Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - January 20, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains: 3 lbs Mixed Potatoes; 2 lbs Mixed Onions; 2 Bulbs Garlic; 2 lbs Gilfeather Turnip; 3-4 lbs Green Cabbage plus.....

Sunflower & Radish Shoot/Salad Mix
3 lbs frozen Mixed Tomatoes

Localvore Offerings Include:
On the Rise Pizza Dough
Vermont Butter and Cheese Fresh Goat Cheese

Pete's Pickles (a mix of Sour and Dills at Sites)

2 lbs Butterworks Cornmeal


Meg's Musings - More Mexico Tales
On our trip in Mexico, Pete and I had the pleasure of
many different animal experiences. One was the release of hundreds of newly hatched sea turtles in Zihuatanejo. Each year sea turtles return to the exact same beach where they were born to bury their eggs in the sand. All along the beach employers of different hotels and restaurants dig up newly laid eggs early in the morning and re-bury them in one of the many protected areas on the beach. The nests are marked with a date and about 1 week later the eggs hatch and out come all the sweet little babies. They are put into a crate and later in the evening released into the sea. The release happens at night because the fish that enjoy munching on these little turtles go to sleep at this time. So the turtles have the night to make it out into deeper waters and possibly safer territory. Only a small percentage will make it back to lay their eggs someday. We were blessed to be able to experience this release not once, but twice.

As we ventured into the mountains Pete and I encountered many pigs, male turkeys, and stray dogs. There were also horses that looked incredibly hungry, Brahma cows that
reminded Pete of Texas longhorns, and burros laden with firewood, food, and children who seemed somewhat content (except for the sweet and lonely burro missing a foot, ankle, and another 4 inches of its leg).

The pigs we saw were oh so sad. They were almost all tied up to trees with a very short ropes. The ropes had been put on when the pigs were small so that as these pigs grew, the neck ropes became tighter and tighter and
eventually the pigs' neck skin enveloped the rope. This was very sad for both of us as we had just left our farm where we had been raising our 6 incredibly happy pigs all summer and enjoying the pleasure that is so evident in pigs when they can root and run around and be silly piggies. In addition to tight leads, the pigs were so hungry. I have never seen skinny pigs but here I was, trying to sneak little pieces of food and candy to the pigs. I had been saving leftovers and tid-bits along our trip so that I could feed the hungry animals. However, Mami caught me sneaking over to the pigs and took my food away from me. I was trying to get a little treat to the white pig in the picture because the black one was favored and always got the food. It seemed like maybe one pig gets fattened up at a time, and the other hangs out surviving on very little scraps. The pigs at Mami's and Papi's were taken care of better than any of the other pigs I came across. They had a little sun shelter built and flat ground to lay on, and their neck ties were not as tight as other pigs in the village. Sun burn is a common among all the pigs unless they have a little tree or something to lie under for protection.

The male turkeys were a riot and they were everywhere. How ridiculous these creatures can be... and wonderful. I couldn't help laughing and bugging them just to see them ruffle their feathers. All of the birds are free-range and each family knows how many they have. When it comes time to slaughter, each person catches the number of birds that are theirs without a lot of worry as to which bird they are getting. Most of the male turkeys were to be slaughtered for Christmas.

There were lots and lots and lots of dogs and I wanted to rescue them all. The dogs steal food from the pigs....not very nice but everyone is hungry and doing what they can to survive. I snuck food to the dogs on numerous occasions. However, they are really hungry and don't have much in the way of manners around fingers so I had to be careful. Mami and Papi's family had adopted at least 7 dogs and after each meal would throw out some of the leftovers (usually tortillas and
gristle) for the dogs. On the next to final day of our trip, I sat down and finally had 5 or 6 of the dogs crowd around me. I gave them lots of love and hugs and pats. They were all so sweet and playing with one another and competing for my attention. Pete watched from and said that I looked liked a dog whisperer totally engulfed in puppy love. It's amazing how much dogs respond to a little attention. Pete and I agreed our 2 dogs at home, Squirt and Carole Bean, really have the good life. Lots of love and beets and turnips to chew on. ~ Meg

