Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - August 25, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
1.5 lbs Red Thumb Fingerling Potatoes; 2 Zucchini; 2 lbs Mixed Sweet Peppers; 1 Bulb Fennel; Broccoli -or- Beans; 1 or 2 Eggplant; 1 Bag of Mesclun

2 lbs Tomatoes
1 Melon (mostly canteloupe, some honeydew)

Please note that bags of mesclun will be in the totes with your veggie bags, but they will NOT BE INSIDE your veggie bag. We didn't want them to be crushed! So please remember when you take your veggie bag from the tote, to collect your mesclun as well.

Localvore Offerings Include:
On The Rise Pizza Dough
Pesto
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Eggs
Quebec Organic Oats


Pete's Musings.
Thanks to all of you who visited the farm last week both for the Oustanding in the Field dinner and our open farm day. Both events went great and it is always exciting to show the farm both to folks who are members and customers and know the food well, and also to those who have barely heard of Pete's Greens. The dinner was a magical night. We ate in a field of flowering buckwheat, the food by Hen of the Wood was top notch with pork in every course, and the weather was one of those perfect late summer evenings that makes all seem right in the world.

Full on onion harvesting this week. The crop looks great and is in excellent condition for storage. We mow the tops at 6-8 inches, pull the onions and place into black crates, haul to the greenhouse where we stack the onions as high as we can reach in long rows with air space in between. In 6 weeks they will be dry and ready for topping and cold storage. ~Pete

Sean's Adventures

Sean's weekly posts are a great read to get a glimpse of a day in the life at the farm. In his post today Sean mentions those of us who don't get out to the fields much. I am one who is tied to the desk by a less gritty, yet necessary kind of farmwork. So I really appreciate the opportunity to peek in on the days of my colleagues through Sean's writing. This week he shares tales of our farm events, his first farm tours, and the pace of the onion harvest underway. Photo at left is our own Deb Rosewolf (aka the egg lady) and Sean. Check out Sean's blog.


Fall/Winter Good Eats Sign Up
The official end of summer is near, and for many, school begins this week. Wow, did it go fast. Harvest is already underway at the farm. Stockpiling the goodness of Summer will keep us very busy now in the weeks and months ahead. We have been putting corn, rhubarb, zucchini, and pestos in the freezer the last few weeks and we have lots of other summer vegetables on our preservation to do list. Roots harvest is getting an early start this year, the onions just the first on the long list. Potatoes, turnips, potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, beets, cabbages, kohlrabi, celeriac, a variety of winter squash, herbs and more will be harvested in the weeks ahead. In our greenhouses, we'll keep head lettuces, scallions and chard growing into December, while hardy field greens continue to do well outside. With each passing year, Pete gets better and better at growing salad greens in the cold winter months and last year we were able to grow a baby greens/sprouts mix through the whole winter! The combination of storage crops, hardy crops, greenhouse items and frozen and preserved veggies and fruits will keep us all eating a healthy, rich local diet all winter long.

Sign up for the Good Eats Fall/Winter Share now to ensure continued weekly deliveries! The Fall share begins on Oct 20th and continues through Feb 16th.

Please visit the Fall/Winter Share page for details and to download a sign up form.

Outstanding in the Field
Here are just a few photos from the dinner at the farm last week. Sean posted many more on his facebook page. I'll have photos from our potluck for you next week.
























Storage and Use Tips

Red Thumb Fingerling Potatoes - These fingerlings are rosy inside and out. Their tender easy to clean skin needs no peeling. Just scrub and prepare. Cut these into 1 1/2 inch chunks, toss liberally with oil and salt and roast in a 400F (with fresh rosemary if you have it!) oven until crispy and golden at the edges. It doesn't get much better than that! Store in a cool dry place away from onions.

Melons - a mix of our honeydew melons and canteloupe will be going out this week (though heavier on the canteloupe). How to tell if your melon is ripe? Canteloupes will have dull yellow rinds with raised netting. Honeydews actually get a slight velvety stickiness on their rinds when perfectly ripe. Both melons will yield to pressure at the blossom end and you should be able to detect their smell sweet as well.

Localvore Lore
Each share we do our best to supply a variety of grains and staples for your pantry. To that end, we round up any that we can locally, and then we cross the border into Quebec to locate a few more. A week ago, Isaac made the trek to visit Michel Gaudreau at his Golden Crops mill in Compton, Quebec. Then he crossed the backroads over to North Hatley to pick up tamari and miso from Les Aliments Massawippi. You'll be seeing these products in the share in coming weeks. This week we have Michel's organic oats. You all got the long cooking steel cut oats at the start of the share. This week it's quick cooking oats or rolled oats. The oats for these two products start out the same and can be used much the same way. Quick cooking oats are rolled oats that have been milled further into smaller pieces so they cook quicker. If you are looking for a chewy texture, rolled oats will be better. But if you are looking to shorten cooking time or for some baked items, quick cooking oats are great. Since some of you may not often make oatmeal for breakfast, I have included basic directions for oatmeal using both oat types.

Eggs are back this week and next week, fresh from under Deb's hens. I sure appreciate having the steady supply of fresh eggs. It's the first time we have been able to consistently supply eggs 2 weeks out of each 4.

What a great week for pesto. Between the pizza dough and this week's mix of veggies there will surely be some excellent pesto inspired meals. Our pesto is simply made with extra virgin olive oil, our own basil, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Once again, Ben and Rachel, owners of On the Rise Bakery have supplied us with their pizza dough made with VT sunflower oil, Milanaise unbleached white flour, Ben Gleason's whole wheat flour, local honey and sea salt. The pizza dough will come to you frozen. Put it right back into your freezer if you don't plan to use it Wednesday night. When you do use it, thaw it, and don't wait for it to rise. When it is thawed it is ready to stretch and top and bake. As pizza dough sits, thawed, either on the counter or in the fridge, the live yeast in the dough continues to work away and the dough will steadily lose elasticity. If you haven't used it 48 hrs later, the risk is not that the dough will go bad, it's that it will lose elasticity, and become more difficult to work with, it will tear more easily. At this point, your best bet is a rolling pin! Ben posted the instructions on line along with some instructional videos that you can watch for technique and inspiration. As always, 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.

