutes. Add the squash, broth, wine, ginger and pepper to taste and simmer 15 minutes. Puree until smooth; adjust salt & pepper to taste. Stir in a bit of cream if you like, or garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Winter Squash Flan
This recipe sounds like the perfect brunch dish. Serves 6.

3 c squash puree
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 c milk
1/4 c flour
1/3 c cornmeal
2 Tbsp butter
5 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 medium onion, cut into medium thick slices
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 c toasted nuts
2 oz crumbled cheese, blue, cheddar, as you like

Preheat oven 400.

Saute onion slices in butter with ginger and a dash of salt. Cook gently until nicely caramelized.

Meanwhile, heat milk in a medium sauce pan, whisk in the flour and cornmeal and 1 Tbsp butter. Continue stirring until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool a bit, then gradually whisk in the eggs. Stir in the squash, maple, 1/2 tsp salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Whisk together until silky smooth with no lumps, or process with a stick blender or food processor.

Butter a large, shallow baking dish. Gently stir the cheese and nuts into the squash mixture. Pour into the baking dish and scatter the onions on top.

Bake 10 minutes at 400, then lower heat to 350 and bake another 40-45 minutes, until golden and slightly puffed. Serve warm or hot.

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