Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - May 27, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
Head of Lettuce; Bag of Mesclun; Bag of Large Leaf Spinach; 1 Napa Cabbage; 1 bunch Scallions; 1 Bunch Sweet Salad Turnips; 1 Bunch Ruby Streaks Mustard; 2 lbs Mixed Beets; Red Hen Potato Bread; a Selection of Butterworks Farm Yogurt; Ploughgate Creamery Willoughby Cheese plus...

1 Bunch Cilantro -or- Parsley;
1 Bunch Kale -or- Bright Lights Chard

Half the sites will receive European cucumbers this week. Those that don't will get them next week.

Storage and Use Tips
Swiss Chard - I love swiss chard. A close relative to beets, the greens look very similar to beet greens. Like other greens, it is packed with the vitamins and minerals that are so hard to get in quantity in other foods. Chard is best eaten cooked. You can use it as a substitute for many recipes that call for spinach or other greens. As a side dish, I like swiss chard perhaps more than spinach. Which is saying a lot since I love spinach. For a quick side dish, try braising it one of two ways. Put a little olive oil or butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic & hald od a minced onion in a saute pan and allow the garlic to cook a bit and soften. Put in the chopped chard and cover tightly and let cook until wilted (if there's not enough moisture add a TB or so of water). Once chard has just wilted, add a sprinkle of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or balsamic and black pepper and serve. Or, add a bit of vegetable oil to the pan. Add the clove of minced garlic. Then add the chopped chard and cover and let cook until wilted. Then sprinkle with rice vinegar and a few drops of toasted sesame oil and maybe a teeny bit of soy if you want stronger flavor. Yum.
Napa Cabbage - The flavor of Napa cabbage is somewhat milder and a bit sweeter than that of regular green cabbage. It is delicious raw or cooked, and can be substituted for regular cabbage in most recipes. It is extremely popular in China partly because of its versatility. In Korea it is pickled, salted, and flavored with ginger and chili peppers to make Korea's national dish kim chi. Store in a sealed plastic bag in your refrigerator.

Summer Share
The Summer Share start date fast approaches. Please get your sign up forms in soon. We need to have forms and payment in by June 10th to get you started the first week of the share on June 17th.

Vegetable/Localvore - $748 (avg. $44/week)
Vegetable Only - $493 (avg. $29 a week)
Meat Share - $199 (avg. $50 a month)

Pete's Chickens and the Quest for a Closed Fertility System

We now have batches of chickens here and there around the farm. There are chicks inside and batches of birds on different plots of green outside. The chickens are a relatively new part of the fertility master plan for the farm. Pete has been raising a few chickens the last couple of years, working on the systems involved. This year he is raising enough birds to get closer to the goal of having fertility self sufficiency.













The vegetables grown on the farm pull lots of nutrients from the soil. That fertility must be replaced. In the past that has meant bringing in soil additions from off the farm, like manure and spoiled silage which get composted and then applied. This is an energy intensive system requiring man hours and fuel for trucks and tractors. Now the chickens play a role. When a greenhouse is moved off a plot of aging greens, the chickens get to work. The growing birds are moved onto a plot, pastured in electric chicken netting to protect them from predators, and they feast on the greens and all the all vegetable chicken feed they care to eat. They leave behind a nutrient filled layer of manure that gets tilled back into the soil.


This makes for happy soil and ecstatic chickens. This photo pretty much says it all, a picture of complete chicken contentment. The benefits don't stop with improved soil and happy chickens though. All of the goodness stored in the organic greens and grass is transferred to the meat of the birds, making their meat especially tasty and packed with nutrition. The meat from pastured poultry is significantly higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin A. It is also lower in fat. This is very, very healthy meat.
Within the next week or so, we will have chickens ready to order! We'll be sending an email with ordering instructions and will update the website with information as well.



Localvore 'Lore
At the Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex, Randy has created a potato bread for us this week. Randy continues to seek out ways to incorporate more and more local ingredients into the breads he makes.

The potatoes are Yukon Gold potatoes that we get from Foote Brook Farm in Johnson. We roast them in the bread oven and then throw them in the dough, peels and all. The potatoes comprise 40% of the total ingredients in the bread. It’s a great keeper and makes excellent toast as well.

From Craftsbury Common Ploughgate Creamery has just pulled this Willoughby cheese from the Cellars at Jasper Hill for us. The Willoughby is "a silky textured washed rind wheel with smoky notes and overtones reminiscent of spring". This is a cow's milk cheese made from Ayreshire milk that Ploughgate proprietors Princess MacLean and Marisa Mauro buy from Randy Hancock in Newport. Princess and Marisa took over their dairy from some retiring sheep farmers a little over a year ago and since then have been turning out some fantastic cheeses which have been very well received. Previously the two had worked together and separately on several area cheese making farms (Jasper Hill and Bonnieview among them) and learned their craft well enough to head out on their own. Princess has just got some Ayreshire heifers and in a couple years perhaps will be supplying the milk for some of the cheeses. Described as a washed rind cheese, the Willoughby is actually "washed" or painted with honey wine (mead) made by Todd Hardie of Honey Gardens Apiaries in Ferrisburg. The washed rind gives the cheese some of its characteristic flavor. I love all the local connections.

And from Butterworks Farm, we have yogurt again - hooray! For over 25 years Butterworks Farm have been making their yogurt on their farm in Westfield, VT. They have been organic since they began, and are totally self sufficient, growing all the food their cows eat including corn, oats, barley, soybeans, and alfalfa. All of their cows were born on the farm. The yogurts are made with pasteurized, organic skim (for non fat) or whole milk and live acidophilus and other live yogurt cultures. The maple yogurt is sweetened with pure VT maple syrup. The non fat vanilla is flavored with pure vanilla extract and sweetened with maple syrup.

