Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Good Eats Weekly Newsletter - May 4th, 2016

Weekly updates on CSA contents, storage and use tips, recipes, and news from around the farm
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IT'S A MEAT WEEK!
For details about what's in your meat share, scroll down to the 
Meat Share section of the newsletter.

In Your Share This Week:

Full Veggie Share
Mesclun, Parsley, Head Lettuce, Napa Cabbage,
Spring Parsnips, Nicola Potatoes, Rutabaga
(Out of the bag: Frozen Beans, Frozen Peppers)

Half Veggie Share
Mesclun, Basil, European Cucumber,
Spring Parsnips, Nicola Potatoes, Rutabaga
(Out of the bag: Frozen Beans)

Localvore/Pete's Pantry
Sweet Rowen Cheese Curds, Elmore Mountain/Slowfire Bread,
Pete's Greens Pesto


Around the Farm

This week we have been busy planting trees to secure the banks of the river that runs by our fields. Planting native trees not only prevents erosion and provides wildlife habitat, but it also slows agricultural runoff, thereby preventing water pollution. This is important for improving the health of Vermont lakes and streams. Recently we have also been working on sowing the seeds for crops and cover crops in our fields, making progress toward feeding the soil and ourselves.

Storage and Use Tips
Mesclun -  This week's salad greens are a mix of arugula, mizuna, claytonia, lettuce, shoots, and tatsoi. These will make delicious fresh salads- eat up!

Basil - Half shares will receive basil this week. This versatile 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.

Parsley - Full share members will have either flat-leaf or curly-leaf parsley in their share. The two are practically interchangeable in most recipes. Much more than a garnish, parsley has lots to offer. Chopped parsley can be sprinkled on a host of different recipes, including salads, vegetable saut├ęs and grilled fish. Combine chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest, and use it as a rub for chicken, lamb and beef. Add it to soups and tomato sauces. It is a key flavor ingredient in the mediterranean dish tabouli. Store parsley in a bag, or with the stems in a glass of water and the tops loosely covered in plastic.

European Cucumbers - These long, skinny cukes taste like a burst of summer. Ideally they like to be kept at about 50 degrees or they may go soft in a couple days. But you can keep them bagged and toss them in the crisper drawer; they'll keep a few days longer than that. But this time of year, they get eaten too fast for storage to be an issue...

Head Lettuce - Full share members will get our first head lettuces of the year! These tender heads should be wrapped in plastic and stored in your crisper drawer. Perfect for salads, sandwiches, tacos, and more. Enjoy!

Napa Cabbage - The flavor of Napa cabbage is somewhat milder and a bit sweeter than that of regular green cabbage. It is delicious raw or cooked, and can be substituted for regular cabbage in most recipes. It's also great in salads. It is extremely popular in China partly because of its versatility. In Korea it is pickled, salted, and flavored with ginger and chili peppers to make Korea's national dish kimchi. Store in a sealed plastic bag in your refrigerator.

Spring Parsnips - Parsnips are a hardy crop that can overwinter in the ground. The cold conditions bring out their sweetness! These are our first spring-dug parsnips, which are a real treat to have. Some have been trimmed to give you only the best parts of the root. If needed, they can be trimmed again before peeling, chopping or slicing, and cooking. Parsnips are delicious when sliced thinly and sauteed in a little butter over a low flame until they're tender.

Nicola Potatoes - These slightly waxy potatoes are golden skinned and golden fleshed and are truly all purpose. They are great for boiling, mashing or roasting and are plenty waxy enough to make excellent potato salad. Nicola potatoes have a very special attribute among potatoes - they are low on the glycemic index compared to all other varieties. This means they do not cause blood sugar spike the way that other varieties may, if you are sensitive to blood sugar ups and down then you know this is an issue that can wreak havoc with people with insulin resistance. They also have a yummy slightly nutty flavor.  Store in a cool dry place away from onions.

Rutabaga - 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). They can also be roasted, included in soups and stews, or even pickled! Rutabagas should be peeled before use. Keep them loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your fridge.

Frozen Peppers - Our multi-colored peppers are washed, chopped, bagged and frozen within hours of harvest. Frozen peppers won't be crisp like fresh peppers but retain all the flavor and yummy summer goodness. To use them, simply remove package from the freezer, slice open bag, and then either thaw and add to your dish, or chop just what you need frozen and toss directly into your skillet. If you use the latter method, you can toss unused frozen veggies back into the freezer for later use. 

Frozen Beans - This week we have Frozen Beans. We can't call them "green beans" because some of them are purple and yellow! Our beans have been picked, washed, blanched, bagged and frozen all in a few hours.  They simply need to be heated up.  Remove from plastic bag and heat in water or mix into a dish as you would fresh produce.

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's share includes:
Bread from Slowfire Bakery or Elmore Mountain Bread, Basil Pesto from Pete's Greens, and Cheese Curds from Sweet Rowen Farmstead.

