Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - October 29, 2008

Important - Chicken vs. Cheese & Tofu
This share is the first that will have different items for vegetarians and carnivores. Please make sure you take only the items your are signed up for. Your name is listed under your share type on the check-off list at the site. On Wednesday, all vegetarians will be receiving a piece of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar cheese and 2 pieces of Vermont Soy Tofu. Carnivores will get a Pete's chicken. We have only distributed enough of each item at sites for that many vegetarians and carnivores. Thus, if you take an item you are not signed up for, somebody else will come up short. Thank you for collecting items carefully!

This Week's Share Contains
Kohlrabi; Sugarsnax Carrots; Bunch Leeks; Daikon Radish; Savoy Cabbage; Red Kuri Squash; Delicata Squash; Red Mars Onions; Bunch Bright Lights Chard; Bunch Bull's Blood Beet Greens; Bunch Cilantro; Butterworks Farm Plain Yogurt; Champlain Orchards Liberty Apples;
Carnivore Shares: 1 Pete's Chicken
Vegetarian Shares: 2 Vermont Soy Tofu; 1 Cabot Clothbound Cheddar





Storage and Use Tips
Kohlrabi - Yet another member of the brassicas family, kohlrabi is often misidentified as a root vegetable. But, it's actually the bulbous stem of the plant that you'll find in your bag. Kohlrabi, which comes in green and purple varieties, can be eaten raw dipped in dressing, or tossed in a salad. It is also very tasty sauteed, braised or included in a casserole or soup. You can even substitute it for celeriac in the kimchi recipe below. However you decide to prepare your kohlrabi, be sure to peel off the tough outer layer before cooking or eating. Store kohlrabi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer, where it should stay fresh for a couple of weeks.
Daikon Radish - Also known as Japanese or Chinese radish, daikon is milder than the ubiquitous pink American radish. Daikon is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, making appearances from Eastern Europe to Korea. Wikipedia lists daikon as an important part of Japanese cuisine. Raw daikon may be served in salads, as a garnish for dishes such as sashimi, or marinated in vinegar. Grated raw daikon is a popular garnish for grilled fish and in dipping sauces. Cooked daikon is often served as an ingredient in miso soup or in stews such as oden. In some areas of Japan it is stewed with squid or octopus, and the enzyme papain contained in the daikon tenderizes the shellfish. Daikons will stay fresh more than a week loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer.




Beet Greens - While we love all beet greens, the Bull's Blood variety included in your share this week are particularly beautiful. They are tender enough to chop fine and use as an autumn salad green. Or, if you still have some of the ricotta cheese from last week, try this pasta recipe recommended by fellow-shareholder Erika Bruner. She used turnip greens, but I am sure it would be beautiful and delicious with either the Bull's Blood beet greens and/or the bright lights chard in this week's share. Make sure to give your bunched greens a good soak in cold water, then lift them out of the water to leave any remaining grit behind. Remove the greens from any thick stems and baby beets, which can be chopped separately and added to the pan a few minutes before the greens. Store greens loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.




Farm Update
Pete and the crew are very happy to be almost done with the root harvest. They've been working hard at bringing in the root crops for the past several weeks. This year, we were lucky to find Aaron Locker, from Waitsfield, to manage our root harvest. Aaron is an accomplished farmer in his own right, having worked many years on New York State organic farms. He brought his depth of experience and hard work ethic to the farm for the month of October to get our root crops in. Instead of making the commute from the Valley each day, he stayed across the street at Tim's house and put in long hours at the farm.

At this point, most of our roots are in, including potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, etc. The crew harvested about 175,000 pounds this year, short of what we would have expected had we not had all the rain in July and August. We only have some leeks, parsnips and kohlrabi remaining in the fields. As you can see from the photos on the right, the weather has actually changed substantially during the harvest period. These shots were only taken two weeks ago!

The root harvest is a multi-stage process. First, Aaron makes a first pass over a row with the tractor, to bush hog any greens that are still remaining. The second pass with the tractor involves pulling a bed lifter under the roots to loosen and lift them in the soil. At this point the roots are nice and loose near the top. It's still a tedious job, though, to follow the tractor with the storage bags, bending over to sift through the dirt and gather up all of those vegetables. We really appreciate the hard work of Aaron, Ryan, George and our amigas to get that massive crop harvested and into storage to feed us all winter.

Also very exciting, we are actually going to move the first 35 by 200 ft moveable greenhouses today (we think). All the equipment is ready, so we'll see if it works. If the weather cooperates, we'll cover one or more of them with plastic tomorrow.

Edible Green Mountains Part 2
Last week, we managed to get the magazines out to most of you. If you pick-up at Laughing Moon, Concept2, Hen of the Wood or here at Pete's Greens, however, look for them this week.

Michael Pollan on Fresh Air
A couple of weeks back, I wrote about the recent New York Times Sunday Magazine devoted to food and food issues. In it, Michael Pollan made a case for a comprehensive, sustainable food policy in an open letter to the next president. Last week, Teri Gross had Mr. Pollan on her show to talk about that letter. During the interview, they covered everything from the farm bill, to bio-fuels to a white house vegetable garden. You can stream it here.

Localvore 'Lore
We have a very rich localvore share for you this week, capped off with our own farm's chickens for meat eaters and Cabot clothbound cheddar and Vermont Soy tofu for vegetarians.

This week we'll be giving out chickens to the CSA for the final time this growing season. We are proud of the quality of our birds and hope you enjoy them, whether you are roasting yours whole or cutting it up for other uses. If you roast the bird, trying salvaging all the bones and leftover skin. Added to some onions and carrots from the share, and perhaps a spare parsley stem from last week, you can create a rich stock for another meal.

I was able to swing by Greensboro and Jasper Hill on the way to the farm yesterday to pick-up the award-winning cheddar for the vegetarian share. The clothbound cheddar is a joint project between Cabot and Jasper Hill. While Cabot has taken the reigns on the cultures and process to make the cheese, Jasper Hill is doing the aging.

I followed Andy into their new aging caves to retrieve the prized cheese from one of the storage rooms. It is really as high-tech and as controlled an environment in the cellar as you may have read. Just to enter to grab the box, we had to leave our street shoes behind, scrub our hands and cover our hair in those fashionable nets. I am sure when you vegetarians taste the cheese, however, you will agree that all of their precautions to maintain the environment is worth it.

We had originally hoped to distribute the clothbound cheddar to all the shareholders this period, but were unable to secure enough from Jasper Hill. We decided to get as much as we were able, which covered the vegetarians. We will include another goat's milk cheese aged in the Jasper Hill cellars later in the share for all the shareholders and are working on reserving enough cheddar for all next share period.

