Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - April 22, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
Nicola Potatoes; Carrots; European Greenhouse Cucumbers or Baby Salad Turnips; Pac Choi; Mesclun Mix*; 8 oz of Pete's Onion Puree; 1 Dozen Farm Fresh Eggs; 1 Pint Bonnieview Ewe's Feta; Bag of Champlain Orchards Red Delicious Apples; and...

One Basil Plant!
Please note that you will not receive both European Greenhouse Cucumbers and Baby Salad Turnips in this week's share. We did not have enough of either so some people (most) will receive cucumbers this week and some will receive baby turnips

Storage and Use Tips
Pak Choi - Also known as Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage this vegetable is most common in Chinese cuisine. Part of the cabbage family, it packs in nutrition with high scores for vitamins A and C and calcium. Both leaves and stems may be eaten raw or cooked, but leaves, particularly when they are more mature are more often served cooked. To prepare Pac Choi, use a chef's nice to make thin slices across from the bottom of the head up freeing the stalks as you do so. Wash the stalks to remove any trapped silt from between stalks. Although you can cook chopped leaves and stalks together in a dish it is nice to separate them when chopping so that you may toss them into a dish at seperate times allowing stalks to cook a little longer than leaves so that leaves aren't over cooked. Pac Choi should be stored in a plastic bag in the produce drawer of your fridge.
Salad Turnips - Tender fresh dug Spring Turnips can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw they have a texture similar to a radish, but are not so sharp. Or slice, dice, or quarter them and saute with butter or oil. Cook until just tender and still a little crisp. Just a little salt or maybe a little bit of vinegar is all they need. Cooked with butter and given a slight drizzle of honey and even picky little eaters may gobble them up. Don’t forget the greens! Turnip greens are tender and flavorful. Chop and saute with the turnips for a side dish, or cook up with other greens, or by themselves. I often chop them and toss them into pasta sauces.
Onion Puree -The onion puree in your share this week was inspired by the French onion puree called soubise. The onions were cooked very slowly in their own juices until the flavor mellowed and sweetened. You can use the puree in many different ways. Mix it with a little mayo and some cayenne, or paprika or another spicy spice to make a nice onion dip. Heat some up, put in a bowl and crumble a little of the feta in and then spread on some toast made from a crusty bread. Use in tomato sauce or a sauce served along meats. I have given a recipe below that uses it both in a tart and an onion confit that goes with the tart.
Basil Plant - Because everyone deserves to have a basil plant of their own Meg has grown some extra for our shareholders! See Meg's care instructions below. These plants should be given a place of honor in a sunny window, watered as needed (not wet and definitely not allowed to dry out), and pampered as the stars they are. There is nothing like a little fresh basil on your pasta, in your soup, on your salad.

Pete's Musings
This week marks the end of the Nancy Baron era at Pete's Greens. Nancy took over management of Good Eats from our founding manager Elena Gustavson a year and a half ago and has done a great job. Her newsletters, recipes, customer service and overall professionalism are top notch and she has been a real pleasure to work with. Amy Skelton is taking over the reins. Amy managed Phish in its early days and was the head of merchandising for Phish for many years. Recently she has run a small farm and local foods restaurant in Nova Scotia. We figure that after her years with Phish, Pete's Greens will be tame and boring. We've been blessed with great Good Eats managers. Beginning with Elena, continuing with Nancy, and on to Amy they have provided a crucial link between the farm, the food, and the eaters. Thanks ladies for all you have done! ~ Pete

Meg's Musings
This week everyone will receive a potted basil plant. I started them in late January. The variety is Aroma and has excellent flavor and "aroma". I recommend keeping in a sunny window and watering frequently. Pinch off the tops of the plants to maintain a healthy plant and use the tops for eating. This helps the plant to bulk up and grow out instead of up, preventing the plant from becoming to tall and lanky. Your basil plant can also be transplanted outside after the last frost, sometime after mid June. You may decide to eat it all right away,or let it grow for awhile and continue to pluck a little here and there. Either way, enjoy and savor the Aroma. ~ Meg

New Adams Court Pickup Location Starts This Week
Today is first day picking up at our summer location at the Romm's house. The Romms are just up the block from the Picchi/Dodd's house. Pick-up will be in the Romm's garage. They have a white house on the right of Adams Court, before you make the turn to the left. The number is 25 Adams Court. Look for the sign.

