Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - January 28, 2009

This Week's Share Contains
Parsnips; Green Cabbage; Mixed Colored Potatoes; Garlic; Sunflower and Radish Shoots; Rutabaga; Frozen Tomatoes; Sweet Chai Maple Syrup from Butternut Mountain; Vermont Butter & Cheese Creme Fraiche; Champlain Orchards Apple Pie.

Storage and Use Tips
Frozen Tomatoes - Keep these frozen until ready to use, then run the tomatoes under warm water. This will loosen the skin enough to be peeled right off. Let them thaw a bit more, then chop and use as you would canned, chopped tomatoes. After peeling, coring then thawing the tomatoes, you can also give them a whirl in the food processor and use in recipes calling for canned, (unseasoned), tomato sauce.
Green Cabbage - Wrapped loosely in a plastic bag, cabbage will keep in the crisper drawer for several weeks. Discard any exterior leaves that may have begun to tear and/or discolor before using. Once cut, seal remaining cabbage in a plastic bag and use within a week or two.
Apple Pie - The pies from Champlain Orchards have not been frozen but have been kept cool. Once you bring your pie home, it will last for 2-3 more days in your fridge, willpower depending. Warm in a 350F oven before serving. If this doesn't fit into your menu plan, wrap it well in plastic wrap and foil and pop it into the freezer as soon as possible. You may experience a slightly soggy bottom crust, but most on Chowhound.com said that it should be fine. The consensus seems to be to start it off in a 425 degree oven for 10 or 15 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 350. Bake for 40-60 minutes. Note that the list of ingredients on the label is for their regular store-bought pies. See the Localvore Lore section for the actual ingredients in your localvore pie.

Spring, Summer & Meat Share Announcement
Finally, we have all of the details set for our upcoming shares. Our Spring Share period begins in just three short weeks. We'll be offering a Vegetable/Localvore Share and a Meat Share. With our greenhouses built and ready to go this year, we anticipate having greens and other greenhouse grown veggies earlier in the spring than last year. Of course, the first month or so will still be heavy on roots and shoots.

Please sign-up as soon as possible to keep your shares coming uninterrupted. We need to have your form and payment at the farm no later than February 11th, to include you in the first February 18th delivery.

We are also announcing the Summer Shares at the same time. If you sign up for a Summer Share that includes vegetables before April 1st, we will give you a free short sleeved Pete's Greens t-shirt when you pick-up your first order.

As we understand that it is difficult to sign-up and pay for two shares at once, rest assured that we will not cash your summer check(s) until June.

Bulk Order Pickup this Week
If you placed a bulk order this week, please look for a bag or box with your name on it when you pick-up. Thanks to all who ordered!

Cabot to Go Hormone-Free!
Appreciation goes out to all those who called, emailed and wrote Cabot asking them to ban the use of the bovine growth hormone BST. Beginning in August they will no longer accept milk from farmers who use the hormones at their plants in Vermont and Springfield, MA. This means that their cheeses and butter will be hormone free as of late summer. Cabot sited feedback from their customers as a main reason of discontinuing their acceptance of the hormone-tainted milk. For more on the story visit the VPR site.

Localvore Lore
This week our localvore products are just a bit indulgent. We have a localvore pie baked especially for us by Champlain Orchards. We've had good response to Bill's pies in the past and try to include them at least twice a year. You can serve the pie with a dollop of creme fraiche, whipped and sweetened with the ginger and cardamom infused Sweet Chai maple syrup for an extra special treat!

I am really excited to be including the syrup in the share today. I used to cook with and sell the Sweet Chai syrup at my bed & breakfast in Warren. It is a delicious novelty syrup that works equally well for sweet preparations as well as savory. I used to make a killer raisin bread French toast with coconut milk, eggs, vanilla and the Sweet Chai. One of the things I really enjoy about the syrup is that each bottle includes recipes. If you peel back the label, you will see several recipes to use the syrup in. In addition to the Sweet Chai, Butternut Mountain offers a Sweet Heat (infused with habanero pepper), Sweet Autumn with vanilla and cinnamon and a Sweet Ginger.

As I mentioned, we also are thrilled to have pies for you today. We realize that the Cabot butter is more New England than just Vermont, but we've agreed with Bill that it is appropriate and affordable to use it anyways. Elissa from Champlain Orchards kindly wrote up the following about the pies:

With the encouragement of Pete, Champlain Orchards has developed a localvore apple pie recipe and sourced local ingredients specifically for Pete’s CSA members.

First, Champlain Orchards apples are peeled, cored, sliced, and seasoned. The flour for the crust has been sourced from Jack and Anne Lazor of Butterworks Farm in Enosburg, VT and the butter is from Cabot Creamery. The crust also contains Champlain Orchards cider instead of water, which is traditionally used.

Our bakers, Katy and Wendy, press the formed dough into pie tins and heap the apple slices into the pie shell. Maple syrup is then drizzled and spread evenly over the pie filling as a natural sweetener. The syrup for your pies comes from a local maple syrup business, run by Tim and Lorraine Hescock in Shoreham, VT. The pie is then topped with another crust, crimped, and glazed with eggs that come from chickens raised by two of our orchard staff, Aaron and Elissa Mathis of Cornwall, VT. The pies are then baked to a golden brown perfection in two ovens that fit 18 pies each.

We thank Nancy and Pete for the baking challenge and opportunity to source ingredients from our neighbors. We hope you enjoy your pie!
This is the first time that we've had creme fraiche in the share. Creme fraiche is actually just cream that has been cultured, giving it a slightly tangy flavor and thick texture. Culturing the cream into creme fraiche also helps the product keep longer. It is wonderful stirred into soup or dollopped on top. Whipped with syrup or honey, it becomes an interesting topping for desserts. Try serving it with potatoes, salmon or chili. Here's a little information about how Vermont Butter & Cheese came to make creme fraiche:
After you milk the cows, set the fresh cream aside. Let the natural lactic bacteria take over - creating a thick, smooth, tart result known as crème fraîche. That was how they made it on the dairy farm in Brittany, France, where Allison Hooper worked more than twenty years ago. At that time in the United States, domestic crème fraîche was virtually unheard of, and even imported brands were scarce.

When Bob Reese and Allison co-founded Vermont Butter & Cheese Company in 1984, their first product was Vermont Chèvre, the company’s signature goats’ milk cheese. Vermont Crème Fraîche, their first cows' milk creation – and another perfect combination of modern technology and time-honored European methods – followed close on its heels.

