Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - July 2, 2008

Important Share Information
Thank you for continuing to cross off your names when you pick-up your share. It really helps us to contact the right person should there be any shares left behind at the end of the day.

Farm Update
I've been trying to make time to get out of the farm office and down to the fields and greenhouses to see how everything is growing. There's a lot going on right now. The crops are really filling in. Our chickens (meat birds) are also doing very well. We received about 200 chicks at the farm several weeks ago that are now almost grown to maturity. They have been spending their time foraging around the big greenhouse. This past week, we received about 200 more chicks in the mail. They are under warm red lights in the headhouse, still fluffy and creamy yellow.

Open House
Please don't forget about our Open House on Sunday, July 13th. We really hope that everyone can make it. A copy of the invitation that went out to all last week is posted here. Please note that this posted version has the corrected version of directions from Morrisville.

Farm Share
Thank you to all who contributed to NOFA's Farm Share program for this share period. Farm Share makes it possible for financially eligible families to qualify for subsidized CSA shares. Our fundraising effort was a great success. The generousity of our shareholders has made it possible for 6 families to join our CSA for the summer that may not have otherwise had access to farm fresh, organic food. We are very pleased to be participating in this project with NOFA Vermont.

This Week's Share Contains
Tomatoes; Fennel Bulb; Bunch Cilantro; Bunch Bright Lights Swiss Chard; French Breakfast Radishes -or- Easter Egg Radishes; Bunch Garlic Scapes; Mesclun; Mixed Potatoes; Head Lettuce; Pete's Kitchen Arugula Pesto*; Ploughgate Fromage Blanc*; and Good Companion Bakery Sourdough Bread*.

*Localvore share only.

Storage and Use Tips
Tomatoes: Store your tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. An aerated basked it ideal. Please don't refrigerate your tomatoes. According to the Penn State Agricultural Magazine, "A tomato will lose its aroma and flavor after just 40 minutes in the refrigerator." If you've sliced open a tomato and find yourself with a piece that you won't use in the next few hours, you can refrigerate this portion. I find the best way to store these left over pieces is cut-side-down in a small bowl. But, use it quickly before it gets mushy and looses all its flavor.
Fennel: A member of the parsley family, fennel has a pleasantly mild licorice flavor. It is great raw, thinly sliced and added to salads. It also takes well to braising and adds a wonderful flavor to soups, pastas and stews. You will want to cut off the stalks and fronds before using the bulb in a recipe. The fronds make a particularly, beautiful and flavorful garnish. Dirt can get trapped between the overlapping bulb layers. To wash, cut off the base and stalks, then cut the bulb in half lengthwise. If there is dirt all the way through the bulb that you can't get out with all the layers still attached, you will have to cut high enough on the base to separate the layers for washing. Store fennel, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Radishes: If you have long, thin radishes, white at the bottom and deep pink towards the greens, you have French breakfast radishes. A multi-colored bunch indicates that you have the easter egg variety. Both are beautiful, crunchy and delicious. Try slicing the radishes thin and adding to your green or tuna salad. Pour a small ramekin of sunflower oil, salt to taste and dip the radishes in for an easy appetizer. Lightly toast a thin slice of this share's bread, spread with the fromage blanc and cover with very thinly sliced radishes. Or, try them sauted until warm in butter, sprinkled with salt. Don't forget to separate the radish greens from the radishes before storing both in their own plastic bags in the crisper drawer.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
“Ploughgate” is a Scottish word that describes the measure of land it takes a team of oxen to plow in a day. Marisa Mauro and Princess MacLean started Ploughgate Creamery after working for years on Vermont cheese making farms. They are working toward an eventual goal of operating their own dairy that will be focused on producing farmstead cheese, and utilizing draft animal power for farm work. In the meantime, the creamery works closely with nearby farmers whose practices they can feel proud of. They love the art of cheese making, the animals, (both four footed and microscopic), who do the real work, and the land that makes it all possible and worthwhile.

The cheese they are offering Good Eats this week is a fresh soft cheese made with organic cows milk. It is a fromage blanc style cheese, which is in the same family as cream cheese, quark, and crème frâiche. It is called “Cowslem” which is another Scottish word, which refers to the gleam of the evening star that the cattle were driven home by. It can be used in either sweet or savory recipes, used as a spread or eaten alone. Some suggested uses are: as a base for a dip; on top of strawberries and topped with maple syrup; or substitute it in recipes that call for cream cheese, ricotta, yogurt, or other soft cheeses, such as lasagna, cheesecake or stuffed shells. Mince up some garlic scapes and cilantro to make an herb spread for your bread and top it with thick slices of tomatoes!