Recipes

Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad Recipe
From www.elise.com "This is a truly great salad for large summer gatherings. Much of it can be made ahead, and then assembled when you are ready to serve." If you still have pac choi in the fridge, use the crunchy white parts of the stems sliced thinly as a substitute for the snow peas and then use the greens in the spinach casserole recipe below! Serves 7-8.
1/3 cup slivered almonds
4 cups (.5 lb) coarsely shredded napa cabbage
6 ounces snow peas, strings removed, rinsed and thinly sliced
2/3 cups thinly sliced salad turnips
2/3 cups thinly sliced scallions (including greens)
2/3 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
Dressing
1.5 Tbsp rice vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove peeled and minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise

1. Spread almond slivers out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes, until nicely browned. OR toast in stick-free or cast-iron skillet on medium high, stirring frequently until browned. Careful not to burn. Set aside.
2. Combine cabbage, snow peas, radishes, scallions, cilantro in a large bowl. Can make this step a day or two ahead.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, and cayenne until sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the mayonnaise.
4. When ready to serve, gently combine the dressing and almonds with the cabbage mixture.

Spinach-Rice Casserole
Straight from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, 1977. I love this recipe. It's basic but oh so good. When greens are abundant as they are now, I make it a lot. It packs in the greens and brown rice. You can modify the recipe by skipping the cheese & eggs and making it vegan. It's hearty and healthy and the brown rice gives it a great chewy texture. Serves 4 - 6.

4 cups cooked brown rice (2 cups dry makes approx 6 cups cooked rice)
2 lbs. raw, chopped spinach (amount doesn't have to be exact)
(or a combo of spinach bok choy, mustard greens, turnip greens, swiss chard, kale)
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons butter (or 2 tablespoons olive oil)

4 beaten eggs (or egg substitute)
1 cup milk (skim or whole OK)
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar (less than this works great too)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons tamari (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
a few dashes each - nutmeg, cayenne (I like a little more than a dash of cayenne)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
paprika

Saute' onions and garlic with the salt in butter (or oil). When onions are soft, add spinach or greens. Cook 2 minutes.

Combine the onion/greens mixture with the brown rice, eggs, milk, cheese, parsley, tamari, nutmeg, cayenne, sunflower seeds, paprika. Spread into buttered casserole and sprinkle on top.
Bake, covered, 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. I like it best when it is a little browned on top.

Sweet Beet Dressed Slaw
Adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe 4 servings

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
2 small to medium-sized red beets, peeled and grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 heaping tablespoons Honey
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 bunch salad turnips, julienned
1 head Napa cabbage, shredded or
3 bias cut scallions
2 rounded spoonfuls dill pickle relish

Preheat a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with about 3 TB of extra-virgin olive oil. Once you see the oil ripple in the pan add the grated beets, season with some salt and pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add the cabbage to the same pan and saute another 2-3 minutes until the beets are tender. Transfer the beets & cabbage to a bowl and let them cool down a bit. Add the mustard, vinegar and honey to the beets. Whisk in the remaining extra-virgin olive oil in a slow and steady stream. Add the fresh dill, salad turnips, sliced scallions and relish and toss to combine, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve now or the next day.

Simple Beet Salad with Onions
I love these oh so simple James Beard recipes that just beg for creativity. I'd probably be inclined to cook the beets a bit as in the above recipe.

Grate scrubbed beets or cut into julienne: toss with chopped scallions and a vinaigrette you make or from a bottle in your fridge. Add toasted nuts and/or a sharp cheese (blue, parmesan, feta). Serve alone or on a bed of mesclun or lettuce.

Mesclun Salad Dressings
Below are two classic simple dressing recipes for mesclun greens that you can whip up quickly. These dressings are versatile enough to go with most anything you can dream up to add to your salad (goat cheese, blue cheese, feta cheese, toasted nuts, sliced apples, pears, roasted beets, celeriac, grated carrots, the list goes on and on and on).


From Gourmet July 2007
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until salt and sugar are dissolved, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Shallot Vinaigrette
From Gourmet March 2001

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil (preferably French) or safflower oil

Whisk together shallot, mustard, and vinegar. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified, and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss salad greens with just enough dressing to coat.





Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - May 20, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
Green Pac Choi; 2 lbs frozen strawberries; 1 bunch Scallions; 1 bunch Easter Egg Radishes; 1 bunch Cilantro; 3 lbs Norland and Nicola Potatoes; 1 Bag of Baby Spinach; Vt Soy Maple Ginger Baked Tofu; Maine Sea Salt plus:

1 Bunch Sweet Salad Turnips -or- Pink Turnips;
Dandelion Greens -or- Sorrel -or- Red Giant Mustard;
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
-OR-
Vegetarian -Pete's Vegetable Stock

Hen of the Wood, Laughing Moon and Adams Court will receive a European Cucumber (to make up for last week!)

Storage and Use Tips

Cilantro - A member of the carrot family and related to parsley, cilantro is the leaves and stems
of the coriander plant (the seeds of the same plant are the spice known as coriander). Cilantro has a very pungent odor and is widely used in Mexican, Caribbean and Asian cooking. The leaves and stems can be chopped and added to salads, soups and sauces, and can garnish many meals. I toss cilantro into any Mexican dish I am making, and love it in summer when I have tomatoes to make salsa. If you can't use all your cilantro just yet and wish to save it for a future dish, you can freeze it. Wash and gently dry your cilantro with paper towels. Then either put sprigs loosely in a plastic bag and freeze them. Or lightly chop cilantro, measure by the tablespoon into ice trays, fill remaining space in ice tray with water, and then after cubes are frozen, store in a plastic bag. You can take one out and thaw anytime you need to use it.
Dandelion Greens - Every year I wait anxiously for the dandelions' reappearance. I keep bees and for bees in our area dandelions are an important food source. The bees work all summer to store enough honey for the long winter ahead. In winter and late spring the colonies get lighter and lighter as the bees deplete their honey stores. The very first food sources come from tree buds, but the first big nectar flow comes from the dandelions. If the colonies survive until the dandelions arrive, I can relax knowing that the bees' long lean winter is over. The bees then begin their annual cycle of build up of population and honey stores again.
Dandelion greens are a bonus! Picked young and tender they are similar to turnip, beet or mustard greens. They can be eaten raw in salads when very young, but as they get a bit older they devel
op more of a bitter tang and then it is best to steam or sauté them. They are delicious sautéed for about 20 minutes with onions and garlic in olive oil, with perhaps a little homemade wine added before they're done. Some people like to cook them with sweet vegetables like sliced carrots and parsnips to reduce any bitterness. Adding a little milk or cream also smoothes out the flavors.
Vegetable Broth and Chicken Broth - This week we have both chicken AND vegetable broth. Nick has been testing broth recipes in the kitchen. The veggie broth was so good that I drank a cup with my lunch last week. Neither broth contains any salt.

