Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - August 27, 2008

Announcing the Fall Vegetable/Localvore Share
Believe it or not, it's time to start thinking about the autumn CSA Share already. This Fall we will be providing a 17-week Vegetable/Localvore Share, our most popular offering. The Share will run from October 22nd through February 11th and will cost $799. Thanks to all of the work on greenhouses this year, we expect to be providing greens much later into the share than last year, and distributing homegrown sprouts when we can't provide full-fledged greens. You can read a more complete share description here.

We are pre-announcing the Fall Share to our current members, giving you the first chance to sign-up for the share. Current members will have priority for sign-up through September 8th. We plan to begin advertising the share to a wider audience the week of September 1st. If you would like to guarantee a spot in the Fall Share, please mail your form in before September 8th. Rest assured that we will not cash any of your checks until October 13th.

You can download a sign-up form from the Good Eats Fall Share page. We will also have printed brochures available at the pick-up sites next week.

You will probably notice that the price of a share has gone up slightly with the Fall Share. The price increase will offset the inflation we've been experiencing with the Localvore products, which have gone up from a few cents to 20%. As the amount we charge our shareholders for our vegetables has not gone up, you will most likely see a slight increase in the value of vegetables in the share over last year.

Pete's Musings
Yesterday, after about a year and a half of planning and attempting to paint our barn, Steve finally got out the sprayer and sprayed a little paint on the wall. Then he lost a part from the sprayer that I think was partly caused by me not putting it away properly last time I used it. So we had about 10 square feet of yellow paint on the wall and had to wait until somebody could make it to the paint store for the sprayer part. Sometimes in the midst of running a farm it is really unbelievable how difficult it can be to do very simple jobs.

Anyway, not an hour after this, a traveling barn roof painter stopped by. I've owned the farm for 4 years and have never been visited by one of these outfits. Within minutes we had agreed on a price to paint the barn roof and then he agreed to spray the walls as well. So yesterday between 3 and 7 p.m. we got our whole barn painted. Pretty great. It's a nice bright yellow. Purists won't like it, but I love yellow and this yellow is historic for barns in the E. Craftsbury area. It clashes pretty badly with the ugly mustard yellow on the house, so now we are trying to decide on a house color. Suggestions are appreciated.














Barn at 4:00 pm, Tuesday afternoon


In case a traveling barn painter every approaches you, their mode of operation is to start high with the price and then negotiate down. Generally they are willing to do the job for about half of the first named number. -Pete


This Week's Share Contains
Bag of Mesclun on Top with Arugula on the Bottom; Mix of Potatoes; Torpedo Onions; Bunch Green Kale; Bunch Spicy Bush Basil; Beefsteak Tomatoes; Mixed Colored Peppers* -or- Cauliflower and/or Broccoli.

Localvore Share:
Champlain Orchards Apples; Four Corners Farm Raspberries; Bonnieview Mossend Blue Cheese; Elmore Mountain Bread.

Bread Ingredients: Ben Gleason whole-wheat flour, Milanaise organic unbleached flour, sea salt, water and sourdough.

*Those sites who received cauliflower & broccoli last week will receive peppers this week and visa-versa. If we end up running short on one of these, you may see a mix or a duplicate from last week.

Storage and Use Tips
Potatoes: We have quite an assortment of potatoes in your bag this week, a veritable spud color wheel. Those in the mix include Adirondack purples and pinks; Nicola (creamy yellow); and Norland reds (red skin with white flesh). The Nicolas and Norlands would do very well in a salad. Or, make a rainbow mash or roast with the Adirondacks and Nicolas. The Norlands are also recommended for frying. Keep all potatoes dried and unwashed in a paper bag in a cool dark place, away from onions.
Torpedo Onions: Torpedo onions are included in the class of roasting onions, though they are great for grilling, sauteing and garnishing, as well as roasting. These definitely have more bite than the sweet onions we've been giving out lately. Torpedo onions originated in the Italian town of Tropea, where the Phoenicians introduced them more than 2,000 years ago. Keep them loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.
Arugula: This week your clear plastic bags contain both mesclun and arugula. The arugula is at the bottom. You can identify the arugula leaf by its long shape and resemblance to an oak leaf. Arugula adds a nice peppery bite to salads. I like it on its own served only with a drizzle of olive oil, a spritz of lemon and coarse salt and pepper. It also does well with a quick wilt added to pastas, frittatas or calzones, or as a stand-in for lettuce on an Italian-inspired sub.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
We have a lot of goodies this week! I had already planned the share with apples, blue cheese and bread. Then Pete had the opportunity to buy the raspberries from Four Corners Farm in Newbury. The strawberries we had earlier in the share were also from them. The Paula Red apples are the classic early Vermont apple, most similar to any early Macintosh. They are great for eating while very fresh. Since they don't store well, you could make applesauce from any leftovers. Maybe even a little apple raspberry sauce.

This past Sunday I went to the Stowe Farmers Market with my family. It's a great market, with produce, crafts, bread, meat & cheese, pickles, prepared foods and even pizza from Pot Belly. The most fun was seeing both Neil from Bonnieview and Blaire form Elmore Mountain Bread and having a chance to talk to them about the share this week. Neil wanted to just check on the final count for the Mossend Blue. Blaire was all excited to tell me about the flour they are using.

You may remember that the flour they were using was only partially local from Quebec and we had backed off from bread in the share for a while. Then they got together with Ben Gleason to make the 50% whole wheat bread last time. Now the flour from Milanaise in Quebec is 100% local again, so they are now making all of their breads with local flour! Blair is just thrilled about this. They will also be using as much Gleason whole-wheat as possible to make whole grain breads for us. This week's bread is a whole-wheat levain made with sourdough starter. They are also working on a recipe to make a focaccia with Quebec sunflower oil and the Maine sea salt for a future delivery. It feels so good to have them baking for us again and I know they are inspired to make totally local organic breads. Plus the perks are great; I bought a focaccia, and then she gave me a maple cinnamon raisin and another onion flat bread. Sweet!

