Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Good Eats Newsletter - January 5th, 2011

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

Russet Potatoes; Gilfeather Turnips; Orange Carrots; Cippolini Onions; Bag of Claytonia Greens...

Frozen Squash Puree
Pete's Greens Pesto

Localvore Offerings Include:

Red Hen Bread
Elmer Farm Black Beans
Butterworks Farm Wheat Berries
Taylor Farm Gouda Cheese


Meat Share members take note: we are now labeling meat shares with share member's name on each purple meat share bag. Please be careful to look for and take only your meat share.

On to Holland
I spent much of my childhood in Washington State in a town settled by the Dutch. We used to have a family joke "if you ain't Dutch, you ain't much". That pretty well sums up the Dutch greenhouse industry and the Dutch attitude about the Dutch greenhouse industry. The Dutch believe that all greenhouse innovation originates in Holland and flows to the rest of the world. While they are innovative, I was struck that they are innovative in the same way that very large California vegetable growers are innovative. They are excellent at what they do but have not really considered many alternatives to what they do. The Dutch greenhouse scale is astounding. 25,000 acres of glass greenhouse in the country, most of it concentrated in 3 or 4 towns. Those towns are a sea of glass.

After my 3 days in Iceland I arrived in Holland greeted by 5 inches of new snow. The plan was to bike in Holland as well and I wasn't sure how it would go in the snow. I had relatively smooth, skinny tires, not the best for traction, and cautiously set out from the airport. Soon I was being passed by Dutch grandmothers on their single speed cruising bikes and decided that I could bike in the snow just fine. I spent the next 5 days riding in varying conditions of snow and packed ice and while it slowed travel it really wasn't a problem.

Holland contains more bikes than people and there are bike paths everywhere. At first I thought it was the greatest thing to be riding on a path away from traffic but as the days passed I grew weary of the bike paths. While they have good signage with directions often times the bike paths don't follow roads and also don't consistently go in the direction of travel. They wind around alot. This makes it really hard to navigate by sense of direction or by trying to follow a road that you know is going the proper direction. I had to be constantly alert in order to not miss bike path signs and sometimes they were covered with snow. To make it more difficult you are forbidden to ride your bike on many main roads and the Dutch take bike laws seriously. By the end of the trip I longed for Route 100, cars rushing by my side, being sure of where I was going.

The Dutch organic greenhouse vegetable industry is very small. There are only about 5 operations of significant scale in the whole country and I was able to visit 3 of them. The one most similar to what we do is owned by a guy named Rob who has about 2 acres of greenhouse in which he grows peppers and cukes in the summer and pac choi, lettuce, and mache in the winter. His greenhouse is 30 plus years old, his tools simple, his attitude very cheery with his wife and children working with him.

Then I visited Bijo, a 20 acre plus operation. They have one of the most modern greenhouses in Holland. Their goal is to be carbon neutral and towards that end they use hot air from the greenhouse peak in the summer to heat water that is pumped 600 ft down into the aquifer. The aquifer is heated all summer and then the warm aquifer water is used to heat the greenhouse in the winter. It is really cool, pretty high tech, big investment, but offers a good payback and greatly reduces natural gas consumption. They grow baby greens (one of the few baby greens operations in Holland) tomatoes, peppers and cukes.

We have alot more to learn from the Dutch. They operate with great precision, are anal about order and tidiness, have excellent tools and equipment. But it was discouraging to see how little organic production is going on there - and most of it is not even sold in Holland. It seems the Dutch consumer has not yet caught the organic bug. ~ Pete

