Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Good Eats Newsletter July 11th, 2012

Localvore Members 
& Regular Veggie Only Share Members
This week your bag will contain:
Mesclun Mix; Green Beans Mix; Beets; Zucchini; Carrots; Celery; Cucumbers; Napa Cabbage; Onions; & Sage
Localvore Offerings Include:
Aurora Farms Vt Organic White Flour   
Pa Pa Doodles Farm Fresh Eggs
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
Small Veggie Only Members
Mesclun Mix; Green Beans Mix; Beets, Zucchini; Carrots; Cauliflower; Garlic Scapes
Save the Date!
August 18th & 19th

Pete's Greens
Annual Farm Picnic &
Kingdom Farm and Food Days
See below for more information about this exciting annual event.
Pete's Musings
Farm is starting to click along on all cylinders. It is pretty amazing how long it takes to get really skilled at growing 40 or so different vegetable crops. And I wouldn't say that we are really skilled at all of them yet but we're getting better all the time. But it takes a constant commitment to education, analysis, considering new techniques, experimenting, and taking notes so you don't make the same mistakes twice. Really a lifelong challenge but I guess if it weren't a lifelong challenge it might get boring at some point.

Later this week we are seeding very large plantings of carrots and beets for winter storage. We were shy on carrots last winter but we don't plan to be this time around. Our onion and potato storage crops continue to be the finest we have ever grown and storage cabbages are being planted next week.  We're freezing zukes this afternoon for winter dispersal. All this preparation for winter and we've barely hit high summer!  That's farming in a season as short as we have here in Vermont.

Our greenhouses are doing well with a bumper crop of tomatoes. Most of the plants are now 14 ft. tall and will have to be lowered next week so that we can continue to trellis them. We're a little disappointed in how late our peppers and eggplant are, usually we have a good crop by now.  And we have the most gorgeous melon patch in a greenhouse that has not set a single fruit!  Bees and flowers everywhere but no fruit being set. Good example of a crop that will require more research this winter. Fortunately we have softball size melons fattening up outdoors.

In other news we enjoyed the epic "Milagro Beanfield War" projected onto the side of our building last Saturday night. Big screen, 20 ft. by 20 ft, think drive-in. One of the best movies ever made as it includes farming, poor people facing down rich people taking over their town, and a bulldozer going over a cliff.  It's an old enough movie that I think the bulldozer actually did go over the cliff. Anyway we'll probably be showing a movie every other Saturday night so stay tuned. ~Pete

Around the Farm
Storage and Use Tips
Most of you are probably pretty familiar with this week's offerings.  But there's a chance some among you aren't yet acquainted with these below.
Garlic Scapes - (Veggie Only Members) The curly soon-to-be-flowering-if-we-didn't-pick-them stalks that a garlic plant sends up at this time of year are a short season delicacy. With a mellow green but garlicky flavor, they can be eaten raw or cooked and are delicious added to many dishes. Add to stir fry recipes, pasta dishes, guacamole, salsas, vegetable dishes. They are also good in salads and on bruschetta & pizza and so many more ways.  You can also make a mild pesto with scapes.

Napa Cabbage - (Regular Veggie/Localvore Bag) The flavor of Napa cabbage is somewhat milder and a bit sweeter than that of regular green cabbage. It is delicious raw or cooked, and can be substituted for regular cabbage in most recipes. It is extremely popular in China partly because of its versatility.  It also keeps very well after chopping.  I will often prepare Napa salads in advance, slicing the Napa, shredding carrots and adding other stuff like radishes or salad turnips and then I'll put the whole thing in a bag in fridge.  Later when I want salad, I dress the mixture and eat.  The salad blend will keep fine like this for several days. Store uncut Napa heads in a sealed plastic bag in your refrigerator.
Sage - (Regular Veggie/Localvore Bag) This herb is very good in stuffings, beans, potatoes, risotto, cheeses, and tomato sauces and pairs well with fatty meats such as pork, sausage, goose, and lamb. Complementary flavorings include onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, parsley, bay leaf, and rosemary. Sage can easily overpower a dish. Use with a light hand when experimenting. Though it has a strong flavor, it is an aromatic and will lose some of its flavor when cooked, so for fullest flavor, add it at the end of the cooking process. Wrap in paper towels and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 4 to 5 days. Sage can also be preserved for later use by freezing freshly washed leaves in ziploc bags (they'll keep for about a year), drying (will be good for about 6 mos), or covering with olive oil and refrigerating (will be good about 3 weeks).
Veggie Storage and Use Tips are our website too, so please bookmark the recipe and storage tip section. I am sure you will find it useful.
Please share your comments about the veggie info you DON'T find, but wish was there!
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.
Save the Date!
Saturday August 18th is Pete's Greens Annual Farm Party
                    & Kingdom Farm & Food Days Too!

