Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - May 28, 2008

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

Farm Update
Though our growing season is off to a great start, we’ve been visited by a plague of another kind this week. Technology. If you’ve been having trouble communicating with us via email, it’s because we lost our Internet connectivity last week after a power surge. The farm was without power for several hours Thursday afternoon following a nice loud BANG. How’s that for a little excitement? We’re hoping to be back online Wednesday afternoon.

New Pick-Up Location
We will be adding a new pick-up location in Hardwick with the beginning of the Summer Share! It will be at the Center for a Biobased Economy, which has a storefront right next to Hardwick’s newest restaurant, Claire’s. Pick-up hours will be between 2pm and 7pm on Wednesdays. If you’ve already signed up for the Summer Share, but would prefer to pick-up in Hardwick, please email me.

Summer Share Starts in 3 Weeks
Thank you to all of you who have sent in your forms for the Summer Share. It starts June 18th. We have added more spots for our most bountiful season. If you would still like to participate this summer, we would love to have you! You can download a sign-up form from our Website. Also, please tell friends and coworkers who are interested in local food.

Open House - Sunday, July 13th
Save the date! We're inviting everyone up to the farm for an open house. We haven't finalized all the details yet, like the time, but we hope that you'll mark your calendars. Spring and Summer shareholders are included. We'll send out more information as soon as we have it.

This Week's Share Contains
Parsnips; Carrots; Bunching Greens; Cilantro; Purple or White Scallions; Head of Lettuce; Mesclun; Pac Choi; One Bunch White and Pink Radishes -or- Sweet Salad Turnips; Eggs; Crawford Ayr Cheese; Oyster or Shiitake Mushrooms; Elmore Mountain Bread.

Bread Ingredients: flour, water, salt and sourdough.

Storage and Use Tips
Bunching Greens: Each CSA bag this week will include one bunch of greens from the farm. Your bag may contain a bunch of mizuna, ruby streaks mustard greens, red giant mustard greens, golden frills mustard greens, arugula or kale. Store loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Mushrooms: These delicate mushrooms are best used within a few days after pick-up. You may have received shiitake or oyster mushrooms, or both. Remove the stems of shiitake mushrooms before cooking. Save the stems for making a stock. Store mushrooms in the refrigerator in a paper bag.
Cilantro: Sometimes called “coriander,” this herb is best stored upright with its stems submerged in a glass of water and covered with a plastic bag.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Jasper Hill is aging this cheese from Crawford Family Farm, and Mateo sent me this information from their website crawfordfamilyfarm.com. This is just one of the many artisan cheeses they will be aging in the new facility in Greensboro.

We call our Farmstead cheese "Vermont Ayr" because the two most important ingredients in our recipe are a good splash of Vermont's fresh air along with the sweet milk from our Ayrshire cows. The result? One of Vermont's finest cheeses!

Our cheese begins with fresh, raw, r-BST free, Ayrshire milk. What makes Ayrshire milk distinctive is its butterfat's minute globules; yielding a cheese that is smooth, creamy and uniquely sweet. Within an hour of milking, cheese making begins in our kettle-shaped vat. The 4.5 lb wheels are made in small batches by hand with a minimum of culture. The slow aging and development of the natural rind contribute to the "terroir" of our alpine tomme style cheese, a cheese with a rich full body, complexity of flavor and pleasantly fresh lingering taste. We believe that a great cheese is made by careful craftsmanship and the finest ingredients. Savor "Vermont Ayr" at room temperature to best appreciate its true flavor.

Siblings Jim, Cindy and Sherry Crawford have come together to bring you this cheese. Since 1950, our parents and grandparents have farmed this piece of land. We are proud to be conserving and preserving the family farm, a heritage breed and a historic barn. The 1910 barn now houses our cheese making facility as well as our heifers. Some of our cows are direct descendents of the original Ayrshires from five decades ago. We know each by name (and attitude!). Spring, summer and fall we see Violet, Borenna, Selma, and the others grazing in the pasture.

From the revitalizing days of May through the frozen toes of January, with heart and soul, the heirs and Ayrshires of the Crawford family unite to bring you this delectable gift from the land. As you enjoy this cheese imagine yourself in our backyard (our label has a picture of our view of the Brandon Gap!).

Also this week we have mushrooms again from Amir Habib in Colchester. This is the last delivery we will have of mushrooms until late August. Amir told me that they do not do well in the summer heat, and even this delivery was dicey. If it had been too hot the yield would have been reduced. Luckily the weather cooperated enough for him to harvest nearly 50 pounds of shitake and oyster mushrooms for us. Enjoy!

Recipes
Stir-Fried Spring Vegetables
This is based on a recipe from “A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen” by Jack Bishop. It is one of my vegetarian friend’s favorite cookbooks. Serve over white rice or cooked barley. Serves 4.

¾ ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
4 medium scallions, all but the dark green parts, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 TB ginger root, minced
½ tsp hot pepper flakes
3 TB soy sauce
2 TB rice vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
3 TB cooking oil
5 oz fresh shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced
¼ tsp salt
1 large (or 2 small) head pac choi, chopped
3 medium parsnips (about 12 ounces), peeled, quartered, cored, and cut into ¾” dice
3 medium carrots (about 8 ounces), peeled and sliced
2 TB minced fresh cilantro leaves

Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let soak 15 minutes. Finely chop the mushroom caps (discard the stems), and add to a bowl along with the scallions, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes. Pour the soaking liquid through a strainer lined with a paper towel into a measuring cup. Whisk the soy sauce, rice vinegar and cornstarch into the strained liquid until smooth.

