Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - April 29, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
1 bunch Salad Turnips; Spring Dug Parsnips; Medium Red Beets; European Greenhouse Cucumbers; 2-3 heads of Pac Choi; Mesclun Mix; 1 quart of Pete's Applesauce; 8 oz Champlain Valley Cream Cheese; 1 lb of Butternut Farm Maple Sugar and....

...either 1 bunch of sorrel or 1 bunch of parsley.

Storage and Use Tips
Sorrel - Sorrel is a green leaf vegetable native to Europe. It is also called common sorrel or spinach dock. In appearance sorrel greatly resembles spinach and in taste sorrel can range from comparable to the kiwifruit (or lemons or a combo) to a more acidic tasting older leaf (due to the presence of oxalic acid which increases as the leaves gets older). Young sorrel may be harvested to use in salads, soups or stews. Young sorrel leaves are also excellent when lightly cooked, similar to the taste of cooked chard or spinach. Older sorrel is best for soups and stews where it adds tang and flavor to the dish.

Parsley - Much more than a garnish, parsley has lots to offer. Chopped parsley can be sprinkled on a host of different recipes, including salads, vegetable sautés and grilled fish. Combine chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest, and use it as a rub for chicken, lamb and beef. Add it to soups and tomato sauces. It is a key flavor ingredient in the mediterranean dish tabouli (I felt compelled to add the recipe below). Parsley is one of those vegetables with huge nutritional benefits, even when using just a couple tablespoons of the minced green. The vitamin content is very high (particularly vitas A, C, K, and folic acid). And what's more, the activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens.

Maple Sugar - This form of maple was first developed by Native Americans for its ease of storage and transport. Its has robust maple flavor, low moisture content, and a long shelf life. It is a natural alternative to cane sugar. Store it in a tightly sealed container. If it becomes fused into a maple sugar lump, use a cheese grater to grate it when you use it. See both Lovalvore Lore and the Recipe section for use ideas.

Pete's Musings
Lots happening in the fields. We are gearing up to transplant one by one 250,000 baby onion plants. It is a slow and laborious process but leads to a great crop and there is little work to do with them after the transplanting. Our 3 acre potato field is being prepped today and we'll try out our new potato planter later this week. Outdoor greens are about a week away-I think a new record for earliness on this farm. The crew is shaping up well-we have lots of folks and it is a challenge to keep ahead of them at times. Meg has been a great addition as a field manager running a crew of 2-4 folks while I do the same. I'm able to get my crew started on projects and then run around doing tractor work or all the little things that seem to take me all day to accomplish. I like the response to the question "What did you do today?" "Not sure, but it took me all day.". That is often how I feel and it can be tough to focus on a task and complete it.

We are looking for a very large dump truck to purchase. We have a nice connection with a dairy farm 2 miles away that is willing to give us rotten sileage and sell us manure. Mixed together the two ingredients make great compost but we have to haul most of it ourselves. Our current dumptruck is on it's last legs and Steve has done a great job nursing it the past couple years but it is time for something larger and newer so that we can haul more with each load. These additions of organic materials are the base of our soil and crop health and we appreciate having access to them. ~ Pete

Localvore Lore
Nancy was thinking of you all when she put this share together several weeks ago. It was her plan to have the maple sugar appear in the share with the cream cheese. The idea of course is to spread the cream cheese on your favorite bread, and then sprinkle the maple sugar on top. Yum!

The bread this week is Elmore Mountain's Pain au Levain. It is a sourdough loaf made with bread flour and rye flour from La Meunerie Milanaise in Quebec, whole wheat flour from Butterworks Farm, spring water and sea salt. It is a universal bread that makes delicious sandwiches and toast, is good with strong cheeses, dunked in soup, or enjoyed on its own.

Champlain Valley Creamery in Vergennes has provided their award winning Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese. This cheese is made from cultured fresh organic cow’s milk and cream using traditional methods. I asked Carleton Yoder to share with us a bit about how he makes this cheese:

We haul organic milk in cans from a dairy in Bridport, we separate the cream and add it to whole milk in the vat. We then vat pasteurize the milk/cream combo, cool and culture for 7 hours. The resulting thick curd is scooped into muslin bags and drained overnite, then pressed lightly in the morning. The cheese is emptied out of the bags and is salted and packed, all by hand. The cheese you are getting was milk on Friday, packed Saturday. The cheese is never reheated to stop the culture, and no stabilizers (like carob, guar or xanthan gums) are ever added. It's very unlike that ubiquitous foil wrapped gummy brick! It has the perfect balance of creaminess and tanginess that is unlike any other cream cheese you’ve ever tasted. It’s great on a bagel, on sandwiches, baked in your favorite dessert or simply on its own.