Vermont Crème Fraîche is exquisitely rich, with the cultured, nutty flavor and creamy texture that characterizes the best crème fraîche, a staple of French cuisine and many of the world's finest culinary traditions.
Recipes
Maple Syrup-Roasted Parsnip Bisque
My friends Lisa and Eric Friedman were recently highlighted in Yankee Magazine. Lisa is a phenomenal cook and entertainer, running her own catering company The Wooden Spoon she also conducts fun cooking classes out of her house. When I saw this recipe for the Parsnip Bisque, I knew that it would be a winner! Try substituting the Sweet Chai syrup for half of the maple for a more exotic taste. You could also use the creme fraiche in place of the cream. Serves 8.

2-1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra to taste
1/2 cup pure maple syrup, divided
8 cups water
1 large carrot, cut into thirds
1/2 medium-size onion
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon white pepper, plus extra to taste
2 to 2-1/2 cups heavy cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss parsnips with oil, salt, and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Spread on a baking sheet and roast about 30 minutes, or until parsnips are golden brown and softened. As parsnips are roasting, bring water to a boil. Place carrot, onion, parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns on a double layer of cheesecloth. Wrap and tie securely, and add to water. Bring to a boil; then lower to simmer 30 minutes.
Remove parsnips from oven and add to vegetable-infused water. Add remaining maple syrup, white pepper, and salt to taste. Simmer 20-30 minutes. Discard cheesecloth bundle. Using a food processor or immersion blender, puree parsnips and broth. Add cream and simmer another 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Sweet Chai Glazed Cabbage & Roots with Grilled Tofu, Fish or Chicken
The addition of grilled protein makes this vegetable saute a winning meal. Serve over cooked barley or brown rice. Serves 4.

1 TB oil or bacon fat
1 onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced thin
1 small rutabaga, cut in thin matchsticks
1/2 green cabbage, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1/2 cup apple cider
2 TB Sweet Chai maple syrup
2 TB soy sauce or tamari
2 tsp fish sauce (or to taste)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

12 oz syrup glazed tofu, fish or chicken, cut into chunks (recipe follows)

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the carrots and rutabaga, cook stirring occasionally for another 2 minutes then add the cabbage. Toss and cook the vegetables for another 3-5 minutes, then add the cider, syrup, soy sauce, fish sauce and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine, and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is mostly evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. If it the vegetables begin to stick, turn down the heat a bit.

Serve over cooked barley or rice topped with chicken, fish or tofu.

Chai Grilled Chicken, Fish or Tofu
This recipe comes from the Moosewood Hollow website, the original developers of the syrups.

1 clove garlic, chopped
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB rice wine vinegar
2 TB Sweet Chai
1 TB sesame oil (or sunflower oil)

12 oz chicken, fish or tofu

Combine all ingredients. Place chicken or fish pieces or block of tofu cut into thick strips in a glass pan or ziplock bag. Add the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Remove from marinade and grill. For extra flavor, brush with Sweet Chai prior to serving.

Baked Honeyed Rutabaga Disks
Martine Fiske, one of your fellow shareholders, contributed this recipe as a family favorite. Thank you Martine! It's adapted from “The Victory Garden Cookbook” by Marian Morash. You could also try this with a bit of the Sweet Chai dressing as well. Excellent for turnips too..

2 medium rutabagas or large turnips (2 lbs. total)
4 Tbsp. butter
¼ c. honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel rutabagas/turnips. Slice across width of vegetable to make ½ inch disks. Melt butter and brush onto baking sheet. Place disks on sheet and brush with butter. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn and coat with honey, bake another 15 minutes. Turn once more and coat with melted butter and honey. Bake another 15 minutes. You may have to adjust final time for size and thickness of the discs.

Tomato and Potato Frittata
Great served with a shoot and roasted root salad with a Sweet Chai vinaigrette. Serves 4.

6 whole large eggs
2 large egg whites
4 oz creme fraiche
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried crumbed oregano
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
6 oz frozen tomatoes, thawed, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup finely grated sharp, hard cheese

Preheat broiler. Whisk together eggs, egg whites, creme fraiche, salt, pepper and oregano. Cook garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet (preferably nonstick and ovenproof) over moderate heat, stirring, until translucent, and beginning to turn golden about 3-5 minutes. Add potatoes to skillet and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring, until just tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon oil and tomatoes to skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until tomatoes begin to brown and liquid has evaporated, about 4-5 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon oil and potatoes with garlic to skillet, spreading evenly. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cook over moderately high heat, lifting up cooked egg around edges to let uncooked egg flow underneath, 3 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate and cook, covered, 5 minutes more (center will be moist).

Remove lid and broil frittata 5 to 7 inches from heat until set, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle top evenly with grated cheese, then broil until cheese melts and frittata is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Slide onto a platter and cut into 4 wedges.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Delivery Delayed Until Thursday

Given the forecast for snow on Wednesday, we will be postponing the delivery until Thursday. Your regular pick-up times will still apply.
I will post the Newsletter here tomorrow. If you want to get a jump on the announcements for spring, summer and meat shares, please visit our website.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - January 21, 2009

This Week's Share Contains
Mix of Colorful Carrots; Mix of Yellow & Red Storage Onions; Red Cabbage; Valentine Radishes; Sprouted Beans; Sunflower and Radish Shoots; Red Beets; Frozen Strawberries; Elmore Mountain Pizza Dough; Marinara Sauce from Champlain Orchards; Kaas Cheese by Cass; Champlain Orchards Spartan Apples.

