Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Good Eats Newsletter - December 11, 2013

Localvore Members 
& Regular Veggie Only Share Members

This week your bag will contain:
Mesclun; Potatoes; Carrots; Beets; Lettuce;
Leek; Kale; Cress

Localvore and Pantry Offerings Include:
Amir Hebib's Mushrooms
VT Bean Crafters Organic Bean Burgers
Von Trapp Farmstead Oma Cheese

Half Veggie Only Members
Mesclun; Potatoes; Carrots; Leek; Kale; Cress

Roots Cellar Share take an ORANGE BAG containing:
Potatoes; Carrots; Leek; Kale; Cress

What to get for that hard to shop for friend or family member?

How about the gift
that keeps on giving
week after week?

There are 8 weeks left of the Fall/Winter share and you can purchase a pro-rated share.

People always tell us a
Good Eats share is like Christmas every week!

Visit our Fall/Winter webpage or email me with questions!

Storage and Use Tips

Nicola potatoes are golden skinned, golden fleshed potatoes that are truly all purpose. They are great for boiling, mashing or roasting and are plenty waxy enough to make excellent potato salad. Nicolas have a very special attribute among potatoes - they are low on the glycemic index compared to all other varieties. This means they don't cause the blood sugar spike that other varieties may cause, an issue that can wreak havoc with people with insulin resistance. They also have a yummy slightly nutty flavor, enjoy! Store in a cool, dark place to avoid sprouting.

Our red beets are brilliantly red and may be eaten cooked or raw.  They make a fabulous addition to salads and slaws when grated.  I like to grate some early in the week and place them in a tupperware and then sprinkle them into salads all week.  Roasted beets are extra delicious, roasting carmelizes the sugar in the beets. Cube beets and roast them in the oven with a drizzle of oil at 400F until they are tender and just browning at the edges. If you don't eat them all right away, cool and toss into a container and add these to salads.  The red beets will bleed when cooked so if preparing with other veggies be mindful of that fact that you will end up with a uniformly technicolor dish.

The lettuce this week is a mix of red frill, green frill, red oak leaf, and panisse lettuce. 

Leeks were once called the poor person's asparagus, but today are cherished for their culinary qualities right along side asparagus. Leeks tend to collect dirt in between the tops of their long leaves. It is important to wash between leaf folds to remove dirt or soak in a water bath and let dirt sink to bottom. Store wrapped in plastic in the fridge. Although the best quality is within the first few days, they can be stored for an extended amount of time in the fridge. Peel outer leaves if damaged and use tender inner stalks.

Upland cress - similar in appearance to its better-known cousin, watercress, upland cress has a deeper pungency with a unique twist between arugula and horseradish, pledging its allegience to the mustard family. Below the Mason Dixon line, upland cress is known as "creasy greens" and when stewed with ham hocks, is as loved a dish as black-eyed peas or cornbread. Traditionally gathered by foragers in the Appalachian Mountains who started looking out for the hearty winter leaves while there was still snow on the ground, the leaves were believed to have medicinal benefits and used in many folk recipes to help heal wounds. Those claims may not be entirely far-fetched as the cress is indeed rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.

Use upland cress the same way you would watercress. Left raw, the leaves can be chopped and mixed into a salad, tucked into a sandwich, or tossed over broiled fish as a garnish. Use a food processor to blend a handful of upland cress with a cup of creme fraiche or sour cream and a few garlic cloves for a zesty side to grilled meats or blend into soups. Store in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer for 1-2 weeks.

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

I'm happy that we have Amir's Oyster or Shiitake Mushrooms for you this week!  Mushrooms are so temperamental and weather dependent that we never know for sure whether they will work out when we schedule them.  It was looking iffy for this week but Amir pulled through with all that he had.  Amir started growing mushrooms in a mushroom house behind his home in Colchester in 2005.  He grows shiitakes and oysters (little clusters of trumpet shaped mushrooms) and sells them to restaurants and markets in our area as well as at the Burlington Farmers Market.  You can eat the whole mushroom stems and all.    The shiitakes have a deeper flavor, and are more hearty, enough so that they can be used in place of ground beef in some recipes.  Your bag will have one variety or the other.

I had the pleasure of meeting Amir last summer at the Burlington Farmers' Market where he sells his mushrooms.  I asked him for his favorite mushroom recipe and here's his response:  fry some onions, add cut up mushrooms and cook until soft.  Add an egg to the pan, cook, and enjoy!

We also have VT Bean Crafters Organic Black Bean Burgers and their new Sweet Sweet Harvest Burger.  These tasty black bean burgers are made largely with VT ingredients by Joe Bossen in Waitsfield, VT.  According to Joe, the Sweet Sweet Harvest burgers are made with sweet potatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, garlic scapes, their own maple-chipotle bbq sauce, kidney beans and more good stuff all from local organic farms.

Both varieties come baked so you only need to get them hot.  They do best pan-fried in cast iron with a bit of sunflower oil, but also cook well on grills and in toaster ovens.

To bake - brush lightly w//oil.  Bake on a greased pan for 8-12 mins at 400F.

To pan fry - set burner to med/hi.  Once hot, add a bit of oil and spread in pan, toss in burgers straight from freezer.  Cook first side til burgers slides freeely on the pan with light shaking.  Then flip and cook other side for a minute or two.  Try them crumbled into a tortilla with a fried egg and some relish or salsa on the side.  Mmmmm.

