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.


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

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.

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