Recipes
Pesto Pizza with Roasted Garlic and Potato
As the addition of potatoes are what really sets this pizza apart, it is important to make sure they are cooked and seasoned properly before they go on top of the pie. To ensure that the potatoes are cooked all the way through when the pizza comes out of the oven, blanch them in boiling water, just until they lose their crunch. After draining them off, toss them them oil, sprinkle with herbs and a bit of salt. A drizzle of the oil from roasting the garlic would be fantastic.

On the Rise pizza dough, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
About 1 cup homemade pesto (or store-bought)
2-3 cups grated mozzarella/provolone cheese
1 cup roasted garlic cloves (recipe below)
4 red skinned potatoes, very thinly sliced
1-2 tomatoes thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs or a sprinkling of fresh
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes

Place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 500°. Allow the stone to heat for at least half an hour before baking pizzas. (You can carefully roast your garlic heads at this time.)

Allow the pizza dough to come to room temperature.
Blanch the potato slices in boiling water until just cooked through, anywhere between 1 – 2 minutes. Drain and allow to cool slightly before drying the slices with paper towels and coating them with a touch of olive oil, a pinch of Italian seasoning and kosher salt.

On a lightly-floured work surface, form the dough into two large balls, collecting the sides and tucking them under to create a smooth outer surface. Generously dust a wooden peel or the back of a sheet pan with flour or cornmeal. With lightly-floured hands, press the dough with your fingertips to form a flattened disk. Lift the dough up and use the back of your knuckles to stretch and thin-out the dough into a circle with a diameter of 12-inches. Be careful to preserve the edge of the dough if you want a light, chewy crust. Carefully position the stretched dough onto the prepared peel or baking sheet.

Using a large spoon, spread an even layer of the pesto onto the dough and carefully spread it to within 1/2-inch of the edge, being careful to leave a sauce free edge. Top with an even layer of the grated mozzarella/provolone cheese followed by slices of parboiled potatoes and roasted garlic cloves and fresh tomatoes. Top with a light sprinkling of a bit more mozzarella, season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Lightly brush the exposed crust with a bit of olive oil (or leftover garlic) oil to promote browning.

Carefully slide the pizza onto the preheated stone and bake until the crust is crisped and golden and the cheese is bubbling and just beginning to brown, about 6-7 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing.

To make roasted garlic
Cut the top off a head of garlic so that the tops of each of the cloves is exposed. Place head atop some aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil over the head. Bake at 400F (or higher if you are heating your oven) until cloves are soft.

Tomato Fennel Salad
Fennel goes really well with tomatoes, potatoes, and actually melon too (melon and fennel soup is a classic French soup). This very simple salad is great on its own, but could be further enlivened with a bit of feta, some kalamatas, some fresh basil, etc.
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes
1 small fennel bulb
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional - Fresh basil, feta, sweet peppers

Core the tomatoes and cut into wedges. Slice the fennel bulb very thinly crosswise with a knife or on a mandoline. Toss the tomatoes and fennel in a bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Season to taste, and serve.

Summer Vegetable Frittata
Works best with a well seasoned, cast iron skillet, but any oven proof skillet will do. Eat this with a fresh salad for a healthy mid-day meal. Serves 4 comfortably.
8 farm fresh eggs
1/4 C milk or cream
Generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 medium Walla Walla onion, roughly chopped
1 lb zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 medium bell pepper, sliced into strips
1.5 C of chopped broccoli florets and stems, sliced beans, and or thinly sliced potatoes
1 cup local cheese, shredded or sliced thin
1 large tomato, sliced into rounds

Preheat broiler.

Whisk together eggs, milk or cream, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Heat sunflower oil in a 12 inch cast iron or oven proof skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until just fragrant. Add beans (if using), potatoes, broccoli, zucchini and bell pepper, cooking just until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook, lifting up cooked egg around edge using a spatula to let as much raw egg as possible flow underneath, until edge is set, about 2 minutes (top and center will still be very loose). Sprinkle evenly with cheese and then lay tomato slices on top in a decorative manner.

Broil frittata about 6 inches from heat until set, slightly puffed, and golden, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Cool frittata 5 minutes, then loosen edge with a clean spatula and slide onto a large plate. Cut into wedges.

Old Fashioned Oatmeal
This is just the basic how to cook recipe. There are endless possibilities of what you might add to your oatmeal including honey, maple sugar or syrup, dried fruits, frozen berries, sliced apples or melons, etc. You can go totally dairy free, omitting butter and replacing all the milk with water, or add just as much of those as you like.

2 cups dry rolled oats
3.5 to 3.75 cups water/milk (1.5 cups milk/2+ cups water is good)
1/4 tsp salt
1 TB butter (optional)

Place oats, milk, water and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for five to 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and oats have softened to a porridge. Stir in butter. Divide into bowls and garnish with dried fruit and sweetener of your choice.

Quick Oatmeal
2 cups quick oats
3 cups water/milk (2 cups water, 1 cup milk is a nice mix)
1/4 tsp salt
1 TB butter (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Slowly, stir the oats and let the water return to a rolling boil. Immediately, reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the cinnamon and butter and continue to cook on low for 1 minute. Then add the milk and cook for another 2 minutes.

Nova Scotia Oatcakes
My family and I spent 4 years in Nova Scotia before moving back To VT last year. Because of the Scottish heritage there, Scottish oatcakes are popular. Stop at any coffee shop and in place of the ubiquitous biscotti you will nearly always find oatcakes. These lightly sweet, creamy cookies are great to take along as a healthy snack. With some experimentation you could substitute honey for the sugar.... With this recipe I'd substitute 3/4 cup honey for the sugar, I'd reduce the water to approximately 1/2 cup, and I'd increase the baking soda to 1.5 tsp.
3 cups quick rolled oats

3 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cup shortening

2/3 – 3/4 cup cold water
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening. Add enough water to form a rather stiff, pastry-like dough. Roll 3/8 ” thick and cut into circles. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a greased baking sheet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - August 18, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
1 Bunch of Sugar Snax Carrots; 1.5 lbs Zucchini; Mixed Sweet Peppers; 2 lbs Walla Walla Onions; 1 Head of Garlic; 2 Jalapeno Peppers; Napa Cabbage plus...

1 Pint Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes


Localvore Offerings Include:
Red Hen Vermont Wheat Bread
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
Butterworks Cornmeal
Elmore Roots Jam

Pete's Musings
When you have as much mechanical crap as we do sometimes bad things happen. It did last week when our very spiffy 20 ft refrigerated truck blew a motor way before it should have. Only $14,000 to install a new motor! We decided not to go that route so I spent all day yesterday glued to the computer attempting to find the perfect new truck. Found some seemingly really good options in Chicago and Steve is going to fly out in the morning to hopefully drive one home.

