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 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.

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
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 LinguiƧa, 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.

1 comment:

eatinginseason said...

everything looks beautiful--thanks!