Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - July 22, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
2.5 lb Red Norland Potatoes; 1 lb Tomatoes; Mesclun Greens; 1.5 lb Zucchini; 1 Bunch of Red Bore Kale; 1 Bunch of Cilantro; 1 lb Walla Walla Onions; 1 Bunch Sweet Basil and 1 European Cucumber** plus....

Broccoli ~or~ Cauliflower

Localvore Share Members Also Receive
Elmore Mountain Honey Oat Bread
Bonnieview Farm Mossend Blue Cheese
Butterworks Farm Yogurt
Applesauce*

*Grove Street and Sweet Clover will Receive Frozen Strawberries instead of Applesauce
**Adams Court will not receive cucumbers this week but will get replacements next week!


Please bring your empty plastic bags, berry boxes, plastic containers or anything you think we might be able to re-use and leave them at your pick up site on Wednesdays. Thank you for helping with our recycling effort!

Pete's Musings
Its been a rainy and cool first half of the summer. What does this mean for Pete's Greens? Crops have been slow to come in but all in all we've fared ok. Our baby greens look as nice as ever for mid July-a time when they are usually suffering from heat, humidity, and frequent thunderstorms. Other cool season crops like broccoli, cauliflower, scallions, and potatoes are looking great. Garlic is sizing nicely and you will see it in your share soon. Greenhouse tomatoes are suffering from leaf mold and slow ripening due to the lack of sun and high humidity-but fortunately no late blight. For leaf mold we prune heavily, ventilate, and hope for sun. Our euro cukes have caught a second wind and are absolutely cranking-some of you will see them again this week. Winter squash looks like a real bust. Fortunately High Mowing seeds is growing some for us and we have a couple friend farmers we can get more from. Melons look iffy-just not melon weather. In general root and storage crops are looking great. We have many batches of corn coming down the pipeline and hope to include sweet corn often later in August and Sept. Our awesome onion fields are looking good and just starting to size up. Daunting to consider how large that crop could be. We are making plans for providing you with lots of green goodies through the fall and into the winter. Hoping we have a long, dry fall like last year. ~ Pete

Kale Forest
I took this photo yesterday from the ground while looking up a row of tall kale.
It reminds me of a prehistoric forest.

Summer Share Still Open
We are still signing people up for the summer share. We are prorating remaining weeks so if you know anyone who wants to join us, please direct them to the website or to amy@petesgreens.com.
Summer Share
Meat Share

Chicken Update
I took a walk around yesterday, it was a beautiful day and I wanted to check in on the chickens down in the field. Having raised lots of chickens myself, I fully appreciate a clean chicken field and Pete's chickens have it good, real good.

The term "free range" comes with a set of requirements, the big one being that the chickens have access to the outdoors. In reality most free range chickens are raised in large barns with a couple doors leading to overused chicken paddocks with very little to peck or graze. The chickens at Pete's are living in chicken paradise in comparison, with endless grazing and very, very clean fields and move-able shelters.























Lately their idyllic life has been disturbed by occasional predators. Keeping enough charge in the electric fencing has been a challenge with the wet weather as puddles and wet grass short out the low lying fencing. We have lost a few birds but have discovered by accident some synergy with the pigs. The same fencing has failed to keep the 6 little pigs on their own side of the fence, and Nick has repeatedly herded them back to their own side at chow time. Except he has come to realize that on the nights that pigs spend with the chickens, we don't lose any! The chickens and pigs seem completely relaxed together. I snuck out midday to snap this photo of amicable snoozing.


The chickens we have right now are a special heritage breed of chicken. They look like the classic Cornish x Rocks type meat bird and are similar, but they are a slower growing breed that are more inclined to graze than their cousins. They fill out like their cousins do, given the extra weeks, but because they do so much grazing their meat is really rich (and vitamin packed). We are loving the flavor of these birds.

Click Here to Download an Order Form for Chicken Delivery!






Localvore Lore
Neil Urie of Bonnieview Farm has brought us some of his sheep's milk Mossend Blue cheese this week. Neil makes several award winning cheeses, Mossend Blue among them. This is a washed-rind blue with a rich, creamy texture. It's a beautiful blue in color, with flavor reminiscent of a Stilton, but with more earthy and barnyardy notes and a lingering finish. This is great on it's own

Blair and Andrew at Elmore Mtn Bread, ever committed to using local ingredients in their breads have something new for us to try this week.

The bread that we are baking today is a Honey Oat. My new favorite on the roster of breads we make! We used Milanaise Winter Wheat Flour, Milanaise Whole Wheat Flour, Quebec Rolled Oats from Milanaise, Vermont Honey from Butternut Mountain Farms, sea salt and yeast. Dave Marvin the owner of Butternut Mountain Farm is my uncle, and I am always really excited and inspired to incorporate his products into our breads. Our business relationship began several years ago when he gave me a pound of his maple sugar to experiment with. That experiment resulted in our Maple Cinnamon Raisin Bread which is without a doubt one of our most popular offerings. We're really pleased with the Honey Oat and hope to soon add it to our regular list of breads.

We have a selection of yogurts from Butterworks Farm this week. We like to include this yogurt 2 -3 times a share because we think it is just that good. We include a mix of fat and flavors to each pick up site. Butterworks Farm is a completely self sufficient organic farm with a closed herd of their own cows (they are all born on the farm) from which they make their yogurt (and other products). Butterworks also grows quite a variety of grains and beans both for animals and for human consumption. We like to support the work that they do. The cornmeal from the first week of the share came from Butterworks and there are other products ahead that we'll be bringing you too that they produce.