Please Use Care at Pick up Sites!
We have had a few more problems than normal at pick up locations lately. We will do our best to make things more clear for you when you pick up. But we need you to be mindful too when you
are gathering your goodies. Please read the pick up instructions carefully. Please remember to check your name off the list when you pick up as well. This simple step helps us immensely when we have to solve any pick up mysteries.

Summer Share
There are only 4 weeks until the start of the Summer Share! Don't miss out on your weekly deliveries of fresh organic vegetables and localvore products. The shares always sell out so don't delay in getting your sign up form in!


Vegetable/Localvore - $748 (avg. $44/week)
Vegetable Only - $493 (avg. $29 a week)
Meat Share - $199 (avg. $50 a month)

Meg's Musings
Things are going well here on the farm as we move full speed ahead into the busy season. Last week Steve and Matt moved the last 2 of our 4 moveable greenhouses into their places for growing our hot weather crops. These include tomatoes, eggplant, cucs, zucs, and basil. These crops will grow happily in these unheated cold frames as we try to maintain 80 degrees in them
throughout the days. Pete and I roll the sides of the houses up or down depending on weather to help maintain a healthy climate inside for growing. At night the sides get completely rolled down and even though the temperature drops, the houses stay around 5 degrees warmer than the temp outside. These 4 greenhouses will stay in their current position until mid October when we will be moving them from their current positions to the places they were last winter. They will be moving over already growing cold weather hardy crops where they will remain for the winter. From those we will harvest crops deep into the season.

Aside from the greenhouses, we have been busily transplanting corn, kale, brussel sprouts, fennel and numerous other veggies. We have been able to utilize our 'new to us' transplanting equipment and are currently working on planting potatoes. Steve, Matt, and Pete are full throttle
ahead with all the prep- ground work, cultivation, post ground work, and appropriate cover cropping. We are all busy, busy, busy.

Last but not least, I wanted to thank my Mom, Carol for gracing the farm with her presence here last week. She came to spend some time with Pete and I and help out here where ever she was needed. Our farmstand gardens are beautiful and weed free with newly planted perennials thanks to my mom. Our headhouse is organized and everything labeled along with others areas tidied around the farm. It was such a joy to have her here and we all can't wait until she comes
back. A big thanks to Carol from all of us here on the farm. Your bright energy and hardwork was greatly appreciated.~ Meg

Farm News
Meg just sent her piece above and it's funny how similar her perspective is. It is busy, busy on the farm. May and June are crunch time. So many things needing to go in the ground, chickens growing, land to prep, machinery to fix, compost material to gather, and now with further farm diversification - cattle fencing to install. It's a race against time to get all the plans underway that have been dreamed up through the winter or previous year. At the same time, it's absolutely beautiful. Freshly tilled, rich brown fields are made green (or red if it's kale!) with new plantings.















I marvel at Pete's greenhouse system each time I walk the farm. The greenhouses are on skids and can be hauled via tractor in a horizontal line back and forth across the flat growing fields at Pete's. In a traditional system, the greenhouses stay in one spot, weeds and potential plant pests and diseases have a chance to build up, it is difficult to work the soil, soil additions must be brought into the greenhouse and applied. With the moveable greenhouse system, these issues are minimized. Each section of soil has opportunity to be exposed to the beneficial and cleansing rays of the sun and the air. Once a greenhouse is moved, the plot can be more easily and thoroughly tilled. And chickens provide the fertility for the plots in a completely non-mechanized circular system! More about the chickens in a future newsletter....

With a fixed greenhouse system, plants that are started in the greenhouse (like spinach for example) can overheat as the season progresses. And planting them outside has risk too. If spring is too cool, the plants won't thrive. But here on the farm, the greens can grow happily in the protection of the greenhouse until spring arrives. Then the greenhouse can be moved down one plot, allowing those same plants the benefits of cooler air and direct sunlight. Other more tender, heat loving crops can be started inside the same greenhouse on a new plot of freshly prepared soil. In the photos above, peppers are planted in a greenhouse that has just been moved to a new plot. Kale, lettuce, beets and other greens that were inside 3 days earlier are now basking in the fresh spring air.
On yet another plot the chickens spend their days lounging around gorging on the lush greens left behind by another greenhouse move. This plot will be tilled eventually. But first the chickens get their fill and the land takes in the fertility they leave behind.









Though much of the planting gets done by hand, the quest for efficiency is ongoing. Last week Nick & Matt spent a lot of a day working on getting a new used transplanter functioning. Adjusted correctly it could save a whole lot of time and bending! The first 50 rows that day were planted the old fashioned way - one by one, just as in the greenhouse. The left photo shows just a portion of that field. The tractor planted a row in the time it took to plant 3 or 4 rows by hand.















While new crops are going in, others started in the greenhouses earlier in Spring are now feeding us. Below European cucumbers, pak choi, and spinach bask in the sun.


















I couldn't help but sample a warm, sun filled tomato off the vine. I dream of summer tomatoes pretty much every day. Looking forward to the bounty a few weeks from now.



















Localvore Lore

Vermont Soy Company has been developing new products and we are excited to have a product in the share today that has only been available for a little over 1 month.