Heat 1 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the fresh mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 6 minutes. Scrape the mushrooms into a bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the hot pan and sauté the choi until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove and reserve with the mushrooms.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the empty pan. Add the parsnips and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the rehydrated mushroom mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the soy sauce mixture to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the root vegetables are tender but not mushy, 6 to 8 minutes. Return the browned mushrooms to the pan and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in the cilantro, adjust the seasonings, adding salt to taste and serve.

Avgolemono
A Greek sauce similar to Hollandaise, but lighter and brothier. This is lovely with crepes stuffed with sauteed greens, or over fresh asparagus, grilled chicken or fish. Sprinkle on some minced chives or scallions and you have an elegant dish! Makes 2 1/2 cups.

2 cups chicken broth
3 eggs
1 egg white
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Set up a pan of water for a double boiler with a metal bowl that will fit on top. Bring water to a simmer.

Bring broth to a boil and keep warm, but not boiling.

Combine eggs, egg white, lemon juice and salt in the metal mixing bowl, off the heat. Beat 3 minutes until frothy. Add one cup hot broth while beating. Stir in the second cup of broth and set over the pan of simmering water. Whisk continuously until slightly thickened about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Spanish Tortilla with Potatoes and Greens
This is like a frittata, but with a potato base. Heather often makes this quick dish for supper and eats leftovers for breakfast. She likes to serve it with fresh minced cilantro and salsa. Serves 6.

1 lb. potatoes, cut into 1/4" slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion or 4 scallions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 lb. greens
5 eggs
1 cup milk
grated cheese
minced fresh cilantro

Butter or oil a deep dish pie plate. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Cook potatoes in a couple of batches until nearly tender and browning, using more oil as needed. Layer into to pie plate. Heat remaining oil and saute onion. Add greens and briefly saute, seasoned with a bit of salt. Spread on top of potatoes.

Beat the eggs with milk, season with salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes and greens. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Bake until just set in the center, about 30 minutes.

Alternately, you can cook this on top of the stove by cooking the greens first and removing. Then cook the potatoes, top with the greens and pour in the eggs. Reduce heat and cover. When nearly set, run it under the broiler until golden and eggs are cooked through.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - May 21, 2008

Vermont Life Summer Issue
If you haven't yet read the summer issue of Vermont Life, you owe yourself to pick one up. This issue is dedicated to Vermont food, it's growers, restaurants, activists and believers. Pete's Greens is honored to be included in the issue alongside so many important members of the local food movement.

As a friend of mine, who stayed up until 2am to read the whole magazine, said, "This issue of Vermont Life makes you realize how lucky you are to live in Vermont." And, she is right. The writers and photographers have done an amazing job highlighting all that is good with the state of food in Vermont.

This is an issue to hang on to and refer to again and again.

The picture of Pete on the
front cover was taken by
Natalie Stultz.

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
I have a pretty long commute to the farm and I am always on the lookout for a good book on tape to keep me entertained during my drive. When my librarian managed to get Michael Pollan's latest and greatest into the collection, I was thrilled.

In Defense of Food picks up where the Omnivore's Dilemma left off. If the latter makes the case against industrial food production, the former is more of a guide as to how one should eat. I must admit that I've read a lot of books in the past few years about traditional diets and nutrition, including those from Sally Fallon, Jessica Prentice, Sandor Katz and Nina Planck. And, I would recommend all of these. In my opinion, however, Michael Pollan's book does the best job of summarizing the state of current nutritional knowledge (or lack there of), and giving a sensible, overall approach to eating. You may have heard of his philosophy as summed up in a New York Times op-ed, "Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not too much." These are truly words to live by.

The book, while humorously written, does an excellent job of explaining how our collective knowledge of what is actually good for us has gone so completely awry. The root of this, he believes, is in isolating the concept of nutrients from foods as a whole, a pursuit which he refers to as "nutritionism." Pollan delves deep into past studies and recommendations, exposing many of the reported risks and benefits of specific nutrients as either incomplete, inconclusive or incorrect. The problem lies in zeroing in on a particular nutrient, (think oat bran, saturated fat or omega 3 fatty acids), to the exclusion of its role in a food and/or diet. The book makes a very strong case against attempting to construct a healthy diet out of nutritional components. Instead, it suggests looking to an intelligent combination of whole foods that ultimately will provide all the nutrients we need.

As CSA members, I think we all intrinsically believe that Pollan's way is the right way. Including lots of fresh vegetables, cooking from scratch and avoiding chemicals, pesticides and additives comes with the farm-t0-table philosophy. In Defense of Food goes beyond these simple recommendations, however, to reveal truths about the state of scientific knowledge and provide tools for sifting through the miriad of new nutritional revelations and recommendations that are sure to come.

Splitting a Share
If you are looking to split a CSA Summer Share, but can't find a friend or coworker to join you, visit the Members Seeking page on our Website. There are several people listed who are actively seeking a share-buddy. If you don't find someone on the page that matches your desired pick-up spot, shoot me an email and I can post your information for others to find.