While I didn't talk to Neil very long on Sunday, today I was able to talk with Michael who works both here and at Bonnieview. He works in the washhouse here, sorting and packing wholesale orders and Good Eats shares. At Bonnieview he milks and makes cheese and then does a little bit of everything else. "Whatever needs doing," he says. They milk 180 ewes twice a day in the summer, and once a day now as milk production declines. They will start drying off in the fall and not milk at all for the winter. Then lambing starts it all again in the early spring. We both love this Mossend Blue. It has that nutty pungent blue flavor with a nice tangy note from the sheep's milk. Enjoy!

Recipes
Potato Kale Soup
Heather thinks this soup is even better the next day, or made early and heated again just before serving. Serves 4.

1 bunch kale
4 TB oil
salt & pepper
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 lb. spicy sausage, crumbled or chopped - optional
red pepper flakes to taste
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
water
1 quart milk

Wash kale and strip leaves from stems. Chop the kale leaves nice and small. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add one clove of the minced garlic, and saute for one minute. Add kale with a pinch of salt and saute until bright green. Remove kale to another bowl.

Heat the rest of the oil in the same pot, add onions and remaining garlic with (optional sausage), salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Saute until fragrant and browning, about 5-10 minutes. Add potatoes and saute briefly together. Add water to just cover potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are falling apart tender. Remove from the heat and mash the potatoes with the back of a spoon to make a thick base. Add kale and enough milk to make a creamy soup; taste for salt and pepper. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook about 15 minutes longer.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with
Grilled Red Torpedo Onions and Pesto Vinaigrette
This recipe is from "The Sustainable Kitchen: Passionate Cooking Inspired by Farms, Forests and Oceans," by Stu Stein with co-authors Mary Hinds and Judith H. Dern. According to the authors, "This fruit salad (remember tomatoes are a fruit) showcases what we think summer is all about: intense flavor, colorful ingredients and playful flavor combinations."

Salad:
2 red Torpedo onions, peeled, cut into half moons and thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound tomatoes (approximately 4 to 6 tomatoes)
kosher salt or course sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup pesto vinaigrette
basil leaves for garnish

Pesto Vinaigrette:
1 clove garlic, peeled
kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
2 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
4 TB red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat a grill. Toss the onions in a bowl with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove the cores from the tomatoes and cut them in various shapes and sizes (wedges, round slices, half-moons, etc.) and reserve. Place onions on the grill over medium heat and grill until the onions are tender and caramelized, about 10 minutes.

To make vinaigrette, in the bowl of a food processor, purée garlic and salt until a paste is formed. Add pine nuts and basil and process until a fine paste formed. With motor running, add vinegar and then slowly add oil in a thin stream until the mixture is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Arrange the tomatoes on the plates. Season with salt and pepper. Place several slices of grilled onions on top of the tomatoes and drizzle with pesto vinaigrette. Arrange several basil leaves on and around tomatoes and sprinkle with additional cracked black pepper.

Meg's Blue Cheese Potatoes
Meg bought a whole wheel of the Mossend Blue, and this is how she and Pete have been eating it. Recipe serves 4.

2 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 TB oil
salt & pepper
3 TB butter
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut potatoes into chunks or slice into rounds. Toss with onion, garlic, oil, salt & pepper. Roast in oven until tender and browned, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, dot with butter and sprinkle with blue cheese. Return to oven for another 10 minutes.

Alternatively, make mashed potatoes according to your favorite method. Place in an oven-proof casserole, dot with butter and sprinkle on the blue cheese. Bake in oven about 10 minutes until melty and bubbling.

Apple, Blue Cheese and Walnut Pizza
This recipe appears in "Dishing Up Vermont," by Tracey Medeiros. It was contributed by Champlain Orchards. If you haven't yet seen Dishing Up Vermont, keep your eye out for it at your local bookstore or food shop. The book does a wonderful job of compiling recipes from a host of Vermont Fresh Network members. This pizza serves 3-4 as a main, 10-12 if cut for appetizers.

1/2 package or 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
2 TB plus 1/8 tsp olive oil
1 large apple, unpeeled, cored, and cut into 1/8 inch slices
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (3 oz)
1/2 - 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2-3 ounces)
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, or 3/4 tsp dried
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
white pepper

Preheat oven to 450F. Lightly grease a 15-inch pizza pan. Set aside. Place 3/4 cup of warm water in a small bowl. Stir in yeast with a wooden spoon and let rest until yeast begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Combine the flours, sugar, salt and pepper in a separate large bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture, and add the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Transfer dough to a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead gently 20 times.

Lightly oil a large bowl with remaining 1/8 teaspoon of oil. Transfer dough to the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave dough at room temperature and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Punch down the dough. Transfer dough to a lightly floured, clean work surface, and roll out to a 13-inch circle. Transfer to prepared pizza pan; build up edges slightly. Bake the crust for approximately 10 minutes, or until it just begins to brown. Cover the crust with apple slices, cheeses, rosemary, walnuts and white pepper to taste. Bake an additional 10-12 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - August 20, 2008

Thank you for helping us to tread more lightly on the planet by bringing back your empty plastic bags and egg cartons.

Farm Update

We've been so thrilled to have the sun back shining on the farm this past week. The beds are drying out, the leaves are reaching towards the sky and Steve even managed to get the farm road graded before the weekend. Our greens have been making a come back as a result of the pleasant weather. Expect a good-sized bag of mesclun in your share this week!


On another note, some of our crew were disappointed that they weren't pictured in the recent article regarding the CSA process. So, I grabbed my camera last week and took a few more shots. You can see Deborah and Hanna hard at work in the washhouse, and Tim in his bug, (he wouldn't climb into the refrigerated delivery truck for me), posted in the updated article on the blog. I've yet to capture Heather writing or packing, but I will!