Lastly, we have our very own applesauce this week straight from the Pete's Greens kitchen. The applesauce is made from a mix of apple varieties from Champlain Orchards. This is pure and simple applesauce made with ... apples! That's it. It's delicious stuff and can be frozen if you aren't going to use it this week. Grove Street and Sweet Clover will get frozen strawberries instead of the applesauce (our apples didn't quite make the amount we had predicted). So maybe it's a smoothie week for you folks (or maybe strawberry margaritas...)!

Recipes

Tomato, Cucumber, Sweet Onion Salad
I never get enough of this salad in summer when tomatoes are so fantastic and cukes abundant. I often add feta or goat cheese if I have it. It's like eating dessert. Good balsamic is an important pantry ingredient. I have a couple that are just fantastic and I save them for recipes where their flavor makes a dish special, and I save the lesser grades for cooking with.

2 Tomatoes chopped
1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-2 sweet onions peeled and sliced thinly
a small handful of basil leaves
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of good balsamic vinegar

Fresh Salsa
Fresh salsa is quick and easy and so delicious and it's the perfect time of year to make lots of it. There are a million recipes for salsa because everyone's preferences are different. Experiment! You can't really go wrong gradually adding ingredients. I've given a very basic recipe here with some ideas for variation.

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup walla walla sweet onions, diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeno chile pepper, diced

Variations
use 2 tsp of lime juice instead of the lemon juice
add a little salt (up to 3/4 tsp)
use other hot peppers like serranos (or omit the heat altogether if perhaps there are kids involved in the eating)
add 1-s cloves of minced garlic
add 1/2 cups chopped garlic scapes
add 1 tsp of sugar or honey
add some cumin or some toasted cumin seed
chop up a fresh local peach and toss that in
add some fresh corn off the cob


Lebneh
A simple yogurt dip or spread that's fantastic with fresh pitas or other fresh breads. This is another staple in our house. It comes and goes. We make some, can't get enough (the kids love it). Then we make it three more times in a row and binge on it. And then it gets shelved for a while only to make another overzealous return. It's worth it though and only good high quality yogurt will do.

1 quart plain yogurt (low fat OK but full fat best)
3/4 tsp salt
3 TB olive oil
1.5 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp dried mint
3/4 tsp dried thyme

Line a collander with a single layer of paper towels and place above a bowl that fits the collander nicely. Stir the salt into the yogurt and then dump the yogurt into the paper lines collander and let it drain, ideally overnight, but minimum 6-8 hours. The yogurt will be quite thick. Usually you can kind of tip the yogurt over into a fresh bowl and peel the paper towel from it.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant. Then put them into a small container with the olive oil and dried mint and thyme.

Portion out the yogurt as you intend to use it, with a drizzle of the oil, seeds, herb mixture on top. Serve with fresh breads or pitas. Rich and delicious.

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Kale in Blue Cheese Sauce
This recipe came from the blog Blazing Hot Wok. Serves 3

1 large onion, sliced
1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
2/3 cup cream
4 oz of blue cheese, plus some for crumbling on top
a little milk, if necessary
½ lbs pasta like spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup pecans or walnuts , toasted on a pan or under a broiler for about 5 minutes and lightly crushed (optional, but will add another delicious layer to the dish)

Start by caramelizing the onions in a large pan with a little olive oil. When they are just about done (about 20 minutes or so), add the kale and sauté until wilted. Remove to a bowl and keep warm.

Once your onions are going, put on your pasta water. You’ll want to cook the pasta at least 2 to 3 minutes less than the package directions, since they will get additional time in the sauce.

In the same pan you used for the onions, add the cream and cheese. Once the cheese is melted, add the onions and kale back in and mix well. Turn off the heat until the pasta is ready. Don’t worry if the sauce seems thin. It will thicken up once you turn the pasta in it.

Once you are ready to dump the drained pasta in, put the pan back on the heat and mix everything together. The pasta will finish cooking and absorb some of the liquid and at the same time, the sauce will thicken. If it gets too thick or dry, add a little milk to loosen it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, topping each serving with some of the crushed pecans and crumbled blue cheese.

Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Tart with Whole Wheat Crust
Adapted from a recipe in Food & Wine. Serves 4 to 6.

You can make the dough for the crust up to one day ahead and leave it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic. Then, roll it out and pre-bake the shell while the onions caramelize. You can make the whole tart up to four hours ahead and serve it at room temperature or reheat in a 350 degree oven. Leftovers are good cold.

1 ½ c. whole wheat flour
½ tsp. salt, plus additional to taste
1 stick (4 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch dice
¼ c. water chilled with ice

2-3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
4 medium onions (about 1 ½ lbs), sliced into half moons
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1scant tsp dry)
freshly ground pepper
3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

In a food processor, pulse the flour and ½ tsp. salt to combine. Add the cold, diced butter and pulse until you have a coarse mixture roughly the size of small peas. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture, then pulse again until the dough just starts to come together. It will still look a little scraggly.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and quickly pat it into a disk. Wrap it up and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook stirring occasionally until soft and lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook until lightly browned, soft and sweet, about 10-15 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the thyme and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface to a large, 12-13 inch circle. You will have to use some muscle to roll it out, and do not worry about getting a perfect circle. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick and as even as possible. Roll the dough over the pin and lay it into a nonstick (9, 10 or 11-inch) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the sides of the pan with your knuckles and peel off the pieces that hang over the pan and use them to patch any holes. Your crust may not look pretty now, but it will when the tart is done. Prick the base of the crust all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. I place my tart pan on a large baking sheet to make it easier to handle.

Fill the pre-baked tart shell with the caramelized onions. Strew the crumbled blue cheese all over the onions. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese is lightly melted. Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack, remove from tart pan and serve immediately. Can also be served at room temperature.

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