Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter Oct 27, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

Pete's Gold Potatoes; Red Onions; Yellow Storage Onions; 1 Bunch Leeks; Celeriac; 1 Winter Squash; 1 Head of Napa Cabbage; 1 Head of Lettuce; Green Tomatoes; 1 Bunch of Celery; Fennel with fronds

Localvore Offerings Include:

Red Hen VT Pan Au Levain
Quebec Organic Rolled Oats
VT Pasta Butternut Ravioli
1 Bunch Pete's Sage

Pete's Musings

I love celery. It is the vegetable that I eat the most of while wandering the fields in the course of a summer. On a hot sweaty day you can feel the good natural sodium and potassium replenishing your cells. We have 2 beautiful beds of celery in one greenhouse that you'll receive the first harvest of this week. The flavor is a lot milder than good Vermont summer celery and the lower light conditions of the fall caused the stalks to be partially blanched. Make sure you use the tops in a soup or broth.

This is a really busy week on the farm, the last really busy one of this year. We are packing Good Eats shares, harvesting 1/2 acre of leeks, harvesting 1 acre of parsnips, harvesting 1/2 acre of turnips, cooking and pureeing 9000 lbs of winter squash grown by our buddies at High Mowing Seeds, moving 3 greenhouses, erecting several temporary greenhouses, sizing and detopping many thousand lbs of beets and turnips for winter storage, deep organizing our commercial kitchen and office - it seems it never ends. Pretty good week's work for 12 folks. ~Pete

Processing squash yesterday. First the small super sweet variety of butternut is prepared by having the stems cut off. Next, entire crates of squash are dumped into the hopped where they are crushed into pieces. The pieces tumble into the barrel which spins, ejecting the seeds ontp the platform below. The seeds are collected by High Mowing crew pictured here. They will be cleaned and dried and sold. The squash pieces tumble out and are placed in the crates. After this step the crates of squash are brought to our farm kitchen. There the squash are steamed until tender, and then put through a sieve resulting in puree which is frozen for Good Eats. The puree made yesterday is the sweetest I have ever tasted. ~Amy

Storage and Use Tips

Celeriac - The gnarly root ball in your bag this week is the celeriac also known as celery root. It tastes a bit like a cross between celery and jicama, but is mellower than celery. It can be eaten raw or cooked. A tip for preparing celeriac: cut the root in large slices about 1 inch thick, then lay each slice flat and cut off the skin as if you were cutting the crust off a pizza. Then continue to process the now unskinned pieces as your recipe dictates. Celeriac is delicious grated or sliced and added to salads, particularly when combined with contrasting and complimenting apple. Celeriac should be stored unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.

Napa Cabbage - Also known as Chinese cabbage, the flavor of Napa cabbage is somewhat milder and a bit sweeter than that of regular green cabbage. It is delicious raw or cooked, and can be substituted for regular cabbage in most recipes. A head of Napa Cabbage in the fridge lends itself to a wide variety of meal options, from salads and slaws, to sandwich greens, stir fries, soup additions, and more. Nearly all of the head can be used, just not the tough center core. If your Napa sits a while in the fridge and some leaves are limp, you can refresh it with a good soak in cold water. Napa cabbage should be stored unwashed in your crisper drawer, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag.

Fennel - Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet with the flavor of anise. It is delicious and slightly sweet served raw but is just as often served cooked on its own or in other dishes. Though most often associated with Italian cooking, it has an uncanny ability to blend with other flavors adding a light and fresh note. It is delightful in many dishes, and in soups and stews and sauces. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. To prepare, trim off the fronds and stalks and reserve them for garnish or seasoning. Cut off the hard bottom and slice vertically or into quarters. Or cut the bulb in half lengthwise, cut out the core, and cut into strips. Add it raw to salads or try some thinly sliced fennel on your sandwich. Top thinly sliced fennel with plain yogurt and mint leaves. Or braise, roast or saute' it. It is done when tender enough to pierce easily with a skewer.

Head Lettuce - I am not sure what variety is going out this week, but I am told that the lettuce will need a dunking before you use it. Usually our greens and lettuce goes out quite clean, but these heads will need a good rinse.

Green Tomatoes - If you have never made fried green tomatoes, please try the recipe I posted on October 13th and go for it. I have made this recipe many times, and it always turns out great. They are sooo yummy. Alternatively, you can leave these tomatoes on the counter to ripen up.

Winter Squash - A mix of winter squash varieties will be going to sites this week.

Thanksgiving Week Delivery will be TUESDAY November 23rd

Just a reminder to everyone that our delivery on Thanksgiving will be on Tuesday November 23rd, not Wednesday that week. We started delivering a day earlier a couple of years ago due to feedback from members who travel on the holiday or who want to get their cooking started early. I'll also be giving you all a sneak peak at what is in the share in the newsletter a week before in order to help you plan your shopping.

Thanksgiving Turkey Anyone?

