Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - April 2, 2008

Thank you for remembering to bring back your empty plastic bags and egg cartons.

Farm Update - from Pete
Hi Folks,

We are running about 2 weeks behind the scheduled beginning of salad mix and other fresh, green, spring vegetables. The main reason for this delay is that we have been focused on our construction project and slightly less focused on growing than we have been in past springs. This has been bothering me a lot. To help compensate for the late arrival of new crops we will be including extra produce in May and June. We are also willing to provide refunds for the remainder of the share for anyone who is dissatisfied and wants out. If you do want out, contact She can make the arrangements.

OK, that's the bad news. The great news is that our projects are coming along well and once we get into harvesting vegetables in a of couple weeks, it's just going to get better and better. In fact, next week we will have mesclun. Pac choi, scallions, napa and salad turnips will follow soon after.

The big excitement around here is that we are erecting our first 35 by 200 ft. moveable greenhouse. It is built on steel skids and will move back and forth on 2 sites twice a year. The beauty of the mobile greenhouse is that we can grow salad greens and other cool weather crops in it all winter, until about April 20th. At that point those crops would prefer to be outside. We slide the greenhouse to the adjacent site and plant tomatoes, peppers, cukes, melons, anything that loves heat in the new greenhouse site. The cool weather crops continue to grow uncovered next door. We finish harvesting the cool crops, grow a cover crop or two on that site, and in early September begin resowing the same site with greens, scallions, napa, pac choi, head lettuce and anything else that is cold tolerant. Around Oct. 28th, outdoor conditions become too cold for these crops. At this point they are perfectly grown, exceptionally hardy and flavorful because they have grown cool in the outdoor conditions of fall. They have been through many light frosts that have increased their sugar content and prepared them to survive even colder temps. On this date we slide the greenhouse off the heat loving crops that are finished for the year anyway, and onto the cool crops. Without added heat, we should be able to harvest the cool crops into early December, and with a small amount of added heat, through December.

This system is going to completely improve our out of the normal growing season offerings. So, if you are sick of roots, hang in there. Good Eats has not even celebrated its second anniversary and we are making infrastructure improvements that will make it much better in the future. Thanks so much for your support and your patience while we get our farm set up to feed your family with greater diversity year-round. Without your commitment and your financial support, we could not do any of this. -Pete

Bulk Order Deadline
This Friday, April 4th, is the deadline for having your bulk order form and check at the farm for next week's Bulk Order delivery. We still have frozen tomatoes, lamb and chicken available. For more details visit our Bulk Order page.

This Week's Share Contains
Plethora of Potatoes (French and banana fingerlings, mixed Adirondacks, blue, pink and yellow potatoes); copra onions; green and/or Savoy cabbage; Daikon radish; frozen tomatoes; Pete's eggs; Champlain Orchards pie; Butterworks Farm yogurt; and Charley's Crazy Mixed-up Rye Sourdough bread.

Patchwork Bakery Bread Ingredients: Wheat flour, fresh milled whole spelt flour, malted barley, rye flour, 6 grain mix, Vermont honey, deep well water, sourdough, sea salt. All grains are organic.

Vegetable Storage and Use Tips
Potatoes - Keep potatoes in a cool, dark place away from onions. Make sure that they are dry before storing.
Onions - Onions also do best in a cool dark place, away from potatoes.
Cabbage - Wrapped loosely in a plastic bag, cabbage will keep in the crisper drawer for several weeks. Once cut, seal remaining cabbage in a plastic bag. Discard any exterior leaves that may have begun to tear and/or discolor before using.
Daikon Radish - Great sliced thinly in soups and stir-fries, or grated in slaws and salads, these radishes will keep well wrapped loosely in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Frozen Tomatoes - Keep these frozen until ready to use, then run the tomatoes under warm water. This will loosen the skin enough to be peeled right off. Let them thaw a bit more, then chop and use as you would canned, chopped tomatoes. After peeling, coring then thawing the tomatoes, you can also give them a whirl in the food processor and use in recipes calling for canned, (unseasoned), tomato sauce.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
This morning I had a great opportunity to visit Patchwork Bakery in Hardwick. Owner Charley Emers was mixing up the second batch of dough for our bread delivery in his fancy new mixer. There was a nice warm fire in the brick oven, and a dusting of flour over it all.

