Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - March 18, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
Red Norland Potatoes; Red Onions; Mixed Red and Chioggia Beets; Greenhouse Mix of Baby Greens & Shoots; Sprouted Beans; Tomato Puree; Butterworks Farm Soldier & Marfax Beans; Butterworks Farm Yogurt; Quebec Rolled Oats; Elmore Mountain Flaxseed Bread; and.....

Depending on the share you've signed up for (check the list at pick-up), you will also receive:

Non-Vegetarian - Pete's Chicken Stock
Vegetarian - Vermont Soy Tofu
Storage and Use Tips
Chioggia Beets - An Italian variety, chioggias have alternating white and pink rings of color on the inside. The outside is lighter and more pinkish than traditional red beets. With a sweet peppery flavor, they are smooth and mild tasting. To prevent chioggias from bleeding their color, roast them whole then slice crosswise to show off the beautiful rings. Roasted this way, they make a stunning addition to a salad made with the baby greens and shoots mix. Do roast and store cooked chioggia beets separately from your red beets to prevent the chioggias from being dyed red. Store raw beets loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Soldier & Marfax Beans - The brown beans in the mix are the marfax, the white speckled are the soldier. Rinse these beans in cold water before cooking. I poured my cup of beans into a bowl of water to let small leaves and pieces of dirt rise to the top. After picking through the beans for bad beans and pebbles, I rinsed them thoroughly. To get your dry beans ready for cooking, you can either soak them overnight, or try simmering them for 2 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 2 hours. Place your soaked beans in a pot with fresh, cold water, covering them by a couple of inches. Simmer them covered for approximately 1 hour, or until tender. To season beans while they cook, throw in a smashed piece of garlic and/or a bay leaf. Do not add salt at this stage. One cup of this dry bean mix will result in 2.5 cups cooked. Note, the marfax (brown) beans cook a little faster than the soldier. So, when cooked together, you'll most likely end up with very soft marfax when the soldiers are perfectly tender. Keep this in mind when selecting your recipe. Like the wheat berries, it can be more convenient to cook your beans all at once, and then freeze off what you don't want to eat right away. When you are ready to cook with beans again, all you need do is defrost the container.
Chicken Stock - Please note that the chicken stock will be going out cold but not frozen this week. If you aren't going to use it in the next day or two, pop it in your freezer for safe storage. Defrost in your fridge the day before you plan to use it.
Tomato Puree - Meg and Pete were very excited about the tomato puree this week. They had some red pepper puree in the freezer from this past summer and decided to mix it in with the tomato. They report that this batch has a wonderful taste and texture. Keep the puree in your freezer until ready to use. Defrost in the fridge the day before you plan to use it. You can also thaw it by placing the container in tepid water for a couple of hours before use.

Meg's Musings
A lot has been happening on the farm the past couple of weeks. We are working on making all areas of the farm very organized with set systems for each task and proper places for all tools. Each area of the farm including the washhouse, headhouse, barn, kitchen and office are all getting a thorough going through and hoeing out. Our goal is to start the season off in a very organized and efficient manner.

The headhouse has been cranking out many greens and shoots. Along with that, Pete and I have started all of our seedlings for transplant into the moveable greenhouses, and are working on the first batch of seedlings to be transplanted outside when the time is right. Our headhouse and heated slab inside the heated greenhouse are completely full of plants right now.

Steve has been working on re-constructing a greenhouse Pete and I deconstructed and brought over from Maine. This greenhouse will act as our hardening off greenhouse for transplants. They will go from there into the moveable greenhouses. The next batch of seedlings we are currently working on will spend some time on the heated slab, then be moved into the hardening off greenhouse, and eventually outside. Steve is almost finished with the structure and hopefully we can cover it by the end of the week. Then the hardening off process can begin.

The season is upon us as we move into twice a week wholesale of our shoots and greens mix. That means we are harvesting greens twice a week and more time is spent in the washhouse for the cleaning and packing of orders. Tim has been making more calls to customers and working hard at packing all those wholesale orders. Deborah and the crew have been busy keeping things running smoothly and efficiently in the washhouse. Nancy has been diligently interviewing applicants for the CSA Manager position while keeping up on everything currently going on with the CSA. Pete and I have been working together to keep products coming out of the kitchen for Good Eats, along with starting more seedlings, growing greens and shoots, planning for the upcoming season, and strategizing on ways to improve our organization. Our team here is doing a great job and really pulling together to tighten up the place. I'm excited we have such a fast start on things. The season looks promising with lots of yummy produce coming your way! -Meg

Favorite Cookbooks
It can be daunting at times to keep dinners creative week after week, especially when you are cooking to your CSA delivery. To keep our meals interesting, I find myself using a combination of websites and favorite cookbooks. You may have noticed some of the same cookbooks being credited in the newsletter recipe section. Some of my favorites, however, don't seem to make into the newsletter as often, even though for my home cooking they continue to inspire. I thought that it might be interesting for folks to see the books I regularly consult when putting together a meal, as well as share their own. I have posted this list on our facebook group, hoping that other CSA members will share their favorites as well.