This Week's Share Contains
A Mix of Fingerling, Purple, Red and Blue Potatoes; Red Beets; One Bunch Baby Leeks; One Bunch Baby Beets with Greens; One Head Lettuce; One Bunch Chives; One Head Pac Choi; One Bag Mesclun; Butter; Champlain Valley Apiaries Honey; Bonnieview Farm Feta Cheese; and Patchwork Farm & Bakery Pain Au Levain.

Bread Ingredients: Wheat flour, fresh milled whole wheat flour, fresh milled rye flour, well water, levain, salt. all organic grains.

Storage and Use Tips
Baby Leeks - It's always so exciting to cook with the first alliums of the season! Trim off the dark green leaves, and cook with the white and light green parts only. To get the most sweetness out of your leeks, try sweating them instead of sauteing. When you sweat a veggie, you cook it in a fat, (I like butter), over a lower temperature or flame. You should barely hear it sizzle. This slower method of cooking yields a much sweeter taste. Add the leeks to a quiche or mix in with mashed potatoes for a decadent side dish. Store the leeks loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Baby Beets with Greens - Again the first of the season, these baby beets are so sweet and tender. Try chopping and sweating your leeks, add the baby beet roots, cook a bit more, then add the chopped beet greens sprinkled with salt and pepper and cook until tender. It's so simple, yet so good. Store the beets and greens loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. There's no need to separate these baby beets from their leaves for storing.
Head of Lettuce - If I am not going to use my lettuce right away, I will wrap it in a kitchen towel and then place it in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. The best way to wash your lettuce is to tear it into pieces and submerge in water. Swish it around, then lift the lettuce out of the water. This method allows the dirt to sink to the bottom of the basin or bowl. A salad spinner is the best way to dry the lettuce after washing. Second best is to wrap the washed lettuce in a towel to absorb the moisture. If you have any lettuce left over, try throwing a kitchen towel into the spinner bowl before covering and placing in the fridge.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
I wasn't able to go to Bonnieview myself to pick up the cheese and visit the lambs as I had hoped. I've known Neil and Kristen for as long as I've lived in Craftsbury, but haven't been to their farm in ages. He's a friend of my neighbors', and we met at a potluck years ago. Kristen was a regular library volunteer before she and Neil were a couple. Their daughter, Tressa, is just 4 months older than my daughter. He started milking sheep in 1999 and I've been enjoying this feta cheese since they first started producing it. The piece I bought for myself at the Co-op last week was tangy and perfectly creamy.

Boy, I really wanted to go! But, Neil called me back to say that the cheese packer wouldn't be in until 3pm, and the cheese wouldn't be ready until 6pm. Luckily the Craftsbury Common Market starts up soon, and we'll see them there for sure. In addition to sheep farming and cheese making, they are core members and organizers at the market.

So, instead of my field trip, I did a little virtual travel and found this article on Newsday.com : 10 Vermont cheese farms. I just copied over the bit about Bonnieview; there are indeed 10 farms listed, and a link to great photos.

By Sylvia Carter, March 28, 2008
Vermont is not just Cheddar anymore. Many varieties are available at these and other farms on the cheese trail. Those made from raw milk are, by law, aged 60 days. All farms are on the vtcheese.com Web site but some have their own sites. Many creameries have observation windows so you can watch cheese being made. Some offer weekday tours, others are by appointment, so visit Web sites or call before you go.
Bonnieview Farm, 2228 South Albany Rd., Craftsbury Common (802-755-6878; vtcheese.com/members/bonnieview/bonnieview.htm). On a 470-acre hilltop farm, Neil Urie makes sheep's-milk cheese: subtly tangy natural-rind Ben Nevis, named for the highest mountain in Scotland, and Mossend Blue (named after Moss End, his family's ancestral farm in Scotland), and more.
There's also a great Vermont Cheese article at vermonttoday.com with a write-up about the American Cheese Society awards, in which Bonnieview Ewe's Feta and Mossend Blue both took 2nd place.

We have honey again this week from Champlain Valley Apiaries. I was just looking through their website, and found it newly expanded with articles and links. Check it out at champlainvalleyhoney.com. They include great information about nutritional benefits of honey and how their honey is produced. There are also links to a couple of articles and a video, all featuring them. Of course eating it is the purpose here, so try the honey recipes below for a change from maple syrup! My favorite way to eat this honey is on an apple, peanut butter and honey sandwich. Yum!


Recipes
Thank you to Heather for compiling all of the recipes for this week's newsletter!

Creamy Feta Dressing
This is perfect for a springtime salad! Try using your head lettuce here torn into pieces and sprinkling with roasted beets. If you have fresh mint in the garden, use some here.
Makes about 1 cup.

1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt, to taste
3 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp mayonnaise
fresh black pepper
fresh minced or dry herbs: mint, dill, chives, parsley
1/3 c oil
1/3 c feta cheese, finely crumbled

Blend together vinegar, garlic, yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper, & herbs. Blend in the oil in a drizzle until emulsified, then stir in feta. Keeps 1 week in the refrigerator.

Pasta with Greens and Feta
This is a recipe Heather has been making for at least 15 years! Any greens will work, especially the beet greens in this week's share. Sometimes I garnish it with sliced salty olives, as well. It's from Mollie Katzen's Still Life with Menu, a beautiful and eclectic cookbook. S
erves 6.
Feel free to cut it back to 3 or 4 servings.