We have raised some pretty fantastic turkeys on the farm this year. We have had just a small flock on the farm and they have lived a deluxe life, grazing our fields all summer. Having raised turkeys for many years it makes me sad when I see barn raised turkeys. Turkeys are gregarious, active birds that really enjoy living outside and having room to roam. On my last farm, I was able to electrically fence some woods along with a couple acres of field around the turkey barn. With the woods, a stone wall, and fallen trees available my 50 turkeys never used the barn. They stayed out all the time. The birds on the farm are also electrically fenced (more to keep predators out than birds in) and are moved to fresh pasture regularly, their moveable shade/rain house moving along with them. They eat vast amounts of greens which translates to a much higher vitamin content in the meat and makes it much more flavorful as well.

We have 4 size ranges available:
13-15 lbs; 15-18 lbs; 18-21 lbs; 21-24 lbs

Turkeys are priced at $3.75/lb and turkeys will be delivered to pick up sites (frozen) on Nov 10, Nov 17, and Nov 22. If you are considering ordering for Nov 22nd, keep in mind that it's only two days before Thanksgiving and your bird may not thaw in time!

Visit the Meat Page to order your turkey or email me for an order form.

Beef, Pork and Chicken Too
You can order meats have them delivered to your pick up site too. We have a variety of pork and beef cuts available now. Selection remains excellent though we will begin to run out of a few beef cuts. Presently you can choose from an assortment of beef steaks, ribs, roasts, kabob meat, and burger, plus pork chops, hams and ham steaks, ribs, sausage, ground pork. And of course Pete's Pastured Chicken.

Our pigs are raised on 20 acres of pasture on the farm. They graze and forage all day and their diet is supplemented by huge amounts of vegetables from the farm. Our cows are raised in partnership with friend and neighbor Bruce Urie who pastures them on his fields in summer, and feeds them his own hay supplemented with beets and soybeans in winter. You can order Pete's Pastured Chicken as part of your bulk meat order too. Our beef and pork is tender and delicious and has far less fat, and far more omega 3s, CLAs, vita E and beta carotene than non grass fed animals. Our animals have received no hormones or medications either. This is really healthy, very tasty meat.

You may place meat orders for delivery on most weeks that are not designated Meat Shares weeks (the first Wednesday of the month). The next meat delivery dates are Nov 10th, Nov 17th, and Nov 22nd.

For a short time, orders over $150 in beef and pork (not chicken) will receive a discount of 10%. Visit our Meat Bulk Order Page to Order.

Sally Pollak Farm Fed Blog

Last week I told you all about Sally Pollak's eating adventure. In the year ahead she will be feeding herself primarily from our localvore share. Sally's blog is up and you can check in on how she is doing, and what meals she is making with her share.

Localvore Lore
The bread this week is a SPECIAL Red Hen Baking Co. all Vermont pain au levain. The bag label on the bread will indicate different flour but in fact the flour is entirely Vermont as Randy describes here.
This week’s CSA bread is a pain au levain made entirely with Vermont flour. I’ve been raving a lot about the quality of this year’s Vermont wheat and this bread is a good example of why I’m so excited. As I write this, the dough has only been fermenting for about an hour, but it’s clear to me that this will be a nice bread. I expect it to be every bit as good as a similar bread made with the finest Midwestern flour would be. If you know anything about how much harder it is to grow wheat in Vermont vs. the Midwest, you’ll know that this is a remarkable achievement on the part of Tom Kenyon and Ben Gleason, the farmers who grew the wheat in this bread. In this pain au levain (French for “naturally leavened bread”) we have made a starter entirely from Gleason’s new Snake Mountain sifted flour. This flour is produced by taking finely milled whole wheat flour and sifting some of the bran out. As it happens, the result is that 8% of the total weight of the wheat is sifted off (as opposed to about 30% for white flour). Fermenting this dark flour for several hours gives this bread the distinct flavor of wheat. We add this starter to a final dough that is made mostly with a white flour milled by Champlain Valley Mills from Aurora Farms wheat. (This can be found in stores under the Nitty Gritty Grains name.) Overall the bread is about 30% whole grain. Enjoy this fruit of the local wheat bounty! ~ Randy George

Ted Fecteau dropped off the latest batch of his Butternut Ravioli yesterday. This is still a new product for his VT Pasta company and he is fine tuning the recipe and production technique with each batch. We did not begin this year's squash puree production in time for this batch to be made entirely with our squash, so this ravioli is stuffed with a mix of our squash and some from Dog River Farm. Other ingredients include Tom Kenyon's white flour (the same flour that localvore members received last week and that is in our bread this week), Ben Gleason's wheat flour, VT Butter and Cheese company goat feta, mascarpone and butter, maple syrup from Hinesburg, free range eggs from Barre, and spices. The ravioli are frozen. If they are thawed when you pick them up, you may put them right back in the freezer. When ready to cook, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, gently add the ravioli and continue to cook, boiling gently for 5 minutes or so (test to confirm done-ness).

Sage - I thought some fresh sage would be a nice accompaniement to the ravioli and luckily we had just enough in the field. I had a brown butter sage sauce in mind.... see recipe below.