A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, Easy Seasonal Dishes for Family and Friends by Jack Bishop. I very much appreciate the creativity in this book that includes meatless recipes that are by no means only for vegetarians.

Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni. This is the Indian cooking Bible, as far as I'm concerned. When I'm missing Western Avenue in Chicago (basically, a little India), I open this book and start cooking.

Cooking with Shelburne Farms by Melissa Pasanen and Rick Gencarelli. This is by far my most favorite local cookbook. The recipes are relatively easy, predictable and delicious. The authors also include tips for preparation and substitution, as well as interesting tidbits about local producers and Shelburne Farms itself.

Dishing up Vermont, 145 Authentic Recipes from the Green Mountain State by Tracey Medeiros. In another fine Vermont local cookbook, Tracey has compiled many wonderful recipes from Vermont's favorite food growers, producers and restaurants.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. I bought this book when I first started working for Pete. A carnivore at heart, I was a bit daunted about contributing so many vegetable-based recipes. This book provides an encyclopedia of information on all things vegetarian, including vegetables, grains, legumes and more. From sauces to casseroles, you could spend a year cooking your way through this book. Oh, and the idea for cooking extra grains and beans to freeze, is from this book.

Jamie at Home, Cook Your Way to the Good Life by Jamie Oliver. I have been watching the Jamie at Home series on the Food Network on and off for the past year. This book is the companion to the series. Jamie cooks from his garden a lot for this book. His recipes are generally bold in flavor, but straightforward to produce. His pork belly and rhubarb sauce is a standout.

Local Flavors, Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison. I bought this book for my sister-in-law as a birthday present several years ago, and finally got around to buying it for myself last year. Deborah's recipes in this book are fresh and creative.

Sultan's Kitchen, A Turkish Cookbook by Ozcan Ozan. This cookbook allows me to experience the pleasure of Turkish cooking at home. Save for a couple of spices, most of the ingredients are easy to find, even in Vermont. Many of the recipes can be made localvore with little to no substitutions, if you count lemons as a wildcard. ; - )

Localvore 'Lore
I just got off the phone with Blair Marvin. She and her husband, Andrew Heyn, are the owners and bakers of famed Elmore Mountain Bread. They are baking loaves today that are very much sourced from Quebec, with Milanaise flour and flax seed from Michel Gaudreau.

Blair said that they have given the flax seed a good overnight soak to make them softer and more digestible. What results, is a loaf with superior nutrition.

They did have a bit of a hiccup this morning when beginning to bake off the loaves. They had gotten their wood burning oven good and hot, but had not given it quite long enough to even off the heat. Apparently, there were some hotspots, and several loaves ended up getting singed. After waiting for the oven to settle in, they baked their next batch, which, Blair reports came out, "Beautiful!"

Depending on the final number of perfect loaves coming out of the oven today, Blair and Andrew may bake a few more loaves for us tomorrow. Any that are baked tomorrow, they will deliver to the CSA sites themselves, possibly at Concept2 and Laughing Moon, if necessary.

Michel Gaudreau's oats also appear in the share today. They are part of the Quebec grain run that Bob and I made a couple of weeks back. If you haven't tried these oats in the past, you'll be surprised how much better and fresher they taste than regular store-bought oats. And, I am not kidding. People have told me this from the share and in the localvore circles in which I travel. Being fresher, these oats do not do well being substituted in recipes calling for "quick oats."

We have two items from Butterworks farm today, their yogurt and their beans. We try to deliver a variety of quarts to each pick-up spot, so pick-up early for the best selection. The mixed beans from Jack, (Jack Lazor is the Farmer-in-Chief at Butterworks), are a rare treat this year.

Last summer, Jack planted what should have grown and dried to be about 7000 lbs. of a variety of beans. Although he planted the beans when it was warm and dry, the next 10 days were cold and rainy, stunting the new growth of his plants. After taking a hard look at the situation, Jack decided to plow much of his bean field under. What remained to grow was a mix of marfax, soldier and a few stray Jacob's Cattle. His total harvest to sell amounted to a mere 300lbs, of which we ended up with just under 250. Jack's black bean harvest faired better. He was able to harvest about 4000 lbs of those, some of which we included in the Fall/Winter share.