We are moving into full on onion harvest. They are about 2 weeks earlier than normal and in the past it has seemed that waiting too long leads to lower quality. Crop looks great so far, beautiful shallots too. We'll be digging main crop storage potatoes by the first week of September the way things are looking.

Hope one and all can make it to our open farm day this Saturday. It's going to be a great day here and there are other farms in the area that will be open for visits as well. ~Pete

Sean's Adventures
Sean Garvey has been blogging about his adventures as an intern on the farm. This week he has been beautifying the rhubarb patch for our expected guests and connecting people to their food in the meantime. Check out Sean's blog.


Join Us Saturday - Farm Tours, Potluck, and Music

This is it folks, the week we have been waiting for! Will we see you at the farm this Saturday August 21st?

Schedule of Events:
11:00 First Farm Tour with Pete
12:3o - 2:00 Potluck Lunch under the tent
1:30 or 2:00 Second Farm Tour with Pete

We'll be preparing a big salad for everyone and providing cider. Elena Gustavson and I got together and made some lasagna this weekend with sauce made from farm tomatoes and veggies, and beef donated from Greenfields Highlans beef. We'll be making some quiche too. Please bring a dish that you love to prepare (using local ingredients if you can!). Be sure to clearly mark your dishes and utensils with your last name. Also, please mark any meals that are vegetarian or vegan. Feel free to BYOB too!

We'll have some bluegrass by the Mud City Ramblers. Please visit their page to listen to a couple sample tracks. Mud City Ramblers are a bluegrass trio featuring Chris Lyon on guitar, Fran Forim on upright bass, Neil Dean on mandolin and Luke Auriemm on banjo.

Please come, we'd love to see you!

Kingdom Farm & Food Days - August 21st & 22nd

In case you missed this last week...
This two day event features tours, workshops, music, food and festivities with our event just one of the many stops you could plan on your route.

The event will begin on Saturday, August 21 with self-guided tours of more than a dozen the area's farms and agricultural businesses that have opened their doors to the public (see the list here). Businesses range from dairy sheep, llamas, and worms (vermiculture) to ice wine, soy, and maple syrup. Check out the farms on the map here.

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center is offering a 25 mile scenic bicycle tour to area farms ending at Pete's Greens. Get in a beautiful, scenic morning of bicycling and then join us for a feast! For more details on how to register, contact bikes@craftsbury.com.

On Sunday, High Mowing Seeds trial gardens will be open for tours, both self guided and guided. The trial gardens have over 800 vegetable, herb and flower varieties growing. Visitors will see side-by-side comparisons of many popular and some yet-unreleased varieties. There will also be workshops on seed saving and pest and disease identification, live music and an evening bonfire.

At 4pm the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) will present a Local Foods Showcase. This is an extraordinary chance for visitors to taste some of the finest Vermont-made food products and culinary delights, all donated by local businesses and prepared by NECI students and chef Jeffrey Ferrell.

Direct questions about Farm & Food Days to Elena Gustavson at center@hardwickagriculture.org or call 802-472-5840

Any Volunteers For This Weekend?

The Center for An Agricultural Economy is organizing volunteers for all the events taking place this weekend. If you are one of those people who prefer to be involved rather than just attend, please contact Elena (above). Here are the available time slots/jobs.

Saturday:
Pete's Greens
8:30am to 12:30pm to help with set up - 2 volunteers
3:30pm to 5pm to help with breakdown - 2 to 3 volunteers

Craftsbury Outdoor Center for the Bike Tour - TBD on time, but definitely in the morning and possibly the afternoon - 1 to 2 volunteers

Center for an Agricultural Economy
9:30am to 12pm Greet visitors, hand out maps - 1 volunteer
12pm to 2:30pm Greet visitors, hand out maps - 1 volunteer
2:30 to 5:30pm Greet visitors, hand out maps - 1 volunteer

Sunday:
All volunteer activities will happen on Marsh Rd at the Trial and Showcase Garden for High Mowing Organic Seeds.

Compost Station 2:30pm-4:30pm - 2 volunteers
Compost Station 4:30pm-6:30pm - 2 volunteers
Parking 9am-1pm - 2 volunteers
Clean-up 4:30pm-6:30pm - 4 volunteers
Other "go-fers"
10am-2pm - 2 volunteers
2pm-6pm 2 volunteers

Localvore Lore
Pretty exciting bread news from Randy George at Red Hen Baking Company this week:
The handful of Vermont farmers that are brave enough to grow wheat in this challenging climate have brought in their 2010 harvest. You may recall that June was unusually dry... well, this may not have been what the vegetable farmers wanted, but June is a critical period for the development of a good wheat crop. Basically, the mature wheat berries shouldn't see anything but the slightest trace of moisture during this period lest the crop's quality can be severely diminished. As one dry day followed another this June, I started to think that we might have something special on our hands this year. By the time the state's winter wheat was harvested in early July, it was clear that luck really was on our side more than it's been for probably over a decade. Now some of this wheat has made its way to us bakers in the form of flour and here at Red Hen we're delighted to report that what we have this year is unprecedented in the 10 years that we have been baking with Vermont-grown wheat. We have baked two test batches of naturally leavened bread made entirely with Ben Gleason's whole wheat flour... what you see in your share today is the third batch. Never have we seen such satisfying results from locally-grown whole wheat. This is a year to be celebrated and remembered. Although the wheat growers in this state have become very clever at dealing with our difficult climate, there is nothing like having just the right combination of factors come together at the right time. There is a lot of very, very good wheat that will be available (in stores and through the Pete's CSA) under the Gleason's Grains, Nitty Gritty Grains, and Butterworks Farms names over the next 12 months. We can all bask in the glory of it's abundance and deliciousness. ~ Randy

Oh how I love the cheese in the share this week. Cabot Clothbound Cheddar is a multi award winning cheese, judged best cheddar in many competitions, including winning the American Cheese Society's Best in Show Award in 2006 besting some 940 other cheeses from around the country in that year's competition. And it has earned both a gold and silver medal at the World Cheese Awards taking home the title of the Best US Cheddar. The cheese starts out at the Cabot Creamery. Immediately after the wheels are unmolded from their cheddar hoops at Cabot, they are loaded into a truck and delivered to the Cellars at Jasper Hill. For the next 10-14 months they remain at Cellars, lovingly tended. During the aging process a bloomy rind is allowed to develop which flavors the cheese. The cave environment is carefully monitored to age the cheese perfectly. The result is a traditional English type cheddar, with a slightly craggly texture, and flavors that are sweet and nutty.

