Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - September 15, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
Orange Carrots; 1 Bunch of Chiogga Beets, tops on; Yellow Onions; Cippolini Onions; Savoy Cabbage; 1 Bunch of Kale; Sweet Pepper; plus...

1 Bag Mesclun Greens
10 Ears Sweet Corn

Localvore Offerings Include:

Butterworks Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Champlain Orchards Macintosh Apples

Les Aliments Massawippi Miso

Pete's Musings
Sign up now for the Oct - Feb share period! We are more prepared than ever for this share with a full freezer, excellent storage crop production, and great Fall and Winter greens coming along in the greenhouses. Today we'll freeze another 1000 lbs. of red peppers, next week we'll begin to puree winter squash, another batch of chickens will go in the freezer tomorrow - the bounty of Fall never ends.

Fall harvest is in full swing. We tackled potatoes on Sunday, a big job that I had been dreading a little because the field they are in this year has little clumps of sod in it (and stones) that prevent the potato digger from working at its full potential. It is a huge and excellent crop and we've worked out a system for harvesting them that, while not pretty, will get the job done.

The crew is doing great. I knew things were going well yesterday when I got to the potato digger a couple minutes early and then watched a group of 4 guys sprint 100 yards across the field racing and wrestling with each other as they ran to see who could get to the digger first. They seem to like working on the digger. I drive the tractor and it is a boring and tedious job but always gratifying to see the potatoes emerge from the earth.

The crew has been playing basketball a few evenings a week. Gringos against amigos, we gringos have lost every game but one even though we have a significant height advantage over our friends from south of the border. The amigos are quick, play with great teamwork, are excellent passers, and don't miss many shots. They are very fun to watch and maddening to play against. We haven't thrown in the towel and have been working on some new defensive strategies that we think might shut them down. ~Pete

Storage and Use Tips
Cippolini Onions - Pronounced chip-oh-LEE-nee. These are the short, disk-shaped yellow onions in your bag. Originating in Italy, cippolinis are very sweet and delicious. Try roasting some whole. Peel them, toss with a liberal amount olive oil, a few sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper, and roast in a 375F oven for around 30 minutes, or so. Serve as a side dish. Store in a cool dark place.

Chioggia Beets - An Italian variety, chioggias have alternating white and pink rings of color on the inside. The outside is lighter and more pinkish than traditional red beets. With a sweet peppery flavor, they are smooth and mild tasting. To prevent chioggias from bleeding their color, roast them whole then slice crosswise to show off the beautiful rings. Roasted this way, they make a stunning addition to a salad made with the baby greens and shoots mix. Yoiu can also slice them thin and add them to salads raw. I keep a bag of them pre-sliced in the fridge and toss them in to salads daily. Even pre-sliced they keep very well in the fridge for a week or more. Do roast and store cooked chioggia beets separately from your red beets to prevent the chioggias from being dyed red. Store raw beets loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Sweet Corn - Today's sweet corn is small in size and they may have some earworms! Earworms won't hurt you and are the result of growing corn without any pesticides, organic or otherwise. Back in the day, all corn came with the possibility of earworms or earworm damage. With the development of pesticides, we aren't used to seeing these pesky creatures anymore, but with organic corn, there is always that risk. Cut the kernels off in damaged areas and enjoy good corn while it lasts.

Savoy Cabbage - Round with crinkled leaves, Savoys are the beauties of the cabbage world. Their leaves are more delicate and more loosely packed than their green cabbage cousins. Store as you would other cabbages, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Don't worry if the outer leaves begin to discolor or tear on you, just remove them to expose the perfectly good leaves remaining below.

Fall/Winter Share Begins in Just 5 Weeks on October 20th
Vegetable Only, Localvore, and Meat Shares Available

NEWSFLASH!~ We have decided to offer a Vegetable Only Share this Fall along with our Localvore Share.

