Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - September 8, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
2 lbs Red Norland Potatoes; 1 Bunch of Beet Greens; Red Torpedo Onions; Mixed Sweet Peppers; Jalapeno Peppers; 2 Heads of Garlic; Zucchini; Broccoli; 1 Bunch of Mizuna; plus...

1 Bag Arugula

Localvore Offerings Include:
Elmore Mountain Foagies
VT Pasta Spinach Ravioli
Maine Sea Salt

Pete's Musings
I have one guilty pleasure in life. It is buying pre Tacoma (pre 1995) Toyota pickups. I've written about this before, some of you are probably tired of hearing about it and would rather hear about the details of kohlrabi production, but sometimes you just have to write what you feel. Anyway, my life transportation plan is to accumulate 10 Toyota pickups. Each is good for 3-5 years of driving so I figure that will pretty much take care of my transportation needs until I'm old enough to become a road hazard. I like the 2wd models for general road use. Great mileage (30 mpg plus), sporty performance (I hear the snickers), and always an open bed to fill with a bike or a dog or two. You can pick these up for about 2 grand so I figure $20,000 for the purchasing, another $10,000 for parts over the next 40 years (remember I'll have plenty of parts vehicles), and I'll be mobile for the next 40 years for less than $1000 per year.

I have a partner in this plan. His name is Andrew and he is my brother. He likes to act like I'm crazy but has been assisting in the plan and now has acquired one of these trucks for himself. He has lived in Utah for several years and Utah is a great place to buy these yotas. Little salt, a great website that makes them easy to find, and a little less competition from the amigos in Mexico than places like LA and Arizona. He just moved back to Vermont and brought one of these trucks for himself and towed one for me. So now my stash is up to 3-only 7 to go though I have no idea where I will store them. I've been encouraged to take a break from the acquisitions for a few years but who knows how long these most perfectly designed of all vehicles will be available? Enjoy the share this week, it is a nice one. ~Pete

Sean's Adventures
Sean has been let out on furlough and is enjoying a few days of leisure away from the farm. Imagine my surprise when his post appeared in my email box moments ago. He is dedicated to serving you all with his weekly farm tales. Check out Sean's blog.

Fall/Winter Good Eats Sign Up
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.

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.

Storage and Use Tips

Red Torpedo Onions - The red torpedo onion is an heirloom onion native to Torpea in Calabria, Italy, where it has been cultivated for well over a thousand years. It has been around that long because it is touted to be the sweetest onion in the world. Delicious raw, they can be used in salads and sandwiches. Cooking these onions though brings out its divine sweetness, with roasting and carmelizing delivering a melt in your mouth delicacy. They are not terrific keepers, so they are generally around only in Fall after harvest. As always, store onions in a cool dry environment or loosely wrapped in your crisper drawer.

Sweet Peppers - we have sweet peppers again this week. Our harvest has been great this year with the intermittent rain and loads of sun. If you aren't keeping up with yours, I thought I'd offer a couple freezing suggestions. Sweet peppers freeze beautifully and are so pricey off season that it's well worth doing so. Just core and deseed them, and then slice them up into quarters or slices or toss them into a freezer bag. They'll be perfect in stir fries, casseroles, etc. Or try roasting them and then freezing them. If you can avoid eating them after roasting them.... To roast, simply core and seed, quarter them, brush them with olive oil (or not), and then roast them in the oven, skin side up at n oven temp of anywhere from 45o to broiling. The hotter the oven, the quicker they will roast. With a very hot oven, you may want to turn them a time or two for even roasting.&n bsp; Roast until the skins blister and brown or char a bit. Then remove from oven to cool. Most cooks like to remove the charred skins from the peppers before using in a dish. This is done easily if you cover the cooling peppers with a cloth for 10 minutes. The steam loosens the skin and peeling is easier. If freezing your peppers however, skins on may be better as it's said that they help prevent freezer burn. You can peel them when they thaw.

