Thursday, April 19, 2012

Good Eats Newsletter - April 18th, 2012

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
 Mesclun Mix; Sweet Salad Turnips (a few of you will get Swiss Chard instead); Pac Choi; Mixed Potatoes; Yellow Storage Onions plus...
Frozen Corn
Frozen Whole Tomatoes
Localvore Offerings Include:
Elmore Mountain Farm & Sparrow Grits Bread
Amir Hebib Shiitake or Oyster Mushrooms
Butterworks Cornmeal
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Eggs
Good Eats
Summer Share
Join us for the most
diverse and delicious
Good Eats season. 
Reserve your share now! 
Payment checks for Summer won't be deposited
until  Jun 4th.
More information below
Add-On Localvore
& Meat Orders
Order your favorite localvore, pantry, bulk vegetables or meats any week and have them delivered to your pick-up location.
Pete's Musings
Nice spring, its so nice to be able to get field work done on a schedule, have enough warmth, ample moisture, crops are loving it. Garlic is leaping upwards, greenhouse cukes are setting a heavy load, kale and chard cranking in the greenhouses. We bought and modified some interesting used field equipment (cultivators and seeders) and they are really working great. Weed control is so important and everything has to be just right. Yesterday I was tine weeding kale that was transplanted a week ago. Tine weeders lightly scratch the soil surface and also scratch the kale plants. The plants have to be robust and well rooted enough to resist being pulled out of the ground by the tine. It takes about a week for the plants to root well enough, and in that time the weeds almost get large enough to not be thoroughly killed by the shallow scratching of the tine. But when you nail it it works great and leads to almost no hand weeding of the crop. Best ~ Pete
 Cucumbers in the Headhouse - planted late March, things grow fast in a greenhouse this time of year!
Storage and Use Tips
Mesclun Mix - every week our mesclun becomes more diverse.  This week you will find a mix of claytonia, lettuces, brassicas, mustards. 
Coleslaw - You'll receive a bag of slaw mix this week, just our own cabbage and carrots in the mix.  I have been loving having this in my fridge.  I toss a handful into every salad and in to so many dishes.  It's nice that it keeps for so long and goes in so many dishes.  Store in plastic bag in fridge for up to a week, maybe more.
Sweet Salad Turnips - Tender fresh dug Spring Turnips can be eaten cooked or raw.  Raw they are a tasty treat with a texture similar to a radish, but not so sharp. To cook very simply, just slice, dice, or quarter them and saute with butter or oil. Cook until just tender and still a little crisp. Just a little salt or maybe a little bit of vinegar is all they need. Cooked with butter and given a slight drizzle of honey and even picky little eaters may gobble them up. Don't forget the greens! Turnip greens are tender and flavorful. Chop and saute with the turnips for a side dish, or cook up with other greens, or by themselves. I often chop them and toss them into pasta sauces.  Be sure to remove the greens and store separately from the roots. Both can be kept loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Pac Choi - Also known as Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage this vegetable is most common in Chinese cuisine. Part of the cabbage family, it packs in nutrition with high scores for vitamins A and C and calcium. Pac Choi leaves and stems are mild enough to be chopped up for a salad, particularly if you give it a quick wilt in a hot pan. When leaves are more mature, they are more often served cooked. It's great in stir-fries. My favorite way to cook it, though, is to halve or quarter it lengthwise (depending on the size), brush it with olive or sunflower oil and throw it on the grill. Prepared this way, it makes an excellent and easy side. To prepare Pac Choi, use a chef's nice to make thin slices across from the bottom of the head up freeing the stalks as you do so. Wash the stalks to remove any trapped silt from between stalks. Although you can cook chopped leaves and stalks together in a dish it is nice to separate them when chopping so that you may toss them into a dish at seperate times allowing stalks to cook a little longer than leaves so that leaves aren't over cooked. Pac Choi should be stored in a plastic bag in the produce drawer of your fridge.
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 Tomatoes - We freeze tomatoes in the peak of summer when they are sweet and abundant.  They freeze very well, but keep frozen til ready to use.  To use, best to use when they are frozen or just off frozen, easier to handle this way.  If you run a frozen tomato under warmish water in your hand the skin will separate and come right off and you can pinch the top and bit of core out at the same time.  And then toss the fleshy tomato into the pan you are cooking in.  If you are looking for chopped tomatoes, just let them thaw a bit and chop away before they completely thaw and are to soft to handle
Please share your comments about the veggie info you DON'T find, but wish was there!
Watering Starts
Melissa and Iris watering starts in the hardening off house yesterday.  Isaac and Melissa both work on the farm, and Iris has the pleasure of a a very varied day.  Sometimes she seeds, sometimes she waters, and sometimes she fixes equipment with her Dad and even hangs out with the crew packing vegetables occasionally.  She is loving every minute and it's a delight having her with us every day. 
Reserve Your Good Eats Summer Share Now!
June 20th - October 10th, 2012
Summer share begins in just two months.  If you haven't signed up yet, it's time!  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.  Assistance is limited and already around half of the the available assistance has been used.  Don't delay getting an application into NOFA if this is a program you are interested in!
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.
Pete's Pastured Chicken
We raise some excellent chicken on our farm and they are available for just $3.50/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).
Localvore Lore
Andrew has just arrived from Elmore Mountain Bread with a load of freshly baked Farm and Sparrow Grits Bread for you all. Andrew had been thinking about making a bread with Butterworks Farm Cornmeal (which you are also getting in your share this week) using a recipe that their friend Dave Bauer of Farm and Sparrow Wood Fired Craft Bakery of Asheville, NC had shared with them. The end result is a hearth baked and hand shaped bread, very different from a classic corn bread. The ingredients are Milanaise Winter Blend, Gleason's Sifted Wheat, Butterworks Cornmeal, Sea salt and yeast.
Amir Hebib dropped of some freshly picked shiitake and oyster mushrooms grown at his place in Colchester today.  Such a treat, and so delicious. 
I expected we would have fresh greens for you this week, and I have been dreaming of polenta and greens, so along with the above you will also receive Butterworks Farm Early Riser cornmeal so you can cook yourselves up a yummy polenta, greens and mushroom dish.  And of course you can follow it up with cornbread later in the week.
You'll receive a dozen of Deb's eggs this week as well.