Agency of Agriculture Mobile Freezing Unit

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture recently debuted a new mobile freezing unit that can be used for on-farm quick-freezing of farm produce. We've got our eye on it for purees, soups and other vegetables and prepared items. The unit was parked here at Pete's for the past week or so and we had the opportunity to check it out, though unfortunately, we didn't have anything needing freezing just then.


Designed by Brian Norder, project director of the Vermont Food Venture center, it's a pretty cool, compact unit. When plugged in to the farm's power supply, it can freeze up to 600 pounds of food an hour. Quick-freezing like this not only gives farmers the opportunity to save a portion of their crop for the winter, it also results in superior quality of the frozen items. Once frozen, the produce can be moved to long-term freezer storage. We are planning to store a lot more frozen food this winter at the farm and will be converting a tractor-trailer to a permanent freezer unit to do so.

The mobile unit can be moved from farm to farm, as the need arises. For efficiency's sake, it can also be parked at a centralized farm within a given region for other farmers to come and use.

The freezer unit was picked up by the Agency of Agriculture on Monday, destined for Blueberry Ridge, a berry farm in North Troy. A full story of the unit was recently published by the Associated Press and has popped up in publications across the nation.

Are You Planning a Vacation?
If you plan to be away over the next month or two and will miss your pick-up, we suggest asking a friend, relative, neighbor or coworker to take the share for you. We're sure that they would appreciate a week of fresh, local produce. Just be sure to brief them on the pick-up procedure.

If you are unable to find somebody, please let me know the weekend before pick-up so that I can divert your share. Though it's easy for some site hosts to find people eager to receive leftover shares, it can be inconvenient for others. Thanks!

This Week's Share Contains
Mesclun; Tomatoes; Mix of Zucchini and Patty Pan Squash; Ailsa Craig Onions; Bulb Garlic; Bunch Celery; Romanesca Cauliflower & Broccoli -or- Mixed Colored Peppers*; Bunch Curly Parsley;

Localvore Share:
Vermont Milk Company Smoked Cheddar; Maine Sea Salt; Dwight Miller Orchards Organic Apple Cider Vinegar;

*Those sites receiving cauliflower & broccoli this week will receive peppers next week and visa-versa.

Storage and Use Tips
Sweet Onions: The Ailsa Craig and Walla Walla onions you've been receiving in your shares are classified as "sweet" onions. Though they don't contain more sugars than red and yellow onions, their lower level of acid makes them taste more sugary. Their higher moisture and decreased acid content make them more perishable than storage onions. I store mine loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. I've also seen some recommendations to store sweet onions in a single layer on (paper) towels in the fridge, or individually wrapped in foil or paper towels. Either way, definitely keep them in the refrigerator where they should last for up to 2 weeks.
Romanesca Cauliflower: A very striking vegetable, the Romanesca variety of cauliflower has a beautiful light green color with pointed florets instead of the usual rounded. Originally from Northern Italy, its taste is somewhat milder than the traditional cauliflower as well. Cook as you would a regular specimen. Consider blanching the florets and adding to a crudite platter. Store unwashed in a loosely wrapped plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Please be assured that if you don't receive one of these this week, it will be in your share the next.
Patty Pan Squash: Looking more like mini-flying saucers than summer squash, patty pans are also known as button or custard squash. Patty pan is a good source of magnesium, niacin, and vitamins A and C. Try scooping out the flesh after steaming lightly, and mix it with garlic sauteed in butter with salt and pepper before stuffing back into the shell of the squash to cook some more. Or, slice it into scalloped rounds, coat with flour and/or breadcrumbs and fry. Store unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Or, you can try the storage method Meg recently read about, where you wrap the patty pans in newspaper and leave them on your counter for up to 9 months. If you give that a try, please let me know how it goes!

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
I picked up the vinegar from Dwight Miller Orchards on my way home from Connecticut. The orchard is in East Dummerston, down a dirt road off of Rte 5 north of Brattleboro. Their family has been farming the same land since before Vermont was a state! The orchard is certified organic and currently managed by Reed Miller. I had the good fortune to get there before a thunderstorm and was able to pick some of their organic peaches. The summer has been just as wet for them as we've had and the peaches suffered some cosmetic damage. They were still delicious and I made a beautiful batch of jam. At the Miller's farmstand they sell their own dilly beans, canned peaches, frozen chicken, fresh picked blueberries, apples and peaches. I think they must make the dilly beans with their own vinegar. I hope you'll try making something pickled, too.

Check out the sea salt website maineseasalt.com to learn all about this company. They are the only sea salt company in Maine! When we go to Maine I love to go eat at Cook's Lobster Restaurant in the Harpswells. Here's a little about how the Maine Sea Salt Company operates:

How We Extract Natural Sea Salt from Ocean Water
  • Our solar greenhouses, known as "salt houses" are filled with fresh sea water from the Gulf of Maine.
  • The sea water evaporates naturally, from the heat of the sun and the drying effects of the wind blowing through the greenhouses.
  • Over a period of time, fleur de sel floats on the pool surface, then grows and sinks to the floor to form the salt bed.
  • When all of the water has evaporated, the sea salt is ready to be packaged as natural Maine Sea Salt™, seasoned with our natural ingredients, or smoked over a wood fire.
The smoked cheddar from Vermont Milk Company is my favorite cheese that they make. We are glad to offer Vermont Milk Company products in the share and want to support them. They are farmer owned, with a strong commitment to local agriculture. Recently, they have been hit hard by rising fuel and milk prices and are working hard to get their costs back in line.

In order to make the smoked cheddar they first cut the pieces and then send them out to a smokehouse. This way each piece has a great smoked exterior. Enjoy and please support this great company when you buy cheese. Go to VermontMilkCompany.com to learn more about the company.