Mizuna - Also known as spider mustard, mizuna is a Japanese mustard green with tender leaves and a pleasant, peppery flavor. You could substitute it, chopped, in a salad calling for arugula. It adds a nice zest to a stir-fry or saute. Store mizuna, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Beet Greens - The beet greens in your share today are best eaten cooked. They are related to Swiss chard and may be used exactly the same way. I love them sautéed with a bit of oil and vinegar (balsamic or apple cider) and salt & pepper. Or with garlic, oil, a drizzle of sesame oil and tamari. You can also toss them into most recipes that call for other greens (mustard greens, spinach). They are milder in flavor than mustard greens, but a bit stronger than spinach. They are delicious.

Arugula - Also known as Rocket or Roquette, this is a very popular and versatile green, that can be eaten raw, but also stands up well in the sauté pan. It has a peppery mustardy flavor so some people prefer to tone it down by mixing it with other greens. It blends particularly well with goat cheese and balsamic and olive oil. It is delicious simply sautéed in a pan with olive oil. I toss it on sandwiches to give them pep, and into salads to take it up a notch. This is baby arugula which is the mildest of all.

Localvore Lore
Several local treats this week. First from Ted Fecteau and VT Pasta we have a brand new product that he has developed just for us. The spinach ravioli are made with our own spinach, goat feta from VT Butter and Cheese Co., organic buttermilk from Butterworks Farm, and the pasta itself is made using organic whole wheat flour from Butterworks Farm and Aurora Farms organic white flour. I can think of three sauces that would be delightful with these - a sage brown butter, a nice marinara, and a roasted red pepper sauce - re cipe included. The ravioli will go out frozen. If you are not going to cook them up tonight, just toss them back in your freezer til you will use them. To cook, boil a pot of salted water. When boiling, toss in the frozen pasta, and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.

We have sea salt from the Maine Sea Salt Company. The Cook Family isolates the salt in the same basic way people have done forever, yet it's the first salt works company to be set up in Maine in 200 years.

Our solar greenhouses, known as "salt houses" are filled with fresh seawater from the Gulf of Maine. The seawater evaporates naturally, from the heat of the sun and the drying effects of the wind blowing through the greenhouses. Over a period of time, fleur de sel floats on the pool surface, then grows and sinks to the floor to form the salt bed. When all of the water has evaporated, the sea salt is ready to be packaged as natural Maine Sea Salt™. We do not wash or bleach our salt at any time during the solar production process. Therefore, the nutritious trace minerals naturally occurring in seawater are retained in our products. We also do not use chemicals or drying agents.

And back by popular demand, Blair and Andrew baked us some more tasty Elmore Mountain Bread Foagies - their focaccia hoagies. For special sandwiches these are just wonderful toasted and then topped with roasted veggies or tomatoes, some feta or goat cheese and a drizzle of oil and perhaps some good vinegar. They are made with Quebec organic unbleached wheat, water, extra virgin olive Oil, sea salt, yeast.

This is a terrific week for a stir fry, you could throw nearly every single vegetable this week into the wok. Though I am skipping that recipe option, it's there for you if you are in that mood. The other super obvious easy direction is a roasted veggie meal, with the sea salt as the star topping. I see a meal of roast potatoes, onions, zucchini and peppers.

Roasted Veggie Focaccia
My suggestion for lunch this week involves roasting some veggies up in preparation.

Roasted red torpedo onions (following directions below)
Roasted red peppers (following directions above)
1/2 bunch Beet Greens
2-3 cloves Garlic
jalapeno (totally optional!)
goat cheese, or parm, or cheddar or whatever suits you

Roast peppers and onions in advance.

In a sauté pan, add a bit of oil and garlic and cook for no more than a minute. Add beet greens and saute until well wilted. Add a little red wine vinegar or balsamic at end.

Split the focaccia in half and toast one round in toaster oven. Brush with olive oil. Top with roasted veggies, beet greens/garlic, and cheese of choice, all mixed together.

Toast again until all is hot. Delicious.

