Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - September 3, 2008

Farm Share & Our Fall - Winter Share
As we mentioned last week, we have begun enrollment for the Fall - Winter Share. This week sign-ups are still reserved for current shareholders. Beginning next week we will also accept new and returning shareholders.

When you fill out the form, you will notice a spot for a Farm Share donation. This program assists limited-income Vermonters in obtaining fresh, local produce directly from family farms. In partnership with NOFA VT, we will be offering subsidized CSA shares to qualifying individuals and families within our delivery area. If you know of someone who may be in need of this program, please encourage them to checkout NOFA's Website, as well as ours.

Farm Share relies on donations from CSA members to help fund those who might not otherwise be able to afford a CSA share. This summer's share period was our first time participating in the program, and through the generosity of our shareholders, we were able to provide subsidized shares to many deserving families. Please consider making a donation to the program when you fill out your Fall - Winter application. To find out more about Farm Share and Pete's Greens participation, please visit our Farm Share page. To find out more about qualifying for a partially subsidized Pete's Greens CSA farm share, please visit the NOFA Vermont Website.

Meditations of a Localvore Mother
When you raise children, small accomplishments can sometimes seem like huge victories. I (Nancy) have three boys; twins, Lucas and Jonathan, who will be 10 this month and an 11-year old, Matthew. They operate somewhat like a pack. They follow the leader, who is usually the 11-year old. In his preteens, our eldest is not usually leading the cheer for localvore food.

The other night I came home from the farm with a really beautiful bunch of green kale. In a hurry, like most working mothers, I did a quick saute to prepare it as a side. Though the 11-year old had to be prodded to take enough for a small pile of green on his plate, the younger two willingly took plenty. After tasting the greens, Luc offered, "Mmmm, yummy kale." About half way through the meal, Jon asked if he could have more; took a bit; then exclaimed, "This kale is really good!" Matthew said he didn't even mind the pieces of beet he saw in the spring rolls, cause they were good too.

A small accomplishment? For a mother, this is a huge victory!

Do I feel like I've turned the corner? Is it smooth, localvore sailing from here? Naw.

The next time I serve kale, I am more likely to hear groans of displeasure instead of squeals of delight. However, it does give a mother hope that all of the persistence to get her kids to eat good food is not a futile effort. That the appreciation for fresh, local, organic vegetables is beginning to develop. And, with a little luck, the localvore values that we try to teach our boys day-in and day-out are taking root.

Farm Update
The farm continues to bask in the warm, sunny weather, perfect for drying onions. Our greens have now made a full comeback. And, all this solar energy is great for ripening the tomatoes. The farm is doing so well in fact, that Pete and Meg felt comfortable enough to fly out to California. Their plan was to start in San Francisco over the weekend. Serendipitously, they were there at the same time as Slow Food Nation, billed as "the largest celebration of American food in history." After San Fran, they were riding their bikes down the coast to see their friends, Todd and Jordan, at Happy Girl Kitchen. Todd and Jordan were going to schedule some farm tours in the area for Pete and Meg as well. So far everything here has been humming along without incident in their absence. They work so hard. We hope that they come back refreshed and renewed after their week in California.

This Week's Share Contains
Beefsteak Tomatoes with One or Two Heirlooms Mixed In; Tomatillos; Ailsa Craig Sweet Onions; Sugarsnax Carrots; Bulb Garlic; Bunch Bright Lights Chard or Green Kale; Bunch Leeks; Mesclun.

Localvore Share:
Four Corners Farm Raspberries; Oyster Mushrooms; Pete's Eggs;

Storage and Use Tips
Tomatillos: From A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen: "A tomatillo is a Mexican fruit similar to a tomato that remains firm and green when ripe. Tomatillos grow inside lantern-shaped paper husks, which must be removed. Wash the tomatillos well to remove the sticky substance that keeps the husks in place. Because they are quite acidic, tomatillos are rarely used raw. Roast them to rid them of excess liquid and soften their texture. Roasted with some fresh chiles, they can be turned into a quick salsa in the blender. Tomatillos exude a lot of liquid and seeds as they roast. Scrape all the flavorful juices into the blender."