Our cornmeal today comes to us from Butterworks Farm. Jack Lazor and his family not only milk cows and produce fantastic yogurt, Jack is also a very good organic grains grower. He grows all the grains for his animal needs while also growing excellent quality wheat and corn for flour and cornmeal. Though normally we'd be providing you with Early Riser corn, a variety Jack grows and saves seed for each year, last year was a terrible growing season and Jack's crop was a total lost. Fortunately, Jim Geer of Great River Farm in Windsor was able to harvest a crop of good flint/dent corn, and it is this corn that Jack has ground for us in this cornmeal.

From Elmore Roots we have rhubarb ginger jam. The jam is made with organic rhubarb and apples grown at Elmore Roots, organic evaporated cane syrup and organic Hawaiian ginger. It's a terrific accompaniment to cornbread. David and the crew at the farm grow an incredible variety of fruits on the farm, all organically. The farm sells the fruit and the jams, but is also reknowned as a place to buy fruit nursery stock, as all varieties are selected for the cold climate. The farm's motto is "if it will grow in Elmore, it will grown anywhere (in Vermont)".

Recipes

Sauteed Veggies for Pasta or Grains
More of a suggestion than a recipe, but this is the first thing that comes to mind when I look at this week's list. Bored with pasta, lately I have been sautéing a Mediterranean mix of veggies as I would for pasta, but then placing them atop a plate of grains - either quinoa or couscous, barley for a meatier meal, and sometimes good brown rice. And then because I love it so, I add various cheeses. You really can't go wrong. Serves 2 hungry people.

1-2 TB vegetable oil (sunflower, canola, olive)
3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 Sweet Pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 zucchini, halved and quartered and sliced 1/8" thick
Quinoa or Couscous or brown rice or pasta

Put on a large pot of salted water and cook your grains or pasta as directed.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, put 1-2 TB of oil in the pan and swirl around til pan surface is covered. Add the onion and turn pan to medium low and sauté covered till onions begin to soften, around 3-5 minutes. Then add carrots and cover again, letting carrots steam a couple minutes. Then add garlic, peppers, and zucchini. Cook uncovered, on low, until veggies are softening and starting to brown. Then add cherry tomatoes and cook til heated through and veggies are as desired. Add salt and pepper to taste and some fresh herbs - basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram. Remove from heat when your veggies are perfectly tasty.

Serve the vegetables on top of hot grains or pasta. Crumble some feta, or goat cheese or ricotta on top. Serve with some freshlt grated parm.

Mexican Variation
Follow the directions above adding (if desired) 1/2 of a seeded jalapeno pepper. As the vegetables are cooking, you could add a can of drained black beans or kidney beans to the mix. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chili powder (or more to taste), some cilantro and oregano if you have them. Taste to adjust seasoning.

Serve on top of brown rice or quinoa with grated cheddar cheese, salsa or hot sauce, and perhaps sour cream, or roll it up into a tortilla.

Polenta - Polenta is such an easy, homey dish and can be paired with so many other ingredients. I usually make mine the old fashioned way, on the stovetop but I like the oven baked version below for the simplicity. When the polenta is finished on the stovetop you end up with cornmeal mush, but as polenta cools it firms up. And if you chill it in the fridge, you can then cut it into all sorts of shapes for later dishes. I love it right out of the pot and every other way as well.

Oven-Baked Polenta
By Martha Rose Shulman and published in the NYT June 9, 2009
Polenta is traditionally made on the stovetop. The classic recipe is to stir 1 cup of polenta (a coarse grind cornmeal) into 4 cups water boiling water with one tsp of salt addes. Then polenta is simmered and stirred constantly or at very regular intervals until it is a thickened gruel. It takes 50 minutes or so and requires watchfulness. Martha's oven baked method simplifies the process.

1 cup polenta
1 quart water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the polenta, water and salt in a 2-quart baking dish. Stir together, and place in the oven. Bake 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, and stir in the butter. Use a fork or a spatula to stir the polenta well, and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and stir again. Carefully taste a little bit of the polenta; if the grains are not completely soft, return to the oven for 10 minutes.

Serve right away for soft polenta, or let sit five minutes for a stiffer polenta. Spoon onto a plate. Make a depression in the middle, and serve with the topping of your choice or plain, as a side dish.

Alternatively, for grilling or use in another recipe, allow to chill and stiffen in the baking dish, or scrape into a lightly oiled or buttered bread pan and chill.

Cheddar Jalapeno Polenta
When you remove the polenta from the oven, stir in 1/3 cup to 1.5 cups grated cheddar and some minced jalapenos, to your liking. Serve at once.

Grilled Polenta Squares
Prepare a medium grill or heat an electric griddle on medium. Cut the polenta into squares, and brush the squares on both sides with olive oil. Place on the grill or griddle. When grill marks appear or when nicely browned, usually in about two to three minutes, turn and brown the other side. Serve hot.

Pan-Seared Polenta Squares
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and sear the polenta squares on both sides oil until lightly colored. The surface should be slightly crisp.

Stir Fried Napa Cabbage and Carrots
Here's a simple quick recipe that you could serve with brown rice. This is a basic stir fry into which you could also add in some celery or peppers and/or some cooked chicken or pork or beef. From the 75th Anniversary Edition of the Joy of Cooking.

Combine in small bowl:
2.5 TB tamari
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1 TB canola oil (or sunflower)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TB fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups shredded carrots
1 medium Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced
Minced parsley or cilantro

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add and stir fry the garlic and ginger for a few seconds taking care not to allow the garlic to brown. Add the carrots and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir fry until tender, about 3 more minutes. Add the tamari mixture and heat through, stiring to coat the vegetables. Serve garnished with minced parsley or cilantro.

Zucchini Cheddar Breakfast Biscuits
With the colder mornings lately, I have been inspired to bake and these look like just what I could use some mornings. They would also be a terrific accompaniment to dinner. From Andrea Chessman's Serving Up the Harvest.