Our Baked Maple Ginger Tofu is a delicious sweet and savory tofu that is ready to eat. No preparation needed, simply cut to size and enjoy! Made with the highest quality ingredients, including Vermont Maple Syrup, our Baked Artisan Tofu is delicious on salads, in sandwiches, on crackers, or tossed into your favorite stir-fry.

We have been eating it plain, right out of the package as snack food. It's that good.
Vermont Soy's mission is to source non-GMO organic soybeans from farmers in Vermont for all of their products. To that end, they work collaboratively with High Mowing Seeds, the UVM Extensions Program and local farmers on seed trials to determine the most successful varieties for our area farmers to grow.

And freshly harvested and dried (really - we had to wait an extra day for it to dry more before it could ship!) we have sea salt from the Maine Sea Salt Company. The Cook Family isolates the salt in the same basic way people have done forever.

Our solar greenhouses, known as "salt houses" are filled with fresh seawater from the Gulf of Maine. The seawater evaporates naturally, from the heat of the sun and the drying effects of the wind blowing through the greenhouses. Over a period of time, fleur de sel floats on the pool surface, then grows and sinks to the floor to form the salt bed. When all of the water has evaporated, the sea salt is ready to be packaged as natural Maine Sea Salt™. We do not wash or bleach our salt at any time during the solar production process. Therefore, the nutritious trace minerals naturally occurring in seawater are retained in our products. We also do not use chemicals or drying agents.

Recipes

Cilantro and Potato soup
This is a delicious, satisfying soup. Like most soup recipes, there is lots of room for improvisation here with some options given below.

2 TB olive oil or butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (or 2 leeks)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 quart chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
lime juice

Saute onion and garlic slowly until tender. Add the broth, potatoes. Cook til the potatoes are tender about half an hour. Add most of the cilantro leaving a few tablespoons for garnish. Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree. Serve hot or cold, and garnish with the remaining fresh cilantro. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice before serving.

Optional: add 1 diced, seeded jalapeno pepper along with the broth and potatoes. Add up to 1/4 cup of cream to soup just before serving. Add a couple chopped scallions to the soup after pureeing.

Asian Spinach Salad w/ Baked Tofu
Adapted from a January 2001 Bon Appetit recipe. Makes 6 servings.

8 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 3-ounce package Asian noodle soup mix (such as Top Ramen), noodles coarsely broken
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 10-ounce bag ready-to-use spinach leaves
1 bunch green onions, chopped
4 oz of diced Baked Maple Ginger Tofu

Whisk 6 tablespoons oil, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce in small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add noodles from soup mix (discard soup mix or save for another use). Stir to coat and cook for about 4 minutes. Then add nuts and sesame seeds. Stir until noodles, nuts and seeds are toasted and golden, about 4 more minutes. Pour contents of skillet into large bowl and cool 10 minutes. Add spinach and green onions and tofu to same bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Serve, passing remaining dressing separately.

Cilantro Potato Salad
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse. Serves 5-6.
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds potatoes, cooked and halved (unpeeled)
1/3 cup finely minced onions

In a bowl, stir together mayonnaise with cilantro, garlic, salt and 7 turns black pepper. Add potatoes and onions and toss to combine thoroughly; cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving.

Asian Cilantro Dressing for Rice, Noodles, Salads or Meats
This is a very versatile dressing. For a very simple meal, serve this over steamed spinach or sauteed pac choi, rice, and Baked Maple Ginger Tofu.

5 T vegetable oil
1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro with stems
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
1 ounce fresh ginger (about an inch of it?), cut into six 1/4 inch slices
6 large cloves garlic
1 1/2 T ground cumin
1 small jalapeno or other chili (optional)
Combine and blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until the chili, garlic, ginger and cilantro are finely chopped.

Chilled Strawberry Cream
A very simple & quick 3 ingredient recipe submitted by Ann Main to Allrecipes.com. Serves 2.

2 cups frozen unsweetened whole strawberries
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream

Place the strawberries and sugar in a blender or food processor; cover and process until finely chopped. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into berries. Pour into serving dishes. Refrigerate or freeze for 25 minutes.

Tip - allowing berries to thaw a bit before blending may save you time fussing with your blender.






Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - May 13, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
Bag of Large Leaf Spinach; Sweet Salad Turnips; European Cucumber*; 1 Head Lettuce; Medium Red Beets; Adirondack Potatoes; 1 Bunch Upland Watercress plus:
1 Bunch Easter Egg Radish -or- French Breakfast Radish;
1 Bunch of Curly Parsley -or- 1 Bunch of Cilantro;
1 Bunch Green Mizuna -or- 1 Bunch Green Wave Mustard -or-1 Bunch Red Giant Mustard -or- 1 Bunch Tatsoi;
1 Bunch Red Russian or Green Kale -or- 1 Bunch Scallions;
Amir's Shitaki or Oyster Mushrooms -or- Deborah's Eggs;
and
Elmore Mountain Bread and Blue Ledge Lake's Edge Cheese

*Hen of the Wood, Laughing Moon and Craftsbury will not receive a cucumber and instead will get theirs next week.

Storage and Use Tips
Watercress - Eaten cooked or raw, watercress has a slight peppery flavor. It has been an important green for centuries long recognized in many cultures for its healthful properties. Wherever Watercress has been reported in history it has been common to simply eat the crisp green sprigs out of hand - old world snack food . Watercress may be eaten raw as in a simple salad with oil and vinegar, or wilted in soups or other dishes. Try it in a classic British sandwich: butter and cream cheese spread on two slices of bread with watercress in between. Liven this simple sandwich up with thinly sliced radishes or cucumbers. Or try one of the several recipes I have included below.

