Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Good Eats Weekly Newsletter - August 2, 2017


IT'S A MEAT WEEK!
MEAT SHARE MEMBERS - PLEASE PICK UP



Localvore Members 
& Regular Veggie Only Share Members
take a LIGHT GREEN BAG

This week your bag contains:

Mesclun, Eggplant, Radishes, Chard, Fresh Wax Beans, Pac Choi, European Cucumber, Garlic Scapes, Cippolini Onions, and

Out of the Bag:
Blueberries (see note to the right)



Half Veggie Only Members
take a YELLOW BAG
containing:

Lettuce Head, Zucchini, Cauliflower or Broccoli or Fennel, Curly Green Kale, Fresh Wax Beans, Pac Choi, European Cucumber, Garlic Scapes, Red Onions, and

Out of the Bag:
Blueberries (see note to the right)



Localvore Offerings Include:

Milanaise White Flour
Tangletown Farm Eggs
Pete's Greens Basil Pesto

Blueberries

Blueberries are going out this week for MOST CSA members. However, if you pick up at the following sites, you will NOT be getting berries this week. You WILL get them next week.

Not getting berries:
- Hardwick
- East State St
- National Life
- Senior Activity Center
- BCBS
- Barre Orange St

Both shares at all other sites will get berries this week.

Our berries were damaged by hail a few weeks ago. You'll notice that there are small brown speckles on some of the berries. This is a result of the hail damage. They're perfectly edible, and still delicious! I know, because I snuck a pint last week to try over the weekend. Slightly tart, slightly sweet, and addictive! 

This is one of the struggles a farm encounters over the course of a season - use hail damaged blueberries, or not use them and lose significant investment... they are still certified organic blueberries and every bit as tasty as a perfect berry!


Around the Farm

As I've written about before, I would love to move our CSA away from the disposable plastic bags we've been using to pack our CSA - I know many of you would like us to, too. Last week, Amy and I had a very good discussion about potential solutions to this problem. What I learned: it's very complicated. For very valid food safety reasons, our farm is in an unique position. We are a fairly large farm and we are certified Organic. And our vegetable CSA comes entirely from our farm. To maintain our Organic certfication, we have to comply with all the rules of the VOF - Vermont Organic Farmers. VOF has very specific rules and regulations for packaging, especially reusing packaging.

It's not simple. We brainstormed a plethora of ideas about what types of containers we could switch to, how we would wash them, where we would store them, how we would distribute them, how we would pack them, how we would train the staff, how many times we could re-use them, how they would drain, and the big one: the cost.

We're still researching and brainstorming, and working through all the variables to consider. It's on my mind, but the more I learn the more challenging it becomes. 
~ Taylar

Storage and Use Tips 

Mesclun (full shares): This week's greens is a bag of pre-washed, field harvested baby greens.
Pac Choi: Pac choi coming your way with week. Part of the cabbage family, 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).  As leaves become more mature they are more often served cooked. 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.
Fresh Beans: These green and purple beans are great for snacking and cooking up. Store in your fridge wrapped in plastic for up to 5 days. Try them braised, roasted, or grilled. Beans pair well with garlic, balsamic, and parmesan. You'll receive green, purple, or a mix!
Cippolini Onions (full shares): Cippolini onions are a small flattened Italian onion with a sweet, mild flavor. Cippolinis are traditionally served roasted or baked, but also work well on kebabs or eaten fresh. If you have never eaten a roasted cippolini you must, as you will never think of onions the same way. The advantage of the cipollini is its mild flavor that when roasted caramelizes quickly into sweet, flavorful goodness! Their shape lends them well to roasting. Cippolini onions do not store as well as your typical onion. For short term storage keep in a cool, dry place or in the butter compartment of your fridge.
Summer Squash/ Zucchini (half shares): Zucchini and yellow summer squash are in full share bags this week. This time of year, tender zukes are a treat. Store unwashed in the crisper. Use in a few days. Try grating them, and saute lightly in butter. Or eat them raw in salads. Shred them and mix into muffins or other baked goods. The possibilities are endless! 
Cauliflower/ Broccoli/ Fennel (half shares): You'll receive either a head of cauliflower, a bouquet of broccoli florets, or a bunch of fennel. Crunchy and slightly sweet with the flavor of anise, 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. Enjoy cauliflower or broccoli raw or roasted. Store in plastic in your fridge for about a week.
Eggplant (full shares): Eggplants do not like cold, so please bag them well and put them in your crisper drawer for extra cold protection. Actually, the best thing you could do is eat them right up! This variety is called a Japanese eggplant. They're long and skinny. This week's share contents make for a delicious veggie stir fry.
Garlic scapes: We're flush with scapes right now, so we're sending these out to you as a bonus - we didn't count them towards the value of this week's share. For year round scape goodness, dice them up small and stick 'em in the freezer. Pull them out throughout the winter! Or try making a scape pesto. They're a fine garnish, too, for pasta, eggs, pizza, and other dishes. They're also a nice addition to a stir fry.
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.
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 Shelf or you can skip your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.

Sorry, we cannot make changes to the week's delivery after 8 am on Monday.