With a twinkle in his eye, and proudly wearing his Red Sox shirt, Charley told me a bit about how his bakery business has evolved. A former vegetable farmer, he built a wonderful building about 6 years ago for the farm operation. It has a loft up top for dry storage, a cement floor downstairs, and was meant to hold a cooler for winter root crop storage. Then he asked his wife, Anne, "what about a bakery?"

He has a well-used floor stand-mixer on permanent loan from a friend and a couple of huge double pizza ovens he picked up for a song. With that start, he began baking bread for the Buffalo Mt. Coop, just 14 loaves of bread, not even in bags or labeled. Then he added bialys on Saturday mornings, and it grew from there. "I couldn't have done this without Anne's support," he told me. According to Charley, she was very patient. He was buying equipment and tractors for the farm, and still not making any money. When he had the idea for the bakery, Anne said, "Sure, it sounds great."

With a book and some hired help, he built the brick oven that extends out the back of the building. It's super insulated in a box filled with vermiculite. The wood fired oven adds another dimension to the operation, as it takes a full day to build up the heat. The fire is built right on the floor of the oven; it gets to around 1000 degrees. Then he sweeps and mops it to clean out the ashes, and closes it up to hold the heat. As he bakes, about 30 loaves at a time, the bread draws out the heat stored in the oven walls. Towards the end of the bake, he puts in fewer loaves at a time to maintain the temperature. When the Hardwick farmers market is in full swing, he needs to use the gas ovens too, in order to get all of the bread baked.

He credits his mother with teaching him to bake, and says it's just something he's always done. He's had the same sourdough going for 6 years, though he almost lost it a few years back. "I was feeling good after a delivery run, when I remembered that I'd forgotten to save back some of the sourdough," he recalled. "I thought, now I've shot myself in the foot. But luckily, I found a lump of dough in the scrap bucket. It was crusty, but wet enough on the inside. I mixed it in some rye flour and water and it came back strong." He told me that airborne yeast is a common misconception, and flour, especially rye, has more wild yeast. The dough he was mixing up for us was a rye starter with mixed grains. He said he made up the "recipe" last night and has a great time creating new breads for Pete's. I think it's a bonus for us to have special breads not available otherwise!

I asked Bill Surh, of Champlain Orchards, to share a bit about their pie making operation, and he sent me the great little write up below. The pies this week are another Good Eats exclusive that came about when Bill mentioned having raspberries in the freezer. The pie is best warmed in the oven before serving. With this long winter, I hope this is a sweet summer treat that will help you remember green grass and warm late afternoons outside!

We grow around 1 acre of certified organic raspberries. Six varieties ripen continuously from early July through our first killing frost which generally occurs around the end of October. We have planted red, yellow, and black raspberries in order to appeal to different customer preferences. The berries that are included in the "localvore pies" were picked and promptly frozen in July of 2007 by Bill Suhr (Champlain Orchards owner) after hours when PYO customers had finished for the day. Harvesting late day summer raspberries is a super "end of the day" activity as the sun sets on our west facing hillside which looks out on Lake Champlain.

Champlain Orchards has strived to add value to the fruit and vegetables we grow that do not make the grade for fresh market sales. We first diversified with our cidermill, followed by adding apple slicing equipment. The ability to slice apples relatively efficiently, (still very labor intensive), prompted us to try to develop apple pie recipes that would allow us to market pies alongside our apples and cider when we deliver to the Food Coops throughout Vermont. In early 2005, research included field trips to VT and NY pie bakeries, and, wow, did we learn! We concluded that we wanted to use wholesome ingredients and develop the highest quality pie we could offer. Through experimentation we have developed three kinds of pies, (double crust, crumb, and oat crumble), offered in two sizes, (9" and 6"). We now deliver approximately 300 pies/week, 50 weeks of the year. 15,000 pies sounds like a lot, but our staff hand crafts each and every pie here in our bakery, four days per week.

Pete Johnson has inspired us to develop a "localvore pie" that utilizes not only organic, but also local ingredients, including Ben Gleason's stone ground whole wheat pastry flour; Tim and Lorraine Hescock's maple syrup; and Champlain Orchards .....Ooops we can't reveal our secret ingredient. (Would that be....Apples?!)

