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.
Moroccan Winter Root Stew with Barley
Inspired from a recipe at 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.

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

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 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

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.

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