Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - November 17, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

Winter Squash; Pac Choi; Brussel Sprouts; Carrots; Napa Cabbage; Mixed Red & Yellow Onions; Garlic; Mescun Greens; Frozen Sweet Peppers

Localvore Offerings Include:

Elmore Mountain Pain Au Levain
Amir Hebib's Mushrooms (oyster or shiitake)
Quebec Organic Pearled Barley
Vermont Cranberry Company Cranberries

***Hardwick, True Colors, National Life, Red Hen, On the Rise, Sweet Clover and DEW members will get eggs this week!

Pete's Musings

What a nice November we are having. It's welcome after a very wet and cold October. New washhouse construction is going great, should be a roof on it by this time next week. We have 2 new crew members, Annie and Caroline, who worked on a farm in PA this summer and have moved here to join our team. I'm being an office worker spending lots of time researching potential new greenhouse projects, preparing to do our seed order, and helping with the deep organization of the farm. It really feels like we are collectively taking a deep breath, trying to fully appreciate what this farm and business is, and what it might become. It feels really good to analyze our facilities, systems, assumptions, markets, and plan, from the ground up to see if we are headed where we want to go. We'll keep you posted. ~ Pete

Thanks for picking up carefully!

We had a much better pick up with fewer errors across the board last week. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read the pick up instructions before selecting your food. ~ Amy

Storage and Use Tips
Frozen Items - In summer we freeze vegetables that we know we will all pine for when they are gone. With winter almost here we will begin to dole out frozen items, beginning with the sweet peppers below. You will receive a frozen item most weeks now through the rest of the share period so look for them in the cooler when you pick up.

Frozen Peppers - At the height of the season this summer, we stowed away the most gorgeous crop of sweet peppers for Good Eats. We will be giving them out periodically through the share. Leave peppers in the freezer til you are ready to use them. Then take out the peppers you will use for the dish you are making, and cut them as required for your recipe while they are still frozen, or just starting to thaw. As they thaw they will soften and become harder to chop neatly. These peppers can be used in any recipe that calls for cooking peppers. Chop them and toss them onto a pizza, or into a pasta dish, in a casserole, or alongside onions when grilling your meats. You will find many uses for them once you get used to pulling them from the freezer.

Mesclun Mix - Your salad greens this week are a mix of claytonia and baby mizuna. The mix will become more diverse again in the coming weeks.

Brussel Sprouts - You will be receiving the sprouts still attached to the stalk. Store the whole stalk wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge and then remove the little heads just before you're going to cook them. They will stay fresher this way. Don't leave them too long though because they are better the fresher they are! Brussel sprouts can be cooked a variety of ways, and can be eaten raw as well (they can be shaved fine and tossed into a salad for example). They are really great roasted as it brings out their sweetness. A recipe for Roasted Brussels is below. If you don't know how you feel about brussel sprouts, if you have never cooked them, DO ROAST THEM. You'll be glad you did.

Pac Choi - A member of the brassicas family along with cabbage and kale, pac choi originated in China, where it has been grown for over 1500 years. It was introduced into the US during the late 19th century by Chinese immigrants. Pac Choi has a mild flavor. The leaves taste similar to Swiss chard and the stems (called ribs) are deliciously crispy and can be substituted for celery in recipes. We grow both purple and green varieties. Your bag may have one or the other, or both. Pac Choi is mild enough to be chopped up for a salad, particularly if you give it a quick wilt in a hot pan. It's also great in stir-fries. Store pac choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

The New Addition to the Washhouse
November 10 - Concrete Day!
The truck arrived to pour the forms that Isaac and Paul had built. While Pete directed the flow, Steve and Isaac tamped and Paul reinforced as needed. Exciting to have a foundation to begin framing on! More photos soon.