Spring Share Sign-up

The Spring Share begins in just 4 weeks! Sign-up soon to secur
e your weekly deliveries of fresh, organic Vermont grown goodness and the wide variety of localvore staples and artisan products that the share brings. We will continue to grow shoots and sprouts and some winter salad greens through the early months of the share but by April you can expect a wide variety of fresh spring greens, from mesclun and baby spinach and arugula to pac choi, chard and a variety of Asian greens. Also in April, winter storage crops give way to fresh spring onions, baby beets, scallions, spring turnips and by May and June, many more vegetables are added to the list. As always, we will continue to bring you a variety of localvore items. This share we'll be able to supply eggs every other week, bread most weeks, local flours and grains regularly, and we'll continue to bring a selection of new cheeses, sweeteners, cooking oils and vinegars, and other local staples each week.
Sign-up for the Spring Localvore Share (Feb 17th - Jun 9th)

Sign-up for the Spring Meat Share (4 Deliveries: Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5, June 2)

April and May Greens and Produce

Bulk Orders January 20 Bulk Orders will be delivered this week. If you placed a bulk order remember to look for yours at your site.

Our next bulk order will go out February 10th (the last week of the Spring share). We must receive your order form by mail by Wednesday January 27th if you'd like to be part of this next bulk order. Click here to download the order form.

Pete's Pastured Chicken
Our chickens live(d) a fabulous life roaming around the fields in the good company of their friends the pigs. From an early age they dined on our sprouts and shoots before they were able to move out onto organic pasture land. Most free range birds aren't pastured and may never eat grass, they just have more room to roam in their barns and yards than factory birds. Pastured meats are the healthiest for you and for the environment. It is a documented fact that the meat of pastured poultry is packed with a higher vitamin content and is lower in fat than birds raised in the standard barn environment.

Get your birds now! We deliver orders weekly to pick up sites. Click here to go directly to the chicken page where you can download an order form.

Localvore Lore
For the second time this share period, Ben & Rachel from On the Rise Bakery in Richmond have made us pizza dough. The dough is made with VT sunflower oil, Milanaise unbleached white flour, Ben Gleason's whole wheat flour, local honey and sea salt. Ben created cards with baking instructions last time he made the doughs for the pizza dough and this time they really will be at the pick up sites for you. Look for them when you pick up! In addition, Ben posted the instructions on line along with some instructional videos that you can watch for technique and inspiration. If you make a great looking or great tasting pizza that you are pleased with, email a photo along to Ben or post it to the On the Rise Facebook page.

In keeping with the pizza theme, we have Vermont Butter and Cheese Fresh Chevre. I love this cheese and it has become a staple in our fridge. I use it to spruce up pastas, pizzas and salads, veggie and grain combos, and I spread it on sandwiches and crackers.

We also have two varieties of pickles for you to choose from this week - there will be a mix of Pete's Sour Pickles and Pete's Dills at sites this week so head to your site early if you favor the pucker over the salt (or vice versa).

And finally, we have cornmeal in the share again! You may remember that Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm lost his entire 15 acres of Early Riser corn. Fortunately, Jack was able to buy corn from another organic farmer, and we are the lucky recipients of some of this crop.

Storage and Use Tips
Shoots/Salad Mix - We have the first shoots of the year this week. You'll find sunflower shoots, radish shoots and the now familiar Claytonia greens in your bags this week. This should be a great salad mix with the sunflower shoots bringing an earthy nutty flavor, the radish shoots adding some spice, and both shoots adding some nice crunch to the soft and mild flavored Claytonia. Topped with a nice dressing and some crumbled fresh chevre, these first shoots will be a treat this week. There may be an occasional sunflower hull in your bags. Though we try to get each one, invariably we miss a few here and there.

