Thursday, January 2, 2014

Good Eats Newsletter - December 31, 2013

Please note DELIVERY CHANGES this week!  See side bar....

Localvore Members 
& Regular Veggie Only Share Members

This week your bag will contain:
Mesclun; Potatoes; Carrots; Beets; Parsnips;
Onions; Kale; Pac Choi

Localvore and Pantry Offerings Include:
Frozen Maine Organic Blueberries
Tullochgorum Farm White Lightning Popcorn
Tangletown Farm Eggs

Half Veggie Only Members
Mesclun; Potatoes; Beets; Parsnips;
Onions; Kale

Roots Cellar Share take an ORANGE BAG containing:
Potatoes; Beets; Parsnips; Onions; Kale

Happy New Year!

Just a reminder that we are delivering a day early this week for all Wednesday sites.  Shares  will be delivered tomorrow, 12/31, at the normal time. 

Thursday sites will be delivered as normal on Thursday, 1/2.

It's going to be quite cold tomorrow so please be mindful of both the temps (try to pick up early so veggies don't freeze) and the fact that many  businesses will close early for New Year's Eve.

Frozen Veggies
Now that winter is truly here, we expect a few delivery days between now and March may be extremely cold.  Even with best intentions and with the help of conscientious site hosts doing the best they can, some veggies may get frostbite.  If your veggies sustain freeze damage, please let us know so that we can replace them.  We understand that extra cold temps (as well as super hot days in summer) challenge our delivery system and sometimes veggies don't make it.  We are more than happy to replace for you so don't be shy.  Email us.

Staff Bios

We have some new faces at the farm and we thought it would be great to introduce you to them.  We will be featuring many of our crew members in upcoming weeks.

Who: Matt Anderson, washhouse and field crew member
Started with Pete's: September, 2013

  • worked at D Acres in Dorchester, NH - an educational farm and homestead
  • Graduated from Sterling College in May, 2013
  • 10 years in the Marines prior to farming
Why farming?: Matt had office desk jobs that he didn't like - he likes being outside and active.

Hobbies: hunting, fishing, pond hockey

Favorite vegetable: Alliums of all sorts

Storage and Use Tips

The mesclun this week is a mix of shoots and baby lettuce.  This is the time of the year where we start sending out our shoot mixes.  Right now in our greenhouses we have various cold-hardy greens under cover which grow slowly.  What we can grow fast is soil-grown shoots.  These re-generate quickly and are supplemented by additional plantings.  We mix those shoots with the slow growing cold hardy greens to create our fresh salad mixes each week.

This week's potatoes are a pretty red and white mix.  There are some Adirondack Reds, Red Norlands, and Nicolas in the mix.

Everyone's getting beets this week!  Large share members will get our beautiful red beets and the half share members will get either red or golden beets.  Both types are extremely healthy for you and loaded with powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers.  Roasting is a great way to enjoy your beets as it brings out their natural sweetness.  See the recipe below for some roasting tips.

Contrary to appearances, parsnips are not pale versions of carrots. In fact, they have a nutty-sweet taste and a tender-hearty texture that is entirely distinct. For centuries, parsnips were a more common staple than the potato—and deservedly so. Satisfying, versatile, and highly nutritious, these delicious roots make a terrific base to any meal. Young parsnips don’t need to be peeled. Simply scrub them under running water with a vegetable brush. Peel larger parsnips, and cut out the core if it seems woody. However you slice or chop parsnips, be sure to make all the pieces relatively the same size, ensuring an evenly cooked dish. Refrigerate unwashed parsnips in a loosely wrapped or perforated plastic bag for up to two weeks.

Pac choi is related to the cabbage and belongs to the same vegetable species as the turnip.  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).  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.  Store pac choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.

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

The organically grown White Lightning Popcorn comes from Tullochgorum Farm in Ormstown, Quebec, situated in the beautiful Chateauguay Valley of South-western Quebec.  Because popcorn requires a longer growing season than most types of corn, Steve and Loraine Lalonde consider their area to be at the northern limit of successfully producing this crop. To their knowledge, they are the only commercial producers of certified organic popcorn in Quebec. Once popped, White Lightning possesses a delicate, crispy texture, and a slightly nutty flavor, vastly different from the more common yellow popcorn varieties with which most people are familiar with, and a world away from microwave popcorn!  

We have wild organic Maine blueberries coming to you from Merrill's Blueberry Farm in Ellsworth, Maine.  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 since 1925.  They provid
e 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.  Wild blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and are ranked among the fruits and vegetable with the  most antioxidants.     

Kathleen packaging up your berries

The girls at Tangletown Farms have been busy laying eggs for you this week.  Enjoy!