1 pound pasta such as gemelli, penne or bowties
1/4 c olive oil
4 c chopped onion
8 c mixed bitter greens, washed and chopped
salt to taste
1/2 lb feta, crumbled
fresh grated Parmesan
fresh black pepper
Kalamata or other salty olives

Put on a pot of water to boil for the pasta; cook according to package directions.
You want to time this so the pasta is ready when the greens are just wilted.

In a large wide and deep saute pan, cook onions in olive oil for about 10 minutes, until golden and caramelized. Add chopped greens with a bit of salt and saute until just wilted. Add the feta, cooked pasta and toss to combine. Add a couple splashes of pasta cooking water as needed to bring it together. Serve with a generous grind of black pepper and fresh grated Parmesan. Olives optional.

In a Hurry Green Curry Recipe
Perhaps you still have a block of tofu from last week and need some inspiration! Otherwise, potatoes would be a perfect alternative. You could also use both. This recipe from 101cookbooks.com calls for just a bit of curry paste to start. You can always add more at the end. To add more flavor make a thin paste with some of the hot broth (this will help avoid curry paste clumps), now stir the paste in to the larger curry pot a bit at a time until the flavor is to your liking.
Serves 4.

2 teaspoons green curry paste
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (light ok)
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 c sliced leeks
14 ounces water or light vegetable broth
2 c cubed potatoes
6 ounces of firm tofu cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch segments
pac choi cut into thin ribbons
squeeze of fresh lime juice
1/4 cup small basil leaves
1/4 c chives, cut into 1" slivers

In a large thick bottom pot over medium heat whisk the curry paste with the salt and a small splash of the coconut milk. Simmer for just a minute. Add the onion and leeks and saute until it softens up, just a minute or so. Add the rest of the coconut milk, broth and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust for flavor - this would be the time to add more curry paste if needed.

Stir in the tofu and, JUST BEFORE SERVING, the peas and asparagus and pac choi. Simmer for a minute or two, just long enough for the vegetables to cook a bit. Finish the pot with a squeeze of lime, basil leaves and chives. Taste, and adjust seasoning again if needed.

Honey Rhubarb Fool
Here's a simple parfait recipe from the National Honey Board. I'll bet you know where to find some rhubarb! They have a wealth of recipes at www.honey.com.
4 servings.

1 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup honey
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup honey

Place rhubarb and the 1/3 cup honey in a 2-quart saucepan and cook until rhubarb is completely tender. Chill.

In chilled bowl, whip cream until starting to thicken. Add 1/4 cup honey and beat to soft peaks. To serve, layer rhubarb mixture into dessert glasses alternating with honey-sweetened whipped cream. Garnish with mint sprig, if desired.

Honey French Toast
Serve this topped with the honey rhubarb compote and whipped cream from the previous recipe. WOW!

1 c milk
1/3 c honey
3 eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
12 slices bread

Gently heat milk with honey just to dissolve honey. Set aside to cool. Whisk eggs, then whisk in the honey milk. Whisk in spices and vanilla. Dip slices of bread into egg mixture and cook on a medium hot, buttered griddle until golden. Serve with butter, honey rhubarb sauce and whipped cream for a decadent brunch.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - May 14, 2008

Important Share Information

  • Please remember to bring back your empty CSA bags and egg cartons.
    We can reuse them!
  • Also, it is very important to check your name off the list each week when
    picking up your share. Please make an effort to do this!
Summer CSA Sign-Up
There are only four more weekly deliveries after this one. This Spring Share sure is going fast. We always hold priority for our current shareholders in hopes that you will be back with us in the next. If you would like to secure your spot for the summer, please make sure to have your form at the farm by May 28th. After the 28th spots will be filled first-come-first-serve.

The new share period begins June 18th and continues for 18 weeks. There are two options: The Vegetable-Localvore share, just like the current share, is $790 for the 18 weeks; The Vegetable Only share will have the same veggies and fruits as above, minus the Localvore staples and Pete's Kitchen prepared items. The Vegetable Only share is $495.

To enroll, please print off the sign-up form from our Website and mail it in with your check(s). Please do not hand your form to Tim on deliveries or to one of us at the Farmer's Market. History has shown that mail is the best way to make sure the right person (me) gets your form and that you get your spot!

Farm Update
Everyone has been very busy at the farm lately making sure that everything gets in the ground and receives the proper attention. Pete and the crew have finally gotten all of the onions planted. Yesterday, Jeffrey was spending his day tying up the tomatoes. This week we are also starting to plant the potatoes. In the midst of all of this, it was time to harvest. The crew harvested a great deal of produce between yesterday and today. You'll see the fresh results in your share bags!

Deborah is our newest farmhand. She hails from Albany with a background in construction. She was tired of driving long distances to get to work. She is very happy with her new 10 minute commute, and we are very happy to have her here! Deborah was up on a ladder yesterday, power washing our big barn. Next, we're planning to paint it!