Localvores will also receive a 5 lb bag of rolled oats from organic grower Michel Gaudreau, across the border in Quebec. Michel grows quite a few different grains on his farm and mills grains for organic growers in his area. He has a nice operation in a beautiful setting surrounded by his fields. Michel's mill (Golden Crops)makes many organic grains available locally that we might not otherwise have local access to and we are grateful for his commitment. These are beautiful, clean organic rolled oats ideal for oatmeal, granola, cookies, streusel toppings etc. Click here for either a solid granola recipe or one for oatmeal.


Butternut Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Enjoy the ravioli this week. They are sweet and delicious and will be fantastic with the brown butter sauce. Many recipes call for straight butter for brown butter sauce and you can go that route. This one substitutes some broth to reduce the fat content while retaining enough liquid for a sauce.

VT Pasta Butternut Ravioli
5 tablespoons unsalted butter

15 to 18 small fresh sage leaves

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

parm or other grating cheese (optional)
fresh parsley, minced (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the ravioli and continue to cook, boiling gently for 5 minutes or so until softened and pale in color (test to confirm done-ness). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Melt butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat until the white milk solids have browned, about 5 minutes. Add sage and chicken broth and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until sauce is reduced and slightly thickened and browned, 3-5 minutes. Drizzle sauce over the pasta. Add optional grated cheese and parsley, taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Celeriac Gratin

Celeriac and potatoes compliment each other beautifully. We have posted numerous recipes before for celeriac and potato soups and purees, so today I sought a gratin. I found this one on jamieoliver.com. I like Jamie's recipes. They are often very simple, using pretty common ingredients. You could forego the cream and just use milk. It won't be as rich, but will still be delicious. Serves 6-8

2 lbs potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1cm slices

1 large celeriac, peeled and sliced into 1cm slices

1 onion, peeled and finely sliced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 oz cheddar cheese (or to taste), grated

2.5 cups cream (or milk)

a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, stalks roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Place the potatoes, celeriac and onion in an earthenware-type baking dish. Season generously. Add the garlic, ¾ of the cheese, the cream and the parsley stalks. With a spoon, move everything around to mix all the flavors. Sprinkle over the extra cheese, and bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until tender and golden. Sprinkle over the parsley leaves and serve.

Fennel and Celery Salad (Dama Bianca)

A refreshing, delicious salad from the April 2008 issue of Gourmet magazine. You could substitute goat cheese or feta in this salad, or skip the cheese altogether - it will still be delicious. It's even better the second day after the flavors meld. Some additional fresh herbs would be great here if you have them - tarragon, parsley, etc. Save the fennel fronds and use them in other dishes this week (every inch can be used).

2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks discarded

6 pale inner celery stalks, leaves discarded and stalks thinly sliced

1 (1/2-pound) ball fresh mozzarella (optional), roughly torn

1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoons good-quality fruity extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Halve fennel lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise about 1/4 inch thick. Toss with celery and arrange on a platter with mozzarella.

Whisk together zest, juice, oil, sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and drizzle over salad.

Celery Root and Squash Gratin with Walnut-Thyme Streusel

With the herb walnut streusel on top, this gratin should be fantastic. I couldn't help but offer up this second gratin recipe. From the website chow.com. Makes 8 to 12 servings with a butternut squash, maybe not quite so much depending on the type of squash you use.


1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or homemade bread crumbs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt


1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1 medium winter squash about 3 pounds, peeled, cut in half, and seeded

1 medium celery root, also known as celeriac about 1 pound, peeled and cut in half

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced

For the streusel:

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until butter is incorporated. Cover and place in
the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the gratin:

Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

Pour cream into a large bowl and set aside. Slice squash and celery root into 1/4-inch-thick pieces with a mandoline or sharp knife, placing pieces into the cream as they are cut. Toss until well coated.

Melt butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When it foams, add onion and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes; set aside.

Construct gratin by ladling 1/3 of the squash and celery root mixture into the baking dish, then seasoning well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with 1/2 of the onions, then another layer of squash and celery root. Season the second layer with salt and pepper and cover with the remaining onions. Place the last of the squash and celery root on top and press down to create an even surface. Season with salt and pepper, then pour the remaining cream over top.

Sprinkle streusel evenly over gratin. Bake until vegetables are soft and streusel is golden brown, about 40 to 50 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

Braised Fennel and Potatoes

In this dish the potatoes are perked up with fennel. The fennel becomes very tender and lends loads of moisture to the dish. Makes 4 to 6 side-dish servings. Gourmet Feb 2006.

1 large fennel bulb with fronds

1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (2 cups)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb potatoes

1/2 cup water

Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 2 tablespoons, then cut off and discard stalks from bulb. Quarter bulb lengthwise and core, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cook fennel, onion, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add potatoes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to fennel mixture and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, 3 minutes. Add water and cook, covered, stirring once, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes more. Stir in fennel fronds before serving.

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