Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - April 1, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
Red Cabbage; Yellow Storage Onions; Nicola Potatoes; Detroit Red Beets; Mesclun & Shoot Mix; Baby Spinach (in the same bag as the greens mix); Sprouted Beans; Pete's Applesauce; Elmore Mountain Multigrain Bread; Gleason Grains Whole Wheat Bread Flour; Quebec Mixed Cracked Grains; Butterworks Farm Cottage Cheese; and Champlain Orchards Cranberry Apple Cider.

Storage and Use Tips
Applesauce - Nothing more than cooked down Champlain Orchards apples, our sauce is all natural sweetness. In addition to an easy and delicious side, applesauce can be used as a substitute for sugar in baked goods or take the staring role in an applesauce cake. The applesauce will come to you cold but not frozen. If you don't plan to get to it over the next couple of weeks, toss it in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Red Cabbage - Striking in a slaw, salad or wilted by cooking, red cabbage came on to the scene later than its green counterpart. Red cabbage is likely to turn blue when cooking if there are any alkaline ingredients present. To stop this from happening, add a bit of acid to the pan in the form of lemon juice, vinegar or wine. Red cabbage can be stored loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for weeks. If the outer leaves wilt or turn spotted, just remove them and use the good leaves below. Once cut, keep the remaining cabbage in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer.
Mixed Cracked Grains - These organic mixed cracked grains are made up of wheat, barley, rye, oat and flax. They make a delicious breakfast cereal. Use a 2-to-1 ratio of liquid to grains, or even a bit more liquid. You can enjoy a softer porridge if you soak the grains in the water overnight. Or, bring the grain/water mixture to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let sit for about 30 minutes, then continue cooking. Without the pre-soak, the grains take 15-25 minutes to cook, depending on your preference for mush vs. crunch. You can dress up these grains with butter and maple syrup, or for a delicious savory breakfast, try mixing them with a teaspoon or two of tamari and chopped chives or herbs. A fried egg on top gives you some extra protein. The grains are also great mixed in with rolled oats to make granola, or used on their own to make a pilaf. Store as you would rice, oats or barley.

Pete's Musings


Hi everyone. We're running a couple of weeks late on fresh produce that is not baby greens. 'Not really sure why, just seems that things have grown a little slowly this spring.

Looking ahead, we have very happy pac choi and salad turnips growing fast in our heated greenhouse and lots of chard, cilantro, Napa cabbage, head lettuce and everything else green and hardy transplanted into our unheated greenhouses. So hold on, this tough time of year is almost over! We are adding extra localvore items to make up for the current lack of vegetable diversity.

Some of you will remember the saga of the greenhouse that lost its plastic in December. That is the house that contained the claytonia that we were all enjoying in December. The plastic was off the greenhouse for over 2 weeks, during which time we had temps as low as 20 below and close to a foot of snow fell inside the greenhouse.

We finally got the house recovered. But since it is unheated, it took months for the snow to melt. We are finally harvesting from the same claytonia plants that we were eating from in December. They are the delicately flavored, spade shaped green in our mix, many of which have a pretty little flower bud developing.

In another week the flowers will open and the greenhouse will be filled with the scent of blooming claytonia. This is a tough and lovely plant and we are grateful for how well it performs in the unheated greenhouse and also the unheated outdoors of winter.

We have baby chicks arriving on Wed. They will feast on sprouts and greens and be ready for our meat share in early June. In a couple of weeks, a crew will arrive to fence 30 acres of pasture so that we can begin to raise pigs and beef cows along with the meat birds. I'm really excited about raising more animals on the farm. -Pete
Starts in the greenhouse, ready to be transplanted.

Rows of sweet salad turnips in the heated greenhouse.
Pete on Vermont Edition
Pete joined Jane Lindholm and Scout Proft, of Someday Farm in East Dorset, in the VPR studios on Monday to talk about Vermont CSAs. Pete, Scout and Jane expound upon the impacts, benefits and varying models of CSAs in the state. If you missed it live, you can stream it or download the podcast from the VPR site.

Upcoming Classes
Soups from Scratch - Sunday April 5, 3-6pm
Hardwick Untied Church, 216 South Main Street (Route 14), Hardwick

Lamoille Valley Salvation Farms, a program of the Vermont Foodbank, continues its series of cooking classes. The Buffalo Mountain Co-op Café crew will lead this workshop and demonstrate how to make a variety of wholesome, delicious soups using ingredients that are widely available, nutrient-dense, and affordable. Classes are open to the public and free, though pre-registration is required and space is limited. The class will end with a sit-down family-style meal. Participants will take home recipes and a list of local sources for winter veggies, a key soup ingredient. For more information, or to register email Rebecca Beidler, or call 472-8280.