Storage and Use Tips
Storage Onions - Storage onions should be kept in a cool, dry spot, such as a cupboard or a drawer. I like to keep mine on a rack in the basement, though my basement is not too humid. It is important to keep them stored away from potatoes, as the moisture and ethylene gas given off by the potatoes can cause the onions to rot more quickly. Once cut open, keep remaining onion in a sealed plastic container in your fridge.
Valentine Radishes - You will be so pleased with the glorious pink color when you cut these open. They are delicious too! Sliced and sprinkled with salt and served with freshly toasted bread and butter make for a tasty treat. Store these in the crisper drawer, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag.
Frozen Strawberries - These berries are from Four Corners Farm. We froze them for you at their peak of freshness. Though we would normally have our own berries for you in the winter, last summer's crop was nipped with frost killing many blossoms that would have otherwise matured into fruit. For best results, keep frozen until you are ready to use them. The green hull that is still attached is best removed by scraping off with a spoon while the berries are still frozen. If you allow them to thaw without removing the hull they end up being extremely messy to work with.
Spartan Apples - The Spartan is a cross between Macintosh and Newtown Pippin varieties. It is most likely the first new variety to be developed as the result of a formal scientific breeding program, rather than by chance or by amateurs cross-pollinating varieties and hoping for the best. A small sweet apple with bright crimson skin and whiter-than-white flesh, it is known as a "good keeper." The Spartan has a nice balance of sweet and tart and is good for eating fresh, as well as for baking in pies, muffins, cobblers and crumbles.

Update on Spring and Summer Shares
It is hard to believe that we are so quickly approaching the end of the share. Our last Fall/Winter delivery will be February 11th. We are hard at work on the details of the Spring and Summer Shares. Please watch for the announcement next week, as we will have a short window to get everyone signed up for the Spring Share.

We have set the details for a Meat Share that will run along with the Spring Share and another to parallel the Summer Share. The Spring Meat Share will provide a once-monthly delivery of local meat and occasional seafood. We've been busy over the past couple of months building relationships with other local meat farmers and are really looking forward to providing our customers with easy access to their products. Four monthly deliveries will be priced at $199.

Sign-ups for all shares will begin next week.

Farm Update
Those who have been Pete's shareholders for a while may recollect that two of our crew, Melissa and Isaac, left the farm last spring to spend two years in the Peace Corps in Panama. Pete and Meg got the bug to visit them earlier this month and took off last week for the big trip. They are in a very remote village, without cell service and computer access, so we are anxiously waiting to hear about their experience. We expect them back on Saturday and hope that Pete will write about the trip next week.

Pete actually left a few days after Meg. One reason for his delayed departure was to make sure that the shoots and sprouts got started for this week's share. So, I am happy to say, that both shoots and sprouts are back this week! Pete showed Jodi the basics of the sprout room and how to start and grow the shoots before he left. So, Jodi will repeat the process for next week's share as well.

The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating
David Wahler, one of our shareholders, sent me a link to this New York Times article. As we are including 2 of the 11 in the share today, cabbage and beets, I thought it was timely. I'll include a recipe with turmeric as well, so we can cover at least 3 of the 11 bases.

Localvore Lore
We've been making an attempt this share to coordinate items that would easily combine for healthy and delicious meals. This share, we've managed to get marinara sauce, pizza dough and a complimentary cheese to make for an easy and local dinner. Of course, the sauce and cheese would work equally as well tossed with some pasta and some roasted root veggies.

I've been working with Bill Suhr from Champlain Orchards to get this marinara in the share for a couple of months. It's the most local, prepared sauce I've been able to find in Vermont. It comes to you frozen, so if you are not going to use it this week, stick it back in the freezer until you are ready for it. Elissa at Champlain Orchards thinks it should last in the fridge a good 10 days once thawed. She was kind of enough to send me the story of making the sauce along with pictures.

This is the first year we have endeavored to grow such a large crop of tomatoes, and it was exciting to see the harvest come in. The men harvested the tomatoes into barrels and 13 bushel apple bins and then brought them down 6 containers at a time, attached to our small tractor. The sight of over 3000 lbs of tomatoes is truly remarkable.

Making the Marinara was an all-day process, with our staff starting to cut around 800 lbs of tomatoes in half early in the morning. The halves and some of our own chopped organic onions were then dumped into two large evaporators that were loaned to us from Middlebury College.

The evaporators were heated with our own apple wood, recycled from old trees in our orchard. The fires had to be set before daybreak and kept going all day. The tomatoes then had to cook down until the skins separated from the fruit. It took a lot of effort to keep the temperatures exactly right, but the apple wood fired taste was well worth the effort.

Once the tomatoes were at this point, they had to be put through a food mill in order to separate the skins and seeds out of the sauce. The sauce from both evaporators was then combined into one large batch in a third evaporator. Here we added other valuable ingredients, such as local maple syrup, olive oil, and spices. The sauce was then left to simmer under strict supervision for the perfect blending of flavors. At the end of every day at least 100 gallons of sauce were jugged.

The cheese in the share today is from Kaas by Cass in Weybridge, VT. The cheese, made with 100% certified organic cow's milk, is a soft ripened cheese, reminiscent of a goat's milk chevre. They are aging the cheese at Jasper Hill and we were able to obtain the their first aged batch for the share. Here's some more information from the Cas website:

Independently owned and operated by Patty Scholten, Kaas by Cass produces delicious soft ripened cheese made with 100% certified organic cow's milk. This organic cow's milk is all produced by the Scholten Organic Dairy, owned by Roger and Patty Scholten. The whole family is involved in running the farm. The Scholtens promote farming in a manner that improves and sustains the environment, practices good animal husbandry, and upholds personal values where family comes first.

Roger and Patty Scholten's farm is the home of a small herd of Dutch Belt cows and Holstein-Friesian cows (both breeds native to the Netherlands). The word "Kaas" is the Dutch word for cheese, and Cass is Patty's maiden name. Patty makes the cheese in a newly built cheese house right on the farm, and sells a portion of it at the Middlebury Farmer's Market. The rest is sold to Black River Produce, which will distribute the cheese throughout Vermont.

Many people have never heard of a "soft-ripened cheese." Kaas by Cass soft-ripened cheese has a taste and texture similar to a chèvre -smooth and white, in rounded molds, yet made with 100% organic cow's milk. This cheese is excellent served as a spread for crackers. It is the perfect snack at any time and a tasteful addition to any wine and cheese party or any delectable occasion. You and your guests will rave over the flavor of Kaas by Cass cheese.
This is the second time that we are featuring pizza dough from Elmore Mountain in the share. This time it will leave the farm fully frozen, so should still be mostly frozen when you pick it up. I am going to republish some information that Andrew provided to the newsletter back in October for handling the dough. If you aren't going to use the dough in the next day or so, keep it in the freezer.
  • The dough should thaw on the counter top for 3-4 hours or in the fridge for 7-8 hours. It is best to use the dough within 24 hours after it is thawed. (The dough is alive and will continue to rise and ferment, which will make it sticky and difficult to handle.)

