Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - February 25, 2009

Please bring back your empty plastic bags when you pick-up. Thank you for helping with our recycling effort!

This Week's Share Contains
Mixed Colorful Carrots; Mixed Potatoes; Celeriac; Mixed Medium Beets; Garlic Cloves; Mix of Pea, Sunflower & Radish Shoots; Sprouted Beans; Garlic Cloves; Red Hen Pain au Levain; Champlain Orchards Apple Butter; Cabot Clothbound Cheddar.

Storage and Use Tips
Mixed Potatoes - You will find a variety of our favorite potatoes in your bags today, including Nicola (described in last week's newsletter), Viking (pink and purple skin with white flesh) and Adirondack Red (Red skin with pink and white flesh). All would be great in a potato salad, mashed separately or together or sliced for frying or baking en casserole. To maintain the beautiful colors, scrub these potatoes instead of peeling, if the recipe will allow. As mentioned last week, store your potatoes in a cool, dark environment away from onions. Cook's Illustrated goes a step further and recommends storing them with an apple in the bag.
Celeriac - Though entirely different in appearance from celery in the grocery store, celeriac is in the celery family. Also known as "celery root," it is grown for it's root instead of its stalk and has a hint of celery taste and smell. Peel celery root carefully so as not to loose too much of its cream colored flesh. Celeriac makes a tasty raw salad, though it should be mixed in with a bit of acid, like vinegar or lemon juice, to keep it from turning brown. It is also delicious in soups, casseroles, gratins, or boiled and mashed with potatoes. Celeriac should be stored unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.
Garlic Cloves - Sadly, our garlic harvest from last year is on its last legs. We've been getting some comments lately that members have peeled their garlic only to find that one or more cloves have rotted in the head. This week we've gone ahead and separated the cloves and taken a peek to make sure that everyone receives their garlic before it goes brown. The cloves will be in their own paper bag within the larger vegetable bag. Store these cloves in your fridge deli drawer for best results. If you have any heads of garlic left from prior shares, your best for keeping would be to toss them in the fridge too.
Sprouted Beans - The sprouted beans in your share today are a mix of red, green and black lentils; adzuki; fenugreek; and mung. The beans sprout easily in the headhouse and pack a lot of nutritional punch into a small package. If you haven't already read it, 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.

Pete's Musings
Our first greenhouse is growing and in great shape. We have thousands of onions up, hundreds of tomatoes and peppers, and lots of other early greenhouse transplant crops such as scallions, pac choi, cilantro, Napa cabbage and more. Also 40 by 100 ft of greenhouse greens are about 10 days from harvest. These include arugula, mustard and tatsoi. You'll see them mixed with the shoots from the shoot room in a of couple weeks.

We are adjusting the shoot mixture, greatly increasing the proportion of pea and sunflower shoots and reducing the radish that is awfully spicy. We have finally figured out how to grow pea shoots. They are tricky but taste great, so our perseverance has been worth the effort.

We're hoping for some consistent sunshine in the forecast. The unheated greenhouses are ready to start growing, but just don't do much when the weather is so cloudy. This is the leanest time of year and we are eagerly awaiting new growth. Thanks for signing up for this share. We were worried that with current economic fears signups would be reduced, but we are close to the number we were shooting for and really appreciate your support. -Pete

A Few More Spring Share Spots Left
We are close to closing the Spring Share, but can still accommodate 10-15 more members. If you know of somebody who would enjoy this transitional season, from root crops to spring greenhouse growth, please encourage them to sign-up. All the details are available on our Good Eats pages. Thanks!

Still Searching for a Richmond Site
As those of you who used to pick-up at NOFA know, we have been furiously searching for a location in Richmond near the highway. I've had 3 places that looked promising, but all have fallen through. We are attempting to use our fuel and time as efficiently as possible, and thus are concentrating our route. Staying right at the exit would help us out a lot. If anyone has a suggestion of a location right by exit 11, please shoot me an email. It could be a business with a similar world outlook or even somebody's house.

Looking or a New CSA Manager
Do you read this newsletter each week and think, "I could write that," or, "I could write that better!"? We are looking for somebody to pick up the reigns of managing our GOOD EATS shares as well as other creative marketing tasks. The position requires someone who is passionate about sustainable agriculture and cooking with local food. Interested? Click here to find out more.

Bulk Order - March 11th Delivery
March 11th will be our final bulk order delivery for the season. Our bulk order prices are close to the prices we offer to stores, so it's also a great way to save money. As the variety of extra veggies to sell in bulk is getting pretty narrow, we decided to include frozen strawberries from Four Corners Farm in Newbury, VT, on this month's form. You can order Pete's Greens t-shirts as part of the bulk order too. They're a great way to show your support for local agriculture and our farm.

To place a bulk order:

  • Print & fill out our Order Form.
  • Mail your form and check to the farm to arrive no later than March 5th.
  • Pick-up your items on March 11th.
Find out more about our bulk orders here.
Molly Stevens Braising Class
Cookbook author and Vermont Fresh Network founder Molly Stevens will be conducting two classes on braising this Friday, February 27th, at The Store in Waitsfield. Molly wrote the James Beard award-winning book, All About Braising, the Art of Uncomplicated Cooking. Braising is an excellent cooking technique for making delicious meals out of less expensive cuts of meat. Molly applies this skill to vegetables, other cuts of meat and poultry as well. She will be preparing and serving dishes from the book at both an afternoon (2:30 to 4pm) and evening (5:30 to 7pm) class on Friday. Contact The Store for more details or to sign-up.

