Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - July 29, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
Mesclun Greens, 1 Bunch of Celery; 1 Head of Napa Cabbage; 1 lb Zucchini; Garlic; Mixed Beans, 1 Pint Strawberries; Tomatoes; plus....

Cayenne Pepper -or- Jalapeno Pepper
Broccoli -or- Cauliflower
1 Pint of Strawberries -or- Cherry Tomatoes

*Adams Court will receive the European Cucumber that they missed last week.

Please note that we did something CRAZY and packed the celery upside down this week. We had to decide between cutting it down because it was so tall or putting it in upside down and risking some broken tops in order to include tops. We chose the latter.

Localvore Share Members Also Receive
Red Hen Whole Wheat Bread
Denis Michaud's Maple Syrup
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Eggs

Storage and Use Tips
You may have noticed the absence of the storage and use tips in the last couple of newsletters. I will be updating our website in the coming weeks and transferring the storage and use tips to the pages we have set up for veggie info and will also begin the task of compiling all the recipes we have sent you over time to these pages as well. It will be a work in progress for a while as it's a fairly big job. In the meantime, you can always go to Pete's blogspot. There you can search by vegetable for info previously posted.

Mark Your Calendar - Farm Potluck Set for Sunday August 23!
We are having a little party at the farm! In the afternoon on August 23rd, we are hosting a potluck with music, farm tours, kids activities, and of course, good eats. The event gives us the chance to meet all of you and offers you the opportunity to tour the farm and check out where your food is grown. More details to come but please mark your calendars, we really hope to see you there!

Pick Up Site Changes & Issues with Your Weekly Share
We want you to be happy and fully satisfied with your share. If you have problems at pick up like missing or damaged vegetables, please tell us and we'll send replacements the following week. If you need to change your pick up location one week, or you won't be home and want your share to go to the food shelf, please let us know so we can help arrange that. However we must hear from you by the weekend to make changes for the following week's share.

Pete out cultivating the leeks

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

Of Bags and Boxes

We have a packing dilemma and we thought we'd share it with all of you in hopes that perhaps by working together we can find a solution.

Each week on the farm we pack 230 CSA shares into plastic bags. Bags that we purchase new (adding to the environmental issue of more plastic bags in the world). The plastic bags serve their main purpose in keeping most of a veggie share together, but because they don't offer enough protection for vegetables, we keep some vegetables out of the bag. Like tomatoes and cukes that would get bruised or broken. And then sometimes this becomes confusing for people picking up... is that item on the shelf part of my veggie share or is that a localvore item? Hmmm... The plastic bag isn't the perfect vehicle for the weekly share.

What are other options?
Boxes would better protect the food from damage because all share items could go together in a box. But they take up a lot of room at the sites, they are expensive, and getting boxes back each week may be difficult. These boxes would pile up and sit for a week until our next delivery which might create space issues for some sites.

Canvas or other material reusable bags could be an option. Each member would have to have two bags that would alternate to and from the sites. Each member would bring back an empty bag when they picked up their share and the empty bag would be repacked the following week, and so on. The problem here obviously is that bags would be forgotten at home and then what? I guess we would pack those shares in plastic again maybe... There's also the issue of keeping the canvas bags clean (they'd get pretty wet each week and wet musty bags aren't great for keeping pristine fresh vegetables pristine and fresh). These bags won't keep veggies perfectly protected either though they might be better than plastic bags (and this system far more environmentally sound) .

Letting people pack their own shares at sites is an option and one that is used by many other CSA's. But we have heard from some share members that they like the ease of their Good Eats pick up, because they don't have to pick and pack. And surely there would be pick up errors with this system too. And it may require more from our site hosts to layout the vegetables in an organized way, extra time they may not have.

It's a dilemma and we'd like to know what you think. Our #1 goal is to continue to bring you healthy, organic, beautiful food, fresh from the field, in as efficient, practical, and environmentally friendly manner as possible.

We would appreciate any feedback you have to offer. We want to create a system that will work well for everyone on and off the farm......so please, put your thinking caps on and send us your ideas. We'll be sending out a brief survey to ask this and a few other questions in the next week or so. In the meantime if you have thoughts, please send an email and share them with us.

Thanks to all of you for helping to support our farm and for allowing us to continue to grow and provide food for you and your families. You are greatly appreciated.

Localvore Lore

We have maple syrup in the share today from Denis Michaud in Hardwick. Denis' maple syrup operation is certified organic and we are excited to have such a great local source. I have provided a maple recipe below in case you need inspiration.

