Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good Eats Newsletter - December 29th, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

Mixed Potatoes; Red Beets; Orange Carrots; Yellow Onions; Red Onions; Leeks; Garlic; Daikon Radish; Bag of Claytonia Greens...

Frozen Tomato Puree

Localvore Offerings Include:

Elmore Mountain Honey Oat Bread
Amir Hebib Mushrooms
Butterworks Farm Cornmeal
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Eggs

Escape from Blue Lagoon

I recently returned from a great greenhouse studying trip to Iceland and Holland. Because I didn't want the trip to be all about work I took along a folding bike that fits in a suitcase to ride from greenhouse to greenhouse. It's a slick rig, the bike travels in the suitcase and then the suitcase becomes a trailer that is pulled behind the bike.

Iceland is way up north-66 degrees. But on the coast the winter temperature hovers around freezing, considerably warmer than Vermont December temps. It's amazing what the warm Gulf Stream waters do to the climate of Iceland and Europe. My first two days in Iceland were great-sunny, dry, right around freezing, breezy but not too bad. It was hard to imagine why Iceland is not a well known December bike touring destination. I expected the daylight hours to be considerably shorter than home but was shocked the first morning when it did not get light until nearly 11 a.m. I figured it was going to be dark by about 1 pm which didn't leave much time for daylight bike riding. Turns out Iceland is on London time for business reasons which means that it is too far west for the time zone it is in. This means that solar noon is more like 1:30 or 2 pm and it does not get dark until 4:30 pm, just like Vermont.

I had some great greenhouse visits and twice a day had a ritual soak in a hot tub. Public heated outdoor pools and hot tubs are in every neighborhood. Iceland has plentiful geothermal hot water that heats all the houses, produces much of the electricity, and allows for neighborhood outdoor pools and hot tubs. In these hot tubs I got to know some Icelanders. They love to talk about their country, particularly the weather, and I received many words of wisdom about how sometimes it storms and then there is ice and snow on the roads. These warnings became so frequent that I began to see the Icelanders as a bunch of sissies who have never heard of a place like Craftsbury where there is ice and snow on the roads for nearly 6 months of the year.

On my last day I had to ride back to the airport. The night before the ominous words about storms were flowing thickly in the hot tub. I was in a stupor from the too hot water and did not pay much attention. Started out the next morning and it was windy, but no big deal. The ride to the airport is about 25 miles and I planned to add a 15 mile detour to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is a small, man-made pond filled with hot, Carribean blue sea water in the middle of an immense lava field. It is a well known tourist destination, way overpriced, but still something to experience.

As I rode towards the airport it got windier. The wind was at my side, occasionally gusting hard enough make riding dangerous but the shoulder was very wide. I arrived at the turn to the Blue Lagoon and headed left. Now the wind was at my back and it was so windy that I was going 35 mph on flat ground without pedaling. Needless to say the 7 miles to the Lagoon took no time at all.

As I soaked in the Lagoon it got windier. So windy that during the gusts there was a solid spray of water pellets that had lifted off the surface of the Lagoon, fiercely stinging any exposed skin. Pieces of metal siding were loosening and flapping on the buildings, I was afraid they'd come loose and come whipping across the pond. And then it got dark and windier still.

I was in a tough position. At this point I'd been soaking in the wonderfully hot water for a couple hours, long enough to have had all my ambition dissolved away. But what I faced was a 7 mile upwind journey followed by another 10 miles of sidewind riding, all in the dark.

Eventually I realized I had no choice and set out. I was able to ride about 1/2 of the upwind distance. The rest of the time I pushed the bike and the gusts were so strong that frequently I came to a stop and could not move forward for a minute or more. Getting to the main road and the sidewind riding felt great but I was pretty well whipped by the time I got to the airport. Keflavik airport, with it's wonderful hot water radiators and dark corners perfect for laying out a sleeping bag was a wonderful relief. ~ Pete

Storage and Use Tips
Claytonia - Claytonia is a cold-hardy salad green, that is also known by the name of "miner's lettuce." During the gold rush, miners foraged for the wild-growing green. It provided a rare source of fresh vitamin C during the winter, thus staving off scurvy for the hungry miners. Claytonia has a mild, but lush flavor. We love it for its ability to grow through many weeks of a Vermont winter in an unheated greenhouse. If all goes as planned in the weeks to come you will start seeing shoots and sprouts in your greens bags too. They have just been started this week.