This is another in the superfood group. Watercress is a very powerful antioxidant. A two year study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 determined that eating watercress daily can significantly reduce DNA damage to blood cells, which is considered to be an important trigger in the development of cancer. It is brimming with more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals. Gram for gram, it contains more iron than spinach, more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than milk.
Tatsoi - A dark green Asian salad green that has a spoon like shape, a pleasant and sweet aroma flavor like a mild mustard flavor, similar to bok choi. Tatsoi is generally eaten raw, but may be added to soups at the end of the cooking period.
Radishes - The Easter Egg Radishes have hues of pink, red, purple, violet and white and the flesh is pure white. The French Breakfast are red radishes with an elongated shape. Radishes are related to turnips. Fresh radishes are delightfully crisp and their flavor ranges from mildly peppery to a bit sweet. Toss them into a salad. Sliced thin they make a delightful salad on their own with a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh squeezed lemon juice, and salt. Or try glazed radishes made by placing a 2:2:1 ratio of butter, sugar, white vinegar in a pan and gently cooking until diced or quartered radishes are tender and the liquid evaporates. Season with salt and pepper.

Summer Share is Filling Up!

The summer share has been picking up speed in the last couple of weeks and is starting to fill up now. Please get your sign up forms in soon. As usual, Pete's will have most vegetables ahead of season. We are expecting to have tomatoes by mid June! Don't be left out! Visit the Summer Share page to find out more or to sign-up.

Vegetable/Localvore - $748 (avg. $44/week)
Vegetable Only - $493 (avg. $29 a week)
Meat Share - $199 (avg. $50 a month)

Pete Goes to Washington
Meg, Tom Stearns (High Mowing Seeds), Tim and I had a great time a Pat Leahy's Taste of Vermont Event in DC last week. It was held in the Senate Caucus Room, home to much history including the Anita Hill hearings and JFK's announcement that he was running for president. About 50 Vermont food producers had products and/or people in attendance and it was one big schmooze fest. Apparently these events are a dime a dozen in DC, usually hosted by lobby groups. However, according to many of those in attendance the Taste of Vermont is one of the favorites for attendees for the quality of the food and because politicians and staffers get to hang out with real Vermonters. Tom and I met our congressional delegation and Kathleen Merrigan who is #2 at the USDA. She has a background in sustainable agriculture which is a first for someone so highly ranked at the USDA. She and Bernie Sanders have committed to come to the Hardwick area to tour our operations and see what we are doing to build a local food system. Attempts to tour the White House garden fell short but we made a key contact or two that will allow us to arrange a visit with a bit more notice. All in all the halls of power felt very approachable and it seems we'll be able to have a real voice in Obama's plans for a healthy food system. ~ Pete

Localvore Lore
We knew Amir's mushrooms would end sometime. We had planned to have this be the last week for his beautifully fresh shitake and oyster mushrooms as warmer temperatures signal the end of Amir's growing season. Alas, when Amir picked this morning he did not have enough for the share. Fortunately Deborah's hens have been doing great work and we could supplement those folks who will not get mushrooms with Deb's fantastic eggs!

It's actually an interesting time of year, definitely a change in season with cool weather crops beginning to overlap with warmer weather crops. As such, we have waning amounts of some crops and others are coming on. It's a funny share week with a lot of this -or- that in your shares. I hope it isn't complicated for people. We do our best to give folks similar types of vegetables and herbs.

We have another award winning cheese for you this week from Salisbury, VT. Blue Ledge Farm's Lake's Edge is a mold ripened goat cheese that was named one of 100 Best Cheeses by Wine Spectator and was awarded a 2nd place ribbon by the American Cheese Society. It is wonderfully tart and creamy with a distinctive streak of vegetable ash running through it. Greg Burnhardt and Hannah Sessions milk a mixed herd of Nubian, Alpine and Lamancha goats and milk on average 75 goats 10 months a year. The goats' access to grasses, leaves and fresh air help to produce a milk which is clean and sweet tasting and that comes through in the cheeses the farm produces.

I am looking forward to spreading some of this cheese on a slice of Elmore Mountain's Multigrain Bread. This week's bread is a hearty loaf made with organic wheat and bread flour from Milanaise in Quebec with lots of whole grains including wheat, barley, rye, oats and flax. It is leavened with sourdough. It will be fantastic with the Cheddar Chutney Grilled Cheese Sandwich below!

About the Meat Share
Our share this week contains meats only from grass fed animals. The benefits of grass fed meats are many. Among the most important factors to consider is that the meats are lower in fat and higher in omega-3 fatty acids (the ones in salmon) and conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) both of which help to reduce cholestrerol and chance of heart disease. An Iowa study found that grass fed meats can contain more omega-3s than fish! And grazing animals makes use of land to raise food that would be difficult to farm otherwise. Grass farming methods allow machine free distribution of nutrients resulting in negligible nutrient loss and far less fossil fuel use than other methods of production. This is the direction we hope our world will move to (move back to) in meat production as it is truly the only sustainable method.

All grass fed meats are lower in fat and will cook faster than other meats. Watch carefully to avoid overcooking these meats!

* Korean Style Ribs from North Hollow Farm - Located in Randolph, VT North Hollow Farm raised a mixed breed beef herd. The cattle are entirely grass fed and finished, their winter diet consisting of hay grown on their farm. The korean ribs are a new product for North Hollow and we are excited to be able to provide them to you in the share. I am cooking mine tonight!
* Beef Kabobs from Greenfield Highland Beef - Greenfields raises a purebred herd of Highland Beef Cattle. They show their cattle around the country and their cows place among the best in the country. One of their cows Cinnamon Swirl was the National Grand Champion female in Denver, CO in 2004. Highland beef are bred for their ability to thrive on grass and meats from Greenfields live up to this promise.
* Organic Grass and Mother's Milk Fed Ground Veal from Applecheek Farm - Applecheek's calves are raised seasonally on fresh lush grass and nutrient rich spring and summer milk. This ground veal is moist and lean, with a delicate flavor and texture which make it ideal for pairing with a wide range of seasonings. Note: overworking or overcooking will toughen tender veal.
* Italian Pork Sausages (either Sweet or Hot) - From Maplewind Farm we have Italian Sausages. Maplewind Farm employs management intensive grazing to feed 90 head of cattle, 100 sheep, 40-60 pigs, 400 broiler chickens, 100 layer hens, 50 turkeys, and 9 horses all of whom are rotated over 80 acres. That's no small feat. This is accomplished by moving fencelines - a lot. Their pigs are raised on pasture and supplemented with grain.
* Lamb Steaks - Milk and grass fed lamb from Bonnieview Farm. Several recipes to choose from below.