Gilfeather Turnip - In the late 1800's Wardboro, VT native John Gilfeather either developed or discovered an unusually sweet and creamy turnip with the ability to reach a very large size without becoming woody and while retaining its sweet flavor. Fully realizing how special his turnips were, he sold them at markets throughout his lifetime - with the tops and bottoms cut off. Turnips and rutabagas both have the same seed generating ability... You can store a turnip with tap root and tops intact in a root cellar for the winter, plant it in early spring, and it will immediately go to seed, producing enough seed quickly enough to generate another crop the same season. By cutting off the tops and taproots, John assured that he was the sole marketer of the superior "turnip" and prevented it from being altered by breeding. When John died, his turnips seed made it into the hands of several of his neighbors who began to grow them. One of these folks eventually trademarked the name and registered the vegetable as an heirloom with the Vt Agency of Agriculture. In Wardsboro, an annual festival celebrates the special turnip serving up dozens of dishes featuring it. It may be roasted (delicious), used in soups and stewed, mashed with or without potatoes, and it is even good raw sliced thinly into a salad. This "turnip" may actually be a rutabaga though, as its large size (8 lb roots have been recorded) and wide taproot suggest. Turnip or rutabaga, it is truly the cream of the crop.

Frozen Tomatoes
- Your frozen tomatoes are a mix of heirlooms and beefsteaks. For best results, start by holding the tomatoes under hot water and their skins will easily peel off. They will be watery but they have a wonderful fresh tomato flavor. Use them in a dish that allows for cooking some of the water off.


Chevre & Roasted Veggie Pizza:
This is an adaptation of one of the most popular pizzas at On the Rise. You can roast the frozen peppers from last week's share, and carmelize some onions from this share. If you would like some fresh tomato sauce on this pizza, take some of the frozen tomatoes , hold them under hot water to remove skins, chop them and then simmer them in a wide pan to thicken the sauce while onions are carmelizing and peppers are roasting.

1 pizza crust
Shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh chevre
roasted red peppers (fresh diced frozen peppers are good too)
carmelized onions
herbs - fresh or dried oregano and basil and perhaps a bit of thyme too

Roasting the peppers - Slightly oil the peppers with olive oil using your fingers and then place them under the broiler for 6-10 minutes until browned,

Carmelized onions - using 2-3 TB olive oil for each 2 or 3 onions, sauté onions in a hot pan, stirring often, for 10-20 minutes until browned.

Ben's new simplified instructions on how to use and bake your pizza go like this:
1. Thaw dough completely (don't wait for it to rise)
2. roll it & stretch it
3. top it
4. bake it on a stone or pan at a high temp (450°F)
5. take it out (cool it for a few minutes) and eat it!

Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Garlic
OK, so not exactly a low calorie dish, but this one from Bon Appétit/February 2001 was top rated by over 150 cooks. Many suggested 4-8 cloves of garlic and adding even more goat cheese. Pair it with a lightly dressed salad and enjoy!

1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (about 5 oz)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 pounds potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Whisk first 7 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Arrange 1/3 of potatoes in bottom of prepared dish, overlapping slightly and covering completely. Pour 1/3 of cream mixture over. Repeat layering potatoes and cream mixture 2 more times. Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown in spots, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Gilfeather Turnip Soup
Adapted from a recipe created by Greg Parks, Chef at Newfane's Four Columns Inn.

5-6 TB butter
3 large onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 lbs. Gilfeather turnips, peeled and chopped
2/3 cup half and half
scant ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
salt and pepper to taste

A few handfuls of fresh spinach (or some shoots perhaps?)

Melt butter in 5 quart kettle and sauté chopped onion and garlic until soft but not browned. Add stock and chopped turnips and cook until tender. Drain and reserve some of the liquid. Purée mixture in food processor until smooth. Put through a food mill or sieve and return to kettle. Add seasonings and half and half. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Add reserved cooking liquid if soup is too thick. Sauté spinach in a small amount of olive oil until just wilted. Use spinach as a garnish on top of the soup before serving.

Fluffy Gilfeather Turnip Souffle
This recipe comes from the Gilfeather Turnip Cookbook published by the Friends of the Wardsboro Library.

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
3 cups Gilfeather turnips, cooked and mashed
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Melt butter in a large pan. Add onion and sauté until a delicate brown. Add turnips, salt, sugar, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Add the beaten egg yolks. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Put in greased baking dish or soufflé dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until solid in middle.

No comments: