Sunday, July 13, 2014

Good Eats Newsletter - July 9, 2014

Localvore Members 
& Regular Veggie Only Share Members

This week your bag will contain:
Mesclun; Potatoes; Carrots; Chard; Scallions;
Onions; Cauliflower; Peas; Kale

And OUT of the bag:
Brown bag of Tomatoes

Localvore Offerings Include:
Slowfire Bakery Herb Levain for Wednesday sites
Patchwork Bakery Polenta Bread for Thursday sites
Sweet Rowan VT Herb Farmers' Cheese
Butterworks Organic Yogurt

Half Veggie Only Members
Mesclun; Chard; Scallions; Cauliflower; Kale

And OUT of the bag:
Brown bag of Tomatoes

It's hot outside!

If you can pick up your shares on the early side of your pick-up hours your veggies will thank you. 

This is especially important if you pick up at a site that's not inside and/or air conditioned.

We still have summer shares available!

Know of anyone who wants to join Good Eats?  We have room for more members and will pro-rate late starts.
Email us for more information!

Storing Fresh Produce without Plastic Bags

I know many of you are conscious about using plastic bags.  I came across this great blog article and wanted to share it with you as it's got some great ideas for storing your produce without plastic bag.  The blogger of Food in Jars and author of 2 books, Marissa McClellan, is filled with great tips and tricks for things like this as well as canning and cooking.  She is coming to VT in August to promote her new book and will do a demo and book signing in Waterbury and Burlington - stay tuned for more details!

  • For lettuces that I want to prep for easy use but still keep in whole leaf form (in case I want to slip a leaf or two onto a sandwich), I pull the head apart, wash the leaves, and dry them. A salad spinner is nice for drying greens, but if you don’t have one, lay out a clean kitchen towel and lay the lettuce out in a single layer. Put another towel on top, pat it down, and then carefully roll it all up. Give the lettuce bundle a gentle shake over your sink and unroll again. The lettuce should be dry enough to store!

    Then, layer the lettuce leaves in a container, separating the leaves every couple levels with a small cloth or paper towel. As far as the container goes, I like to use a bowl that is large enough for a whole heck of a lot of lettuce.
    butter lettuce
  • For heartier things, like kohlrabi, kale, asparagus, green garlic, harukei turnips, and even celery or lovage, any sturdy glass container will do the job. These items don’t need a whole lot of absorbent padding or breaking down, so I simply grab any vessel that can hold the food and will fit in my fridge.  As you can see, sometimes I double things up if I feel like it won’t impact the flavor or consistency. Kale and green garlic can hang out nicely without flavor transfer or texture degradation.

packed produce

  • For large bundles of spinach or mustard greens that I want to keep whole, I use the towel technique. I get a tea towel slightly damp and roll the greens up in it, tucking the ends in and trying to get at least two layers of material around the veg. It should be just damp, but not sopping.

    Tucked into the crisper, this helps keep the greens fresh and perky, at least for a few days. I do make it a priority to use these tender greens in the first couple days after bringing them home, because they aren’t going to last an entire week (the kale will last much longer because it’s simply sturdier by nature).

bundled spinach

Other tips for storing:
  •     If you’re going to use them promptly, cucumbers don’t need to be refrigerated. They actually do better above 50 degrees F and so can be kept on the counter for up to three days.
  •     When we get into tomato season, keep them away from the cold and store them stem end down for the best lifespan.
  •     Use that tea towel technique described earlier for asparagus as well as tender greens.
  •     Any time you store radishes, small turnips or beets that came with their greens, separate the roots from the leaves upon bringing them home. Wrap and store the greens separately to keep them crisp and useable.
  •     Leeks don’t need any special treatment at all. Just shake off the worst of the dirt from the roots and pop them into the crisper.
  •     Conventional wisdom used to be that you never washed berries before storing, but research has shown that washing them in a vinegar solution before storing actually extends their lifespan.

Storage and Use Tips

This week's potatoes for the large share are red thumb.  These taters are rosy inside and out. Their tender easy to clean skin needs no peeling. Just scrub and prepare. Cut these into 1 1/2 inch chunks, toss liberally with oil and salt and roast in a 400F (with fresh rosemary if you have it!) oven until crispy and golden at the edges. It doesn't get much better than that! Store in a cool dry place away from onions.

