Friday, August 1, 2014

Good Eats Newsletter - July 30, 2014

Localvore Members 
& Regular Veggie Only Share Members

This week your bag will contain:
Mesclun; Lettuce; Spinach; Onions; Cucumber;
Fennel; Beans; Pepper

And OUT of the bag:
Brown bag of Tomatoes

Localvore Offerings Include:
Pete's Kitchen Pizza Dough
West River Creamery Feta Cheese
Lanzers Fruit Farm Black Currants
Four Corners Farm Blueberries

Half Veggie Only Members
Mesclun; Spinach; Onions; Cucumber; Pepper

And OUT of the bag:
Brown bag of Tomatoes

Save the Date!

Our annual open Farm event and Kingdom Field and Food Days is the weekend of August 22-24.

We're starting out with an Outstanding in the Field dinner at the farm on Friday night, then we 'll be offering tours of the farm and some light bites on Saturday, August 23rd. 

There are a ton of other activities going on that weekend such as tours at High Mowing Seeds, classes at Sterling College, and much more.  More details to come in upcoming weeks!

Around the Farm

First ever haying at Pete's Greens!  That doesn't seem possible after farming for so many years but we have never had year round animals at the farm.  As part of our grand master plan though, we are cover cropping many acres every year as part of our ever growing crop rotation program, as now we are seeding land that isn't necessarily veggie land with high quality hay.  With the hay comes the need for animals to eat it, and we need their manure, so it's all part of a logical progression.  Today we are baling a beautiful alfalfa, clover, grass mix. These round bales will feed our pigs and maybe soon a small beef herd

Circus Smirkus

Ahoy! The Circus Smirkus 2014 Big Top Tour, Anchors Away for Atlantis, is coming home to Greensboro. It's all hands on deck as they set sail for adventure on the high seas and take the plunge for fathoms of fun. Discover maritime merriment under the briny big top, explore the vast ocean in all of its beauty and mystery.  Join our intrepid crew to climb the rigging with aquatic aerialists, tumble the surf with amphibious acrobats, even catch and release some fishy jugglers. Help turn the tides for the castaway clowns set adrift in center ring. This nautical production will be ship shape, so hold your breath and ride the wave!

Join them for three finale shows August 15-16 at the Circus Smirkus HQ. For tickets, call 877-SMIRKUS or visit

Storage and Use Tips

Vulcan head lettuce - the big red leaf head lettuces this week are called Vulcan.  They are just gorgeous and will make wonderful tender salad or sandwich toppings this week.  Emilie was working hard cleaning your lettuce yesterday!

Your spinach will be included in your bag of mesclun.  This is beautiful spinach and wonderful added to a salad, sandwich, or added to soups or stews.

The pearl onions in the share this week are like little treasures.  It's so nice to have fresh onions!  Use them wherever you need onions, and don't forget about the tops. I wouldn't use them like a scallion per se but they're great as a little onion flavor boost in any recipe.

European cucumbers - 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. 

Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet with the flavor of anise. It is delicious and slightly sweet served raw but is just as often served cooked on its own or in other dishes. Though most often associated with Italian cooking, it has an uncanny ability to blend with other flavors adding a light and fresh note. It is delightful in many dishes, and in soups and stews and sauces. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. To prepare, trim off the fronds and stalks and reserve them for garnish or seasoning. Cut off the hard bottom and slice vertically or into quarters. Or cut the bulb in half lengthwise, cut out the core, and cut into strips. Add it raw to salads or try some thinly sliced fennel on your sandwich. Top thinly sliced fennel with plain yogurt and mint leaves. Or braise, roast or saute' it. It is done when tender enough to pierce easily with a skewer.

Beans are here!  These green, yellow, and purple beans are a special treat for you this week.   They were just picked and will make a nice addition to your dinner plate.  You can steam these beans, incorporate them into a stir fry, or make them into a featured dish (recipes below).  Brittany says "enjoy this special treat!"

Our sweet peppers are just that - sweet!  They're also crisp and juicy.  Enjoy raw in salads, sandwiches, or in a stir fry.  They also roast beautifully and are really tasty this way.   To roast, simply core and seed, quarter them, brush them with olive oil (or not), and then roast them in the oven, skin side up at n oven temp of anywhere from 45o to broiling. The hotter the oven, the quicker they will roast. With a very hot oven, you may want to turn them a time or two for even roasting.  Roast until the skins blister and brown or char a bit. Then remove from oven to cool. Most cooks like to remove the charred skins from the peppers before using in a dish. This is done easily if you cover the cooling peppers with a cloth for 10 minutes. The steam loosens the skin and peeling is easier. 

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 pizza dough was made at the farm and frozen for delivery. The dough is made with Milanaise organic flour, Gleason Grain Snake Mountain Sifted whole wheat flour, local Sunflower Oil, salt and yeast. Use within four to five hours of thawing - it's ready to go the night you pick up share or store in freezer for later use).

