Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - March 17, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
2 lbs Adirondack Potatoes; 2 lbs Red Onions; 1.5 lb Daikon Radish; 2 lbs Orange Carrots; 2 lbs Green Savoy Cabbage; plus...

Frozen Shredded Zucchini
Frozen Braising Greens
Bag of Shoots/Mesclun Mix

Localvore Offerings Include:

Red Hen Turkey Red Pain Au Levain
Jasper Hill Landaff Cheese
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Eggs
Vermont Soy Maple Ginger Baked Tofu

Happy St Patrick's Day!
Pete's Musings
Busy, busy weeks here. This is an awesome spring for vegetable farming. Today we are planting salad greens outside - 10 days earlier than ever before. Later in the week carrots, chard, scallions and more will be sown outside. Greenhouses are being planted daily and next week our first greenhouse of tomatoes and cukes will go in. All the while we are repairing our large greenhouse, finishing our equipment shed, and the washhouse crew is washing and sorting hundreds of pounds of roots. I'm excited because April and May are the most stressful time of year for me. It seems that we are going to turn those 2 months into 2.5 months which will take some pressure off.

We are experiencing increased interest from the local kids in working on the farm. Last evening we had 4 kids, high school age and under, doing everything from transplanting to helping clean up the grounds. It's great to have their energy and we hope they stick around.

Currently we have 16 pigs and we are adding 19 to the herd. This year's batch comes in every color and spot pattern. Lots of old time breeds such as Tamworth, Old Spot, and English Wattle are represented. They are very happy in our river bottom pastures rooting up the sod. ~Pete

Storage and Use Tips

Adirondack Red Potatoes - These red skinned, red fleshed potatoes were developed in 2004 by a potato breeder at Cornell University. They retain their red color when cooked, they mash easily, and they are delicious roasted or in a potato salad. Both the skin and flesh contain anthrocyanin, a powerful antioxidant.

Savoy Cabbage - Round with crinkled leaves, Savoys are the beauties of the cabbage world. Their leaves are more delicate and more loosely packed than their green cabbage cousins. Store as you would other cabbages, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Don't worry if the outer leaves begin to discolor or tear on you, just remove them to expose the perfectly good leaves remaining below. Savoys tender leaves are great for slaw, in salads, and in stir fries.

Frozen Shredded Zucchini- We put up a bunch of zucchini in the Fall, simply shredded and frozen. It's tender and delicious and I've really enjoyed having a bag of this in the freezer this winter. It's great on its own, cooked up with a little garlic and oil, or great in pasta dishes, casseroles, stir frys or whatever you might dream up. When you thaw the zucchini, it will lose a lot of water. This is perfect for baking actually and for many other recipes as well. Let it thaw, and then squeeze out all the excess water and then add the zucchini to your recipe.

Onions - PLEASE READ! - A percentage of our onions have a layer deep inside that is spoiled. This was caused by the excessively wet summer and the problem is that we usually cannot tell the bad ones from the outside. The rest of the onion is perfectly good. Just remove the spoiled scale and use the rest of the onion as you normally would. We are doing our absolute best to find the flawed ones and we are valuing the onions at half price. Though we hate to send out flawed onions, we also hate the thought of not sending any and wasting these. Thanks for your understanding-this is one of the challenges of farming in a variable climate.

Good Eats Meals Survey

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who filled out this survey! We have had 411 people respond with 50% interested in the share concept we presented (2 meals for 2, 1 quart soup, plus a dressing or sauce, delivered weekly). Others said they were interested but in a modified concept. Many people expressed they'd be more interested if it wasn't every week, or if they could tailor it somehow by selecting weeks they'd like to receive, or if they could select from an a la carte menu of items. Great feedback and we'll be thinking all of this through in the coming months. If you have other ideas about this concept, please email me.

Author Launches Book Tonight at Harwick Bookstore
Ben Hewitt, the author of The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food, will be at the Galaxy Bookstore tonight in Hardwick. He will read from the book, share some stories and he hopes that people will share with him what they think of what's happening in Hardwick. The event begins at 7 pm.

