Thursday, November 11, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - November 10, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

Sweet Potatoes; Orange Carrots; 1 Bunch of Celery; Fennel with Fronds; Sweet Salad Turnips; Mixed Potatoes; Yellow Onions; Head of Lettuce

Bag of Mesclun Greens


Localvore Offerings Include:

Red Hen Potato Bread

Bonnieview Feta Cheese
Champlain Orchards Empire Apples
Pa Pa Doodles Eggs ***

***We are short eggs this week. We will stretch them as far as we can but not all sites will get eggs. If your site does not get eggs this week, you will get them next week. Thanks!

Pete's Musings

Hi Folks,
We had a tough pickup week last week. Lots of pickup errors caused Amy to spend hours trying to sort out what went wrong. Please, Please, Please carefully read the pickup instructions. And please be sure to communicate to your pickup partners so that both of you don't pickup a share. As those of you who have been following Sally Pollack's Free Press blog on our share know, we are providing this great organic local food at the same cost as conventional produce bought at the grocery store. Obviously our margins are pretty slim and we need to keep delivery and pickups as efficient as possible.


Sorry for the sermon. We have enjoyed a week of relative relaxation as all the storage crops are in and for the first time in a few week we really don't care how much it rains or how cold it gets. Feels great. Now we are diving into a deep, farm-wide organization. Thanks to Melissa for heading this up and to Paul for taking on cleaning and organizing our barn, truly a herculean task. Steve and Isaac are making steady progress on a barn addition that will give us a lot more washhouse space for washing and packing vegetables. It will also have new offices right next to the washhouse (not a building away) and an an employee lunch room. ~ Pete

Amy's Note
It's true. My Wednesday evening and Thursday morning were spent problem solving. I had a number of people email who didn't find a veggie bag and when I called site hosts to research, we discovered the members just didn't look through all the totes - the bags were there. A couple veggie bags were taken home by folks who were sharing who hadn't worked out who was picking up that week (they were returned to sites). We had several people take meat shares home who were not meat share members. Two were returned but one I was unable to track one of them down (Adams Court). And there were an assortment of shortages that result when members take more than what they should (maybe taking localvore items when they have a vaggie share, probably mostly accidental). A half filled veggie bag was left behind by a member for a share partner. That bag was picked up by a different member who thought it was a full bag and who was disappointed upon arrival home. And so on...

The pick up system usually works quite well, and our first couple weeks went pretty smoothly. So I'll just reiterate here:

*Check the check off list for your share type, and check your name off the list. If you or your share partner are not listed (only one of you will be listed) on the pick up list, do not take a share, email me!

*Read the pick up instructions on the clipboard and select your items based on your share type.

*Look through all totes and boxes and coolers for your items before going home empty handed.

*If you do come home without everything you are supposed to receive, let me know! I want to make sure you receive all your food.

Thanks everyone! ~ Amy

Storage and Use Tips

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 and is particularly great with tomato sauce dishes. 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.

Sweet Salad Turnips - Tender, fresh dug Sweet Salad Turnips can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw they have a texture similar to a radish, but are not so sharp. Or slice, dice, or quarter them and saute with butter or oil. Cook until just tender and still a little crisp. Just a little salt or maybe a little bit of vinegar is all they need. Cooked with butter and given a slight drizzle of honey and even picky little eaters may gobble them up. Don't forget the greens! Turnip greens are tender and flavorful. Chop and saute with the turnips for a side dish, or cook up with other greens, or by themselves. They make a great addition to pasta sauces too.

Thanksgiving Week Delivery will be TUESDAY November 23rd
Just repeating this message again for any who have missed it. We will deliver on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week to give you all a jump on cooking and in case you want to take your food with you as you travel to visit family or friends.

Meal Planning w/ Share Members David & Renee
David and Renee Wahler have been share members since 2008. About a year ago David told Pete that he and Renee eat largely food from their Good Eats share, supplemented by just a few items they pick up elsewhere and that planning their meals out in advance really helped. As soon as the newsletter comes on Tuesday, they work on the week's meal plan. They keep it simple, cooking basic meals with the share ingredients, supplementing with vegetables that are holdovers from earlier weeks and localvore staples they have in their pantry, and shopping for a few ingredients they might not have on hand.

I have included the Wahler's meal plan once a share the last couple share periods and these segments have been very well received by other members. I hope you find this helpful for planning meals this week, and perhaps for thinking about how you approach meal planning in the weeks to come. If you have feedback, or would like to particpate and share a meal plan of your own some week, please email me!

From David:
Preparing a large dish that will then serve for the basis of 3 or 4 meals at the beginning of the week really helps to pull the shares together for the whole week. A basic meal plan really helps; we shift it around during the week but we have a base to work with that keeps us on track for completing our shares before the next CSA pick up.

If we were vegetarians, instead of the chicken, we would possibly make a big pot of vegetable chile w/ sweet potatoes, dry beans, onions and celery. This would be a good backdrop for those 3 or 4 meals and then we'd supplement with all kinds of salad variations - this week's share is a good one to do this with. Or--we might make a vegetable loaf, using vegetables and grains with spices and a couple of eggs.


Our own pantry includes:
(*) blueberries from our garden and Maple syrup from family sugar bush.
 Items underlined are from previous shares, including rolled oats, mixed grains, & pizza dough.
Items in italics are dried cranberries and butter, purchased at the Co-op. We also purchase olive oil, coffee and milk from the Co-op.
Sunflower oil & vinegar in our pantry are both from previous shares.

All food items in bold are from this weeks shares:



Wednesday -- PICK UP SHARES DAY

** Roast chicken in slow cooker (start in morning)

Breakfast: Mixed Grain cereal w/ *blueberries

Lunch: Left overs of celeriac/turnip gratin & raw carrot and beet
Dinner: Chicken and sweet potatoes -- green salad



Thursday
Breakfast: Omelet w/ feta -- sliced apple -- toast
Lunch: Grated carrot and turnip salad w/ dried cranberries
Dinner: Boiled potatoes and carrots w/ butter & parsley; chopped lettuce, celery & raw beet salad

Friday
(de-bone chicken, make chicken broth with bones, celery tops, onion and a couple of carrots & garlic -- make about a quart).

Breakfast: Mixed Grain cereal w/ *blueberries

Lunch: Chicken sandwich -- small green salad w/ oil and vinegar, with feta

Dinner: Pizza w/caramelized onion, mozzarella, sage , bacon -- chopped lettuce, apple, carrot & celery salad


Saturday
Breakfast: Pancakes w/ *maple syrup

Lunch: Left over Pizza and raw carrot and turnip slices

Dinner: Chicken -- baked sweet potatoes -- sauté carrots, onion & parsley



Sunday

Breakfast: Oatmeal with apple
Lunch: Soup with chicken broth and vegetables -- bread & warm feta

Dinner: Braised Fennel and Potatoes (see recipe 10/26/10 newsletter) -- chopped salad of remaining vegetables.



Monday
(bake bread or cornbread muffins)

Breakfast: French toast w/ *maple syrup & yogurt

Lunch: Soup with chicken broth and vegetables -- bread & warm feta
Dinner: Braised Fennel and Potatoes leftovers -- raw vegetables.



Tuesday and Wednesday
Meals seem to take care of themselves with a variety of leftovers -- like adding some remaining vegetables to the soup. We may have Bacon, eggs & toast for breakfast on Tuesday; Cereal on Wednesday; and a variety of leftovers for lunch and dinner. All of this stimulates creative meals. All of the products are really fresh and good, we can’t go too wrong in putting things together. I cook pretty much freestyle, I will often check combinations of various foods & recipes on google and also in a variety of cook books. I like Judith Jones recipes, Fannie Farmer and Nourishing Traditions, as well as the many wonderful recipes and suggestions in the Newsletter.