Storage and Use Tips

Gilfeather Turnip - In the late 1800's Wardboro, VT native John Gilfeather either developed or discovered an unusually sweet and creamy turnip with the ability to reach a very large size without becoming woody and while retaining its sweet flavor. Fully realizing how special his turnips were, he sold them at markets throughout his lifetime - with the tops and bottoms cut off. Turnips and rutabagas both have the same seed generating ability... You can store a turnip with tap root and tops intact in a root cellar for the winter, plant it in early spring, and it will immediately go to seed, producing enough seed quickly enough to generate another crop the same season. By cutting off the tops and taproots, John assured that he was the sole marketer of the superior "turnip" and prevented it from being altered by breeding. When John died, his turnips seed made it into the hands of several of his neighbors who began to grow them. One of these folks eventually trademarked the name and registered the vegetable as an heirloom with the Vt Agency of Agriculture. In Wardsboro, an annual festival celebrates the special turnip serving up dozens of dishes featuring it. It may be roasted (delicious), used in soups and stewed, mashed with or without potatoes, and it is even good raw sliced thinly into a salad. This "turnip" may actually be a rutabaga though, as its large size (8 lb roots have been recorded) and wide taproot suggest. Turnip or rutabaga, it is truly the cream of the crop.

Frozen Squash Puree - More squash puree this week just in time for the return of cold weather (wasn't last weekend lovely?) and soup making. This puree is just pure sweet butternut squash. It can be used in many recipes calling for winter squash or pumpkin. It's fantastic for soup and making emergency pumpkin pie.

Pesto - 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.

Cippolini Onions - Pronounced chip-oh-LEE-nee. These are the short, disk-shaped yellow onions in your bag. Originating in Italy, cippolinis are very sweet and delicious. Try roasting some whole. Peel them, toss with a liberal amount olive oil, a few sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper, and roast in a 375F oven for around 30 minutes, or so. Serve as a side dish. Store in a cool dark place.

Claytonia - Claytonia greens again this week. 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.

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.

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

This is a particularly RICH localvore week! Red Hen bread, black beans, wheat berries and a beautiful cheese from Taylor Farm.

At Red Hen, Randy has been thinking of you all, planning another special offering for Good Eats...
Although we usually think of the baguette when we think of French bread, prior to the mid 1800’s, pain de campagne was the bread of pre-industrial France. The baguette is made possible by the refined flour that a roller mill produces and the leavening and flavor that can only come from commercial yeast. Since both of these things came into being in the late 1800’s the bread that was eaten in France for centuries looked and tasted (hopefully) something like what is in the share today. It was always made from stone-milled flour (usually with some of the bran sifted out), usually with as much as 10% rye flour (because most wheat fields had some rye growing in them), and was always naturally leavened (the European method of making sourdough which is much less sour that San Francisco sourdough). We’re calling this week’s bread Vermont Campagne because, although the method is French, the ingredients are from much closer to home. There is a combination of white flour from Aurora Farms by way of Champlain Valley Mills, whole wheat and stone ground sifted flour from Gleason Grains, and a little whole rye (8%) from Quebec. The scale on which the grains in this bread were grown and produced is much closer to the scale that the original pain de campagne ingredients were grown in France, so this seems like the right bread to make with this local bounty. In Europe, before mechanical mixers, people would bring their loaves to their village communal oven for baking. We’ve done it all for you today, but the bread should still last you most of the week (if you don’t eat it more quickly than that). ~ Randy

At Elmer Farm in Middlebury, Spencer and Jennifer Blackwell and their two children grow 4 acres of certified organic mixed vegetables in addition to 15 acres of black beans, winter wheat and other grains. The black beans in the share week come from Jen and Spencer. The Blackwells purchased the Elmer Farm through the Farmland Access Program of the Vermont Land Trust in 2006. Currently they grow 2 acres of black beans each season which yield 800 pounds per acre in favorable growing conditions. The beans are planted in early June and harvested with their 1970's John Deere combine in late fall after a heavy killing frost when the beans are completely dry. The combine cuts the plants and sucks them into a thresher, which separates the beans from the stems, leaves, dirt, weeds and other foreign material. The beans are then unloaded into a seed cleaner which uses fans and various-sized screens to further sort the good beans from the damaged beans, small stones and other debris. And from there the beans are hand sorted even further to produce the product you will receive this week. Please check through your beans for stones before using, you may still find a few. Also, though these beans are mostly dry, it's a good idea to open the bags and let them breath and dry further. Or transfer them to a jar and leave the lid off for a while. Or just cook them up!

