Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good Eats Newsletter - August 24th, 2011

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

Colorful Carrots; Potatoes; Bright Lights Chard; Celery; Green Beans; Cippolini Onions; Jalapenos; Eggplant; Melon plus..


Localvore Offerings Include:

Elmore Mountain Flax Bread

Butterworks Farm Cornmeal

Amir Hebib's shiitake mushrooms

Champlain Orchards Gingergold apples

Pete's Musings

We had a great farm event here on Sat. If you have not yet attended the Kingdom Farm and Food weekend I'd recommend it. Bike tours of farms, hay rides and tours at Pete's Greens, garden tours and meal at High Mowing Seeds. It was really nice to have so many visitors and I found while giving the tours that attendees were keenly interested in the inner workings of the farm.

Farm is buzzing along. Lots of weeds but some really nice produce as well. Winter squash crop is the nicest we've seen, parsnips and beets are looking great, baby greens keep clipping along. We've started pulling onions and they are drying down nicely. Won't be long until we'll harvest our potatoes. Dodged golf ball sized hail by 2 miles the other night, that would not have been fun.

We are in full processing mode freezing corn and peppers and making tomato puree later this week. The new kitchen is working out well and is alot more efficient and easier to clean than our old space. Reserve your spot in our winter CSA in order to get this great preserved food! ~ Pete

Scenes from our Farm Picnic Saturday

We had a great time on Saturday with around 250 people coming out for our open farm day and picnic! Pete gave tours all around the fields via haywagon, and showed everyone the new building. The Mud City Ramblers played for us while we feasted under the tent. Lots of folks had visited other farms and businesses that had opened their doors as part of the Kingdom Farm and Food Days. The bike tour offered by Craftsbury Outdoor Center went really well, with both tours ending at the farm just in time for the start of the food. This weekend event continues to grow in popularity. It's a great opportunity for people to get out to the beautiful Northeast Kingdom and check out the working landscape of the farms and businesses all around. Photos taken by photographer Perry Heller.

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.

Storage and Use Tips

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.

Melons - You will all get melon this week. There are two types going out, both are reknowned for their very sweet flesh. The green fleshed melons are the variety Arava. The orange flesh melons are called Charentais. Please inspect your melon for ripeness before slicing into it! Your melon should yield to pressure from your thumbs, particularly on the ends. It should also smell a bit sweet at perfect ripeness.

Localvore Lore Blair and Andrew are baking Elmore Mountain flax bread for the share this week. This loaf is baked with Milanaise winter wheat, whole wheat, rye, Quebec flax and sea salt.

Jack Lazor at Butterworks Farm has supplied us with some of his 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. This corn is freshly ground and should be stored in a cool place - preferably the fridge or your freezer (I always keep mine in freezer). This is beautiful cornmeal full of rich corn flavor, great for baking or making polenta.

The shiitake mushrooms 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 in 1996. He started growing mushrooms here in 2005. He grows shiitakes and oysters (little clusters of trumpet shaped mushrooms) and sells them to restaurants and markets in our area as well as at the Burlington Farmers Market. You can eat the whole mushroom stems and all. 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. Shiitakes have a deep flavor, and are very hearty, enough so that they can be used in place of ground beef in some recipes.

Champlain Orchards has just begun picking! Very exciting to have local apples back. Gingergold Apples are one of the earilest apples each season. These sweet apples are great for fresh eating and baking.


Polenta & Greens Here's a basic modifiable recipe for polenta with greens.

1-2 bunches cooking greens (swiss chard, braising greens, spinach, kale etc)

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

Dash red pepper flakes

2 carrots, halved and sliced (optional)

Italian seasoning herbs (optional)

Sliced shitake mushrooms (optional)

1 c grated cheese, provolone, cheddar, fontina, even feta, as you like

1 c polenta (coarse cornmeal)

3 c water

1 tsp salt

Wash and chop the greens. Saute onion, garlic, and carrots and/or mushrooms in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper & red pepper and Italian herbs. Cook until browning and fragrant. Gradually add the greens, stir frying until all are incorporated and just wilted.

Boil water & whisk in polenta & salt. Turn down very low, watch out for sputters. Cook until thick, stirring often.

Brush a baking dish with olive oil. Pour in about 2/3 of polenta, spoon in the greens, top with remaining polenta & cheese. Take a butter knife and swirl through the top layers a bit. Bake @ 350 until bubbly and slightly browned, about 30 minutes.

