Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - March 11, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
Orange Storage Carrots; Yellow Storage Onions; Garlic Cloves; Mix of Shoots, Baby Arugula & Mustard Greens; Mixed Potatoes; Frozen Strawberries from Four Corners Farm; Gleason Grains Wheat Berries; Miso Damari (Tamari) from Les Aliments Massawippi; Oyster -or- Shitaki Mushrooms from Amir Habib.

First Meat Share
We are very excited to deliver our first meat share this week. Please note these items are only for those who paid for a separate meat share. Check to be sure that your name is on the meat list before taking any meat. Please see below for a complete description of this week's contents.

Storage and Use Tips
Greens Mix - It might be white on your lawn, but there'll be greens in your kitchen this week! Hooray! This is the first week that we have new baby greens from the greenhouse to mix in with the sprouts. The greens are baby mustard and arugula. The shoots are pea, sunflower and radish. Mixed all together and tossed with some dressing, you can have your first proper salad of the season. Our washhouse crew typically does a thorough job of cleaning the greens and shoots, so you shouldn't have to rewash at home. If there is any excess moisture in your greens bag, throw in a dishtowel or paper towel before placing the bag in your crisper drawer.
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.
Wheat Berries - Wheat berries are the unprocessed seed (or kernel) of wheat. To make flour, dried wheat berries are ground in a mill. Unsifted, you will end up with whole wheat flour. White flour is ground wheat berries with the bran and germ (a.k.a. nutrition) removed. Instead of grinding these wheat berries, however, try cooking them. They make a great salad, pilaf, stuffing, casserole, salad garnish or substitute for rice.

Soaking your wheat berries overnight will speed cooking and save energy. Soak them in cold water for 8 to 12 hours, change the water, then simmer them for about an hour. I like to cook them in plenty of water (say 4-5 cups of water to 1 cup wheat berries), then just drain any extra water off at the end. You'll know they are finished cooking once they've puffed up and they are no longer firm to the tooth. I have read that salted cooking water will make the berries tougher. While I haven't tested this theory myself, I just salt them at the end to be sure.

One cup of dry wheat berries will make enough to serve a family of four. I like to make extra wheat berries when I cook them, say 2 dry cups, then use the extras for a second meal later in the week, or freeze half for later in the month.

Pete's Musings
We are delving into trying to find reasonably affordable health care for our employees. Most of us who work at Pete's Greens have been without insurance for years and it seems time to try to get us all covered. Vermont's Catamount plan has potential especially for single folks and couples, but gets pretty pricey for families. We're also investigating plans through our Chamber of Commerce. If any of you are savvy with health insurance and how it relates to a business like ours and would like to share your knowledge, please email me. Thanks. -Pete

Bulk Order Pick-up This Week
If you placed a bulk order with us, please look for it when you pick-up this week. Frozen strawberries will be in the cooler with your name on it.

Save the Date for a Localvore Community Potluck in Waitsfield!
Elizabeth Metraux, one of our shareholders and friend of the farm, asked me to pass along this announcement to our CSA members. She thought, and Pete and I agreed, that it is the type of event our members might be interested in attending.

Date: Sunday, July 12th (rain date: Sunday, July 19th)
Time: 1:00pm
Location: TBD

As a way to connect with fellow CSA members and enjoy some amazing, local food, PH International (Project Harmony) of Waitsfield, VT, is organizing a community potluck. PH will be hosting 30 student activists and filmmakers from across the U.S. and the Caucasus during the month of July, as they create films about issues that affect teens around the globe – from conflict to climate change. And what better way to give these young people a flavor of Vermont than to put on a quintessentially Vermont event. We’re asking CSA members to save the date, spread the word, whip up a favorite dish and join us for a celebration of local eating and global community. Because I’m still in the early planning stages of this, if you have any suggestions about a great (free!) venue, good musicians, etc., don’t hesitate to let me know! For more information, see our announcement, or contact me at elizabeth.metraux@ph-int.org.

A million thanks!
Elizabeth
Upcoming Classes
Seed Ordering and Garden Planning Workshop & Fundraiser, Saturday March 14th, 2:00-4:00 pm, taking place at the Vermont Foodbank’s Manosh Branch in Wolcott and sponsored by High Mowing Organic Seeds. 10% off High Mowing Organic Seeds; 100% of the proceeds to benefit the Vermont Foodbank’s Salvation Farms Gleaning Network.