2 cups shredded zucchini
1 tsp salt
4 ounces good quality bacon
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 TB baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp freshly grated ground black pepper
4 TB cold unsalted butter
1 cup grated Cheddar
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1.5 tsp lemon juice added)

Combine the zuc and salt in a colander and set aside to drain for 30 mins. Squeeze out any excess moisture and place in small mixing bowl. You should have around a 1/2 cup.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, around 10 minutes. Remove and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda and pepper into a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheese, bacon, and buttermilk to form a stiff dough.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured board and knead briefly till dough is a bit smoother. Pat out or roll out to 1" thick. Cut biscuits with 3" cutter or slice into squares and place on a baking sheet 1" apart.

Bake for 15 mins or until golden.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - August 11, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
2 lbs Red Beets; 2 lbs Onions; 1 Bunch Kale; 1 Bunch of Herbs; plus...

1.5 lb Beefsteak or Heirloom Tomatoes
1 Bag Spicy Brassica Mix
6 ears of Sweet Corn
1 Qt Frozen Winter Squash Puree

Localvore Offerings Include:
Elmore Mountain Country French Bread
Sholten Family Farm Weybridge Cheese
Champlain Orchards Paula Red Apples
Butterworks Yogurt


Pete's Musings
A bunch of us from the farm got away to the Vermont Fresh Network summer gathering at Shelburne Farms last Sunday evening. This event is always one of the highlights of summer socializing and feasting. It is held near the shore of Lake Champlain in the Shelburne Farms coach barn. Twenty restaurants partner with farms and create appetizers that the crowd circulates and samples. We partnered with Black Door, Hen on the Wood, and Bon Temps Gourmet catering. We had 3 or 4 other restaurants that we were planning to partner with but the organizers cut us off at 3. Marian Burros, former NY Times food writer and nearby neighbor here in Craftsbury was the keynote speaker, and Senator Leahy was in attendance.

Senator Leahy spoke for a few minutes and talked about the Child Nutrition Act which recently passed the Senate with bipartisan support. This is very important legislation that will increase funding for school meal programs and farm to school programs. Leahy and Sanders have been major players in this legislation and I've got to tell you those two guys make me proud to be a Vermonter. You may not agree with their politics, but we are really lucky as such a tiny state to be represented by two senators who stand out from the crowd, work hard for what they believe in, and don't appear to have succumbed to any of the temptations of power that do so many others. And they are both very accessible and willing to talk to their fellow Vermonters.

Great energy at the Vermont Fresh event. If you've never attended I recommend putting it on your calendar for next year. ~ Pete


Storage and Use Tips
Onions - The onions today are mostly Purple onions, but there are some Walla Wallas among them too. Purple onions, also known as red onions contain anthocyanins in their skins, a powerful antioxidant. So they may carry a bit more of a health benefit than other varieties. They are particularly great in stir fries, but also tasty sliced for sandwiches and salads. Walla Walla onions are super sweet and should be eaten raw to really enjoy them. They don't keep as long as other varieties, so best to use them up. Walla Wallas are particularly good carmelized where there sweetness is intensified. Store Walla Wallas loosely bagged in fridge. The purple onions will store better unwrapped.

Frozen Winter Squash Puree - We thought you might enjoy some more diversity and are sending out frozen winter squash puree this week. This is just pure frozen winter squash goodness. Use this in recipes calling for pureed winter squash or pumpkin - particularly soups, pie, baked items like pumpkin bread, muffins or cookies, or for casseroles or rice dishes. Also fantastic just on its own sweetened with a bit of maple syrup, enriched with some cream and served as a side. The puree is coming to you frozen. If it is has thawed a bit when you receive it, no worries. Just pop it back in freezer til you are ready to use.

Spicy Brassica Mix - Instead of mesclun, you will be receiving a mixed bag of arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, red russian kale, vates kale today. This blend is great for salads, lots of flavor, a bit of spice from the arugula and mizuna. Though perfect for a salad, you could also add these greens to a cooked dish - a soup, a casserole, a rice dish. Very versatile greens.

Herbs - You will be receiving one bunch of herbs in your bag, either oregano, sage, rosemary, or thyme.

Pete's Greens Open Farm Day - August 21st

Please join us for our annual potluck party! This year, our event is part of the larger Kingdom Farm & Food Days (see below), so there's lots to do and see in the area all weekend. We look forward to connecting with Good Eats members and sharing a meal together. We really hope you can make it!

Schedule of Events:
11:00 First Farm Tour
12:3o - 2:00 Potluck Lunch under the tent
1:30 or 2:00 Second Farm Tour

Please bring a Localvore potluck dish to share. We'll be providing a big Pete's Greens salad and Champlain Orchards cider.

This year we will have the Mud City Ramblers playing some bluegrass tunes to tap your toes to. Please visit their page to listen to a couple sample tracks. Mud City Ramblers are a bluegrass group featuring Chris Lyon on guitar, Fran Forim on upright bass, Neil Dean on mandolin and Luke Auriemmo on banjo.

This is a great time for you to come out to the farm, meet all of us, see the fields and greenhouses, visit the pigs and chickens, and connect with the source of your food.

Kingdom Farm & Food Days - August 21st & 22nd

Fill up your whole weekend celebrating local VT agriculture! This two day event features tours, workshops, music, food and festivities with our event just one of the many stops you could plan on your route.

The event will begin on Saturday, August 21 with self-guided tours of more than a dozen the area's farms and agricultural businesses that have opened their doors to the public (see the list here). Businesses range from dairy sheep, llamas, and worms (vermiculture) to ice wine, soy, and maple syrup. Check out the farms on the map here.

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center is offering a 25 mile scenic bicycle tour to area farms ending at Pete's Greens. Get in a beautiful, scenic morning of bicycling and then join us for a feast! For more details on how to register, contact bikes@craftsbury.com.

On Sunday, High Mowing Seeds trial gardens will be open for tours, both self guided and guided. The trial gardens have over 800 vegetable, herb and flower varieties growing. Visitors will see side-by-side comparisons of many popular and some yet-unreleased varieties. There will also be workshops on seed saving and pest and disease identification, live music and an evening bonfire.

At 4pm the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) will present a Local Foods Showcase. This is an extraordinary chance for visitors to taste some of the finest Vermont-made food products and culinary delights, all donated by local businesses and prepared by NECI students and chef Jeffrey Ferrell.