Thanksgiving Turkeys (OK. I'll give you til tomorrow.)
I am extending the order deadline one more day. If I have your order by tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday), I can still get a turkey to you next week. But by tomorrow late afternoon, I'll be generating the packing reports for packing to begin on Thursday. Once the report is generated I will not be able to add any more turkey orders for 11/17 delivery. The next delivery date after 11/17 is 11/23, two days before Thanksgiving.


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)

We also have pork, beef and chicken available.

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


Sally's Blog

This week Sally compared what she received in her Good Eats bag with prices at Healthy Living in Burlington. She estimated quantities and unscientifically determined that the cost of last week's share would have been 15% more at the store versus direct from the farm via her Good Eats share. Visit Sally's blog.

Localvore Lore

Randy George and the team at Red Hen Baking in Middlesex are working on this week's bread. Right about now it is coming out of the mixer. At around 3:00 this afternoon they will begin shaping the loaves. And around midnight the bread will be baked. It will cool and be bagged for Tim who will pick up around 5:30 tomorrow am.

We’re making a local potato bread this week. We make potato bread regularly that features Foote Brook Farm’s Yukon Gold potatoes, but this week’s share is a special version. We’ve made a special starter from Ben Gleason’s sifted whole wheat flour (called “Snake Mt. Sifted”) and the remainder of the bread uses the white flour from Aurora Farms. So this is a slightly darker, entirely local version of the potato bread that you might be familiar with. Potato bread is one of my favorites. It makes a great sandwich, excels as toast, and although it doesn’t come immediately to mind, one of our bakers turned me on to what great French toast it makes. ~ Randy

Once each share period I send out Bonnieview Farm's Ewe's Feta cheese. Neil and Kristen make this superior feta from the ewes they milk each day. I have become dependant on this cheese, and always have a container in my fridge. I use it to add depth to salads. I crumble it into various pasta dishes. I use it on various toasted sandwiches and it's great alone with a bit of sliced apple on the side.

Champlain Orchards has sent Empire Apples this week. One of my favorite apples for their versatility, empires are a great eating apple, they are crisp and tart for salads and resist browning when sliced (great for kids lunches), and they are a good baking apple as well. The also are excellent keepers. Next spring when some varieties of apples are getting soft, the empires will still be nice and crisp. Keep apples in your crisper drawer and they will last a long time.

We ran short on Deb's eggs this week! All summer long we have been able to supply Pa Pa Doodles Farm eggs 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. I created that schedule with people who are sharing shares in mind, so one party wouldn't always get the eggs. We will do our egg math this week and figure out the best way to proceed. We may go to an eggs every third week schedule, or perhaps supplement eggs from another farm. Tomorrow, most sites will receive eggs but some will not. If your site does not get eggs tomorrow you will get them the following week.

Recipes

There are several recipes that feature fennel this week. I know that some members struggle with the vegetables that are less familiar and I thought giving several options for using it might help with the creativity and direction.

Potato Fennel Soup
Potatoes and fennel are two great things that go great together and there are many recipes that feature the two including dozens of soup variations you could find on line. This one is basic, it's from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook. You could make this soup as is, or you could enrich it by substituting all or a part of the water with chicken stock or a nice vegetable stock. Some recipes call for dairy, adding either some half and half or skim milk, depending on the preference of the eater. You could substitute some leeks for all or part of the onions, or add in some shallots.

1 TB butter or oil
4 cups thinly sliced onions
2 tsp salt
4 medium potatoes, not necessarily peeled and sliced into thin pieces 1 to 2 inches long
1 cup freshly minced fennel bulb
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
4 cups water (or stock)
white pepper to taste

Optional toppings:
sour cream, thinned (by beating with a whisk in a litle bowl)
the feathery tops of the fennel, well minced

Melt the butter or heat the oil in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add the onions and 1 tsp salt. Cook over med-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes, or until the onions are very, very soft and lightly browned.

