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.

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