Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Good Eats Newsletter - August 19, 2015

Localvore Members 
& Regular Veggie Only Share Members

This week your bag will contain:
Mesclun, Red Beets, Onions, Jalapeno Peppers, Chard, Snap Beans, Fennel

And OUT of the bag:
Brown bag of Tomatoes
Bunch of Basil

Localvore Offerings Include:
Cellars at Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese
Champlain Orchards Ginger Gold Apples
Pete's Zesty Sweet Dill Pickles

Half Veggie Only Members

Mesclun, Gold Beets, Onions, Chard
Snap Beans, Euro Cucumber

And OUT of the bag:
Brown bag of Tomatoes (marked for small share members)

Storage and Use Tips

Mesclun - Mesclun is back in your bags this week.  The word Mesclun comes from Southern France and literally means "mixture".  Without a specific ingredient list it can be a mixture of many types of greens. Our mesclun mix is constantly changing to reflect the seasons we are in, currently consisting of yound lettices, chards and brassicas.  Store sealed bags in the fridge from 3-7 days.

Beets - Gorgeous beets have been harvested from fields these past weeks and both shares will receive them. Half share/small bag members will receive gold beets and large bag members will receive red beets.  Red beets will add some of their red color to a dish you add them to (but who doesn't love a technicolor side?).  Gold beets are great because you can toss them in your salads without turning everything a uniform pink. Either way, gold or red, beets are delicious and packed full of nutrients.  Both may be eaten cooked or raw. Grated beets make a fabulous addition to salads and slaws. 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.

Jalapenos - The little peppers in your bag this week are NOT lunch box peppers so don't let the kids be duped.  These are jalapenos and have a moderate amount of heat.  This summer my 9 year old daughter is slowly learning to embrace hot peppers.  Each time we go to the garden she picks one of ours and nibbles on it, a little here, a little there and soon she's down to half a pepper (and headed to the fridge for milk).  These will keep 7-10 days in the fridge, but they also freeze well.  If you won't use right away, if you don't know you will use right away, just put them in a freezer bag and toss in freezer.  When you pull them out frozen and chop a little into a dish you want notice a difference in your dish.

Swiss Chard for both shares this week.  Chard is a delicious nutritious green, high in Vitamins A, K, and C.  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.  Chard is most often eaten cooked.  You can use it as a substitute for many recipes that call for spinach or other greens.  For a quick side dish, try braising it one of two ways.  Put a little olive oil or butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic & 1/4 to 1/2 of a minced onion in a saute pan and allow the garlic to cook a bit and soften.  Put in the chopped chard and cover tightly and let cook until wilted (if there's not enough moisture add a TB or so of water).  Once chard has just wilted, add a sprinkle of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or balsamic and black pepper and maybe a bit of salt and serve. Or, add a bit of vegetable oil to the pan.  Add the clove of minced garlic.  Then add the chopped chard and cover and let cook until wilted.  Then sprinkle with rice vinegar and a few drops of toasted sesame oil and maybe a teeny bit of soy if you want stronger flavor. 

Snap Beans - both shares will receive beans this week.  Though in the same family as dry beans, snaps trade starch and protein for more vitamins A and C. Snap beans are also known as string beans. Up until American botanists figured out how to breed out the tough string that ran along the sides, one always had to remove the "strings" when preparing beans. You may find purple and/or green snaps in your bag this week. Both taste just about the same. And, if you cook the purples thoroughly, they will turn green as well. Refrigerate beans unwashed in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Snap or snip off ends of beans before cooking.

Tomatoes A note about our tomato crop  - The excessive moisture we had in June was really tough on tomatoes and started some disease issues including blight.  We have been doing our best to support the plants but there is some disease in our fields now that is affecting our crop and we have lots of tomatoes with blemishes.  We very carefully sort tomatoes before they go in the brown CSA bags. Every tomato is handled, inspected and wiped down before packing. We separate out any with blemish and send them straight to our kitchen for processing.  But the problem with the blemishes is that they can travel across and into an individual fruit quickly.  So something that has invisible or negligible blemish at packing sometimes can look very different coming out of your bag. Please do let us know if your tomatoes aren't satisfactory and if they are bad please send us a photo if you can so we can see what is happening to them (really helpful).