Outstanding in the Field Dinner - August 17th
Feeling like you deserve a really special night out? How about a five course meal prepared by one of the regions top chefs served with wine pairings and then served outside in a beautiful farm setting? The Outstanding in the Field dinner being held at Pete's Greens is just one week away.

Outstanding in the Field, the touring restaurant without walls brings together top chefs and local producers for an aesthetically beautiful and special culinary experience. This year, Outstanding's one Vermont dinner will be held at Pete's Greens with Chef Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Wood restaurant in Waterbury preparing the meal. A place at the table includes a five course meal with wine pairings, all gratuities, producer discussions, and a tour of the farm with Pete.

Tickets are still available from Outstanding in the Field and event details are available on the Outstanding in the Field website.






Pete's Meats
In just a couple of weeks we'll have our own beef and pork cuts ready to order. We have a good amount of pork, but not a lot of beef. Start thinking about what you might like to stow away in the freezer for the winter! You'll be able to place an order and have your meat bulk order delivered to your pick up site. I'll let you all know when the order form for meats is available on line. Stay tuned.



Our Localvore Farm Stand
There was a really nice blog piece posted this week about our farmstand at a blog site called Nourishing Words.

Read the article here.

The Pete's Greens farm stand is open daily and is stocked with our organic vegetables, local meats and a vast array of local products. Come visit!






Localvore Lore
This week Andrew and Blair are baking Elmore Mountain Country French bread for Good Eats. Quebec Flax bread is made with Milanaise Winter Wheat, Milanaise Whole Wheat, Milanaise Rye, sourdough and sea salt.

The Sholten Family Farm Weybridge is an artisan cheese made by Patty Scholten and her organic Dutch Belt cows in Weybridge, Vermont. After Patty makes the rounds, the cheeses are aged 21 days at the Cellars at Jasper Hill to create the bloomy rind and creamy perfection. Please allow to warm to room temp before eating. So much more flavor!

At Butterworks Farm, Jack and Annie Lazor milk a small herd of Jerseys, all of whom are born on the farm and are fed entirely organic feeds grown on the farm. Milk from Jersey cows is rich, with a high protein count and fat content and yogurt made from this milk is richer than others. The non fat yogurt produced by Butterworks is the only non fat yogurt on the market that does not contain milk thickeners like whey protein or dry milk. Their whole milk yogurt is made from just that, whole jersey milk straight from the cows, so the yogurt comes with cream on top and a butterfat content of 5%, the highest on the market. There will be a mix of non fat vanilla and maple yogurt at sites tomorrow. The non fat vanilla is flavored with pure vanilla extract and sweetened with maple syrup. The whole milk maple is made with their plain whole milk yogurt and sweetened with maple syrup (and is nearly as good as a bowl of ice-cream!).

Champlain Orchards
has sent us the very first variety picked from their trees! The Paula Reds are a large red apple similar to Macintosh but a bit sweeter. Great for fresh eating, salads.

Recipes
Squash and Kale Risotto
This dish from the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites is a great way to use kale and squash together for a very healthy meal. And delicious. The original recipe called for 4.5 to 5 cups broth and 2 cups cubed squash. I made changes to accommodate the squash puree, reducing the liquids a bit. Though you won't get chunks of squash, you will get the great flavor throughout the dish.
4 to 4.5 c. vegetable stock or garlic broth 1 cup minced onions
2-3 TB olive oil
1.5 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1.5 to 2 cups winter squash puree
3 cups stemmed and chopped kale, packed
1/8-1/4 t. nutmeg
1 tsp fresh lemon peel
1/4 c. grated parmesan
salt & black pepper to taste


Bring stock to boil, reduce to simmer. Meanwhile, in heavy saucepan sauté onions in 2 TB of oil for 5 minutes. Using wooden spoon, add rice and stir until well coated with oil. Add wine. When absorbed, ladle in 2 1/2 c. of stock, 1/2 c. at a time, stirring frequently for 2-3 min. each time until rice has absorbed the liquid. Add squash and kale and stir. Continue adding 1/2 c. of broth every few minutes for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until all of stock has been added and rice is tender but firm. Add nutmeg, peel, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove risotto from heat, stir in cheese, and stir immediately

Thai Winter Squash Soup
Having puree in hand makes this a super easy soup to put together and the soup is a flavor explosion (one of my favorites). In traditional Thai fashion, it combines sweet, sour and salty flavors and has a kick too. The lime and coconut both come through beautifully.

Vegetable oil
1 onion,
3 cloves garlic
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
3-4 cups of winter squash or pumpkin puree
1 qt chicken or vegetable stock
3 TB Fish sauce
2.5 TB brown sugar (or maple syrup, or maple sugar)
2 TB Lime juice
1 can coconut milk
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

Puree the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor. Put a small amount of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Then add the pumpkin puree, stock, fish sauce, brown sugar or maple syrup, lime juice, and crushed red pepper and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Before serving, add the coconut milk. Taste the soup. You may want to add a fresh splash of lime just before serving.

Simple Roasted Beets
Several new share members have mentioned lately that they don't really know what to do with beets. If you are one of these, try roasting them. It intensifies the sweetness in the beets until they are nearly irresistable.
Scrub beets and cut off stem and root ends. Chop into 1/2 to 3/4 inch dice. Spread beets one layer deep in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and give a good stir til all are coated. Then put in 400°F oven til they are tender and look a bit roasted. Probably 20-30 minutes. Then remove from oven and serve hot, or let cool, put in container and save for uses cold.

Spicy Brassica Salad with Roasted Beets, Apples, and Goat Cheese Dressing
When Pete told me what greens he was harvesting and what the rest of the vegetables were, this is the salad that came to mind.

Baby brassica mix
Tart apples sliced thin, or grated
Roasted Beets
Red onions or Walla Wallas sliced thin
Walnuts (toasted slightly first)

Mix greens, sliced or grated apples and roasted beets in a bowl. Dress with dressing and serve with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts on top.

Creamy Goat Cheese Dressing
If you don't have buttermilk around, try substituting plain yogurt, or a yogurt/whle milk combo or even substituting with mayonnaise (which is not at all the same but would proably taste great).

4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Mix all together in a blender. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - August 4, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
2 lbs Kohlrabi; 2 Heads Baby Garlic; 2 Heads Fennel; 4 Cucumbers; Japanese or Black Bell Eggplant; 1 Head of Lettuce plus...