This Week's Share Contains
A Mix of Gilfeather Turnips and Rutabagas; Forona Beets; Mixed Greens; Cress Raab; Mesclun; Baby Leeks; One Bunch Sweet Salad Turnips -or- Pac Choi; Pete's Frozen Tomatoes; Vermont Soy Tofu; Maplebrook Farm Mozzarella Cheese; Les Aliments Massawippi Miso; and Elmore Mountain Multigrain Bread.

Bread Ingredients: Organic sifted wheat flour, cracked wheat, cracked rye, cracked barley, cracked corn, millet, flax, (all organic) sourdough, sea salt.

Having trouble distinguishing the turnips from the rutabagas? You can always check out the Veggie Identification chart.

Storage and Use Tips
Gilfeather Turnips, Rutabagas and Beets - These are the last of our gilfeathers for the season. Both the turnips and rutabagas should be peeled before cooking. Beets can be peeled before or after cooking. You can store them all loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Mixed Greens - Your greens may include one or more of the following: kale, arugula, mizuna, mibuna, red giant. These make a salad with a nice bite or you can quick saute them, throw them into soups and/or pastas, etc. As with mesclun, it's a good idea to wrap the greens in a dishtowel inside the plastic bag to absorb any excess moisture. Store in the crisper drawer.
Cress Raab - The raab overwintered nicely in the field. They have come up with flower buds and a combination of greens and stem. Depending on your taste you might find the bitterness of these greens pleasing or a bit overpowering. If you are in the latter camp, try sauteing them with 1-2 teaspoons of honey. The sweetness of the honey will balance the spiciness of the greens. Stored loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer, these will last 3-4 days.
Frozen Tomatoes - You can use these in cooking recipes much as you would whole fresh or canned tomatoes. While still frozen, run the tomatoes under cold water. The skins will slip right off. If you wait a few minutes, you can chop them and use like canned chopped tomatoes.
Sweet Salad Turnips and Pac Choi - You have received one or the other of these and have probably noticed by now that it is full of holes. These are caused by small, green cabbage caterpillars. They only seem to bother us once a year and it is about this time in the greenhouse. We choose not to spray even an organic pesticide because by the time the problem develops we are only a week from harvest. So, try not to be bothered by the holes, the food will still taste good and be good nourishment.
  • Pac Choi - These are excellent cooking greens for soups and stir-fries. Refrigerate unwashed choi in a plastic container or in a loosely wrapped plastic bag. Choi is best when used within several days.
  • Salad Turnips- Sweet and delicious, these are a distant relative our storage turnips. Requiring no cooking, they make a wonderful snack or salad garnish. The greens can be sauted, stir-fried, or torn and added to a salad. Always remove the greens before storing. The greens and turnips can be kept separately wrapped in plastic in the crisper drawer.
Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Gilbert and Suzanne have a miso production facility attached to their home in North Hatley QC, at the northern tip of Lake Massawippi. It is a lovely town just east of interstate 55 (91 in VT). Les Aliments Massawippi is the only producer of oat and soy miso that Gilbert knows of. He is proud to be able to make this miso because it is crafted exclusively from Quebec grown grains and it is a difficult miso to make.

When I was there, he showed me their fancy new retail packaging as well. They are distributing to health food stores and they also go to a market and some specialty food shows to sell their products. They make a couple of other misos with herbs, and one with mushrooms. They also make a traditional soy and barley miso, and produce Tamari. This miso is aged 3 years and has an indefinite cold storage shelf life. It is a fermented living food, and should be heated only very gently to preserve these healthful properties.

Here's some information I found on the WHFoods.com website:

Health Benefits - Miso is made by adding a yeast mold (known as "koji") to soybeans and other ingredients and allowing them to ferment. Then they mix in a ground preparation of cooked soybeans and salt, and let the mixture ferment for several days before grinding it into a paste with a nut butter consistency. Because it is fermented with a B12-synthesizing bacteria, miso has been commonly recommended as a B12 source for vegans. Miso is quite high in sodium (1 ounce contains 52% of the recommended daily value for sodium), but a little miso goes a long way towards providing your daily needs for the trace minerals zinc, manganese, and copper. In addition, a single tablespoon of miso contains 2 grams of protein for just 25 calories. An impressive nutrient profile for a flavoring agent! Use miso in your cooking instead of plain old salt and reap a variety of benefits in addition to enhanced flavor.

History - While miso is the Japanese name we are most familiar with in the United States, this fermented soybean paste is also known as "chiang" in China, and "chao do" in Vietnam.

The origins of miso, like many other foods made from soybeans, can be traced to ancient China. Its predecessor was known as "hisio," a seasoning made from fermenting soybeans, wheat, alcohol, salt and other ingredients. Some accounts hold that it was a luxury food item, only enjoyed by the wealthy aristocrats. This fermented soybean paste was introduced into Japan around the 7th century. The refined and elaborate process of making miso was further developed throughout the centuries to produce the miso that we know today.

The creation of miso is very complex and is held as a high art in Asia, just as wine making and cheese making are revered in other parts of the world. Miso is now becoming more widely available in the United States due to the growing popularity of the macrobiotic diet and escalating interest in Asian food culture, stimulated by research suggesting it has numerous health benefits.