Seed Starting with High Mowing Seeds, Saturday March 28, 4-6pm at the HMS greenhouse,Wolcott. Think starting seeds is only for commercial growers? Want to brush up on or expand your seed starting skills? Then you should join Salvation Farms and High Mowing Seeds for some hands-on experience starting a variety of seeds for transplant! Many sizes and varieties of seeds will be covered. Help High Mowing Seeds start seeds for their trial garden, and take home some starts of your own! In-depth instruction provided.

Workshops are free and open to the public. Contact Rebecca Beidler for directions and registration at 802-472-8280.

Localvore 'Lore
As some of you already know, we typically make one road trip per share up to Quebec to get grains, miso, popcorn, or whatever other local specialties we can find to supplement what we grow and make down here in Vermont. Last Wednesday was the day to go "shopping" for the Spring Share and I convinced my husband to take a day off of work and make it a date-day.

It was a wicked cold morning when we pulled into Pete's to get the truck, our thermometer reading -9F. It took Pete and my husband, Bob, a good half hour to get the truck started. I had worn the wrong boots entirely, and luckily got the cake job of sitting in Pete's pick-up truck, (that was hooked up to the delivery truck with jumper cables), revving the engine whenever Pete tried to crank the truck. Bob stood outside and squirted a can of ether into the truck's air intake at the same time. Finally, the engine caught and we were on our way.

It's only about an hour and twenty minute ride to Michel Gaudreau's grain mill in Compton, which was our first stop. We picked up oats and mixed crack grains from Michel. I'll talk more about Michel's operation in an upcoming newsletter. After a quick cafe and croissant in Compton, we headed over to Les Aliments Massawippi to pick-up some miso and tamari.

Gilbert and Suzanne have a high-tech miso production facility in the basement of their home in North Hatley. They are both passionate about the quality of their miso and tamari and the health benefits that these living foods can bring to one's diet. They make a variety of misos, including those based on rice, soy, oats and barley. They have a local supply for all but the rice at this point. Bob and I joined Gilbert and Suzanne in a flavorful cup of miso, the kind that will be in your share later this period, and listened to them talk about miso and tamari.

During the fermentation process, the fermenting grains (or miso) will slowly exude liquid. This is the miso damari, or tamari. Gilbert and Suzanne capture the tamari at least a couple of times during the fermentation process. The height of the tamari in the miso vats actually rises and falls with the moon, much like a tide. We have tamari from a couple of different batches in the share today, some from soya and oats, and some from soya and barley.

If you have never tried fermented tamari before, you'll find that it is much like soy sauce, but with a fuller richer flavor. One of our vegetarian share members, who received the tamari last period, commented that she hoarded it, only using it a teaspoonful at a time. It really is that much better than soy sauce. You can use it to flavor stirfries, sauces, salad dressings, soups, grains and more.

It is important to note that like miso, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods, tamari is alive with lactobacilli. These microscopic bacteria are good for your digestive system, but can be easily killed with too much heat. If at all possible, try to use your tamari at the end of the cooking process, stirring it in at the very end, once the pan has come off of the heat.

Once we had the tamari and miso in the truck, Bob and I headed to Magog for lunch. Magog is a charming town with a main street filled with stores and restaurants. After buying proper winter boots and grabbing a quick bite to eat, Bob and headed back to the farm with our Quebec bounty.

It takes about 10 minutes or so to cross the border at Derby Line, if all of your paperwork is in order. The customs officer did ask us to open our trailer doors so they could confirm that we were indeed carrying grains and miso. But, other than that, it was an uneventful crossing.

We have two other localvore items that I think will go particularly well with the tamari this week: wheat berries and mushrooms. The wheat berries are from Ben Gleason's farm in Bridport, VT. We will be tapping Ben again later in the period to provide some flour for the share. The mushrooms are grown by Amir Habib in Colchester. We have oyster and shitaki in the share this week, the proportion of each is determined by Amir's weekly harvest. We are trying to mix the bags this week, with each site getting at least some oysters and some shitakis. Again, how many of each type will end up at any given location will depend on how much Amir was able to harvest of each type.