Our Basil Pesto contains our organic basil to which we add lots of garlic, parmesan and romano cheeses, lemon, and olive oil. Some of our pesto may be slightly oxidized on the top (which darkens it), but mix it up and it will regain its vibrant green color. My current favorite way to use pesto is to toss cubed potatoes with a liberal scoop, and roast in a 450 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

We love having Elmore Mountain Bread and Slowfire Bakery Bread in our Localvore share. Their breads are made with local flours and natural sourdough. At Elmore Mountain Bread, husband and wife team Andrew and Blair make every loaf by hand with local grains, which are milled in-house using their custom-built grain mill. Natural sourdough and small amounts of yeast make their breads rich in flavor after the long, 16-hour process from start to finish. This week's bread is Country French, made with Magog spring wheat from Aurora Mills and Farm in Linneus, Maine, milled at their bakery yesterday!

Slowfire Bakery in Jeffersonville is owned by Scott Medellin. Slowfire is a farm-based, wood-fired bakery. They make breads and pastries that are naturally leavened, hand-crafted, and baked in a masonry oven. This week's bread is polenta bread. The polenta bread is a variation on their country bread. It features heritage white flint corn grown in Rhode Island, fully cooked and mixed into the dough, adding a nice creamy texture, as well as the distinctive aroma and light sweetness of corn, to the depth of flavor from the naturally leavened blend of whole, sifted, and white flours that comprise their country bread.

You'll also receive Cheddar Cheese Curds from Paul Lisai's Sweet Rowen Farmstead in Albany, VT. The farm milks a special variety of cow known as Randall Linebacks.  They are Scottish in heritage, and were allowed to evolve naturally on Vermont pasture, making them specially suited to our native climate.  Lineback cows tend to have a unique white splash running the length of their backs, as well as white splotching on the face. Cheese curds are simply a mild cheddar cheese that hasn't been pressed into a block or wheel, and therefore the pieces are light and squeaky. They are delicious for snacking, pizza topping, grilled cheese, nachos, and of course poutine! 

Meat Share

This week's meat share includes a
Pete's Greens Pastured Chicken, McKnight Farm Ground Beef, VT99 Beet Sausage, VT99 Ham Steak, and VT99 Ground Pork.

Our Whole Chickens are pasture raised here at the farm and make a hearty addition to any meal. See below for a simple recipe to cook up your whole bird. 

You will also have organic Ground Beef from McKnight Farm in East Montpelier. Seth Gardner, the owner, installed a photovoltaic array at this farm to cover the electrical needs of his dairy and beef businesses. This ground beef is perfect for burgers, meatballs, or chili.

VT99, a joint effort between Pete's Greens and Jasper Hill Farm, is a pork operation run on the wholesome scraps and byproducts from the two farms: vegetable scraps and whey. These pigs make our farms more sustainable, and result in some really tasty fresh and cured pork products. This month, that includes
Beet Sausage (made a vibrant red from beets that we grow- a great way to sneak some veggies to a fussy child!),
Ham Steaks (a cured ham that is a wonderful way to make a quick and tasty mid-week meal), and
Ground Pork (perfect for dumplings, meatballs, etc).

See the Recipes section below for some tasty recipes using your meat share!

Recipes

Creamy Whipped Parsnips

1 lb. parsnips, peeled & chopped
2 tbsp. butter, ghee, lard, or tallow
2 tbsp. mayonnaise (or coconut cream for egg-free)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. black pepper
Optional: crushed herb de provence, dried parsley, or oregano

Bring a minimum 2 quarts of filtered water to a rolling boil in a large saucepan. Add the parsnips and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the parsnips and set them aside to steam for a couple of minutes.

In the meantime, add the butter, mayo, minced garlic, sea salt, black pepper, and herbs (if using) to the bowl of a food processor. Add the cooked parsnips and process until very smooth, about 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.



Quinoa and Rutabaga Patties

Serve these with a plain yogurt garnish or dip, and you will definitely be coming back for more. Enjoy!

1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 cup rutabaga, grated
1/4 cup shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh chives, finely minced
1/4 cup fresh parley, finely minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper, freshly ground
2 Tbsp. olive or coconut oil
Plain yogurt and fresh, minced parsley or chives for a garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
In a large bowl, add cooked quinoa, rutabaga, shallot, parsley, chives, garlic, eggs, turmeric, salt and pepper, stir to combine thoroughly.
Brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil, such as olive or coconut. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop mounds of patty mixture onto baking sheet and flatten patties with the back of a fork to a thickness of 1 inch. Bake patties for 10 minutes, flip gently to other side, bake for another 10 minutes.
Serve plain or with a garnish of plain yogurt and fresh, minced herbs.


Beauchamp Orchard Salad

1 large heads lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup of coarsely chopped Napa cabbage
1 apple (Gala or Honeycrisp) or pear, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (8-oz.) tub of crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. real maple syrup
Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Combine lettuce, cabbage, apple, and blue cheese in a large bowl.
Whisk together walnut oil, vinegar; shallot, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
Pour over salad and toss to combine. Top with pecans.