  • Lightly dust your counter top and the dough with flour and pat the dough into a disc. Roll out with a rolling pin or gently stretch until you have a crust about 14 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thin. This dough is best baked thin and hot and should crisp nicely.
  • If you are going to bake the pizza on a pizza stone: Place on an upside down cookie sheet or cutting board that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal. Brush the crust with olive oil and add your favorite toppings, don't pile it on too thick though. The best way to replicate a brick oven is to bake the pizza on a baking stone under the broiler. Place the stone 8 inches below the broiler and preheat for 15-20 minutes.

  • Gently slide the crust directly onto the stone. Bake under the broiler, rotating it every couple minutes with a metal spatula until the edges are golden brown.
  • If you are going to bake in a pan, brush a cookie sheet with olive oil and stretch the dough into a rectangle. Top the pizza and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown.
Recipes
Moroccan Winter Root Stew with Barley
Inspired from a recipe at Epicurious.com. As this recipe calls for beets, it will have a deep purplish-hue. If you don't think you'll like the color, use turnips, rutabaga, golden beets or winter squash instead. Serves 6-8.

Stew
2 TB sunflower oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of saffron
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1 cup 3/4-inch cubes peeled beets
2 cups 1-inch cubes peeled potatoes
2 cups 3/4-inch cubes peeled carrots

Barley
1 cup barley
1 TB butter
1 TB sunflower oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups stock or water
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint, divided
1/2 cup sprouted beans

For stew: Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Mix in paprika and next 8 ingredients. Add 1 cup stock, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Add beets, potatoes and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

For barley: Rinse barley; drain. Melt butter with oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot. Cover; cook until vegetables begin to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and turmeric; sauté 1 minute. Add barley; stir 1 minute. Add water or stock. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, about 35-45 minutes.

Rewarm stew. Stir in half of cilantro and half of mint. Spoon barley onto platter, forming well in center. Spoon stew into well. Sprinkle remaining herbs and sprouted beans over the top.

Braised Beets with Red Cabbage
Also from Epicurious.com this preparation results in a beautiful, deep red hue. Makes a delicious side for fish, pork or poultry. Serves 6.

3/4 pound red cabbage (1/2 small head), cut into wedges, cored
4 medium beets (about 2 inches in diameter), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup (or more) water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Working in batches, coarsely grate cabbage and beets in food processor fitted with grating blade. Set aside. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until brown, about 15 minutes. Mix in cabbage and beets. Add salt, pepper, 1/2 cup water and vinegar. Cover; simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Transfer to bowl; top with parsley.

Valentine Radish and Shoot Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Serve this salad alongside your pizza with Champlain Orchards Marinara and Kaas cheese.

4 valentine radishes shredded
2 carrots shredded
1 cup shredded red cabbage
2 cups shoots

Dressing:
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 TB mayonnaise
2 TB cider vinegar
2 TB minced shallot or onion
1 TB honey

1 cup sprouted beans

Toss first four ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Toss veggies with desired amount of dressing and garnish with sprouted beans.

Apple-Strawberry Crisp
This recipe is based on one from the Cooking with Shelburne Farms cookbook by Melissa Pasanen and Rick Gencarelli. I've substituted strawberries for blackberries to match the share contents, but this basic recipe really works well with so many fruits.

1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar or maple sugar
1 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp table salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4" cubes
1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)

3 pounds apples, peeled cored, and thinly sliced
3 cups frozen, unthawed strawberries
1/3 cup loosely packed cup light brown sugar or maple sugar
2 TB all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Using a food processor, pulse the light and dark brown (or maple) sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together to combine. Add the butter and oatmeal and pulse just until the topping is gravelly with pieces of oatmeal still visible. Set aside.

In a buttered 9x13-inch baking pan or other shallow 3.5 - 4 quart baking dish, toss together the apples, strawberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cover generously with topping, using your hands to squeeze together handfuls and pat them into place. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the topping is dark golden brown and the apples are soft.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - January 14, 2009

Thank you for bringing back your empty plastic bags!

This Week's Share Contains
Mixed Colorful Potatoes; Sugarsnax Carrots; Daikon Radish; Purple Top Turnips; Garlic; Shallots; Black Spanish Radish; Red Hen Sprouted Wheat Levain; Vermont Milk Company Cheese Curds; Miso from Les Aliments Massawippi;

Depending on the share you've signed up for (check the list at pick-up), you will also receive:

Carnivore
Shares
Pete's Chicken Stock

-OR-

Vegetarian
Shares
Vermont Soy Tofu
Tamari from Les Aliments Massawippi

Storage and Use Tips
Black Spanish Radish - Resembling a black, dusty turnip, the black Spanish radish is a great storage vegetable. They are popularly used in making kimchi. They have a pleasant bit of horseradish bite, but not nearly as strong. Try grating the radishes into salads, soups and stews, or braising the radishes alongside other roots like turnips and/or beets. Store radishes loosely wrapped in plastic in your crisper drawer.
Purple Top Turnips - These are the round white globes with a bit of purple color near the top. The white fine-grained flesh is mild and sweet tasting. They are great pickled, sliced in match sticks and added to a stir-fry, in soups and stews or with mashed potatoes. Store loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Chicken Stock - We have been working to refine our chicken stock recipe lately. Going out in the share today are actually 3 different batches, each slightly different than the other. As what you receive today is a work in progress, we are adding it to the share at a reduced rate. No matter which batch you receive, it will make a great base for a chicken, root vegetable, or bean soup, just to name a few! Keep the stock in the freezer if you don't plan on using it in the next several days.
Miso - The miso in your share today is from Les Aliments Massawippi in Quebec. Made with soy and oats, it has been fermented for two years. It has a sweet and salty flavor, so taste your food first before adding additional salt to the recipe. As miso is a living food, it is best not to cook it. Instead, stir miso into a dish after it is removed from the heat to maintain it's nutritional benefits. Kept refrigerated, it will last several years.
Tamari (Vegetarians Only) - You can think of this week's tamari as a living soy sauce, with a deeper, richer flavor. Like the miso, it is alive with beneficial bacteria, so save this tamari for flavoring your food after cooking, or using in uncooked dressings and sauces. It will last several years in your refrigerator.

Shoots & Sprouts
Thanks to all who responded to our survey. Based on the feedback, we will try to include shoots as often as possible and do a rotation with the sprouts and sprouted beans. We had some difficulties in the headhouse this week, but hope to have some living shoots and/or sprouts in the shares next Wednesday.

