Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - April 7, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
2 lbs Mixed Baby Potatoes; 2 lb Kohlrabi; 2-3 lbs Green Cabbage; 2 lbs Yellow Storage Onions; 2 lbs Orange Carrots; plus...

Bag of Shoots/Mesclun Mix

Localvore Offerings Include:

Pete's Applesauce
On the Rise Pizza Dough
Bonnieview Ewe's Feta
Quebec Grown Steel Cut Oats

Meat Share Members
This is a Meat Share week!

Upon My Return
Last week I drove home from Florida in our minivan with our 3 kids in tow. A few times we got off I-95 to avoid traffic and found ourselves driving alongside farm fields awaiting plowing and planting. These were fields that had been planted last year, some had been plowed after harvest in the fall, some like the corn, had not. With the early emergence of spring this year, the grass was lush green surrounding the fields, the trees budded and even fully leafed out in the Carolinas. Yet the soil in the harvested fields was gray and stark in contrast, growing nothing. It seemed apparent that the soil was suffering from nutrient imbalance, nutrient depletion, or the residual effects of herbicides or most likely a combination of all three. While in FL, we picked up a bag of potatoes and I made some simple mashed potatoes. They tasted like nothing, no flavor at all. I doctored them with butter and salt, more butter and salt, and then (I am embarrassed to say) more butter and salt (we didn't have a very well stocked campground pantry). When I served them, Craig said "these potatoes don't really taste like anything." (!). The flavorless potatoes and colorless, barren fields reminded me of the section in the book "The Botany of Desire" where author Micheal Pollan spends time with an Idaho potato farmer. The conventional farmer, after describing all the chemicals he ultimately treats his crop with, finally intimates that he grows a patch of organic potatoes behind his house because he won't eat his commercial crop. Too tainted.

Yesterday, I drove to the farm for my first day back, and I passed the fields where the kale was last year, and next to that, the field where the chickens and pigs had grazed. The soil under the pig/chicken field had been turned over and the dirt was dark, dark brown and rich. There were a few plow swaths through the kale area, with technicolor contrast between the dark dirt brown and bright green of the volunteer vegetation that grew thickly everywhere, clearly exuberantly happy with the state of the soil beneath it. And last night, I boiled and smashed some potatoes from the farm. They were divine. ~ Amy

Summer Share Sign Up
A lot of planning and planting is happening right now to create a fantastic vegetable mix for the upcoming share period. We are excited about the expected selection in each and every summer bag. Broccoli, kale, chard, beans, peas, head lettuce, summer squash and tomatoes will make frequent appearances, along with onions, garlic and herbs for great flavor combinations. To ensure that you will receive a weekly selection of fresh, organic produce through out the summer sign up for our Summer Share now!

This summer we will be offering three different shares for the 18 week period:
Vegetable/Localvore - $792 (avg. $44/week)
Vegetable Only - $504 (avg. $28 a week)
Meat Share - $199 (avg. $49.25 a month)

Members who sign up by May 1st will receive a free Pete's Greens T!

Storage and Use Tips

Shoots/Salad Mix - The salad mix today contains sunflower shoots, radish shoots, pea shoots, Claytonia greens (the spade shaped green), lettuce, and and ruby streaks mustard. EXCEPT for a few bags which will contain lettuce, spinach and ruby streaks mustard.

Onions - PLEASE READ! - I know, I know, you have read this before. But just in case you haven't.... 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.

Localvore Lore

On Sunday afternoon, our new kitchen manager (!) Chef Bill Allen cooked up a big batch of apples from Champlain Orchards. He flavored the applesauce with a wee bit of ginger and cinnamon. We eagerly look forward to any feedback on the sauce or other products we send out from the kitchen. If you have comments, please email us!

We have pizza dough from On The Rise Bakery today. This dough is made with VT sunflower oil, Milanaise unbleached white flour, Ben Gleason's whole wheat flour, local honey and sea salt. This dough does not need to rise again. For best dough quality you should use it after it reached room temperature. If you won't be cooking it Wednesday evening, put it in the freezer until you do wish to use it. Then take it out, thaw it, and again, use it as soon as possible after it has thawed. The dough is alive and the yeast in it is working away, doing its thing. As the dough sits, it will increasingly lose elasticity. That said, I have cooked this pizza dough after 3 days of being un-thawed in fridge and it was quite tasty. Rolling it instead of stretching it may be easier though after a couple of days. 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.

From Neil Urie we have Bonnieview's Ewe's Feta this week which is always such a treat. Bill provided a recipe for a Greek flatbread using the feta which looks fantastic. I love having this cheese on hand to crumble onto my salads and pasta dishes. This cheese is a 2007 American Cheese Society award winner.

The steel cut oats are from Michel Gaudreau's Golden Grains in Quebec. Maybe you recall that we seem to consume vast amounts of oats? Well, on special days, I cook up steel cut oatmeal instead of the standard using rolled oats. To make oatmeal using steel cut oats, you combine 1 cup of oats to 3-4 cups of water, bring the water just to a boil, and then turn down and let it simmer. For a long time. It can take 40 mins to an hour to absorb all the water, but you are rewarded with a creamy, textured, and nutty oatmeal that is really tops.

As a follow up to my observations about soil health and the taste of my store bought potatoes in comparison to those grown at Pete's, I wanted to share an article that a share member had sent me. It's a NYT article about a conventional rice farmer who made the switch to organic after years of making no money selling at commodity prices and who had watched his farm's soil deteriorate through his years of farming abuse. Inspiring. I ordered some rice. Click here to read the article.

