Monday, November 23, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - November 24, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
3 lbs of Potatoes*; 2lbs Yellow Storage Onions; 2lbs Orange Carrots; 1/2 Bunch of Scallions; 1 Stalk of Brussel Sprouts; 3.5# bag of Pumpkin Puree; 1 Bunch of Upland Cress; 1 Bag of Mesclun Greens plus...

1 Bag of either Lettuce -or- Escarole.

*Note: Some members will receive Norland potatoes, others will get Nicola, while others will get a mix of these plus possibly Adirondack Pink and/or Blue.


Localvore Offerings Include

Red Hen Winter Squash Bread
Pa Pa Doodles or Gopher Broke Farm Eggs
Champlain Orchards Cortland Apples
Organic Quebec Grown Rolled Oats

Happy Thanksgiving!

We did our best to put together a Thanksgiving feast for you this week. All the usual suspects are included - potatoes, carrots, yellow onions and apples for making stuffing, apples and pumpkin puree for making pies, eggs for baking, plus some greens to round out your diet. Along with the cranberries from two weeks ago and the maple sugar from last week, we hope all this great food will come together at your table this week for a fantastic local meal.


Bulk Orders

The first bulk order pick up went well and we look forward to making this a regular occurrence through the winter. There will be some bulk orders delivered to sites this week with items that weren't available last week. Please make sure you leave these behind for those for whom they have been packed.


The next bulk order will go out December 9th. We need all orders in by this Friday Nov. 27, and we have a mail holiday on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. Please try to get your orders right away! Please visit the bulk order page to download the order form.


Gopher Broke Pastured Turkeys Still Available
We have less than 20 turkeys left but still have a good range of sizes available. Email amy@petesgreens.com if you'd like a copy of the current list of available turkeys. They can be added to your bulk order.

We also have Pete's Pastured Chicken. Click here to go directly to the chicken page where you can download an order form.


Storage and Use Tips

Pumpkin Puree - Hooray for pumpkin puree! We are mighty pleased to have developed an efficient method for pureeing squash and pumpkin. Winter squash is versatile, it is packed with nutrition, it's delicious, and freezes very well so having a stockpile feels wonderful. You can use the puree in any recipe calling for winter squash or pumpkin. Pumpkin is a bit sweeter than squash, but generally in most recipes they can be used interchangeably. The puree is coming to you frozen in a bag. It's approximately 6 cups of puree. If you won't use the whole thing at once, thaw it, take what you need and then pour the remainder into containers and refreeze right away. I like to freeze mine in 2 cup or 4 cup portions. This is some of the sweetest pumpkin we have ever tasted.

Escarole - With broad, pale green leaves escarole is less bitter than other members of the chicory family. You can tear some and add it to your salad. It also benefits from cooking. Try sauteing the escarole and adding it to your pasta. Or chop it up and add it to a soup. You can store escarole, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer for up to a week.


Localvore Lore
Red Hen Baking Co. baked some special bread for us this week...

This week we’ve made a Thanksgiving treat: Squash bread! You probably saw the photos a few week’s back of the crew at Pete’s processing vast amounts of squash. Well, we’ve taken a load of that puree and put it into this week’s bread along with some maple syrup from the Von Trapp Farm in Waitsfield and a bit of Nitty Gritty Grains (Aurora Farms) cornmeal for a little crunch. The flour, of course, is the same VT flour that we’re using in Cyrus Pringle bread, so this is a real indigenous VT treat. We made a test batch of this bread last week and it keeps quite well, so you could easily save this bread for Thursday’s feast without a problem. If you feel that it’s gotten a little too hard for your liking, moisten the outside and stick it in a 350 degree oven for 7 or 8 minutes and it will come right back to life. Enjoy, and happy Thanksgiving! ~Randy

Meanwhile, to inspire pie making we have sent along Cortland apples from Champlain Orchards. Cortlands are of course the standard for making apple pie. And to instigate even more pie (isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about?) we have Pa Pa Doodles and Gopher Broke Farm eggs which can be combined with the pumpkin puree for the classic pumpkin pie.

We have the first of the product we'll be bringing you from our friends in Quebec over this share period. Over the last several years we have developed great relationships with several growers and producers there who produce products that we are unable to source here in Vermont. We have certified organic rolled oats this week that are grown just over the border in Compton, Quebec. Michel Gaudreau is an organic champion in Quebec. He grows his own 300 acres of organic crops, and by offering milling and storage capability to other area farmers he enables them to grow thousands more acres of organic grains and beans. Among the organic grains and beans that pass through Golden Grains are barley, oats, wheat, spelt, rye, soybeans and yellow eye beans.

It's always an adventure making this journey. Crossing the border with a truckload of food products is, well, sometimes kind of a crap shoot. You never quite know what is going to happen... Last time I rolled through, the customs guy asked me a few questions and then said "have a nice day" and on I went. This time though, they wanted the FDA's Prior Notice document. Arg. I had called ahead of time to clarify whether I needed it for this trip and the products I'd be carrying, and had thought that the customs officer and I understood each other clearly and that the document was not required. Wrong. After an hour and a half of deliberations at US customs over what to do now, it came down to two choices, go back to Canada and dump the product, or figure out how to get a copy of the form. The form can only be filled out on line and then they want the hard copy print out. I got back in the truck and headed back to Canada where I drove around with my laptop in the tiny town looking for a wireless signal or a willing business. Finally, from a truck stop restaurant, I called my spouse who was at home in Waterbury. For the next 45 minutes, I talked him through the incredibly detailed form which was finally faxed through to me to the truck stop. Nearly three hours later I recrossed the border with paperwork in hand and all of our Quebec products on board. What we do for local food!