Spinach Ravioli with Roasted Sweet Pepper Cream Sauce
This one also calls for roasting your peppers in advance.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons packed fresh basil or
2 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons packed fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 roasted red bell peppers (roast according to directions in Storage and Use Tips)

1 cup half-and-half

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for your ravioli. Meanwhile begin the prep below. Add ravioli to pot and cook for 5 minutes to the pot while you are on the final step of the prep of your sauce below.

1. In medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion; sauté until onion is tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer and do not burn. Remove from heat; set aside.

2. In food processor , process basil and oregano until chopped. Add onion mixture and peppers. Process until smooth, scraping sides if necessary.

3. Add onion-pepper mixture to skillet. Over medium heat, heat to simmer. Add half-and-half, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook until mixture is thickened and
heated through. Serve hot over cooked ravioli.

Potato, Roasted Pepper and Mizuna Salad
Adapted from Epicurious.com. You can roast and peel peppers following the directions below. Anchovies are a great source of omega-3s. If you are not so sure you are an anchovy lover, try this recipe. You may change your mind. Serves 4.

2 pounds potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3.5 TB dry white wine
2 mixed colored sweet peppers
half of a 2-ounce can flat fillets of anchovies, drained, minced
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive or sunflower oil
2-3 red torpedo onions, sliced (or 1 bunch of green onions)
1 bunch mizuna, sliced

Place potatoes in large pot. Cover with water. Boil until potatoes are just tender. Drain well. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in white wine. Char red or yellow peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Wrap in paper bag and let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed. Rinse if necessary; pat dry. Alternatively, grill green or red peppers at a lower temperature to color and soften, without a lot of char. Cut peppers into 3/4-inch squares. Transfer to medium bowl.

Combine anchovies and vinegar in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Pour 2/3 cup dressing over peppers. Add remaining dressing, green onions and mizuna to potatoes and mix gently. Season peppers and potatoes with salt and pepper. Let stand 30 minutes. Gently mix peppers into potatoes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Classic Oven Roasted Onions
Bursting with rich brown flavors, roasted onions can be a one-dish meal, a first course, a salad or side dish. For a simple supper, try the warm onions with balsamic, maybe a drizzle of olive oil, and a crumbling of a favorite blue cheese, mild fresh goat cheese, or sp,e parm or whatever appeals.

4 medium to large organic onions (yellow, red, white)

Spread a sheet of foil on oven rack and preheat to 400 degrees. Trim away root and a 1/4 inch of top of onions. Set root side down on foil, spacing about 2 inches apart. Roast 1 hour, or until easily pierced with a knife. Serve warm or at room temperature. Make 2-inch deep cross out of top of each onion, spread slightly and season.

Seasoning Ideas:
*salt and freshly ground black pepper, 2 TB wine vinegar and 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
*3 TB balsamic vinegar and possibly 2 to 3 oz of Gorgonzola, Maytag Blue, fresh goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Fontinella, or cheese of choice, crumbled or grated
*chopped fresh herbs, rice and grain salads.

Asian Greens with Ginger Miso Dressing
This dressing of ginger, miso, tahini (sesame paste) and lemon adds a creamy balance to organic baby spinach, arugula, mizuna, and baby asian green blends.
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
2 TBS white miso
(or brown if you don't have white)
3 TBS tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup water
3 TBS fresh lemon juice

5 ounces baby Asian salad mixed greens with mizuna
Several radishes or 1 small daikon, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 carrot, cut into 2-inch-long slender sticks

2 green onions (white part only), chopped
(or sub in slices red torpedo onions, sliced thin)

For the dressing, place ginger, miso, tahini, water and lemon juice in a blender and blend until completely smooth. The consistency should be similar to cream. Strain the dressing through a fine sieve to remove ginger fiber if desired (I never do).

For the salad, divide greens among serving plates. Arrange radish and carrot on top, then sprinkle with scallions/onions.
Drizzle one to two tablespoons of dressing over each salad and serve. Delightful recipe.

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