Recipes
Spanish Gazpacho
Nothing beats a bowl of gazpacho for a light, summer meal. Serve each bowl with a dollop of crème fraiche and a slice of crusty bread on the side. Adapted from Culinate.com. Serves 4.

2 lb. ripe tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup chopped sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 medium sweet bell peppers, coarsely chopped
½ - 1 whole small jalapeno (to taste), deseeded and chopped
1 cube (about 2 inches square) crustless bread from a firm-textured, French-style loaf
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground cumin
2 tsp honey
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

Put half of the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the onion, garlic, peppers, bread, vinegar, salt, cumin and honey. Blend until no large pieces remain. With the motor running, add the remaining tomatoes and when well processed, gradually add the oil. Process until smooth. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley or cilantro. Cooks Note: gazpacho can be chilled overnight. Taste and adjust salt and vinegar, if necessary.

Grilled Vegetable Panini
If you don’t have a panini maker or George Foreman Grill, use a grill pan to toast your sandwiches weighed down with a clean cast iron pan. Makes 4 sandwiches.

3 TB of sunflower oil
1 garlic clove minced to a paste
salt and pepper to taste
3 medium summer squash, sliced thin lengthwise
1 onion, sliced into thick rings
2 sweet peppers, cut in thick slices
8 slices of sandwich bread
sliced smoked cheddar cheese to cover 4 pieces of bread
½ stick of butter, melted

Season oil by mixing in minced garlic and salt and pepper. Lay vegetables on a pan and brush both sides with seasoned oil. Place veggies on the grill over medium heat. Cook until brown grill marks form, then flip and cook the other side. Remove gilled vegetables to plate. To assemble the paninis, layer grilled vegetables over four slices of bread. Cover with cheese and the remaining bread slices. Heat panini grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush top slices of bread with melted butter and place, butter-side down on grill. If using panini grill, brush top side of bread with butter and lower top grill plate over sandwich. Grill until both sides are golden brown, grill marks have formed and cheese is melting.

If using a grill pan, weigh the sandwich down with a cast iron pan. When the bottom is golden and grill marks have formed, brush the top slice of bread with butter, flip and repeat the grilling process. Serve with a mesclun salad on the side.

Raw Summer Squash Salad
One of my favorite shows this year has been Jamie at Home. The show features Jamie Oliver, of Naked Chef fame, at his country home in England. He cooks much of his food straight from the garden. His appreciation for fresh, local ingredients and non-fussy preparation is the highlight of every show. Recently, I saw this recipe on an episode featuring the humble zucchini, or “courgette,” as the Brits call them. Serves 2.

4 small summer squash, a mix of zucchini, yellow squash and patty pan
3 TB sunflower oil
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 small hot pepper, seeded and minced fine
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup loosely packed, roughly chopped basil, mint, and/or parsley

Use a horizontal, or “Y-peeler” to make long ribbons from the zucchini and yellow squash. Keep slicing down the long sides of the squash, all around, down to, but not including the soft seed center. Discard the seed center. Use the peeler to make strips of the patty pan. In a large bowl toss the squash ribbons with the sunflower oil, lemon juice, hot pepper, salt, pepper and herbs. Toss with your fingers to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings. Jamie served this salad with fresh grilled fish.

Caramelized Onion Pizza
Jessica Cole, one of our Summer Share members, emailed me the recipe for this amazing sounding pizza the other week. She said that the anchovies are optional. Though, they would add a terrific depth of flavor if you include them.

1/2 recipe pizza dough (see Recipe from Heather in July 2nd Newsletter)
3-4 onions, sliced
small bunch sage, chopped
5-6 anchovies, chopped (optional)
6 oz chevre

Preheat oven to 500F. Cook down the onions, sage and anchovies in a medium pot set over medium heat until they are soft, brown and very sweet. This should take about 30-40 minutes. Roll out the pizza dough and pre-bake the crust in the oven for 3-7 minutes, just until it is cooked but not browned. Spread the mixture over the crust and top with chunks of the goat cheese. Put it back in the oven for a few minutes to heat the cheese. Serve with a green salad and tomatoes on the side.

Summer Vegetable Pickles
Adapted from Epicurious.com. Makes about 3 cups.

1 cup 1/2- to 3/4-inch cauliflower florets
1 cup 1/2- to 3/4-inch broccoli florets
1 cup 1-inch strips celery
1 red Thai chili or red jalapeño chili, cut into thin rounds
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup (lightly packed) fresh mint leaves (from 2 bunches)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Place cauliflower, broccoli, celery and chili in medium bowl. Bring vinegar, mint, sugar, and salt to boil in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool syrup completely. Strain syrup over vegetables. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Cover and chill until ready to use. (Can be made up to 1 day ahead.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - August 13, 2008

Special Pick-Up Instructions
This week we have different products for the Localvore vegetarians and meat-eaters. If you signed up as a Vegetarian, (this is noted on the names sheets), you will be receiving Pete's eggs and Butterworks cornmeal, otherwise, we have bacon from Vermont Smoke and Cure.

Those who signed up as meat-eaters, please take a bacon. Vegetarians should look for a bag with their name on it that will contain the vegetarian substitutions.

Pete's Musings
We continue to weather wet conditions on the farm. For the most part the fields have handled the rain well, but we have more foliar disease than normal for this time of year. Our farm roads are a complete disaster-vast muddy potholes that are unfixable until it dries enough so that we can do a thorough grading. I am concerned about our storage carrots and beets. They have been planted for about a month and because of all the rain and relatively cool temps have not grown a lot. We really need some sun and heat for them in August so that they can get further along before September. They will grow significantly in the shorter and cooler days of Sept. and Oct., but need to be at a certain size before then in order to make a nice crop.