How to Select and Store - Miso is generally sold in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers. Some stores also sell it in bulk containers. As darker color misos are stronger and more pungent in flavor, they are generally better suited for heavy foods. Lighter colored misos are more delicate and are oftentimes more appropriate for soup, dressings and light sauces.
With all of the Asian greens coming out of the greenhouse, and then the dulse from last week, I thought Tofu was in order! When I went to pick up the yogurt we made arrangements for the tofu. I usually bring my son with me, and he goes in to help carry the cases from the cooler and I load it into the back of my Volvo. It's a full load now with 27 cases of yogurt or 7 milk crates of tofu! In any case, Jayden is happy because then he gets "paid" with a chocolate soymilk. We are also pushing production capacity for Vermont Soy right now by ordering 320 pieces of tofu. When I ordered it, Sofia said they will be able to meet demand for bigger orders in the future as they continue to improve production. They have a new label on the tofu this week, with slick new recyclable boxes coming in the near future.

Once again this week we have the fabulous fresh mozzarella from Maplebrook. Nancy from Maplebrook is always so accommodating to bring up the cheese on her way to her camp at Lake Parker. Try it on a pizza with the tomato sauce below.

Recipes
Simple Tomato Garlic Sauce
Heather is all about grilling this time of year, and often makes a grilled pizza. You can make dough, or buy it, or use a tortilla, or a flatbread. If you have one, a grilling tray is handy. When Heather uses fresh dough, she par bakes the crust on her grill tray before adding the sauce and other toppings. Otherwise it's difficult to slide the fully loaded raw pizza onto the grill! Try adding some of this week's mozzarella, greens, sliced baby leeks, fresh herbs, crumbled bacon, etc. Be creative!

5 large frozen tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp oil
pinch salt

Run frozen tomatoes under warm water to remove skins. Set aside in a bowl. Saute the garlic in oil until just turning golden. Add the tomatoes and crush them as they thaw. Add a bit a of salt and cook until the tomatoes are saucy and not too watery.

Miso Roasted Root Vegetables
Mark Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, has a lot of good information about miso, as well as suggested recipes. Although he extols the health benefits of uncooked miso, his book also includes a few recipes where the miso gets some heat. The recipe for the Miso glaze below is adapted from one of them. You can also use the glaze when grilling vegetables or tofu. The roasted vegetables would make a great side dish for the tofu recipe below. Leftovers can be brought to room temperature and tossed with mesclun and Asian dressing and garnished with chopped dulse for a light salad supper.

1/2 cup miso
1/4 cup honey
1 clove minced garlic
1 hot pepper minced, or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 TB sunflower oil

4 lbs mixed root vegetables, such as turnips, rutabagas and beets
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375F.
Whisk together glaze ingredients, miso through sunflower oil. Heat slightly if your honey has crystallized and the mixture is too thick. Peel, slice and chop vegetables into 1/2" pieces. Toss veggies with glaze on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes, until vegetables are caramelized on the outside and soft on the inside. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Panfried Tofu with Sesame Cress Raab
Here's a terrific sounding tofu and raab recipe adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl. Feel free to mix in other greens, such as mizuna, mustard, etc. Serves 2 as a main course, easily doubles.

1 TB sesame seeds
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 glove garlic minced
1/4 c orange juice
2 TB soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 block tofu
2 1/2 TB oil
1 bunch cress raab, coarsely chopped
2 tsp honey

Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet until golden brown. Set aside.

Combine ginger, garlic, orange juice, soy sauce and sesame oil in a sauce pan. Simmer gently for 1 minute.

Place tofu on a clean towel, cover with another, and press gently but firmly to remove excess moisture. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices along the short end. Heat 1 TB oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Brown tofu on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Heat remaining 1 1/2 TB oil in same skillet add cress raab and honey, saute until cress is crisp tender, tossing frequently.

Transfer cress raab to plates, arrange tofu slices on top, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - May 7, 2008

Pete's Musings
Things are clicking along on the farm. We bravely, (perhaps foolishly,) transplanted 4,000 pepper plants, eggplants, zukes and cukes outside last week. They are under row cover and have already weathered 3 frosts nicely. They'll be fine unless we have a night in the mid to low 20's, in which case I'll be
up all night keeping them irrigated and they will probably still be fine. If you like colored peppers you're going to like our summer share. We hope to have plenty of colored peppers to freeze as well.

The greenhouse tomatoes are coming along, many plants showing golf ball sized fruits. The crew is in the midst of a multi-day onion transplanting marathon. They are tedious to get into the ground and we need a couple hundred thousand onions
to keep you voracious eaters happy through the winter. Enjoy Spring! -Pete

Summer CSA Share Pricing
If you've been watching, reading or listening to the news lately, you can't have missed the headlines regarding the ever-increasing price of food. With the price of fuel climbing at record pace, a shortage of conventional fertilizer and crops being dedicated for biofuels, household food budgets are being stretched thin.

In this climate, CSAs are actually an excellent way of preserving your dollar's food buying power. This year's Good Eats weekly Summer Share cost is actually about a dollar less than last fall's. We anticipate including at least as much produce per dollar in the weekly deliveries this summer as last. That will make over a year of local, organic food deliveries without an increase.

So, how can we do it and remain viable? For one, we don't use synthetic fertilizers relyi
ng on petroleum for their production, so we are protected from those escalating prices. We are also constantly learning and improving our growing practices. With two years of growing for CSAs under our belts, we can plan our crops to more efficiently meet the needs of our weekly share deliveries.

