Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - April 14, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
2 lbs Large Gilfeather Turnips; 1.5 lbs Small Mixed Beets; 1 lb Copra Onions; 1 Bunch Fresh Oregano; Adolescent Heads of Pac Choi

Bag of Fresh Spinach!

1 Bag Frozen Braising Greens
1 Bag Frozen Sweet Peppers

Localvore Offerings Include:

Les Aliments Massawippi Japanese Miso
Quebec Grown Pearled Barley
Amir Hebib's Mushrooms
Deb's Pickled Horseradish Sauce

Pete's Musings
We are planting 2,000 trees along our beautiful Black River this week. It is really fun. The trees are from the Intervale Nursery in Burlington and consist of silver maple, a willow, box elder, and dogwood. Last year we fenced both sides of the river 35 ft. back from the bank. This created a wild corridor into which we are planting the trees in order to create a solid canopy of shade over the river. In time we hope the tree roots will help to anchor the streambank and help slow the erosion caused by our wild, wandering river. We are augering holes for the trees with a post hole auger on the tractor. This creates a beautiful, loose planting hole and makes planting the trees really easy. It seems like ideal conditions for them to take hold and prosper. This is a significant project. We own both sides of the Black River for close to 1/2 mile and then own one side for another 1/2 mile. In 20 years this portion of the river will be very different from what it is now. This project has reminded me of how true the saying is, "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is today."

Vegetable diversity starts to increase this week. We're excited about the pac choi and herbs and at least some of you should be receiving greenhouse cukes next week. Field work continues to proceed at a nice pace. We'll be prepping land for onion and potato fields this week, along with sowing more greens, prepping and possibly planting 1,200 blueberry plants and 600 rhubarb plants. The blueberries and rhubarb are the start of our new perennial field. We plan to fill 4 acres with perennial fruits for better year round eating. ~Pete

Sign Up for Summer Share by May 1st and Get a Free Pete's T!

Only two weeks left to sign up for the Summer Share and receive your very own Pete's Greens T as an added bonus! That's right, you will receive a colorful Pete's Greens t-shirt printed on an organic cotton T if we receive your sign up by May 1st.

The Summer Share begins on June 16th and runs through October 13th. This is an exciting share period spanning 18 prime weeks of the growing season.

Sign up for the Vegetable Only Share to ensure your weekly deliveries of Pete's diverse mix of super fresh organic vegetables.
Vegetable Only - $504 (avg. $28 a week)

Or sign up for the Vegetable/Localvore Share to receive the veggies and also a weekly selection of great organic and local pantry staples, all sourced very near the farm.

Vegetable/Localvore - $792 (avg. $44/week)

Meat Share available too, featuring 4 monthly deliveries of a selection of local, grass fed, and often organic meats.
Meat Share - $199 (avg. $50 a month)

Meat Bulk Order Coming Up
We have a small amount of meat available to share members. We have some lamb, some beef, and possibly some other items. I'll be posting a bulk order sheet for meat by tomorrow. Because of our weekly CSA schedule, meat orders must be received on Wednesday to be packed Thursday or Friday for the following week's delivery. Visit the bulk order page to download the order form.

Want to be Part of a Prepared Food Share Trial?
Recently I sent a survey asking your thoughts on the concept of a prepared food share. As you all know we have recently hired a new kitchen manager, Bill Allen, and we are looking forward to working on projects with him. I am curious to know if some of you might be interested in being part of a small trial share in the weeks ahead that would serve up maybe one or two prepared food items weekly. Please email me if you think you might be interested.

Storage and Use Tips
Pac Choi - Also known as bok choy or Chinese Cabbage, Pac Choi originated in China, where it has been grown for over 1500 years. Part of the cabbage family, it packs in nutrition with high scores for vitamins A and C and calcium. The leaves taste similar to Swiss chard and the stems (called ribs) are deliciously crispy and can be substituted for celery in recipes. We grow both purple and green varieties. Your bag may have one or the other, or both. Pac Choi is mild enough to be chopped up for a salad, particularly if you give it a quick wilt in a hot pan. It's also great in stir-fries. Need a quick side dish? Try halving it lengthwise , brushing with olive or sunflower oil and throwing it on the grill. Pac Choi should be stored in a plastic bag in the produce drawer of your fridge.

Copra Onions - A medium-sized, slightly sweet yellow onion, the Copra have a high sugar content for storage onions. Add them to salads and sandwiches raw, or cook them in tarts, stews, soups, casseroles and stir-fries.