The wheat berries are from Butterworks Farm. Jack Lazor grows several varieties of wheat on the farm, he is pictured at right in a field of Red Fife. Wheat berries are the unprocessed seed (or kernel) of wheat. To make flour, dried wheat berries are ground in a mill. Unsifted, you will end up with whole wheat flour. White flour is ground wheat berries with the bran and germ removed. These are the same wheat berries that were used to make the whole wheat pastry flour we sent out back in November. Instead of grinding these wheat berries, however, try cooking them. They make a great salad, pilaf, stuffing, casserole, salad garnish or substitute for rice. You can cook any kind of wheat berries. Softer wheat varieties may soften faster than hard varieties, but I think another factor is how dry the wheat berries are. Just like beans, if they have been sitting in your cupboard for 3 years they will probably take longer than those harvested 8 months ago.

At Taylor Farm, the Wright family make Vermont's only Gouda cheese and it is truly outstanding. Their Gouda is traditionally made using milk from their 50 cows on their 180 acre farm in Londonderry, VT. This cheese is great for snacking, sandwiches, and it melts beautifully for cooking.

Meat Share

This month we have four very versatile selections for you.
Pete's Pastured Chicken - Once again we have a chicken for you and this week I have included a recipe for Chicken and Dumplings. Yum.
Pete's Pork Chops - These are pork chops from our pigs. Pork chops are great because you can do so many things with them. They are just waiting to be flavored up in a recipe.
Pete's or Maplewind Farm Hot Italian Sausage - most of the sausage going out this week is our own hot italian sausage from our pigs. We didn't have quite enough for everyone though so some is coming from Beth and Bruce, our friends at Maplewind Farm in Huntington. A couple of you may receive Sweet Italian. These sausages are terrific on their own but also fantastic in a pasta dish.
Applecheek Farm Veal Cutlets - John and Rocio Clark are very proud of how they run their farm and raise their animals. Their meat is all certified organic. Although not in the business of raising veal, male calves are part of the reality on their organic dairy. According to Rocio, "Our veal is raised the old fashioned way, with plenty of milk from their mothers. They nurse whenever they choose; with plenty of grass in our certified organic fields and with plenty of fresh air and sunshine. As a result, their meat is rosy pink with a robust flavor and great tenderness and is very high in nutrients. The calves are born in the spring and slaughtered in the fall." Pounded thin, coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter, these cutlets make awesome Wiener Schnitzel. Serve them with braised cabbage and German potato salad and you'll be in Alsatian heaven. They may also be used in recipes calling for veal chops. Below I have given a classic recipe from Julia Childs.


Zesty Wheat Berry - Black Bean Chili
Make this chili! It's delicious, I am eating it for lunch today. I put the beans in a bowl to soak last night, and cooked the wheat berries last night. I cooked the black beans for an hour this morning to soften them. And just now, in the midst of writing, I went into the kitchen and whipped up the rest in 20 minutes, with another 15 minutes to simmer it all to let the flavors meld. I didn't have the chipotle peppers but I am sure they'd be terrific, nor did I have avocado and cilantro. I did have some frozen hot peppers in freezer and added one. Top dressed with a bit of cheese and it's really good. From EatingWell March/April 2007. Makes 6 servings.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 large yellow bell pepper,chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3-4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed (from about 1/2 lb dry)

4 cups diced tomatoes or tomato puree

1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 cups vegetable broth

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

2 cups cooked wheat berries (from around 3/4 cup dry)

Juice of 1 lime

1 avocado, diced

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, chipotle to taste, broth and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.

Stir in cooked wheat berries and heat through, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lime juice. Garnish each bowl with avocado and cilantro.

Wheat Berry Cooking Instructions
To cook wheat berries, just put them in a pan of salted water with a ratio of 1 part wheat berries to 3 or 4 parts water. Bring them to a boil and simmer for 45-60 minutes until they are cooked and softened. Then drain. They might take a bit longer. Cooked wheat berries will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days and you can freeze them too.

Wheat Berry Salad
This is a basic recipe for a wheat berry salad from the Barefoot Contessa. I include it here as a starting point and hope that you will take all sort or liberties with it and make it your own using ingredients you have on hand. You can swap scallions out for minced onions, shallots or an onion/garlic combo. You can add some grated cabbage or turnip or radish for additional crunch.