About the Meat Share
Well, finally, here it is, our first ever meat share from Pete's. I tried to put together a variety of meats that would be interesting, diverse and stretch the value of the share. As promised, I did my best to investigate all of the providers in this week's share. They may not all be organic, but they all appear to have their animals' interest at heart. If you have any feedback on the items, selection, value, etc., please email me. I would love to have your feedback! The items in this week's share are:

Country Style Ribs from North Hollow Farm - Located in Randolph, North Hollow farm raises its pigs with access to an outside area. They are working on their "humanely raised" certification. Country style ribs are one of our family's favorite cuts. You can marinate and slow cook them, finishing them off on the grill or under the broiler. You can also cut them up and use them to make chili, stews, or a rustic pasta sauce (see recipe below).
Sausage from Maple Wind Farm - Maple Wind does an exemplary job of raising their animals. I bought a half pig from Beth and Bruce this past summer and will admit it's some of the best pork I've ever cooked. And, since they pasture all of their animals, it's a purchasing decision I really feel good about. As they did not have 50 packages of any one variety, there is a mix going out. Please take only one of either, pork chorizo, mild pork breakfast, or sweet Italian lamb (very limited).
Veal Cutlets from Applecheek Farm - John and Rocio Clark are very proud of how they run their farm and raise their animals. Their meat is all certified organic. According to Rocio, "Our veal is raised the old fashioned way, with plenty of milk from their mothers. They nurse whenever they choose; with plenty of grass in our certified organic fields and with plenty of fresh air and sunshine. As a result, their meat is rosy pink with a robust flavor and great tenderness and is very high in nutrients. The calves are born in the spring and slaughter in the fall." Rocio wanted to let everyone know that the Royal Butcher incorrectly put their own labels on the veal instead of Applecheek labels. However, it is indeed organic, Applecheek veal in the packages. Pounded thin, coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter, these cutlets make awesome Wiener Schnitzel. Serve them with braised cabbage and German potato salad and you'll be in Alsatian heaven!
Stew Beef from Greenfield Highland Beef - Grass-fed and grass-finished, Janet and Ray's Highland cattle produce a more nutritious beef. With less fat and fewer calories, it's actually richer in vitamin E, Omega 3's, beta-carotene and more. Slow simmer this beef with some garlic, onions and root veggies to create a hearty winter stew.
Lamb - I had to cobble together a few different sources of lamb to complete this week's share. There is pastured ground lamb from Bonnieview Farm and Shuttleworth Farm. Some sites may receive Bonnieview kebab meat instead.

Recipes
Bibimbap
I've been holding on to this recipe from Culinate.com for a couple of months now, hoping for a share that would get close enough in spirit to be able to create a localvore version. I've subbed in the green/shoot mix for spinach and bean sprouts. If you don't want to sacrifice your fresh greens to the pan, try sauteing some thinly sliced cabbage as a stand-in. Serves 4.

Marinade
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
4 Tbsp. soy sauce (or tamari)
2 Tbsp. rice wine, dry white vermouth, or 1.5 TB apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
~ Pinch of salt
~ Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Meat, mushrooms, and vegetables
12 oz. to 1 pound lean, tender beef, such as top sirloin or sirloin tip, try a country style rib here, or tempeh or tofu.
6 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms (stems removed) or oyster mushrooms, sliced
~ Vegetable oil for sautéing
2 carrots
1 lb. mix of baby greens and shoots

Wheat Berries and Eggs
3 cups cooked wheat berries, warm
4 eggs

Panchan (condiments)
These are recommended, but you can use whatever combination you have on hand.
~ Gochu-chang (Korean hot pepper paste)
~ Kimchi (Korean spicy fermented cabbage)
~ Sesame oil
~ Sesame seeds, toasted
~ Dried seaweed sheets, toasted and cut into strips

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine. Prep the meat and mushrooms: Trim fat from the meat and slice the meat across the grain into very thin slices (easier if meat is partially frozen). Stack the slices, cut them into thin strips, and set aside in a bowl. Put the sliced mushrooms into a separate bowl. Pour half the marinade over the meat and half over the mushrooms. Stir to coat.

