Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - March 26, 2008

Farm Update
After the harvest last fall, we had tons of bagged storage vegetables stacked to the rafters in our large root cellar. Those colorful carrots, rainbow roots and beautiful beets have sustained us well over these long, cold months. But now, as the days lengthen, we are beginning to see a few empty palettes and hints of bare floor. We still have some wonderful vegetables in store for these upcoming weeks, including the banana fingerling potatoes in your share today. Of course, we are also looking forward to all of the new green things that we will soon be adding to your shares.

Final Bulk Order
We will have one more bulk order delivery for the season on April 9th. We have frozen tomatoes, lamb and chicken still available. In order to deliver on April 9th, we need to receive your order form and check at the farm no later than next Friday, April 4th. For more details visit our Bulk Order page.

Vermont Farm Share
This is the first share period that Pete's Greens will be participating in the North East Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Farm Share program. We are very excited about this program, as it assists limited-income Vermonters in obtaining fresh, local produce directly from family farms. In partnership with NOFA VT, we will be offering subsidized CSA shares to qualifying individuals and families within our delivery area. If you know of someone who may be in need of this program, please encourage them to check-out NOFA's Website, as well as ours. Farm Share relies on donations from CSA members to help fund those who might not otherwise be able to afford a CSA share. The Good Eats Summer Share Sign-up Form includes a place to donate to the program. To find out more about Farm Share and Pete's Greens participation, please visit our Farm Share page. To find out more about qualifying for a partially subsidized Pete's Greens CSA farm share, please visit the NOFA Vermont Website.

This Week's Share Contains
Banana Fingerling Potatoes; Orange Storage Carrots; Mixed Gilfeather and Red Turnips; Mixed Red and Chiogga Beets; Sunflower, Radish, Pea and Cress Sprouts; Champlain Orchards Cranberry Apple Cider; Blue Ledge Chevre; Elmore Mountain Honey Oat Bread.

Bread Ingredients: Sifted Organic Wheat Flour (Quebec), Organic Rolled Oats (Quebec), Vermont Honey, Water, Sea Salt, Yeast.

Vegetable Storage and Use Tips
Banana Fingerling Potatoes - With a firm texture and great flavor, the banana fingerling is perfect for salads, as well as roasting. These should be kept in a cool, dark place. Make sure that they are dry before storing.
Orange Storage Carrots - Carrots should be stored loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer, where they will keep for a couple of weeks. Store them away from apples, pears and other produce that create ethylene gas, which causes them to become bitter.
Red and Chiogga Beets - The chiogga beets and red turnips in your bag can look very similar from the outside. If you need help distinguishing one from the other, visit our vegetable identification chart. Store beets loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Gilfeather and Red Turnips - The gilfeather turnip was bread here in Vermont. Here is an excerpt from the Slow Food site about gilfeathers: "The Gilfeather is an egg-shaped, rough-skinned root, but unlike its cousins, it has a mild taste that becomes sweet and a creamy white color after the first frost. While the hardy Gilfeather turnip does well in nearly any climate, this touch of frost contributes to its unusual taste and texture. Developed and named after John Gilfeather from Wardsboro, Vermont, this turnip is one of the state's unique contributions to cold weather agriculture. Mr. Gilfeather carefully guarded his stock to ensure that no one else could propagate the vegetable. However, some seeds slipped by and a few folks have continued to grow the Gilfeather Turnip after Mr. Gilfeather died." These turnips are truly unique, and we are fortunate that the seeds made their way to other Vermont farmers. Try boiling and mashing the gilfeathers with potatoes. Turnips can be kept for a couple of weeks loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Sprouts - This week's mix contains radish, sunflower, cress, and pea sprouts. Keep them in your crisper drawer. They'll last up to 5 days.
Maple Sugar - I do realize that it's not a vegetable, but I wanted to write about it anyways. Maple sugar is one of my favorite "localvore" ingredients. You can substitute it for white or brown sugar in almost any recipe without worrying about the resulting texture differences and liquid adjustments that you need to consider when substituting maple syrup. Being a bit sweeter than conventional sugars, you could also theoretically cut back a touch and achieve the same level of sweetness. As maple sugar comes with a higher price-tag than white or brown sugar, I try to use it in recipes where I get the biggest bang for my buck, for example recipes that call for 1/3 cup sugar or less. Thus, it's a wonderful stand-in for sugar in recipes such as scones, muffins, biscuits, etc. If you want to splurge, you could also use it in your favorite cake or cookie recipe.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
We have a great combination of localvore goodies this week. If you like, you could have a lovely little picnic snowshoeing to your favorite picnic spot! Just imagine, some of the Blue Ledge chevre spread on the Elmore Mountain Honey Oat Bread, with the Beet Carrot Slaw (recipe below) and a thermos of sweet tart Champlain Orchards-VT Cranberry Cider. Perhaps you'll even bake a maple sugar treat, too! With these sunny late afternoons, it's just possible to imagine spring on its way...