From the Publisher: Over the past 3 years, Hardwick, Vermont, a typical hardscrabble farming community of 3,000 residents, has jump-started its economy and redefined its self-image through a local, self-sustaining food system unlike anything else in America. Even as the recent financial downturn threatens to cripple small businesses and privately owned farms, a stunning number of food-based businesses have grown in the region—Vermont Soy, Jasper Hill Farm, Pete's Greens, Patchwork Farm & Bakery, Apple Cheek Farm, Claire's Restaurant and Bar, and Bonnieview Farm, to name only a few. The mostly young entrepreneurs have created a network of community support; they meet regularly to share advice, equipment, and business plans, and to loan each other capital. Hardwick is fast becoming a model for other communities to replicate its success. The captivating story of a small town coming back to life, The Town That Food Saved is narrative nonfiction at its best: full of colorful characters and grounded in an idea that will revolutionize the way we eat.

Ben will be visiting other book stores in coming weeks, including this visit which a share member emailed me about:
Phoenix Books and Cafe – Saturday, April 3rd at 7:00 PM: free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Michael DeSanto at 802-872-7111.

Localvore Lore
I am looking forward to getting up tomorrow AM, pouring myself a big steaming cup of coffee, and heading to Red Hen Baking Co. On Red Hen bread days, I play a small role in the CSA delivery day. The bread is baked in Middlesex overnight or early am Wednesday, but our truck starts its day in Craftsbury. So on Red Hen days, I get out the door early, drive to Red Hen and pick up a stack of irresistably warm, delicious smelling bread. I drive North to the farm delivering the loaves to the same Montpelier, Hardwick, and Craftsbury sites Tim has just delivered on his way south. Tim arrives at Red Hen after me, his fourth CSA stop of the morning, and he picks up all the loaves for deliveries to all other sites. This just in from Randy:

This week we are making a special pain au levain for the CSA share that contains flour from three different, interesting origins. For this bread, we created a special starter made with a finely milled whole wheat flour from a wheat variety called Turkey Red. This was the wheat that was brought to Kansas in the late 1800’s by Mennonites who settled there after coming from the Crimean peninsula near the Black Sea. Turkey was the first and only wheat grown in Kansas until the ‘20’s, when wheat breeding started to take off. To this day, all the winter wheat grown in this country contains some of the genetics of this “landrace” variety. Today only a few farmers even grow Turkey. Last year the Heritage Grain and Seed Company was formed to preserve this heirloom variety and we have been using some of their flour. We used it in the starter of this bread to accentuate any unique flavors that might be in this ancient wheat (it makes up about 17% of the bread). The remaining flour is a combination of the Vermont white flour from Aurora Farms and whole wheat from Meunerie Milanaise in Quebec. Enjoy! ~Randy

We have a new cheese in the share today. Made through a partnership between Doug and Debby Erb, proprietors of the Landaff Creamery and the Kehler brothers, owners of the Cellars at Jasper Hill the Landaff cheese in the share today is a treat. The Welsh style farmstead cheese is made at the Creamery, with milk from the Erb's Holsteins. After the cheese is made, it heads to the Cellars for the affinage, or aging process where it is lovingly cared for for a minimum of 60 days to maturity. I really like this cheese. It's great on a sandwich, grated into some freshly smashed potatoes, or as a quick snack. From Landaff's website: A mild, semi-firm cheese with a delicious combination of flavors, tangy with a clean finish. The open and buttery texture comes with a natural, cave-aged rind. It melts beautifully for cooking, and makes a wonderful addition to any cheese plate.

Vermont Soy's Baked Maple Ginger Tofu is delicious straight out of the package. Made with made with organic and wheat-free ingredients that include ginger, garlic, tamari and Vermont maple syrup. It's great tossed onto salads, into sandwiches, and in stir frys and casseroles.

We have eggs from Deb's hens again this week. Enjoy them because we won't see them again for a few weeks. Deb is preparing to say goodbye to this flock and make room for a new group of pullets (young hens, ready to lay). The new girls arrive in a couple weeks and could take 2-4 weeks to get up to speed. We are hoping to have eggs again by mid April. I'll keep you posted on developments. Recently, one of our share members, David Wahler sent me a link to a video from a Zurich company who apparently takes pride in the freshness of their eggs.

Boxty (Irish Potato Griddle Cakes)
In honor of St Patrick's Day and great potatoes, I have dug up a couple of classic Irish poato recipes. This one comes complete with an Irish rhyme: Boxty on the griddle Boxty in the pan If you can't make boxty You'll never get a man

1/2 pound raw potato
1/2 pound cooked mashed potato
1/2 pound flour
Milk (as needed, see directions)
1 egg
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Grate raw potatoes and mix with the cooked mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper, onion and flour. Beat egg and add to mixture with just enough milk to make a batter that will drop from a spoon.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a hot griddle or frying pan. Cook over a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Colcannon with Salmon
Another one in honor of St Patrick's Day, colcannon is an Irish classic. This recipe is a smashed potato version and the meal includes pan-roasted, honey mustard glazed salmon. It's more of a general guideline than a recipe.