This recipe is easily doubled, which makes a generous 10 x 14 pyrex baking dish. The polenta is easier to work with if it is poured right when it thickens. If you wait it will set up into a more solid form. Prep the vegetables and have all ingredients ready before you cook the polenta, so it will be ready at the right time, as the greens take just a few minutes.

Polenta Gratin with Mushroom Bolognese

Here's a fancier, richer polenta if you are in the mood for something hearty. This is delicious. Adapted from Serves 8.

For the Bolognese sauce

2 TB sunflower or olive oil

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

8 ounces mushrooms, diced

1 TB fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried and crumbled

2/3 cup tomato puree, or canned tomatoes seeded and chopped

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

For the polenta

Kosher salt

1 cup polenta (coarse yellow cornmeal)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, crumbled

To prepare the Bolognese sauce: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it moves easily across the pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato, cook about 2 minutes more, then add the stock, 2 tablespoons at a time, bringing the pan to a simmer before each addition. Simmer the Bolognese until it is concentrated but not yet dry, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

To make the polenta: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add a pinch of salt and gradually whisk in the polenta. Stirring constantly, bring the polenta to a boil, then adjust the heat to low. Cook the polenta, stirring occasionally, until it is no longer grainy, about 30 minutes. Whisk the oil and salt to taste into the polenta and remove it from the heat.

Assemble the gratin: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spoon half the polenta into a medium baking dish (an 11-inch oval dish works fine) and cover with half of the sauce. Spoon in the remaining polenta, spread it evenly, then sprinkle with the crumbled cheese. Transfer the remaining sauce to a small saucepan and reserve.

Bake the gratin until the top is golden, about 40 minutes. Just before serving, warm the reserved sauce over low heat. Divide the gratin and sauce among 4 plates, top each serving with sauce, and serve.

Roasted Carrots and Cippolini Onions

Cippolinis deserve to be roasted and are great on their own with no fancy treatment. Add the carrots though and some wine and stock and you really have something special.

1 pound cippolini onions, ends trimmed and peeled, halve larger onions

2 pounds baby carrots

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup chicken stock

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

On a sheet tray, toss onions and carrots with oil, butter, wine, and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until golden and caramelized, about 25 to 30 minutes. Toss in a shallow serving bowl and garnish with parsley.

Spicy Eggplant and Green Bean Curry

If you have coconut milk and some curry paste, here's a classic you can whip up quickly.

5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon choppped peeled fresh ginger

1 eggplant, peeled, cut into 1 x 2 pieces

8 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon lime zest

1 teaspoon thai green curry paste

1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

3 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped*

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped*

*The herbs are a nice addition but don't make or break the dish...

In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 4 tablespoons oil. Add garlic and ginger, stirring 30 seconds.

Add eggplant and green beans. cook until almost tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Cover and cook until completely tender, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer vegetables to bowl.
In same skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil, lime peel, and curry paste; stir 15 seconds.
Add coconut milk; bring to boil, whisking until smooth.

Return vegetables to skillet; saute until sauce thickens enough to coat vegetables, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Toss in onions, cilantro, and mint.

Bhurtha (Indian Eggplant)

A classic. Broiling the eggplant deepens the flavor, but you could also peel it and cut into cubes and pan roast it in a skillet or cut in slices and throw it on the grill before adding to the dish.

1 eggplant

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 medium onion, sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger

1 large tomato - peeled, seeded and diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven's broiler. Rub oil on the outside of the egg plant, or coat with cooking spray. Place under the broiler, and cook until the flesh is soft and the skin is blistering off, about 30 minutes. Turn as needed for even cooking. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and scoop the flesh out of the skin. Discard the skin; chop up the flesh, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds, and let them crackle for a few seconds and turn golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Add the onion, ginger and garlic; cook and stir until tender. Don't let the onions get very brown. Stir in the tomato, and season with turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir for a few minutes.

Place the eggplant pieces in the skillet, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes so some of the moisture evaporates. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired. Garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve.

This is our household cornbread recipe. It's sweeter than many, but that means my kids devour it and it makes for a pretty healthy and super fast and easy snack.

1.5 cups cornmeal

1.5 cups all-purpose flour (or the sifted wheat you recently received, or part whole wheat)

3/4 c sugar (or 3/4 c maple syrup, or 1/2 c. honey)
1 tsp salt
1 TB baking powder
2 TB melted butter
1 3/4 to 2 cups milk

Mix all ingredients together. Spread in a buttered baking dish (6x 9, 9 x 13, it's flexible)

If using honey or syrup, you can reduce the milk amount by 1/4 cup (honey) or 1/2 cup (syrup)

Bake at 400F for 20- mins or until golden brown.

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