2 lb Beefsteak or Heirloom Tomatoes
6 ears of Sweet Corn



Localvore Offerings Include:
Elmore Mountain Flax Bread
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Eggs
Tullochgorum Farm Popcorn
Honey Gardens Apitherapy Honey

On the Farm
The farm is always busy. All but one week a year (Christmas), the weekly cycle of washing and packing and delivering vegetables for Good Eats and wholesale accounts requires steady, timely commitment from each of us on the farm. Yet certain times of the year seem to sneak up on us and suddenly we are over the top busy. Spring is one of those times, first it's still winter and the pace more moderate and then one day, the weather turns and there's tremendous urgency to take advantage of the warmth and moisture and plant. About 3 weeks ago, there was a momentary lull in the pace, most of the crops underway, just continued cultivation, irrigation, succession plantings to be done. But the beginning of Harvest proclaimed itself here last week and it's all hands on deck. Along with the regular weekly harvests we are now putting away vegetables to keep the diversity in winter high. We have been pickling cukes in barrels, making pesto by the hundreds of containers, freezing zucchini. Tomorrow we'll put away rhubarb and corn and more zucchini. It will continue at this pace for a while now until sometime in November after roots harvest when we'll all breathe a big collective sigh of relief and sleep well with the satisfaction of having preserved an abundance of beautiful food for the the long winter. ~ Amy


Storage and Use Tips

Fresh Corn! - I have picked up ears of corn several places in the last couple weeks, looking forward to that sweet crunch. But I haven't been lucky enough to find corn that was really fresh, until yesterday. The corn on the farm is finally ready and we have begun picking. We had it for dinner last night and it was fantastic. Corn is at its sweetest when first picked. If you can fit it in your menu, use it tonight! Otherwise, wrap your corn, with their husks still on, in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Eat it as soon as possible!

Kohlrabi - Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family and its outer skin would attest to that. Raw, it is crisp, sweet, and clean, strikingly reminiscent of raw broccoli stalks. Cooked, it touts a mild, nutty, cabbage-like flavor that adapts beautifully to many cooking styles. It can be eaten raw and is great in salads and slaws. I can also be boiled, steamed, baked, roasted, etc. The greens may be eaten cooked like turnip greens or any other cooked greens. To prepare the bulb, cut off the leaves and stems. Use a vegetable peeler to pare off the tough outer layer. Or use a chefs knife to slice it off. Dice or shave up the inner bulb according to your recipe. Store loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge.

Tomatoes - You will all receive either red beefsteak or a variety of heirloom tomatoes this week. Please note that some of the tomatoes that are being sent to you are slightly under ripe. When they are very ripe, they can bruise/damage easily in the process of getting them to you. Please, as hard as it might be, leave under ripe tomatoes on your counter and they will ripen very quickly - within a day or two. Your patience will be rewarded with a much tastier tomato.

Pete's Greens Annual Potluck - August 21st

On August 21st we'll take the day off to spend it with you and members of our community. Pete and others on the farm will be giving tours of the farm via wagon ride, we'll have live music, and we'll all share a meal under the tent together. We'll be providing a big salad and cider for all. This is a great time for you to come out to the farm, see the fields and greenhouses, visit the pigs and chickens, and connect with you source of your food. It's also a great time to visit, eat, and enjoy. The day will start with a farm tour at 10:30, music will begin at 11:30, lunch under the tent at noon, another tour at 1:30 or 2:00 pm.

Outstanding in the Field Dinner - August 17
The touring restaurant without walls Outstanding in the Field brings together top chefs and local producers for an aesthetically beautiful and special culinary experience. Nearly all the food for these dinners is sourced locally, sometimes just yards from the signature long white table and the meals are extraordinary.

We are honored to be chosen by OITF as a site for a dinner this year, the only one they will hold in VT, and to be partnering with Chef Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Wood restaurant in Waterbury for the event. A place at the table includes a five course meal with wine pairings, all gratuities, producer discussions, and a tour of the farm with Pete. These are very special events.

Tickets are available from Outstanding in the Field and event details are available on the Outstanding in the Field website.


Hardwick VT Fresh Network Farmers Dinner
We had a very full house at Caledonia Spirits last Friday for our Vermont Fresh Network dinner. It was a fun night, lots of great food and excellent honey wine was served. It was a true labor of love for those involved, so many people pulled together to make this dinner happen. Many thanks to all who participated!










Localvore Lore
This week Andrew and Blair are baking their Elmore Mountain Quebec Flax bread for Good Eats. Quebec Flax bread is made with Whole Wheat & Winter Wheat from Meunerie Milanise in Quebec, flax seed from Michel Gaudreau Golden Crops in Quebec, sea salt, and sourdough.

From Honey Gardens Apiaries this week, we have 1 lb jars of Raw Apitherapy Honey. Raw honey is the concentrated nectar of flowers that comes straight from the hives (after extraction). It is unheated, pure, unpasteurized, unprocessed honey. Raw honey is the healthiest choice amongst the various forms of honey as it has the most nutritional value and contains amylase, an enzyme concentrated in flower pollen which helps predigest starchy foods like breads. Most honeys found in the supermarket are not raw honey and instead they have been heated and filtered so that the honey looks cleaner and smoother, more appealing on the shelf. When honey is heated, its delicate aromas, yeast and enzymes which are responsible for activating vitamins and minerals in the body system are partially destroyed. Hence, such honey is not as nutritious as raw honey.

Honey has a greater sweetening power than sugar. Twelve ounces (by weight) of honey equals one standard measuring cup. In baked goods, reduce the amount of liquid by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used; add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey used; reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent overbrowning.

A couple times a year, Lorraine and Steve Lalonde load up their truck and bring us their farm grown popcorn. Tullochgorum Farm is in Quebec, and the Lalondes grow two varieties of popping corn, a blue variety and a white. Last year they had a crop loss on the blue, and it's still too early yet to tell whether there will be blue this year. If it pans out, we'll be getting the blue popcorn on their next trip to see us. You won't be disappointed by the white though. This is the most delicious popcorn I have eaten. It's noticeably different and very flavorful. This photo of Steve and Lorraine was taken in front of their organically grown fields of popping corn.

And last but not least, we have another round of eggs for you from Pa Pa Doodles Farm. Overall this is an especially high value localvore share this week, as last week's was a bit low.