1.5 lbs potatoes
equal volume of cabbage sliced into thin bite size pieces
2-3 TB butter or to taste
handful chopped green onions
salmon filets
dijon mustard

Get started by cooking the potatoes in boiling water.

Use a large, lidded pan on high heat with about 1/2-inch of water to cook the cabbage.
Keep your eye on the cabbage, as it will probably take about 5-6 minutes to soften up, then drain it and keep it warm.

When the potatoes are done, drain them, add a few tbs of butter and a handful of chopped green onions and smash those with a potato masher.

Add the cooked cabbage, fold it in and season it to taste with salt and pepper.

Keep the potatoes warm after they are smashed and use the same pan used to cook the cabbage in to sear the salmon fillets. While the salmon is cooking, take a minute to combine equal parts honey and Dijon mustard. When the fish is cooked to your liking, serve it over the top of some of the smashed potatoes and drizzle some of the honey mustard on top of everything.

Stir-Fried Tofu and Veggies
This is adapted from Mark Bittman's basic recipe, which I have put in the newsletter before. It is a pretty standard recipe and this week's share is perfect for a stir fry! You can choose among the veggies below, there's certainly plenty of variety to choose from. Serve over rice or just on it's own.

1 pkg Vt Soy Maple Ginger Baked Tofu
3 tablespoons peanut oil or neutral oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced (yellow if you have them, though red will be great too)
2-3 cups of veggies (carrots, cabbage, daikon, frozen zuch, peppers, or braising greeens)

1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger

1/4 cup Shaoxing wine, sherry, sake, white wine, or water

1/3 cup vegetable stock or water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup roughly chopped scallions

If using frozen veggies, thawing them and squeezing some of the water out before tossing them in the pan may help toward nice browned veggies.

Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch or slightly larger cubes. Put two tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet or wok, preferably nonstick, over high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, a couple of minutes. Add vegetables according to cooking time. Carrots and daikon will be first into the pan, followed by frozen greens, frozen peppers, zucchini and cabbage. You want onions and veggies crisp-tender and a little charred at the edges, about 5 minutes in total time, maybe a bit more. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside for a moment.

Add the remaining oil, then the garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring, for about 10 seconds. Add the wine and stock and cook, stirring, until about half of it evaporates; add the tofu to the pan and heat through, then return the pepper-onion mix to the pan and cook, stirring, for a minute or so to reheat.

Add the soy sauce and scallion and cook, stirring, until the scallion becomes glossy, about 30 seconds, Serve immediately.

Here's a good old fashioned slaw recipe for you. This recipe makes 2 pounds of cole slaw. What to put in your shredded slaw mix? That's up to you of course, but if I were making this one tonight, I'd shred a combo of the savoy cabbage and carrots, with a small handful of daikon thrown in for good measure. This is a standard recipe that begs for improvisation. Feel free to use less mayo, and less sugar. Substitute honey for the sugar (using a bit less, honey is sweeter by volume). Cider vinegar will be great, and balsamic delicious too. Take or leave horseradish depending on how you like it.

2 lbs of shredded slaw
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp celery seeds
1 TB prepared creamy horseradish

Pour your shredded slaw into a very large bowl and set aside.

In a separate, medium sized bowl, combine sugar, mayo, oil, vinegar, mustard, celery seed and horseradish with a wire whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

Toss mayo mixture with bagged slaw mixture until completely coated and refrigerate for four hours making sure to stir ever couple of hours or so. This recipe makes 2 pounds of cole slaw.

Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw
This one is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook. Serves 8 as a side.

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chile (jalapeƱo, Thai, serrano, or habenero), or to taste, optional
1/4 cup peanut or extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups cored and shredded Savoy cabbage
1 large red or yellow bell peppers, roasted and peeled if you like, seeded, and diced or shredded
1/3 cup diced scallion, more or less
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced parsley leaves

1. Whisk the mustard, vinegar, garlic, and chile together in a small bowl. Add the oil a little at a time, whisking all the while.

2. Combine the cabbage peppers, and scallion and toss together with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve. (It's best to let this rest for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to mellow; the cabbage will also soften a bit and exude some juice. Or let it sit for up to 24 hours if you like. Drain slaw before continuing.) Just before serving, toss with the parsley.

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