Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Eats Newsletter-September 7, 2011

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
Mixed Potatoes; Garlic; Dill; Green Peppers; Cayenne Peppers; Eggplant; Celery; Head Lettuce; Artichoke, Bright Lights Chard or Bunched Dandelion Greens; Walla Walla Sweet Onion....

and Cauliflower (Romanesco, Cheddar or White!)


Localvore Offerings Include:
Elmore Mountain Whole Wheat Sour Dough Bread
Jasper Hill's Bailey Hazen Blue Cheese
Champlain Orchard's Gala Apples


Pete's Musings
It's been an interesting week in the Vermont vegetable farming world, post Irene. At Pete's Greens we lost 6 acres of vegetables to the storm-baby greens, fall cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli, fennel and a few other odds and ends. We have one field that borders the Black River and I think we'll probably put it into pasture and not raise vegetables there in the future. But our losses were relatively minor compared to some farms in the State. I visited Dog River farm in Berlin on Saturday where nearly everything went underwater and the story from Harlow Farm in Westminster to the Intervale in Burlington is similar. Lots of flooded crops and a confusing process to decide whether any flooded crops can be sold.

Sorry we don't have any baby greens again this week. It is looking like they will be back next week though the strong thunderstorms and brief hail we experienced yesterday and rain the past 18 hours have not helped.

The Vermont Farm Fund, a cooperative venture of Pete's Greens and the Center for Agricultural Economy, is offering interest free loans to farms that were hurt by Irene. Learn about the Fund and consider making a donation at our website.

Thanks for doing your best to support businesses hurt by the flooding. Farms, stores, restaurants - many have suffered and the best support is helping them to clean up and being a loyal customer. ~ Pete

Prepping for Good Eats Packing Tuesday

Storage and Use Tips

Dill - Dill is a tasty addition to dips, dressings, sauces and soups. Dill is an easy herb to preserve and use throughout the winter. The best way to dry this herb is to use a de-dehydrator set 95-105F for 1-3 hours. At these temperatures the most amount of aromatic compounds are preserved. Of coarse if you do not have a dehydrator (I don't) you can always use the oven. I use baking sheets and lay the dill single layered on the sheet and make one layer in the oven. I use the lowest setting, usually 200-225F and stick a wooden spoon in the door to reduce the temperature. It usually takes around 10-20 minutes depending on the humidity level in the air. The dill should be dry and brittle when completely dry. I strip off any large stems and then put in the food processor to chop or use a mortar and pestel. Store in air tight jars or sealed plastic bags for an extended amount of time.

Garlic - This week's garlic Comes from Bob and Cindy Maynard's farm Green Mountain Garlic in Waterbury, VT. It is a mix of German Extra Hardy and Music. Both of these are Porcelain types and some may say they are actually the same variety. In essence there are 9 main genetically different strains of garlic, the various varieties out there are more than likely variations of the same strain grown under different conditions. Perhaps you will be able to tell the difference. This garlic is fresh garlic and has not been cured for long term storage. There are many ways to store garlic, fresh garlic is best stored in the butter compartment of your fridge for 1-2 weeks, if left in the open section of your fridge for an extended period it will probably sprout. You can also keep in a dry, dark place, a paper bag usually works well, but do not forget about it. You can also make dried garlic or garlic powder using a dehydrator. Cut garlic into thin slices and dehydrate at recommended temperature, reconstitute dry slices in warm liquid or crush in food processor. If you go through lots of garlic in your household, you can stock (including seed garlic) by ordering through their website.

Artichoke -Artichokes are a member of the aster family of flowers. The globe artichoke is delicious but it is also rated one of the top vegetables for health. It is low in calories but delivers significant fiber, protein magnesium and potassium content. But most importantly it contains many different antioxidants, all with different health supporting attributes. It's particularly good at aiding liver function and easing digestion. If you have never prepared and artichoke, there's a bit of a process but it's fun, and they are pretty easy once you get started. See the recipe section for tips. Store your artichokes in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.

Dandelion Greens - Yes this is the same old dandelion that you have had in your yard all summer long. This particular variety has been bred to have long, large emerald green leaves that can be used as a salad green when young or as a braising green when older. Dandelion is in the chicory family and has the same bitter flavor that most endives are known for. As a baby green, it has not yet developed this flavor but as the plant matures the bitter compounds are accentuated. In order to fully appreciate the dandelion green it is important to cook them in a small portion of salted water separately from all other ingredients, strain and season to taste. Then again you can add it to other dishes as you would any other cooking green, they will just have a stronger flavor than say, spinach. Greens should be bagged and stored in the fridge for 7-10 days.

