Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - December 1st, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

French Fingerling and Banana Fingerling Potatoes; Leeks; Rutabaga; Sweet Salad Turnips; Kohlrabi; Mixed Beets; Garlic; Mescun Greens, Head Lettuce


Localvore Offerings Include:

Elmore Mountain Flax Bread
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Eggs

Champlain Orchards Apples
Pete's Greens Pesto


Pete's Musings

We had some fun doing some greenhouse planting on the last day of November. Not really a traditional time for sowing seeds, as in an unheated greenhouse they won't do much more than germinate before early Feb. But they will germinate and maybe even put out a couple leaves and they will grow fast the latter half of Feb. One of the greenhouses had a poor crop of mache (for some reason it did not start well this fall) and in the other we have regenerated the celery beds into baby greens.

We are going through stacks and stacks of onions. They have been drying and curing in the greenhouse all fall and are now ready to be moved into the cooler for winter storage. Before we move them it is important to go through each bin and pull out any that have spoiled. Most of the time it is less than 10% spoiled but there are some with a lot more. It's a lot of work as we have many tons of onions but they seem to be in mostly good shape for winter storage.


Two weekends ago we were working on the roof of our barn addition. Isaac and I were up high tying the new roof into the old barn roof and Zola the super cat decided to join us. She spent the morning on the cupola on the top of the barn, sunning herself and trying to get to the tippy top of the cupola. At lunch she could not get down off the slippery steel roofing so started crying for help. Isaac helped her down and after lunch she went right back up on her own for an afternoon of cupola sunbathing. I think she enjoyed showing off. ~ Pete



















Holiday Delivery Schedule

We will deliver Dec 1, 8 and 15 on Wednesday as normal. We will NOT deliver on Dec 22nd. We will resume delivery on Wednesday Dec 29th. Think ahead about your holiday plans. If you will be away on the 29th or another upcoming week, and need to make changes to your share delivery, do let me know at least 1 week before the change. You can have your share donated to the food shelf, or I can stop your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.


Storage and Use Tips

Yes, sometimes these storage tips are repetitive, but I do still get regular emails from people asking "what is this vegetable and what do I do with it?". So, I will continue to put in these tips peridically especially for the lesser known veggies.


Kohlrabi - The name means cabbage turnip in German and that is a pretty accurate description. It is a member of the cabbage family and its outer skin would attest to that. The greens look more like turnip greens however and the inner bulb can be a bit fibrous, like turnip. Raw, it is crisp, sweet, and clean, strikingly reminiscent of raw broccoli stalks. Cooked, it touts a mild, nutty, cabbage-like flavor that adapts beautifully to many cooking styles. It can be eaten raw and is great in salads and slaws. I can also be boiled, steamed, baked, roasted, etc. The greens may be eaten cooked like turnip greens or any other cooked greens. To prepare the bulb, cut off the leaves and stems. Use a vegetable peeler to pare off the tough outer layer. Or use a chefs knife to slice it off. Dice or shave up the inner bulb according to your recipe. Store loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge.

Fingerling Potatoes
- Cut these sought after little delicacies into 1 1/2 inch chunks, toss liberally with oil and salt and roast in a 400F oven until crispy and golden at the edges. Just beautiful. Store in a cool dry place away from onions.


Mesclun Mix - This week your mesclun contains a mix of spinach, mizuna, red mustard, claytonia and lettuce.

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.

Meat Orders

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. Pete's Pastured Chickens are grazed on our greens fields all summer, moved from field to field. They fertilize and aerate the fields while growing into beautiful vitamin packed table birds. We still have a few turkeys left too, raised in the same manner as our chickens.


You can see and taste the difference in pastured meats. These meats have 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 very healthy, tasty meat.




You can order meats have them delivered to your pick up sites on any week that is not a meat share week (the first Wednesday of each week). We have a variety of pork and beef cuts available.

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 Dec 8th, Dec 15th, and Dec 29th.


 Visit our Meat Bulk Order Page to Order.

Local Authors Gathering to Benefit Food Pantry

On Friday Dec 3rd (6:30 pm), a group of local authors will gather at the St John's Episcopal Church in Hardwick and read excerpts of their original work. The benefit will raise money and awareness around hunger in Vermont. In lieu of admission, please bring a non-perishable item for the Hardwick Area Food Pantry or a monetary donation to benefit the Center for an Agricultural Economy's Food Access Fund.


Caroline Abels is the editor of Vermont's Local Banquet a quarterly magazine about local food and farming. She lives in Montpelier and writes primarily about animal agriculture.



Bethany M. Dunbar of West Glover, is an editor at the Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Barton. She has a background in dairy farming and is working on a collection of photographs and essays about farmers and food in the Northeast Kingdom.



Ben Hewitt, author of The Town That Food Saved, has seven cows, four pigs, six sheep, one wife, and two children. He lives in Cabot and likes cheese very much.