For a decadent breakfast, try frying thick slices of tomatillos alongside a couple of eggs and serve with bacon. The acid of the tomatillos makes a nice foil for the richness of the protein. Store tomatillos in their husks in a paper bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
So it's been an interesting day getting together these three simple items! I started out by going over to the farm to see if eggs had been packed while I was away. The crew was super busy this weekend and didn't get to them. I brought the eggs over to my house and spent a lovely afternoon washing and boxing eggs. Nancy came over after lunch to find out if I knew about the raspberry and mushroom deliveries because they had not come on the Black River truck as expected. It turned out that Tom decided to deliver the oyster mushrooms himself, so that was ok. The berries were a mystery, as Pete had ordered them and he's out of town. Nancy called Four Corners and they said the driver was on his way to deliver. Whew! For a while there I was nervous, but it did all work out. Enjoy the bounty of this share. I'll be busy getting together the next localvore goodies, hopefully without a hitch.

Garlicky Mushroom Quesadillas with Tomatillo Chile Salsa
This recipe is adapted from the aforementioned "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen," by Jack Bishop. Serves 3-4.

Tomatillo-Chile Salsa
1 pint tomatillos, husked and washed
2-3 medium jalapenos
2 TB chopped fresh cilantro leaves

4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz oyster mushrooms, thickly sliced
salt to taste
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground black pepper
6 8-inch flour tortillas
4 ounces goat cheese

Preheat oven to 450F. Roast the whole tomatillos and chiles in a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven, turning the veggies once, until lightly browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly and transfer the tomatillos to a food processor. Cut off the stems of the chiles and add, (seeds and all, for extra heat), to the food processor. Pulse just until combined and still chunky. Scrape the salsa into a bowl and stir in the cilantro and salt to taste.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned lightly, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper to taste and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Set the mushroom mixture aside.

Lay 3 tortillas flat on a work surface. Sprinkle goat cheese on top, leaving a 1/2" border around the edges. Divide the mushroom mixture evenly among the tortillas. Top with the remaining tortillas. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the first quesadilla and cook, turning once, until the tortillas are golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with the remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into quarters. Spoon some salsa into the middle of each quesadilla. Serve the remaining salsa on the side.

Sauteed Greens with Tomato and Chickpeas
This is one of my favorite ways to make chard and/or kale. The chickpeas make it a little heartier, ideal as a side for grilled fish or chicken. Serves 4.

2 TB sunflower oil or bacon fat
1 leek washed and sliced thin
1 bunch chard or kale, washed and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup pre-cooked chickpeas
squeeze of lemon or lime juice

* If using chard, chop stems separately. Add the stems to the skillet about 2 minutes before the greens.

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add greens, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cook uncovered for 2 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add tomato and chickpeas and toss to combine. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add the squeeze of citrus and serve immediately.

Black Bean and Roasted Tomato Soup
This soup stretches a few tomatoes into an easy and flavorful meal. Adapted from Serves 4.

1 lb. tomatoes, seeded and quartered
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, cut into thin wedges
1 medium carrot, peeled, quartered
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried
2 cups (or more) vegetable or chicken broth
3 1/4 cups cooked black beans
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine tomatoes, onion and carrot in large roasting pan. Add garlic, oil and oregano and stir to coat vegetables. Roast until vegetables are brown and tender, stirring occasionally, about 55 minutes. Cut carrot into small cubes and set aside. Transfer remaining vegetables to processor. Add 2 cups broth to roasting pan and scrape up any browned bits. Add broth and 2 1/4 cups beans to processor. Puree vegetable mixture until almost smooth.

Transfer soup to heavy large saucepan. Add remaining 1 cup beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors blend, adding more broth if soup is too thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in carrot. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm before continuing.) Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with dollop of yogurt.

Buttermilk Raspberry Pancakes
If you can keep yourself from eating the raspberries right away, try making these for breakfast. They are one of summer's most wonderful treats. Serves 4.

2 cups whole milk
1 TB cider vinegar
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup maple sugar (you can use maple syrup, but cut back 2 TB on the milk)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Additional butter for greasing griddle
1 pint raspberries

Mix the vinegar into the milk and set aside for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the milk/vinegar mixture, yogurt, eggs and butter. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until only a few small lumps remain, being careful to not over mix.

On a griddle or pan preheated over medium heat, melt butter. Ladle pancake batter onto griddle (about 1/3 cup batter for each pancake), then immediately sprinkle each pancake with about 5 - 6 raspberries. Cook until bottom of pancake is lightly browned and bubbles have formed on the tops. Flip and cook until bottoms are golden. Serve warm with more yogurt and fresh raspberries or strawberry sauce.

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