Please mark your calendar and join us in August 18th for our annual farm picnic.  Pete and others among us will be giving tours of the farm and our new building. We'll have some great live music. And we will cook up some great feast for the occasion!

We welcome CSA members, neighbors, friends, and anyone else to visit the farm and learn about what we do, how we grow, where we process and store vegetables.
Our farm event happens within the action packed weekend Kingdom Farm & Food Days
On Saturday many other nearby farms will be open to visitors.  The Craftsbury Outdoor Center will offer bike tours that begin and end at Pete's Greens (ending in time for the big picnic shindig).  The bike tour is routed along many other farms and food producers in our neck of the woods.  There's a shorter family length tour and a longer one from stronger riders. 
On Sunday August 19th the events continue at High Mowing Seeds.  High Mowing Seeds trials garden will be open for self-guided and hour-long guided tours throughout the day. There will be many workshops on seed saving, pest and disease identification, fermenting fresh vegetables, and more!

The New England Culinary Institute (NECI) will present an amazing array of locally produced food in Sunday afternoon’s Local Foods Showcase. This dinner has become very popular among visitors who know they will taste some of the finest Vermont-made food products and culinary delights prepared by NECI students and chef Ryan O’Malley.

Many more event details will be available in next couple weeks. 
Please mark your calendars and come out and join us for a great weekend celebrating Vt Agriculture.
Oustanding in the Field 2012 at Pete's Greens

Wednesday September 5th - Tickets on Sale now

For the last two years our farm has provided the scenic backdrop for an exquisitely beautiful, memorable meal prepared by Chef Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Wood Restaurant. Each year, the touring team at Outstanding in the Field make their way across North America, bringing their signature long community table to fields, gardens and vineyards near and far. The mission of the organization is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. Outstanding in the Field connects a passionate chef with a farm and then provides all the infrastructure to make a picture perfect meal happen in very rural or remote places.

We feel lucky that OITF staff and Eric conspired to make it happen again here at the farm.  Dining at Hen of the Wood is among my top dining experiences anywhere.  Having Eric and his outstanding crew prepare a meal as part of the Outstanding in the Field experience makes it that much more special.  A place at the table includes a five course meal with wine pairings, all gratuities, producer discussions, cocktails before dinner and a tour of our farm with Pete.

Tickets are available.
Visit the Outstanding in the Field website for event details or to order tickets.
Localvore Lore

Over the course of this share, you'll receive several types of flour. The Vermont Organic White Flour you are receiving this week was organically grown in Charlotte by Tom Kenyon at Aurora Farms (home of the Nitty Gritty Grain Company). Tom and Randy George of Red Hen Baking Company collaborated to grow this flour, and the first successful crop was harvested in the Fall of 2009 (after a couple failures in prior years). The quality of the flour and the success of the crop was worthy of celebration! Prior to the 2009 harvest, we had nothing like it available to us that was grown locally here in Vermont. It's a lower protein flour, more of an all purpose flour than a bread flour, though still with enough protein and gluten strength to bake breads (Red Hen's Cyrus Pringle bread uses this flour). I am thankful for the opportunity to have a good, very local organic white flour on hand to bake with, one that I know has been grown organically and that performs so well to boot. It is my go to flour for most dessert baking - cookies, brownies, cakes etc. I like the added nutrients of whole wheat flour, so I do mix this flour with others in most non-treat baking.  I mix it with whole wheat flour for bread and pizza dough, and with whole wheat pastry or a sifted wheat flour for muffins, pancakes and biscuits. There is a nice article in the Spring issue of Local Banquet about the partnership between Tom and Randy that brought this flour into existence for us to enjoy. Read the article here.  This year's wheat is still in the field.  We are hopefull that the weather will cooperate and give us another good harvest.  Personally, I'd be sad not to have this in my kitchen.
The eggs come from "the girls" at Pa Pa Doodles Farm of course.  This flock is lovingly tended by our own Deb Rosewolf.
Oh how I love the cheese in the share this week.  Every time I taste it after I have been away a while, I am reminded what a great cheese it is. Cabot Clothbound Cheddar is a multi award winning cheese, judged best cheddar in many competitions, including winning the American Cheese Society's Best in Show Award in 2006 besting some 940 other cheeses from around the country in that year's competition. And it has earned both a gold and silver medal at the World Cheese Awards taking home the title of the Best US Cheddar. The cheese starts out at the Cabot Creamery. Immediately after the wheels are unmolded from their cheddar hoops at Cabot, they are loaded into a truck and delivered to the Cellars at Jasper Hill. For the next 10-14 months they remain at Cellars, lovingly tended. During the aging process a bloomy rind is allowed to develop which flavors the cheese. The cave environment is carefully monitored to age the cheese perfectly. The result is a traditional English type cheddar, with a slightly craggly texture, and flavors that are both sweet and nutty.

Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta
This one comes from Bon Appetit anmd it's delicious every time.  Beet greens are combined with roasted beets, capers and feta in a Greek-inspired salad.  You can sub in goat cheese or blue cheese too if you don't have feta, or go cheese-less.

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (can get by with 2-3 TB)
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (balsamic ok too)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
7 medium-large beets (about 3 inches in diameter) with greens
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped drained capers
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
*substitutes -if you don't have feta,  blue or goat cheese will do, or skip cheese altogether
*optional - toasted chopped walnuts or pine nuts are excellent additions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk oil, vinegar and garlic in small bowl to blend. Season dressing generously with salt and pepper.

Cut green tops off beets; reserve tops. Arrange beets in single layer in 13x9x2-inch baking dish; add 1 cup water. Cover; bake until beets are tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Peel beets while warm. Cut beets in half and slice thinly. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in capers and 1/4 cup dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut stems off beet greens; discard stems. Wash greens. Transfer greens, with some water still clinging to leaves, to large pot. Stir over high heat until just wilted but still bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain greens; squeeze out excess moisture. Cool; chop coarsely.

Transfer greens to medium bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange beets in center of platter. Surround with greens; sprinkle with feta. Drizzle with any remaining dressing.
Zucchini Chile-Cheddar Mash
This recipe from EatingWell July/August 2011 creates a very tasty dish a lot out of a few very simple ingredients.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/4 pounds zucchini (2-3 medium), halved lengthwise and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained (or some salsa)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (even 2 oz is plenty to give good flavor)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion; stir to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in chiles and salt; cook until heated through, 1 minute more.

Transfer to a medium bowl. Mash a bit with a potato masher until chunky, not completely smooth. Stir in cheese and serve immediately.
Zucchini Cheddar Not Just for Breakfast Biscuits
Serve these tender delicious biscuits up with a big salad. From Andrea Chessman's Serving Up the Harvest.

2 cups shredded zucchini
1 tsp salt
4 ounces good quality bacon
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 TB baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp freshly grated ground black pepper
4 TB cold unsalted butter
1 cup grated Cheddar
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1.5 tsp lemon juice added)

Combine the zuc and salt in a colander and set aside to drain for 30 mins. Squeeze out any excess moisture and place in small mixing bowl. You should have around a 1/2 cup.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, around 10 minutes. Remove and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda and pepper into a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheese, bacon, and buttermilk to form a stiff dough.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured board and knead briefly till dough is a bit smoother. Pat out or roll out to 1" thick. Cut biscuits with 3" cutter or slice into squares and place on a baking sheet 1" apart.

Bake for 15 mins or until golden.
Spicy Asian Slaw with Napa Cabbage, Carrots & Ginger Dressing

This recipe Aadapted from Gourmet Magazine is a winner.  Such a flavorful dish, total crowd pleaser at potlucks and travels really well.  Don't worry if you don't have cilantro or even the scallions handy.  This salad is tasty all the same.  Great with toasted almonds too.

3 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp canola oil

1/2 tsp grated lime zest

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 serrano chile, seeded and membranes removed, finely chopped

1 small Napa cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices

1 1/2 cups grated carrots

4 scallions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, canola oil, lime zest, lime juice, and chile. Set aside.

Separate the cabbage leaves into a large bowl. Add carrots, scallions, and cilantro, and toss well.
Pour the dressing into the cabbage mixture and toss again. Let stand for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

No comments: