Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - July 14, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
2 lbs Mixed Potatoes; 1 Bunch Garlic Scapes; 1 Bunch Scallions or Baby Leeks; Shelling or Sugarsnap Peas; 1 Bunch Bright Lights or Ruby Red Chard; Sweet Peppers; 1 Bunch Celery; Fennel; Rhubarb; plus...

Bag of Mesclun Greens

Localvore Offerings Include:

Elmore Mountain Foagies
Ploughgate Elmore Cheese
Pete's Greens Pesto

Introducing Sean...
Sean joined us a week ago on the farm and has begun a blog to share his stories as he embarks on a path to learn more about healthy food production. We are excited to add his enthusiasm to the mix!

My name is Sean Garvey. I am your latest intern on the farm, and I’m very excited to be here. On paper, I am an unlikely candidate for farm work. I grew up in Essex Junction, Vermont and studied Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at UVM. From there, I worked two years at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. I have a PhD in Genetics from Duke University, and I just completed a 3-year fellowship in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Virginia. Just a month ago, I was on a laboratory bench studying how vascular smooth muscle cells respond to inflammation. Our research team was trying to figure out how blood vessels get clogged, creating what we call atherosclerotic plaques. When a plaque breaks off, there is high risk for heart attack or stroke. To counter plaque disruption, high risk patients may undergo balloon angioplasty. A small balloon is inflated within the blood vessel, and a metal mesh stent is compressed against the plaque, allowing better blood flow. We were trying to find ways to improving this ‘stenting’ process.

While treating the disease deserves funding and attention, I simply wanted to be on the other end of the equation. Rather than treat disease, I wanted to help prevent the disease from occurring. I think food is part of the answer. It is no secret that the average American diet is large and largely unhealthy. So I started learning more about food, food policy, and farming. I watched Food Inc, heard Joel Salatin speak, read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and volunteered at a local produce farm. And then I started asking a lot of questions, and many of those questions led me to want to work on a farm to be able to better advocate local, organic food production and distribution. I had been preaching from propaganda, and now it was time for me to find out for myself just what it takes to harvest and distribute high quality, fresh, organic food. Because when your desire to participate in CSA becomes the average American option, I want the supply to be there. So thank you all for being a part of this CSA. I really believe that all this vitamin, antioxidant, and fiber-rich food has the power to create good health. ~ Sean

From Sean's first blog post after arrival on the farm:
"There’s so much I want to write, so much that I could write, from my first week at Pete’s Greens. But one lesson stands out most. Passion." Read his first farm blog post here.

Storage and Use Tips
Fennel - Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet with the flavor of anise. It is delicious and slightly sweet served raw but is just as often served cooked on its own or in other dishes. Though most often associated with Italian cooking, it has an uncanny ability to blend with other flavors adding a light and fresh note. It is delightful in many dishes, and in soups and stews and sauces and is particularly great with tomato sauce dishes. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. To prepare, trim off the fronds and stalks and reserve them for garnish or seasoning. Cut off the hard bottom and slice vertically or into quarters. Or cut the bulb in half lengthwise, cut out the core, and cut into strips. Add it raw to salads or try some thinly sliced fennel on your sandwich. Top thinly sliced fennel with plain yogurt and mint leaves. Or braise, roast or saute it. It is done when tender enough to pierce easily with a skewer.

Peas - There will be snap peas and shelling beans going out this week. You will get one or the other in your bag. How to tell the difference? The snap peas are a little flatter, the shells glossy, and the outline of the peas inside are usually clear to see. These peas are delightful to eat pod and all. The pods are less fibrous than shelling pea pods and are a nice crunchy fresh addition to salads and sautés. The shelling peas are great too, and actually you can eat those pods. They are just more fibrous. Shelling peas have the bonus of bigger peas, and these are as fresh as they come. The peas can be eaten raw or cooked.

Rhubarb - Meg and Noah were able to havest the very first of our new rhubarb plantings that we put in this spring! We are excited to be sending it to you so soon. Rhubarb is a very old plant, and has been harvested by man for over 4000 years. It was prized for it's medicinal qualities (purgative). Only the stalks of rhubarb are eaten, the leaves of the rhubarb plant are actually toxic containing large amounts of oxalic acid. Only much later did people learn to love it for purposes of PIE. You don't have quite enough this week for rhubarb pie, but if you can slice up what you have and add to it enough strawberries to make 6 cups total, you'll be in business. How to make it? How about this... mix strawberries and slices of rhubarb (1/2" thick) together with 1 cup of sugar, pour it into a pie shell, top it with the other crust (or streusel) and bake it (therein lies the expression easy as pie). But if pie is not in your meal plan this week, there are loads of rhubarb recipes here and a real simple one below.

