Friday, March 30, 2012

Good Eats Newsletter - Mar 28th



This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
 
 Winter Salad Mix; Swiss Chard -or- Watercress; Carrots; Mixed Potatoes; Yellow Storage Onions plus...
 
Coleslaw
Frozen Corn
Frozen Broccoli -or- Sweet Peppers
 
Localvore Offerings Include:
Red Hen Bread
Taylor Farm Classic Gouda or Garlic Gouda
Vermont Soy Tofu
Pete's Applesauce
 
Pete's Pastured
Chicken Sale
 
For a brief time we are having a sale on our chicken - only $3.25 for flavorful, nutritious, pastured whole birds.  More info below.
 
 
Melissa, our Chief Germinator

This last little heat wave called for constant watering to maintain the hundreds (probably more like thousands) of seed trays that we have been seeding over the last two and a half months. Since the start of 2012, I have spent most of my working hours in the headhouse and greenhouse putting seeds into trays in preparation for this coming spring season.  I started in January with tomatoes needing grafting and just this week started to transplant these into our heated greenhouse.  From tomatoes I moved onto the alliums.  We have 850 trays with 128 plugs each of various varieties of onions and shallots that are green and ready to go out into the field whenever the weather really turns spring.  Last week after about 5 weeks in black plastic trays a bunch of mustards and Asian greens went into our unheated greenhouses.  For seeding, I use either a vacuum seeder that sucks the seeds onto holes on metal trays that are especially designed to fit our trays with 128 plugs or in some instances I put seeds in holes one by one.  Pete does much of the scattering of seeds for the items that we bunch such as basil, parsley, and red giant mustard.
 
This year is my second year working with Pete on crop planning. The importance of understanding the characteristics of all the varieties and the critical importance of timely planting all makes much more sense in year 2.  We started planning for the 2012 season back at the beginning of 2011 by making observations and taking notes on what, when, where, and how much we planted.  Last years cropping and these crop notes determine what we plant this year.  Before we ordered this years seed, we researched whether other varieties might be sweeter or hold up to disease pressure better.  Armed with all of this info, we adjusted the amounts of each of the varieties we will plant this year to make sure that we don’t have too much or not enough of each of them throughout the season.  This process of note taking, adjusting and planning will continue throughout the year.

With all the planning we do, there are still so many variables that we cannot control.  So, fingers crossed for a great growing season this year!   ~ Melissa
 
Melissa does most of her planting and planning with Baby Iris strapped to her back
or sitting in one of her baby seats patiently (mostly) looking on.
 
Hundreds of seed trays in headhouse last week.  By Friday, seedlings were being hauled out to harden off elsewhere or be planted.  Over the weekend, the soil in the headhouse was tilled and enriched.  The second photo shows calcium being tilled into the rich black earth.  On Monday, the greenhouse was tranformed (below) as Euro cukes and tomatoes took up residence (along with some happily co-existing seedlings).
 
Storage and Use Tips
 
I sent out a survey yesterday and many of you responded (thanks for the feedback).  The consensus was that most of you preferred the storage and use tip info to be right here, in the newsletter, rather than having to click through to tips on our website.  Thus, I will continue to put storage and use tip info in for veggies that are new to the share or unusual enough.  Additional tips can be found at the website.  Annie has been doing a great job re-tagging these so that you can find them more easily.
 
The first greens of the season are here! 
 
Watercress (you will get either watercress or Swiss chard this week) - This is a great flavorful mildly peppery green. There are many types of cress, but all of them may be eaten cooked or raw, and they all have variations of their mild peppery flavor. I absolutely love cress and when available I eat it as often as I can, putting it in salads and sandwiches or just on the side of my plate with a little oil and vinegar. Watercress is a very powerful antioxidant. A two year study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 determined that eating watercress daily can significantly reduce DNA damage to blood cells, which is considered to be an important trigger in the development of cancer. It is brimming with more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals. Gram for gram, it contains more iron than spinach, more vitamin C than oranges and more calcium than milk.
 