Large share members tomatoes will be in the PLAIN brown bags.  
Small share member tomatoes will be in the STICKERED brown bag that say

Fennel - Fennel will be in large share bags this week.  Crunchy and slightly sweet with the flavor of anise (which is also the flavor of black licorice), fennel is delicious 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 soups and stews and sauces and is particularly at home with tomato sauce dishes. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. To prepare, 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

Basil - is also back this week for large share members and will be OUT OF THE BAG!
  This marvelous herb is a member of the mint family. It is a staple in Mediterranean cooking as well as Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian. The herb is highly aromatic, or put another way, the oils in basil are highly volatile. Thus, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor. Basil should be kept in a plastic bag or kept stems down in a glass of water with plastic over the leaves for about a week with regular water changing.  Keep your basil out of the extreme cold as it could damage the fragile leaves (basil abhores a cold fridge - it turns black).

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 we have Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese from Jasper Hill Farm.  This cheese won a Super Gold at the World Cheese Championships in 2014.  It's pretty special.  I love this review from The Paris Review: “It would be too simple to say this is any ordinary cheese with the blues—it’s dense with flavor, care and feeling. The Bayley Hazen has a balanced mix of flavors that range from buttered toast, to chocolate and hazelnuts, and even the dark bitterness of liquorice. This Stilton-like blue is a mix of narratives—the Mrs. Dalloway of cheeses, if you will. It’s a delicious modern classic. Its taste, and the moment you first fell in love with it, will permeate in your memory for years. Don’t let this one get away.”  Bayley Hazen Blue is named after a road running through the Northeast Kingdom built by and named after two Revolutionary War generals Bayley and Hazen.  The intent of building the road was to provide a means for an invasion of Quebec during the Revolutionary War. Enjoy the cheese, it's awesome.
Also this week we have some of the seasons first apple varieties Ginger Gold Apples from Champlain Orchards.  This is a green/gold apple, sometimes tinged with red, an offspring of a Golden Delicious. It's a great eating apple (a kid fave), a terrific baking and dessert apple.  This is just the start of the harvest and these may still be a bit tart (maybe).  If too tart for your liking, just put in your fridge for a week or so and they will sweeten up.  
Lastly this week we have Zesty Dill Freezer Pickles were made last week at the farm (and we are making more later this week).  These pickles are sweet and sour and yummy and are great eaten right out of the container or added to a sandwich.  They are a freezer pickle and we are sending them out frozen so you may need to thaw a bit more in order to enjoy or you can put right back in the freezer for a later date (use within 6 months).  Once open keep refrigerated and eat within 3 weeks.

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.