In working with Pete's Good Eats for the past two years, we have very much enjoyed the opportunity to experiment with new products and share them with progressive, thoughtful CSA members. We are most appreciative of the growing relationship between the two farms. If readers are interested in learning more about our operation, please visit our website at

Thank You
Bill Suhr and the staff of Champlain Orchards
April 1, 2008

You'll have to indulge me this week. I looked at the list of CSA items and immediately thought, "Indian dinner!" So, my (Nancy's), recipes are all along that theme. I made them all this Sunday for dinner. To which one of my 9-year olds exclaimed, somewhat surprisingly, "You should cook like this more often!" Read to the bottom to find a scrumptious-sounding onion bread pudding that Heather whipped up this week.

Spicy Cabbage and Potatoes in Tomato Sauce
Using Indian spices and tomato sauce with green cabbage makes this familiar vegetable into something entirely new. Serves 4-6.

2 TB vegetable oil or ghee
1 medium onion sliced thin
1/2 head thinly sliced cabbage
4 medium potatoes, chopped in a 1/2" dice
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garam masala (or, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper)
pepper to taste
8 oz tomato sauce (see Veggie Storage and Use tips, above, to use your frozen tomatoes)
3 TB plain yogurt

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion for about 5 minutes, until starting to turn golden on the edges. Add cabbage and potatoes and sprinkle with salt. Continue to cook, tossing occasionally, for another 5 minutes until cabbage begins to wilt. Add garam masala (or spice mixture) and pepper. Toss to coat. Stir in tomato sauce. Bring to simmer, cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer 10 minutes, until potatoes are soft, but not mushy. Remove from heat. Stir in yogurt. Serve with cooked rice or wheat berries.

Tandoori Lamb
The marinade for this lamb is taken from Classic Indian Cooking, by Julie Sahni. In the book, it's actually used in a recipe for tandoori chicken. Serves 4.

2 large cloves garlic
1 TB chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp red pepper
1 TB paprika
1/3 cup plain yogurt

6 lamb shoulder chops
salt and pepper to taste

Combine first 7 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Spread marinade over lamb chops. Place chops in a ziplock bag, along with any extra marinade. Seal and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.

Remove bag from fridge about 1/2 hour before you are ready to place the chops on a pre-heated grill. Before cooking, remove excess sauce from chops and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until desired doneness, about 4-6 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Daikon Raita
A raita is a yogurt-based condiment served alongside spicy dishes. It can be used either as a sauce or a dip. This one is good alongside both tandoori meat and the Spicy Cabbage and Potatoes.

1/3 cup shredded daikon
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place shredded daikon in a kitchen towel and squeeze out extra moisture. Mix together all the ingredients and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Tomato Chutney
Inspired by a recipe in Lite and Luscious Cuisine of India, by Madhu Gadia, M.S.R.D., this chutney can be served with any meat or dal (bean) dish. If you find it too spicy, it's nicely mellowed by stirring in a bit of yogurt.

1 TB vegetable oil or ghee
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 cup minced fresh onion
1 1/2 lbs. fresh, or frozen Pete's tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 tsp salt
1 green chili seeded and chopped, or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp coriander powder
2 TB honey

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add mustard seeds; cook a few seconds until the seeds stop popping. (It's best to cover the pan with the lid to avoid getting splattered). Add minced onion, saute for a minute or two, then add tomatoes, salt, chilies, coriander and honey. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is of the desired consistency. Serve chilled or at room temperature. The chutney will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Savory Onion Bread Pudding
This is a versatile recipe. You can prepare it well ahead and bake it when you are ready. You can easily add vegetables and/or meat. Try spinach sauteed with the onion, and cooked crumbled bacon, for a nice brunch dish. Some recipes call this a "strata." No matter the name, it's delicious. Serves 6 - 8.

2 large onions, chopped
1/4 c butter
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dry dill and basil
8 c bread cubes
2 c grated cheese, cheddar or other sharp, firm farmstead cheese, your choice
3 c milk
8 eggs
1 tbsp prepared spicy mustard

Butter a 3 quart baking dish. Saute onions in butter with salt and pepper until sweet and golden brown. Season with herbs, nutmeg and adjust salt. Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard and 1/2 tsp salt.

Spread 1/2 bread in the baking dish. Top with 1/2 the onions and 1/2 the cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Pour in the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, up to 24.

Before baking, let sit at room temp for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake uncovered 45 minutes, until golden and puffed. A knife inserted will come out clean.

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