Rainbow chard is a delicious nutritious green, high in Vitamins A, K, and C.  The beautifully colored stems are why it's called rainbow chard!  Chard works great as a spinach substitute but needs to be cooked down a bit longer.  It also works well in soups and stews, or sauteed as a side.

Scallions are a young onion with a small, white tip and a bright green, tall stem. You can use the whole thing in a recipe but I usually chop off the very bottom of the bulb, and then keep chopping up the stem until the chopped parts become less moist/crisp and more fibrous/leafy. The remaining parts make an excellent addition to soups or salads bringing a mild onion flavor and nice hint of color.  I throw scallions into pretty much everything I'm cooking to bring out just a hint of onion flavor.

The yellow onions are bunched, sweet and tasty.  The tops on the onions are actually quite nutritious too so try to find a use for them.  They contain more potassium than the onions do, along with an excellent supply of vitamins A and C.  I freeze mine in a plastic bag in freezer along with scraps of other veggies and I save them all up for when I make broth.

Cauliflower is going out to everyone this week.  You may either get a white head or a yellow head which is a cheddar variety.  Both types cook up and taste the same.  I like to roast my cauliflower; cover it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and either roast in your oven or wrap into a foil packet for the grill. 

Snap peas are up!  The snap peas are flat, the shells glossy, and the outline of the peas inside are usually clear to see. These peas are delightful to eat pod and all. The pods are less fibrous than shelling pea pods and are a nice crunchy fresh addition to salads and sautĂ©s.

Green kale is full of nutrients, tasty and an easy addition to so many dishes.  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.  Saute with a little lemon juice, olive oil, and salt, throw it into any soup, or blend it into a (very healthy) smoothie.

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 is a bread week!  A slice of either of these breads, toasted, with some of the farmers' cheese plus a slice of tomato is going to be heaven.

Wednesday sites are getting a loaf of Herb Levain bread from Slowfire Bakery in Jeffersonville.  Slowfire is a farm-based, wood-fired bakery overlooking the Lamoille River at Waiora Valley Farm. They make breads and pastries that are naturally leavened, hand-crafted, and baked in a masonry oven. They source their flours, all of which are organic, from Meunerie Milanaise in Quebec, and procure dairy and produce from even closer: their own gardens and forest, those of their neighbors, and nearby farms.  This is our first time sending out bread from Slowfire so I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday sites are getting Polenta bread from the Patchwork Bakery in Hardwick.  They make a variety of handcrafted wood-fired organic breads, among which their polenta is one of our favorites.  This bread is made with Butterworks Farm organic cornmeal.

Sweet Rowen VT Herb Farmer's Cheese.  This is a great spreadable cheese.  It goes wonderfully on bread, crackers and bagels, and would be awesome on a cheese plate.  This cheese is made by our friend Paul Lisai who's farm is right down the road from us.  Paul started his grass based dairy Sweet Rowan Farmstead several years ago, working on his herd and beginning to develop his producs.  He was off to a great start selling small batches of milk that he bottled in a rented creamery when that creamery burned in the Fall of 2011 (he shared that creamery space with Ploughgate, some of you may remember that cheese).  It was a tough time but Paul reorganized and built a creamery on his family farm and was up and running again.  Paul milks his small grass fed herd of Randall Lineback cows (a VT heritage breed) and sells his pasteurized milk direct to his customers.  He also makes this cheese!  Enjoy!

Lastly we have Butterworks Farm Organic Yogurt. Butterworks Farm is a completely self sufficient organic farm with a closed herd of their own cows (they are all born on the farm) from which they make their yogurt (and other products). Butterworks also grows quite a variety of grains and beans both for animals and for human consumption. We love to support the excellent work that they do.

All sites will receive a mix of their full fat Maple and Non Fat Vanilla OR Non Fat Lemon.  These flavors are all sweetened with local maple syrup and the vanilla is flavored with natural vanilla.  The non fat yogurt is unique among other non fat brands in that no thickeners are used in the making of the yogurt.  The structure of the Lazor's jersey milk allows them to make non-fat yogurt thickener free. 

** Each site will have Maple yogurt and either Non Fat Vanilla OR Non Fat Lemon Yogurt.  Choose just one yogurt. **

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.


Sauteed Swiss Chard
I like this recipe because it uses the entire chard- stems and all!

