Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Good Eats Newsletter - July 10, 2013

Localvore Members 
& Regular Veggie Only Share Members

This week your bag will contain:

Mesclun; Tomatoes; Euro Cucumber; Napa Cabbage; Pac Choi; Broccoli; Onions; Basil (look for the basil bunch in your mesclun bag!); New Potatoes

Localvore Offerings Include:

Organic Black Beans
 Jasper Hill Alpha Tolman Cheese

Small Veggie Only Members
take a YELLOW BAG containing:

Mesclun; Tomatoes; Napa Cabbage; Pac Choi;
Onions; New Potatoes

We are still accepting late starts to Good Eats! 

If you have a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member who
may be interested in joining for the remaining weeks of the share,
they can email us to find out their pro-rated amount or sign up here.

Pete's Musings

An amazing thing happened the last 2 days. Really amazing. It was predicted that we might get rain and IT DID NOT RAIN. Not a drop.  This has allowed us to actually get some field work done without it being a mad rush before the next storm. It feels strange, like somehow we might get lazy if we don't have to do everything focused on when the next monsoon will arrive. Forecast is looking like we might be through the wettest of it. I'm very grateful for the heat the past several weeks and the predicted heat for at least the next 10 days. If it had been cold and rainy our farm would be in very tough shape.

But most veggies love this weather. Low 80's, humid, plenty of soil moisture but not too much. It's ideal for alot of things but all the humidity in the air does encourage leaf fungus and bacteria problems. A lot of our leased land is up on the hills around our home farm. Those fields get alot of breeze and are cooler than the home farm which sits in the Black River Valley. Cooler temps and more air movement help to keep greens in good condition even when it's hot and humid.

Is there a finer plant than a potato? Tomorrow you will receive new Red Norland potatoes in your share. Planted just 10 weeks ago these pink gems roll out of our sandy soil clean and bright. Trouble free, vigorous, well suited to our climate and even the extreme rain of this spring and early summer, I love growing and eating potatoes. Our storage crop is looking really fine as well. Potato leafhopper is a small insect that can do severe damage to potatoes in just a few days. They winter in Louisiana and ride storm winds north every summer. We've seen a few in our potato patch and a few weeks ago thought we might have to spray them with Pyganic, an organic insecticide made from an extract from flowers in the Daisy family. But it seems that healthy soil and good growing conditions have won out as I haven't seen a leafhopper in days, and the crop is thriving.
Thanks for joining us this share and happy summer! ~Pete

Beautiful potato field on Jun 25

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.

Storage and Use Tips

Tomatoes are here!  Store your tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. An aerated basked it ideal. Please don't refrigerate your tomatoes. According to the Penn State Agricultural Magazine, "A tomato will lose its aroma and flavor after just 40 minutes in the refrigerator." If you've sliced open a tomato and find yourself with a piece that you won't use in the next few hours, you can refrigerate this portion. I find the best way to store these left over pieces is cut-side-down in a small bowl. But, use it quickly before it gets mushy and looses all its flavor.

Your tomatoes will be either red or heirloom tomatoes and will be packed separately from your veggies in a brown bag.  Please take just one bag of tomatoes and enjoy.

Euro Cucumber - these long, skinny cucumbers are Pete's favorite on the farm.  In an ideal world they like to be kept at about 50 degrees or they may go soft in a couple days.  I keep mine bagged and toss them in the crisper drawer and they keep a few days longer than that.  But this time of year, they get eaten too fast and storage isn't an issue.  We ran a little short on these cukes so you may receive 2 smaller slicing cukes instead.

Napa Cabbage - also known as Chinese cabbage, 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. A head of Napa Cabbage in the fridge lends itself to a wide variety of meal options, from salads and slaws, to sandwich greens, stir fries, soup additions, and more. Nearly all of the head can be used, just not the tough center core. If your Napa sits a while in the fridge and some leaves are limp, you can refresh it with a good soak in cold water. Napa cabbage should be stored unwashed in your crisper drawer, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. 

Pac Choi - A member of the brassicas family along with cabbage and kale, pac choi (aka bok choy or Chinese cabbage) originated in China, where it has been grown for over 1500 years. It was introduced into the US during the late 19th century by Chinese immigrants. Part of the cabbage family, it packs in nutrition with high scores for vitamins A and C and calcium. Pac Choi is mild enough to be chopped up for a salad, particularly if you give it a quick wilt in a hot pan. It's also great in stir-fries and sautes and in asian soups (and other soups too).  As leaves become more mature they are more often served cooked. Pac Choi has a mild flavor. The leaves taste similar to Swiss chard and the stems (called ribs) are deliciously crispy and can be substituted for celery in recipes. We grow both purple and green varieties. My favorite way to cook it 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. Store pac choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

Broccoli - there's not a whole lot to say about this powerhouse veggie!  Try blanching the broccoli for a scant 1 to 2 minutes in boiling water or steam for about 2 minutes.