The Fall share is a rich share period that inspires a great season of cooking. We are still harvesting much of the vegetables from the field at the start of the share. Remnants of summer such as tomatoes and peppers may appear, but by mid-November the offerings will be distinctly fall-like. Our root cellar will be overflowing with potatoes, onions, leeks, turnips, shallots, rutabagas, carrots, beets, cabbages, kohlrabi, celeriac, and winter squash. We expect to be harvesting baby greens such as head lettuce, and other hardy greens such as chard and kale into December. With each passing year, Pete gets better and better at growing salad greens and sprouts in the cold winter months and last year we succeeded in sending out fresh green salad fixings throughout the share. We intend to provide something fresh and green nearly every week this winter to compliment our wide variety of roots and storage crops. We will also be supplementing our stored crops and fresh greens with frozen item like tomatoes, corn, spinach, braising greens, winter squash, rhubarb, peppers and more. 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.

There are only 4 more deliveries after this week - DON'T DELAY.

Sign up for the Good Eats Fall/Winter Share now to ensure your 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.

If you have questions about the Fall Share, please email Amy.

Pete's Pastured Chicken
All chicken is not created equal. Most chickens live in terribly cramped, foul smelling barns, breathing ammonia fumes most of their lives. "Free range" chickens usually fare better but the only requirement for free range birds is that they have the OPPORTUNITY to go outside. Meaning the barn they live in needs to have a door that connects the birds to the outside. Because all their feed and water is inside the barn, the birds often do not take advantage. And most free range producers do not have lush fields on the other side of that chicken door, often just an overused dirt yard.

At Pete's Greens our chickens lead a pretty charmed life. They begin their days in the greenhouse, and then move outside as soon as they are feathered out. They spend their whole lives eating greens from the farm, and get plenty of fresh air and sunshine.

Our chickens are an important part of the fertility plan on the farm. They are moved from place to place, cleaning up fields and greenhouses before the old crops are tilled under. They provide a valuable service, making use of the greens as feed, and leaving behind nitrogen to replace that which the arugula drew from the soil. This is good for the fields, it's a great, fresh environment for the birds, and it's also great news for those of us who dine on them. The meat from our birds are packed with far more vitamins than non pastured birds.

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

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

Localvore Lore
Last year, our few Vermont wheat farmers had a near total crop failure of whole wheat pastry flour. It was a wet season and the wheat just molded. This year we will have beautiful pastry flour and other flours as well to choose from. Fresh from harvest, and freshly ground for this week's share, we have Butterworks Farm organic whole wheat pastry flour. Pastry flours are made from soft wheat varieties with less gluten than hard wheat varieties. Like all whole wheat flours, the flour is ground from the entire grain - bran, endosperm and germ are all present. The germ contains oils that can go rancid, so please store this flour in a cool dry place. I often keep my whole wheat flour in my freezer if I know I won't use it up in a month or so.

And of course we couldn't send fresh flour without some inspiration for baking, so along with the flour you will be receiving fresh MacIntosh apples from Champlain Orchards. Macs are great for baking (the apples will be softer than some other baking varieties), and also great for fresh eating of course.

Gilbert and Suzanne of Les Aliments Massawippi in Quebec made the superb Japanese miso in the share today. The two are big supporters of local growers. Their oats come from Michel Gaudreau. Their soy beans come from a grower within 60 kilometers of their facility, and their Quebec barley is processed on the south shore of Montreal. The seaweed for the Japanese miso comes from southern New Brunswick and Gaspe Bay. To make this miso, Suzanne and Gilbert begin by introducing their own lactobacilli culture to washed oats. After culturing for 45 hours, they have what is called, "koji," the basis for making their miso. At this point, they will mix in soy that has been soaked and then slowly cooked for 20 hours. This part of the process takes around 4 days. The next phase of miso production is fermentation. Gilbert and Suzanne ferment their miso very carefully controlling the temperature, humidity and oxygen levels. Their fermentation chamber is on premises, and is held at a continuous 60F. The Japanese soya and oats variety in the share this week ferments for 2-3 years. As a fermented product, miso will keep in your fridge many years. There are so many delicious and interesting ways to eat miso. To make a simple cup of miso soup, mix a heaping teaspoon of miso with cold water to make a paste. Then, stir in hot (but not boiling water) to make a hot breakfast beverage, midday pick-me-up or soup base for a meal. Add a small amount of vegetables (carrots, onions, greens) to the boiling water and perhaps some noodles to for a heartier cup. As miso is a living food, try not to cook it, rather, stir it in at the end of cooking once the pan is off the heat.


