Thursday, December 5, 2013

Good Eats Newsletter - December 4, 2013

Localvore Members 
& Regular Veggie Only Share Members

This week your bag will contain:
Mesclun; Potatoes; Carrots; Onions; Rutabaga;
Kale; Lettuce; Pac Choi; Celery; Garlic

Localvore and Pantry Offerings Include:
Elmore Mountain Rustic Bread
Butterworks Farm Organic Cornmeal
Pete's Greens Tomatillo Salsa
Tangletown Farm Eggs

Half Veggie Only Members
Mesclun; Carnival Squash; Potatoes; Onions;
Celery; Garlic; Pac Choi OR Lacinato Kale

Roots Cellar Share take an ORANGE BAG containing:
Potatoes; Carnival Squash; Onions; Celery; Garlic; Pac Choi OR Lacinato Kale

**Roots Cellar Share members - please note that your bag is now orange (instead of clear).
Meat Share Members:

It's a Meat Share Delivery Week

Vermont Farm Fund News

This week you will receive a letter from the Vermont Farm Fund in your veggie bags. We are super excited to share the news with you about the fund. 

As most of you know, Pete's Greens received tremendous support from our community after the fire that destroyed our barn and equipment in 2011.  With the generosity of our community and with low interest loans that were made available to us, we were able to recover.  We realized then how critical a zero or low interest could be for a farm facing the aftermath of a a fire, flood or other disaster or for a VT producer seeking funding for a new local food project. 

So, with some of the donations we received, and with the help of the nonprofit Center for an Agricultural Economy, we created and seeded the Vermont Farm Fund.  Since then the VFF has made 24 loans!  Emergency loans are made at 0% and loans for innovation are made at 3%.  One of the key advantages of the Vermont Farm Fund is that the approval process is simple and quick.  As loan payments are made each month, the VFF coffers are refilled and the money is available again to be loaned to another Vermont farm or producer in need.

Please take a moment to read through the information in your bags and consider making a tax-deductible donation to keep this fund helping VT farmers and producers.  Or click here to donate online.

Special thanks to Robin McDermott and Nancy Baron on all their hardwork this year on behalf of the Vermont Farm Fund.  Nancy built a whole new website for the fund, and the two of them have worked tirelessly helping to get the word out about the fund. Robin just singlehandedly put together a big Fall mailing and organized the inserts for this week. 

Giving Tuesday:  Consider a Donation to Salvation Farms

You are likely familiar with the gleaning projects Salvation Farms has coordinated throughout the state over the last several years. However, you may not have heard  about the crowd funding campaign that kicked off last month.

Salvation Farms is trying to raise $40,000 by January 1, 2014. The funds will be used to renovate a building at Southeast State Correctional Facility in Windsor to rescue farm-fresh foods for vulnerable residents. This will help create a safe, efficient facility ready to wash, pack, store, and ship large volumes of surplus crops.

 Please consider supporting their efforts and spreading the word about their campaign to others who would like to see more surplus food get to the people who need it in Vermont.


Storage and Use Tips

This week's greens are a mix of claytonia, mesclun, and spinach.  The spinach is gorgeous with large leaves.  Enjoy this mix!

Regular and localvore share members are getting large fingerling potatoes. These potatoes tend to be elongated and slightly knobbly, making them very finger-like in shape. The unusual-looking, flavorful potatoes can be used just like regular potatoes in an assortment of roasted, broiled, baked, grilled, or boiled dishes.  Store in a paper bag in a cool, dry place. No need to peel, just scrub clean before cooking.

Half and roots cellar share members are getting red norland potatoes.  They have a red outer skin and crisp white flesh inside. They are commonly sold in the summertime as "new" potatoes but store quite well too. The best way to cook a Red Norland is to boil, steam or roast them. They make a great red potato salad with skin on, or toss with olive oil, garlic and herbs or go for it and smother them with butter.

There aren't many squashes quite as festive as carnival winter squash with its unique coloring and splotches - it holds a designer's seal of approval in the world of winter squash. Carnival is an acorn squash with a wonderful nutty flavor and fine eating quality.  Like all winter squash and pumpkins store in cool, dry place. Best temperature is 55F.

The rutabaga is believed to have originated as a cross between a turnip and a cabbage! Sweeter than a turnip, rutabagas are delicious boiled and mashed with butter (with or without potatoes). Rutabagas should be peeled before use. This year when we harvested the rutabagas some of them came out of the ground with superficial worm track markings. Don't be deterred if your rutabagas have these marks. Just peel or slice off the outer layer (which you need to do anyway) and the inside should be just fine. Keep them loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your fridge and they'll last for several weeks at least.

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.  And what's more, it's tasty, so eat lots. Keep kale loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. Strip the leaves from the stems and wash them well before chopping and cooking.

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

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. It's 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. Store pac choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

This week's celery is gorgeous and smells amazing.  Some of the stalks were very tall so we had to trim some of the leaves so we could fit them in the bag.  If you're not using your leaves right away throw them in a ziploc bag and throw them in the freezer.  Add other veggie scraps to it and once it's full enough it will make an excellent veggie broth!

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 Elmore Mountain made their Rustic Bread.  It's made with fresh sifted wheat that they have stone milled, water, sea salt and yeast. 

Butterworks Farm Early Riser Cornmeal is made from 100% stone ground Early Riser kernels. Early Riser is an open pollinated (op) corn variety Jack has been improving here in Vermont for years. OP corns tend to be much more nutrient dense, textured and flavorful than hybrid corns, but also yield much less per acre making the variety less marketable. Early Riser Cornmeal is great for making cornbread, muffins, tortillas or polenta. You can soal the flour overnight in buttermilk, kefir or yogurt before baking to bring out the best flavor, nutrition and digestibility. The flavor and texture of this freshly milled flour is like no other. Keep in a cool dry place in an air-tight container. The oils in whole-grain cornmeal go rancid more quickly than others, so it should be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 1 month (or in the freezer for up to 2 years).

The Pete's Greens tomatillo salsa comes straight from our kitchen.  We made it using our freshly harvested tomatillos, onions, roasted jalapenos, plus cider vinegar, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and salt.  It has good flavor and some nice zip.  This salsa is wonderful with chips or as a sauce for meats, steamed veggies, or beans.  It will come to you frozen so you can thaw it out and enjoy right away (it's good for one week) or stick back in the freezer for up to a year.

It's been a few weeks since our last round of eggs but we're happy to have them back in this week's share from Tangletown Farm.  The hens had been on a good schedule but about 5-6 weeks ago they got moved into new digs at Tangletown and that move caused them all to go on strike for a bit while they sussed out their new pad.  They're back in action now and we expect to include them every 3 weeks.  Enjoy!

Meat Share

First off in this month's meat share is a Pete's Greens chicken.  These chicken were raised right here on the farm.  The first few weeks of their life was spent in the barn, protected from elements, their diet supplemented with our greens.  As soon as they were feathered up at 4 weeks old they headed out to the field and they spent the next weeks grazing and foraging, protected by electric fencing from predators.  Their meat is wonderfully flavorful and very nutritious.  These birds are somewhat large so you can make a few meals out of them.  Roast it the first night (see below for an amazing recipe), turn leftovers into chicken pot pie (my kids' new favorite meal) or chicken salad, then boil the carcass down to make soup broth.

We have organic burger from Seth McKnight at McKnight Farms. 

We also have the first of the pork that we raised this year on the farm, and it's coming to you in the form of delicious Chorizo sausage.  These pigs ate sooo much good stuff this year!  We limited the grain we fed them, instead substituting loads of our veggies and kitchen scraps.  They were pastured on 20 acres all spring, summer and fall.  They foraged and rooted and lay about in mud wallows and spent an extremely happy 7 months with us.  We really like raising pigs because they are such characters.  The meat from these pigs will be exceptionally vitamin packed with the tremendous amount of good organic veggies and pasture they consumed.  Pete Colman of VT Salumi made our sausage for us, this is the same delicious recipe he uses for making his Benito. Chorizo is a highly spiced sausage, and a traditional sausage flavor in Spanish and Mexican cuisine. This sausage is not overly spicy, it has a great taste that is amazing in paella, on pizzas, tossed in pasta, in soups, with black beans and it's wonderful in scrambled eggs.

Maplewind Farm Summer Sausage - Up on top of a ridge with the Long Trail running by, Beth and Bruce raise beef, poultry, pigs, and poultry at Maplewind Farm. Their Berkshire Tamworth pigs are all born on the farm and pastured throughout their lives. The Summer Sausage is made with 100% grass fed pork and beef from the farm as well as sea salt, spices etc and NO nitrates/nitrites. The mild flavored summer sausage needs no cooking and is great on crackers or with a cheese plate or as a sandwich meat. Just slice up and enjoy. It is also excellent heated however, so fry it up or use it on pizza or with a pasta dish if you choose. Though the sausage is coming to you frozen, it is actually totally shelf stable and you can leave it sitting on the counter for up to 6 months or take it on a hike.  Once it's been opened it must be refrigerated.  This would make an awesome stocking stuffer!


Tamale Pie
This recipe could be made with burger or your Chorizo sausage.  You could also swap out any of the veggies using what you have on hand. 

5 1/2 cups water
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 serrano chile, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground meat- beef or sausage
1 jar Tomato Puree
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 pimiento-stuffed green olives, rinsed and coarsely chopped
4 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese (1 1/4 cups)
1 ripe avocado, peeled, halved, pitted, and diced
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped, or 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
Crisp lettuce leaves

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Whisking constantly, add cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, switching to a wooden spoon when cornmeal becomes too thick to whisk. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until thick and creamy, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter, cover, and keep warm over low heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add onion, garlic, bell pepper, chile, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is light gold and vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add turkey, and cook, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and juices, stock, cumin, oregano, and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and mixture resembles chili, about 10 minutes. Stir in olives, and season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1 1/2 cups cornmeal into bottom of prepared dish with a wet spatula. Spread turkey mixture on top, then spread remaining 2 1/2 cups cornmeal on top. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack. Bake until golden brown and cheese is melted, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve with avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and lettuce.

Stir Fried Pac Choi with Garlic
You could add more greens to this recipe to make it a more filling meal.  This would be a great side with a rich meal.

1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic (about 8 cloves)
2 pounds baby or Shanghai bok choy, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until cornstarch has dissolved.  Heat wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly. Pour peanut oil down side of wok, then swirl oil, tilting wok to coat side. Add garlic and stir-fry until pale golden, 5 to 10 seconds. Add half of bok choy and stir-fry until leaves wilt, about 2 minutes, then add remaining bok choy and stir-fry until all leaves are bright green and limp, 2 to 3 minutes total. Stir broth mixture, then pour into wok and stir-fry 15 seconds. Cover with lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in sesame oil, then transfer to a serving dish.

Carnival Squash Rings with a Honey-Soy Glaze
This is one of my favorite treats especially if I only have a small amount of squash to work with. The nuttiness of acorn squash mixes perfectly with the glaze!

    1 medium size carnival squash
    1 tbs honey
    1/2 tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
    1 tsp rice vinegar
    1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
    1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line large baking sheet with foil. Spray with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Cut off both ends of each squash. Cut each squash crosswise into 4-5 rings. Scoop out seeds and discard. Place squash rings in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Cover baking sheet tightly with foil. Bake until squash begins to soften, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk next 5 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Remove foil from squash. Brush half of honey mixture over squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered 10 minutes. Brush remaining honey mixture over squash; continue to bake until squash is brown, tender and glazed, about 10 minutes.

Rutabaga, Potato and Apple Gratin
Adapted from Jame's Peterson's book, "Vegetables." Serves 6-8.

1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup milk combined with 1 cup heavy cream, or 1 3/4 cups half-and-half
2 medium (about 1 and one-half pounds total) waxy potatoes
1 rutabaga (2 pounds), peeled
3 medium apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
1 cup (about 3 ounces) grated/crumbled Bourree cheese (cheddar works too)
salt and freshly groound black pepper
One-quarter teaspoon grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rub the inside of a large, oval gratin dish or square or rectangular baking dish with butter. Crush the garlic clove into a fine paste with the side of a chef's knife and combine it in a saucepan with the milk and cream.