We are in the midst of an incredible sweet onion harvest. We're picking 35,000 lbs. of Walla Walla and Alisa Craig onions from .7 acres. This is equivalent to 50,000 lbs or 25 tons per acre. It's fun to consider the tiny packet of seed that generated those onions only 135 days ago. Growing vegetables can be a great way with minimal inputs to harvest the incredible productive capacity of soil and sunlight. -Pete

Bacon Fat Anyone?
To protect Pete's Greens from any liability concerns, I feel that I should make some sort of disclaimer that I am not a medically trained professional, that one should consult with their doctor before making any major dietary changes. Or, perhaps I should say that, "I save my bacon fat," without implying that you should consider doing the same, especially if you're a vegetarian. And yet, the fat rendered off of bacon is extremely flavorful, free for the taking and just such a shame to waste.

I started saving my bacon fat a couple of years ago in preparation for the first Mad River Valley Localvore Challenge. Local sunflower oil was proving impossible to come by and the drippings from all of the bacon I was preparing at our then bed and breakfast seemed an easy and inexpensive way to provide my family with cooking oil for the week long eat local celebration. During the challenge, in addition to using the fat for frying eggs, sauteing vegetables and greasing pans, I also used it to make salad dressing and added it to cornbread for both its flavor and fat properties. All around, the bacon fat proved to be a pleasure to work with. Moreover, it was almost easier to save the grease than finding a way to dispose of it that didn't involve pouring it down the drain.

Since we've sold the bed and breakfast, we no longer have the bottomless source of bacon fat for our cooking. Thus, I have taken to rendering my own lard from fatback. The lard doesn't have the smoky flavor that the bacon fat provides, but the fat properties are otherwise the same. We often use lard and bacon fat in lieu of other cooking oils now, though sunflower and olive oil are more popular options for our salads.

Before you make an appointment for me at the Cardiologist, consider that people ate bacon fat and lard for centuries before our current epidemic of heart disease. In fact, the explosion in the rate of heart disease didn't occur until after we traded our lard and butter for canola oil, margarine and shortening. While lard is composed of about 40% saturated fat, it also contains about 48% monounsaturated fat (commonly thought to be the "good fat"). Bacon fat and lard are also ideal for frying foods, as they aren't broken down by high heat.

In his book, In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan devotes significant time to talking about the state of scientific knowledge regarding the role of fats in human health. Surprisingly to many, there is not concrete evidence that fats touted as "cholesterol free" are actually better for you than traditional fats such as butter and lard. Sure, olive oil is believed by all to be one of the most healthful fats, and hydrogenated oils are now almost universally condemned. But, in between there is a lot of complex information to sift through. If you are interested in learning more about the different types of fats and their role in human health, I would urge you to seek out the following books in addition to In Defense of Food:

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice
Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck

In the meantime, if you want to save that bacon fat, here's what to do. After you've cooked your bacon, let the grease cool a bit in the pan. Pour the grease through a fine sieve into a heatproof container (a Pyrex container, ramekin or mason jar work well here), cover and refrigerate. Scoop and use as the need arises.

This Week's Share Contains
Mesclun; Head Red Cabbage; Head Garlic; Fennel; Bunch Leeks; Mixed Sweet Peppers; Tomatoes; Bunch Basil; Snap Beans -or- Eggplant.

Localvore Share:
Champlain Valley Plums; Elmore Mountain Bread; and Either:
Vegetarian: Butterworks Farm Cornmeal & Pete's Eggs
Meat Eaters: Vermont Smoke and Cure Bacon

Storage and Use Tips
Red Cabbage: Striking in a slaw, salad or wilted by cooking, red cabbage came on to the seen later than its green counterpart. Red cabbage is likely to turn blue when cooking if there are any alkaline ingredients present. To stop this from happening, add a bit of acid to the pan in the form of lemon juice, vinegar or wine. Red cabbage can be stored loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for weeks. If the outer leaves wilt or turn spotted, just remove them and use the good leaves below. Once cut, keep the remaining cabbage in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer.
Leeks: Like onions, garlic, shallots and scallions, leeks are a member of the allium family. They have a milder flavor than onions and cook beautifully into tarts, soups and gratins, just to name a few. For cooking, use just the white and light green parts. A bit of investigation reveals that the light green color extends farther up the stalk on the interior of the leek. Thus, to prepare the leek, cut off the dark green sections leaf by leaf, working your way towards the center of the stalk. You'll discover 2-3" more of the light green as you work your way inside. To clean the leek, cut it lengthwise from just above the root end all the way up through the top, making sure to keep the root end in tact. Turn the leek a quarter turn, then repeat. You'll end up with four long sections of leek still joined together at the root. Now, swish the leek around in a tub or bowl of cold water, keeping the root end higher than the stem, so that the dirt flows out the "top" of the leek. Once thoroughly rinsed, cut the leek for your recipe as desired. To store, loosely wrap unwashed leeks in a plastic bag and keep in your crisper drawer.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Last week I went to pick up the bacon at Vermont Smoke and Cure in South Barre. That was the easy part. For several weeks we went round and round here at Pete's, back and forth with Chris Bailey at VT Smoke and Cure, about what ingredients would be acceptable. The pork used for this bacon is 100% Vermont raised. The cure brine is made with celery juice and seasonings, including a minute amount of sugar. What we decided was that the source of the pork was the most important, and that they make it without a nitrate brine sealed the deal. There is other locally raised pork bacon out there, but many are processed with nitrates. This bacon is my family's favorite, after having tried many nitrate free, all natural, local bacons.

