Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Good Eats Newsletter - April 4th, 2012

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
 Winter Salad Mix; Red Russian Kale -or- Watercress; Red Cabbage; Carrots; Mixed Potatoes; Parsley Root; Yellow Storage Onions plus...
Tomato Puree
Localvore Offerings Include:
Elmore Mountain Bread
Frozen Wild Blueberries!
Pa Pa Doodles Eggs
Meat Share Members, this is a Meat Share week!
Pete's Pastured
Chicken Sale
For the rest of this week we are having a sale on our chicken - only $3.25 for flavorful, nutritious, pastured whole birds.  More info below.
Storage and Use Tips
Additional tips can be found at the website, see links below. 
The first greens of the season are here! 
Watercress (you will get either Red Russian kale 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.
Red Russian Kale (you will get either kale or watercress this week) -  Kale is in the super veggie club and is just about the healthiest vegetable you can eat. 1 cup packs 1300% of your daily requirements for Vita K, 200% of your Vita A, and nearly 100% of vita C, along with lots and lots more vitas and minerals.  Over 45 different flavonoids have been identified in kale that combine to provide both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It is now believed that kale offers risk-lowering benefits for five types of cancer including bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancer. It also has the ability to lower cholesterol (and for this purpose steaming is best). It is also now recognized that kale provides much support for your body's own detox system. We are lucky that it is also one of the longest season northern vegetables.  And what's more, it's tasty, so eat lots.
Parsley Root - The small root in your share this week that looks a bit like a parsnip or a sugar beet is actually Parsley Root.  Once you take a bite of this flavorful root you will be able to recognize it immediately in any setting. It has a sweet, fresh flavor reminiscent of parsley. We only grew a little bit this year, just for kicks, and had just a small amount to go round.   Some of you may have a few small roots and some may receive a portion of one large root. Parsley Root is great for shredding on top of salads or in coleslaw, gives soups a sweet, rich flavor or chop up and roast alongside your favorite roots crops. Store as you would parsnip in a sealed bag in the crisper drawer. 
This week's Tomato Puree is made in our kitchen solely from organic tomatoes cooked down and then canned. Store in your kitchen cabinet for up to one year or until you are ready to use.  Refrigerate after opening and use within a week.
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.  If we get your order by the end of this week, 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.  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.
Localvore Lore
We have a treat for you all this week!  Wild organic Maine blueberries from Merrill's Blueberry Farm in Ellsworth, Maine.  It's no small feat to get these blueberries here as there really is a kind of "can't get there from here" situation with trucking from downeast Maine blueberry country to Craftsbury.  But last week, it all just worked out and we finally secured some for you.  These are delicious, sweet small berries, perfect for all uses - pies, muffins, smoothies or just eating by the handful.  They will come to you frozen.  If they have thawed when you pick them up, put them back into the freezer.  They'll freeze solid again and you can still use them.  Todd Merrill and his family have been in the blueberry business for a long time.  They provide a great service to the Maine blueberry community by providing a place to clean, sort, freeze and store berries.  They are growers, but they themselves don't grow organically.  The organic berries come from local organic Maine growers including our friend Ben Perrin at Burke Hill Farm in Cherryfield, ME. 
At Elmore Mountain Bread, Blair and Andrew are baking us their Country French loaf today, baked with Ben Gleason's snake river flour and Milanaise winter wheat.  Yum!
It's an egg week again.  Have you checked out the video yet to see where your eggs come from?
Meat Share
North Hollow Ground Lamb - I am pleased to be able to get lamb back into the share.  It can be a challenge to get because there aren't that many producers who are raising enough lamb that they have a stockpile of cuts for us.  Mike and Julie were able to provide us with nearly enough ground lamb for the share this week.  They fell a bit short and a few of you will be the lucky recipients of lamb chops or lamb stew meat. 
North Hollow Beef Skirt Steak - This is a super flavorful cut of meat, and one you may not have had before.  The skirt steak comes from the diaphragm of the cow and it is a long, flat, thin muscle with a good amount of marbling.  It is known as fajita meat because of it's popularity for this use.  It does really well with quick, high heat cooking, only a couple minutes each side.  This is a great cut to cut into strips, marinate, and then toss into a fry pan for steak sandwiches, fajitas, stir fries, steak salads, etc.  Here's a good post about skirt steak with 5 great recipes for you to choose from.
Pete's Pastured Whole Chicken - we have some good sized chickens for you this month.  You will get a meal out of the bird, plus some good leftovers!
Applecheek Farm Andouille Sausage - Delicious organic pork and beef sausage this week from Applecheek Farm.  I really like their flavorful Andouille and am excited for you all to try it.  Pair with mashed or roast potatoes, carmelized onions and salad for a quick totally delicious meal.
Shepherd's Pie with Carmelized Onions and Cheddar Smash
From Cooking with Shelburne Farms.

