Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - December 16, 2009

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains
Mesclun Greens; 3 lbs Red Norland Potatoes; 2 lbs Celeriac; 2 lbs Red Onions; 3 lbs Parsnips; 1 lb Daikon Radish; 1 Bunch of Leeks; 1 Bunch Lacinato Kale; 1 Delicata Squash; 1 Acorn Squash plus 1 lb Frozen Sweet Mixed Peppers

Localvore Offerings Include
5 lbs Aurora Farms Vermont Unbleached White Flour
1 lb Aurora Farms Vermont Bran
1 Dozen Eggs
Elmore Roots Northern Kiwi Red Currant Jam
1 Package Frozen Cranberries

Last Delivery Before Christmas
Dec 16 is the last delivery before Christmas. We will not be delivering next week on December 23rd. The next delivery will be December 30th.

Farm News
Pete and Steve and company worked hard a couple weeks ago to put plastic up on the big greenhouse which has been open for the summer. It's a big job, requiring several people. The greenhouse is huge, 400 feet long covering half an acre. This weekend, the plastic was blown off in a big wind. The greens that should have been sheltered have been exposed and it's been fairly cold, so their fate is uncertain. It was quite a blow, especially so soon after the work of putting it on, but fortunately it was not the only greenhouse with greens.

We just sent a few of our grass fed beef off yesterday and after the first of the year we will have some of that meat available to share members. Stay tuned for more news and a price list...

The holiday cheer is evident on the faces of everyone on the farm this week as we all look forward to the upcoming holiday break and spending time eating and drinking and relaxing with friends and family. Next week is the one week of the year that does not revolve around the Good Eats share going out, so it is the one real mental break for everyone. Best wishes from all of us to all of you for a safe, festive holiday filled with great food, family, friends, and fun!

Spring Share Sign Up Begins
The Spring share page on the website has been updated and sign up for the Spring share has officially begun. The share begins February 17th and runs for 17 weeks ending on June 9th.

We are well stocked with roots and storage crops in our cellars. In addition the freezer is storing summer goodness including squash and pumpkin puree, corn, sweet red peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, elderberries, shredded zucchini, frozen greens, and pesto. These, along with soil grown shoots & sprouts from our sprout room will fill the bulk of the vegetable portion of the share until late-March/early-April when greenhouse delicacies such as mesclun, baby pac choi, Asian greens, kale and chard begin. In April, more greenhouse items will mature, including bunched beets, salad turnips, Napa cabbage, scallions & mini onions. Late May & early June bring head lettuce, cucumbers, baby fennel, spinach, radishes and more. Earlier in the share period when vegetable offerings are limited, we'll emphasize localvore food, later in the period you'll receive more veggies. The localvore portion of the share will continue to bring a variety of local staples and delicacies from our area.

This share will be smaller than the Fall share, limited to match the amount of food we will have available. Please don't delay too long to sign up!

Though you must send your application complete with payment, the checks will not be cashed until early February. Click here to go to the Spring share page of the website where you can download a sign up form.

New Montpelier Site Search Underway

We have had a few location suggestions for a new Montpelier site and should have some news soon. I'll be visiting a couple places and will report back if they meet the criteria. The last Montpelier Mud pick up will be Jan 6th.

Criteria for a good site are below:
*Central location for members
*Large amount of space for share to be set up (Montpelier is our largest pick up site)
*Good parking for members
*Long hours with either some early AM hours or evening hours to accommodate members work schedules
*Adequate parking space for Pete's Greens truck to back up and unload easily
*No stairs for delivery person and ability to unload via truck ramp a big plus at this site

There is compensation for hosting a share in the form of a free Pete's Greens Localvore Share (or cash remuneration if that is more appropriate). If you have a location that might be suitable, or if you know of one, please contact me right away.