We know that it can be difficult to write that large check at the beginning of the share period and we try hard to make sure that you receive good value for the $45 weekly share price. We have recently heard from a couple of shareholders who echoed the same sentiment, that once they joined Good Eats, they saw their total monthly food expenditures decrease by almost $200 a month. We are curious about how you feel that being a member of Pete's CSA affects your weekly grocery budget. If you track that type of thing and would be willing to share, please email me with y
our feedback.

Popcorn Warning
Farm apologies go out to share member Suzanne Podhaizer and all the folks in her office. Suzanne created smoke and concern instead of a tasty snack by following our directions to microwave a popcorn cob in a paper bag. Though this a method published on the Foo
d Network site, a Google search uncovers many instances of paper bags beginning to smoke and catch fire in the microwave. We will be recommending popping corn on the stovetop or in a microwave-safe covered dish from now on. I just tried using my corning casserole with the glass cover to nuke some loose popping corn and it worked great. As we are all out of the popcorn on the cob, I am unable to test this.

If you live on the edge and still wish to microwave your popping corn in a paper bag, I've uncovered a bit of information on the Web. 1) Use a smaller lunch-type bag instead of a larger heaver bag. There were more instances of the heavier bags beginning to smolder than the lighter-weight varieties. 2) Bags made of recycled paper can contain traces of metal and may be more flammable. 3) Stand watch over the microwave. Bags can begin to smoke within about 30 seconds. 4) Use a food grade bag to minimize health risks.

Dinner with Michael Pollan
The Vermont Fresh Network is having a benefit raffle that we think our shareholders would be delighte
d to win. The prize is dinner and conversation with Michael Pollan, author of the best-selling book Omnivore's Dilemma.

The Vermont Fresh Network (VFN) dinner with Michael Pollan will give a small group of diners the rare opportunity to talk with Pollan one-on-one while enjoying a meal featuring seasonal farm fresh fare at Penny Cluse Café in Burlington prepared by chef/owner Charles Reeves and chef Maura O'Sullivan. Pollan is coming to Vermont as part of a guest lecture series organized by the Vermont Food Systems Leadership and Policy Institute (a program of the University of Vermont).

To find out more about the June 10th dinner or to purchase a raffle ticket, visit: http://www.vermontfresh.net/vfnraffle/.

This Week's Share Contains
Mixed Potatoes; Spring Dug Parsnips; Savoy Cabbage; Mesclun Braising Mix;
Champlain Orchards Apples; Butterworks Farm Yogurt; Dulse Seaweed; Pearled Barley from Michel Gaudreau; and Patchwork Bread.
Also....
1 Bunch Basil -or- 1 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley -or- 1 European Cucumber *;
1 Bunch Chives -or- 1 Bunch Scallions*;
1 Bunch Greens May Include One or More of the Following*: Wild Arugula, Mizuna, Purple Mizuna, Mustard, Red Giant Mustard, and Arugula;
*As we ramp up our production for the season, we will sometimes be including different items at different sites. Thus, for example, when you open your produce bag this week, you may find basil, scallions and arugula; or a cuke, chives and a mix of mustard and mizuna greens. Though contents my differ slightly, all bags will be of the same value.

Roasted Potato Bread Ingredients: wheat flour, whole wheat flour, barley flour, Patchwork potatoes, sourdough, salt, deep well water

Onion Pillow Ingredients: organic wheat flour, organic barley flour, yeast, salt, well water, Riverside Farm onions

Storage and Use Tips
Parsnips - Overwintering in the ground intensifies the sweetness of parsnips. These are oh so good. You can keep them in plastic in the crisper drawer for at least a week. My husband's favorite way to eat parsnips is to cut them into 1 centimeter thick circles and par boil for 3-7 minutes. He then drains them and pan fries them in butter. If you poured maple syrup over them, they could almost be dessert.
Basil, Chives, Parsley, Scallions - Wrap these in a paper towel before placing in a plastic bag. They will keep in the crisper drawer for several days, the scallions and parsley longer.
Pearled Barley - Keeping barley sealed in a cool dark place, it will last at least 6 months. You can cook it and toss it cold with dressing and veggies for a nice salad, or use it in soups or stews. It also cooks down into a really nice risotto, without all of the attention and stirring required with Arborio rice. If you give these guys a soak for 6+ hours in cold water before use, you can reduce your cooking time by more than half.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
The seaweed is here! I spoke with Matt from Ironbound Island Seaweed a couple of weeks ago, and asked which variety would be best to include for our members with the fresh salad and Asian greens we're harvesting. He said the dulse is perfect for salads, tender with a beautiful purple color. But don't stop there, he also recommends it for stir- fry and chowder. There is a great informational brochure included in the seaweed package, with several recipe ideas. For photographs of their operation, checkout http://www.ironboundisland.com/photos.htm.

From their website:

Ironbound Island Seaweed is a worker owned company dedicated to the sustainable harvesting of wild seaweeds from the cold, clean waters of the Schoodic Peninsula and surrounding islands of eastern Maine. The season begins in spring when the seaweeds are at their peak, well before the trees have begun to leaf out. We work with the early morning low tides, often leaving before sunrise for the hour long journey by wooden boat to the outer islands. The edible seaweeds thrive there on ledges that break just above the water line on the new and full moon tides. From the boat we scramble onto exposed rocks and harvest waist high in the waves, taking care to leave plenty of plants for regeneration. The harvest is focused and intense; soon the tide returns swallowing the ledges and covering the seaweed beds. We hang the seaweed in the sun and it dries within 36 hours. On foggy days the seaweed is moved to a wood heated drying house. The whole leaves are then carefully packaged to bring you a sweet, dark seaweed unsurpassed.