Savory Corn Cakes
Excellent with a tomatillo or pico de gallo salsa. Grate a little cheese on top while still warm, if you'd like. Serves 4.

1 TB oil

1 cup thinly sliced onions

3 cups fresh corn kernels, about 3 ears worth

1 jalapeno, minced, to taste

salt to taste
1 TB lemon juice

2 eggs

1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

oil for cooking

Saute onions, corn and chilies in oil with a sprinkling of salt for about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and set aside. Whisk together eggs and yogurt. Blend together dry ingredients. Add corn mixture to the eggs and then fold in the dry ingredients.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium high heat. Spoon batter making 3 rounds. Cook until golden on both sides, flipping once, about 7 minutes total.

Spicy Savoy Slaw
Adapted from a 2002 Gourmet recipe.
5 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh serrano chile (including seeds)
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 pounds Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (6 cups)
1/4 pound carrots sliced very thinly sliced lengthwise, or grated (1 cup)
1/4 sweet bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved, then whisk in chile, ginger, and sesame oil. Add remaining ingredients and toss well. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 30 minutes.
Baked Black Beans and Corn, Enchilada Style
Here's a really quick and easy dish if you'd like to use up some of your corn. Serve this along with some fresh shredded cabbage, sour cream, hot sauce, and lime wedges. From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

2 c salsa (homemade is preferred), warmed

4 c cooked or drained canned black beans
1 cup fresh (or frozen) corn kernals
salt and ground black pepper
1 c cubed Monterey Jack cheese (or cheddar)
1 c crushed tortilla chips
1/2 c crumbled queso fresco (don't worry if you don't have this, it will be great anyway without it)

1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (again optional)

Variation suggestion - you could add chopped beet greens to this dish. They'd bring up the nutritional value and would be tasty.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a tablespoon or so of the olive oil to grease a 2-quart souffle or gratin dish or a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Spread the salsa and con queso in the dish and spoon the beans on top. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the cheese cubes around evenly, pressing them into the sauce and beans a bit. Sprinkle with the tortilla crumbs, then the queso fresco, and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

Bake until the cheese has melted, the sauce is bubbly, and the tortilla chips are browned, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your dish. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the cilantro and a few more grinds of black pepper if you like, and serve.

Miso Carrot Sauce With Ginger
Here's a quick dressing to put on your mesclun greens and raw chiogga beet salad this week. From Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, this dressing is very similar to the dressing you might receive on your green salad at a nice Japanese restaurant.

¼ cup peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

¼ cup rice vinegar

3 tablespoons miso
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into big pieces

1 inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into coins

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Put all ingredients except salt and pepper into food processor and pulse a few times to mince carrots. Then let machine run for a minute or so until mixture is chunky-smooth.

Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to several days.

Nutty Miso Sauce

Another versatile sauce from Mark Bittman, this one goes well with many vegetables and will be delicious on top of your steamed kale or beet greens this week. Also rather good on sliced tomatoes.

One 1 inch long piece of ginger
1/4 cup miso
1 cup shelled walnuts (or any other unsalted roasted nut, or seeds, or 1/2 cup tahini, 1/2 cup water)
1 tsp tamari

Grate the ginger over a bowl, then press out the juice to obtain about 1 tsp. Combine ginger juice with remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if necessary. Add a little water or tamari until mix is desired thickness. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Honey, Apple Crisp

Incredibly easy to throw together, this crisp makes a lovely weeknight treat. Serve it with a dollop of last week's yogurt or a spoonful of whipped cream. Serves 6-8.

1.5 lbs apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup + 2TB honey, divided, or to taste

1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

3/4 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

5 TB cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter an 8" square pan and set aside. Combine the apples, honey, vanilla and salt. Spread into the prepared pan. Whisk together the flour, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in the honey, and then cut in the butter until a coarse meal forms. Sprinkle over fruit topping. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the juices are bubbling, apples are tender and the top is golden brown. Serve warm.

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