Cayenne peppers - Cayenne pepper also known as cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper or in its powdered form simply as red pepper is a red hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes. The fruits are generally dried and ground. There are many ways to dry cayenne peppers. The fastest and most effective way is to use a dehydrator or an oven. You can dry the peppers whole or cut them lengthwise and remove the seeds. The seeds and the white ridges that hold the seeds in place have the highest amount of capsacin which is the compound that makes hot peppers hot. By removing these from the pepper you will reduce the heat, but be careful as the capsacin oil will quickly adhere to your skin and become irritating. Cayenne peppers can also be dried outside in the sun. Simply lay them on a flat surface and be sure to protect from moist cool conditions. The simplest way and my favorite is to simply string with a thread and needle throughout the stem and hang in your kitchen. It may take a few days or a week to completely dry or longer in humid conditions. Dried peppers can be stored for years under dry conditions but best used within a season.

Good Eats Fall/Winter Share

Sign Up Now to Reserve Your Share!

Are you ready for winter? We have been working hard here all summer in order to bring you a fabulous selection of Vermont's best winter produce and food staples to keep you healthy and happy through the darkest days of the year.

The Fall/Winter Veggie Only Share is designed to give you something fresh and green each week as well as a selection of stored, frozen or processed crops from the summer. Our newly re-assembled on-farm kitchen has allowed us to process and freeze many items for the winter veggie share like corn, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, spinach and maybe even watermelon (yes watermelon!). We'll have a mix of summer and fall vegetables into November. Hardy greens and some other cold tolerant field crops will be included well into December, and then the later weeks of the share will feature more storage favorites like potatoes, carrots, onions, winter squash and cabbages along with the our winter greens mix and frozen summer goodies. Join the Localvore Share and, in addition to your vegetables, receive eggs, cheeses, staples and other locally produced value added products from Pete's Greens and other great businesses around the area. And for the kind hearted carnivores out there check out our Fall/Winter Meat Share including Pete's Pastured meats and sustainably produced meats and seafood from the area.

Check our website for more details about Fall/Winter Share details, pricing, pick-up locations and sign up information.

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.

Localvore Lore

For this week's share Blair and Andrew from Elmore Mountain Bread are trying something new, it is a 70/30 Whole Wheat Sourdough loaf. Andrew says "This summer we attended the Kneading Conference in Maine, where we got to meet many other bread bakers. The conference focused on baking good bread, especially using natural leavening, local wheat, whole grains and wood fired ovens. I was inspired by other bakers to make a whole wheat loaf that is hearty and flavorful, but not heavy and sour. We came up with a 70/30 bread that is made with 70% Milanaise whole wheat, 30% Milanaise white winter blend, spring water, sourdough and sea salt."

In case you have forgotten how good Jasper Hill Farm's Bayley Hazen Blue is, you are in for a real treat. After being unavailable to Good Eats for over one year (their production was maxed) we are happy to offer this special treat once again. This cheese receives regular rave reviews like this one from Cynthia Zarin who described Bayley Hazen Blue for the New Yorker Magazine this way “It was tangy, sweet, creamy, velvet on the tongue, the most delicious blue cheese I’d ever tasted." Bayley Hazen Blue is named after a road running through the Northeast Kingdom. The road was built and named after two Revolutionary War generals Bayley and Hazen, who were stationed along the Canadian Front. Jasper Hill summarizes this delicious cheese as follows. "The paste of a Bayley Hazen is drier than most blues and the penicillium roqueforti takes a back seat to an array of flavors that hint at nuts and grasses and in the odd batch, licorice. Though drier and crumblier than most blues, its texture reminds one of chocolate and butter."

We are very excited to be able to provide Gala apples from Vermont's very own Champlain Orchards in Shoreham. Gala apples in general are excellent for fresh eating and baking. They have a firm, crisp flesh and honey sweet flavor. It is almost impossible to produce commercial apples organically due to the pest and disease issues present in our region. Champlain Orchards grows what they call "apples with a conscience" using integrated pest and disease management as much as possible.

Meat Share

Have you ever had Applecheek Farm's Pasture Raised Veal Andouille? Well here is your opportunity to try some of the best tasting veal product available and ethically produced to boot. Pasture raised veal calves are raised alongside their mothers in open pasture, under the sun and with access to clean air and fresh water before they are brought to harvest at about the same time lambs are traditionally slaughtered. Thanks to the renaissance of truly traditional and sustainable farming practices humanely raised veal is increasing in availability. The sausages have a nice amount of pep and as a fully smoked product you can enjoy them hot or cold.

