Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - March 24, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
3 lbs White Potatoes; 2 lbs Celeriac ; 2 lbs Yellow Storage Onions plus...

Frozen Hot Peppers
Frozen Sweet Corn
1 Quart Sauerkraut
Bag of Shoots/Mesclun Mix
Bunch of Mizuna

Localvore Offerings Include:

5 lbs Aurora Farms Vermont Organic White Flour
1 lb Honey Gardens Apiaries Raw Apitherapy Honey
Ploughgate Willoughby Cheese
Champlain Orchards Red Delicious Apples

NOTE: Hardwick Members, please note that CAE will not be open until 2:00 pm tomorrow. If you come right at 2 pm and the door is locked, they will have a key at the co-op next door.

Pete's Musings

Stepped in a hole in Saturday and felt the dreaded lower back tightening. I've been very blessed with a good back over the years but for the past couple years I have an episode every few months. Usually I'm fine within a day, this time it is still bad 3 days later. The only thing that really seems to help is lying flat on my back, which I'm good at for about 24 hours and then have a really hard time with.

But farm life goes on all around me. Steve is keeping a close eye on the 35 piggies as the river is about to go over its banks and flood their pasture. Could be an exciting freeing of the pigs situation if that happens. Deb and the washhouse crew are busy harvesting and washing greens and packing the Good Eats bags. Later today the crew will begin to plant tomatoes, cukes, and peppers in the soil in the first heated greenhouse. That is exciting and means the first greenhouse cukes are just weeks away. Later in the week we'll finish planting carrots, beets and other hardy crops outside and hunker down for a couple really cold night. ~Pete

Storage and Use Tips

Mizuna - Also known as spider mustard, mizuna is a Japanese mustard green with tender leaves and a pleasant, peppery flavor. You could substitute it, chopped, in a salad calling for arugula. It adds a nice zest to a stir-fry or saute. Store mizuna, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Frozen Corn - Ths corn in the bags you will receive this week is a real treat. Frozen at the peak of freshness, it is still tender and sweet and really fantastic. It makes you realize how old the corn must be that most places freeze, because this corn is entirely different.

Frozen Hot Peppers - this is a mix of hot peppers, and you won't ruin into anything crazy hot in there. As with all hot peppers, remove the seeds to reduce the heat in your dish. And for ease of processing, remove these from the bag to thaw a few minutes before chopping. Once they have thawed a bit, they are MUCH easier to chop and work with.

Sauerkraut - This week we have a pink sauerkraut made from a mix of red and green cabbage. It is pleasingly mild and light flavored and should last in your fridge for several weeks at least. A bit about fermentation... Lactobacilli are present on the surface of all living things. Left to ferment, lactobacilli convert the starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits into lactic acid, and it is this action that preserves this sauerkraut and many fermented foods. The benefits of lactobacilli go far beyond just preservation. The proliferation of the lactobacilli on fermented foods enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. The lactobacilli produce numerous beneficial enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances and lactic acid also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine. This is an excellent food and it is highly recommended that we each eat a small amount of fermented vegetables each day.

Onions - PLEASE READ (if you haven't already)! - 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.

Summer Share - Sign up by May 1 for a free Pete's Greens T
It's that time already! Summer sign-up is now in full swing. And if you sign up soon, not only will you be ensured continued summertime deliveries of the incredible diversity of vegetables that is Good Eats in the Summer/early Fall season, but you'll be rewarded with a free Pete's Greens T if you get your form and payment in by May 1st!

The Summer Share brings a pretty amazing assortment of produce over the course of the 4 month, 18 week share. This season brings to members virtually all types of veggies grown on the farm in that short time.

In the Summer, we offer two share types:
Vegetable Only Share - Members receive the weekly share of Pete's organic vegetables. The share costs $504 for 18 weeks of deliveries ($28/week).

Localvore Share - The share you all are familiar with! Members receive the weekly share of vegetables plus a selection of locally produced staples. The Summer localvore share costs $792 for 18 weeks of deliveries ($44/week).