Polenta & Greens
Here's a basic modifiable recipe for polenta with greens.  I can imagine that some of you may be holding tight to your pac choi and may be unwilling to contribute them to a melange type recipe.  Great place to sub in the sweet salad turnip 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, could also use some salad turnips)

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.

Corn, Tomato, and Potato Curry
This recipe from Indian cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking s a bit different from the smooth curries we always think of. This curry turns corn and tomato into a dish entirely unfamiliar.  Served it with rice and plain yogurt.  Jaffrey's advice: make this curry "as hot as you can manage." The spicy, sweet, and sour flavors all contrast and compliment each other in this dish.  It does call for fresh herbs, but I just skip these this time a year.  There's plenty of deliciousness going on already.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium cooked waxy potato, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 fresh or frozen medium to large tomato, cut into 1/2 inch dice
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
1-2 fresh hot green chiles, or more to taste (cayennes or jalapenos from freezer!)
2 cups fresh corn kernels
3 ounces coconut milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
cayenne pepper, to taste

In a large (12-inch) non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of the cumin seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the garlic and potatoes. Cook, stirring often, until the potatoes turn golden.

Add the tomato, cilantro, mint, and green chile. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer, then add the corn and stir to combine. Add coconut milk, salt, and lemon juice. Stir and bring to a simmer, then cover and cook until the corn is cooked through.

In the meantime, toast the remaining cumin seeds in a dry skillet over high heat until fragrant and darkening in color, but not yet burned. Stir the toasted cumin seeds into the corn mixture and season with black pepper and cayenne to taste. Serve immediately.
We have put out so many slaw recipes...
Here's a link to some that have made their way to the recipe section of our website.
Tim make's his coleslaw with Butterworks maple yogurt, balsamic vinegar, a little drizzle of sesame oil, and sesame seeds.  Sounds pretty good.
Crown Pleasing Cornbread
I make this for my family all the time, probably nearly weekly.  The kids take it to school in lunchboxes, and it's great toasted for a snack.  It's sweeter than most cornbreads, but well, that's not so bad.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix together:
1.5 cups cornmeal
1.5 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup honey)
1 TB baking pwder
1 tsop salt
Then add:
2-3 TB melted butter
1.75 cups milk (or maybe 1.5 if using honey for sweetener)
Mix together, pour into a buttered 9 x 13 pan, and bake at 400F for 20-25 mins til knife comes out clean and golden brown around edges. 

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