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 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.

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.

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