Prep the carrots: Peel the carrots and cut them into julienne pieces about 3 inches long, or use a mandoline. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and stir-fry the carrots until they are crisp-tender. Set the carrots aside. In the same skillet used for the carrots, sauté the greens in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for a scant minute, only until wilted, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Make the meat: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Carefully lift the meat slices out of the bowl of marinade and place in the frying pan, leaving behind any remaining marinade and meat juices. (Reserve the marinade.) Spread out the meat into a single layer in the skillet. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until beef is cooked to medium, pork medium-well. (It may be necessary to do this in two batches.) Remove meat to a new bowl.

Make the mushrooms: Using the same skillet, sauté the mushrooms in 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil over medium heat until they absorb any excess liquid and begin to brown. Remove to a new bowl. Pour any reserved meat marinade back in the skillet and let bubble for 1 minute. Pour the cooked marinade back over the meat and mushrooms.

Make the eggs: If using eggs, fry them in vegetable oil sunny-side up, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

Assemble the bibimbap: Scoop warm wheat berries into individual bowls and top with slices of meat/tofu, mushrooms, carrots and greens, finishing by ladling some of the remaining cooked marinade over each bowl and topping with an egg (if using). Pass little bowls of the gochu-chang, kimchi, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and seaweed at the table.

Fiery Carrot Dip
A friend of ours served us this delicious dip last summer. I finally made it myself to take to a party last week, and it was a real hit. If you have any of last week's chevre left, you can sprinkle it on top in lieu of the feta. The dip truly does stand on its own; so if you don't have any cheese, don't sweat it. Pass pita chips on the side. Serves 8.

2 lbs. carrots, cut into 3 inch lengths
1/4 cup olive or sunflower oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB honey
1 TB tomato puree
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 TB olive or sunflower oil (optional)
1/4 lb. feta cheese crumbled
3 black olives, pitted, for garnish

Steam carrots until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain. Transfer to food processor. Add oil, vinegar, garlic, honey and spices. Process until smooth. Taste. Add additional oil, salt and pepper to taste. Process to combine. Scrape dip into a bowl. Garnish with cheese and olives. Dip can be refrigerated for 2 days. Serve at room temperature.

German Potato Salad
Adapted from Epicurious.com, this potato salad is rich and delicious. Make sure to serve it warm. Serves 8-10.

4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons flour
4 teaspoons chopped onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup honey
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon powdered dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon crumbled whole rosemary leaves
2 quarts cooked sliced potatoes, skins on*
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, drain and crumble. Add flour and onion to the bacon fat left in the pan. Stir in vinegar, water, honey, salt and spices. Cook only until mixture is of medium thickness. Add to potatoes, parsley and crumbled bacon. Mix carefully to prevent mashing the potatoes.

*Mix the potatoes and dressing when both are still warm for the best flavor absorption.

Rustic Pasta Sauce
My friend Robin turned me on to this recipe from Cook's Illustrated. She likes to serve it with rigatoni. It would also be delicious served over cooked wheat berries.

1 TB olive or sunflower oil
1 1/2 lbs. country-style ribs, trimmed of fat
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, drained, juice-reserved, tomatoes chopped fine (try using the tomato puree here, if you still have it)

Heat oil in 12-inch, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the ribs. Brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes. Transfer ribs to plate; pour off all but 1 tsp fat. Add onion and saute until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until wine reduces to a glaze, about 2 minutes.

Return ribs and accumulated juices to skillet; add tomatoes and reserved juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, turning ribs several times, until meat is very tender and falling off the bones, about 1.5 hours. Transfer ribs to a clean plate. When cool, remove meat from bones and shred with fingers, discarding fat and bones. Return shredded meat to sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium heat uncovered, until heated through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning. To serve, toss with pasta. This sauce freezes well.

Wheat Berries with Strawberry Sauce and Yogurt
So, you've made more wheat berries than you ate last night and are wondering what to do with the rest. Why not serve them for breakfast? Of course, this would also make an excellent mid-afternoon snack or evening dessert. Serves 2.

10 oz frozen strawberries
1 TB honey, optional
pinch salt
2 cups cooked wheat berries, warm
plain or flavored yogurt

Place strawberries, honey and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Turn down heat and keep at a simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until strawberries are thawed and heated through. Divide warm wheat berries between two bowls. Spoon strawberry sauce over the top and garnish with a generous dollop of yogurt. Yum!

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