Meat Share

Bonnieview Leg of Lamb - The lamb in the share was raised for us at Bonnieview Farm. These are lambs from their dairy herd, and they spent their summer grazing the Craftsbury area hillsides. Approximately 3 lb each, these legs of lamb have been boned for easier cooking. A bone in lamb leg really needs to be cooked on a rotating spit, something not all of us have in our backyards these days. So we had the bones taken from these so that you can lay them out on the grill. A recipe for an Asian style grills follows.
Pete's and Greenfield Highland Stew Beef - We have a mix of stew beef. Some from our animals, some of it certified organic from Greenfield Highland Beef. If after reading the recipes you are still at a loss for what to make with this week's share, this is a perfect share week for a beef stew! Brown the beef, then toss it in the stew pot with onions, potatoes, carrots, and even cabbage or kohlrabi. A little salt and pepper is all you'll need for a very tasty stew.
Pete's Spare Ribs -or- Bonnieview Leg Steaks - Some of you will get spare ribs this week, others will get leg steaks from our lambs. Either way you will be receiving great meat from happy, very local, grass fed animals. Bill has provided a spare rib recipe below, though there are many others to choose from out there. Spare ribs are best cooked long and slow until the meat is falling from the bone. Leg steaks are one of the best pieces of meat from a lamb and we had very few of these. They should be cooked on the grill briefly. A simple recipe follows below.

Spring Meat Share Still Open
Wishing you had a meat share? Once a month, the meat share delivers a selection of sustainably farmed, grass fed meats from Pete's and from other nearby farms. All animals grown for the share are grown naturally, out on pasture, without use of hormones or chemical dewormers etc. This is meat grown in a way that is actually good for our environment, providing the needed fertility to compliment other crops grown on these farms. You can still sign up for meat share deliveries!
Spring Meat Share (4 Deliveries: Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5, June 2)

Yes, we finally have a new kitchen manager! Bill will be working at the farm more and more as the season progresses and the harvests come in. He will also be submitting recipes regularly. This week, he has submitted all but the lamb steaks recipe. I am really excited to have his inspiration here and we hope you enjoy the recipes. Please send any feedback our way!

Kohlrabi Slaw
As the weather gets warmer, it’s nice to use all these fantastic vegetables in their raw form. This is a very simple, healthy slaw.

2 lbs. kohlrabi, trimmed, sliced thinly
1 lb. cabbage, sliced thinly
1 onion, julienne cut
2 carrots, sliced and then cut into strips (or use of a mandolin)
4 radishes, sliced thinly
½ cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
3 sprigs mint, rough chop
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Toss all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Any other vegetables, apples or pears, can be added to this. Makes a wonderful side dish for any ribs or lamb.

Curried Potato Salad

baby potatoes
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. In a large pan, sauté the cumin seeds in the sunflower oil for 2 minutes, or until golden.
Add the minced garlic and onion and cook until soft.
Add the potatoes, chicken broth, and the spices and cook on medium low heat, stirring occasionally.
Continue to cook, adding small amounts of water from time to time to keep the potatoes from sticking, until potatoes are tender. Cook 2-3 minutes more, until the outsides of the potatoes are slightly crispy and golden brown.

Greek Flatbread

Pizza dough
8 oz. Feta cheese
2 Roma tomatoes
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped roughly
Pete’s Greens
½ cucumber, rough chop
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 450 and place a cookie sheet in the oven.

Pull dough from fridge and let it rest, about 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Place chopped tomatoes and olives in a small bowl, toss with some olive oil and pepper. Once the dough has rested, sprinkle some flour on the counter and roll it out until a quarter inch think. If you don’t have a peel, slide it onto another cookie sheet, with some flour or cornmeal on it. Top the dough with the tomatoes, olives and feta. Slide the flatbread onto the cookie sheet in the oven. While the flatbread is cooking, mix the greens, cucumber and balsamic in a bowl and toss, seasoning with salt and pepper. When the flatbread is nicely browned on the edges, remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes. Cut into desired slices, slide onto large round plate and top with Pete’s salad.

Grilled Leg of Lamb

1/3 cup tamari
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped green onions
4 tablespoons garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons clover honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled chopped fine
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
3# leg of lamb, butter flied

Place all ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold the lamb and whisk until incorporated. Place lamb in bowl and turn a few times. Cover with plastic and marinated for at least 12 hours, up to 24.
Preheat the grill. You can also sear this in a hot pan but make sure the you have adequate ventilation as this will produce a lot of smoke.

Oil the grill grate. Place lamb on the grill. You can get rid of the marinade. Cook 15 minutes on each side. Depending on how you like your lamb, cook it to an internal temperature of 135 and let it rest for 10 minutes, covered with a piece of foil. This will give you a medium lamb. If you like it either rare or well, subtract or add 10 degrees respectively. When rested, sliced thinly.

Jamaican Jerk Spice Ribs

3 tsp. cup cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. cinnamon, ground
2 tbsp. nutmeg, ground
6 tbsp. allspice, ground
6 tbsp thyme, dried
1/2-cup brown sugar
6 tbsp onion powder
6 tbsp gr. Ginger
¼ cup salt

Combine all spices in a bowl.

Place the ribs on a sheet pan. Rub the spices into each side, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Next day
Preheat oven to 275. Remove plastic wrap and cover ribs with foil. Slow roast in oven for 2-3 hours checking in each 15 minutes after 2 hours. When the meat pulls away from the bone, remove, leave covered and serve in the next 15 or so minutes.

Grilled Leg of Lamb Steaks

2 bone in lamb steaks
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the steaks in a shallow dish in one layer. Sprinkle with the garlic, rosemary, oil, salt and pepper. Turn the steaks to coat both sides. Let set about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a grill over high heat. Add the steaks and cook until the desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, depending on thickness. Serve immediately.

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