As I write this, Jeffery, the farm chef, is whipping up many, many batches of arugula pesto. We have abundant arugula right now, so he made a couple sample batches last week for us to try. I voted for the one with more blue cheese. He’s using Baily Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill and the Quebec sunflower oil, along with a bit of garlic. The color is vivid; the taste is sublime. He says to think of this as a condiment and recommends a splash of lemon juice mixed in with your recipe. He would have added it here, but the acidity will turn the pesto brown. He recommends using the pesto to finish pasta either warm or as a salad, to marinate chicken before baking, as a sandwich spread, or as a topping for flatbread (recipe below). Here's the sandwich he made with it: slice bread, spread on the arugula pesto, add sliced tomato, thinly sliced grilled beef, a fried egg, and a handful of mesclun. Messy but divine!

We have bread! Pete suggested a while back that we try contacting Good Companion Bakery as a Localvore loaf source. So here it is, fresh Localvore sourdough bread. Their website,, has a wealth of information. This season Erica and Eric have another couple, Chloe and Alex, working on the farm with them. They use draft horses to farm. Do check out their website, as I can hardly do them justice here! What I can tell you is that they grow wheat and rye for bread flour, as well as a variety of market vegetable crops. Eric is the primary baker. He told me they are using some of their own flour, some whole-wheat flour from Ben Gleason, and Mount Marcy flour from Champlain Valley Milling, which is made up partially from New York flour.

While Nancy was putting the newsletter together, Eric stopped by and we had a good conversation. He said that he is committed to making excellent bread, with a nice high rise and crusty exterior. He is also invested in growing and milling wheat to make his bread. Local meets artisan is his ultimate goal, and he says it will be about a year until he can produce enough wheat.

A couple of interesting constraints make this trickier than just growing more wheat. Climate conditions result in a lower protein content in wheat grown here. Also, the flour is more easily digested by yeast, making it rise faster and then collapse. He has to use less yeast, and a portion of unbleached white flour with a higher protein in order to make a loaf he's happy with. For Eric, eating localvore should not ever be equated with austere or mediocre food choices. He is clearly a dedicated farmer and baker, and we are glad to be partnering with him!

Please let me know how you like your loaves!

Deborah’s Fried Potatoes and Fennel
While working together in the farmstand the other day, Deborah told Heather about her favorite fennel and potato dish. Heather just knew she had to share it with you-all. Serves 6.

2# Potatoes
2 bulbs fennel
2-3 Tbsp oil
2 garlic scapes
salt & pepper

Slice potatoes into thin rounds. Trim the ends and the stems from fennel; cut the bulb into thin julienne. Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté the potatoes with fennel, garlic, salt & pepper until golden brown.

Pasta with Swiss Chard, Garlic and Tomatoes
Serves 2.

1 pound Swiss chard
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
3 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 cup water
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 pound fusilli
1/4 cup freshly grated hard, sharp cheese, such as Crawford Family Farms Picante

Separate the leaves of the swiss chard from the stems and chop. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the scapes and red pepper, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the stems and 1/4 cup of the water, and cook the mixture, covered, for 2 minutes. Add the leaves with the remaining 1/4 cup water and salt and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, covered, for 3 minutes, or until the leaves are tender.

While the chard is cooking, in a kettle of salted boiling water boil the fusilli until it is al dente and drain it in a colander. In a large bowl toss the pasta with the chard mixture and the grated cheese. Garnish with additional grated cheese, if desired.

Garnished Tomato Rounds
Nothing could be simpler to make or such a fresh, summer treat to enjoy. Serves 2.

2 ripe tomatoes
fromage blanc
arugula pesto
sunflower oil, for drizzling

Slice tomatoes into 1/3" thick rounds. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of fromage blanc on each round. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of pesto on top of the cheese. Drizzle with sunflower oil and enjoy.

Simple Fennel Salad
Serves 4.
2 c thinly sliced fennel bulb
2 c mesclun
1 handful of thinly sliced radishes
2 tbsp vinegar
3 tbsp oil
salt & pepper to taste

Toss it all together in a salad bowl. Really. That’s it!

Potato and Arugula Pizza

1 recipe of pizza dough (below)
1 recipe fried potatoes and fennel (above)
¼ cup arugula pesto
1 tomato, cut into thin wedges or small chunks
grated cheese of your choice

Divide the dough into 2 portions and form into pizzas. Par-bake briefly to set, then spread with arugula pesto. Top with potatoes, fennel, tomatoes and grated cheese. Grill or bake until toasty, bubbly and melted.

Quick Pizza Dough

1 tbsp yeast
1 C warm water
3 C flour (whole wheat and or unbleached as you prefer)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

Blend four, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl or food processor. Mix in water and oil to make kneadable dough. Use a bit more water or flour to get the right consistency. Knead 10 minutes by mixer or hand, one minute by processor. Set aside to rise one hour.

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