The Vermont Smoke and Cure facility is wedged into the back of a convenience store gas station! To say the quarters are tight would be a gross understatement. The entry way is a long hallway stacked with flat shipping cartons and a couple of shelves of product labels, amongst other packing and shipping necessities. Part way down the hall is an alcove with a desk. At the end there is an actual office, plus another desk/computer station. Behind a big commercial cooler door is where the real production happens. I watched them making summer sausage from a pork beef blend. They had huge tubs of the filling that went into the top hopper of a machine that filled casings. While one guy was operating this, another woman was removing the sausages in a rope of 6 and hanging them on a rack. The summer sausages contain nitrates to be shelf stable. They are cooked after fermenting a few days. They have 2 production rooms, one for raw products and another for cooked. What impressed me was how only 9 employees make all of their products, in a very labor-intensive operation.

Even more impressive is how they do it in such tight quarters. They have a cooler and freestanding freezer on-site. Two more freezers are located off-site, with a third to be ready shortly. They are seeking investors to help them relocate.

Chris also told me about their pork sources. They used to buy whole pigs, but then had to find a market for the fresh pork that they couldn't use. Now all of the whole pigs go through Black River Produce. Vermont Smoke and Cure buys all the parts for bacon and sausage. Black River has restaurant and retail customers for the fresh pork. Several Vermont farmers and slaughterhouses are involved in the process. It sounds a bit complicated, but Chris is pleased with the arrangement. I hope you'll be pleased with the bacon!

We are glad to be back in the bread business again! Pete was feeling like the share was incomplete without it. I asked Andrew and Blair at Elmore Mt bead if they could work out a 50% local flour bread for us. They were glad for the opportunity and the challenge. This week you can enjoy the results. A couple of weeks ago they visited Ben Gleason to buy flour. Andrew says they learned a lot about wheat farming and milling:

"So, it was really neat to see Ben's operation last week. He brought us throughout the whole operation, starting with a walk through the wheat fields, to the place where the wheat berries are stored, to the millhouse where he explained the complete milling process. He shared with us his history, his mission and tons of information ranging from his farming practices to his philosophy on sustainability. We're really looking forward to working with his product and have a bunch of ideas to work on for the future bakes. It was huge for us to see the process from start to finish and has provided us with a new appreciation for the other half of making bread."

Also in the localvore share are plums from Champlain Orchards. Bill and I both had our reservations about the plum delivery last time. I messed up on the delivery and we ended up with no plums here in Craftsbury. I saw Bill at the Vermont Fresh Network dinner last weekend. He told me the plums were even better the following week as they ripened. The later pickings were sweeter, fuller and juicier than what he shipped for Good Eats. He wanted another chance to send out the really excellent plums. The plum trees are about nine years old, and this is the first year to yield. He said the trees are over-planted and, therefore, a bit crowded. He's not sure how much bigger they can grow. Bill says it's a matter of trying new things and learning as you go. He thinks perhaps they will have bumper crops every other year.

Recipes
Based on the answers I received to last week's questions, it seems that some of you still have onions that you would like to use up. Thus, the first two recipes call for a good amount of onions, the second two call for the leeks in this week's share.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage and Fennel
Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serves 10.

2 TB bacon fat or butter (1/4 stick)
4 cups thinly sliced onions
1 2 1/2-pound head red cabbage, cored, thinly sliced
1 pound fennel bulb, cored, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable or beef broth
6 TB balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple sugar or maple syrup

Melt butter or bacon fat in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add cabbage and fennel, sprinkle with salt, and toss to combine. Saute, tossing occasionally, until cabbage begins to wilt. Add remaining ingredients except fennel fronds. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30-35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and chill. Rewarm over medium-low heat.) Transfer to bowl. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds and serve.

Bacon and Goat Cheese Free-Form Tart
This is one of my favorite recipes from Cooking with Shelburne Farms. One could call it "onion and goat cheese tart," however, as it calls for a lot of onions and is also delicious made without the bacon. Or, try adding sliced fennel while cooking down the onions. Though the recipe calls for all-purpose flour, you could substitute 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour in the crust. Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as an appetizer.

For the crust:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
½ tsp coarse salt
3 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into 4 chunks
2-3 TB ice water
milk to brush the crust

For the filling:
½ pound bacon
1 TB olive oil
2 pounds (about 4 large) onions, thinly sliced
½ tsp coarse salt
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
¾ cup (3-4 ounces) crumbled fresh goat cheese

To make the crust, cut the butter into small cubes and freeze for at least 15 minutes. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, blend the flour, cornmeal and salt. Add the cream cheese and process for about 20 seconds, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until no butter is larger than the size of a pea. Add the ice water and process for about 30 seconds, or until a pinch of the dough holds together. If it doesn’t, add more water, a teaspoon at a time. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead just until it holds together in one piece. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, cook the bacon in a sauté pan or skillet until it is about halfway cooked. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Put the pan with the remaining bacon fat (or 2 tablespoons of butter, if you are skipping the bacon), over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then the sliced onions and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onions slowly, stirring occasionally, until they are deep golden brown and caramelized, 35-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F with a rack in the second-lowest position. On a nonstick baking mat or piece of parchment paper, roll the chilled dough into a rough circle about 1/8 inch thick and 14-16 inches in diameter. (The edges do not have to be smooth and neat.) Lift the baking mat with the crust onto a cookie sheet. Spread the caramelized onions over the crust, leaving a ½-inch border around the edge. Coarsely chop the bacon and sprinkle it evenly over the onions, followed by the thyme leaves, and finally the goat cheese. Fold the edges of the crust in over the filling, pleating the edges as necessary. Brush the crust with milk. Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Savory Corn Cakes
Excellent with a tomatillo or pico de gallo salsa. Grate a little cheese on top while still warm, if you'd like. Serves 4.

1 TB oil
1 cup thinly sliced leeks
3 cups fresh corn kernels, about 3 ears worth
1 jalapeño, minced, to taste
salt to taste
1 TB lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
oil for cooking

Saute leeks, corn and chilies in oil with a sprinkling of salt for about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and set aside. Whisk together eggs and yogurt. Blend together dry ingredients. Add corn mixture to the eggs and then fold in the dry ingredients.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium high heat. Spoon batter making 3" rounds. Cook until golden on both sides, flipping once, about 7 minutes total.