Join us for a Special Dining Experience Friday July 30th

The Vermont Fresh Network Farmers Dinner series were designed to bring people closer to their food sources. At the start of the meal, producers and farmers share a bit of their story or anecdotes about the food they have contributed to the dinner. Those attending the dinners benefit first from a delicious meal made from local foods and from meeting the producers.

In just a little over two weeks, together with Cellars at Jasper Hill, Vermont Soy, Greenfield Highland Beef, Caledonia Spirits & Honey Gardens Winery, and High Mowing Seeds, we will host our first Farmers Dinner at Caledonia Spirits in Hardwick. We have teamed up with Chef Michael Werneke from the Highland Lodge to create an outstanding, special meal that will be paired with selections of Honey Gardens honey wine (aka mead!).

Chef Michael is pretty excited about the opportunity to create a menu using the rich array of cheeses from Cellars at Jasper Hill, the produce, chicken and pork from Pete's Greens, the wonderful grass fed beef from Greenfields Highland Beef, fresh tofu and other soy products brought to the table by Vermont Soy, and other products he will be sourcing from the region .

Please join us for this special event.

When: Friday July 30th, 6 pm
Where: Caledonia Spirits & Honey Gardens Winery, Hardwick, VT
Tickets: $40/per person plus tax ($43.66 total with taxes)
Please contact Todd Hardie for information and reservations: 802.472.8000, todd@caledoniaspirits.com

Pete's Pastured Chicken on a Bed of Greens
Our meat chickens are an important part of the fertility plan on the farm. They are moved from place to place, cleaning up fields and greenhouses before the old crops are tilled under. In this photo, they are dining on a bed of older arugula. They provide a valuable service, making use of the greens as feed, and leaving behind nitrogen to replace that which the arugula drew from the soil. This is good for the fields, it's a great, fresh environment for the birds, and it's also great news for us. The meat from our birds are packed with far more vitamins than free range birds who are not pastured (and many are not).

You can order chickens and have them delivered directly to your pick up site any week (except meat share weeks). Minimum order is 3 chickens, but if you order 5 or more you can take advantage of our special price of $3.50/lb (regular price is $3.75/lb).

For more info about our chickens, and to order, please visit the chicken page.

Localvore Lore
I am excited for you all to try Elmore Mountain Bread "Foagies". These delightful foccacia breads have been a mainstay at our house the last couple weeks. I have been splitting them, toasting them, topping them with garlic, tomato, basil, olive oil blend, sometimes topping with goat cheese, feta, or fresh mozz, and then toasting the resulting bruschetta again. Yum. They are made with Quebec Milanaise Organic Unbleached Wheat, Water, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Yeast.

The "foagies" or focaccia-hoagies is a bread that was developed out of our relationships with several local restaurants. Our friend and former chef of the Cliff House at Stowe, Jeff Egan came to us looking for a bread or rolls that would be suitable for sandwiches and hamburgers. Rolls were something that we wanted to stay away from, but we were very interested in classic Italian Focaccia style breads. After much trial and error, we came up with the"foagies". It was very well received and before long we were working with many local chefs on developing their own custom versions. Grill it like a panini, make an egg breakfast sandwich, or eat it with your favorite local cheese and fresh seasonal veggies; it will soon be your favorite sandwich bread! ~ Blair

From Marisa Mauro's Ploughgate Creamery, we have Ploughgate Elmore. This cheese (which some of you may have known by its former name Cowslem) is a smooth, rich, creamy spreadable cheese and will be wonderful spread on the foagies and topped with whatever you dream up. Marisa makes her cheeses entirely from milk sourced from Hancock Family Farm in Conventry, Vermont where the same family has been milking for 100 years.