Pete's Musings
Over the weekend Meg and I sojourned to the coast of Maine to take down a 30 by 100 ft greenhouse and bring it home. The greenhouse is a moveable one at Eliot Coleman's farm. I met Eliot when I was in college and became interested in winter greenhouse greens production. He was gracious with my questions then and has been a good friend and colleague ever since.

Eliot recently turned 70 years old and sold the two largest of his six greenhouses because he wants to spend a year focused on raising animals. He's had intriguing ideas about livestock rearing similar to his vegetable innovations but has been too busy growing veggies year round the past 10 years to explore them. Eliot's addiction to growing is similar to mine. He knows that if a greenhouse exists he will not be able to restrain himself from growing something in it, so removing these two from his property is an important step in immersing himself in animals.

The greenhouse we took down is smaller than those that we are used to, but has a peak vent that makes deconstruction considerably more complicated. Meg was a real trooper, working all day Saturday and Sunday in 10 degree windy weather. On Sunday it was snowing hard and windy enough that when you set down a tool a couple minutes later it was buried by blowing snow. We got done just before dark and stuffed our 20 ft. delivery truck with greenhouse parts. It was great spending a couple evenings with Eliot and his wife Barbara. They are very curious people who will still have new projects and plans when they are 90 years old.

We'll start erecting the greenhouse tomorrow. It will be for starts growing and hardening off and possibly for perennial herb production.

Update on the greenhouse that got stripped of plastic a few weeks back: We got it recovered. There is 3 inches of snow inside the greenhouse on the claytonia and with the weather we have coming it could take awhile to melt. We hope for the return of claytonia this share period but it's hard to say. -Pete
Bulk Order - January 28th Delivery
These are the final days to get your order in for the January 28th Bulk Order delivery. You can purchase our stored roots, alliums and t-shirts on the order. The prices on our bulk vegetable orders rival those that we offer to our stores, so it is a very economical way to purchase local, organic produce.

To place a bulk order:
Print & fill out our Order Form.
Mail your form and check to the farm to arrive no later than January 22nd.
Pick-up your items on January 28th.
Find out more about our bulk orders here. Get more info on our organic T-shirts here.

Montpelier Winter Farmer's Market
If you are looking for some local food to round out your CSA share, you may really enjoy visiting the Montpelier Winter Farmer's Market. I've been amazed at the variety of locally grown and made products I have found so far. In addition to produce from Pete's and other local farmers, there is canned and frozen produce. Lazy Lady Farm, Bonneiview Farm, and Willow Hill Farm are selling their award winning cheeses along with new cheese makers Fat Toad Farm and Ploughgate Creamery. Natural and organic chicken, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, and even emu meat can be found, as well as eggs, honey, and maple syrup. If you are hungry, you can visit one of the food vendors for baked goods, artisan breads, and ethnic foods. The weeks I have been there, there has been live music and some beautiful craft goods to peruse. Tim will be there this Saturday. Stop by and say "hi!"

Dates: 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month December-April
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts Gym, intersection of East State St and College St., Montpelier

2nd Annual Mad River Valley Souper Bowl
The Souper Bowl, a celebration of local food and delicious soups, is a play on words and has nothing to do with football at all. This year's Souper Bowl will be held on Sunday, January 25th 5pm to 8pm at the Round Farm Farm in Waitsfield. The event is conveniently scheduled the Sunday before the "other" Super Bowl assuring that football fans will not miss a single play of the Super Bowl or any play-off games.

Nine valley restaurants will be providing soups for the event. I've seen the soup list and can tell you the valley chef's get pretty inventive. So far, we know that there will be an Indo-Chinese Chicken Soup w/Sweet Corn; a Vermont version of Hoppin' John; a Sweet and Sour Soup with VT Mushrooms and Egg Drops; and a Vegetarian Butternut Squash Soup Swirled with Creme Fraiche. In addition, there will be soups from two guest chefs; Roger Allbee, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture will be preparing and serving a soup as will the Harwood Union High School Jr. Iron Chef Team. Music will be provided by the Mad Mountain Scramblers and there will also be a local foods raffle.

The MRV Localvore Project will use proceeds from the event to once again purchase CSAs for the Food Shelf from the Gaylord Farm and Santa Davida Farm. Last year the CSAs provided fresh local vegetables, berries, eggs and ground beef to the Food Shelf from June through August and the group hopes to be able to make the same level of contribution again this year.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under and can be purchased on-line at the MRV Localvore website. Because of parking limitations, everyone is encouraged to carpool. Each carload of attendees is asked to bring a non-perishable donation for the MRV Food Shelf or to make a $5 contribution that will go directly to the Food Shelf.

Localvore Lore
This week's localvore products are particularly exciting. I feel like there is a lot of nutrition packed into some very tasty products and many of the items are otherwise impossible to come by.

For example, we have miso (for everybody) and tamari (vegetarians only) from Les Aliments Massawippi in North Hatley, Quebec. Tim and I stopped at Les Aliments to pick up these fermented soy products when we got the grains for the share. Gilbert and his wife Suzanne run the company out of their house, making a variety of misos. Though some are made with Japanese seaweed and mushrooms, ours is made exclusively from organic soybeans and oats that have been grown in Quebec. The tamari, or miso damari, is extracted from their miso. Non-pasteurized and aged 3 – 4 years, it is probably the only raw, living and “torrefaction free” tamari in the North American market place.

Tim and I really enjoyed picking up the miso and chatting with Gilbert and Suzanne. They are very knowledgeable and gracious people. Gilbert offered us miso soup and invited us to sit down to lunch with them and their laboratory assistant Nada. They also shared with us the story of how they got involved with making miso and tamari.

While living in Africa, Suzanne saw a real need for healthy, well-keeping food in the indigenous population. She began researching how to make miso, setup up a test kitchen and began what became a small food-processing cooperative, where the local women could sell miso, baked goods, tofu, etc.

Why miso in Africa? Because miso is a living food that is not only nutritious, but contains lactobacilli, enzymes and other micro-organisms beneficial to the body. Lactobacilli protect against pathogen organisms (E. cli bacteria, salmonella, Shigella). Enzymes enhance degestion and the assimilation of nutrients. Other components such as lecithin, linoleic acid and isoflavones help maintain a healthy cholesterol level(1). Plus, once fermented, miso and tamari will last a long time without refrigeration.