Oregano - Oregano's flavor is bold and gutsy and wants to be used with other bold flavors. It's a natural with garlic. It combines well with tomato and basil for Italian dishes and pizzas. Combine it with lemon juice and olive oil for classic Greek recipes. It's great in spicy dishes and on meats. Works well with paprika too. Store in fridge wrapped in plastic (place a damp paper towe in the bag to help the oregano retain moisture), or place stems in a vase of water on the counter until use.

Miso - As a fermented product, miso will keep in your fridge many years. There are so many delicious and interesting ways to eat miso. To make a cup, mix a heaping teaspoon of miso with cold water to make a paste. Then, stir in hot (but not boiling water) to make a hot breakfast beverage, midday pick-me-up or soup base for a meal. As miso is a living food, try not to cook it, rather, stir it in at the end of cooking once the pan is off the heat.

Localvore Lore
This weekend Deb pulled a whole field of horseradish. And so, there it was, this big pile of horseradish just sitting there. Being the thrifty Vermonter that she is, she couldn't bear letting it go to waste, so she came over to the farm, rummaged up some cider vinegar, organic cane sugar and sea salt and made enough pickled horseradish puree for everyone! It is a little chunky and if you want it smoother you can run through your blender. If you are having sinus trouble, this is a guaranteed cure. It's hot, but quite tasty. Add some to sour cream for a quick horseradish sauce to spread on burgers or serve as a side with meats. And bloody marys come to mind... Bill has provided a horseradish vinaigrette recipe below to go with a roasted beets on greens salad. The puree will keep in your fridge for a couple months, but will lose some of its potency over time.

I am excited to have the mushroom, barley, miso combo for the share this week. The mushrooms come from Amir Hebib in Colchester, and he delivered them to the farm himself this morning right after picking them. Super fresh! Some bags have Shiitakes, some have oysters, and some are a mix of each. Check out the blog for more info about Amir and for some recipes that were posted last mushroom round on March 3rd.

The organic pearled barley was grown in Quebec and milled at Golden Crops owned by Michel Gaudreau. I love going to the mill to pick up the grains. Michel is passionate about the organic movement and is very well respected in the organic community and his excitement is contagious. Pearled barley is barley that has been de-hulled, with some or all of the bran removed. It makes a great substitute in recipes calling for brown rice, is wonderful cooked, cooled and used in cold salads, and adds a nice texture to soups and stews. It also cooks down into a really nice risotto, without all of the attention and stirring required with Arborio rice. One cup of dry barley makes about 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked. If you soak the grains for 6+ hours in cold water before use, you can reduce your cooking time by at least half. Without soaking, you'll want to let them simmer in water for a good hour. You can also cook barley like pasta, using lots of water (4-5 cups of water to 1 cup barley), then drain what's left over.

Owners of Les Aliments Massawippi Gilbert and Suzanne made the superb Japanese miso in the share today. The two are big supporters of local growers. Their oats come from Michel Gaudreau. Their soy beans come from a grower within 60 kilometers of their facility, and their Quebec barley is processed on the south shore of Montreal. The seaweed for the Japanese miso comes from southern New Brunswick and Gaspe Bay.
To make this miso, Suzanne and Gilbert begin by introducing their own lactobacilli culture to washed oats. After culturing for 45 hours, they have what is called, "koji," the basis for making their miso. At this point, they will mix in soy that has been soaked and then slowly cooked for 20 hours. This part of the process takes around 4 days. The next phase of miso production is fermentation. Gilbert and Suzanne ferment their miso very carefully controlling the temperature, humidity and oxygen levels. Their fermentation chamber is on premises, and is held at a continuous 60F. The Japanese soya and oats variety in the share this week ferments for 2-3 years.

The first four recipes this week come from Bill Allen. I will be introducing Bill more formally next week. Stay tuned.

Mushroom, Barley & Miso Stew

1 cup pearl barley
1.5 cups water
1 cup shiitake or oyster mushrooms, stemmed & sliced
1/2 copra onion, small dice
1 carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1.5 quarts vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
8 ounces tofu, cubed (optional)
4 ounces miso (or to taste)
2 cups braising greens, sliced thinly
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

Rinse barley and place in pot with the water. Cook until tender but not mushy.

In a large soup pot heat oil and add mushrooms, onions, garlic and ginger. Add vegetable stock. Add cayenne and tofu. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Remove 1 cup of the broth and mix with miso, stir into soup. Add braising greens. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add barley and scallions.