Pesto! Bill made this pesto yesterday and will be making lots more in the next several days. This is a product we get pretty excited to stow away in the freezer. It's such a welcome treat when we send it out in Good Eats shares in Fall, Winter and Spring. This pesto is made simply with our organic basil, olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper. We decided to skip the nuts and cheese to accommodate all diets, and figuring that these are easy for everyone to add to their liking.

The pesto is great on its own, as a dipping sauce, a finishing oil for pasta, lamb, fish or chicken as well as on tomatoes and mozzarella. It is truly a universal sauce. You can add cheese or pine nuts if you like. One of Bill's favorites is combining the pesto with toasted walnuts, ground up then drizzling over an avocado, bibb and tomato salad. The enhanced nuttiness gives a whole new dimension to the pesto. For a version of chimicurri add vinegar, crushed red pepper and some cumin.

We need your feedback! We are in the process of fine tuning our recipe so we really want to hear what you think about this batch. To that end, I am going to send you all a brief survey later this week so you can share your thoughts before we make lots more. In the meantime, if you start slathering pesto onto your foagies and fear you will finish the tub before receiving the survey, and you need to contact us with feedback earlier, please email.


Grilled Foagies with Roasted Peppers & Grilled Garlic Scapes

6 slices of foagies, sliced lengthwise, rub with some oil
2 peppers, roasted over open flame or in oven
1 bunch garlic scapes
Ploughgate Elmore Cheese
salt & pepper

Pre-heat grill to low.

Place peppers on open flame and char. Remove from heat., place in bowl and cover. When cool enough to handle, peel char skin away, cut in half and remove seeds. Do not run under water as this washes away the flavor. A few seeds never hurt anyone. Slice into ½ inch long julienne strips While the peppers are cooling, toss scapes with a very small amount of oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until lightly charred. Set aside. Place bread on corners of grill and lightly toast on both sides. Spread some Elmore cheese on each grilled bread. Top with peppers, then scapes and finish with some freshly ground black pepper and fresh basil (or pesto!), if you have some on hand.

Braised Fennel and Potatoes
In this dish the potatoes are perked up with fennel. The fennel becomes very tender and lends loads of moisture to the dish. Makes 4 to 6 side-dish serving. Gourmet February 2006.

1 large fennel bulb with fronds
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb red boiling potatoes
1/2 cup water

Quarter bulb lengthwise and core, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cook fennel, onion, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add potatoes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to fennel mixture and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, 3 minutes. Add water and cook, covered, stirring once, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Chilled Fennel & Potato Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups fennel, rough chop (save fronds for garnish)
2 onions, chopped
2 cups potatoes, peeled, diced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream
3 sprigs tarragon, stripped, chopped

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add fennel bulbs, onions and potatoes. Sauté until slightly softened. Add broth and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, bring cream and tarragon to boil in heavy small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 20 minutes so that flavors can infuse.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream mixture. Simmer thinning with some water or more broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds.

Seared Wild Caught Salmon Salad
4 Salmon fillets
Pete’s pesto, as needed

Mesclun Greens
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat large non-stick skillet with just enough oil to shimmer the pan. Carefully add salmon and lower heat immediately. Sear until lightly brown and turn. You will cook on each side approximately 3-4 minutes for a medium rare fillet .

Remove to a plate and let rest. Meanwhile, place mesclun in a large bowl, toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Split the greens up amongst 4 plates, place a salmon fillet, belly side up, on top of each salad and top with pesto. Garnish with lemon zest.

*** The beauty of the wild salmon is that is considered a “green” fish. Click here for more information on which fish to eat and which to avoid.

Minted Rhubarb Iced Tea

8 stalks rhubarb, cut in 3-inch pieces
8 cups water
½ cup honey
1 bunch mint, picked, roughly chopped

Place the rhubarb and water into large pot, bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour.
Strain the liquid, add the honey and a mint. Chill completely and garnish with mint sprig.

Rhubarb Dream Bars
I just came across this recipe on the website allrecipes.com while looking for something appropriate for a smaller amount of rhubarb. With a combination of a shortbread base topped with rhubarb, walnuts and coconut, how could you go wrong?

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut

In a bowl, combine 1 cup flour and confectioners' sugar. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Pat into a lightly greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 13-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

In a bowl, combine the sugar and remaining flour. Add eggs; mix well. Stir in rhubarb, walnuts and coconut; pour over crust. Bake 30-35 minutes longer or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

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