Suzanne has written a book about miso, its benefits and recipes for its use. She has many inventive uses for miso, including the two recipes in this newsletter.

(1)Miso: More than Food, Life. Suzanne Dionne.

Another exclusive for the share today is Red Hen's Sprouted Wheat Levain. Sprouting of the grain increases the protein, vitamin and enzyme content of the breads. Moreover, complex starches in the grain are converted to natural sugars, providing an easily digested rich energy source. Randy is excited about getting this bread out to you this week and wrote up the following for the newsletter:

Our CSA offering this month is another exclusive bread featuring local wheat from Ben Gleason in Bridport. We’ve been using Ben’s whole wheat flour for about 8 years, but for this bread we have tried doing something completely different. We asked Ben to send us some wheat berries with his last delivery. Then we sprouted those, roasted them in the oven and cracked them in a mill. Sprouting and roasting the wheat brings out a little bit of sweetness (and makes the bakery smell like a brewery!) and when it is cracked it makes it just a little crunchy and is easily dispersible throughout the bread. The flour in this bread is from the mill in Quebec that I wrote about last month. Let us know what you think. You can drop me a line at randy@redhenbaking.com.

Thanks for supporting local agriculture and food production!

-Randy George
Finally, we have two products in the share from a couple of Hardwick-based companies. Everyone will be getting cheese curds from Vermont Milk Company. They are fun to eat right out of the container, melt nicely into dishes and are the key to making traditional Canadian Poutine - fries with gravy and cheese.

Vegetarians will be receiving two cakes of tofu from Vermont Soy Company. Their tofu is hand-crafted to the highest quality standards using Vermont-grown non-GMO soybeans. Vermont Soy produces a variety of organic soymilks. I will write more about Vermont Soy and the work they are doing later in the share.

Recipes
Simple and Delicious Miso Broth
Adapted from Miso: More than Food, Life. Suzanne Dionne. Makes 1 cup.

1 tsp miso
1 cup hot water or stock
1 tsp shredded black Spanish radish (optional)
1 oz cubed tofu (optional)

Dilute the miso in some of the hot water or stock then fill the cup with the remaining liquid. Garnish with daikon and tofu if desired.

Miso Consomme
Adapted from Miso: More than Food, Life. Suzanne says that "the consomme can be taken as is, used as a base for preparing soup or added to any recipe calling for a broth. With the slight addition of red wine it becomes an excellent bouillon for Chinese fondue." Makes 2 1/2 cups.

1 TB sunflower oil
1 onion quartered
1 carrot quartered
1/2 turnip coarsely chopped
2 to 5 cloves garlic halved
2 whole cloves
3 bay leaves
6 pepper corns
1/2 tsp of thyme
4 cups of water
2 TB miso diluted in 1/4 cup of hot water
1 sprig of parsley fined chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and saute all the ingredients except for the miso, water and parsley. Cook at low heat for 5 minutes. Add the water, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the mixture. Mix in the diluted miso. Add the chopped parsley and serve hot.

Salmon with Soba Noodles and Veggies in Miso Sauce
Thanks go to Suzanne Podhaizer of Seven Days for this miso recipe. Vegetarians can make this with marinated tofu. Suzanne says: "This recipe can be modified to use any vegetables you desire: daikon, broccoli, baby spinach or scallions would all be good additions. I like a lot of miso, but you can always start with less, or add more, as you desire." Based on today's share, I would substitute in shredded daikon or purple top turnip matchsticks for the salad turnips. Add the purple tops when you put in the carrots. Serves 2.

sunflower oil
1/2 c. diced onion or shallot
2 carrots, chopped into "coins"
1 large salad turnip, or 2 medium, chopped
1 1/2 c. shredded cabbage
mirin
rice wine vinegar
soy sauce or tamari
2 yellowfin tuna steaks
2 bunches soba noodles
2 T. miso
1/2 c. water
sesame oil

Place a big pot of water over high heat and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 T. oil in pan over medium heat. When hot but not smoking, add onions and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add carrots, and after about two minutes add the cabbage and turnip. When the vegetables are just tender, drizzle in just a touch of soy sauce, mirin and vinegar, and cook another minute or two until the pan is nearly dry. Set the vegetables aside.

Put another tablespoon of oil in an oven-safe pan and place over medium heat. Pat the tuna steaks dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, add the tuna steaks and sear. When they have browned and release fairly easily from the pan without breaking, turn them and place the pan in the oven.

Make sure that the water has come to a boil, salt the water, and add the soba noodles. Cook according to package directions (usually around 5 minutes).

Mix the miso and water in a small dish. When the pasta is done, drain rinse very briefly in cool water and return to the pot. Add the vegetables and miso mixture.

When the fish is done to your liking (I like mine pink in the middle), remove it from the pan and again, place the pan over medium heat. Deglaze with a couple tablespoons of mirin and a splash of vinegar, scraping any browned bits off of the bottom and let the mixture simmer and reduce. Pour it over the noodle and vegetable mixture and add a little sesame oil. Slice each tuna steak and lay the pieces atop the noodle mixture. Serve.

Radish Slaw
I found this recipe at the Marquita Farms website, located in California. They have a page dedicated to black Spanish radish recipes. They indicate that the cabbage is optional.

2-3 black Spanish radishes, scrubbed and grated
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 cup coarsely grated carrots, any color
1/2 cup thinly sliced green or red onion or shallots
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint leaves

In a bowl toss together the radishes, the cabbage, the carrots, the onion, the lemon juice, the sugar, the oil, the herb, and salt and pepper to taste.

Mashed Potato and Shallot Gratin
Mashing together a variety of the colorful potatoes results in a pink to bluish hue. Adding cheese to the mix should appeal to the kid in all of us. Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serves 6.