Also in this share, we have yogurt from Butterworks Farm. We are trying something a little different this week. Usually, we have a selection of flavored and non-flavored yogurt at each site to distribute. Your breadth of selection depended on how early you arrived during the pick-up cycle. This week we are sticking to plain yogurt; half non-fat and half whole milk. Again, there will be a mix at each location. The thinking behind this shift is that the plains can all be used in sweet and savory recipes, as well as flavored to your liking for eating straightaway. Please let me know how you like the new selection, or if you miss the flavors.

I had the pleasure of sitting across from Jack and Anne Lazor from Butterworks Farm last month at a local foods dinner. During the evening, Jack shared with us some of the adjustments he's made lately to the cultures he uses to make the yogurt. Thinking that you might be interested, I asked him if we could talk about the adventure in the newsletter. Jack generously wrote up the following:


Aaron goes down the row with the bed lifter.




George harvests potatoes.




Ryan stretches before picking up more beets.


Full bags wait to be picked up and put in the truck.

Cultural History of Butterworks Farm
We got our first small packet of "acidophilus yogurt" culture shortly after we got our first family cow in May of 1975. It came from Chr. Hansen of Milwaukee and contained the three basic yogurt cultures l. acidophilus, l.bulgaricus, and s. thermophilus. The culture had the right combination of tartness and mildness. We used this product to make yogurt for our door to door customers in the late 70's and early 80's. When we started our commercial production in 1984, we continued using this "three-way" yogurt starter. Aside from a brief experiment adding bifidus in the late 80's, we have continued to use this basic culture until a year ago, when Hansen's informed us they were discontinuing it.

We were told that the trend in the industry was to milder flavors and more cultures. Probiotics like l. reteuri and added fiber in the form of inulin were becoming quite popular in the larger, national brands. We decided long ago that we preferred our simpler basic three-way yogurt culture. We started looking for a new culture about a year and a half ago. We now had to buy the acidophilus separate from the thermophilus and the bulgaricus. So we made a batch with the two starters and it was way too tangy. We called the tech info line and discovered that the two way cultures (thermophilus and bulgaricus) had different flavor profiles and that maybe we needed a milder one. So we tried the milder, less acid producing starter for a while in our yogurts. After several weeks the customer feedback began reaching us that our yogurt had less flavor. Now we were in a predicament. What to do? I ordered some of the tangier two-way culture and mixed it with its milder relative along with the acidophilus and began using it for our starter. We like it better and so do many of our discerning customers. I hope we don't have to go through this again. This is a good example of how dependent we are on big companies for some of the small details.
#####

Also in the share today, we have liberty apples from Champlain Orchards. Bill Suhr, Champlain Orchard's inspired owner, suggested that we include this variety in our share as they are both a delicious eating apple and great for cooking. If you cook the apples with their skins on, you can also make a beautiful pink-hued apple sauce.

Recipes
Curried Squash Soup
This recipe is adapted from one of my all time favorite cookbooks, The Silver Palate Cookbook. Considered "the new Joy of Cooking" when I got married 16 years ago, its recipes have stood the test of time. This particular soup is one of my favorites and must be made at least once each and every autumn when squash is abundant. Makes 4-6 servings.

4 TB sweet butter
2 cups finely chopped onions
4-5 tsp curry powder
3 lbs. orange-fleshed winter squash, like butternut or red kuri
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup apple cider
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
plain yogurt for garnish

Melt the butter in a pot. Add chopped onions and curry powder and cook, covered, over low heat until onions are tender, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the squash, scrape out the seeds and chop the flesh. When onions are tender, pour in the stock, add squash and apples, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until squash and apples are very tender, about 25 minutes. Pour the soup through a strainer, reserving liquid, and transfer the solids to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, or use a food mill fitted with a medium disc*. Add 1 cup of the cooking stock and process until smooth. Return pureed soup to the pot and add apple cider and additional cooking liquid, about 2 cups, until the soup is of the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper, simmer briefly to heat through and serve immediately, garnished with yogurt.

*I normally use an immersion blender and puree the soup right in the pot, eliminating the straining step. I then add the apple cider to the desired consistency.

Pink Applesauce
This applesauce is very easy and makes a beautiful presentation. Serves 8.

3 lbs. Liberty apples, quartered and cored
2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine apples and lemon juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, 15 to 30 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the medium disk. Stir in cinnamon and salt. Use immediately, or store, refrigerated, in a covered container for up to 1 week.

Greens with Yogurt
This recipe comes from a Culinate.com article that appeared in July. Though all the recipes in the article looked good, this one really caught my eye. Try marinating some tofu with olive oil, lemon and garlic and sauteing along with the greens. To make Greek-style yogurt out of the Butterworks, spoon yogurt into a strainer lined with a coffee filter. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and refrigerate for 2 hours. The whey will drain out, leaving a yogurt cheese that comes close to a Greek yogurt.

1 lb. beet greens or chard, trimmed and washed
1 1/2 TB olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 TB unsalted butter
1 small red onion, chopped, approximately 1 cup
salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water generously and boil the greens until tender. Drain and shock the greens in ice water, then drain again. Pound the garlic to a paste in a mortar. Add the lemon juice and let sit 5 minutes. Stir in the yogurt.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the greens and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and transfer to a serving platter; set skillet aside. Spoon the yogurt like a sauce over the hot greens. Heat the butter in the same skillet and cook the onions over high heat, stirring, until brown and crisp at the edges. Season with salt and spoon the onions over the yogurt.

Chicken in Yogurt Sauce (Murgh Khorma)
Adapted from Lite and Luscious Cuisine of India, this chicken dish would pair well with the Indian Cabbage and Carrot Salad recipe in the July 30th newsletter. (You'll have to scroll down in the newsletter to find it.) Serves 6.

1 3 lbs. chicken
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt
2 TB sunflower or olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
1 green chili, chopped (optional)
2 TB chopped fresh cilantro

Cut the whole chicken into 8-10 pieces. Remove skin if desired. Cut 2-3 slits, 1 inch long and 1/2 inch deep, in each piece of chicken. Set aside. In a small bowl mix yogurt, chopped ginger, garlic, garam masala, cayenne pepper, coriander and salt. Pour over chicken and mix well. Heat oil in a heavy skillet. When oil is hot, add cumin seeds ad cook for a few seconds until seeds are golden brown. Add sliced onions. Fry onions until golden brown, stirring as needed. Add chicken along with the marinade and fry for 8-10 minutes. Add the water, chopped green chili and cilantro and stir well. Cover with a lid and reduce heat. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve immediately over brown rice.

Kimchi
If you didn't grab an Edible Green Mountains, here's the kimchi recipe from the fall edition. There's lots more explanation in the magazine, though. Makes 2 quarts.