Please notify me by Wednesday about changes to your delivery

If you have any changes to your Good Eats delivery, I need to know them by Wednesday a week prior. I'll be creating the farm's weekly delivery report on Thursday mornings now because packing for Good Eats actually does begin on Thursday. Each Thursday, we begin washing the hundreds of pounds of root crops that go out the following week. We also pack frozen items on Thursday, counting out the number for each site according to the weekly report and labeling the coolers for the following week. Meat orders are also packed on Thursdays. Monday our crew picks any field or greenhouse crops (mesclun, head lettuces, kale, leeks etc), and these are then washed, banded or bagged. By Tuesday, we are packing up all the crops that have been picked, washed, and prepped and preparing the truck for another wee hours of the morning departure on Wednesday.

If you need to stop your share for a week, switch to a different site, or donate your share to the food shelf I need to know one week before on Wednesday. Thanks! ~Amy

Next week we deliver TUESDAY November 23rd - not Wednesday!
Just repeating this message again for any who have missed it. We will deliver next Tuesday of Thanksgiving week to give you all a jump on cooking.

Thanksgiving Sneak Peek
Every year we try to provide you with the details of the Thanksgiving week's share so you can plan your meal making.

The vegetable portion of the share should contain:
2-3 lbs Potatoes, 2 lbs carrots, 1 bunch of celery, 1 lb yellow onions, 2 stalks of brussel sprouts, 1 head of lettuce, bag of mesclun greens, 1 quart of frozen butternut squash puree

Localvore items:
Butterworks Pastry Flour, Butterworks Buttermilk, Honey, Cellars at Jasper Hill Clothbound Cheddar

Thawing Your Thanksgiving Turkey

I have had a few members ask how long it will take to thaw their turkey and what the best way would be. There are lots of ways to thaw your bird, some safer than others. The health department approved methods would be a slow defrost in the fridge (allow 5 hrs per lb). Or defrosting in cold water (much shorter, but you need to change the water frequently). A handy defrosting time chart and some associated tips (including cooking a frozen whole turkey) can be found at

Thanksgiving Turkey Orders
Lots of turkeys going out this week for people who ordered them. If you still haven't got a bird for Thanksgiving, you have through tomorrow (Wednesday) to place an order for delivery next week 11/23. Turkeys will be packed on Thursday.

We have 3 size ranges available:
15-18 lbs (not too many left at this size)
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

If any of you still have a celeriac hanging around in your veggie drawer, Sally has included a family heirloom recipe for marinated celeriac. Looks delicious. Visit Sally's blog.

Localvore Lore
This week's bread comes from Andrew and Blair at Elmore Mountain Bakery. It's a traditional Pain Au Levain made with Vermont unbleached wheat flour from Aurora Farm, Milanaise Winter Blend, Milanaise Rye, Milanaise Whole Wheat, sea salt and sourdough.

The oyster and shiitake mushrooms in the share today were grown by Amir Hebib. Amir grows his mushrooms in a mushroom house behind his home in Colchester. He has 20 years experience growing mushrooms, having been a farm mushroom manager for a large Bosnian agricultural producer before immigrating to VT. He grows shiitakes (the more traditional shaped mushroom of the two) and oysters (the clusters of more trumpet shaped ones) and sells them to restaurants and markets in our area as well as at the Burlington Farmers Market. The oyster mushrooms are more delicate in flavor and texture than the shiitakes. You can eat the whole mushroom stems and all. The shiitakes have a deeper flavor, and are more hearty, enough so that they can be used in place of ground beef in some recipes. Many people discard the stems of shiitakes because they are tougher and take longer to cook. But these are so fresh that they are tender enough to add to most dishes though you may want to allow longer cooking time for the stems.

The organic pearled barley was grown in Quebec and milled at Golden Crops owned by Michel Gaudreau. Pearled barley has been de-hulled, with some or all of the bran removed. It makes a great substitute in recipes calling for brown rice, is wonderful cooked, cooled and used in cold salads, and adds a nice texture to soups and stews. It also cooks down into a really nice risotto, without all of the attention and stirring required with Arborio rice. One cup of dry barley makes about 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked. If you soak the grains for 6+ hours in cold water before use, you can reduce your cooking time by at least half. Without soaking, you'll want to let them simmer in water for a good hour. You can also cook barley like pasta, using lots of water (4-5 cups of water to 1 cup barley), then drain what's left over.