Swiss Chard (you will get either Swiss chard or watercress this week) -  A close relative to beets, the greens look very similar to beet greens. Like other greens, it is packed with the vitamins and minerals that are so hard to get in quantity in other foods. Chard is best eaten cooked but is fantastic raw in smoothies. You can use it as a substitute for many recipes that call for spinach or other greens. Store loosely wrapped in plastic in your crisper drawer.
 
Our shredded Coleslaw Mix is back again this week. It is made with our shredded cabbage and carrots. All you need to do is just add your favorite dressing!  There are quite a few slaw dressings on our website.  To find them visit our recipe page, and then once there, search for recipes using "slaw" as keyword.  Or try something other than slaw with your mix. Try tossing in a stir fry or a soup.  Deb served us simple Mexican cabbage rolls this week at farm lunch.  She simply sauteed the cabbage with a bit of cider vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper, then rolled it up in pan fried corn tortillas.  They were delicious alongside a carrot soup.  In yesterdays survey, the great majority of you liked receiving the slaw mix, so you will see it again in the coming months.  Some of you would like to see a finer shred, so we may work on that next.
 
Frozen Corn - We froze a lot of our beautiful organic corn last year. Once we had frozen some and sampled the end product, we decided our farm corn tasted so much better than frozen corn any of us had bought in stores that we resolved not to let any of our corn go to waste. We put away plenty so that we could send it out once a month over the winter. To reheat, just bring some water to a boil in a pot and throw in a handful of corn (you can saw off chunks of frozen if you don't want to use the whole thing). Heat for 2-4 minutes and then drain and serve, with a bit of butter. If you have kids they will be especially pleased! 
 
Frozen Broccoli - Our frozen broccoli was blanched for a minute or two in our kitchen before cooling and freezing.  It is not a substitute for fresh broccoli in salads or places where you really need the veggies to be crisp.  But they are fantastic for pastas, burritos, casseroles, quiches, soup etc. To reheat, bring some water to a boil in a pot and put in all or a part of the bag of broccoli (you can saw off chunks of frozen if you don't want to use the whole thing). Heat for 2-5 minutes, testing each minute after 2 minutes to see if it has reached the tenderness you seek.
Some sites will get Frozen Red or Green Peppers intead of the Broccoli.
 
 
Claytonia and Shoots Salad
 
 
Please share your comments about the veggie info you DON'T find, but wish was there!
 
Pete's Pastured Chicken Special!
 
We raise some excellent chicken on our farm.  For a short time, you can fill your freezer at $3.25/lb (normally $3.75/lb).
Our chickens live a charmed chicken existence roaming the fields and eating endless green forage to their hearts delight. Earlier, when they are too young yet to go outside, they are the happy recipients of lots of the veggie greens  that come from the washhouse.
 
The nutrients in all the forage they consume is stored in their meat making this meat far more nutritious than most chickens you can find out there in the marketplace.

"Free range" is the the term used to describe chickens that have access to sunlight and fresh air. Sadly though, most free range chickens on the market never taste a blade of grass. They are housed in barns with access to a small area outside that they can visit (usually very overgrazed dirt lot). Free Range is far better than the industrial model which maintains a much higher animal density, feeds lots of antibiotics, and gives animals no access to outside at all. But pastured poultry is far and away the healthier (for human and bird alike) and conscientious choice.
 
Visit the homepage of our website to order a meat order form.  You can order chickens and other meats here.  Meat orders are delivered every Wednesday to CSA sites EXCEPT the first Wed of each week (because these are meat share weeks).
 
 
Reserve Your Good Eats Summer Share Now!
June 20th - October 10th, 2012
 
Our Summer Share spans three seasons of vegetable production on the farm.  In June we will start out with tender salad greens, fresh basil, European cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh picked zucchini, spring salad turnips, Napa Cabbage, Asian greens, chard and lots more spring vegetables.  And then come all your summer favorites like peas, beans, carrots, sweet peppers, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, sweet corn and much more!  During the summer growing season we'll provide you with over seventy varieties of locally grown vegetables with unique flavors, colors and shapes as well as all the summer staples you are familiar with.
 
Four Share Types for Summer:
Veggie Only - delivers a weekly delivery of fresh, organic veggies from the farm.
Localvore Share delivers the same fresh vegetables and wonderful local staples and artisan products to fill your pantry. 
Pete's Pantry Share - just the localvore products, no veggies
Meat Share - delivers a monthly selection of local, pastured meats
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Join now and be rewarded with a healthy, local and delicious season of Good Eats!
 
 
 
 
NOFA-VT Farm Share Program
If you are on a limited income and wish to join Good Eats this Summer, visit the NOFA-VT website to learn more about the Farm Share Program.  You may be eligible for assistance.
 
 
 
Changes to Your Delivery?
If you will be away some upcoming week, and need to make changes to your share delivery, let us know at least 1 week before the change. You can have your share donated to the Food Pantry, or you can skip your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.
 
 
Localvore Lore
 
At Taylor Farm, the Wright family make award winning Gouda and Vermont's only Gouda and it is truly outstanding. Their cheeses are traditionally made using milk from their 50 cows on their 180 acre farm in Londonderry, VT.  This week we have a mix going to each site, you can choose between their classic gouda and their garlic flavored.  This cheese is great for snacking, sandwiches, and it melts beautifully for cooking.
 
Vermont Soy's Artisan Tofu is produced right down the road from us in Hardwick, Vermont. Tofu is a fermented soy product, high in protein and rich in calcium. Todd Pinkham and Andrew Meyer have a long history with soybeans, Todd focusing on vegetable soy food production and Andrew having grown soybeans for animal feed on his family's dairy farm. They work together to produce one of the highest quality organic tofu products available. They try to use as much locally grown soybeans as possibly for production and use traditional fermentation methods when processing their product. Although tofu can be eaten raw, it is best used with seasonings and marinades as it soaks up flavor. Before using, wrap tofu block in a very clean cotton or linen kitchen towel and squeeze the excess moisture out.
 
Tonight at Red Hen Baking Company they are baking us fresh loaves of Cyrus Pringle bread. This bread has been a long time in the making. Back in the 1850s, 40,000 acres of cropland from the Champlain Valley to Orleans County were sown with wheat. Less than 2 dozen farms grow wheat today. A few years ago, Tom Kenyon of Aurora Farms in Charlotte began trying to grow a variety of wheat originally bred in VT by Cyrus Pringle, a botanist who was considered the father of wheat breeding. After failed crops two years in a row, last Fall he had success and brought in a great crop of Vermont organic white flour. With slightly lower protein, Randy wasn't sure the flour would make it as bread flour, but he was soon proved wrong and he's been baking Cyrus Pringle bread ever since. In addition to the Aurora Farms white flour, the bread contains Ben Gleason's whole wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast. This is an all VT flour bread!
 
Pete's Applesauce - Nothing more than cooked down Champlain Orchards apples, our sauce is all natural sweetness. In addition to an easy and delicious side, applesauce can be used as a substitute for sugar in some baked goods and take the starring role in an applesauce cake. The applesauce will come to you frozen. Keep frozen til you are ready to use it.  It's delicious and makes a great addition to the lunch box.
 
 
 
 
Recipes
 
 
Cabbage and Potato Casserole
I know you all probably have a cabbage hanging around and the gouda would be perfect for this delicious dish. If you use an oven-safe pan it becomes a one-pan meal.  Use the bacon or pancetta for extra flavor, substitute in sausage for a heartier dish, or leave out the meat for a delicious vegetarian dinner.

1 to 2 Tbsp. butter
2 oz. bacon or pancetta chopped or 4 oz. bulk or country sausage (optional)
1 head green cabbage
1/2 lb. potatoes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or broth
1 tsp. coarse grain or country mustard
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly shredded melting cheese such as Gruyère, Swiss, or Gouda

Preheat oven to 375°F.
 
Melt butter in a large oven-proof frying pan or stove-proof baking dish over medium heat. Add pancetta, bacon, or sausage, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked through and browned.

Meanwhile, remove and discard first layer or two of cabbage leaves. Cut cabbage in half lengthwise, remove and discard core, and chop.  Add cabbage to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes into small bite-size pieces. Add to pan. Stir cream or broth, mustard, and pepper to combine. Add to pan and stir to combine.

Sprinkle mixture with cheese, cover, and bake 15 minutes.  Uncover and cook until bubbling and browned, about 10 more minutes.  Let rest a few minutes before serving.
 