2 TB butter or sunflower oil
3/4 cup minced shallots
3 lbs. mixed potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 oz cheese curds, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Butter 6- to 8-cup ovenproof dish. Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes, decreasing heat if necessary so as not to brown. Drain potatoes; return to same pot. Add cheese and mash well. Mix in sour cream and milk, then the shallots. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. Spoon potatoes into prepared dish; dot with chilled butter. (Can be made 2 hours ahead; let stand at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake potatoes until heated through and beginning to brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - January 7, 2009

This Week's Share Contains
Mix of Fiona, Chioggia, Red & Gold Beets; Purple Potatoes; Parsnips; Red Mars Onions; Sprouted Beans; Sunflower and Radish Shoots; Green Cabbage; Rutabaga; Elmore Mountain Rosemary & Sea Salt Focaccia Bread; Bonnieview Farm Feta Cheese;

Depending on the share you've signed up for (check the list at pick-up), you will also receive:

Carnivore Shares: Shuttleworth Farm Ground Lamb
-OR-
Vegetarian
Shares: Mixed Cracked Grains & Frozen Tomatoes

Storage and Use Tips
Mixed Beets - This week your mix of beets will contain fiona, chioggia, red and/or gold beets. The fionas are the finger shaped roots, not to be confused with the purple potatoes in your bags. The chioggia are a deep pink on the outside, with candy pink and white stripes on the inside. From there you can pick out the red and gold. To see pictures of all of these varieties, please see our Root Vegetable Identification Chart. To maintain the beautiful colors of the chioggia and gold beets, cook the red and fiona beets separately. If roasting, you can package the beets up in different foil packages, tossed with sunflower oil and salt. I like to cut my beets up into like-sized pieces. I roast them in a 400F oven for about 50-60 minutes, until a knife easily slips in and out of a piece. Skin them once they are cool enough to handle. Store beets loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Sprouted Beans - The sprouted beans in your share today are a mix of red, green and black lentils; adzuki; fenugreek; and mung. We are really excited about these, as they sprout easily in the headhouse and pack a lot of nutritional punch into a small package. Wikipedia gives a good rundown on the nutritional benefits of bean sprouts. These are perfect as a snack; tossed into a salad; garnish for soup or chili; or used in a stir-fry. It's hard to find nutritional information about the effects of cooking sprouted beans. However, most likely, the heat would kill some or all of the beneficial enzymes in the sprouts. Keep sprouts refrigerated and rinse and drain just before use.
Sunflower & Radish Shoots - In order to distinguish between the more green and lush soil-grown sprout varieties, we have decided to refer to them from now on as shoots. This week's mix is made up of the cut seedlings of sunflower and radish. We will also mix in pea and buckwheat as the season progresses. These shoots can be used in place of greens in a salad and are awesome on sandwiches and in wraps. I particularly like them with hummus, as well as egg salad. Rinse and drain just before use. Keep in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Frozen Tomatoes - (Vegetarian shares only.) Keep these frozen until ready to use, then run the tomatoes under warm water. This will loosen the skin enough to be peeled right off. Let them thaw a bit more, then chop and use as you would canned, chopped tomatoes. After peeling, coring then thawing the tomatoes, you can also give them a whirl in the food processor and use in recipes calling for canned, (unseasoned), tomato sauce.
Mixed Cracked Grains - (Vegetarian shares only.) These organic mixed cracked grains are made up of wheat, barley, rye, oat and flax. They make a delicious breakfast cereal. Use a 2-to-1 ratio of liquid to grains, perhaps even a bit more liquid. We like to use half water and half milk, but all water is fine too. You can enjoy a softer porridge if you soak the grains in the water overnight. The grains are also great mixed in with rolled oats to make granola, or used on their own to make a pilaf. Store as you would rice, oats or barley.

Pete's Musings
We have fired up the sprout house and boy is it fun! Sprouting and growing soil grown shoots is pretty new for Pete's Greens and there is a lot to learn. We have a 10 by 30 ft facility with radiant heat and this week we grew sunflower and radish shoots and a multi bean sprout mix. Next week we are aiming for an alfalfa/clover sprout mix and more sunflower and radish shoots. The 82-degree sprout house is a humid tropical paradise in the Vermont winter. We hope you like the sprouts. -Pete

Farm Update
Pete was out an about with my camera yesterday and captured some shots of the greenhouse with the ripped plastic. If the wind was quiet enough this morning, the crew was scheduled to put on the new plastic from Montreal first thing. We'll keep you posted as to how the claytonia grows back.











Click on picture to see more shots.

The other pictures are from the sprouts room in the headhouse. This area is kept very warm and moist and we can grow up to three full shelves of soil-grown shoots under the grow lights. At this point, we need about 2 1/2 shelves to grow enough shoots for all the CSA shareholders.


Also in this room are several industrial-sized buckets for sprouting our beans.

Stepping into this room feels about like stepping into a steam bath, especially when you've still got your winter coat and gloves on!

I will be sending out a survey about our winter sprouts and shoots later this week. We would appreciate it if you could sample them right away so that you are better able to provide feedback on them.

Cranberry Juice from Last Week
It has come to our attention that one of the batches of cranberry juice that was deliveredLink last week may have been off-tasting. Cranberry Bob made several batches for the CSA, so we are hoping this is a limited phenomenon. All of the cranberry juice is super-strength, so is better when diluted with water, seltzer, vodka, etc. I usually add just a couple of tablespoons to a full glass of seltzer. If it's too tart, you can also add honey or maple syrup. If you follow these steps, but still feel like you received a bottle that you are not happy with, please let me know by this Friday, January 9th. We will work with Bob to get replacements. Thanks!

Bulk Order for January 28th
Thank you to all who ordered veggies and localvore items in last month's bulk order. It's a convenient and economical way to stock up on winter vegetables that you really enjoy. Though we ran out of localvore items, we still have a wide-selection of roots and alliums available. You can also order Pete's Greens T-shirts as part of the bulk order.

To place a bulk order:

  • Print & fill out our Order Form.
  • Mail your form and check to the farm to arrive no later than January 22nd.
  • Pick-up your items on January 28th.
We tentatively have another bulk order scheduled for February 25th. Find out more about our bulk orders here.

Localvore Lore
I was feeling very Mediterranean as this share came together. There are some wonderful meals to be made here with lamb (or frozen tomatoes), feta cheese and focaccia.

This is the first time that we've worked with the folks at Shuttleworth Farm and we are very excited to bring you their ground lamb this week. Todd and Kelli picked up the tradition of farming from Todd's Grandparents. Although Todd began with milking cows, he and Kelli quickly decided to make the move to pastured beef and lamb. They do an admirable job grass feeding their livestock for as much as the year as possible. Most of the lamb in the share today is 100% grass fed. There are about 30 packages, though, that were taken from their winter lambs. These animals were 100% pastured until the last few weeks of their lives when they were brought into the barn for the winter. Here is some more about Shuttleworth's lamb-raising practices taken from their website:
At Shuttleworth Farm, we believe that healthy animals provide us with healthy food, and healthy animals should eat what nature designed them to. In the case of sheep, that means an all grass diet.