Tomato Toasts with Bacon & Blue Cheese
For the bacon eaters, an over-the-top BLT! Serve with mesclun on the side. Serves 6.

4 slices bacon
6 slices bread
6 TB oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup minced leek
3 TB vinegar (sherry is nice here)
3 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/2" thick rounds
30 small basil leaves
1 1/2 oz crumbled blue cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towel to drain. Crumble when cool. Reserve bacon fat. Grill bread slices 3 at a time in same skillet, turning once, until golden brown. Add a bit of oil as needed. Remove to a cooling rack, season with salt and pepper.

For dressing heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and 3 tablespoons oil in small heavy saucepan. Add leeks and cook about 2 minutes, until soft. Whisk in vinegar and salt and pepper until well combined. Cover and keep warm.

Arrange toasts on a platter or individual plates. Layer tomatoes, blue cheese, basil and bacon, ending with a sprinkling of blue cheese on top. Spoon warm dressing over it all and season with fresh ground black pepper.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - August 6, 2008

Farm Update
We are finally having a good day at the farm, that is, a day without rain. Hopefully, the weather will hold for a while longer. The farm has definitely suffered over the past rainy weeks. The crew picked 200 bunches of Thumbelina carrots for good eats yesterday, only to discover upon washing that they were spotted with rot. They're picking garlic today and some of it has been found to be rotten as well. The greens are coming back in good shape, however. The cucumbers, eggplant, kale and chard are also holding their own. If the rain lets off soon, we'll be ok.

Pickles and Onions
We've got another couple of questions for you this week. First, for the localvores, we would like to know how you liked the pickles? Did you enjoy them in your share? Would you be glad to have them again?

Also, we know that we've been giving out a lot of onions lately. During our Spring Share, our members were always asking for more onions. Are you happy getting them in your share almost every week?

July 21 Gubernatorial Debate
On Sunday, July 21st, the three major candidates for Vermont Governor met at Lareau Farm for a debate focused on our environment and agriculture. The event was jointly sponsored by the VNRC (Vermont Natural Resource Council), the Mad River Valley Localvore Project and American Flatbread. Though I was unable to make it to Lareau that night, I have been able to find the audio on the Web. The debate covered some very important issues that are not often included in the statewide debates. So, when you have an hour or so, grab a cup of tea and listen to what the candidates have to say about the future of the environment, food and farming in the Green Mountain State. Note, the first 10 minutes or so are introductions.

This Week's Share Contains
Corn on the Cob; Mesclun; Celery; Mix of Purple and/or Green Snap Beans; Cauliflower -or- Broccoli; Green Garlic; Alisa Craig -or- Walla Walla Onions; Beefsteak Tomatoes; Zucchini -or- Eggplant -or- Green Peppers.

Localvore Share:
Shitakes; Tempeh; Feta Cheese

Storage and Use Tips
Snap Beans: Though in the same family as dry beans, snaps trade starch and protein for more vitamins A and C. Snap beans are also known as string beans. Up until American botanists figured out how to breed out the tough string that ran along the sides, one always had to remove the "strings" when preparing beans. You may find purple and/or green snaps in your bag this week. Both taste just about the same. And, if you cook the purples thoroughly, they will turn green as well. Refrigerate beans unwashed in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Snap or snip off ends of beans before cooking.
Celery: Wrap unwashed celery tightly in a plastic bag and store in the coldest part of your refrigerator. To maintain really crisp celery, store as you would basil or parsley. That is, place it upright in a glass of water in your fridge and cover loosely with a plastic bag.
Corn: It's always so exciting to receive those first few ears of corn. Corn is at its sweetest when first picked. If you can fit it in your menu, use it tonight! Otherwise, wrap your corn, with their husks still on, in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Eat it as soon as possible!

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Bonnieview Farm is hosting another elegant dinner at the farm at 5:30pm on Saturday, August 23. The guest chef will be Jeff Egan, formerly of the Cliff house in Stowe. They already have 18 of the 30 seats reserved, so contact them soon if you’d like to attend. Kristen said they had 26 guests for the first dinner. The food was wonderful and they had a great time hosting! Once again the menu will feature cheese, lamb, whey-fed pork, eggs, ewe’s milk and produce from Bonnieview farm, in addition to produce and cheeses from other area farms. Call the farm at 755-6878 for more information and reservations.

If you are unable to attend the farm dinner, not to worry, you can meet Neil and Kristen, along with daughter Tressa, at a farmer’s market. They are at the Common Market in Craftsbury Common on Saturdays from 10-1 and the Stowe market from 10-3 on Sundays. They sell lamb, eggs, whey-fed pork, wool, sheepskins, and of course cheese. Coomersdale, Ben Nevis and Mossend Blue, their aged raw milk cheeses, are now ready. In Stowe, they bring along a grill and serve up grilled lamb and lamb sausage. 'So good.

I just came back from an outing/localvore acquisitions trip to Montpelier and Barre to pick up Tempeh and Bacon for the share. This week you’ll be receiving organic, locally grown and made Tempeh from Rhapsody in Montpelier. Nancy gave me the tip about this product when we were brainstorming ideas for vegetarian protein. Rhapsody is a lovely little vegan café next door to the Savoy Theater. The food is all served as a buffet, and yet the seating and atmosphere make it anything but fast food or cafeteria. They make a number of different sushi rolls, a wide selection of hot entrees, numerous salads, plus cookies, cakes, smoothies and more. Not to worry, they are not too strict and also sell chocolate, coffee, and other indulgences. Committed to preparing and selling organic, local, and vegan whole food, they do not use eggs, dairy, meat, refined sugar or flours in their cooking. They do have their own garden that supplies greens and more for the restaurant. And that’s just the café!