Blue Ledge Farm was established in Leicester, Vermont as a goat dairy in 2000 and became a cheese operation in 2002. The husband-and-wife team is Hannah Sessions and Greg Bernhardt, with help from daughter Livia and son Hayden. They use the milk from their 75 goats to produce their three varieties of cheese: fresh chevre, semi-aged crottina, and La Luna farmstead gouda.

They believe that contented goats make good tasting milk and cheese, so they go to great lengths to provide a good life for their animals. As a local reporter once noted, "Sessions and her husband half-jokingly describe their goats as employees. However, their obvious affection for these animals led this observer to speculate that these [animals] are more like an extended family."

They operate on a seasonal basis, following the goat's pattern in nature. This means no milk is produced during the months of early winter. Their goats graze in pasture and woods from April through November, when a great majority of the cheesemaking is happening. This leads to busy springs and summers, but allows time for reflection during the winter months. This varied diet also results in a cheese which has a great complexity of flavor. - from the Vermont Cheese Council website www.vtcheese.com.

The cranberry apple cider is a Good eats exclusive! Bob, from the Vermont Cranberry Company, and Bill, of Champlain Orchards, collaborated last fall to create this delicious cider. It has a wonderful sweet-tart balance I think you will love. It's a great example of how we all benefit from local partnerships. Bob has another market for his cranberry juice, long after the fresh cranberries are gone. Bill presses more of his storage apples into apple cider. The tasty result? Good Eats members enjoy the cider!

Blaire and Andrew, owner/bakers of Elmore Mountain Bread, go out of their way to bake localvore bread for us. This week they are baking a Honey Oat bread made with all local ingredients. When Andrew was developing the recipe and baking test batches last week, he emailed me asking for honey and oat sources. I gave a few leads, and he worked it out. The oats and flour are from southern Quebec, the honey is from Butternut Mountain in Morrisville.

The maple sugar in your shares this week is also from Butternut Mountain, a new partner we are glad to have. It is extra special, because it's from the Marvin's own certified organic sugarbush. I found a great article on the Northern Forest Lands website, www.northernforestlands.org/marvin.htm. Here's a bit of that article which I think really applies to the Good Eats localvore philosophy of supporting local agriculture:

“The mission of the Land Trust is just perfect for this time,” said David, whose 635-acre Butternut Mountain Farm in Johnson was conserved in 1995. “I feel very, very optimistic about the future of forestry and agricultural enterprises in Vermont. There is going to be world demand for what we can produce in this temperate climate with willing people and lots of knowledge. I feel we need measures that are going to protect and conserve the land resource until world demand catches up and produces the economic climate that we need.

David and his wife, Lucy Routhier Marvin, own and operate Butternut Mountain Farm, producing maple syrup, Christmas trees, and timber products. The major part of their business today is a nationwide and international distribution of maple syrup and honey for 75-100 farmers, nearly all in Vermont. David also serves as a forestry consultant to landowners around the Northeast.

As for serving on VLT’s Board, David says, “I think the area that I'm really excited to be part of is the whole stewardship enterprise—being part of the creative brainstorming that can help Vermont agriculture move into the next century.

“I believe the best way to eat, and the best food supply system, is one in which people buy locally and consume locally grown foods,” he added. “I also think there are going to be parts of this country and the world that are going to need food from places like Vermont. In the not-too-distant future, we’re going to play a much greater part in helping to feed people who need what we can produce.”

Recipes
Roasted Vegetable Pizza
This dough makes a very flat crust that is crisp on the edges and a bit toothsome in the center. Though the version below tosses the vegetables with chevre or blue cheese, it is also delicious with some tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella as base for the veggies. Makes two 12" pizzas.