3 hot chili peppers, such as Thai bird, serrano or jalapeño, or more to taste
4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped, or more to taste
6 garlic cloves, chopped, or more to taste
2 pounds Napa, Savoy or green cabbage, center core removed and very thinly sliced
1 daikon radish or 2 to 3 black Spanish radishes, thinly sliced (red radishes work, too)
3 leeks, thinly sliced crosswise
4 large carrots, thinly sliced crosswise
1 celery root, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced (You can use the kohlrabi from the share!)
8 tsp fine sea salt or pickling salt

Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, make a paste of the chili peppers, ginger and garlic.

Toss together the cabbage, radish, leeks, carrots, and celery root (kohlrabi) in a large container, layering it with the salt and spicy paste. Use your hands to mix it all up, rubbing the paste into the veggies; then wash your hands immediately.

Using the blunt end of a meat hammer, rolling pin or other similar tool, pound the mixture to release the vegetable juices. You will know that you have pounded enough when you can push the veggies down with your hand and they are covered by the released brine.

Pack your vegetables into wide-mouth quart mason jars. You must really push to pack the veggies down tight, allowing the brine to rise to the top. You want the brine to rise up about 1/2 inch above the veggies to allow for some evaporation during fermentation. Find something that will hold the veggies down under the brine. Weight down with a jar filled with water.

Leave your jars on the counter out of the sun. Fermentation usually takes about a week, but you can begin testing your veggies after 3 or 4 days. If any mold forms on the brine, just scoop it out and continue fermenting. Once fermentation is complete, remove the water jar and cover, screw on the jar lid and place in your refrigerator, where it will keep at least until next summer.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - October 22, 2008

Important Share Information
Welcome to the new Fall - Winter Share! Your first pick-up is tomorrow (Wednesday). If you are unsure of your pick-up times, please visit our website's Pick-Up page. If you have any questions about your pick-up please email Nancy Baron or call 802.586.2882 x2.

When Picking Up Your Share Please:

  • Check off your share name on the pick-up list. Note that only one name is listed for the share. Be sure to look for your partner, if you don't find your name.
  • If you can't find your share name at all, do NOT take a share. Please contact Nancy right away and we'll figure it out.
  • Flip the page to find the pick-up instructions.
  • Follow the specific item list/instructions for the share you have selected to
  • assemble your share. (Vegetarian or Not)
  • When splitting your share, coordinate with your share-mate to make sure that you DON'T take double the amount of any items.
Vegetarian vs. Carnivore
You will notice that the list of share names at your pick-up site is sorted by share type. Within the greater localvore share, we have those who have requested a vegetarian option. While this week all of the share items will be the same, in future weeks, those listed with the moniker "carnivore" may receive meat or chicken broth, while the "vegetarians" receive tofu, cheese or grains. Please read the instructions carefully each week to make sure that you are getting all of your correct items. If a carnivore accidentally picks up eggs meant for a vegetarian, someone else will be disappointed down the line.

Newsletter Intro
My name is Nancy Baron and I write the Good Eats newsletter each week. It goes out every Tuesday evening with helpful information, farm updates, the week's share contents, storage and use tips, localvore information and recipes. Pete will often chime in with farm updates, thoughts and pleas for feedback. Though we do try to get the newsletter out just as early as we can, we do like to wait until the share is finalized. Sometimes there are last minute changes to the contents and we want to make sure that you've got the right information to go with your pick-up.

If, as happens occasionally, there are changes to the share that occur after the newsletter has been sent, you may receive a follow-up email Tuesday night or Wednesday. If you have any feedback on the newsletter, recipe contributions or just general questions about the CSA, feel free to email me.

We also post each newsletter on our blog at PetesGreens.Blogspot.com. It generally gets posted sometime on Wednesday. There's a good history there for recipes, farm stories and share contents.

This Week's Share Contains
Fennel; Bunch Sweet Salad Turnips; Mixed Sweet Peppers; Walla Walla (Sweet Onions); Bunch Mizuna; Green and/or Purple Pac Choi; Delicata Squash; Bunch Curley Parsley; Red Norland Potatoes; Shallots; Vermont Cranberry Company Dried Cranberries; Maplebrook Farm Ricotta Cheese; and Elmore Mountain Pain au Levain bread.

Storage and Use Tips
'Not sure of the difference between mizuna and pac choi? Check out our handy-dandy greens chart.
Pac Choi - A member of the brassicas family along with cabbage and kale, pac choi originated in China, where it has been grown for over 1500 years. It was introduced into the US during the late 19th century by Chinese immigrants. Pac Choi has a mild flavor. The leaves taste similar to Swiss chard and the stems (called ribs) are deliciously crispy and can be substituted for celery in recipes. We grow both purple and green varieties. Your bag may have one or the other, or both. Pac Choi is mild enough to be chopped up for a salad, particularly if you give it a quick wilt in a hot pan. It's also great in stir-fries. My favorite way to cook it, though, is to halve or quarter it lengthwise (depending on the size), brush it with olive or sunflower oil and throw it on the grill. Prepared this way, it makes an excellent and easy side. Store pac choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Fennel - Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet, adding a refreshing contribution to Mediterranean cuisine. In Medieval times, fennel was hung from the rafters to bring good luck, and put in keyholes to keep out ghosts and evil spirits. The plant itself is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. The fennel today got touched by the hard frost we had the other night. You will notice some translucent areas on the exterior layers. This is fine to eat. To prepare fennel, remove the stalks and fronds, and cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Remove the hard center core with a pairing knife, wash and slice in strips crosswise. Reserve the chopped fronds to sprinkle on your dish as a flavorful garnish. Store fennel loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Sweet Salad Turnips - These turnips are a raw, tasty treat. Slice them and mix in with your favorite salad greens, or dip them in dressing and eat them on their own. You can also chop the greens and mix in with other salad greens for a peppery bite. Or, serve the greens chopped and steamed or sauteed. Be sure to remove the greens and store separately from the roots. Both can be kept loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Sweet Onions - As those who were with us for the summer share already know, we had an abundant crop of sweet walla walla and ailsa craig onions this growing season. These sweet onions are not cured (dried) and should be stored in your refrigerator. They don't last as long as storage onions, so try to use them within the week. If the onions develop any soft or tan spots, just cut them out. The rest of the onion is fine to eat.

Pete's Musings
Welcome to our new share period. We hope you enjoy it!

This rainy day finds me avoiding working on the new greenhouses and instead searching for a reefer* truck online. Our current truck is 14 ft. long and last week left here with about 3 cubic ft. to spare. We are also overloading it weight-wise.

I'm looking far and wide for a cab over 20-24 ft. reefer truck that will allow us to load the truck with a pallet jack and will give Tim, our delivery driver, a lot more room to maneuver. Unfortunately, trucks like this don't really exist in Vermont and it gets pretty tricky trying to decide if it's worth flying to Delaware to look at one. Wish me luck. - Pete

*Editor's Note: "Reefer" stands for refrigerated. Our truck keeps veggies and all appropriately cooled during delivery.



