For the Carmelized Onions
1.5 TB Olive Oil
1 lb Onions (about 3 medium), thinly sliced crosswise into rounds
1 tsp kosher salt

For the Potato Smash
1.5 lbs potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
2 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat of a knife
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 stick butter, cut into 4 pieces

For the Lamb Filling
1/2 TB olive oil
2 medium carrots, scrubbed trimmed and finely diced (about 1.5 cups)
1 lb ground lamb
3/4 tsp fresh thyme minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 TB flour
1/2 TB tomato paste (or ketchup)
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup grated cheddar

Make the carmelized onions (up to one week ahead):
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium hear. Add onions and turn heat down to medium low. Sprinkle onions with salt and cook, stirring frequently to make sure they brown evenly, for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Set aside.

Make the smashed potatoes (up to 24 hours ahead):
Place a colander in a pot large enough to accommodate it, fill pot with water to bottom of colander, add potatoes and garlic cloves and sprinkle them with salt. Cover, set over high heat, and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to active simmer and steam for 25-30 minutes until they break apart easily when poked. Remove colander from pot, pour water from pot, return potatoes and garlic to the pot. Cover with a clean dish towel and let potatoes dry out for about 5 minutes (but do not let them cool before mashing). Add the butter to the pot and use a potato masher to smash the potatoes and garlic until blended, but not smooth. Set aside.

Make the meat filling and finish pie:
In a large skillet set over med-high heat, heat olive oil until hot. Add diced carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until softened. Add lamb, thyme, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes until the meat is no longer pink. Pour off the fat and discard. Sprinkle flour over the meat and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Then stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer. Pour in the stock, along with half of the carmelized onions. Increase the heat to high and simmer until gravy thickens slightly.

Spread lamb into a shallow casserole or baking pan. Spread potatoes on top. Distribute the remaining carmelized onions over the potatoes, and then sprinkle the cheddar in top. Bake until top is golden and crusty, about 20 minutes.
Israeli couscous with greens and sun dried tomatoes
I have made variations of this dish often lately, in celebration of the new fresh farm greens.  It's a one pot fast meal, which I love.  Last night I made it with strips of skirt steak on the side and a fresh green salad.  Serves 2 very well as main dish.
In 3-4 quart sauce pan
Olive oil
1 medium to large onion
1 shallots if you have handy (skip if you don't)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic
4-6 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch chopped kale or watercress (swiss chard, mustard greens would be great too)
2 cups Israeili couscous
1 cups chicken broth (or veg)
2 cup water
parmesan cheese
Great dress options: feta, goat cheese, toasted pine nuts
Over medium heat, pour 2 TB olive oil into a 3-4 quart sauce pan.
Add onions and shallot and cracked peppers and simmer, lid on, til soft.  Then add garlic and sundried tomatoes and simmer for a minute or so more. Don't allow garlic to brown or burn.  Add 1/2 cup broth now and your chopped greens.  Add the couscous and stir to coat.  Then add the broth and water and bring to a boil, and then turn down to very, very low, or just turn off, leaving lid on.  (The classic way to do this is actually to add boiling liquid to dry couscous, but that would require a separate pot and this way works fine.)  Once the couscous has absorbed the liquid, grate parmesan cheese into the mixture and mix well, taste to adjust seasonings, and fluff with fork.  Serve top dressed with toasted pine nuts and a little crumbed goat cheese or feta.
Cabbage, Potato, and Tomato Soup

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 onion, chopped
3 potatoes, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped (substitute your minced celery root here)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 head cabbage, finely chopped
1 jar tomato puree
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook and stir the onion, potatoes, celery, and garlic in the melted butter until the onion and celery are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the water over the vegetable mixture; stir the chicken bouillon into the liquid until dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil; cook at a boil until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir the cabbage into the boiling liquid. Reduce heat to medium. Add the tomatoes with juices, ketchup, hot sauce, and Italian seasoning; stir to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer until the flavors have a chance to mix, about 15 minutes.

Roast chicken cooked with red cabbage and apples
Slow braised cabbage with meltingly smooth apples form a bed for a delicious roast chicken.  A scoop of mashed potatoes alongside will make a perfect evening meal.

1 whole chicken
1 head red cabbage (core removed and discarded and shredded)
2 tablespoons sunflower oil or olive oil
1 onion sliced
3 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
1/4 cup apple cider (or water)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup balasamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F/185C
Wash the chicken, pat dry and season it well with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the cabbage
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat and gently fry the cabbage, onions, garlic and apple slices until slightly softened, moving them in the pan to prevent burning (about 8 minutes)

Add the cider, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir well to make sure all the cabbage is coated. Place the chicken on top of the cabbage (I had half a lemon left over from something else I'd made so popped it into the cavity of the chicken to add a little extra flavour), put the lid on the Dutch oven and place in the oven for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

During this time the apples melt down and are creamy smooth, so you get a bite of the sweet cabbage and onions along with a lovely 'appley' taste. If there is too much liquid in the cabbage once the chicken is cooked you can remove the chicken to a plate and reduce the cooking liquid over high head on the stove top, don't let it dry out, it just needs to reduce and thicken a little.

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