**Take 1 bag of frozen burgers which contains two 2-packs.**

Von Trapp Farmstead Oma Cheese.  This distinctive washed-rind/Tomme style organic unpasteurized cows milk cheese is aged at the Cellars at Jasper Hill for 60-90 days.  Oma balances slightly pungent and sweet flavors.  The semi-soft buttery paste is surrounded by an earthy rind which is thin and mild for the style.  This cheese is made in Waitsfield on a 40-cow family farm.  The Von Trapps are committed to making the highest quality cheese with the best milk possible, using traditional methods of small-scale production, continually striving to improve.   This cheese pairs well with many beverages but especially craft beers.


Kale-Potato Soup
This is a classic recipe from The New Laurel's Kitchen by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Brian Ruppenthal.

1 large onion, chopped
1 TB butter
1 clove minced garlic
3-4 Nicola potatoes (cut into 1/2 - 1" pieces)
1 bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
5 cups hot water or stock or combo
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
black pepper, to taste

In a large sauce pan saute the onion in the butter until softened and slightly golden. About halfway, add the garlic. Add the potatoes and 2 cups of water. Simmer, covered, until potatoes start to soften around the edges. Meanwhile, wash the kale, remove stems, chop and steam them (although you can add them to the potatoes, this will result in a much stronger flavored soup). When the potatoes are really well done, puree half of them with the remaining water or stock and the salt and pepper to taste. Then combine all and heat gently, correcting the consistency by adding hot water or milk. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Curried Carrot Soup
This is a great recipe for when you have lots of carrots to use up. 

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon curry powder
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Heat butter in a Dutch oven or large (4- to 5-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, curry powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, carrots, and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

In a blender**, puree soup in batches until smooth; transfer to a clean saucepan. Add more water to thin to desired consistency. Reheat, if necessary. Stir in lemon juice. Serve garnished with cilantro, if desired.

**Hot liquids will expand when blended, so be careful not to fill the jar of the blender more than halfway. To prevent the liquid from spattering, allow the heat to escape: Remove the cap from hole in lid, and cover lid with a dish towel when blending.

Beet Bourguignon
This is one of those dishes that works well making a day in a advance. The flavors will become more intense and the vegetables more tender.  This dish would be excellent paired with lentils, noodles, or mashed potatoes.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 small beets, peeled & quartered (we used Chioggia beets)
4 medium sized carrots, sliced in large pieces
2 sprigs thyme
sea salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 cups vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
2 tsp arrowroot powder, solved in 2 tbsp water (optional)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped

Cooking the stew: Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or a large cast iron pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and garlic, sauté until soft. Toss beets, carrots, thyme and salt and pepper into the pan, cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste, red vine, vegetable stock and bay leaves, let simmer on low heat for 40 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the lentils, mushrooms and pearl onions.

Searing the mushrooms and onions: Heat olive oil in a pan. Lower the heat and sear the mushrooms and onion, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden in color. Season to taste. Set aside.

Finishing the stew: Taste the stew, add more wine, stock or herbs if you like. If you prefer the stew a little thicker, add arrowroot mixture, but this is optional. Add mushrooms and onions and simmer for 10 more minutes.


Quick Pickled Beets
These pickled beets are ready in a snap after you have cooked the beets.  I tend to cook a lot of beets at once and eat some with my meal and then pickle some. These will keep in the fridge for a week.

2# beets, cooked, peeled, and cut into wedges
1/4 c minced scallions
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
fresh black pepper

Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat gently. Toss with the warm beets and the scallions. Chill before serving. Even better the next day.

Pete's Greens Hearty Potato-Leek Soup
This is a hearty off-shoot of potato leek soup. It is a mild soup that can be altered with cream if you like a creamier soup or carrots if you want something a little more sweet, go on and see what is in your fridge and give it a try! I like to add a big dollop of creme friache or sour cream to mine just before it hits my spoon!

2 medium onions, chopped
2 Tbs cooking oil, butter or bacon drippings
2 quarts stock, chicken or vegetarian
4-6 medium potatoes, cut in large cubes
3/4 c leeks, thickly sliced
1 bunch upland cress, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp tarragon, dried
1/2 tsp dill, fresh or dried
salt and pepper

Saute onions gently until soft. Add stock, bay leaf, potatoes and celeriac and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Skim top of broth with a spoon removing scum on surface. Add leeks, tarragon, dill and simmer until potatoes and celeriac are soft. Add watercress and simmer another 5 minutes (no longer). Remove bay leaf. Puree soup with a handheld blender or food processor. Season to taste.

Russian Beet Salad
This is a sweet and tangy recipe that really accents the sweetness of the beet. Warm up and eat atop a bed of braised kale, or keep cool on a cold chopped bed of mesclun with walnuts and goat cheese with basalmic vinaigrette.

4-6 medium sized beets
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
4 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs orange juice
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp caraway seeds
pinch of cloves
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp finely grated orange peel
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake beets 1 hour or until soft. Cool and peel beets. Finely chop roasted beets. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl, toss with beets and refrigerate several hours. Serve on your choice of greens.

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