Steve works to assemble one of the new movable greenhouses last week.


Edible Green Mountains
This week we will be distributing the Vermont publication, Edible Green Mountains along with your share. It's such a pleasure to be able to make this issue available to our members. We have Deborah Schapiro, Editor and Publisher, as well as a shareholder at Adams Court, to thank for the complimentary magazines.

The fall issue is a real treat and is packed full of interesting information about the Vermont food and agricultural landscape. There's a great article on Bob Lesnikoski, better known as "Cranberry Bob," from Vermont Cranberry Company. I also had the privilege of contributing an article on fermentation to this issue, which includes a recipe for kimchi. Most of the ingredients for the fermented Korean relish, however, will be in next week's share. So, hang on to it!

I hope you enjoy reading about the chefs, growers, producers and thinkers that are affecting how we eat in Vermont. Please look for subsequent issues when you are out and about in your town. Or, fill out the subscription card included with the magazine to have it delivered directly to your mailbox quarterly.

Localvore 'Lore
This share promises to be a great season for localvore products. The farmers have new crops of grains, beans and oils that we are looking forward to including in the share, not to mention artisanal cheeses, local meats and many other interesting localvore treats. Our rule of thumb is to procure the localvore items from within 100 miles of the farm, give or take, which gets us down towards southern Vermont and up into Quebec. We may stretch the radius from time to time, if we find a desirable product that is not grown or produced within our own 100 miles.

Each new season, I find it inspiring as my favorite foods become available again. That is one of the reasons why we are so excited to provide Vermont Cranberry Company's dried cranberries for this first share. The deep color and tart flavor of cranberries are such a wonderful signal of fall. Cranberry Bob makes these dried cranberries especially for us, sweetening them entirely with maple syrup.

We really appreciate all of the effort that Bob expends to make this special batch for Good Eats, especially since he delivered them to the farm himself this morning, before heading off to catch a plane bound for Torino, Italy, where he will attend Slow Food's Terra Madre gathering.

Bob started the batch of cranberries for us a couple of weeks back. To sweeten the more than 160 pounds of dried cranberries, he used 20+ gallons of maple syrup. First the cranberries have to be crushed to release some of the juice, making them easier to dehydrate. The juice that's extracted will be pasteurized for a refreshing cranberry juice or sent to Champlain Valley Orchards to be made into cranberry apple cider. Once the berries have lost about 30% of their weight, they are ready to be put in the dehydrator. The commercial unit that they have will take about 20 hours to turn 40 lbs. of crushed fresh cranberries into 15 lbs. of dried. It took about 10 loads, or so, to make all of the cranberries for the share. Once you taste them, I'm sure you'll agree that it's worth it.

Also in this share, we have ricotta cheese from Maplebrook Farm. We love their cheeses and they have been a good partner, providing cheese for the share, since the beginning. They hand make their delicious Ricotta in small kettles, hand-dipping and packing each and every container. They are proud of the fact that their ricotta is a 100% Vermont product, helping to support small dairy farms in the state.

Finally, we have a wonderful pain au levain loaf from Elmore Mountain Bread. Blair and Andy are such a pleasure to work with. I mentioned to them that I would be including Suzanne Podhaizer's recipe for herbed ricotta stuffed meatloaf and that it would be nice to include a bread that could be used to make bread crumbs. They gladly obliged. Now, I realize that it might be hard to let any of this bread go stale. But, should you not finish the loaf in time, cut the remaining bread into 2" pieces and let it get really hard. Once all of the moisture has gone from the bread, throw the pieces into a food processor and let it run until you have fine bread crumbs. This is a great thing to do with most loaves that go stale on you, especially baguettes with their short shelf life. Do be sure to cut the bread into chunks before it gets too hard, though. Once it's completely stale, it's much more difficult to divide into processable pieces.

Recipes
Meatloaf Stuffed with Herbed Ricotta Cheese
Suzanne Podhaizer, the Food Writer for Seven Days and Seven Nights, volunteered to contribute some of her recipes to the Good Eats newsletter. This is the first we've been able to include, but we look forward to more of her inspired creations later in the share.

1 pound ground beef
1 pound pastured veal
1 medium onion, minced
a few cloves garlic, minced
Breadcrumbs
2 eggs
2 cups ricotta
Seasonal herbs, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Nutmeg, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the meatloaf: In a large bowl, mix the beef and veal with the minced onions and garlic. Add an egg (my favorite part is blending in the egg with my hands) and some breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the filling:
Blend the ricotta with the remaining egg and any herbs you desire. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of nutmeg, if desired.

Putting it together: We used an oval, 2 1/2 quart Le Creuset "oven" for this, but it could be adapted to numerous kinds of vessels. Place about two-thirds of the meat mixture into your baking dish. Spread the meat across the bottom of the dish and build up a thick layer around the sides, creating a space for the ricotta mixture. Add the ricotta. Place the remaining meat on top, covering the ricotta completely. Bake for around an hour, until the top has browned and feels like a well-done hamburger when you press on it gently (it won't give much). Enjoy with a nice salad, or maybe with some grilled pac choi.

Variation: For extra flavor, try glazing the top of the meatloaf with some homemade ketchup, or some other sort of tomato product prior to baking.

Portuguese Style Autumn Vegetable Stew
This is a warm and flavorful dish, perfect for a chilly fall evening. Serve this vegetarian stew over cooked wheat berries. Or, to make a meat version, add 1 lb. Portuguese Linguiça, or another spicy sausage. If adding the sausage, try omitting the potatoes, cutting down on the stock by 1 cup, and serving over mashed potatoes. Serves 4-6.

1 TB sunflower or olive oil
2 small sweet onions, sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 medium sweet peppers, cut into 1.5" thin strips
2 small bulbs fennel (or 1 large), stalks trimmed, core removed, sliced into 2" thin strips
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 TB Hungarian Paprika
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tsp dried oregano, or 1 TB freshly chopped
1/4 cup red wine
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lb. potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" cubes

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed, large saute pan with deep sides, over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until onions are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add sweet peppers and fennel. Saute for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, oregano, red wine, stock, parsley and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat slightly, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve warm.

Mizuna Salad with Dried Cranberries and Roasted Delicata
Nothing like it's summer counterpart, this fall salad celebrates the flavors of autumn. Serves 8.

6 TB cranapple or apple cider
3 TB apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 small shallot, minced
7 TB sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil
2 TB butter, divided
2 unpeeled medium delicata squash, halved, seeded, cut into 24 wedges total

1 lb mizuna greens, chopped (about 12 cups)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Whisk cider and vinegar in bowl. Add minced shallot, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil. Rewhisk before using. Preheat oven to 450°F. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of squash wedges. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer squash wedges to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat 2 more times with remaining butter and squash wedges. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss mizuna with half of dressing. Divide among plates; top with squash. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with dried cranberries.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - October 15, 2008

Final Week's Share Contains
Bunch Leeks*; Bunch Green Wave Mustard Greens; Mixed Sweet Peppers; Brussels Sprouts; Garlic; Bag Spinach; Celery; Red Kuri Squash -or- Pie Pumpkin; Bunch Sweet Salad Turnips.