Summer Shares Available
We have put a lot of planning into the vegetable mix for the upcoming share period and are very excited about the expected selection in each and every summer bag. Lots of center of the plate veggies, like broccoli, kale, chard, beans, peas, head lettuce, summer squash and tomatoes will make frequent appearances, along with onions, garlic and herbs for great flavor combinations. Check out our Vegetable Availability Chart for a more complete selection. To ensure that you will receive a weekly selection of fresh, organic produce through out the summer sign up for our Summer Share now!

This summer we will be offering three different shares:
Vegetable/Localvore - $748 (avg. $44/week)
Vegetable Only - $493 (avg. $29 a week)
Meat Share - $199 (avg. $50 a month)
Visit the Summer Share page to find out more or to sign-up.

Looking for Someone to Split a Share With?
If you would like someone to split a share with during the growing season, we can help hook you up. We maintain a Members Seeking page on our website to help those looking for a share partner. If you don't have a neighbor, coworker, family member or friend interested in sharing in the summer bounty, check out the Members Seeking page. We have several people currently look for a summer partner. Or, if you don't see your pick-up site listed, let me know and I would be happy to post your information.

Localvore Lore
I feel so lucky to be coming back to Vermont. Being away for a few years really gives a new perspective on how progressive Vermont and particularly the farmers here really are. This is a special corner of the world where, much more than average, consumers and farmers understand the principles of sustainability and land stewardship. This week we have products from four different farms, all of whom are exemplary in their commitment to sustainable agriculture.
From Neil Urie we have Bonnieview's Ewe's Feta this week which is always such a treat. This cheese is a 2007 American Cheese Society award winner. I look forward to crumbling a little into my salads this week.
Applecheek Farm is a sustainable, organic farm in Hyde Park that the Clark family has been farming for over 40 years. They grow organic pastured laying hens, turkeys, chicken, beef, and veal. They also have a wide variety of other animals and they welcome visitors to the farm. Applecheek Farm and Deborah Rosewolf have provided our eggs today. These eggs come from happy hens who live happy fulfilled lives able to dig and scratch and forage in the manner that they are evolved to do. Because their diet contains forage and other live food (insects, worms), the yolks will be more orange than grocery store eggs and the more intense color means higher vitamin content. These eggs are high in omega 3, vitamin E, and beta-carotene and more importantly, they are delicious.
Champlain Orchards have sent along their Red Delicious Apples this week and along with the apples they have graciously provided us with some background on how they are able to provide such high quality produce months after harvest.
Every year we strive to grow the most ecological apples possible, using only minimal spraying and careful growing, pruning, and harvesting practices. All our apples are hand picked at the peak of ripeness. This is done by picking every tree through three times instead of once, which allows for the apples that mature at different times on each tree. In your share today you are receiving Red Delicious apples that have been kept in our controlled atmosphere storage rooms over the winter. The Red Delicious is probably the most iconic of American apples next to the Macintosh. Its flesh is yellow and slightly juicy, somewhat tart, and highly aromatic. It is good for fresh eating and flavor has actually improved in storage.
At Champlain Orchards we use a total of seven controlled atmosphere, or CA rooms. Each room can hold 2,700 bushels of apples. To maintain the stored apples at perfect ripeness the oxygen levels in the room are lowered to 3%, essentially putting the apple to sleep minimizing respiration and thus hindering further ripening. The oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the rooms are monitored and maintained with a computer “carbon filter scrubber.” All the rooms are sealed air tight and kept at 34ยบ at all times. During the winter we open one of our CA rooms approximately every 3 weeks. Your Red Delicious apples come straight from one of these CA rooms. We hope you enjoy the taste of fresh harvested apples now in the spring.
Recipes

Awesome Apple Pancake Recipe
Adapted from a Champlain Orchards recipe that was contributed to the "Dishing up Vermont" cookbook by Tracey Medeiros
3 eggs
1/2 cup plus 3 TB whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or substitute whole-wheat for up to 1/4 cup)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp almond or pure vanilla extract
2-3 peeled apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 TB honey
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 TB butter
Maple syrup for garnish

Warm an iron skillet in a 425F oven. With a handheld blender, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour(s), salt and extract until smooth. In a separate bowl, toss together apples, honey and cinnamon. Melt butter in the warm skillet. Arrange the apples in a single layer on the bottom of the skillet. Carefully pour the batter over the fruit. Bake for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. To serve, drizzle with maple syrup.