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated, stems chopped and leaves sliced into 1-inch thick strips
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Add the chard stems to the boiling water and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the stems to the ice bath and let cool completely.  Drain the stems and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet.  Add the chard leaves, stirring to coat.  Cover and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally.  Add the chard stems, brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

 Steamed Cauliflower with Mustard butter, pine nuts, and roasted pepper
This makes an awesome summer salad.  The mustard butter puts it right over the edge from being just a good salad to a fantastic one.

1 head cauliflower
4 tbsp mustard butter (recipe below)
3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 large roasted sweet pepper, seeded and sliced a scant 1/2 inch wide
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut the stems off the cauliflower crowns and peel them.  Slice the stems into rounds.  Cut the crowns into bite-sized florets.

Steam the florets and stem slices until tender.  Check by piercing the stems with a knife.  It should take about 5 minutes.  Lift the cauliflower into a bowl and toss with the mustard butter, pine nuts, and roasted pepper.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mustard Butter with Lemon Zest and Scallion
This butter is a wonderful accompaniment to any cruciferous veggie- broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or brussel sprouts.  Use it with cooked veggies or stir it into soups that are based on these veggies.

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
Sea salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp prepared mustard or more, to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 scallion, finely diced
Coarsely ground pepper

Beat the butter with a few pinches of salt until smooth.  Add the lemon zest, mustard, parsley, and scallion and mix well.  Taste and add more mustard if you'd like.  Season with pepper.  Pack the butter into a serving dish and serve, or roll it into a log in waxed paper or parchment paper and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Creamy Vegetable Curry
This veggie curry is rich and creamy thanks to the soaked raw cashews and is balanced with a heavy hand of vegetables.  This recipe is versatile and can be made with a variety of different veggies - it would be especially good with broccoli or cauilflower. To make it even heartier serve over a bed of rice, or add tofu or chicken.  Be sure to soak the cashews over night or for at least 3-4 hours.

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 green chili or jalapeno (optional)
2 medium potatoes
2 medium carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp mild yellow curry powder, or to taste
1/2 to 3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt plus more as needed
1 cup fresh peas
Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
Toasted cashews, for serving

To soak cashews: place the cashews in a bowl and add enough water to cover.  Soak the cashews for at least 3-4 hours, but preferable overnight.  Drain and rinse before using.

In a blender combine the cashews with 3/4 cup water and blend until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is transluscent.  Stir in the green chile (if using), potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, tomato, curry powder, and salt.  Saute for 5 minutes more.

Stir in the cashew cream and peas.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet with a lid.  Simmer, covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.  Stir every 5 minutes throughout the cooking process.  If the mixture starts to dry out, reduce the heat and add a splash of water or oil and stir to combine.

Serve the curry over a bed of rice, if desired, and sprinkle with cilantro leaves and toasted cashews.

Perfect Kale Chips
I've tried many a kale chip in my day but never quite mastered the technique.  This is a great recipe that cooks at a lower temperature to produce evenly baked chips and none of the burned ones.  Feel free to sprinkle on your favorite spices and seasonings before baking.  I like to use curry powder or a friend uses nutritional yeast for some extra nutrition.

1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves torn
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Spices or seasonings of your choice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300F.  LIne 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Wash the kale leaves and dry them completely in a salad spinner.

Place the kale leaves in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Massage the oil into the kale with your hands until the leaves are thoroughly coated with oil.

Place the kale in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and other spices if desired.  Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for 7-10 minutes more, until the leaves are crispy but not burned.  Serve the kale chips with a side of ketchup, sriracha, or your favorite salad dressing.  Leftover kale chips don't keep their crisipiness very well, so these are best consumed immediately. 

Balsamic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
This is a very simple and basic recipe, but the results are great.  Wherever the flat surfaces come into contact with the hot roasting pan, a deep browning occurs that results in a sweet, nutty flavor.  From Eating Well Magazine, Jan/Feb 2008.

8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets, (about 1 large head; see Tip
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Sesame Roasted Snap Peas
This may seem like a lot of work for the amount of peas you've got but the results are worth it.  Throw this into your oven while you're roasting your cauliflower or other veggie.

1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 475° F

Toss snap peas, sesame oil, and salt in a bowl. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Place in the oven and roast, turning halfway through, until snap peas are tender and lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Toss with sesame seeds and serve.

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