Crust
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 package Rapid Rise (Instant) yeast
1 tsp salt
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons warm water
1 TB honey
2 tsp sunflower or olive oil, plus more coating dough

Topping
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 medium onion, diced
4 small potatoes*
3 medium carrots*
1 medium turnip*
3 small to medium beets*
1 tsp crumbled dry thyme leaves or rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to taste
2 TB sunflower or olive oil, plus more for drizzling
8 oz chevre or blue cheese

For the crust, combine all of the dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to combine. In a large measuring cup, stir together 1 cup warm water, honey and oil. With the food processor running, slowly pour the liquids through the chute. If needed, add the rest of the water a bit at a time, until the dough all holds together nicely. It should be slightly sticky. Process for a total of 2 minutes. Form the dough into two tight balls, rub with oil and cover with plastic wrap or a dish towels. Leave in a warm place to rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Don't be worried if the dough doesn't double.

Preheat oven to 500F.

While the dough is rising, cut all of your root vegetables into a 1/2" dice. Combine the roots with the garlic, onion, herbs, oil, salt and pepper on a large baking sheet. Toss to coat. Roast in a 500 degree oven for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven, cool slightly and toss with the cheese.

Turn oven down to 425F.

Stretch pizza dough out, then roll to make two 12" pies. Lightly cornmeal your baking stones or pans before placing dough rounds on them. Spread the roasted veggies and cheese on top of the dough and drizzle with oil. Bake at 425F for 20-25 minutes, until edges are lightly browned and crisped.

*Any combination of roots works nicely here. Feel free to substitute celeriac for potatoes, rutabagas for turnips, etc.

Beet Carrot Slaw
4 servings

2 Beets, peeled
3 Carrots, peeled
1 c sprouts
1/4 c oil
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Blue Ledge Chevre

Whisk together oil, vinegar, maple, garlic, salt and pepper to make a dressing. Grate beets into a small bowl. Grate carrots into another bowl, mix in sprouts. (Keeping them separate for now will preserve their colors.) Toss 1/2 the dressing with the beets, 1/2 with the carrot & sprouts. Set aside to marinate for a bit. Combine just before serving, with some of the goat cheese crumbled over the top. This would also be yummy in a sandwich.

Carrot "Souffle"
Erika Bruner, one of our shareholders, emailed me this recipe about a month or so ago. It looked so intriguing, I had to try it. Her version below is more of a pudding than a souffle, sweet and delicious with maple, butter, cinnamon and vanilla. When I made this for Easter, I went much more savory. See my substitutions at the bottom of the recipe to make an Indian-inspired version. Serves 4-6.

2 lbs. carrots, peeled if you like, sliced, and steamed until very tender, then cooled somewhat
1/4 c maple syrup or maple sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1t vanilla
3 T melted butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Place carrots in blender with sugar or syrup, cinnamon, vanilla and melted butter. Puree until smooth. Pour into medium bowl and beat in eggs, flour, and baking powder. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake about 1 hour or until top is golden brown and souffle has puffed slightly.

To make a savory version, cut the maple back to 2 tablespoons; add 1/2 tsp of ground ginger; replace the butter with sunflower or olive oil; get rid of the vanilla; and replace the 1/2 tsp cinnamon with 1 tsp garam masala (an Indian spice mixture available in most good spice sections, or make your own following a recipe.)

Crisp Maple Wedges
A really thin, crisp cookie with delicious maple flavor. Adapted from an Epicurious.com recipe. Makes 8 wedges.

4 oz. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2/3 cup maple sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F and put a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom in freezer to chill. Blend butter, all but 2 tablespoons of the maple sugar and vanilla in a food processor just until smooth, about 30 seconds. Sift flour and salt over butter mixture. Note that some germ flakes will remain in your sifter. You can just add those to the processor as well. Pulse just until all of the flour is incorporated into the mix.

Press evenly into an 8" circle in the middle of the chilled pan, then sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons maple sugar. The cookie will spread during baking. Prick all over with a fork and freeze 5 minutes.

Bake in middle of oven until edges are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes and, while still warm, cut into 8 wedges. Cool completely before removing from pan.

The recipe says that you can keep these in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days, but I don't think that they'll last that long.

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