You'll find your Basil packed in the mesclun bag.  Please take the basil out of the bag before storing in the fridge to preserve it longer.  This marvelous herb is a member of the mint family. It is a staple in Mediterranean cooking as well as Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian. The herb is highly aromatic, or put another way, the oils in basil are highly volatile. Thus, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor. Basil should be kept refrigerated wrapped in damp paper towels and in a plastic bag or kept stems down in a glass of water with plastic over the leaves for about a week with regular water changing.

In addition to being just plain delicious, basil has numerous health benefits. The essential oils have proven to be an effective antibiotic for a number of antibiotic resistant bacteria strains. The oils in basil also have some amount of anti-inflammatory ability which is currently being researched.

There are 2 varieties of spring onions this week - a bunch of large onions or a bunch of smaller onions (you will get one or the other).  The large onions are very versatile and can be used in anything.  The smaller onions are great cooked whole; just peel and throw in the pan.  Both sizes are super fresh, sweet and tender.

The Red Norland Potatoes that Pete mentioned above are gorgeous.  The skin is very delicate and some of the skins may be a little torn but that won't affect the taste.  These potatoes are so fresh they don't need a long cooking time - just the lightest cooking is all they need to be tender and flavorful.

Veggie Storage and Use Tips are on our website too, so please bookmark the recipe and storage tip section.  I am sure you will find it useful.

Localvore Lore

This week we have organic Black Turtle Beans for you.  Our Vermont bean growers were out of black beans and we sought to be able to include them regularly until this Fall's harvest. These organic beans come from the Potenza Farm in NY.  Please give your beans a rinse in water and scan for little rocks/stones!  There may be a few.  The black turtle bean has a dense, meaty texture and is very high in protein, which makes it popular in vegetarian dishes. It is an excellent choice for making into soups and chilis as it broth cooks down to a paste like consistency. You can also cook and add to salads, rice or use in a tamale pie. It is common to keep the boiled water of these beans and consume it as a soup with other ingredients for seasoning (known as sopa negra, black soup), as a broth (caldo de frijol, bean broth) or to season or color other dishes.

Here are some of my tricks and instructions for cooking these little black nuggets. Number one, some sort of pre-soak is required to cook beans and will significantly reduce cooking time. Cover with 2 inches of water and soak overnight or for 6-8 hours. Drain and cover with fresh water and simmer until beans are soft, about an hour. In warm conditions, refrigerate black beans while they soak to prevent fermentation. A quick-soak method involves covering beans with water, bring to a boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat and let sit for 2 hours. Drain, cover with fresh water and simmer until soft, about an hour. The beans may prematurely break up with a quick-soak method. Use the overnight method for dishes where it is essential the beans stay whole, such as salads and relishes. Do not add salt or acidic ingredients such as lemon, vinegar, wine, and tomatoes until the beans are finished or nearly done cooking. Adding earlier can cause the beans to toughen. If additional water is needed during the cooking process, use boiling water rather than cold water. Addition of the herbs known as summer savory and epazote can help reduce the flatulence suffered by many who eat beans.

Once the beans are cooked you can enjoy them right away or freeze them.  I like to cook up a large batch at once, use some that week in dishes or a salad, and freeze the rest in 1 cup  increments.  Then when you need some black beans just pull out a bag, thaw and enjoy!

Alpha Tolman Cheese is a Jasper Hill Creamery original.  Inspired by the classic Alpine cheeses of Europe with a modified recipe designed to showcase the cows and landscape of the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont.

Alpha is made using the traditional Alpine methods of cooking and pressing the curds during cheesemaking to achieve a tight, elastic texture and robust, complex flavors. Fresh wheels are washed with a cultured brine to cultivate a rosy orange rind that imparts a funky depth to the ripening paste beneath. Young wheels have milky, fruit and nut flavors and a smooth mouthfeel. Mature wheels are more bold and meaty with amplified butter and caramelized onion flavors carried by a rich and crystalline texture.  The texture, aesthetic, and flavor make Alpha Tolman a great choice for fondue. Try pairing slices with a robust Ale, plummy red wine, or onion jam. 

If that isn't enough description to get you psyched up for Alpha Tolman, here's one more nugget.  This cheese took home SUPER GOLD in the 2012 World Cheese Awards, one of only 9 American cheeses to receive that recognition.  Over 2700 cheeses from 30 different countries competed. 
We're happy to have eggs for you this week!  The hen flock who have provided eggs to Good Eats from their home at Pa Pa Doodles Farm had a bit of a "life change" recently.  Deb, owner of Pa Pa Doodles got out of the egg business and her hens all made the move together to our friends Dave and Lila's  Tangletown Farm a few weeks ago.  Their egg production slowed down a bit from the transition but they're back in full swing and you can expect to have eggs every third week now.


Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes
There are many takes on this basic recipe.  You can gussy it up with a milk/cheese gratin with a breaded parm topping.  You can skip all of that altogether.  Or you can go partway by roasting the veggies and then topping with bread crumb/parm or just parm as I have offered up here.  

1 medium head broccoli or bunch broccoli crowns
3 small potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F. Clean the broccoli. Remove the tough stem ends and cut the remainder into medium florets and small stem pieces. Place broccoli and potatoes in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Add the next 4 ingredients and toss or stir to combine. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. (If you prefer crispier broccoli, check it after 45 minutes.) Remove the foil and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Return to oven just until the cheese melts slightly. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Cucumber Salad
Here's a great cucumber salad recipe.

1 large cucumber
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
Dash of garlic powder
1/2 cup water
Sweet paprika
Black pepper

Peel the cucumbers and slice them very thin. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 30-60 minutes with a plate and a 5-pound weight on top. Squeeze out the water on a paper towel.

Combine the sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, and water. Add the cucumbers and marinate for a few hours. To serve, sprinkle paprika on half of the salad and black pepper on the other half.

Caprese Pasta Salad
This recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs, Annie Eats.  It's a great twist on a summer favorite.  I'd also throw in some chopped cucumber and black olives.

1/2 lb. pasta shapes, such as shells, bow ties, etc.
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tomato, chopped
1/2  lb. fresh mozzarella, cubed
4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain well.  Rinse with cold water.  Drain again.  Meanwhile, in a small skillet, combine the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat.  Warm the oil slowly and let infuse with the garlic and chile flavors, about 5-10 minutes.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Add the pasta to a large bowl.  Toss with the olive oil mixture, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil until evenly combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve cold or at room temperature.


Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Feel free to spruce this salad up with more veggies such as grated carrots or cucumber.

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 pound Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
6 radishes, diced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced diagonally

Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then whisk in chives.

Toss cabbage, radishes, and celery with dressing.

Sweet and Sour Pac Choi
This is a great recipe - the greens are a little tangy and the sauce is sweet. Serves 4.

2 tbsp oil
1 onion, cut in slivers
pac choi, left whole, bigger ones cut in half the long way
2 tbsp maple sugar
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce

Combine sugar, vinegar, soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or large skillet. Stir fry the onions until browning, remove to a bowl. Add remaining tbsp oil, stir fry the pac choi in a couple batches until they have a few browned spots, the green tops wilt and the stems are crisp tender. Add the onions back into the wok with all the greens and stir in the sauce. Cook another 30 seconds. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if you like.

Veggie Bean Burgers
You can pre-bake these burgers and just re-heat on the grill with the rest of your dinner.

3-4 cups cooked black beans (drained)
2 carrots, grated
1/2 cup dry rolled oats
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Combine the oats and pepitas in a food processor and grind until coarsely chopped (they will still be a little chunky).  Let it run for roughly 10 seconds.  Grate the carrots, and then add to your mixture in the food processor.  Add 3/4 of the beans, all spices, and the olive oil.  Once all of this is in the food processor, give it a whir and mix it all together.

Spoon mixture into a mixing bowl and then fold in the rest of the whole, reserved beans.  Wet your hands and then form into 6 medium sized patties.  Place patties on a non-stick baking sheet or into a baking pan, and bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes, turning once in the middle.  If you want to grill these, pre-bake them for 30 minutes at 300, and then throw them on the grill to reheat and get a little extra browning.

Huevos Rancheros Tacos
What could be better than huevos rancheros folded into a taco?  This is more of a knife and fork taco.  From Cooking Light, May 2013.

4 6-inch corn tortillas
Cooking spray
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup cooked black beans
2 tsp olive oil
4 eggs
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup pico de gallo or salsa
2 tbsp Mexican crema
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
4 lime wedges

Preheat broiler to high. Arange tortillas on a baking sheet; lightly coat with cooking spray.  Broil 2 minutes; remove pan from oven.  Turn tortillas over and top each with 2 tbsp cheese and 2 tbsp beans.  Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts.  Remove from oven.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Crack eggs into pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Cover and cook 2 more minutes or until whites are set.  Place 1 egg in center of each tortilla and sprinkle with pepper.  Top tacos evenly with pico de gallo, crema, avocado, and cilantro.  Serve with lime. 

Broccoli Salad
There's nothing better than a good broccoli salad with fresh, crunchy broccoli.  This recipe makes 3-4 servings.

1 head fresh broccoli cut into small florets
1/2 medium red onion
1/2 cup grated cheese
4 strips of bacon (cooked crisp and crumbled)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup craisins

In a large bowl combine broccoli, onion, and grated cheese.  Then add in bacon pieces, sunflower seeds, and craisins.  Put in refrigerator while making the salad dressing below.

Broccoli Salad Dressing

1 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix well to dissolve sugar.  Chill dressing for at least one hour before tossing with the salad.  (You don’t need to wait one hour, but the flavors combine better if you do.)  Then pour dressing over broccoli salad and stir to coat.


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