This week's share also brings you North Hollow Farm's Grassfed Strip Steak. Strip steak is a cut of beef cut from the short loin, and consists of a muscle that does little work, and so it is particularly tender, though not as tender as the nearby rib eye or tenderloin. When still attached to the bone the strip steak becomes a T-bone or Porterhouse. Strip steaks have an intermediate amount of fat and can be replaced for rib eye, tenderloin, t-bone or porterhouse steaks in most recipes.

Also included are Pete's Pastured Whole Chicken, Pete's Hot Italian Sausage, and Maplewind Farm Sandwich Steak or Stew Beef. This week half the sites will get sandwich steak and the other half Maplewind stew beef (the reverese of what you received last month).

Recipes

Dandelion Greens
Cooked and sauteed with chopped onion, minced garlic, chile pepper


1 pound dandelion greens
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 whole small dried hot chile pepper, seeds removed, crushed
1/4 cup sunflower oil (or another cooking oil)
salt and pepper

Wash greens well, cut leaves into 2-inch pieces. Cook greens uncovered in small amount of salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Sauté onion, garlic, and chile pepper in sunflower oil. Drain greens and add to onion, garlic and pepper mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Recipe for dandelion greens serves 4.


Steamed Artichokes
The simplicity of the steamed artichoke makes this an everyday delicacy. It pairs perfectly with drawn butter or your favorite dipping sauce.

1 large artichokes
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Bring 1" of water to a boil over high heat in a saucepan. Place a small rack or steaming basket in bottom of pot. Using a serrated-blade knife, cut off the stems of the artichokes so that they sit flat. Cut off top third of artichokes. Using kitchen shears, trim the pointed tops from the leaves. Transfer artichokes to the saucepan and sprinkle with salt, cover and steam over medium-high heat until tender, about 40 minutes. Serve with drawn butter or your favorite dipping sauce, if you like.


Andouille Sausage and Greens

3/4 pound Swiss chard
1/2 pound Andouille sausage, quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup water


Cut out center ribs and stems from chard, then thoroughly wash, along with leaves, in several changes of cold water. Cut ribs and stems crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces and coarsely chop leaves. Remove chard stems and midrib from leaf. Chop chard into 1/4 inch strips and coarsely chop remaining leaves. Cook sausage and chard stems and mid-ribs over moderate heat, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chard leaves, water, and red-pepper flakes and simmer, partially covered, until chard stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and stir in sausage. Add potatoes, pasta or rice if desired.

Italian Cauliflower
Here's Heather's favorite quick Italian cauliflower dish. This is best when the cauliflower is just tender, not mushy. Put a couple of sausages on the grill and toss a salad. There's dinner. Serves 4.

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
3 TB oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 TB vinegar
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes
minced Italian flat parsley

Heat oil in a wide deep skillet and saute onion until translucent. Add cauliflower and a couple tablespoons of water. Continue cooking and stirring often. When cauliflower and onion begin to brown a bit, add the vinegar. Cover and cook until vinegar cooks off. Stir in tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, pepper flakes, and parsley. Simmer covered until cauliflower is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes

Dilled Potatoes Vinaigrette
Adapted from a recipe found at epicurious.com. Serves 4.

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider or white-wine vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons dry vermouth or dry white wine
3 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
2 scallions, chopped
lettuce for serving

Place whole potatoes in a steamer set over boiling water. Steam them, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until they are just tender. When cool enough to handle, slice crosswise into 1/3 thick rounds. In a bowl whisk together the mustard, the vinegar, the vermouth, and salt to taste, add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. Add the potatoes while they are still warm to the dressing and toss them gently with the dressing, dill, scallions and pepper to taste until they are coated well.

Let the potato mixture stand, tossing it occasionally, for 30 minutes and serve it at room temperature a top mesclun or lettuce leaves torn into pieces. The potato mixture may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Let the potato mixture return to room temperature before serving.


Strip Steak and Blue Cheese Butter
A steak this beautiful did not need anything to make it better, but the blue cheese butter added a tang that complemented the beef without overpowering it, creating a pleasing layer of depth to the meal. Taken from Saveur.com.

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons blue cheese
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 small garlic glove, minced
Strip steak
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Season the steaks liberally with salt and pepper and allow it to come to room temperature while preparing the grill. Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. While the charcoal is lighting, mix the butter, blue cheese, shallot, parsley, and garlic together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on one side of the charcoal grate, keeping the other side empty. Scrub and oil the grill grate. Grill the steaks directly over the coals for 6 minutes on each side, with the tenderloin portion of the steaks always facing the cooler side of the grill. Move the steaks to the cool side of the grill with the bone side facing the fire. Cover and continue to cook until desired doneness (about 6 additional minutes for medium-rare), flipping halfway through cooking. Remove steaks from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Top each steak with the blue cheese butter mixture and serve.



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