Please visit the Summer Share page on our website for complete details and to download an order form.

Maple Week at UVM
Maple season is here, and share member Selene Colburn wanted to spread the worls that UVM is celebrating. The University of Vermont Libraries are celebrating the creation of a new Maple Syrup Research Website with a week of programs, exhibits, and food, beginning March 28th, 2010. The website is a comprehensive guide in the field of maple syrup. Along with the events below, the Bailey Howe Library will have maple exhibits in the lobby through June.

Cook Maple, Win Prizes - March 28th from 4 to 6PM - A Maple Cook-Off will be held at UVM’s Davis Center complete with a buffet of maple delicacies, children’s activities, and prizes The event is free and open to the public. Event info here.

A Party in the Woods - John Elder, a Professor at Middlebury College, will present “A Party in the Woods: Sugaring, Community, and Celebration Under a Changing Sky,” on maple sugaring as a traditional rural lifeway that both illuminates contemporary challenges like climate change and exemplifies the need for celebration within environmental thinking today. The talk will take place in Bailey/Howe Library’s Special Collections on March 31st, at 5:30 PM. Elder’s talk will follow a 4:30 PM reception to celebrate the launch of the Maple Syrup Research Website in the Bailey/Howe Library lobby.

For more information, please call 802-656-9980 or e-mail selene.colburn@uvm.edu

Localvore Lore
The flour in the share is a product we are pretty excited to be able to offer. For a while now, we have been able to get whole wheat and whole wheat pastry flour that was grown in VT but not a white flour. But through a partnership between Red Hen Baking Co and Aurora Farms, 2009 brought forth a great crop of wheat yielding a very nice all purpose white. For those of you who will be trying the flour for the first time, here's a write up Randy had contributed the first time we included it.

The flour in this week’s share is the product of a unique, fortuitous, and unprecedented combination of hard work, patience, luck, and cooperation. In the fall of 2006 (right in the midst of planting season for winter wheat), I approached Tom Kenyon of Aurora Farms in Charlotte about growing some bread wheat for us. He enthusiastically agreed and planted 25 acres that fall. Unfortunately, Tom had to suffer through two unsuccessful harvests in 2007 and 2008 before harvesting a crop that was worth milling into flour. When the wheat from this season’s 30 acres were harvested, the initial test results looked good enough to try milling it into flour and making bread with it. A sample of white flour was milled by Champlain Valley Mills (in Westport, NY). Being accustomed to baking with the finest organic wheat Kansas has to offer, I was hopeful that we could use a percentage of this Vermont wheat in some of our breads. Imagine my surprise when I combined this flour with water, yeast, and salt in the mixing bowl and found that it made a familiar-feeling dough! The resulting bread, although not perfect, was surprisingly good. Tom and I made an agreement with Champlain Valley Mills to mill Tom’s entire crop. Hillcrest Foods has been enlisted to warehouse and transport the flour to us. I insisted that Tom get the price he needed to get for the wheat and as a result we are blessed with a minor miracle: a white bread flour produced from locally-grown wheat.

Although we have laid claim to most of this flour for use in our new Cyrus Pringle bread (which we are now baking and delivering daily) and upcoming CSA breads, a small amount of it is being offered to Pete’s CSA shareholders. In the eyes of localvore bakers, this is gold. You can’t find this flour in any stores. But the good news is that a committed group of farmers is working hard to making wheat of this quality a regular reality in VT, so you may be able to find it more readily in years to com. But for now, savor what you have and make some of your own bread with it.