Freshly harvested cranberries were delivered yesterday by Cranberry Bob, owner of the Vermont Cranberry Company. There's a blogpost that tells a bit about Bob and his crans including a video clip here at the FarmPlate blog. Fresh cranberries will stay fresh for several weeks in the fridge so you can save them for use in a Thanksgiving dish if you desire. They also freeze very well so if you don't have plans to use them right away, save them for later. Cranberry sauce is incredibly easy to make from scratch - I have provided a recipe below. You could make it this week and it will keep just fine til next week's holiday meal.


Roasted Brussel Sprouts

From the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, a basic, very scrumptious way to cook brussels. I like to cook mine until some are starting to get really browned on the outside. 

1.5 lbs brussel sprouts

3 TB good olive oil

3/4 tsp kosher salt

.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

Thai Winter Squash Soup

I have put this recipe in once or twice before. It is a fantastic recipe. I have made three batches of this soup this Fall already because it's so darn good and it's easy. While you are roasting your brussels, you can roast your squash for this soup. Or save this recipe for the frozen squash puree you will be getting. In traditional Thai fashion, this recipe combines sweet, sour and salty flavors and has a kick too. The lime and coconut both come through beautifully.

Vegetable oil

1 onion
3 cloves garlic

2 thumb sized pieces of ginger

3-4 cups of mashed winter squash or pumpkin puree

1 qt chicken or vegetable stock

3 TB Fish sauce
2.5 TB brown sugar (or maple syrup, or maple sugar)

2 TB Lime juice
1 can coconut milk

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

Puree the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor. (Note - I never do this. I just hand chop. You end up getting chunks of spicy fresh ginger on your spoon but it's really good this way).

Put a small amount of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Then add the pumpkin puree, stock, fish sauce, brown sugar or maple syrup, lime juice, and crushed red pepper and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Before serving, add the coconut milk. Taste the soup. You may want to add a fresh splash of lime just before serving.

Mushroom Barley Risotto

I adapted this recipe from a 1997 Bon Appetit recipe but it's really just a very basic risotto recipe using barley instead of arborio rice. You could try a different risotto recipe and use the pearled barley. When using barley I usually kick up the flavor components - more onion, more garlic, more whatever, because the barley has a stronger flavor than arborio rice.

There's a mushroom, barley, and greens stew at epicurious which would be great too...

4 to 4.5 cups chicken stock

1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine

2 teaspoons butter

1.5 cups finely chopped onion

1 cup pearled barley

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms (oyster or shiitake would be great), sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Optional but recommended:

1/3 cup grated parmesan or to your liking

sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes

Bring chicken stock to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Melt 2 teaspoons butter in large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add barley, thyme, bay leaf and 2 cups warm chicken stock; bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until most of stock is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until barley is tender, about 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in another large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Mix in parsley and barley mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon risotto into bowls and serve immediately.

Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, Red Peppers & Pac Choi

This is similar to the risotto but I thought I'd share it because it brings together many items in this week's share. This one is adapted from a 1995 Eating Well recipe.

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil, divided

1 1/2 cups chopped onion, (1 large or 2 medium)

1 3/4 cups pearled barley

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

4 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth

up to 12 oz ounces assorted mushrooms, (cremini, shiitake and/or button), wiped clean, trimmed and sliced (4 cups)
1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper, (1 large or 2 medium)

1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 cups pac choi, thinly sliced, stems and leaves separated

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or to taste

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add barley, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, for 30 to 60 seconds. Pour in broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until the barley is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper and sauté until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add pac choi leaves, stems first, followed by leaves, and stir just until they have wilted, 2-3 minutes.

Add the sautéed vegetables to the cooked barley and stir gently to mix. Season with vinegar, salt and pepper.

Cranberry Sauce

This is a tried and true, simple cranberry sauce recipe. I make this sauce every year or so and can lots of it so I can pull out a jar whenever needed. It will also freeze great and keeps in the fridge for a long time too.

3 cups cranberries

1.5 cups water

1 to 1.5 cups sugar

Boil sugar and water together 5 minutes; add cranberries and boil without stirring (5 minutes) until all skins pop open. Remove from heat when popping stops and allow the sauce to cool.

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