*Look for the leeks separate from your veggie bags!

Localvore Share:
Champlain Orchards Macintosh Apples; Red Hen Whole-Wheat Bread; Deborah's Eggs;

Pete's Musings
Thanks for joining our June-October share. We hope that we pleased you, and if we did not, that you would tell us how we can do better. As the seasons turn, change continues to be a constant at Pete's Greens. Our four moveable greenhouses are near completion and we hope to perform the maiden move early next week. Our freezer is ready to be set in place and put into operation. Roots are exiting the ground and being packed in the coolers. And, soon our beloved amigos will be heading south to a winter in sunny Mexico.

Those of us who remain at Pete's Greens are preparing for a winter of more gentle and thorough preparation than in past winters. We plan to fully analyze our equipment and decide whether to make a complete overhaul and purchase some new tractors and cultivation systems or just make a few minor tweaks. And, we are going to spend a lot of time planning our cropping so that we can provide you more of what you want when you want it. Please pass on suggestions about what we provided you this summer so that we can use your input to improve. Nancy talks about our share-end survey below, which is a great way to pass on your feedback. Thanks again for joining, and thanks to those of you who are staying on for the winter. -Pete

End of Share Survey
We do hope that you enjoyed your experience with us this summer, including the produce from our farm and items from nearby growers and producers. We strive to make each week's CSA share fresh, diverse, tasty and a good value. In the next day or so, we will be sending out a survey asking your opinion about the share. The survey is your opportunity to tell us if we are meeting your expectations. We appreciate your feedback and will incorporate what we have learned into future shares. Thank you for being a part of the CSA and for completing the survey!

Hardwick in the New York Times
This past summer, Marian Burros, part-time Vermont resident and food writer for the New York Times, was enjoying a locally inspired dinner at Claire's Restaurant in Hardwick. Speaking with Christina Michelsen, she got her first inkling of the great things going on in and around the Hardwick area to rebuild a thriving agricultural economy. This encounter became the impetus for last Wednesday's article, Uniting Around Food to Save an Ailing Town, in the New York Times Dining section.

The article focuses on the formation of the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick, as well as some of it's founding members and their respective companies, including Pete's Greens, High Mowing Seeds, Vermont Soy and Jasper Hill. The Center's vision is "to build upon local tradition and bring together the community resources and programs needed to develop a locally-based 21st century healthy food system. The Center vision supports the desire of rural communities to rebuild their economic and ecological health through strong, secure, and revitalized agricultural systems to meet both their own food needs locally as well as to determine and build the best opportunities for value-added agricultural exports."

New York Times Sunday Magazine
It seems the Times has had a bit of a run focusing on local and sustainable food related issues. Last Sunday's magazine section was dedicated to just this topic. Michael Pollan's letter to the President Elect, or "The Farmer in Chief," is a well thought out argument on why a new sustainable agricultural and food policy must be a priority for whomever takes the White House in November.

Working with High Mowing Squash
An example of the cooperation that the Center for an Agricultural Economy would like to foster could be found on our farm on Monday.

Pete had spoken with Tom Stearns at High Mowing Seeds about their squash crop. As a seed company, High Mowing is growing their crops primarily for seed and doesn't have the facilities to process and distribute their produce for consumption.

Pete and Tom worked it out so that High Mowing's squash harvest was trucked over to Pete's Greens. We could use our powerwasher here to clean the pumpkins much faster than hand washing at high mowing.

In the pictures you can see that Pete is powerwashing the squash, before Kate from High Mowing smashes them with an axe. Katie is tossing the pieces into the hopper of the seed extractor. The seeds are shaken out onto the bottom rack, then shoveled into bins. The squash pieces roll out the bottom of the barrel.

The girls went back to High Mowing with the seeds. We will wash, cook down and freeze the squash to distribute in an upcoming CSA share.

Storage and Use Tips
You can tell when we've reached the end of the share period when the Storage and Use tips get this thin. We've now talked about just about every vegetable we've distributed this share, leaving only:

Brussels Sprouts: Related to cabbage, kale, collards, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and broccoli, Brussels sprouts get their name from being grown in and around Brussels, Belgium. Brussels sprouts are a tall-stemmed cabbage in which many tiny heads form at the bases of the leaves along the entire length of the central stalk. The "sprouts" are made up of tightly packed leaves, each resembling a miniature cabbage head. We've already separated the sprouts from the stalk for you. Like most brassicas, the flavor of Brussels sprouts benefit from a frost, concentrating their sugars.

Brussels sprouts can get a bad rap from those who have eaten overcooked versions that their parents may have boiled to oblivion. Try sauteing, or better yet, roasting them to bring out their inherent sweetness. Brussels sprouts should be stored in a closed plastic bag in the crisper drawer.

Garlic: This won't be the most beautiful garlic we've given out, but it is just fine for eating. You should receive 3 heads.

Localvore Lore
You may have noticed that the share contents listed this week's eggs as "Deborah's Eggs," instead of the usual "Pete's Eggs." They are actually from the same chickens, but with a new home. This summer we took a second look at raising the egg-laying chickens at the farm and decided that our facilities could use some improvements. Deborah, one of our crew, was interested in the chickens and decided to take them home. She's got 113 chickens and one rooster now in her hen house.

She is really enjoying raising the birds, talking to them in the morning, going home for lunch and letting them out for a run, then giving them the run of the place when she gets home from the farm. She would love to leave them out all of the time, but doesn't trust the foxes and dogs in the neighborhood. I think you will see from the deep yellow yokes that they are still getting plenty of outside time. They've been working their way around Deborah's blueberry patch and apple trees, finding lots of good things to eat.

This may be the last time we are able to include Deborah's eggs in the share. Waning daylight will mean fewer eggs being laid by her hens, certainly not enough to keep up with the CSA. She has been busy working to find a few stores in the Kingdom to take the eggs she will have over the winter.

Next year, we will be taking another look at our hen house facilities with the possibility of improving them and bringing egg laying chickens back on the farm. In the meantime, we will be keeping our eye out for other egg producers to include in the share.

Also in the share this week, we have Red Hen's whole-wheat bread. The whole-wheat is owner, Randy George's favorite loaf. I bought one while at our local farmer's market the other week and truly savored the loaf. It's got a pleasantly dense texture and deep, nutty flavor.