Here's Amy's favorite way of cooking the dough: coat a smooth surface with flour and cornmeal (just flour is ok) so that the dough does not stick to the surface. Line a cookie sheet or pizza pan with parchment. Form dough into ball and flatten with heels of palms. Stretch dough with hands or use a rolling pin to form shape of baking pan (I use a cookie sheet so I form it into a square). Once dough is slightly stretched on surface you can stretch dough in the air with hands by making two fists held together with dough on top. Move each hand up, down and out turning the dough clockwise. Each dough can be stretched to a 16" round, for thicker crust make smaller. If you like light fluffy crust I put my baking sheet on the top of my oven while preheating and let rise. Otherwise set aside in neutral area till oven is ready at 425F. If you have a pizza stone, it's great to slide the pizza and parchment off onto the stone. Otherwise, bake on the parchment on the pan. After around the first 5 mins, if dough has started to bake/firm up, you can carefully ease the parchment out from under the pizza, sliding the pizza onto the stone or onto the oven rack itself. Allowing the pizza to bake on the stone or rack will help crisp the crust. Just be certain it's firm enough to move it before you go for it! Overall you are going to bake your pizza 12-14 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese bubbles.

The West River Creamery Marinated Feta is so good it's pretty hard to stop eating.  I highly recommend making a pizza with this cheese, and then save the rest for a scrumptious pasta dish.  I would also add some feta to a salad or make the dressing below.  Make sure you use every drop of the oil on your pizza and in your pasta or soak it up with some bread.  Good to the last drop.

The blueberries from Four Corners Farm are absolutely gorgeous!  I don't remember when I have ever seen bigger, plumper berries that are also juicy and delicious.  These are naturally grown, unsprayed berries. 

Last week Lanzer’s Fruit Farm reached out to me and said they were having a bumper crop of black currants.  I had heard of currants before but didn't really know what you would do with them.  I talked for a while with Sabrina and Lionel who manage the farm, and  visited the farm that afternoon (they're right over the way from us in Hardwick).  They have quite the operation!  I learned a lot about currants that day and got to bring some home to try out.  The currents are grown organically, as the Lanzers are in their 3rd year of working toward their certification. Here's some information from Sabrina about their farm:

We specialize in Currants with 45 different varieties of Black Currant including 4 introduced by the late Lewis Hill. We also have a variety of other Ribes, including Gooseberries, Jostaberries and the more traditional Red Currants.  The currant is an amazing superfruit with over 300% of the daily requirement of vitamin C in a 100g serving. The Black Currant also brings to the table a healthy dose of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Currants are tasty fresh, frozen, sweet or savory.

We recommend using them in your favorite recipes in place of cranberries, or in addition to your other summer berries. They add a wonderful burst of color and tartness.

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.


Quick Pickled Pearl Onions
As an unconventional accompaniment to his juicy grilled chicken, Thomas Keller likes to serve pickled pearl onions, which add a sweet, tart bite. The vinegary mixture is great for pickling other vegetables, like baby carrots and Kirby cucumbers.

16 white pearl onions (about 1 cup), root ends trimmed and scored with an X
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the pearl onions until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Transfer the onions to a glass bowl.
Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, bring the water and vinegar to a boil with the sugar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns. Boil until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Pour the liquid over the onions and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Drain before serving.

Make Ahead: The drained pickled onions can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Tomato Fennel Salad
Here's a great recipe using your fennel.

1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes
1 small fennel bulb
2 tbsp good olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Core the tomatoes and cut into wedges. Remove the top of the fennel (save some fronds for garnish) and slice the bulb very thinly crosswise with a knife or on a mandoline.

Toss the tomatoes and fennel in a bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Garnish with 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds, season to taste, and serve.
Creamy Feta Dressing
This is a wonderful dressing. If you have fresh mint in the garden, use it here. Makes about 1 cup.

1/3 cup feta cheese, finely crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup oil
2 TB cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
3 TB yogurt
1 TB mayonnaise
fresh black pepper
fresh minced or dry herbs: mint, dill, chives, parsley

Blend together vinegar, garlic, yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper, & herbs. Blend in the oil in a drizzle until emulsified, then stir in feta. Keeps 1 week in refrigerator.


Caramelized Onion, Sweet Pepper, Spinach, Feta Pizza
I made this pizza last night and it was fantastic.

1 onion, sliced
several cloves of garlic
1 sweet pepper
1 shallot if you have it, minced
1/2 container Marinated feta
crushed red pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F.
Stretch your pizza dough with well floured hands and place on baking sheet, let rest.

Heat a skillet, and add oilve oil to coat.  Add the onions and cover and simmer first on medium for around 5 minutes.  Then add the peppers (frozen is fine) and cook on medium til the water evaporates from them.  Then let onions and peppers simmer together a while to very soft and starting to color a bit.  Add youur shallots (if using) and garlic and saute a bit more til these soften but don't brown, and then remove to a plate.

In same skillet, toss in a bit more oil, some water, and the chopped kale and saute the kale til it softens.  Steam will help achieve this and might take 5 mins.  Then turn off.