Daikon Radish - The word Daikon actually comes from two Japanese words: dai (meaning large) and kon (meaning root). Daikon's are extremely versatile vegetables that can be eaten raw in salads, or stir-fried, grilled, baked, boiled or broiled, pickled or grated and simmered in a soup. They are also preserved by salting as in making sauerkraut. To prepare, peel skin as you would a carrot and cut for whatever style your recipe idea calls for.

Frozen Tomato Puree - Last week Deb single-handedly simmered down and pureed around 1000 lbs of our summer tomatoes to bring you this frozen puree. The puree comes from a combination of tomatoes, including our organic pastes, heirlooms, and sweet cherries. The flavor is sweet and the puree is thick and ready to be made into the sauce of your choosing. It is 100% tomatoes. No salt, sweeteners or other veggies or herbs added.

Changes to Your Delivery?
If you will be away some upcoming week, and need to make changes to your share delivery, let me know at least 1 week before the change. You can have your share donated to the Food Pantry, or I can stop your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.

Thanks to all of you who have donated shares

In the past couple of weeks I have received separate emails thanking members for the shares they have donated to the Food Pantry. I wanted to share those notes here for those of you who have donated and those of you who might be encouraged to do so. Each week, donated shares get transferred to the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick. From there, the staff at CAE drives them to the Food Pantry where they are received by Angie Grace who runs it. This week, 8 shares have been donated.

Struck me today, as I was driving to the food pantry to drop off donations, how awesome your CSA members are for donating their shares over and over and over and how awesome the farm is for making sure it happens. This morning, I'm watching these families oh and ah over the farm food and these kids with runny noses and pink cheeks shyly watch me while I'm unloading all this goodness on to the shelves. It was humbling. So thanks. ~ Elena

Many thanks for the donation of shares to our local people at the Pantry. They went very fast and were much appreciated by the consumers. One family of a single mother with 8 children did get a total share. Thank you for your continued kindness. You are making a difference in peoples lives.
 ~ Love, Angie

Beef, Pork, Chicken and Turkey Available

We have a great selection of meats available and will soon have more. We sent 5 beef off last week and hope to have the meat available in a week or so. We'll have some more of our pork soon too. Order our pastured chicken any week for $3.75/lb, or only $3.50/lb if you order 5 birds.

Meats can be delivered to your pick up sites any week except a meat share week. Order now for delivery on Jan 12, 19, or 26.

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 (only 8 left), raised in the same manner as our chickens.

In summer 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. Now that it's winter they are lounging in a barn with Paul's cows, subsisting on a local mix of corn, soybeans and haylage. Our cows have been raised on pasture in summer, and local hay supplemented with beets and soybeans in winter.

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.

 Visit our Meat Bulk Order Page to Order

Localvore Lore

Our bread this week comes from Elmore Mountain Bread, and Andrew and Blair are busy with the loaves now as I write this. This week they are baking Honey Oat for the share. They are using Milanaise whole wheat and white flour, Quebec oats, sea salt, and honey from Butternut Mountain Farm.

I am pleased to report that Amir Hebib has succeeded once again in growing enough mushrooms for the share. He has picked them this morning, a beautiful bunch of mostly shiitakes (though there may be some oysters as well). How fortunate are we to have super fresh mushrooms to cook with!

Butterworks Farm in Westfield, VT has supplied Early Riser Cornmeal this week. This is an open pollinated variety of organic corn that the Lazors have been growing for years on the farm in an isolated place far from other corn crops to protect it from stray GMO pollen. Jack saves his seed each year for the following year's crop, taking time from harvesting other crops to select the ears from the strongest plants. The Lazor's had a near total Early Riser crop failure in 2009,a damp summer prevented the corn from ripening well and it molded while drying, w=ildlife took the rest. But fortunately 2010 is another year and they have had a great harvest. This corn is freshly ground and should be stored in a cool place - preferably the f ridge or your freezer. This is beautiful cornmeal full of rich corn flavor, great for baking or making polenta. The Lazor's have supplied their favorite cornbread recipe below.

And we have fresh eggs again from Pa Pa Doodles Farm. Expect the next round on January 12th.


Mushroom Lo Mein
Here's one from Andrea Chessman's most recent book Recipes from the Root Cellar.
3 eggs
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz shiitake mushrooms
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 TB tamari (or soy sauce)
1 TB sugar
1 TB Chinese rice vinegar or dry sherry
1 lb Chinese wheat noodles or thin spahetti
1/4 cup sunflower, peanut, or vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/4 head green or savoy cabbage, or 1/2 head of Napa, very thinly sliced
1 4-inch piece of daikon radish (or 1 small turnip) peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup Chinese mock oyster sauce or stir-fry sauce

Begin heating a large pot of salted water to a boil for the noodles. Cook the noodles until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, beat together the eggs, sesame oil, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, tamari, sugar and rice wine in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Heat a large wok or frying pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 TB peanut oil and heat for 30 seconds. Pour in the egg mixture. As the bottom sets, push the edges in toward the middle to allow the liquid egg to run to the outside to cook. Continue pushing in the edges until the top has almost no more liquid egg. Flip the egg and cook until dry, about 30 seconds. Remove the egg cake to a cutting board. Slice into matchsticks.

