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:

Pete's Chicken Stock


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

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.

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
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 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.

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