A note about baking with the flour: By normal standards for bread flour, this flour has low protein. It nearly falls into the category of all-purpose flour for this reason. But we have found that, with gentle handling, it can make excellent hearth breads. You may find that it is good for other breads and you should also find that it is good for a variety of other purposes such as muffins, biscuits, pancakes, etc. Enjoy… and happy baking! -Randy George

The good folks at Jasper Hill informed me last week that they had a secret stash of Ploughgate Creamery Willoughby cheese in the Cellars and that they had enough to supply the share! It didn't take much convincing. I LOVE this cheese and have been ntrying to get my hands on enough for the share since early last Fall. This is a cow's milk cheese made from Ayreshire milk that Ploughgate proprietor Marisa Mauro buys from Randy Hancock in Newport. Described as a washed rind cheese, the Willoughby is actually "washed" or painted with honey wine (mead) made by Todd Hardie of Honey Gardens Apiaries in Ferrisburg. The cheese is aged at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. The Willoughby is "a silky textured washed rind wheel with smoky notes and overtones reminiscent of spring". I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Please leave it out on the counter for at least a half hour to let it warm to closer to room temp for best flavor!

The same honey that was washed onto the rind of your cheese also makes an appearance this week. From Honey Garden's Apiaries in Ferrisburgh we have Todd Hardie's Apitherapy honey. The one pound of honey you are receiving today represents the collective flight by the bees of 24,000 miles and their visits to three to nine million flowers. Apitherapy honey has never been heated or filtered, and thus it retains the beneficial traces of pollen, propolis, and beeswax, which the flowers and bees have provided. These contain healthful minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and carbohydrates. Honey forms crystals around these particles, which you see on the surface or by holding a jar up to the light. Within a month or so after the fall harvest, Apitherapy honey will crystallize. To soften or re-liquefy honey, place it in a warm place or in warm water.

Red Delicious apples from Champlain Orchards seemed a nice choice this week. Sweet crunchy apples with gooey cheese and maybe a hunk of fresh bread on the side sounds pretty good to me.

This morning I forwarded the list of items in the share to Bill Allen, former chef at Miguel's Stoweaway and Burlington's O restaurant and asked him to give us a few ideas using the share ingredients. He shares his recipe suggestions below.

Potato & Celeriac Soup

¼ cup oil, olive preferably
1 # yellow onions, small diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 # potatoes, peeled and roughly cubed
2 # celeriac, peeled and rough cubed
2 quarts stock, chicken or vegetable
4 sprigs thyme, stripped
1-cup heavy cream (optional if you want a lighter soup)

Heat oil in soup pot. Add onions and sauté until slightly caramelized. Add garlic and sauté for one minute longer. Add potatoes and celeriac for one minute. Add stock and simmer until potatoes and celeriac are soft. Remove from heat. Using a blend stick or blender, process until smooth in small batches. If using a blender, initially pulse it so that it doesn’t splash upward. Transfer puree to a container. Continue until all is pureed. Add fresh thyme and heavy cream (if desired). Season with salt and pepper.

Corn & Hot Pepper Relish

1 bag corn defrosted and pressed to remove excess water
1 bag peppers, defrosted, rough chop
2 cups vinegar, anything but balsamic
1-cup sugar
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp. mustard seeds
1 bay leaf

Place sugar and vinegar in non-reactive saucepan and when sugar is dissolved, add remaining ingredients and lower heat to a slow simmer. Give it an occasional stir, making sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Reduce until almost dry, about 20% liquid remaining, remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to container, preferably glass, cover and refrigerate. This is great on all proteins, especially fish and chicken.

Mizuna & Apple Salad with Warm Ploughgate Cheese

1 bunch Mizuna, washed and dried
.75 mesclun mix
2 Red Delicious Apples
½ round of Ploughfate Cheese, cut into 6 even slices
Apple Cider Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Cut the cheese and let sit at room temperature while doing the rest of the preparation. Core apples and slice into thin rounds. Stack the rounds and cut into matchsticks. In a bowl, toss the mesclun, mizuna and apples. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette on the greens lightly, just enough to barely coat them. Form greens and apples into a nice mound on the plate and lay three pieces of cheese against the greens. Drizzle some more vinaigrette around the plate making sure the cheese gets some too.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette
½ cup cider vinegar
.5 cups neutral oil, such as grape seed
2 tsp. mustard
Salt & pepper

Place ingredients in bowl and whisk. You do not want to emulsify this dressing, as it will be too thick. When you go to use it, just whisk again until ingredients come together.

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