Recipes

Apple Pie
This is my favorite apple pie recipe. The pie is made with honey rather than sugar. The honey flavor comes through in the pie and gives the pie a rich, decadent flavor.

Crust:
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1.5 sticks cold butter cut into 1/4" slices
Ice water

Pie filling:
7-8 Cortland apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4" thick
2/3 cup honey
3 TB flour
1 TB lemon juice
2 TB melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon

For the crust
Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and give it a quick pulse to mix. Toss in the slices of cold butter. Using the pulse button, pulse 7-8 times for 1 second each time until the flour butter mixture looks like very coarse cornmeal. Run a fork through it and look for butter chunks. The largest chunks should be pea sized or a bit larger (high bush blue berry sized?). Transfer to a mixing bowl. Pour in 1/3 cup of water and fold flour in from outer edges of bowl with a rubber spatula. The goal in mixing water into the dough is to do it with as few strokes as possible so use some strategy. You will need to add more water, depending on how cold your butter is, moisture content of flour etc. You may need as much nearly another 1/3 cup but probably not quite that much. As soon as it starts holding together, use your hands to gather the dry flakies that resist capture and form the dough into two equal sized balls. The dough wants to be just moist enough to come together, and not so dry that your balls want to crack apart again. Press your dough balls into flattened rounds and proceed to rolling it out if you are ready. If you aren't, wrap your flattened rounds in plastic and refrigerate (can be made a couple days ahead).

For the filling
Melt the butter and if your honey is thick and creamy, let it heat along with butter so that it is easier to blend with the apples. No need to heat it lots, just enough to make it pour easier. Pour the honey/butter mix over the apple slices in a large bowl and mix to coat. Add the flour, cinnamon, lemon juice.

Assemble your pie and bake at 425°F in the middle of your oven for 30 mins. Then turn the temp down to 350°F and bake until lightly browned and bubbling - another 15-25 mins.

Pumpkin Pie
This one comes straight out of the Joy of Cooking. It's my favorite recipe for this classic pie and I have made this pie probably 50 times. It is that good. You really can use anything from heavy cream to milk, and even low fat works fine. Some cream content elevates this pie from real good to dreamy though.

Ingredients
Prepared pre-baked pie crust
2 to 3 large eggs (2 for more pumpkin flavor, 3 for more soft custardy pie)
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups light cream or mix 3/4 cup heavy cream and 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar (or maple sugar!)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves or allspice
1/2 tsp salt

Directions
Position rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 400°F.
Make pie crust and bake at 400°F for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown (see notes below on pre-baking your crust). Remove the pre-baked crust, paint the inside of the crust with egg yolk (I use my fingers for this) and bake for another 2 minutes to set the egg wash.

Turn oven down to 375.
Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together thoroughly until combined.
If the crust has cooled, warm it in the oven until it is hot to the touch.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust and bake until the center of the filling seems set but quivery - like jello - when you nudge the pan. Should take roughly 45 minutes but this varies by oven, depth of the pie plate etc. Could be 55 minutes.
Remove the pie and let cool completely on a wire rack. Leftover pie should be refrigerated!

Pre-baking your crust
The only thing a little tricky about making pumpkin pie is that you are supposed to pre-bake the crust first and paint it with egg yolk to help keep it from getting soggy. Follow the directions in the apple pie recipe above for making the crust, and roll it out and shape your crust in your pie plate. If you just stick the pie plate in the oven now to pre-bake, your crust will shrink and slip down the sides of the pie plate. You have to somehow hold it in place while it pre-bakes for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Press a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side down, into/on top of the crust you have shaped in your pie plate. You need the aluminum foil to be depressed into your pie plate enough so that you can fit a slightly smaller pie plate nested in/on top of your prepared crust. The weight of the smaller pie plate will hold your crust in place while it's baking. (Alternatively, you can use uncooked rice or beans poured into the aluminum foil to hold the pie crust in place.) Bake for 20 minutes to set the crust. Then remove from oven, remove the pie plate weight(s) and aluminum foil. Prick the crust with a fork if it has puffed up. Then return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes more until golden brown all over.

Thai Winter Squash Soup
In case you are inspired to make something non traditional this week, here's a soup that makes use of the remainder of the pumpkin puree after you have made the pie above. Having puree in hand makes this a super easy soup to put together and this soup is a flavor explosion. In traditional Thai fashion, it combines sweet, sour and salty flavors and has a kick too. The lime and coconut both come through beautifully.

Vegetable oil
1 onion,
3 cloves garlic
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
3-4 cups of winter squash or pumpkin puree
1 qt chicken or vegetable stock
3 TB Fish sauce
2.5 TB brown sugar (or maple syrup, or maple sugar)
2 TB Lime juice
1 can coconut milk
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

Puree the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor. Put a small amount of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Then add the pumpkin puree, stock, fish sauce, brown sugar or maple syrup, lime juice, and crushed red pepper and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Before serving, add the coconut milk. Taste the soup. You may want to add a fresh splash of lime just before serving.

Classic Oatmeal
In honor of the rolled oats, I pulled this tried and true recipe from our blog which Nancy Baron posted last winter.

2 cups dry rolled oats
2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 TB butter
handful or raisins or dried fruit
drizzle of maple syrup or honey

Place oats, milk, water and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for five to 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and oats have softened to a porridge. Stir in butter. Divide into bowls and garnish with dried fruit and sweetener of your choice.

1 comment:

todd said...

Thai soup was excellent,was able to use many things from the share, garlic, maple sugar, onions and pumpkin puree, had the buttermilk biscuits using the white flour on the side! Easy and delicious.

Lauren