***Note: You can use some of the Gilfeather turnips or beets in this soup. Slice thinly and add them when you add the stock and cook until tender.

Gilfeather Turnip & Copra Onion Casserole

2 lbs. Gilfeather turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lb. Copra onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. Vermont organic whtie flour
1 cup apple cider
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped roughly
1 cup milk
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups Vermont cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, sprinkle through each layer gently

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Put oven rack in center position. Grease a 8 x 10 rectangular baking dish. Place flour in a medium heavy saucepan; gradually add milk, whisking until smooth. Whisk in cider & stock. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly. Cook one minute more, remove from heat and set aside. Mix cheese with oregano.

Arrange half of the sliced turnips (slightly overlapping) in prepared baking dish. Spread onions atop the turnips Sprinkle the cheese on half of the turnips and onions. Arrange another layer on top of cheese. Pour cider mixture over turnips. Continue to do so until all onions and turnips are layered. Season with salt and pepper as you go along. Reserve ½ cup of cheese for finishing.

Bake 25 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven. Using a metal spatula, press
down on the turnips. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven. Bake
until turnips are fork-tender and the top is crusted and lightly browned – about
20 minutes more. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

Roasted Beets with a Horseradish Vinaigrette

1.5 Beets
2 tbsp oil
salt & pepper

Toss beets with oil and salt and pepper. Place on a roasting pan and put in a 350 oven. Test the beets with the tip of a knife. When easily pierced, they are ready. Let cool for 15 minutes. Using a kitchen towel, rub the skins off. This is optional as I like to leave the skins on. And of course, this towel will be dedicated to beets the remainder of the season. Slice the beets and toss with the vinaigrette. Build a salad of Pete’s greens and top with beets. Nuts and a mild cheese like Lazy Lady goat would be perfect accompaniment for this salad. The dressing from the beets should be enough for the greens as well.
Horseradish Vinaigrette

¼ cup mild flavored oil (grape seed, olive, sunflower, canola)
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tablespoons grain mustard
.5 to 2 teaspoons horseradish***
***add a little, then try it, then add some more until it's to your liking!
Salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a large bowl.

Quick Stir Fry of Pac Choi & Peppers

1 lb. pac choi
1 lb. sweet peppers, defrosted, drained well
1 Tbsp fresh ginger root, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sunflower oil

Separate the pac choi leaves and cut off the chunky stalks.
Slice the stalks finely. Roughly chop the leaves. Heat the sunflower oil in a wok or sauté pan. Add the garlic, peppers and ginger. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the pac choi stalks. Toss well. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the pac choi leaves. Stir and then cook for 1 minute, until they are barely wilted. Add soy/tamari and sesame oil and toss.

Mushroom Casserole
I pulled this recipe from our blog. It's one Nancy Baron posted a while back and it might come in handy this week for any of you seeking a richer dish. Looks mighty tasty. Adapted from Serves 8.

2-3 TB olive oil or bacon fat
1/2 pound (8 ounces) mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, well chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dry sherry
3 cups cooked barley (from about 1 cup dry), room temperature
1/2 tsp crumbled dried thyme
2 large eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup freshly grated hard Vermont cheese or Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Rub a medium-large baking dish (somewhat smaller than a 9x13) with a bit of olive oil or butter and set aside.

Heat oil/fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt to taste and saute. Stir every minute or so until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute. Add sherry and cook, stirring constantly until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Add the thyme and the barley to the skillet and stir until combined.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt/sour cream, and salt.

Add the barley mixture to the cottage cheese mixture, and stir until well combined and then turn out into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or until hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and enjoy.

Marinated Beets
This recipe just landed in my in box this very moment. How coincidental! By Martha Rose Schulman for the NYT. A little sugar softens the edge of the vinegar here and complements the natural sweetness of the beets. Keep these on hand for healthy snacks, or add to salads.

1 bunch beets
1/3 cup red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
Salt to taste
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
2 teaspoons sugar

Place the beets in a saucepan, cover with water, add 1/4 cup of the vinegar and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Remove from the heat, add the garlic to the pot and set aside to cool.

Remove the beets from the pot (do not drain), slip off the skins and cut in wedges.

Combine the remaining vinegar and the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved in the vinegar, stir in 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the beets. Toss with the beets and the garlic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then remove the garlic from the marinade. Remove the beets from the marinade with a slotted spoon to serve.

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