Red Hen Bakery has baked us their whole wheat bread bread this week using 100% whole wheat flour from Meunerie Milanaise in Quebec.

And we have eggs once again from Deb's Pa Pa Doodles Farm. Enjoy!


Basic Stir Fried Vegetables
Great stuff in the share this week for a stir fry! This recipe is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. There is of course room for endless variations here. You can swap in and out different veggies, add nuts to the final minute of cooking, add dried chiles or chile paste for heat, add tofu or tempeh (even better if cooked and browned first), or up to 1 TB sweetener (honey, maple syrup, etc).

2 TB oil
1 TB minced garlic
1 TB fresh ginger
1/2 cup onions or scallions
1 medium zucchini, cut into slices or chunks
2 cups Napa cabbage
1 large carrot
2 stalks celery
1/2 lb green beans (preferable parboiled and then quickly cooled)
1/4 cup stock or water
2 TB tamari
1 tsp sesame oil (preferably dark)

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil , and almost immediately the garlic, ginger, and scallions or onions. Cook stirring for about 15 seconds, then add carrots, celery, snow peas and stock and raise the heat to high.

Cook, stirring constantly, adding liquid (water or stock) if mixture is totally dry, until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Then add the sesame oil and soy sauce.

Napa Salad
A simple tasty salad for a hot day.

1 pinch celery seeds
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp fresh ginger, very finely minced .
1/2 c canola oil or other light-flavored oil
1/2 tsp prepared brown mustard .
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
4 tsp sugar

2 small carrots grated
2 apples, sliced (a crisp, sweet-tart variety is best) .
1/2 c pecans, coarsely broken .
1/2 head napa cabbage .
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

Divide your half-head of napa lengthwise into 3 or 4 sections & knife-shred crosswise to yield strips about 5 inches long by 1/4 inch wide. Grate carrots.

Mix dressing ingredients & let rest for 5 mins to mix the flavors.
Toss together all salad ingredients with the dressing.
Garnish with pecan halves & thin rings of apple if desired.

Celery Soup
This is a classic French recipe, this one taken again from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

3 TB butter
1 small onion
1 lb celery, roughly chopped (reserve the fresh greens for garnish)
1 large potato
salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups vegetable stock
2 tsp sugar or honey to taste (optional)
1/2 cup cream or sour cream (optional)
1/4 cup celery greens, finely chopped

Put the butter in a large, deep saucepan or casserole over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the vegetables. Season w/ salt & pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until celery softens a bit. Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Puree the soup in batches in food processor or blender and return to the pot. You may prepare the soup in advance up to this point. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days and reheat before proceeding.) Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Reheat the soup in the saucepan and stir in the cream if you are using it, garnish with celery leaves and serve.

Maple Walnut Pie Squares
These squares are like little hand held pieces of maple walnut pie. Yum. From the Cooking with Shelburne Farms cook book.

The crust
1.25 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts

The filling
2 TB butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 TB packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease a 9 x 9 pan.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt. Cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Gradually add the flour mixture in thirds, beating to blend between additions. Mix in walnuts until just distributed. Pat crust firmly into the pan and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden.

While crust is baking, make the topping. Melt the butter, then whisk in the maple syrup, brown sugar, salt and egg. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour the hot topping over the baked crust. Return the pan to the oven for 13-15 minutes until the topping is deep brown and set. Cool completely on a rack before cutting.

Napa Cabbage Ramen Salad (is this salad or dessert?)
I have thought of including this one before but somehow, with the ramen noodles (reminding me of bad food college days) crisped in butter and topped with sugar, I thought perhaps I should look for something more wholesome. But each time we have Napa cabbage I can't help but think "mmmm ramen noodles crisped in butter and topped with sugar...". And well, we all probably share some weaknesses and this recipe gets rave reviews otherwise, so here it is!

1 head napa cabbage
1 bunch minced green onions
1/3 cup butter
1 (3 ounce) package ramen noodles, broken
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons tamari

1. Finely shred the head of cabbage; do not chop. Combine the green onions and cabbage in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

3. Make the crunchies: Melt the butter in a pot. Mix the ramen noodles, sesame seeds and almonds into the pot with the melted butter. Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake the crunchies in the preheated 350 degrees F oven, turning often to make sure they do not burn. When they are browned remove them from the oven.

4. Make the dressing: In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, oil, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, let boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and let cool.
5. Combine dressing, crunchies, and cabbage immediately before serving. Serve right away or the crunchies will get soggy.

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