When I contacted Champlain Orchards about apples for the share, Bill was excited to get us their Macs. They are at the height of their season right now and make wonderful applesauce, pie and crisps, as well as for eating out of hand. If you would like to stock up on apples, or are just looking for a fun thing to do this weekend, you can take a picturesque drive to Champlain Orchards and pick your own. They have many varieties of apples that are ready for picking, including Empire, Macs, Jonagold, Northern Spy and Gala, just to name a few. As of last week, they also still had yellow raspberries. Their farm market will also be open selling pies, cider donuts, honey, syrup and more. For more information and directions to the orchard, visit their Website.

Recipes
Curried Squash Soup with Green Garnish
Meg made this soup the other night for her and Pete. It will work equally well whether you have the pie pumpkin or kuri squash in your share. Mix the left over green garnish with eggs and cheese to make a frittata for a second evening's meal.

1 winter squash, such as pumpkin or kuri, peeled and sliced thin
2 pinches sea salt
1 15 oz can coconut milk
2 pinches yellow curry powder
salt and pepper to taste

For garnish:
1 TB sunflower or olive oil
1 large leek, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch mustard greens, washed, dried and chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste

Steam squash, sprinkled with salt, in a large pot over medium heat, until soft. Puree with coconut milk, curry powder, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

While squash is steaming, heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until leeks are translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add mustard greens, salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until mustard greens turn deep green, about 5 minutes, decreasing heat if necessary. Taste for seasoning. Ladle hot squash soup into bowls and garnish with the sauteed greens.

Warm Brussels Sprout and Spinach Salad with Bacon
Adapted from a recipe at Epicurious.com. To make a vegetarian version, omit the bacon, increase the caraway seeds by 1/2 teaspoon, the oil to 3 tablespoons and use balsamic vinegar to add extra flavor. Serves 6.

4 slices of bacon
1/2 cup leeks, thinly sliced
1 pint Brussels sprouts, trimmed, steamed for 3 minutes, and chopped fine (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 TB sunflower oil
3 TB cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon maple sugar, or to taste
1/2 pound spinach, tough stems discarded and the leaves washed well and spun dry (about 8 cups)

In a heavy skillet cook the bacon over moderate heat until it is crisp and transfer it to paper towels to drain. Heat the fat remaining in the skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately high heat, add the Brussels sprouts with the caraway seeds. Saute, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sprouts are tender and pale golden. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the oil, the vinegar, and the sugar, and add the spinach. Sauté the mixture over moderately high heat, tossing it, for 1 minute, or until the spinach is wilted. Season the salad with pepper and sprinkle it with the bacon, crumbled.

Baked Winter Squash and Apples with Maple Syrup
Serve this yummy dish with grilled sausage or spoon over cooked wheat berries or barley. Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serves 12 as a side.

2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds winter squash (about 2 medium), peeled, seeded, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges, then crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
2 pounds apples, peeled, quartered, cored, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook squash in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Combine squash, apples and cranberries in buttered 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Season generously with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Combine maple syrup, butter and cider vinegar in heavy small saucepan. Whisk over low heat until butter melts. Pour syrup over squash mixture and toss to coat evenly. Bake until squash and apples are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil; chill. Rewarm covered in 350°F. oven about 30 minutes.)

Lentil and Spinach Soup
Serve this soup with a dollop of plain yogurt or creme fraiche with a toasted slice of Red Hen whole-wheat bread on the side. Serves 4.

2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped sweet peppers
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano, or 1 TB freshly chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
9 1/2 cups (or more) water
1 lb dried lentils (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 lb. spinach, stems removed, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add next 4 ingredients; sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in cumin, oregano, bay leaf, and dried crushed red pepper. Add 9 1/2 cups water and dried lentils; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender, adding more water by 1/2 cupfuls to thin soup, if desired, about 25 minutes. Add spinach and cilantro; simmer until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - October 8, 2008

This Week's Share Contains
Red Kuri Winter Squash; Bulb Fennel; Pint Tomatillos; Walla Walla Onions; Mixed Sweet Peppers; Spinach -or- Mesclun; Bolero Carrots; Tatsoi -or- Young Red Russian Kale.

Localvore Share:
Champlain Valley Creamery Cream Cheese; Elmore Mountain Apple Cinnamon Bread:
PLEASE DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR SHARE TYPE AND PICKUP INSTRUCTIONS SO EVERYONE GETS WHAT THEY ARE DUE!
Meat Eaters: One Pete's Chicken;

Vegetarians: Les Fermes Longpres Sunflower Oil;
Butternut Mountain Farm Maple Sugar;

Storage and Use Tips
Bolero Carrots: Here's what Kitchen Garden Seeds has to say about Boleros: "Prized for its exceptional sweetness and elegantly shaped, slender roots, Bolero is a vigorous hybrid created in France. This beautiful, Nantes-style carrot is gorgeous from its deep orange silky shoulders down to its rounded base. French cooks know what they like and consider it the best-tasting carrot around - slightly finer and more delicate than other large carrots, without a trace of bitterness." They also suggest making a "rack" for roasting chicken out of Bolero carrots and celery stalks upon which to place the roast. They will add flavor to pan drippings and help prevent the roast from sticking to the pan or burning. Store in the crisper drawer loosely wrapped in a plastic bag.
Red Kuri Squash: Originally from Japan and also known as "baby red hubbard," this squash has an orange-red skin and is round with a slight teardrop shape. The flesh texture is very smooth and creamy, with a savory chestnut-like flavor. Red Kuri can be baked, braised, pureed, or steamed to be served as a side dish or used as a base for soups. Store all winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation, like a porch or garage, but make sure they do not freeze. Under the best conditions, the red kuri's should last at least a month. Once cut, you can wrap the leftovers in plastic and store in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

Pickles, No Pickles
As you know, we had to unexpectedly hold back the pickles last week. In the note last Wednesday, I explained that they had gone bad and we would be making up for it in some way before the end of the share. Today, we are distributing larger chickens than we had planned to make up for the value of the pickles. The amount of oil and sugar we are giving has similarly been increased to compensate the vegetarians. Thank you for your understanding in these last minute changes.

Pete's Musings
Wow, was it cold here last night. For the 4 years that we have farmed in our low valley in Craftsbury, we have been able to count on fog to protect us from frost basically until the leaves fall off the deciduous trees. Apparently, the leaves emit moisture in the night that condenses and becomes fog. Last night fog developed in the valley both north and south of us, but not at all over our farm and I'm guessing it was in the mid 20's. Fortunately, we had harvested most of our baby greens the night before, as some of the remaining sustained short term damage. After another cold night tonight we have a string of nice days with warmer nights and minor damage on greens will heal.

We're making good progress on construction projects. Steve and the guys are erecting our 4th greenhouse of the year today and hopefully number 5 will be up by the end of the week. These are the 35 by 200 footers that we will be moving over hardy greens in a couple of weeks. We'll be harvesting out of these greenhouses all fall and next spring.