The Argument for Less Meat Starting to Get Traction
If you've been paying attention to the media over the past year or so, there seems to be an ever increasing call for Americans to adjust their diets to include less meat. The voices aren't all from vegetarians, as you might expect. Instead, they include the likes of Michael Pollan, who has offered the sage advice, "Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants." In the New York Times article and his book, In Defense of Food, Pollan articulates that many of our health issues come from eating too many animal products, including meat, not just the high-fat versions.

Mark Bittman, writer of the Minimalist column for the New York Times, came out with a life style, come diet, come recipe book late last year advocating the benefits of being vegan until dinner. Amongst other goodness, his book Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating, claims this approach will help you lose weight, be more healthy and save the planet.

However, the point when I realized that this issue had truly hit the mainstream, was when I saw this article in the Gristmill. No, it's not that the Grist is mainstream. The article talks about how Andy Kroll of Fox News outlined the reasons why he was going to reduce his meat consumption by 75 percent in the upcoming months.

I find the fact that even those at Fox News are talking about sustainable eating as a very good sign for the food movement. There are incredible benefits to be had both personally and globally by eating fewer servings of meat and other animal products per day, not the least of which is making room for more fruits and vegetables.

Localvore Lore
This week we have again beefed up the localvore portion of the share to round things out with our decreasing root storage stock. We've got some new items too, to keep it interesting.

First, we have cottage cheese from Butterworks farm. I asked Jack Lazor to tell me a little bit more about their new endeavor, only to find out it's been a part of their business for years:
We actually began making cottage cheese on our kitchen stove in the late 70's. We made and sold it fairly regularly in the mid 80's when we first began selling yogurt to stores in Vermont. As demand for our yogurt grew, we phased out the cottage cheese. Throughout the years, we have made cottage cheese once or twice annually when there was a bit of a lull in the yogurt market.

Until recently, we hadn't made cottage cheese at all. This past winter, however, our yogurt sales have dropped beyond Vermont's borders. This, coupled with the fact that our cows are milking exceptionally well, has left us with more milk than required for yogurt making. So we have been producing other products like cultured buttermilk, cheddar cheese, and cottage cheese.

Cottage cheese is a real labor of love. It is four times the work of yogurt for half the financial return. However, we love to eat the stuff and it is better than pouring the milk down the drain.

We begin by pasteurizing raw skim milk in a vat--heating it up to 145 degrees for half an hour. The milk is cooled to about 78 degrees and bacterial culture is added. The cultured milk is then pumped over to the cheese vat, where it spends the night incubating and acidifying.

At 6:30 the following morning, I cut the curd in the now coagulated milk. This is done with special curd knives. After a half hour rest, the curds and whey are heated and gently stirred until they are firm and distinguishable. This process takes about an hour and a half. Final cooking temperature is around 115 degrees. Then the whey is drained off. This takes another two hours. Then the curd is washed and rinsed with cold water-another hour and a half. Finally, the dry curd is shoveled out of the vat and into a covered tub on wheels that is stored in our walk-in cooler for the evening.

The next day we "cream" the cottage cheese by adding pasteurized whole milk and salt. The mixing process takes an hour. Finally, a crew of four people hand pack and label the cottage cheese into pints.
Also in the share is mixed cracked grains from Michel Gaudreau in Compton, Quebec. We gave these out last share period to our vegetarians and I received many requests from the carnivores to distribute to all. See more about cooking with these grains in the Storage and Use section above.

The whole wheat bread flour comes from Ben Gleason at Gleason Grains. He drove it up to the farm on Monday morning in 50lb. sacs. Deborah and Steve packaged it all in 5 lb. bags to go out in the shares. Ben grows hard and soft wheat. The hard wheat is for bread flour and the soft makes pastry flour. As we've mentioned before, 2008 was a very difficult growing season for wheat and bean farmers. Ben's soft wheat all sprouted in the field, making it unusable.

The bread flour in the share is milled on Ben's farm from hard winter wheat. Ben plants his winter wheat in September. It grows until frost, then is covered over by snow. In the spring, it begins growing again after the snow has melted. Ben said that it's the first thing that looks green in his fields. He harvested this wheat around the 3rd week of July last year.

Ben stores his grains in their whole, wheat berry form and mills it into flour just before delivery. This assures that the flour goes out in the CSA as fresh as possible. If you aren't going to use it up quickly, consider keeping it in the freezer. Because whole-wheat flour contains the germ and its oils, unlike in white flour, it can go rancid after a few months if kept at room temp.