Julia Shipley, a writer and subsistence farmer in Craftsbury, is collaborating with Andrew Miller-Brown of Plowboy Press on a collection titled, Bales of Prose. She recently received a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council to complete a book of agricultural essays.



For questions, please contact Elena Gustavson at the CAE or call 802-472-5840, ext 2

Localvore Lore
Blair and Andrew are busy shaping loaves for us today at Elmore Mountain Bakery. They are baking the special flax bread that they only bake for Good Eats, comprised of Milanaise Whole Wheat, Milanaise Winter Wheat, Milanaise Rye, Quebec Flax, Sourdough, Sea Salt.


Eggs are back this week and we should have just enough for next week as well.

Last summer we grew a lot of basil and stockpiled pesto for Good Eats. After much deliberation and fiddling with recipes using different oils, nuts, cheeses, we settled on a simple pesto. It is made with our own organic basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. It has no cheese or nuts. We went this direction in order to make this pesto acessible for everyone whether they were vegan or had nut sensitivities or not. If you like your pesto really garlicky, add some. Add a TB or two of your favorite pesto cheese or 1 TB of crushed pine nuts or some walnuts if you'd like. We are pulling it from the freezer for you and it may have thawed when you receive it. If you will not use it right away, refreeze it. You can just throw the whole container in the freezer, or dole it out into an ice cube tray. After the pesto cubes have frozen, pop them out and place them into a plastic bag. Then you can use just what you like when you need it.


We are also sending along some crisp apples from Champlain Orchards this week. These are Empires, excellent eating and salad apples.


Meat Share
It's a pork and chicken week, with a nice selection of cuts.

Pete's Pastured Chicken - We selected some large birds so that you could roast a bird with plenty leftover for other dishes. Plus you will have a large carcass with which to make stock for soups. Chickens will range from 5.5 to 7 lbs. These are of course our own birds, raised on pasture on the farm with nearly unlimited forage.

Pete's Ham Steaks - This is the last of our ham steaks until another bunch of piggies meet their maker. Ham is cut from the hind leg of the pig. It is is leaner and a bit tougher than the meat from the shoulder of the pig (called the picnic ham or the boston butt). Though often smoked, ham can also be purchased fresh. You will be receiving EITHER smoked ham steaks or fresh. They are quite different. Smoked hams have been smoked and cured; this is the salty ham you are most familar with. Because they have been smoked they are partially cooked, but you still must cook these steaks. The advantage of the smoked ham steaks is that you just throw them into the skillet and cook them both sides and in 10 minutes (160F) or so you have a flavorful piece of meat for the table. Maple sugar, maple syrup or honey are nice to add, particularly if you have children who like a sweeter flavor. Fresh ham has that nice pleasing grain of a smoked ham steak, but without the flavors brought in from curing. It is a blank palette ready to take on any flavors you wish to bring in with a recipe of your choosing. For both cuts, braising (cooking in liquid) works well so as not to dry out the meat.



Pete's Pastured Pork Spare Ribs - The spare rib packages vary in size somewhat, so if you get a larger package of spare ribs you will probably get a slightly smaller bird, and a larger bird with a smaller package of spare ribs.


Pete's Pastured Pork Breakfast Sausage
- We have breakfast sausage this week that we made specifically for Good Eats. We were short just a few pieces so a few of you will receive bacon or ground pork instead of the breakfast sausage.


Recipes

Roast Chicken with Mustard Vinaigrette


Here's a great recipe for roasting a whole bird. The Mustard Vinaigrette is really versatile and can be used on a potato salad, on a green salad, as well as this chicken. From Bon Appetit, May 1994.


1 5-7 lb roasting chicken

1 large shallot

2 fresh rosemary sprigs

2 fresh sage sprigs

1 cup Mustard Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sageFresh rosemary and sage sprigs



Preheat oven to 450°F. Pat chicken dry. Season cavity with salt and pepper. Place shallot, 2 rosemary sprigs and 2 sage sprigs in cavity. Slide hand between chicken skin and meat over breast to form pockets. Spread 2 tablespoons vinaigrette under skin over breast meat.



Place chicken in roasting pan. Brush 2 tablespoons vinaigrette over chicken. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary and sage. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast chicken 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Continue roasting until juices run clear when chicken is pierced in thickest part of thigh, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 1 hour.



Place chicken and herb sprigs on platter. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.



Mustard Vinaigrette

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3/4 cup olive oil

2/3 cup chopped shallots

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage



Mix mustard and vinegar in bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Mix in shallots and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover, chill. Bring to room temperature, mix before using.)


Apple and Raw Beet Slaw

This is a delicious simple salad.


1 teaspoon grated ginger

1 pound beets, peeled

1 large Empire apple, or another tart/sweet crisp apple

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon coarse grain salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black peppe

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium sized salad bowl, using your microplane grater (or the smallest holes of a cheese grater) grate fresh ginger directly into bowl, about one teaspoon. Grate beets and apples, add them to the bowl with the ginger, and toss until ginger is evenly distributed. Add sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper to bowl and toss to coat evenly. Add olive oil, stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated.