Localvore Lore

For the second time this share, we have Aurora Farm's unbleached white flour. This will be the last time we will be able to include this flour during this share period so enjoy it while it lasts. In addition, this week we have included some of the bran that has been milled from this very same wheat. The wheat kernels are milled and both bran and some of the germ are removed from the wheat. You can add back just as much of this as you want to whatever you are baking and to create as much of a whole wheat content as you would like!

More VT Cranberry Company cranberries today, though they have been frozen to retain freshness. And eggs again too! My hope is that the combo of eggs, flour, and cranberries might inspire some festive holiday baking. Some recipe idea follow below.

The award winning Red Currant & Northern Kiwi jam in the share today comes from Elmore Roots. The jam is made with organic fruit grown at Elmore Roots and organic evaporated cane syrup. It is truly yummy and not over-sweet like so many others. David and the crew at the farm grew the pears that you received the first week of the share and a grown an incredible variety of other fruits on the farm, all organically. The farm sells the fruit and the jams, but is also a great place to buy fruit nursery stock, as all varieties are selected for the cold climate. The farm's motto is "if it will grow in Elmore, it will grown anywhere (in Vermont)".

Storage and Use Tips

Mixed Frozen Peppers - At the height of summer we froze bell peppers for the share in order to be able to provide a wide variety of items through the winter. Use these frozen peppers as you would fresh peppers cooked into soups, stews, casseroles etc. They are even great on pizzas and as sautéed peppers and onions alongside meats. Any place you want the flavor and color of peppers. They keep very well for up to 8 months frozen. Do keep them frozen though until you plan to use them. Once they thaw they will be soft and harder to chop.

Daikon Radish - This is the long white vegetable in your bags, resembling a large, albino carrot. The sharp radish taste you experience eating a raw daikon will substantially mellow when added to soups, stews and stir-fries. Daikon is a great source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and folate as well as sulphur, iron, and iodine. Daikon should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped loosely in a plastic bag, where it should keep for at least a week.


Savory Winter Squash Casserole
You can make this using any type of winter squash - each will give it a unique flavor. Adapted from “Autumn Squash Pasta” in Recipes from America’s Small Farms. Since my inclination is always to add MORE to a recipe, I would be adding some diced frozen peppers to this dish for added color/flavor, and some chopped kale for vitamin content and because I think kale and winter squash were meant for one another. These I would add to the sauté pan with the onions and garlic etc.

4 lbs. Winter Squash
1 lb. Ziti, Penne, or Rotini Pasta
1/2 C Olive Oil
2 T Unsalted Butter
2 Large Leeks
1/2 Small Onion
2-3 Garlic Cloves
2 t Salt
1 t Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 C Water (or white wine, if you have it)
1/3-1/2 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
2-3 T Fresh Parsley

Cut the squash in half and scrape out the seeds. (You can set the seeds aside for roasting later if you like.) Place the squash halves upside down on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Add about one inch of water to the baking sheet, and bake at 400F for 45-60 minutes, until soft. Remove squash from baking sheet and let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Note: you can do these three steps earlier in the day, or the day before and store in fridge.

While the squash is cooling, cook the pasta in salted boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes less than the cooking time on the package. Then drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, coarsely chop the garlic, leeks and onion. Then remove the squash from the skins with a spoon.

Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the leeks, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Saute until the onion is translucent but make sure the garlic does not burn. Add the squash and 1/2 cup of water/wine, stirring until a thick sauce is formed. Add extra water/wine as needed to make it thick but not too thick.

Fold in the cooked pasta, taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. Spoon into a glass baking dish (or two, if you only have a small one). Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese browns. Serve onto plates and top with fresh parsley.

Braised and Glazed Radishes, Turnips or Other Root Vegetable
This recipe, from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, works well for any fibrous vegetable - carrots, parsnips, celeriac, turnips, rutabagas, radishes etc.
 A variation below with miso is particularly good with Daikon radishes. Makes 4 servings.

2 Tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 lb radishes, trimmed, or daikon radish, turnips, or rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cup or more vegetable stock, white wine or water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
Chopped parsley leaves for garnish

1. Combine the butter, radishes and stock in a saucepan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers. Cook until the radishes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes, checking once or twice and adding additional liquid as needed.