Localvore 'Lore
Next week we promise to get away from the apples, bread and cheese theme, but this week we are still enjoying the combination. A slightly different take than last week, our share includes Red Hen's classic Pain au Levain loaf. The Pain au Levain is made with 10% whole-wheat bread flour from Ben Gleason in Bridport, VT, and 90% organic flour from Quebec. The blend from Quebec is actually 80% grown in that province and 20% from Saskatchewan for its higher protein content. Pain au Levain is a classic, dense artisan loaf with a thick crust and chewy interior. It will last for several days stored in its paper bag in a drawer.

On weeks that we have Red Hen bread in the share, I get involved in the loaf deliveries. Red Hen bakes their loaves early in the morning. As their bakery is several stops into our CSA route, I pick up the loaves destined for Montpelier, Hardwick and Craftsbury on my way to the farm from Warren. I meet Tim at May Day studio with their loaves, then continue on to deliver bread to The Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick and bring the remaining loaves for the CSA pick-up at Pete's. The smell of 70+ loaves of freshly baked bread in my Jetta could drive a hungry person mad!

Tim gets the balance of the loaves when he stops to setup the CSA site at Red Hen, and then continues on up to Burlington, and the rest of the sites.

Champlain Orchards contributed apple butter to the share this week to spread on your freshly baked bread. There is, of course, actually no butter or dairy of any kind in apple butter. Instead, it is a highly concentrated form of applesauce. To make apple butter, the apples are very slowly cooked down with cider or water until the sugar in the apples caramelizes, giving the mixture its distinctive dark brown hue. Because of the concentration of sugar, apple butter has a much longer shelf life than sauce. It can be kept at room temperature until the seal is broken. Once opened, however, keep it in the fridge.

Champlain Orchards makes their apple butter with cinnamon and other spices, but no added sugar. Perfect for glazing chicken or pork roast, the apple butter is also highlighted in Champlain Orchard's Bourbon Apple Butter Ribs recipe.

Finally, we are very excited to have Cabot Clothbound Cheddar in the share today. Aged at Jasper Hill Cellars, the clothbound cheddar can be very hard to track down in Vermont. Much of the cheese is sold out of state, as this San Francisco Chronicle article will attest. Named "Best of Show” at the 2006 American Cheese Society Annual Conference, this old world style cheddar is made from pasteurized milk and aged for 10-18 months. Jasper Hill describes Cabot Clothbound as "Sweet and caramel-like with a crystalline structure." I just call it "delicious cheddar."

Apple Butter and Cheddar Crostini
These crostini are the perfect combination of this week's share ingredients. Serve along side a shoot salad.

pain au levain, thinly sliced
apple butter
minced shallots
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350F. Lay thinly sliced bread on a cookie sheet. Bake for 3-5 minutes, until just beginning to crust, but not turn color. Spread lightly with apple butter, sprinkle on a few pieces of minced shallots and place thinly sliced cheese on top. Place back in oven until cheese begins to melt.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Thinking about Mardis Gras got me thinking about New Orleans, which got me thinking about gumbo. You can actually do this pretty locally. My husband Bob, who is in the kitchen now, is using sausage from Maple Wind farm, Pete's stock, and chicken from my neighbor. We subbed celeriac for the celery, frozen chives from my garden for the green onions, and also hit the freezer for parsley and peppers. Recipe adapted from The Chicago Tribune Cookbook. Serves 8.

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 chicken, about 4 lbs, quartered
1/2 cup flour
1 pound andouille or kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch-thick-slices (or crumbled)
2 cups each, chopped onion, chopped celery
1 cup chopped green onions
1/4 chopped parsley
5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken stock
3 bay leaves, crumbled
2 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp each: dried leaf thyme, freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 1/2 to 3 TB file powder
cooked rice or barley
hot pepper sauce to taste

Heat oil in a 7 or 9 quart heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken quarters in single layer. Cook until brown on all sides. Remove and reserve chicken. Add flour to hot oil and stir until smooth. Cook and stir constantly, over medium-high heat, until roux is the color of cinnamon. Remove from heat. Stir in sliced sausage, yellow onions, celery, green onions, green pepper, parsley and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, scraping up brown bits from bottom of the pan. Stir in browned chicken, bay leaves, salt, thyme, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir in remaining broth. Heat to boil over medium heat. Skim off surface scum. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered until chicken is tender, 35-45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Remove chicken pieces from gumbo. Skim all fat from surface of gumbo. Remove skin and bones from chicken and discard. Shred chicken and add back to pot. Reheat to boil. Remove from heat; let simmer die down. Add file powder and stir. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve in soup bowls over rice or barley. Pass the hot pepper sauce.

Potato-Carrot Cakes
This recipe is adapted from City Market. They were cooking these easy and delicious pancakes at a colloquium I attended a year or so back.

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 clove minced garlic
2 TB minced shallot
salt and pepper to taste

3/4 lb. potatoes, peeled
1/2 lb. carrots, peeled
1/2 cup minced shallots or onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (made from local, stale bread)
1/4 cup canola oil for frying

Combine yogurt, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper. Set in fridge. Grate potatoes and carrots. Transfer to a large bowl; add onions, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Mix in egg and breadcrumbs until combined. Divide into twelve mounds; flatten each to 1/4" thickness. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancakes. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain; immediately sprinkle with salt. Serve with yogurt sauce.

Sprouted Bean Salad with Roasted Beets
I adapted this recipe from the Food Network site. The original recipe is attributed to Sophia Wakefield of the Harvest Bakery and Cafe, Jackson Hole, WY. I added beets for color and variety.

2 cups sprouted beans
1 cup roasted beets, in a small dice
1/3 cup minced cilantro leaves
3 TB lemon juice
3 TB sunflower or olive oil
1 TB muchi (spicy) curry powder
Pinch organic cayenne pepper
2 tsp soy or tamari sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp stone-ground mustard

Toss all of the ingredients together in a serving bowl. Serve immediately.

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