We raise the best of rare French, British and American breeds of sheep. These animals were selected exclusively for their meat quality and their ability to thrive on a grass-only diet.


This technique of raising animals makes their meat naturally lean, better tasting, and exceptionally tender. When compared to grain-fed meats, grass-fed, pasture-raised lamb is much lower in fat, higher in heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLA's). It is also excellent sources of Vitamins A, B3, B6, B12, D and E.


From birth, our animals receive nothing but mother's milk, our own high quality hay and lush pasture. Instead of grain, they are moved to new paddocks of fresh grass every day during the grazing season.

Paddock shifts occur in the evening, as the grasses contain the maximum amount of nutritional value from the photosynthesis of the day's sunshine. The sheep gather at the edge of the paddock and wait, impatiently, while we build the next fence. Once completed, we open the gate and the flock rushes happily in, glad to have a fresh smorgasbord in front of them.


In the winter months we move our animals into the barns. They are fed corn and dry hay and are bedded with straw to form a 'pack.' This 'pack' heats up as it decomposes to create a warm bed for the animals, and also serves as a perfect start to the compost we spread on our fields.
Instead of lamb, our vegetarian members will be receiving frozen tomatoes and mixed cracked grains. The tomatoes were picked from our field at the height of the season and frozen to maintain their sweet summer flavor. Please see the Storage and Use Tips above to make the best use of these crimson globes.

The mixed cracked grains are certified organic and come to us from Compton, Quebec via La Panciata bakery in Northfield, VT. When Tim and I picked up our grains from Michel Gaudreau at Golden Crops, the local mixed grains had not yet been cracked. I had originally discovered Golden Crops from Glen Loati, the owner of La Panciata, a few years back. Glen has been importing Michel's organic grains for his bread for some time. He also helps the Mad River Valley Localvores organize a twice-yearly bulk oat order for much of North Central Vermont.

Anyways, Glen graciously offered us some of his Quebec mixed cracked grains, allowing us to provide this treat to our vegetarian shareholders this week. For more about using the grains, see the Storage and Use section above.

Everyone will be receiving the feta cheese from Bonnieview Farm. I have to admit that I love this cheese. I buy it whenever I can find it. I think that it's the perfect balance of creamy, tart and tangy that defines an outstanding feta cheese. If you can stop yourself from eating it straight, it also works well in salads and casseroles.

Finally, when Andrew Heyn told me that they were thinking of making a focaccia bread later in the share, I knew this would be the perfect week to provide it for you. With rosemary and sea salt, it can't be beat. As Andrew emailed me earlier today, "The smell from these was so intoxicating as they came out of the oven, we gobbled a whole loaf right away. I think it will be a great accompaniment to this week's lamb and feta."

Bread Ingredients: Quebec Bread Flour, Quebec Whole Wheat Flour, Spring Water, Quebec Sunflower Oil, Rosemary, Maine Sea Salt, Yeast.

Happy Eating!

Recipes
Greek Spiced Shepard's Pie
Inspired from a recipe at Epicurious.com. Serves 4.

For the lamb mixture
1 TB sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves minced garlic
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
1 lb. ground lamb
3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tsp crumbled dried mint
1 tsp crumbled dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 lb can plum tomatoes, drained, reserving 1/2 cup of the juice, and chopped
1 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 lb. crumbled feta cheese

For the topping
1.5 lbs potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk or cream
1/4 lb. crumbled feta cheese

Make the lamb mixture
In a large skillet heat the oil over moderate heat, add the onion and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the garlic and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the parsnips and carrots, lower heat slightly and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lamb, increase heat slightly and cook the mixture, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the lamb is no longer pink. Pour off any excess fat from the skillet, add the cinnamon, the mint, the oregano, and the allspice, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with the reserved juice, the tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 15 minutes, or until it is thickened. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the feta. The lamb mixture improves in flavor if made up to this point and kept, covered and chilled, overnight. Bring to room temperature before continuing. Spread the mixture in a buttered 8x8 baking dish, or small casserole.

Make the topping
In a large saucepan combine the potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, with enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch, and some salt. Bring the water to a boil, and simmer the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are tender. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pan, and cook them over moderate heat, shaking the pan, for 30 seconds to evaporate any excess liquid. Force the potatoes through a ricer or the medium disk of a food mill into a bowl, add the butter, the milk or cream, the feta, and salt and pepper to taste, and stir the mixture until it is combined well and butter is melted.

Spoon the topping over the lamb mixture, spreading it to cover the lamb mixture completely. Bake the potpie in the middle of a preheated 400°F. oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it is browned lightly.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Chermoula
Carolyn Malcoun contributed this Eating Well recipe a couple of weeks back. I've modified it to better represent the vegetables in this week's share. If you don't still have any winter squash on hand, you can any other root vegetables you have. The vegetables are roasted with chermoula (also spelled charmoula), a quintessential Moroccan spice combination. (Any combination will work in this dish; start with about 12 cups of peeled vegetable pieces.) Serves 6.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons paprika, preferably sweet Hungarian
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 ounces peeled and seeded winter squash, cut into 1-inch chunks

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place oil, garlic, paprika, cumin and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse or blend until smooth. Place all the vegetables in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the pieces in a single layer. Toss with the spiced oil mixture until well combined. Roast the vegetables, stirring once or twice, until tender, 45 to 50 minutes.

Carolyn suggests serving the delicious roots with a dollop of plain yogurt.

Roasted Beet, Shoot and Sprout Salad
Serve this salad with a slice of the focaccia on the side for a light lunch or dinner, or serve it as an accompaniment for a heartier meal. Serves 4.

1 TB apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 TB minced shallot (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 TB sunflower or extra virgin olive oil

4 small to medium roasted beets, chopped in 1/2" pieces*
2 cups mixed sunflower and radish shoots
1 cup sprouted beans
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1 TB toasted pine nuts

To make the dressing, combine the first 8 ingredients in a food processor. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Toss together the beets, shoots, and sprouts. Sprinkle with cheese and pine nuts. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing.

*See instructions for roasting beets in the Storage & Use section at the top of the newsletter.