As you may remember, we are increasing our on-farm long-term freezer storage capacity by retrofitting a tractor-trailer. The freezer body is now nearly complete and we'll be able to have a crane come lift it into place in another week. We've insulated it to r-65 so it will be efficient to operate. We're excited to complete our construction projects by the end of November so that we can spend the winter improving small things on the farm, relaxing, and planning better for next year than we have in the past.

The real root harvesting slog begins this week; 180 beds in 3 weeks. We'll be tired when it is over. -Pete

Extra CSA Shares Added for the Fall/Winter
About the time that I was sorting through envelopes on the desk, wondering which of the last few to arrive would get to join the share and which we would have to turn down, Pete decided to re-think the maximum number for the share. We haven't yet decided what that ceiling number will be, but we will be accepting those enrollments that arrive at the farm at least through the end of this week/beginning of next, and possibly beyond.

So, if you've procrastinated but still want to join, now's the time. Also, if you have a friend or co-worker that might be interested, please pass along the information. All the details about the share can be found on our Good Eats page. Read through the pages to find the sign-up form.

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Eat?
NPR is doing a couple of segments on their Weekend Edition morning program profiling the candidates' favorite destination for a bite to eat. You can pretty much guess that neither spot is in Vermont. But, the Obama's favorite restaurant, Topolobampo, is a wonderful Mexican dining room in Chicago. I say, "Mexican" with reservation, only because most places billing themselves as "Mexican," serve Americanized versions of our neighbor's dishes. Rick Bayless's classic Chicago dining destination serves very authentic Mexican cuisine. I am not bringing this up to be partisan, nor because I used to live in Chicago. I bring this up only because the NPR website showcases a wonderful sounding steak taco recipe from Bayless that includes tomatillos and onions, two of the items in your share this week. I already bought my non-local avocados and will be trying the recipe out on the family Thursday or Friday.

Localvore Lore
This week, we are happy to be including cream cheese from Champlain Valley Creamery in the share. Carleton Yoder is the Owner and Cheesemaker at the creamery. He has a graduate degree in Food Science and a background in winemaking, and moved to Vermont to make hard cider. His love for all things fermented and desire to run his own business brought him to the world of cheese. Small scale cheesemaking, with it’s connection to farming traditions, was a natural progression, particularly in a dairy state like Vermont. After a year of making farmstead Vermont cheddar at Shelburne Farms, he decided it was time to venture out on his own.

Here's how Carleton describes his cream cheese: "The Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese is made using traditional methods without stabilizers or preservatives from cultured fresh organic cow’s milk and cream; it’s very unlike that ubiquitous foil-wrapped gummy brick! Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese has the perfect balance of creaminess and tanginess that is unlike any other cream cheese you’ve ever tasted. It’s great on a bagel, on sandwiches, baked in your favorite dessert or simply on its own." I think it will be great with the apple cinnamon bread we have from Elmore Mountain this week!

Andrew and Blair at Elmore do such a great job of including localvore ingredients in their loaves. This week features organic Quebec bread flour, Gleason's whole wheat, Vermont Cortland apples, Champlain Orchards cider and Butternut Mountain Farm maple sugar. Blair said that they cut-up the Cortland apples then dried them in the bread oven, before mixing them into the bread dough to bake. Yum!

We are so excited to finally be including chickens in your share this week. As I mentioned above, they are of good size so should make excellent roasting birds. We've raised several "generations" of chickens at the farm this spring and summer. About 200 baby chicks arrive at the farm at the beginning of each cycle and go immediately under red warming lights in the headhouse. When the chicks have grown large enough, we move them outside where they can hunt and peck for some of their own food near the greenhouses.

Vegetarians will be receiving the coveted sunflower oil from Les Fermes Longpres in Quebec, as well as 1 lb. plus of maple sugar from Butternut Mountain Farm for baking.

Recipes
Fennel and Spinach Soup
If you are unhappy with the texture after pureeing, you can strain the soup for a satiny smooth texture. Serves 4.

3 TB unsalted butter
3 cups chopped fennel
2 cups minced Walla Walla onions
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup (packed) fresh spinach leaves
1 TB dry sherry

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add fennel and onion. Sauté until just translucent, about 15 minutes. Add broth to cover veggies and the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Puree soup in small batches in blender until smooth, adding spinach to last batch before pureeing. Return soup to same pot. Stir in sherry and taste for seasoning. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream or cream cheese and a sprinkling of fennel fronds.

Hearty Greens, Squash and Pepper Stew with Beans and Olives
This one is adapted from an Epicurious.com recipe. Serves 4.

3 TB olive or sunflower oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 lb to 2 lb. winter squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 bunch kale or tatsoi, thick stems trimmed, leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch strips
1 tsp dried rubbed sage, or 2 tsp chopped fresh
6 cups cooked white beans, such as Jacobs cattle or soldier
2/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, halved
Freshly grated sharp, hard cheese, such as Crawford Family Farms Picante

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add squash and sauté. Add bell peppers and stir to coat with onion mixture. Add broth. Cover and simmer until squash is just tender, about 10 minutes. Mix greens and sage into stew. Cover and cook until greens wilt, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add beans and olives and stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer stew to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle generously with cheese.

Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos With Caramelized Onions
This NPR story and recipe is mentioned above in the newsletter.

Apple and Cream Cheese Bread Pudding
The apple cinnamon loaves this week are about 1.5 lbs. I would recommend using the middle 2/3 of the loaf to make this dish. Serves 6-8.

About 1 lb. of apple cinnamon loaf, cut in slices (not too thick)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup maple sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 lbs. tart apples
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup maple syrup
8 oz. cream cheese
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread bread slices thinly on 1 side with 1/2 stick butter. In a small bowl stir together 1/4 cup maple sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and sprinkle evenly over buttered sides of bread. Arrange bread, buttered sides up, on baking sheets and toast in batches in middle of oven about 10 minutes. Cool cinnamon toast on racks and cut into 1" pieces.

Peel, quarter, and core apples. Cut apples lengthwise into thin slices and in a bowl toss with lemon juice. In a large heavy skillet melt remaining 1/2 stick butter with maple sugar over moderately high heat, stirring, and add apples and water. Cook mixture, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook apples until just tender and most liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes more.

Butter a 13" by 9" baking dish. In a large bowl mix together toast pieces and apple mixture, pour into buttered baking dish and distribute evenly. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, syrup, cream cheese, milk and salt. Pour slowly and evenly over bread and apples. Chill pudding, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pudding in middle of oven 45 - 55 minutes, until bubbly and starting to brown on top.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - October 1, 2008

Scallops
Thank you to all who responded to my query about including scallops in the share. The results were very positive in favor of having scallops as part of the share. They actually only harvest the scallops in the winter-time, so the soonest we would be able to include them would be December. There are a few hurdles remaining for the scallops to make it all the way to Vermont. But it seems clear that it's worth trying to make it happen.