Recipes


Stir Fried Turnips with Greens
From Jack Bishop's A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. Serves 4.

3/4 cup orange juice
2 TB soy sauce
3 medium scallions
4 med garlic cloves
1 TB minced ginger
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 TB plus 1 tsp peanut oil
1.5 lbs Spring Dug Turnips, cut into 3/4" wedges or chunks
5 cups packed, stemmed greens (turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach etc)

Combine orange juice and soy in measuring cup. Place scallions, garlic ginger, red pepper flakes in small bowl. Heat 1 TB oil in large skillet over med high heat until shimmering. Add turnips and stir fry until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Push turnips to edges of pan, spread garlic mixture in center of pan. Drizzle remaining 1 tsp oil over mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir to combine with turnips. Add orange juice mixture to pan, cover and cook, until turnips are creamy and tender and liquid has reduced to a few tablespoons (2-3 minutes). Add greens, cover and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute. (If the contents of the pan are too soupy, simmer with the cover off to reduce the liquid to a sauce consistency.). Serve immediately.

Cheddar Chutney Grilled Cheese with Green Apple and Watercress
From the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg & Wanda Urbanowitz
This is a grown up grilled cheese sandwich which will be great on the multigrain bread from Elmore Mtn.

Multigrain Bread
Butter
Aged cheddar cheese slices
Tart Apple
Watercress, washed, tough stems removed
Onion Chutney

First make the onion chutney below. Then assemble and grill the sandwiches.

Onion Chutney (makes enough for 4 sandwiches)
1 TB butter
2 yellow onions
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp brown sugar
4 TB apple cider
1/4 tsp cracked pepper

Heat Butter in a pan over medium heat and add onions. Stir until translucent. Add salt, chile flakes and coriander and continue to cook for 15 mins. Add remaining ingredients and cook until onions are very soft and creamy.

For each sandwich, butter both sides of two slices of bread. On the unbuttered side of one of the slices, spread dijon mustard and then layer with chutney, apple slices, cheddar and watercress. Heat a griddle and cook sandwiches on both sides until the cheese is melted and bread is crispy and golden.

Watercress and Potato soup
This is a simplified version of the French classic. The fresh bite of watercress adds interest to velvety smooth potato. Submitted by Jill Dupleix to The Times Aug 2007.
Serves 4.

1 quart water
1 tsp sea salt
1.5 lb all-purpose potatoes
1/4 lb watercress leaves, eg, 2 bunches
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp double cream
A little grated nutmeg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the water and salt to the boil. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Cook the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes until tender. Pick the watercress leaves from the stalks and discard the stalks. When the potatoes are cooked, fish them out of the water (reserving the water) and mash them or put them through a potato ricer. Set aside. Add the watercress to the potato water and simmer gently for five minutes. Fish out the watercress and whizz it, with a little of the liquid, in a blender or liquidiser. Return the watercress and the mashed potatoes to the potato water in the pan, stirring well. Add the milk and reheat gently, stirring. Add the cream, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer gently, without boiling, for five minutes. Serve in bowls, with a little extra swirl of cream on top.

Herbed Goat Cheese, Roasted Beet, and Watercress Salad
Adapted from a November 1994 Gourmet recipe. Serves 4. I have had this recipe in and out of the newsletter this week. It calls for goat cheese, but you really should use fresh goat cheese and save the Lake's Edge for a special treat.

1 bunch watercress, coarse stems discarded
2 medium beets, scrubbed and trimmed
1 small red onion sliced thin

For vinaigrette:
.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For herbed goat cheese
3/8 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces soft goat cheese, cut into 4 1/2-inch rounds and chilled, covered

Roasted Beets
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets tightly in foil and roast in middle of oven 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Unwrap beets carefully and cool until they can be handled. Discard stems and peel beets. Beets may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Cut each beet into 8 wedges and cover.

Vinaigrette
In a blender blend together mustard, vinegar, tarragon, salt, and pepper. With motor running add oil in a stream and blend until emulsified. Vinaigrette may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Herbed goat cheese:
In a bowl stir together bread crumbs, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Cut each cheese round in half crosswise. Coat each piece of cheese evenly with crumb mixture, pressing gently, and transfer to a baking sheet. Goat cheese may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered loosely. Let cheese come to room temperature before proceeding.
Preheat broiler. Broil goat cheese about 2 inches from heat until crumbs are lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

In a bowl toss watercress and onion with half of vinaigrette. Arrange watercress mixture, beets, and goat cheese on 8 salad plates and drizzle remaining vinaigrette over beets.

Grilled Korean-Style Short Ribs
Adapted from a recipe a July 2002 Bon Appétit recipe.

Marinade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) or sweet Sherry
3 TB honey or 2 TB sugar
1 TB cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 TB sesame oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 green onion, chopped

1 pound Korean-style short ribs

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl; whisk to blend well. Pour into resealable plastic bag. Add ribs; seal bag. Turn bag over several times to coat ribs evenly. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or broiler. Drain ribs; discard marinade. Grill ribs (or broil) until browned and cooked to medium-rare, about 3 minutes per side. Mound ribs on platter; surround with chopped spinach and serve.

Beef Kabob Marinade
1/2 c. oil
1/3 c. soy sauce
2 tbsp. prepared mustard
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. pepper

Marinate beef for kabobs for several hours, turning occasionally.

Lamb Steaks Two Ways
Recipes submitted to House and Garden in 1956 by James Beard. Both are very simple and delicious methods to prepare lamb.