Add the potatoes, another 1/2 tsp salt, the minced fennel bulb, the caraway seeds. Saute over medium heat for another 5 minutes, then add water (or stock). Bring to a boil then partially cover, and simmer til the potatoes are tender (10 to 15 minutes).

Taste to adjust salt; add white pepper. Serve hot, topped with a decorative swirl of thinned sour cream and/or minced feathery fennel tops.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
A very simple recipe to throw together this week. You can grate the sweet potatoes and onion with a food processor fitted with a grating attachment. You can also make the batter ahead and store it in a tightly covered container in the fridge for several days before using. This is another one from the Moosewood.

4 cups coarsley grated sweet potatoes
1/2 cup grated onion
3 to 4 TB lemon juice
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
4 beaten eggs (yolks optional)
1/3 cup flour
optoinal: 1/4 cup parsley
oil for frying

Toppings: sour cream or yogurt or applesauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet until it is very hot (it should make water droplets dance). Use a non slotted spoon to form thin pancakes, patting the batter down. Fry on both sides until brown, adding small amounts of additional oil, if/as needed. Serve hot, with toppings.

Gemelli with Roasted Fennel and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The other natural marriage for fennel is tomatoes. Fennel adds a lighter dimension, yet blends really well with tomato dishes. You can taste its special flavor, but it doesn't take the front seat. You can use gemelli, a small shaped tube pasta or substitute fusilli, cavatappi, penne, what have you. Cook the pasta while the fennel bakes to save time. From Cooking Light. Yields 4 servings.



2 large fennel bulbs
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

3/4 pound uncooked gemelli (short tube-shaped pasta) or substitute

3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
basil (recipe calls for 3 TB fresh - you could use a bit of pesto or omit)

2 teaspoons
grated fresh lemon rind



Preheat oven to 425F.


Trim tough outer leaves from fennel. Cut fennel bulbs in half crosswise; discard cores. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Place fennel pieces in a large roasting pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat (add a bit more oil if necessary to coat). Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Stir fennel; bake an additional 10 minutes or until tender.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water. Return pasta to pan. Add reserved pasta cooking water, fennel, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, feta, and remaining ingredients; toss well.



Roasted Potatoes with Southwestern Spices
This recipe is from Jack Bishop's A Year in the Vegetarian Kitchen. Scrambled eggs and a simple salad and these potatoes would make a lovely easy meal.

1.5 lbs potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" chunks
3 TB olive oil
3 med cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 TB cilantro leaves, minced (nice but you can skip)
lime wedges

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 425F. PLace potatoes on a large baking sheet or 13 x 9 pan, and drizzle 1.5 TB of the oil over potatoes and toss well to coat.

Roast the potatoes, turning once until golden brown, about 45 mins.

Meanwhile combine the remaining 1.5 TB oil with chili powder, cumin and salt in a small bowl. Drizzle this mixture over the potatoes , turn and toss to coat, and return to oven. Bake until potatoes have absorbed the seasoned oil and become crisp, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to serving bowl. Stir in cilantro if you have it, add salt and spices ton taste. Serve with lime wedges (or even a drizzle of bottled lime juice).

Fennel, Feta and Kalamata Olive Salad

I have just stumbled across this recipe from chef and author George Kyrtatas. Now I can't wait for fennel. This adaptation of a greek salad will be fantastic on it's own, but could also be placed on a bed of greens.



1/2 pound fennel bulbs (1 bulb)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 TB olive oil

1/4 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

4 oz feta cheese—crumbled

1/4 cup kalamata olives—pitted and chopped

Clean fennel well and remove outer layers and top stocks. 
(Top portion may be frozen and used for flavoring at a later time.) 

With a mandolin or food processor shredding attachment, slice fennel as thin as possible. Then soak fennel in ice water for 1/2 hour. Then drain. 
In a bowl mix sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. 
Toss in the shredded fennel and toss to coat. 
Top with chopped olives and crumbled feta cheese.

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