The Maple Sugar comes from Butternut Mountain Farm in Johnson. We are fortunate to be able to provide it as Butternut is one of only two operations in the US to make maple sugar. Maple sugar is produced simply by boiling all of the water out of the syrup and mixing it into a granulated state. Some cooking tips from Emma Marvin:

Maple sugar is highly versatile. I use it when making chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies in place of the brown sugar and some of the white. I use it on salmon sprinkling maple sugar, ground sea salt and pepper over the top just prior to cooking. It makes a great maple salad dressing! Mix approximately equal parts of olive oil, maple sugar and vinegar (cider or rice wine works well). I’m sure there are infinitely more ways to use maple sugar, but these are just a few of my favorites. We'd love to hear about any recipes you find yourselves using our maple sugar in!


Recipes

Spicy Parsnip Soup
This recipe from www.jamieoliver.com gets numerous rave reviews. Serves 4.

olive oil
knob of butter
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
6 parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunks
500 ml milk (full fat or skim)
1 quart vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
optional: 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
optional: a handful of fresh minced cilantro (or parsley!) leaves
crusty bread, to serve

Heat a splash of olive oil and the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and garam masala. Gently fry for around 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and sweet.
Drop in the chopped parsnip and stir together so that everything gets coated in the oil and flavours. Pour in the milk and stock, season well and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on. After half an hour, check that the parsnips are cooked by sticking a knife in. If you’re happy, remove them from the heat and carefully whiz up using a hand blender or liquidizer. Taste the soup to see if it needs a little more salt or pepper.

Serve topped with some strips of fresh red chili peppers (or a sprinkle of dry) with a good chunk of crusty bread.

Tip: Use coconut milk instead of regular milk for a twist.

Sorrel Soup
This is a very simple light soup that highlights the fresh, slightly lemony flavor of the sorrel. It's from the Sundays at Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen.

2 c. well-packed, washed and stemmed sorrel leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
3 T. butter
1 T. unbleached white flour
3 c. vegetable stock
2 egg yolks
1 c. milk or half and half
salt and freshly ground black pepper
dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce (optional)

Finely chop the sorrel leaves. In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion in the butter until translucent. Stir in the flour. Mix in the sorrel and cook for a minute or so, just until it wilts. Add the vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a low simmer and cook for about 3 minutes. Beat the egg yolks and milk in a medium mixing bowl. Slowly add 2 c. of the hot soup while stirring constantly. Stir this soup-egg mixture into the soup pot. Reheat the soup gently but don’t let it boil. Add salt, pepper to taste and a dash of Tabasco, if you like.

Tabouli
I had to include this to go along with the parsley. Make sure you give it time to marinate in the fridge! Serves 6.

1 cup bulgur
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice -- and/or lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic -- crushed
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon dried mint flakes
1/4 cup olive oil -- (good quality)
fresh black pepper
2 medium tomatoes -- diced
1 cup fresh parsley -- chopped and packed

Optional: 1 cup chopped cucumber and/ or 1/2 cup coarsely grated carrot

Combine bulghar, boiling water, and salt in a bowl. Cover and let stand 15-20 minutes, or until bulghar is chewable. Add lemon juice, garlic, oil, and mint, and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate 2-3 hours (this is important, the bulgher needs to marinate). Just before serving add the vegetables and mix gently. Correct seasonings. Garnish with olives.

Braised Parsnips
1 bunch parsnips
3 tbsp. butter
1 pinch salt, pepper, and nutmeg
Chopped parsley

Clean and scrape parsnips. Slice lengthwise. Melt butter in a skillet; add parsnips and seasonings and cook covered over low heat until tender. Serve garnished with finely chopped parsley.

Carrots - Turnip - Parsnip Dish
5 large carrots, peeled or scrubbed and chopped
1 medium turnip or rutabaga, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Prepare vegetables and place them in a large saucepan. Cover with water, bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutues or until vegetables are tender. Drain well. Add salt, pepper and butter and mash well. Serve as a side vegetable with your meal.

Maple Sugar Bread
This is really quite a decadent sounding loaf, particularly when considering the option of spreading cream cheese on each slice. From the website www.recipeland.com.

Ingredients
1.5 cups of applesauce
1 cup nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans)
2.5 cups flour, all-purpose
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon ground
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins, seedless, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon butter softened
1/2 cup butter softened
1.5 cups maple sugar (finely grated if necessary)
3 large eggs

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use teaspoon of butter to coat bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt.
In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup of softened butter and maple sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with the apple puree in 2 parts, mixing just enough to incorporate the ingredients fully. Then stir in the nuts and raisins. Pour the batter into buttered pan, spreading it and smoothing the top with a spatula, and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cream Soaked White Bread with Maple Sugar
OK, I know this is not exactly healthy fare... I found it on www.saveur.com and I couldn't pass it up. Crunchy Maple sugar, lush pillowy cream, on coarse country white bread ...mmmmm.

3/4 cup heavy cream
4 thick slices of hearty white country bread
4 tbsp. coarsely grated maple sugar

Put cream into a medium bowl, and whisk until slightly thickened. Pour 1/4 cup of the cream over each slice of bread. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of the maple sugar over the cream. Serve immediately.

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