Apple and Spring Greens Tart
w/ Feta and Sweet Onion-Thyme Confit
Adapted from the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz, c. 2001. Rebar is a hip restaurant in Victoria, BC. Savory and sweet strike a nice balance in this tart. A small portion of rich onion confit served alongside is an indulgence, and not necessary because the tart stands on its own (but rewarding if you choose to go the extra step).
1 pre baked whole wheat tart shell
1 TB butter
1 TB olive oil
1/2 cup onion puree
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bunch of greens (original recipe called for spinach - a combo of turnip greens and pac choi leaves would be great)
3 eggs
1 cup light cream (or milk)
1 cup crumbled feta (or blue cheese!)
3 apples
1 egg white, beaten
Heat the oil and butter in a pan large enough to hold the greens and saute the onions just a bit to flavor them up even more. Chop the greens and toss them in with the onions and wilt the greens. Next lightly beat eggs in a bowl. Add cream (or milk), salt and pepper and whisk together. To assemble the tart, evenly distribute the feta over the bottom of the prebaked shell. Follow with the onion/greens mixture. Then pour in the egg mixture over top. Quarter and core the apples and thinly slice each quarter into 6-8 wedges. Starting at the outer edge of the tart, overlap the apple slices, skin facing out in a circle around the edge. Spiral the overlapping slices toward the center of the tart to cover the entire surface. Beat the egg white in a small bowl and brush over the aples. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until the egg is set and the crust has browned. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Onion Thyme Confit
2 TB butter
1/2 cup onion puree
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1/3 tsp thyme (or 1 tsp fresh minced)
1 TB balsamic vinegar
Melt butter in a skillet, add onion puree and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook 5-10 minutes on medium-high heat until the onions are golden.

Garlic and Ginger Pac Choi
Serve this delicious Asian style side dish alongside grilled chicken and some rice for a great simple meal.
2 small heads of Pac Choi
1 TB finely minced ginger
2 gloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 TB tamari or soy sauce
6-8 drops of toasted sesame oil
Use a chef's nice to make thin slices across from the bottom of the Pac Choi head up freeing the stalks as you do so. Wash the stalks to remove any trapped silt from between stalks. Chop the white stalks crosswise into 1/2 to 1/2" slices until you reach the leaves. Chop leaves into 1" or wider ribbons and set aside.
Heat a saute pan on the stove top and add some cooking oil. When hot add the stalks and let them sizzle for a minute until they are just starting to soften a bit. Add the ginger, garlic and the red pepper flakes. Saute for 1 more minute. Add the tamari, 6-8 drops of toasted sesame oil, and the leaves. Saute until the leaves have wilted.

Asian Cucumber salad
I like to celebrate the first cucumbers of the year with this salad.
2 cucumbers, peeled, cut in half, scoop seeds out, thinly sliced
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 TB honey
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB rice vinegar
Mix together the dressing ingredients then toss with the cucumbers. Though you can certainly eat it right away it's best after a few hours and still excellent the second day.

Apple and Turnip Salad
From a recipe submitted to the website www.organicatoz.com
In this very simple recipe sweet apple contrasts with the sharp turnip for a tangy, crisp jaunty salad.
1 cup grated apple (2 or 3 apples)
1 cup grated spring turnips
2 to 4 TB of chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 TB of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 Lemon, about 3 or 4 TB
Salt and Pepper

Grate the apple and immediately toss it with the lemon juice, this will keep it from discoloring. Toss in the grated turnip, parsley and all the rest. Adjust the seasoning to taste (some people may prefer more or less parsley).

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs
From Cooks Illustrated March 1, 1999.
Boiling an egg seems easy. Just drop the egg into a pot of water and wait, right? Unfortunately that's not the case. More often than not the egg comes out overcooked, with a green ring around the yolk and an unpleasant sulfurous smell. After countless tests, we found this method to be best.

Place eggs in medium saucepan in a single layer, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with 1 quart water and 1 tray of ice cubes (or equivalent). Transfer eggs to ice water bath with slotted spoon; let sit 5 minutes. Peel and use as desired.
If you plan on peeling your eggs immediately after cooking, drain the hot water from the pot used to cook the eggs and shake the pot back and forth to crack the shells. Then plunge them in enough ice water to cover the eggs until they cool down. The water seeps under the broken shells, allowing them to be slipped off without a struggle. If you want to leave the shells intact (perhaps for decorating), and wish to peel them later, the best way is to start to peel from the large end of the egg, which has an air pocket. This lets you get under the membrane without digging into the white.


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