Share the Harvest this Thursday
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont invites you to participate in the 14th annul Share the Harvest event to be held Thursday, October 2nd. Up to 15% of sales on this day at participating restaurants, co-ops, and stores will be donated to NOFA-VT's Farm Share Program that assists limited income Vermonters in obtaining farm fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2007, there were close to 1000 individuals benefiting from the Vermont Farm Share program, including some of our own shareholders.

Help NOFA meet their fundraising goal by eating out at a participating restaurant or purchasing products at any participating store. For more information about the Farm Share Program or NOFA-VT, please visit their Website or call 802.434.4122.

Last CSA Spots Expected to Fill Soon
I hope that I am not starting to sound like too much of a nag when I remind everyone about signing up for the Fall / Winter share. However, each share period it seems that there are a few shareholders who wanted to continue, but got caught up in other things when it came time to send in their enrollments.

If you want to join, now is the time. My guess is that all of the shares will be gone before next Wednesday, if not sooner. You can find all the information about the share on our Good Eats page. Read through the pages to find the sign-up form.

Local Grass Fed Beef
Dan and Flor Smith are shareholders of ours, as well as owners of Horn of the Moon Farm in Montpelier. They are offering beef from Hereford Angus steers that have been on grass pasture all summer on their farm. While not certified, the animals have been organically raised and have always been treated properly.

They asked us to pass along their information to shareholders that might be looking to buy a half an animal, approximately 200-250lbs of meat. The beef will be available at the beginning of November, and can be cut to your specifications. Their price is $3.50 a lb. hanging weight, which will probably work out to closer to $7 per lb. packaged weight. If you have questions, or would like to reserve beef, please call Dan or Flor at 223-1113.

This Week's Share Contains
Mesclun; Mixed Sweet Peppers; Red Shallots; Bunch Mizuna; Green Tomatoes; Torpedo Onions; Purple Potatoes; Bunch Scallions; Bunch Curly Parsley;

Localvore Share:
Lacto-Fermented Dill Pickles from Pete's Greens Kitchen; Blythedale Farm Brie; And One of the Following:

Meat Eaters: Pete's Greens Kitchen Chicken Stock;

Vegetarians: Pete's Eggs

Storage and Use Tips
Purple Potatoes: Full of anti-oxidants, these purple potatoes are real beauties. Used in Mexican cooking, purple potatoes are gaining popularity in the U.S. They have a naturally creamy flavor and texture and hold their shape well for salads. Perfect for a purple potato salad! Or fried or baked purple chips, or roasted, or Purple Mashed Potatoes - they stay purple once cooked, but not as vibrant as when raw.
Green Tomatoes: Of course, these are really red tomatoes that haven't changed color yet. Green tomatoes are great to make chutneys and relishes out of, not to mention the dish that made the movie famous, Fried Green Tomatoes. You can also ripen them yourself, if you don't like green tomatoes. Store them in a box or in plastic bags with a few holes for air circulation. If you have a cool, moderately humid room, simply place them on a shelf, just keep them out of direct sunlight. They may be stored in the dark. As tomatoes ripen, they naturally release ethylene gas, which stimulates ripening. To slow ripening, sort out ripened fruits from green tomatoes each week. To speed up ripening, place green or partially ripe fruits in a bag or box with a ripe tomato.

Localvore Lore
This week features Blythdale Farm Vermont Brie along with a few products from our own kitchen. As I am just trying to get a handle on what's been ordered for the remainder of the share, I called up Becky at Blythdale last week to confirm what Heather had ordered. Becky knew the order was coming, but let me choose between the brie and Camembert. This share period, we decided to go with the brie.

Black River produce doesn't pick-up directly from Becky. Instead she drives her ordered cheeses over to Vermont Butter and Cheese, and Black River will pick-up and deliver the wheels from there. The system works flawlessly. The cheese arrived at the farm, went straight into the cooler and will be packed up for delivery Wednesday morning.

These pickles were made in our kitchen at the peak of the summer's cucumber harvest. Like the previous cucs, these were lacto-fermented in barrels with dill. Meg said that this batch has a slight, pleasant fizz. She's been eating and enjoying them all week.

This broth is something new for us. We were able to get bones from Misty Knoll. Simmered with vegetables and aromatics from our farm, we hope you'll agree it's got very good flavor. We would like to begin distributing homemade stock at least a few times during a share period. It will come frozen in a quart container.

If you don't think you will use all of it within a few days after thawing, you may consider refreezing a portion right away. From reading on the Internet, it looks like if you thaw the stock in the refrigerator and refreeze the remainder in a clean container you should be fine from a health perspective. If you are worried about the safety, you could always boil the stock after the second thaw in the fridge. I am testing how the freeze-thaw-freeze cycle may affect the taste and consistency of the stock. I will let you know how that goes in an upcoming newsletter.

If you are a vegetarian shareholder, you will be receiving eggs this week. I will write more about them next week....

Recipes
Michael Anthony’s Fork-Crushed Purple Potatoes
Michael Anthony is the Executive Chef of New York City's Gramercy Tavern. He contributed this recipe (I've adapted it here) to New York Magazine. Serves 4.

1 lb. Purple Potatoes, washed
4 small shallots, minced
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil
Maine sea salt to taste
White pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

In a large pot, cook potatoes with skins on in heavily salted boiling water until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Remove potatoes from pot, and peel them while still warm. Place potatoes in a large bowl and, using a fork, gently smash them, maintaining a fairly chunky consistency. Fold in minced shallots, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and white pepper. Finish with parsley.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Adapted from a recipe in Southern Living. Serves 4 - 6.

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside. Combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan. Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in a large cast-iron skillet; heat to 375°. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.

Potato, Roasted Pepper and Mizuna Salad
Adapted from Epicurious.com. You can roast and peel red and yellow peppers following the directions below. The skins on purple and green peppers may be too thin for this method. Instead, consider roasting them at a lower temperature and skipping the peeling step. Serves 6.

3 pounds purple potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 mixed colored sweet peppers
1 3/4- to 2-ounce can flat fillets of anchovies, drained, minced
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 cups olive or sunflower oil
1 green onion bunch, sliced
1 bunch mizuna, sliced
preparation

Place potatoes in large pot. Cover with water. Boil until potatoes are just tender. Drain well. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in white wine. Char red or yellow peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Wrap in paper bag and let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed. Rinse if necessary; pat dry. Alternatively, grill green or red peppers at a lower temperature to color and soften, without a lot of char. Cut peppers into 3/4-inch squares. Transfer to medium bowl.

Combine anchovies and vinegar in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Pour 2/3 cup dressing over peppers. Add remaining dressing, green onions and mizuna to potatoes and mix gently. Season peppers and potatoes with salt and pepper. Let stand 30 minutes. Gently mix peppers into potatoes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)