Salad

With the beautiful mesclun and tender lettuce head that you will receive this week, there are some nice salads to be had. Please if you haven't tried roasted beets in your salad, do so. They are simple to roast (just drizzle with olive oil, and out in 400F oven for 30 minutes or so until soft and starting to brown on edges), and they keep well roasted in fridge so that they are ready for salad.


Salad Greens

Roasted beets
Sweet salad turnips sliced thin
Apple - thinky sliced
crushed toasted nuts (walnuts would be nice with the beets)

goat cheese or feta


Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3 T maple syrup

1 T Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp garlic

1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper


Taste – it should be strong flavored – NOT BLAND. If it needs more zip add a bit more garlic, or more black pepper, or more Dijon or all three.


Jamaican Jerk Spice Ribs
This is a recipe from Chef Bill Allen that I pulled from the archives. With 3 tsp of cayenne they ought to be good and spicy! Reduce that amount a bit if you want yours a little less so.


3 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. cinnamon, ground

2 tbsp. nutmeg, ground

6 tbsp. allspice, ground

6 tbsp thyme, dried

1/2-cup brown sugar

6 tbsp onion powder

6 tbsp gr. Ginger

¼ cup salt



Combine all spices in a bowl.



Place the ribs on a sheet pan. Rub the spices into each side, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Next day
Preheat oven to 275. Remove plastic wrap and cover ribs with foil. Slow roast in oven for 2-3 hours checking in each 15 minutes after 2 hours. When the meat pulls away from the bone, remove, leave covered and serve in the next 15 or so minutes.


Ginger Tamari Slow Cooker Pork

If you don't have a slow cooker, you could prepare this dish by cooking in the oven in a covered baking dish that isn't overly large. A longer time in the oven at a lower temp would yield more tender , deeply flavored meat. However, you could also get the flavors of this dish more quickly by making this dish on a skillet on the stove top, with the burner on low.



1.75 lbs fresh ham steaks (or 4 pork chops)

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons honey (or a bit maple syrup, or maple sugar, or brown sugar)

dash cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water to make smooth paste



Season fresh ham or pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add pork chops and sear until nicely browned on both sides. Transfer pork to crockpot. Add garlic to pan drippings and sauté until it begins to brown; stir in soy sauce, broth, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Stir to blend; bring just to a boil. Pour sauce over the pork. Cover and cook on low until pork chops are tender, about 6 to 7 hours. Stir in cornstarch and water mixture until well blended. Cover and cook about 20 minutes longer.
Easy pork chops recipe serves 4.


If cooking this dish on the stove top, you may want to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or stock to the pan. Some will evaporate while you cook. Allow the liquid to evaporate, trying to end up with some liquid (1/4 cup ideally) left in the pan so meat stays moist meat and you don't burn the soy, honey, or garlic. And so you have some liquid to add the cornstarch paste to so you can make a nice thick sauce.


Chicken and Leek Potpie
If you cook your big roast chicken this week, you could take all the leftover meat and put them into this potpie. Or if you still have leftover turkey, now's the time to amend that and make something new. This recipe is adapted from Andrea Chessman's Serving Up the Harvest cookbook. I stuck pretty true to the recipe except that I assumed you were starting with cooked chicken and had broth on hand. I also took the liberty of addinf in the kohlrabi, which I think would be really nice here. You could sub in other vegetables of course - a carrot, some turnips, a potato, etc.

around 3 cups of cooked chicken (or turkey)
3 cups chicken broth
1 medum rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 lb kohlrabi, outer tough skin sliced off, inner part cubed.

6 TB extra virgin olive oil

6 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, sliced

6 TB unbleached all-purpose flour
1 TB chopped fresh dill
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Biscuit topping
3 c unbleached flour
2 TB baking powder
1.5 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter

1 cup buttermilk

Cover the rutabaga with salted water and boil under tender, 5 -8 mins. Drain. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the leeks in the oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until all the flour is absorbed into the oil. Whisk in the 3 cups of broth and stir until thickened and smooth. Stir in the chicken, rutabagas and dill. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Keep hot (but not boiling) while you prepare the biscuits.

Preheat the oven to 450F and set out a 13 x 9 ungreased baking pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and butter in a food processor and pulse 5-7 times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pea sized butter chunks are fine. POur in the buttermilk and pulse until just combined. Dump out onto a floured board and knead just a few times to pull dough and all dry pieces together. Pat dough out to around 1/2". Shape into a rectanngle and cut 12 squares; or cut 3" rounds, gathering up scraps and pressing out and cutting again to get 12 rounds.

Pour chicken mixture into a baking pan. Place the biscuits on top. Bake for about 18 minutes until biscuits are golden and chicken mixture bubbly. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

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