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.

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 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.

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 jalapeƱo, 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.

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