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 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.
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.

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