Peel the potatoes -- keep them under cold water if you're not using them right away -- and slice them into three-sixteenth-inch-thick rounds with a mandolin, vegetable slicer, or by hand. Peel the rutabaga into rounds the same thickness as the potatoes. Cut the rutabaga in half to make the slicing easier. Bring the milk and cream mixture to a simmer.

Arrange the potato, rutabaga and apple slices in alternating layers in the gratin dish, sprinkling each layer with cheese, the milk and cream mixture, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Save a fourth of the grated cheese for sprinkling over the top of the gratin. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top of the gratin is golden brown and the vegetables are easily penetrated with a paring knife.

Mustard-Roasted Potatoes
You should really keep this dressing on hand for any roots, anytime.  Keep it in a jar like salad dressing, ready for the roasting pan of CSA veggies. Try it with turnips, carrots, whatever you want.  If you like it, you'll like it with anything.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick or 1/2 ounce) butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 pounds 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter mixed unpeeled red-skinned and white-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, lemon peel, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add potatoes; sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat. Divide potatoes between prepared baking sheets, leaving any excess mustard mixture behind in bowl. Spread potatoes in single layer. Roast potatoes 20 minutes. Reverse baking sheets and roast until potatoes are crusty outside and tender inside, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes longer.
Transfer potatoes to serving bowl.

Chicken and Dumplings
This recipe is to die for, and it's been in the newsletter in before. But it really is just so yummy, and with the cooler and shorter days I am craving warm and hearty and nothing warms you up quite like chicken and dumplings.

1 whole chicken
1/4 lb bacon, cut into slivers
2 Tbs cooking oil
2 tsp dried thyme
4 cloves garlic
4 medium sized carrots, thickly sliced
4 stalks celery, thickly sliced
2 large yellow onions, cut into 1" chunks
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

2 2/3 c flour
1 c white wine
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 c melted butter, cooled slightly
3/4 c buttermilk (or substitute)
2 Tbs finely chopped parsley

Halve chicken legs seperating thigh from drumstick, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Put remaining chicken into a pot, cover with salted water and boil. Reduce heat, simmer until breast is just cooked, 12-15 minutes. Remove chicken. Cut breast and wings from carcass. Discard any skin and bones from breast and wing meat, cut into 1" chunks, chill. Return carcass to pot, simmer for one hour. Strain, reserve 4 c broth (save remainder for another use).

Meanwhile, cook bacon in large wide pot over medium heat until crisp, 8-10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, leave fat in pot. Add and heat oil, brown drumsticks and thights, 8-10 minutes. Tranfer to a plate. Add thyme, garlic, carrots celery, onions and bay leaf. Cook until light brwn 18-20 minutes. Add 2/3 cut flour, cook for 1 minute. Add wine, cook for 1 minute. Whisk in reserved broth and salt and pepper to taste. Nestle in drumsticks, thights, and bacon. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a bowl. Combine butter, buttermilk, and parsley in a second bowl, pour into flour mixture, stir to make a thick batter. Uncover pot, add breast and wing meat. Drop batter in 8 large spoonfuls over the top. Simmer covered until dumplings are cooked, 20-25 minutes.

Garlic Roasted Kale
Roasting kale is amazing—the leaves turn from a dusty dark green to dark emerald with brown-tinged curly edges that crunch. This vegetable side is delicious served hot from the oven; the leaves lose their crisp texture as the dish stands.

3 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
10 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Arrange oven racks in center and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°. Place a large jelly-roll pan in oven for 5 minutes.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place kale mixture on hot pan, spreading with a silicone spatula to separate leaves. Bake at 425° for 7 minutes. Stir kale. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until edges of leaves are crisp and kale is tender.  Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Polenta & Greens
This is a basic modifiable recipe for polenta with greens.  Serious comfort food.

Spinach or other greens (swiss chard, braising greens, kale etc - 1/2 lb to 1 lb)

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

Dash red pepper flakes

2 carrots, halved and sliced

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.  Best if you allow to cool a bit before serving.

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.

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