Kettle Corn
I tried this recipe last night using maple sugar.  I would highly recommend using that if you still have some left!

2 TBSP coconut oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt

In a large pot with a lid, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels. When the coconut oil sizzles, sprinkle the sugar over the popcorn kernels. Cover and stir or shake the pan until the popping slows down. The popcorn should be done popping in about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the kettle corn into a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss. Enjoy!

Note-the kettle corn will keep for 2-3 days. Store in an air-tight container or Ziploc bag.

Blueberry Muffins
You all probably have a go to recipe for muffins, but JUST in case you don't, this muffin recipe from the Joy of Cooking is the one I turn to for unfailingly good muffins. You can substitute up to 1 cup whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour for an equal measure of all-purpose flour. You can use the liquid ingredient of your choice, from low-fat milk to cream. You can even use sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk if you add in 1/2 tsp baking soda. You can use from a half stick to a whole stick butter. (Definitely opt for the larger qty of butter if you will be eating these muffins hours or a day after being made). Yield 14-16 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground or freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk or cream
⅔ cup sugar or packed light brown sugar
¼ to ½ cup (½ to 1 stick) butter, melted, or ¼ to ½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1.5 cups frozen blueberries

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard 12-muffin pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together thoroughly the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg (if using). In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or cream, sugar, butter or oil, and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together with a few light strokes, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the frozen or thawed blueberries. Do not overmix; the batter should not be smooth. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in 1 or 2 of the muffins comes out clean, about 12 to 25 minutes or more depending on how big the muffins are, how big the berries are, whether berries are frozen etc. Let cool for 5 minutes minimum before removing from the pan. If not serving hot, let cool on a rack. Serve as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours of baking.

Variations - You can substitute different berries for this recipe - raspberries, strawberries are great too. When adding berries, if they aren't real sweet, you can add 1/3 cup sugar. You can add up to 1 cup of nuts to any (walnuts are particularly good in raspberry muffins). If using mashed fruit, like bananas, add 1 cup.

Spanish Roasted Potato Salad
I thought this recipe sounded like a nice change to your typical potato salad.  A smart play on Spanish patatas bravas -- fried potatoes with a garlic mayonnaise. Instead of frying the potatoes this healthier alternative has you roast them.

1 pound pound small Potatoes (white or red)
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 1/4teaspoon Salt
1/2teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
4 Cloves of Garlic finely chopped
4 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Mix and put on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake the potatoes for 40 minutes flipping twice during baking. Make sure they turn a nice golden brown. Take out of the oven and allow to cool. In a bowl combine 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the chopped garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Mix and pour over the cooled potatoes.

Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze
I made this recipe for Christmas dinner and everyone enjoyed it.  The mixture of balsamic vinegar with orange zest is divine.

2 pounds red beets, medium sized, scrubbed clean
Olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place the beets in the pan. Rub olive oil over the beets, and sprinkle with salt. Cover the beets with another sheet of aluminum foil. Roast for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the beets and how old they are.

After 1 hour, test every fifteen minutes by poking a beet with the tines of a fork. Once the fork tines go in easily, the beets are tender and cooked. Remove from the oven.

While the beets are cooling, prepare the balsamic glaze. In a small, shallow sauté pan, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Heat on high until the vinegar has reduced to a syrup consistency. Remove from heat.

After the beets have cooled for several minutes, but are still warm to the touch, peel off the outer skins and discard. Cut the beets into quarters or more, bite-sized pieces.

Place beets in a serving bowl. Pour balsamic glaze over the beets. Stir in grated orange zest, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with a little orange zest to serve.

Roasted Parsnips
Try mixing up the seasonings - maple syrup and curry, cajun, fresh grated ginger and curry powder, or even brown sugar and butter to caramelize them. 

1 pound parsnips, peeled, then cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss parsnips with oil and salt to taste in a shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan and roast in middle of oven, turning over halfway through cooking, until golden and tender, 30 to 35 minutes total.

Kale with Garlic and Oven-Roasted Parsnips

1 1/4 pound(s) parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-by-1/2-inch sticks
5 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch kale, stemmed
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 large scallions, cut into 1/2-inch lengths

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the parsnips on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the bottom third of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom and tender.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and then the kale and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and then squeeze out the excess water. Coarsely chop the kale.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the kale, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 3 minutes.
To serve, add the parsnips to the kale and warm through over moderate heat.

Stir-Fried Pac Choi with Ginger and Garlic
Here's a quick and easy way to get greens on the dinner table.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 bunch fresh pac choi
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add pac choi and soy sauce cook 3 to 5 minutes, until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

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