Friday, October 3, 2008

Good Eats Newsletter - October 1, 2008

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....

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 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

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.)

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