I called and spoke with Oliver about the tempeh a couple of weeks ago. They make it every day, so supplying us with 10 cases was easy. The soybeans are Vermont grown. If you’ve never had tempeh before, try the marinated grilled tempeh recipe below. Tempeh has a good texture and more flavor than tofu, but still absorbs flavors from marinades. You can also try it with barbeque sauce, or chop up the marinated pieces and use it in a burrito.

Tom Wisner of Tweed Valley Farm in Pittsfield, VT is supplying the shitake mushrooms this week. In addition to the gourmet Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms grown in our barn greenhouses, they also raise registered Shetland sheep and lambs as breeding stock. Also available is yarn, wool, humanely raised turkeys, chickens and fresh farm eggs. Here’s what their website tweedvalleyfarm.biz has to say about growing the mushrooms:

Only one section of the 8,000 square foot barn at Tweed Valley Farm is being used for the mushroom cultivation. There are presently eight 8' X 8' greenhouses situated in this specially insulated section that are being used to control the temperature, lighting, humidity and air circulation for their proper growth. The Shiitake mushrooms are being grown on sterilized logs and the Oyster mushrooms are grown in bags of sterilized medium. There is a pellet stove used for regular heating and a propane heater for when the temperatures get very low. The process takes constant monitoring of all necessary conditions to achieve maximum growth.

Recipes
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Tomatoes and Feta
Grilling the vegetables adds pizzazz to this Mediterranean-inspired salad. Approximately 4-6 servings.

1 lb. snap beans, ends removed
1/2 a sweet onion, sliced thin
1 small zucchini or eggplant sliced crosswise or 1 large green pepper sliced into 1/2" thick wedges
2 TB sunflower or olive oil
1 large tomato, seeds removed, cut in 1" dice
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 TB toasted pine nuts

3 TB red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove mashed to a paste with kosher salt
salt and pepper to taste
6 TB sunflower or olive oil

Preheat barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Shock beans by placing in a large bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry with a dishtowel. Toss beans and eggplant, pepper or zucchini in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill or broil oiled vegetables until beginning to brown, turning frequently, 2-5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Add onions and tomatoes. Make dressing by combining the vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Then whisk in oil. Toss vegetables with dressing, adjust seasonings and sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve at room temperature.

Mediterranean Orzo
The combination of feta, lamb and tomato is classic. If you are not a lamb-eater, try throwing in some mushrooms, kalamata olives and pine nuts instead. Serves 4.

1 lb. ground lamb, crumbled, or good lamb sausage sliced into half-rounds
2 TB olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 head broccoli or cauliflower separated into small florets
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 TB chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1 large tomato chopped
3/4 lb orzo
6 oz feta cheese crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Cook lamb in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Reserve the cooked lamb and drain the skillet. Heat the oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, saute for one minute, then add garlic. Saute onion for another minute or two, then add the broccoli or cauliflower, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Add the chicken stock and oregano. Bring to simmer, reduce heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the orzo to the pot of boiling water and cook according to packaged directions. Add the cooked lamb and chopped tomato to the skillet and simmer one more minute. Drain the orzo reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the orzo with the lamb and vegetables, adding reserved pasta water if necessary. Toss in the feta. Serve warm.

Summer Vegetable Ragu
This is how Heather prepares summer’s bounty of vegetables. It's something like ratatouille, but you can use any vegetables you have on hand. It’s great served with pasta, polenta, or rice, with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta. It also makes a yummy, if juicy, sandwich in a baguette! Serves 4-6.

4 cups or more of uniformly cut vegetables, such as beans, zukes, cauliflower, peppers, eggplant, and/or summer squash
½ cup chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB oil
3 tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)
¼ cup minced fresh herbs, basil/mint/oregano
Salt & pepper

Heat oil in a deep wide sauté pan and cook garlic and onion until soft, fragrant and beginning to brown. Add vegetables, except tomatoes. Season with salt & pepper and sauté until nearly tender, with some brown flecks. Add tomatoes and herbs. Simmer gently until the tomatoes are saucy and the vegetables are cooked to your liking.

Maple Grilled Tempeh Recipe
From the 101cookbooks blog by Heidi Swanson. A grill tray makes this easy to cook without losing all the little pieces into the fire. Serves 2-4.

8 ounces tempeh
3 TB soy sauce (Heather prefers shoyu sauce)
3 TB maple syrup
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped
1/2 tsp powdered chipotle (or a couple pinches of cayenne)
½ cup sliced shitake mushrooms
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa or brown rice or grain of your choice
a generous handful of green beans

Garnish: fresh herbs of your choice, crumbled feta cheese

Cut the tempeh diagonally into 4 triangles. If possible, thin those triangles out by slicing each in half horizontally - 8 triangles total. Set the tempeh aside while you make the maple marinade by combining the soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, garlic, and chipotle powder in a small bowl. Reserve a few tablespoons of the marinade to use later as a drizzle.

Place the pieces of tempeh and mushrooms in a large baking dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the tempeh. Make sure the tops and bottoms of tempeh are coated and marinate for anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 days, flipping occasionally. Toss in the beans to coat with marinade just before grilling.

Grill the tempeh, mushrooms and beans on a medium hot grill for a few minutes brushing all the while with the marinade remaining in the bottom of the baking dish. When the tempeh is a toasted, deep, maple-y, golden brown remove and serve over a bed of warmed quinoa (or rice). Drizzle with the reserved marinade.

Creamy Feta Dressing
If this recipe looks familiar, it's because it originally appeared in our May 21, newsletter. It's one of Heather's favorites, so we're including it again for those who weren't in our Spring Share. If you have fresh mint in the garden, use some here. Makes about 1 cup.

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

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 refrigerator.