Meat Share
It has taken a whole year of cajoling Mike and Julie to please make more, but finally we have the North Hollow Farm Kielbasa again! These kielbasa are made from North Hollow's free range beef with just a bit of pork added for flavor and fat. Mike and Julie send their meat to some folks in MA who have been making Polish kielbasa for 90 years with their secret recipe. This is the real deal, they are delicious. The kielbasa is smoked, so partially cooked but should be heated through before serving.

Greenfield Highland Short Ribs
The VT Fresh Network dinner we co-hosted last week featured Greenfield short ribs and they were delicious. Ray Shatney and Janet Steward raise award winning Scotch Highland Cattle in Greensboro, you know the long haired, long horned red cattle? Over centuries, Scotch Highland Cattle have evolved to be very efficient grazers, able to yield great meat on a grass only diet. Their heavy hair coat enables them to stay warm without packing on additional fat, so the meat contains far less fat than other breeds. Highland short ribs are unique in that they have a higher proportion of meat to bone than other short ribs. The reason for this is because Highland Cattle need to be able to forage for large amounts of food when it is available, and so they have more "spring of ribs" than other breeds. Their rib bones are thinner so they can expand to hold the quantity of food available, and there is more muscle between each rib to accomodate that stretching.

Bonnieview Farm Ground Lamb - the beauty of ground lamb is it's mild flavor. You can season it with anything you like and the flavor of your dish comes through without being overpowered by the meat itself. It's a perfect season for lamb burgers and I have included a recipe below, but there's dozens more recipes on line. Lamb meat balls of many ethnic varieties would also be wonderful.

Pete's Pastured Poultry - and of course we have also put one of our own chickens in the share. Our birds spend their days outside with moveable shelters and unlimited pasture. They are moved from place to place on the farm, eating fields of greens before they are ready to be tilled under, scratching aerating soil, and fertilizing all the while. Their meat is much lower in fat and much higher in vitamins than most you can buy. Plus they are very happy doing what chickens are supposed to do.

Recipes

Greenfield Highland Beef Short Ribs
From Janet Steward, here are two easy ways to prepare your short ribs, both really easy and straightforward. Both recipes will give you short ribs that are tender and tasty.

Super Easy: Brown all sides of short ribs on medium/high heat in heavy pan or skillet, approximately 5 minutes/sides. Transfer to crock pot of Dutch oven. Add 1/4 cup wine or broth and 1/4 c. water. Add 3-4 cloves crushed garlic. Cook on low heat for 6 hours.

Easy: Prepare as above. Add to crock pot or Dutch oven: 1 onion, sliced
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. ketchup
3/4 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Cook as above. Enjoy!

Charmoula Lamb Burgers
Charmoula is a North African spice mixture, but there are many variations. Usually the first two ingredients are garlic and coriander, but cumin is featured in many, as is lemon juice and herbs. Don't worry if you don't have all of these spices and things in your pantry. Use this recipe as and inspiration and guide. From August 2007 issue of Gourmet.

3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika (not hot)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 1/2 pound ground lamb (not lean)
4 (6- to 7-inch) pita pockets
1/4 cup tapenade (black-olive paste)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 thick tomato slices

Mince garlic and mash to a paste with 3/4 teaspoon salt using side of a large heavy knife. Stir together garlic paste, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne, and cilantro. Sprinkle evenly over lamb and mix with your hands until combined (do not overmix). Form lamb mixture into 4 (3/4-inch-thick) patties (4 inches in diameter).

Cut off enough from one side of each pita to leave a 5-inch opening and open pockets. Stir together tapenade, oil, and lemon juice.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).
Oil grill rack, then grill patties, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once, 6 to 7 minutes total for medium-rare. Grill pitas, turning over once, until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes total.

Spread patties with tapenade mixture and slide into pita pockets with tomato slices.

'Caponata' (Sicilian Aubergine Stew)
Caponata is a kind of eggplant stew that is flavoured with vinegar and sugar which gives it a sweet and sour flavour. It is usually served cold as part of an antipasti platter but is also nice served as a light lunch with some good crusty bread. Adapted from a recipe on Jamie Oliver.com

1 large aubergine, cubed
1 med onion, thinly sliced
3 sticks of celery (leaves left on), sliced (can be skipped - or could add sliced fennel)
about 20 green olives
1 heaped tbsp of capers
2-3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp of vinegar
3 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Approx 4-5 tbsp olive oil

Using a large frying pan, heat the 3-4 tbsp of olive oil and fry the eggplants over a medium heat till nicely browned. Remove from the pan.

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and fry the onions gently till opaque and lightly golden. Add the celery (or fennel) next and fry for about 2 mins. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan (including the eggplants)and season with salt and pepper. Add a few of tablespoons of water to the mixture and cook over a low heat for a total of 15mins. If the mixture begins to dry out, add a little more water (no more than a tbsp at a time).

Remove from the heat and allow to cool down to room temperature before serving.

Creamy Kohlrabi
Here's something decadent you can do with your kohlrabi this week. Though I usually eat my kohlrabi raw sliced into salads or cooked in stir fries or other dishes combined with other veggies, in this dish it takes takes center stage. From the Cook's Garden by Ellen Ecker Ogden.

2 large kohlrabi
1 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste
4 TB (1/2 stick) butter
1 small onion
3 TB heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cut off top and root ends of kohlrabi and ue a paring knife to remove tough cabbage-like outer skin. Grate the kohlrabi on the large holes of a grater. You should have about 4 cups. Toss in a colander with the salt. Let stand in a sink to drain of the juices, about 30 minutes. Rinse well under cold water. A handful at a time squeeze out the excess liquid.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add kohlrabi and the sliced onion and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kohlrabi is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and marjoram and cook until cream is absorbed, about 1 minute. Season with the salt & pepper, being careful with the salt. Serve hot.

Laura's Mom's Honey Cake
This recipe came from Honey Gardens. It's a great honey cake recipe - tried and true.

1 lb. honey
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 cups strong cold coffee
3/4 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. pastry spices (clove, nutmeg, allspice)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
scant tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
4.5 to 5 cups flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix together honey, sugar, eggs, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Add spices, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder to flour and sift into bowl holding liquid ingredients. Beat until fairly smooth. Grease large tube pan, pour batter, and bake for one hour and ten minutes or until a wooden skewer or toothpick that you have inserted into the cake comes out clean.