Lamb Steaks
lamb steaks
garlic
melted butter or oil
salt and pepper

Rub each steak with a cut clove of garlic and brush with melted butter or oil. Grill over coals, turning to brown evenly, until the steaks are nicely browned on the outside but still pink and rare in the middle. Season to taste with salt and pepper as they cook.

Asian Lamb Steaks
lamb steaks
soy sauce
garlic, chopped
ginger, grated

Marinate lamb steaks in soy sauce seasoned with chopped garlic and grated ginger. Let the meat stand in this mixture for 5 to 6 hours and turn it often. Grill as for lamb steaks , brushing with the marinade during cooking. Omit salt and pepper.

Lamb Steaks with Mustard Butter
This one is adapted from a recipe in Dishing Up Vermont by Tracy Medeiros. Serve with mashed potatoes and wilted greens.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 TB mustard, peeled and pressed or minced
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 TB fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 lamb steaks

In a medium bowl cream together butter, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and pepper until fluffy. Set aside at room temp. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Prepare a hot grill. Place on grill and sear for 2-3 minutes. Turn steaks over and cook 7-8 minutes longer until desired doneness is reached. Serve chops on a plate and top with mustard butter. Mmmmmm.

Veal Patties with Mushrooms
These individual meatloaves are incredibly moist and juicy. Adapted from a Feb 2006 recipe in Gourmet. Makes 4 servings

2 slices firm white sandwich bread, coarsely crumbled
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives or parsley
1 lb ground veal
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs (not seasoned)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
.5 lb oyster or shitake mushrooms, trimmed and diced
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200°F.

Soak bread in cream in a large bowl 5 minutes. Stir in egg, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon chives/parsley until blended well. Add veal and mix with your hands until combined well. Form veal mixture into 4 (4-inch) patties. Spread dry bread crumbs on a sheet of wax paper and coat patties all over.

Heat oil with 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then cook patties, carefully turning over once, until golden brown, firm to the touch, and thermometer inserted into center of each registers 148°F, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer patties to an ovenproof platter and keep warm, covered with foil, in oven. Do not clean skillet.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender (4-10 minutes, depending on mushroom type). Stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons chives and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve veal patties topped with mushrooms.

Optional - add a little cream and or garlic to mushrooms at end of cooking for a bit more sauce

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Good Easts Newsletter - May 6, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
1 bunch of Sweet Basil; 1 bag Large Leaf Spinach; budding Purple and Green Pac Choi; 2 lbs Spring Dug Parsnips; 3 lbs Adirondack Potatoes; 1 European Greenhouse Cucumber; Head Lettuce; Vt Butter and Cheese Bonnie Bouche cheese; Red Hen Maize Bread and ....

...either 1 bunch of either Ruby Steaks Mustard or Mizuna.

Storage and Use Tips
Sweet Basil - This marvelous herb is a member of the mint family. It is a staple in Mediterranean cooking as well as Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian. The herb is highly aromatic, or put another way, the oils in basil are highly volatile. Thus, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor. Basil should be kept refrigerated wrapped in damp paper towels and in a plastic bag or kept stems down in a glass of water with plastic over the leaves for about a week with regular water changing.

In addition to being just plain delicious, basil has numerous health benefits. The essential oils have proven to be an effective antibiotic for a number of antibiotic resistant bacteria strains. The oils in basil also have some amount of anti-inflammatory ability which is being researched at present.

Mustard Greens - Related to kale, cabbage, and collard greens, mustard greens are the peppery leafy greens of the mustard plant. This week everyone will receive either Mizuna or Ruby Steaks Mustard. Mizuna is a Japanese mustard green with dandelion-like jagged edge green leaves with a mild, sweet earthy flavor. It has long been culitaved in Japan, but most likely originated in China. Mizuna makes an excellent salad green, and is frequently found in Mesclun. Ruby Streaks Mustard has a delicate texture and mild, sweet yet mildly pungent mustard flavor. Both greens are tender enough to liven up salads, and stout enough to stand on their own in steamed or stir-fried dishes.

VT Butter and Cheese Co Bonnie Bouche - this cheese came to us in bulk and we had to re-package it in small bags. It is not nearly as pretty as it could be! The shelf life on this cheese will be shorter with the extra handling. Which means you will just have to eat it right up!

Pete's Musings
Meg, Tim and I and Tom Stearns from High Mowing seeds are headed to DC on Thursday for Patrick Leahy's Taste of Vermont event. Apparently it's a big deal that all the Senators and Reps attend because in addition to lovely early spring produce from Pete's Greens, seeds from High Mowing, cheese from Jasper Hill, and tofu from Vermont Soy there are liberal quantities of Vermont beer and ice cream. Then on Friday we will be treated to a private tour of the Capitol. We are still trying to get a tour of Michelle Obama's new White House veggie garden thinking that perhaps we could provide a bit of advice but those plans are not yet confirmed. We're looking forward to a couple days away after an intense month and with another intense month ahead of us. It seems that so many things have to go into the ground at the same time this time of year but we are gaining. Best ~ Pete

Localvore Lore

Great stuff in the share today with many options for wonderful meals this week. We have a traditional goat cheese that will be delicious on its own, as an appetizer, on salads, on pasta dishes, on braised or wilted greens, and in some really scrumptious dishes. We have several greens versatile enough to either headline a salad or add zest to one, yet sturdy enough to be sauteed or braised! We have the first basil of the season (how lucky are we to have basil in May?). We have bread and jam that will be marvelous together (especially if you haven't polished off last week's cream cheese!). And then we have potatoes and parsnips to add substance to your week. The possibilities are endless.

Vermont Butter and Cheese Co has provided us with a handcrafted goat cheese made in the traditional French style. French for “tasty morsel” Bonne Bouche is soft and smooth with a fresh cream & mildly goaty flavor which intensifies with age. Tasty indeed! Remove from the fridge 1 hour before serving and allow to warm to room temperature for best flavor. This cheese would be especially nice with sweet and earthy flavors. VT Butter and Cheese recommends serving with fig paste and candied nuts or drizzled with honey!