From another website, the Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company, I found a lot of great ideas and information about Dulse. I hope you all enjoy it!

Dulse is a versatile sea vegetable which lends a unique, intense taste when added to a wide variety of dishes. Many people enjoy chewing dried dulse as it is a very salty snack. Indeed, many dulse lovers have told us that their bodies seem to crave dulse, and they just eat it straight from the bag while working, from artists in their studios to academicians at their desks.
  • Dried dulse snipped with scissors into tiny pieces becomes a salty condiment which may be used to season anything.
  • Dulse adds a unique flavor accent which perfectly complements potatoes, eggs, vegetables, rice, casseroles, and chowders.
  • Dulse and potatoes are made for each other! Snip dulse with scissors and sprinkle on baked boiled, mashed, or fired potatoes.
  • Dulse is great sprinkled on salads, pizza (like anchovies), on or in omelettes or scrambled eggs (like bacon).
As you become familiar with the taste qualities of dulse, try it on rice dishes, casseroles, vegetable dishes, and in chowders. Because dulse is so delicate and fragile in texture, it becomes mushy when cooked. We prefer to use dulse raw, sprinkled as flakes on cooked food; or steamed for a moment, or cooked in scrambled eggs and omelettes.

Try tossing dulse in a little bit of butter in the frying and serving the crisp dulse on the side with eggs or as a 'dulse, tomatoe & lettuce sandwich.

For yummy baked beans replace the pork with 1/2 c. dulse and 1/2 c. of olive oil.
Soaked, dulse softens gradually and becomes less salty. It may then be added to salads and sandwiches. In a soup, stew or chowder, dulse softens quickly and gradually dissolves.

Recipes
Roasted Vegetable and Barley Stew
The sweetness of the parsnips and cabbage really come out with roasting. Soaking the barley for at least 6 hours is crucial to having it cook faster. As this is a hearty stew, you may want to make it later in the week when the weather turns cold and rainy again. Serves 4-6.

4 slices of bacon
1 small onion, sliced thin
1/2 head of savoy cabbage, roughly chopped into 1" pieces w/leaves separated
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. potatoes, scrubbed and diced into 3/4" cubes
1 1/2 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4" pieces
1 TB olive oil
1 cup pearled barley, rinsed, soaked over night and drained
4 cups vegetable stock
2 TB balsamic vinegar
2 TB maple syrup
2 TB chopped fresh basil or parsley, -or- 1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450F. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, cook bacon over medium heat. When bacon is finished cooking, remove, cool, crumble and reserve. Increase heat to medium-high. Add sliced onion to hot bacon fat and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add half of the cabbage pieces, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage begins to wilt (3-5 minutes). Add remaining cabbage, sprinkle with remaining salt and toss with already warmed cabbage. Once the new cabbage begins to wilt, add potatoes and parsnips and toss to coat. Pour mixture onto large cookie sheet or sheet pan. Roast in hot oven for approximately 30 minutes, tossing veggies every 10 minutes. 15 minutes into the cooking time, sprinkle veggies with vinegar and maple syrup and toss to coat. Continue roasting.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in clean heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add drained barley and cook, stirring frequently, for about a minute. Add broth, bring to boil, cover and simmer until barley is al dente, about 30 minutes. Add roasted vegetables and reserved crumbled bacon to the cooked barley. Add dried or fresh herbs and stir to combine. Season to taste. Serve warm with crusty bread.

Spring Greens and Barley Risotto
Any quick cooking spring greens will work nicely in this dish. Try a braising green mix, arugula, spinach, etc. Just don't leave it in to cook too long. Serves 4.

2 TB sunflower oil
2 large shallots, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups barley, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
1 bunch of spring greens, washed, spun dry and chopped
4 oz. grated sharp, hard local cheese, such as Green Mountain Gruyere or Prima Caciotta from Dancing Ewe Farm
2 TB chopped fresh chives
2 TB chopped fresh basil or parsley

Heat oil over medium heat in a 10" frying pan with 2" deep sides. Add shallots and salt; cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Do not let shallots begin to brown. Add barley and cook stirring frequently for about 1 minute. Add wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed by the barley, about 1-2 minutes. Add the broth, nutmeg and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 1 hr. 15 minutes. Begin checking for doneness after 50 minutes. The liquid should be absorbed, the grains softened and gluteness, yet still have just a bit of chew. Stir in greens, cover until just wilted. Reduce heat to very low. Stir in cheese and herbs. Serve warm.

Potato Pancakes with Dulse
Here's a recipe Heather found online from a seaweed company in Ireland. She suggests adding a bit of minced onion or chives.

1lb Cooked Mashed Potato
2 TB Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/4oz (7g) of Finely Chopped Dulse
salt and pepper
1 cup Golden Bread Crumbs
Olive Oil for frying

Mix first three ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Split into portions and roll in golden breadcrumbs. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Shallow or deep fry in olive oil. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.