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.

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