Elmore Roots
is a nursery in Wolcott that grows and sells nursery stock of pretty much any kind of fruit you can grow in Vermont. They also make fabulous jams from the fruit grown on their farm. Today we have their Plumberry Jam, made with certified organic berries and plums from their farm, sweetened with organic cane juice.

Randy George at Red Hen Bakery has been refining the corn/wheat bread recipe. "This week we are making the maize bread with Nitty Gritty Grains' corn again. We are excited about this bread's potential, but we feel that the ones you received last month did not entirely live up to that potential. So we have made some refinements to our formula to improve it, and we want to give this another whirl. As always, email us with feedback!"

Recipes

Wilted Asian Greens
Adapted from a recipe in the July 2003 issue of Gourmet magazine. You could also substitute Pak Choi in this recipe and it would be great, but you will need to steam the chopped stems a couple minutes and then the leaves til tender. The spinach and Mizuna or Ruby Streaks do not need to be cooked before adding the hot dressing.

1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
8 cups chopped Spinach, tough stems removed (3 oz)
8 cups mizuna or Ruby Streaks mustard (3 oz)

Heat vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and sesame oil in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved (do not let boil). Pour hot dressing over greens in a large bowl and toss well. Serve immediately.

Potatoes, Greens and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
Adapted from the March 2008 issue of Bon Appetite.

1 1/3 cups 1/2-inch cubed Adirondack Potatoes (about 3 medium)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/3 cups (packed) coarsely grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar (5 to 6 ounces)
1 1/3 cups of tomatillo salsa (or your favorite)
4 2/3 cups coarsely chopped stemmed mustard greens/mizuna (from 1 bunch), divided
4 8-inch-diameter flour tortillas
3 ounces chilled fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
Olive oil

Place baking sheet in oven and preheat to 275°F. Steam potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes. Place in large bowl; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss to coat. Cool potatoes 15 minutes. Mix in Jack or Cheddar cheese. Meanwhile, blend salsa and 2/3 cup (packed) greens in mini processor until greens are finely chopped.

Arrange tortillas on work surface. Divide remaining greens between bottom half of each. Top greens with potato mixture, then goat cheese and 2 tablespoons salsa mixture for each. Fold plain tortilla halves over filling, pressing to compact. Brush with oil.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas, oiled side down, in skillet. Brush tops with oil. Cook until quesadillas are brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 quesadillas.
Cut each quesadilla into 3 or 4 wedges. Serve with remaining salsa.

Penne with Wilted Greens, Goat Cheese and Fresh Basil
This is more of a suggestion than a recipe. Substitution opportunities are endless!

1 lb penne pasta (or any shape pasta)
Olive oil
3-6 Cloves garlic, minced
3-8 cups of greens, tough stems removed, greens chopped (spinach, mustard, mizuna, Pac Choi)
1/2 to 1 cup of tomato sauce
Goat cheese
Fresh chopped basil

Put a large pot of salted water on and bring to boil for the pasta. While water is heating, mince the garlic, chop the greens and any other vegetables you have on hand that you'd like to throw in (see options below). Once the veggies are all chopped and prepared and water is boiling, add pasta and cook to al dente (8-12 mins depending on pasta type).

While the pasta is cooking, put a large saute pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add 2-3 TB of olive oil and the garlic to the pan and stir to coat and cook for a minute or two. Add the tomato sauce (or fresh tomatos or sun dried tomatoes). Add other optional veggies in order of necessary cooking time and cook until not quite tender. Add the greens and cover pan until greens are just wilted at which time other veggies will now be tender. Remove cover. Drain the pasta, and in a large bowl or in the original pasta pot mix together the pasta and veggies saute and the fresh chopped basil. Serve on plates with crumbled goat cheese and the optional toasted nuts on top.

Optional Ingredients:
2-3 TB Toasted Pine Nuts, Walnuts, Pecans, or Almonds. Toast on a dry skillet (cast iron ideal) on the stovetop over medium heat until they become fragrant. Don't let them burn. Remove from heat to a bowl.

Sundried tomatoes - use just 2-4 as too many can overpower a dish. Soak in hoat water if they are very dry, and once softened, chop/mince them.

Other fresh veggies - 1-2 fresh tomatoes, broccoli, aparagus etc. Add these to the saute as necessary to cook til just tender

Red Beet Risotto with Mustard Greens and Goat Cheese
From the February 2007 issue of Bon Appetite. If you like the sounds of this recipe but hate to use up all of your goat cheese, it would also be delicious with shaved Parmesan substituted for the goat cheese.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 (2 1/2- to 3-inch-diameter) beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
1 cup Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups chopped mustard greens/mizuna
4 ounce chilled soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add beets and onion. Cover; cook until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Mix in rice. Add broth and vinegar. Increase heat; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered until rice and beets are just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into shallow bowls. Sprinkle with greens and cheese.

Simple Mustard Greens Recipe
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound mustard greens, washed and torn into large pieces
2 to 3 Tbsp chicken broth or vegetable broth (vegetarian option)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil

In a large sauté pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant. Add the mustard greens and broth and cook until the mustard greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Cucumber, Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato Appetizer
These are tasty little cucumber morsels made by blending goat cheese with sundrieds and garlic and then squeezing the spread out onto individual cucumber slices.

4 oz goat cheese softened (in microwave for 10-15 seconds)
1/2 TB minced garlic
2-3 sundried tomatoes soaked in 1-2 TB olive oil, and then minced very fine or pureed
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cucumber - peeled and sliced into rounds

Mix the above together. You should have a fairly smooth spread. Put the spread into a plastic bag and cut off a small corner of the bag. Squeeze the spread onto the cucumber slices. For added zest, garnish with finely chopped basil! Yum.

For an even easier dish, simply dice up peeled and seeded cucumbers, add minced garlic, chopped sundried tomatoes soaked in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, crumble the goat cheese on top and some minced basil and dig in.