Canadian Poutine

Living right across the border from Quebec, there's no excuse for not making your own poutine at home. This classic Canadian dish consists, in its most basic form, of potato fries, cheese curds, and gravy. To reduce your guilt a little bit with this hearty pleasure, this recipe calls for roasted potatoes rather than deep fried, with the option of add any other root veggies as some of the fries as well!

5-6 medium potatoes, cut into fries (or rutabaga, parsnip, carrot, beets, sweet potatoes, etc, cut into thin fries)
2-4 Tbsp oil
salt or seasoning salt, to taste (about 1 tsp)
1-2 c. cheese curds
1 1/2 c. gravy (leftover beef gravy is best, but you can also use the recipe below)
Gravy:
4 Tbsp. butter
2 c. beef broth
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Toss vegetable fries in oil and salt. Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, flipping the fries about halfway through. Place on a large platter.
Sprinkle cheese curds evenly over fries and pour hot gravy over the top.
Serve immediately.
For the gravy:
Melt butter in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour making a roux.
Reduce heat and slowly add beef broth, whisking constantly, until you reach your desired thickness.
Add onion powder and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot.


Pesto Potato Salad

1.5 - 2 lbs pounds nicola potatoes, sliced in half or in quarters or eighths if large (leave the skins on)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 container Pete's Greens Pesto
3/4 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds

Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover them with cold water, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to the pot to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, then cook until fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, gently remove the potatoes from the water and place them in a large bowl. Set aside.
Return the water to a gentle boil, then add the green beans and peas to the pot. Let cook just until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain into a colander, then quickly rinse the beans and peas with cold water to stop their cooking.

While the potatoes are still warm, pour the pesto over the top, then toss gently to combine, being careful to break up the potatoes as little as possible. Add the green beans and peas to the bowl with the potatoes, then add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir all of the gently to combine. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped toasted almonds. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.



Quick and Easy Baked Chicken
 
This is a Mark Bittman recipe that is a simple and delicious crowd-pleaser.
 
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts, skin on:  2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 drum sticks, 2 thighs
(don't fret about how neat your cuts are or are not, it doesn't really matter in the end, it will be delicious)
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup fresh herbs (or 1-2 tsp dried)
salt and pepper
 
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the oil or butter in a roasting pan and put the pan in the oven for a couple of minutes, until the oil is hot or the butter melts. Add the chicken and turn it couple of times in the fat, leaving it skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and return the pan to the oven.
 
After the chicken has cooked for 15 minutes, toss about 1/4 of the herb or herb mixture over it and turn the pieces. Sprinkle on another quarter of the herb and roast for another 10 minutes.
 
Turn the chicken over (now skin side up again), add another quarter of the herb, and cook until the chicken is done (180 F , or you'll see clear juices if you make a small cut in the meat near the bone) a total of 30-50 minutes at most. Garnish with the remaining herb and skim excess fat from the pan juices if necessary; serve, with some of the juices spooned over it.
 
 
Variations:
*Add several cloves of garlic (20 wouldn't be too many).
*Add a cup or so of chopped onion, shallot, or leek.
*Add a cup or so of sliced fresh mushrooms, after the first 15 minutes of roasting.
*Add 2-3 lemons (or organges/limes). When the chicken is done, squeeze the hot lemon juice over it.
*Use Compound Butter, Flavored Oil, or a Vinaigrette from the beginning of the cooking or as a basting sauce during the cooking.
*Stir in a dollop of grainy French-style mustard when the chicken is done.
*Add a couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes and some black olives after turning the chicken skin side up again.
*Stir in a cup of any salsa in the last 10 minutes of cooking or spoon on top of the cooked chicken before serving.
 
 
 
Swedish Meatballs

This recipe uses your ground pork and ground beef, and works wonderfully over egg noodles.
 
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup Panko*
2 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups beef broth
3/4 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
 
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, Panko, egg yolks, allspice, nutmeg and cooked onion; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch meatballs, forming about 24 meatballs.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
To make the gravy, melt butter in the skillet. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in beef broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in sour cream; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Stir in meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
 
 
Ham and Potato Soup
 
1/2 stick butter
3 cups milk (any variety0
1 ham steak, diced
2 carrots or parsnips, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 red potatoes, diced (remove some or all skin)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. garlic (minced)
1 tsp. salt, pepper, rosemary
 
Start the crock pot on high. Add the butter and let it start melting. Dice your veggies and mix in the seasonings, add all to your slow cooker. Pour in the milk, stir, cover. In a skillet over medium high heat, cook on low the diced ham for about 2-3 minutes just to bring out some flavors and add color.Add the ham to the crockpot and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce to low and cook for an additional 3 hours. If you are leaving just cook approx. 5 hrs. on low from the beginning.

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