2. Uncover and raise the heat to boil off almost all the liquid, so that the vegetable becomes glazed in the combination of butter and pan juices; this will take 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, add a little lemon juice if you like, garnish, and serve.

Braised and Glazed Radishes, Turnips or Other Root Vegetable with Miso Sauce

An adaptation of the recipe above, this one is supposed to be particularly good with Daikon.

In Step 1, add a TB of tamari or soy sauce
In Step 2, as the mixture become glazed, whisk together 2 TB of any miso and an equal amount of stock or water; turn the heat under the radishes to a minimum, add the miso mixture and stit, and heat very gently for a minute or so before serving. (Omit the lemon juice and parsley.)

World's Best Parsnips
With a recipe title like that, how could I not put this one in to celebrate the return of the parsnips to the share? This one is from Andrea Chessman's Serving Up the Harvest. Roasting brings out a sweet, nutty, and aromatic flavor from parsnips. It is critical though to slice the parsnips uniformly so they cook evenly - and 1/4" thickness works best. Serves 4.

2 lbs parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/4" rounds
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a baking sheet with oil.
Toss together the parsnips, oil, and thyme in a medium bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.
Roast for about 2o minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the parsnips are well browned and tender. Serve hot.

Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
While scouting around for recipes this week I came across this one. I haven't made it yet but can't wait for a reason. It looks fantastic and reviews were great. Will be good woth pork, roasts, lamb, anything smoked, etc. Some people used it as the cranberry sauce for their turkey dinner (though others said this did not work for them). This relish has a smoky, savory quality, thanks to the chiles and garlic. Submitted by Marlena Spieler to Bon Appétit November 2009.

2 dried chipotle chiles*
1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1/4 teaspoon (generous) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (generous) ground cumin

* Can be found at specialty foods stores, natural foods stores, and Latin markets.
Ingredient tip: Dried chipotle chiles can vary by brand, with some being more supple than others. Look for chiles that give slightly when pressed between your thumb and forefinger. Chiles that are hard may not soften sufficiently when simmered in water.

Place chiles in medium saucepan filled with water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until chiles are tender, adding more water if needed to keep chiles submerged, 1 to 11/2 hours, depending on dryness of chiles. Drain.

Combine softened chipotles, cranberries, sugar, and lemon juice in heavy medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until cranberries begin to pop, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cinnamon, and cumin. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly and flavors meld, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Cool.

Remove chipotles. Stem and seed. Mince chiles and return to cranberry sauce; stir to distribute. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
This bread will make a delicious holiday treat. Makes 1 loaf. Adapted from a recipe in Gourmet November 1996

8 oz cooked and pureed pumpkin or winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup picked-over fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350° F. and butter a loaf pan, 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 3/4 inches.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together pumpkin, sugar, water, eggs, and oil. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and spices and stir just until batter is smooth. Stir in cranberries and spoon batter into loaf pan, spreading evenly.

Bake bread in middle of oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack and cool completely. Bread may be made 4 days ahead and chilled, covered.

Cranberry Coffeecake
Gourmet February 2003

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (8 oz)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar 2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk

Garnish: confectioners sugar

Makes 6 to 8 servings. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pulse cranberries with 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a food processor until finely chopped (do not purée). Transfer to a sieve and let drain while making batter.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and remaining 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes with a standing mixer or about 8 minutes with a handheld. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing until just incorporated.

Spread one third of batter evenly in well-buttered loaf pan, then spoon half of drained cranberries evenly over batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border along sides. Top with another third of batter and remaining cranberries, leaving a 1/2-inch border along sides, then cover with remaining batter. Bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a tester inserted in center comes out without crumbs, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes.

Invert cake onto rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cooks' note: • Coffeecake can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely, then store in a cake keeper or wrapped in foil at room temperature. If desired, warm in a 350°F oven 15 minutes before serving.

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