1 cup wheat berries

Kosher salt

1 cup finely diced red onion (1 onion)

6 tablespoons good olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar

3 scallions, minced, white and green parts

1/2 red bell pepper, small diced

1 carrot, small diced

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

claytonia greens

Place the wheatberries and 3 cups of boiling salted water in a saucepan and cook, uncovered, over low heat for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until they are soft. Drain.

Saute the red onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
In a large bowl, combine the warm wheatberries, sauteed onions, scallions, red bell pepper, carrot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes for the wheatberries to absorb the sauce. Season, to taste, and serve at room temperature on top of a bed of claytonia greens if you wish.

Gilfeather Turnip Soup
A simple soup. Delicious with a hunk of fresh bread on the side.

1 TB butter
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1.5 to 2 lbs gilfeather turnips, peeled and sliced
1-2 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced.

Melt butter in a 4 qt sauce pan. On medium/low heat add onion and garlic and simmer til softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and turnip and enough vegetable broth or water to just cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer until potatoes and turnips are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender or in a blender. Return to the pot and add just enough milk to thin to good consistency. At this point, you can either season with salt and pepper, or add sour cream or cream fraiche and then season.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

An excellent, well reviewed recipe from Gourmet, November 1996. Yield: 9 cups

4.5 cups black beans, cooked and drained

1 cup drained canned tomatoes chopped

1 1/4 cups chopped onion

1/2 cup minced shallot

4 garlic cloves minced

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

4 cups beef broth
2 cups pumpkin (or butternut squash!) puree
1/2 cup dry Sherry

1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/8-inch dice

3 to 4 tablespoons Sherry vinegar

Garnish: sour cream and coarsely chopped lightly toasted pumpkin seeds

In a food processor coarsely puree beans and tomatoes.
In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean puree. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Just before serving, add ham and vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve soup garnished with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Veal Chops Braised with Herbs
This is the classic, mouthwatering preparation from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of Cooking. Veal chops or cutlets may be used in this recipe. Delicious with potatoes on the side. The recipe calls for 6 chops but you can use the same recipe for 2-3 chops. You'll have plenty of sauce!

6 veal chops or cutlets
2 TB butter and 1 TB oil, more if needed
Salt & pepper
3 TB butter, if needed
3 TB minced shallots or green onions

Optional: 1 clove of mashed garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 tsp mixed basil and thyme, or tarragon

1/4 cup stock or cream
salt and pepper
1 to 2 TB softened butter

a 10-12 inch heavy skillet or dutch oven with a lid

Dry the chops on paper towels. Heat the butter and oil in the skillet until you see that the butter foam has almost subsided, then brown the chops, two or three at a time, for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. As they are done, season with salt and pepper and remove to a plate.

Pour all but 3 TB of fat out of the skillet. If fat has burned, pour it all out and add butter. Stir in the shallots or onions and garlic, and cook slowly for 1 minute. Then pour in wine, add the herbs, and simmer for a few minutes, scraping up the coagulated sauteing juices.

Add the chops to the pan and turn them to baste them. Then cover the skillet and simmer on low on the stove top for 15 -20 minutes, turning them 2-3 times during this time to further baste them. They are done as soon as their juices run yellow when the meat is pierced with a fork.

Remove the chops to a hot platter. Add the stock or cream to the skillet and boil rapidly for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly. Correct the seasoning. Off the heat, swirl in butter by bits. Pour the sauce over the chops and serve.

Chicken and Dumplings

Comfort food at its very best. Adapted from Epicurious.com. Use a wide pot so the dumplings don't stick together. Serves 6.

For the soup

2 tablespoons sunflower oil, bacon fat or olive oil

1 (3-4 pound) chicken, cut into pieces

1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 medium turnips, cut into large chunks

1 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

For the dumplings

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup coarsely ground cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, then brown them in the oil over medium heat, about 2 minutes a side. Remove and set aside. Add the onion to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, turnip, bay leaf, thyme, turmeric, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the stock. Return the chicken to the pot, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the first five dumpling ingredients. Add the cream and mix until just combined. Drop about 12 heaping tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into the pot. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes more. To serve, scoop the dumplings and chicken into bowls, then cover with broth. Garnish with the shoots.

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