Beet, Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Earthy beets, bright crisp cucumbers, summer sweet tomatoes combine for a great summer salad.
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved or ripe tomato cut into pieces
4 medium beets, roasted 
1 large cucumber or up to 3 small to medium, peeled, seeded and sliced into half-moon slices approx. 1/4″ thick
1 tbl extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsps red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Toss vegetables with oil, vinegar and salt.  
*Optional and tasty - add crumbled good blue cheese or goat cheese on top.  And/or a few toasted walnuts.
Serve immediately.
Braised Tomatoes and Greens Beans
This one is adapted from an Eating Well recipe and it's one I cook a variation of often in summer
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
1 bulb of fennel, sliced 1/4 inch thin
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 TB fennel seeds (if you have them)
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Optional ...
*Have less tomato than you need?  Saute an onion on low for more moisture at beginning.  Or onion and pepper.
*Add a sliced zucchini
*Add a jalapeno diced for extra zip
Cook green beans in boiling water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and refresh with cold water.
Heat oil in a large nonreactive saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add fennel seeds and crushed red pepper and cook for 30 seconds or until becoming fragrant.   Add onion and fennel bulb slices  (if using) and saute until the veggies are just starting to beome a little tender, 3 mins or so.  Add tomatoes and the green beans.  Cover and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes form a sauce and the beans are soft, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Beet & Apple Salad with Blue Cheese & Walnuts
2-3 raw beets, peeled and cut into matchsticks or skinny slices
1 sweet/tart apples cut into matchsticks
Arugula or mixed salad greens
4 oz blue cheese or goat or feta cheese, crumbled
Toasted walnuts
4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (you can also use white balsamic, apple cider vinegar, or you favorite mixed citrus juice)
2 tablespoons of best-quality extra virgin olive oil
A little fleur de sel (if you are using goat cheese; no salt, if you’re using feta or blue)
Wash, peel and cut your beets and apples. Reserve in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, make your citrus vinaigrette by adding lemon juice, olive oil, and fleur de sel. Whisk together, taste and adjust to your liking. If you want a sweeter flavor, use less citrus and more olive oil. Drizzle over beets and apples and toss with pair of tongs.
Plate individually by making a bed of salad greens, top with pile of beet mixture, and garnish with cheese and walnuts.
Also great with a maple balsamic.
Braised Onions, Fennel and Swiss Chard
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 small spring onions, julienned
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 bunch white Swiss chard, stems cut into 1/2-inch lengths, leaves cut into 1-inch lengths, leaves and stems reserved separately
Kosher salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Meyer lemon, zested on a microplane and juiced, zest and juice reserved separately
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil. Toss in the smashed garlic and crushed red pepper and bring the pan to a medium heat. When the garlic becomes golden brown and very aromatic, remove it from the pan and discard it. It has fulfilled its garlic destiny. Add the onions, fennel and Swiss chard stems, stir to coat with the oil and season with salt, to taste. Stir in the white wine and the lemon zest and juice. Cover and cook over medium heat until the veggies have become soft and wilted but still maintain some texture, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until most of the liquid has reduced, another 3 to 4 minutes. Toss in the Swiss chard leaves, stir to combine and season with salt, to taste. When the leaves have wilted but still look vibrantly green, taste for seasoning. Reseason if needed (it probably will). Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Beet and Fennel Salad
A delightful salad for this week pairing pretty veggies.  I like the citrus vinaigrette combo but another light sweet dressing works great.  In my house, a maple balsamic vinaigrette is the staple dressing on hand, and I don't often have oranges and lemons hanging around.  But it you do, great, it will be lovely.

4 beets
1 head fennel
Juice of one orange
Juice of two lemons
Zest of one orange
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1/4 cup walnuts
4-6 cups mixed greens – lettuces, arugula
2-4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons minced chopped fennel fronds (or chives, parsley, or mint)

Cut the greens off the top of the beets and reserve for later use. Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler. Using a slicer or mandolin, thinly slice the beets. Stacking a few slices, use a chef’s knife to cut the beets into narrow strips. Or grate in a food processor. Place in a medium bowl.
Remove the fennel fronds. Remove the tough outer layers and cut in half lengthwise (from the top, where the fronds were, through the core end.) Remove the triangular shaped core at the base. Using the slicer or mandolin, thinly slice the fennel. Rinse the slices, dry with a paper towel, and slice into narrow strips, just as with the beets. Add to the bowl with the beet strips.

For the vinaigrette, place the orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest and olive oil in a small, sealable container. Shake vigorously. Season with salt.
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat and add walnuts to skillet. Toast until fragrant and starting to color, then remove from heat.  Allow to cool, and coarsely chop.
Place the mixed greens in a large bowl with fennel and beets. Dress with vinaigrette. Taste, season with salt if needed or more vinaigrette. Top with the crumbled goat cheese, chopped walnuts, and minced fennel fronds (or other herb choices).

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