Build pizza.  Start with a smear of olive oil on the crust.  Then spread the pepper mixture around.  Then the crumble the feta between fingers and spread over crust.  Then the kale.  Then drizzle half the oil from the feta container and the yummy sundried tomato bits around.  Next give your pizza a good sprinkling of oregano, crushed red pepper, and a bit of salt.

Bake for 10-15 mins until bottom is nicely baked and top comes together.  Remove to a rack, slice  and enjoy.

Beans with Tomatoes, Shallots, and Olives
You can't go wrong with beans, onions, and tomatoes!  The briefly pickled shallots add a great element to this dish.  Dare I say that some feta cheese in this recipe would be amazing?

12 ounces beans
1 shallot, sliced crosswise into rings (can sub an onion if you don't have a shallot)
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
10 Kalamata or other black olives, pitted
1 small clove garlic
1 tomato, cut up into chunks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Several basil leaves

Bring plenty of water to a boil in a pot.  While the water is heating, tip and tail the beans unless they are very tender and fresh, in which case you can leave the tips on.

While the water is heating, toss the sliced shallot in the vinegar.  Pit the olives and chop them with the garlic.
When the water comes to a boil, add 1tbsp salt, then the beans.  Cook until they are tender-firm, about 5 minutes.  The timing will depend on the bean- how big, how old, so you just have to keep tasting them to get it right.  Drain the beans and turn them onto a towel to dry.

Put the beans in a large bowl, and toss them with the olives and garlic, then taste for salt and season with pepper.  Pull the shallots out of the vinegar, add the oil to the vinegar, and whisk them together.  Pour the dressing over the beans, then scatter the shallots over the top.  Add the tomatoes and basil; stir to combine.  This can be served hot or at room temperature.

Tomato-Watermelon Salad with Feta and Toasted Almonds
This recipe comes from and got great reviews. 

4 cups 1 1/4-inch chunks seedless watermelon (about 3 pounds)
1.5 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
1.5 teaspoon (or more) fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
2.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1.5 tablespoons chopped assorted fresh herbs (such as dill, basil, and mint)
3 cups fresh arugula leaves or small watercress sprigs
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 5 ounces)
 1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Combine melon and tomatoes in large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon fleur de sel and toss to blend; let stand 15 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and herbs to melon mixture. Season to taste with pepper and more salt, if desired.

Toss arugula in medium bowl with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Divide arugula among plates. Top with melon salad; sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted almonds and serve.


Black Currant Jam –
Black currants are great for jam-making and they thicken and jell beautifully. You might want to cook this jam, leaving it a bit on the runny side, since as it sits it will thicken up more than other jams.  Lanzers sent me this recipe but it's the same exact recipe I tried last week when I had some samples.  I've been enjoying this beautifully colored jam on my toast in the mornings.  Makes two jars (about 2 cups, 500g)

2 cups (250g) fresh black currants (stemmed)
¾ cup (180ml) water
1 ¼ (250g) cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

In a nonreactive pot, bring the black currants and the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes, until the black currants are softened.

Add the sugar and the lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the jam reaches the jelling point.

- If using a thermometer, it should read about 220ºF (104ºC).

- Or if you want to do the freezer test, put a small plate in the freezer. When the jam looks thickened, turn off the heat and put a teaspoon of the jam on the plate and stick it back in the freezer for about 5 minutes. When you take it out, it’s done if you nudge your finger into it and it holds its shape. If not, continue cooking it, and retesting the jam, until it’s the right consistency.

When ready, scrape into clean jars, cover, and turn the jars over until cool.

Storage: I store my jam in the refrigerator and eat it within a few months. If you want to can it, you can find instructions online although since it’s only a couple of jars, you are likely going to use them quickly.


Black Currant Bars
This recipe is also courteous of Lanzers Fruit Farm.  They said it's absolutely delicious!

12 ounces fresh or frozen Black Currants, thawed
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup water

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix


3/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the Black Currants, white sugar, and water. Cook, stirring occasionally until all of the Black Currants have popped, and the mixture is thick, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, melted butter, and eggs. Stir in the oats, brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon. Set aside about 1 1/2 cups of the mixture, and spread the rest into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pack down to form a solid crust, getting it as even as possible. Spread the cooled Black Currant mixture over the crust. Pinch off pieces of the remaining mixture and place evenly over the Black Currant layer.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is lightly browned. Cool in the pan for 1 hour before slicing into bars.


Savory Wild Blueberry Pizza
I thought this sounded amazing even though it's more of a focaccia than a pizza.  What could be better than blueberries and feta cheese together??

1 pizza dough
For the Topping:
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons thyme, freshly minced
8 sprigs of thyme
1/2 large onion
3/4 cup fresh, or frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Prepare your pizza dough.

Pre-heat the oven to 425° and begin to put the ingredients on the dough. To do this you will first, brush the dough with 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and then sprinkle with the minced thyme.

Next, cut the onion into small wedges and push the onion wedges into the dough all over the pizza. Top with the blueberries and bake 20 to 30 minutes until the dough is cooked, and the top is lightly browned. Brush lightly with olive oil before serving.

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