If you've listened to any bean farmers talk about last summer, Jack's story will sound familiar. Ben Gleason, the Bielders, Seth Johnson and others all had poor bean years. So, take pleasure in these local, and hard to come by, beans. They will be wonderful in a pasta, dip, soup, stew or classically New England baked.

Depending on whether you signed up as a vegetarian or not, you will either receive a cake of organic tofu from Vermont Soy or Pete's chicken stock made with our veggies and misty knoll chicken bones. Please remember to check the list to make sure you are taking the correct item. Thanks!

Sprouted Bean Quesadillas
One of our shareholders, Cheryl King-Fischer, shared her idea to lightly saute the sprouted beans in sunflower oil and add to pasta, scrambled eggs, quesadillas and salads. We tried out the method last night and were very pleased. For the quesadilla, we like to use the large flatbread wraps and cut it into wedges. You could use smaller tortillas, if you prefer. Serves 4-6.

2 tsp sunflower oil
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
2/3 cup sprouted beans
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp dried cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
2 flatbread wraps
3/4 pound grated jack or pepper jack cheese
salsa for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 400F. Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for two to three minutes, until translucent. Add sprouted beans, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne. Saute until beans begin to give off their fragrance, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cilantro. Continue to cook until the moisture from the puree has evaporated and you have more of a paste in the pan. Remove from heat. Place one wrap on a cookie sheet and spread with the bean sprout mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with the second wrap. Bake until the cheese is fully melted, about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges using a pizza cutter and serve with salsa, if desired.

Sauteed Sprouted Bean Salad
You can throw this easy salad together while your quesadilla bakes in the oven. I used the same frying pan to save on dishes. Serves 4.

6-8 cups mixed baby greens and shoots, loosely packed
2 TB sunflower oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/3 cup sprouted beans
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 TB apple cider vinegar

Place greens in a salad bowl. Heat oil in a small to medium sized fry pan over medium heat. Toss in the garlic clove, and cook for 30 seconds. Throw in the beans, salt, pepper and cumin, toss to coat with oil and saute until the beans give up their fragrance, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar. Pour over salad greens and toss to coat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Turkish Tomato and Bean Soup
Inspired by a recipe in The Sultan's Kitchen cookbook, this is normally made with red lentils. I think it would be great with the beans instead. With the addition of the cooked wheat berries, it makes for a satisfying supper. Serves 4-6.

2 TB sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB paprika
1/2 tsp Turkish or ground red pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 TB tomato paste
3 cups tomato puree
3 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup dried beans that have been soaked overnight, then cooked for 30 minutes and drained
1 cup cooked wheat berries
1 TB dried mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper
bread croutons (optional)
lemon wedges
dollop of plain yogurt

Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for about 2 minutes, or until they're softened but not brown. Stir in the paprika, red pepper, cumin and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add the tomato puree, stock (or water) and beans. Cover the saucepan and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft. Add the wheat berries and mint and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the soup is too thick, add a little water. Serve the soup in bowls with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dollop of yogurt.

Beet Crisps
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. Serves 4.

1 pound beets
3 to 4 TB sunflower or canola oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets or line them with parchment. Cut the beets in half and then crosswise into thin slices (1/8" or so). Toss them in the oil and spread the slices out on the baking sheets. (It's okay if they're close, but don't let them overlap.) Roast the beet slices until they're beginning to brown on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Flip them over and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep roasting until they're well browned, another 10 minutes or so. Serve immediately.

Beaver Pond Farm Granola
This granola was always available during breakfast time when I owned my bed and breakfast. It will go great with whatever flavor yogurt you pick up!

8 cups rolled oats
2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup vegetable or sunflower oil
1 cup grade B maple syrup
3 TB. Vanilla extract

2 cups dried cranberries or other dried fruit of your choice

Preheat oven to 285°. Line 2 large baking sheets (or one sheet pan) with parchment paper. Mix first five ingredients in large bowl. Combine oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour hot liquid over oats mixture; stir and toss until mixture is thoroughly coated. Spread granola on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, stirring every ten minutes. This should take approx. 30 minutes. Remove pans from oven. Stir in dried fruit. Place on racks and cool completely. Keeps for 4 weeks, stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Classic and Hearty Oatmeal
This is a staple in the Baron household, with 1 to 5 of us spooning it up just about every morning during the colder months. It's hard to judge a serving here, as I can eat as little as 1/3 to 1/2 cup (dry) and my kids each eat about a full cup dry. Serves 2 to 4.

2 cups dry rolled oats
2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 TB butter
handful of raisins or dried cranberries
drizzle of maple syrup or honey

Place oats, milk, water and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for five to 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and oats have softened to a porridge. Stir in butter. Divide into bowls and garnish with dried fruit and sweetener of your choice.

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