The cranberry apple cider is actually a joint project between Champlain Orchards and Vermont Cranberry Company. We need to give Bill Suhr a few weeks lead time on this beverage to make sure that he can get the frozen cranberries from Cranberry Bob to mix in the cider. It's a wonderful combination.

Finally, we have a lovely multigrain loaf from Elmore Mountain. Andrew said that they've incorporated the same Quebec mixed cracked grains that are in your share today, as well as a few flax seeds. It is leavened with sourdough and contains whole wheat and bread flour from Milanaise.

Enjoy!

Recipes
Jamaican Veggie Patties
I adapted this recipe from 101cookbooks.com, who got the recipe from Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine by Bryant Terry. I have "unveganized" the recipe by using butter instead of coconut oil and brushing the pastry with an egg wash. According to Heidi Swanson, "You can certainly experiment with different sizes here, but don't go much smaller than a 4-inch cookie cutter. Also, be sure to roll the pastry dough thinly - a true 1/8-inch." Makes six big patties, or up to 2 dozen smaller ones.

1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Coarse sea salt
2 larges cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced carrots
1/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced yellow potatoes
1/2 cup frozen corn (or used some small diced celeriac and toss in with the carrots & potatoes)
1/2 cup sprouted beans
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Pastry:
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour 1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup chilled butter
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
egg wash made with 1 egg and warm water

For the filling: In a medium-size saute pan over medium-low heat, combine the sunflower oil, the onion cinnamon, allspice, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, carrots, and potatoes, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the sprouted beans, cabbage, thyme, and lemon juice, cover, and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with additional salt and the white pepper (or to taste) and set aside to allow the flavors to marry.

For the pastry: Combine the white flour with the whole-wheat flour, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Set the remaining 1/4 cup white flour aside. Add the butter to the flour mixture and rub with your fingertip until the mixture resembles fine sand, about 10 minutes (Heidi has also made this dough by pulsing ingredients in a food processor with good results).

Combine the vinegar and water and mix well. Then, without overworking the dough, add the vinegar mixture by the tablespoon, while stirring, just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and begins to coalesce. Squeeze into a tight ball, flatten, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F and remove the dough from the refrigerator.

Lightly dust a clean surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut six 6-inch circles from the dough (you can use a bowl). Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling onto the center of one side of each circle, leaving about an 1/8-inch border. Pain edges of dough with egg wash. Fold the other half over to make a half-moon, press to seal, and make ridges around the edge using a fork.

Transfer the patties to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Serve immediately with some hot sauce.

Beet and Cabbage Borscht
Adapted from a recipe on Epicurious.com, borscht is a great cold weather way to enjoy your beets. This recipe, interestingly, incorporates cabbage as well. Serves 4.

3 tablespoons sunflower oil
3/4 pound potatoes, peeled, chopped
2 1/2 cups chopped cabbage (about 1/4 of small head)
1 large onion, chopped
8 cups (or more) canned vegetable broth
6 2-inch-diameter beets, peeled, chopped
1 cup drained canned chopped tomatoes or frozen tomato puree (thawed)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
Chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, cabbage and onion and sauté until cabbage softens, about 5 minutes. Add 8 cups broth, beets and tomatoes. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Working in small batches, puree 4 cups of soup in blender; return to remaining soup in pot. If desired, add more broth by 1/2 cupfuls to thin soup. Add lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with dollop of sour cream or yogurt; sprinkle with parsley. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serve these lovely pancakes with a roasted beet and greens salad and/or applesauce on the side. Makes 20 (3-inch) pancakes.

1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups whole-milk cottage cheese
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons whole-wheat flour

Preheat oven to 200°F. Cook onion, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in 2 tablespoons butter in a small heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, then add cottage cheese, eggs, flour, 1/4 cup butter, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper and whisk until combined.

Brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with some of remaining butter and heat over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 5, scoop 1/8-cup measures of batter into skillet and cook until undersides are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook until undersides are golden brown and pancakes are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Brush skillet with butter between batches if necessary.

Apple Oat Muffins
This recipe is adapted from eatmedelicious.com. Have these for breakfast and you'll be one meal closer to following Mark Bittman's advice to eat vegan until dinner. Makes 12 muffins.

3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar; allow it to rest for 1 minute to curdle. Add the applesauce and whisk to completely incorporate.

In a separate smaller bowl, sift together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet; stir only to moisten and don't overmix. Fold in the raisins and pecans. Use an ice cream scoop or measuring cup to scoop the batter into muffin cups.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling.

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