Add 1 TB of oil to the wok. When oil is very hot, add the mushrooms and marinade and stir fry until the mushrooms are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Scrape the mushrooms and juices back into the bowl.

Heat the remaining 2 Tb of oil to the wok. Add the carrots and stir fry until just barely tender, 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and daikon to the wok and stir fry until wilted, about 3 minutes. At any point, add a little soy/tamari to encourage vegetaboles to steam if they don't seems to be cooking.

Return the mushroom mixture and egg to the wok and add the noodles. Add the mock oyster sauce and toss until the noodles are well coated and the mushrooms and vegetables are all mixed into the noodles.

Taste and add additional tamari/soy, if needed. Serve hot.

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions

A very simple, rich, delicious sauce adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking. Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti.

1 quart tomato puree

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved

Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

Eden Vegetarian Cafe's Potato and Beet Latkes
I love the sauce that goes with this latke receipe from Eden Cafe in Bar Harbor, ME.


3 cups raw beets, shredded

3 cups raw potatoes, shredded

1 cup leeks, chopped

1 cup flour

salt & pepper to taste

oil for frying

Combine beets, potatoes, leeks, salt & pepper. Let mixture release moisture, then add flour and mix well.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat oil. Let oil get hot then add cup vegetable mixture and form latkes, thick.Turn heat down to low medium and let latkes cook for 5 minutes on each side until crispy on outside, tender on inside.

Summer Apple & Sage Sauce

2 cups tart apples, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
 (to taste)
salt & pepper to taste
Saute onions until caramelized to release the natural sugars. Add apples and sugar. Stir and cook until tender. Add sage, salt and pepper. Taste. If too tart, add more sugar to taste

Serve latkes hot, with a dollop of summer apple and sage sauce.

Leek and Mushroom Quiche
I found this adaptation of the original recipes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking on the blog Smitten Kitchen.

3 to 4 leeks, white part only, sliced

1/2 cup water


3 tablespoons butter

5 to 6 large white mushrooms, sliced
 (or substitute 3-4 oz shiitake or oyster)
1 tablespoon port

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups whipping cream (you can use whole milk)

An 8-inch partially-cooked pastry shell on a baking sheet

1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese

1 tablespoon butter cut into pea-sized dots

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Boil the leeks over moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed, covered saucepan with 1/2 cup water, two tablespoons butter and a teaspoon of salt until it the liquid has almost evaporated. Lower heat and stew gently for 20 to 30 minutes until leeks are very tender. Put them aside in a bowl.

Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan along with the sliced mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and port. Cover pan and cook over moderately low heat for 8 minutes. Uncover. Raise heat and boil for several minutes until liquid is completely evaporated and mushrooms are beginning to saute in their butter. Stir cooked mushrooms into leek mixture.

Beat the eggs, cream or milk and seasoning in a large mixing bowl to blend. Gradually stir in the leek and mushroom mixture. Check seasoning. Pour into pastry shell. Spread on the cheese. Bake in upper third of pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until puffed and browned.

Russian Potato Salad Recipe

This potato salad develops much better flavor if it stands overnight. The potatoes and carrots will become colored by the beets though so add them just before serving if you want to retain the lovely color contrast. Makes 10 servings.

2 pounds potatoes

1/2 pound beets

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper

Boil the potatoes, beets, and carrots in separate pots until tender. Drain. Peel and dice the potatoes and beets. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl to cool. 

Add the celery, red onion, pickle relish, and parsley. Mix. 

Combine the mayonnaise, wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add to the salad and mix gently with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate the salad for several hours and mix again. 

Butterworks Farm Cornbread
Adapted from original Moosewood Cookbook.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease 8 inch square pan.

Beat together:

1 egg

1 cup yogurt or buttermilk

¼ cup honey or 1/3 cup maple syrup

Mix together in another bowl: 

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

Melt in a small pan:

3 Tablespoons butter

Combine liquid ingredients with dry ingredients, and then add melted butter. Stir just enough to mix. Spread in baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until “knife comes out clean.” Serve hot or cool.

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