Crunchy Vietnamese Cabbage Salad With Pan-Seared Tofu
Though I often omit herbs I don't have on hand, for this recipe, if you can pick up a bunch of cilantro, it really will add a lot.  And don't forget the peanuts and fish sauce if those aren't in your pantry.  Most everything else you probably have on hand or can do without.  Use your frozen jalapenos here (from a few weeks ago).
 
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
Zest and juice of 1 lime (can use a splash of lime juice)
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 tablespoons peanut oil (can use canola)
1/2 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into slabs, 3/4 inch thick
6 cups shredded cabbage (you can grate anew or use your slaw mix)
1 large carrot, grated
1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted, salted peanuts, plus more to serve
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more to serve.
 
To make vinaigrette, whisk together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce, lime zest and juice, jalapeño and garlic. Whisk in 3 tablespoons peanut oil.
 
Pat the tofu dry with paper towels. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick. When it shimmers, add the tofu. Cook 3 minutes without moving, until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce. Move the tofu to a cutting board, and brush both sides of each slice generously with this mixture. Cut tofu into bite-size pieces.
 
In a large bowl, toss together tofu, cabbage, carrot, peanuts, cilantro and vinaigrette. Garnish with more peanuts and cilantro.
 
 
Panfried Tofu with Sesame Watercress

Here's a terrific sounding tofu and Watercress recipe adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl. Feel free to mix in other greens, such as mizuna, mustard, etc. Serves 2 as a main course, easily doubles.


 
1 TB sesame seeds

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 clove garlic minced
1/4 c orange juice

2 TB soy sauce

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 block tofu
2 1/2 TB oil

1 bunch Watercress, coarsely chopped

2 tsp honey


 
Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet until golden brown. Set aside.


Combine ginger, garlic, orange juice, soy sauce and sesame oil in a sauce pan. Simmer gently for 1 minute.


 
Place tofu on a clean towel, cover with another, and press gently but firmly to remove excess moisture. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices along the short end. Heat 1 TB oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Brown tofu on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
 
Heat remaining 1 1/2 TB oil in same skillet add cress raab and honey, saute until cress is crisp tender, tossing frequently.

Transfer watercress to plates, arrange tofu slices on top, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
 
Sauteed swiss chard
As a side dish, I like swiss chard perhaps more than spinach. Which is saying a lot since I love spinach. For a quick side dish, try braising it one of two ways.
 
Garlic & vinegar
Put a little olive oil or butter, 1-2 cloves of minced garlic & half of a small minced onion in a saute pan and allow the garlic to cook a bit and soften. Put in the chopped chard and cover tightly and let cook until wilted (if there's not enough moisture add a TB or so of water). Once chard has just wilted, add a sprinkle of apple cider vinegar or balsamic and black pepper and serve.
 
Garlic and Sesame
Or, add a bit of vegetable oil to the pan. Add the clove of minced garlic. Then add the chopped chard and cover and let cook until wilted. Then sprinkle with rice vinegar and a few drops of toasted sesame oil and maybe a teeny bit of soy if you want stronger flavor. Yum.
 
Vegetable Casserole with Tofu Topping
Adapted from a recipe at epicurious.com.  You can use your frozen broccoli here, and could add in your greens if you could part with them.  You could use some shredded cabbage in place of the kale in this recipe too with great results.
 
For vegetables
2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced lengthwise
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb broccoli, cut into 1 flowerets, stem chopped into 1/2 cubes
1 lb kale, stems and center ribs removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 lb carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

For topping
1 1/2 cups fine fresh or dried bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat
7 oz firm tofu
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons dried basil, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon paprika
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a deep 12- to 14-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate and add broccoli, kale, carrots, broth, soy sauce, and salt. (Skillet will be full, but volume will reduce as vegetables steam.) Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a 13- by 9-inch glass baking dish.

Pulse all topping ingredients together in a food processor until combined well. Alternatively, mash ingredients together in a large bowl with a potato masher. Sprinkle tofu mixture over vegetables in baking dish and bake, uncovered, until topping is golden brown and vegetables are heated through, 15 to 20 minutes.
 

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