Meat Share

This month we'll start you off with a very big Pete's Pastured Chicken. These birds will yield a roast chicken dinner with plenty of leftovers for salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, or other dishes (chicken noodle soup in my house).  Our chickens are grown on the farm.  They start off indoors, their diet supplemented with lots of shoots and greens leftover from our washhouse which they eat with gusto.  Once they are feathered out at around 3 weeks of age, they move outside to the field where they spend the rest of their lives grazing and scratching in the dirt for insects and worms.  They assimilate the vitamins in their green diet into their meat, making this chicken vitamin packed, low fat and very healthy.  Some people roast chickens all the time, some don't.  If you are in the latter category, rejoice in this big to-be-roasted bird. Amy likes to roast a big chicken each week to make a great meal on night one. Then there's loads of leftover chicken.  You can make so many dishes with the leftovers, including her favorite chicken curry with cashews (recipe below).  And then you can make broth.  Don't skip this!  This is such a valuable part of the bird - then you get soups and risottos and more.

This Maple Wind Farm chorizo sausage is made from pasture raised Huntington pork. Chorizo is a highly spiced sausage, and a traditional sausage flavor in Spanish and Mexican cuisine. This sausage is not overly spicy, it has a great taste that is amazing in paella, on pizzas, tossed in pasta, in soups, with black beans, and it's wonderful in scrambled eggs.
Rounding out the share is the ever-popular bacon. This month you'll receive nitrate-free bacon from either North Hollow Farm or VT99. North Hollow raises pork, beef, goat, and chicken in Rochester, VT. VT99 is our collaboration pork project with the Cellars at Jasper Hill. I got to spend some time with the pigs a couple weeks ago and found out some interesting facts, like how these pigs live for about five years or so. This is in contrast to commercial sows who live to be about 3 or 4 and have very intensive breeding schedules. Commercial farms breed at maximum, which comes out to around 2.75 litters a year, lowering the lifespan of a sow. VT99 gives the gals a break between "farrowings" and lets them recover their weight more fully, which drops significantly while nursing. They end up breeding about 2.25 litters a year, extending their lifespan. Here's a few pictures of the pigs on pasture this summer - with an incredible view of the NEK.

The pigs are spending their summer on a parcel of land located on the Creek Rd here in Craftsbury. We use this land in exchange for helping transform it after years of being overfarmed for a dairy operation. We've planted beneficial cover crops and trees to help enrich soil and water quality. 

Localvore Lore
Just over the border in Compton, Quebec, Lily Vallières and Robert Beauchemin, owners of La Meunerie Milanaise began producing organic cereal grains on their farm in Quebec's Eastern Townships in 1977. They are committed to sourcing their flours locally, and their partner farms grow varieties of wheat that are adapted for our climate. Their innovation and success has been important for bakeries in our region who wish to purchase local organic flours appropriate for making artisan breads. The organic Unbleached White Flour in your share this week, made with Quebec winter wheat, is a perfect all-purpose flour, great for breads and other baked goods. Store flour in an airtight container. It will last a very long time.
Tangletown Farm eggs this week and Pete's Greens Sweet Basil Pesto to round out the share. Becca, Amy, and I have been busy in the kitchen the last couple weeks putting up items for the long winter ahead. We make the pesto in our farm kitchen, using our farm-grown basil. It is made with Parmesan cheese and sunflower seeds, so take note if you can't eat these items. The pesto is frozen and can stay frozen for many months. You can use a little bit at a time and re-freeze it. I like having it on hand for a quick and easy pasta dinner, as a base for pizza, on a sandwich, or as a way to spice up potatoes. Get creative with it!

Recipes

Find more recipes by searching our website or looking through past newsletters here.

Ratatouille
It's the season for this classic French casserole, a delicious stew of eggplant, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and zucchini. By Julia Child

1/2 pound eggplant
1/2 pound zucchini, trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 8-ounce onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced into strips
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 pound firm but ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into 3/8- to 1/4-inch-thick strips
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Peel eggplant; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut into 3-inch-long, 1-inch-wide strips. Cut zucchini into same size strips. Place vegetables in large bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain; dry with paper towels.

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant and zucchini to skillet; sauté until light golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plate; reserve.

Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet; heat over medium heat. Add onion and peppers; sauté until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Place tomato strips atop onion-pepper mixture in skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet; cook over low heat until tomatoes begin to juice, about 5 minutes. Uncover; baste vegetables in skillet with juices. Boil until juices are almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer 1/3 of onion-pepper-tomato mixture to 2 1/2-quart pot; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Top with half of eggplant and half of zucchini, then remaining onion-pepper-tomato mixture; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Layer remaining eggplant and zucchini over; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Cover; simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Uncover; tilt pot and baste with accumulated juices. Increase heat to medium; simmer uncovered, basting several times with pan juices until only 2 to 3 tablespoons juices remain in pot, watching closely to avoid scorching, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cool slightly. Cover; chill. Serve at room temperature or rewarm over medium-low heat before serving.

Green Bean and Pasta Salad
Here's an easy make ahead lunch.

8 ounces penne
1/2 lb green beans, halved crosswise
1/2 bunch leafy greens, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or handful of chopped fennel)
1/4 c grated Parmesan
1/4 c olive oil
2 TB fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
kosher salt and black pepper

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the green beans during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

Toss the cooled pasta and green beans with the red beans, parsley, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Divide the salad between 2-4 containers and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Grilled Green Beans
This is a great approach to enjoying your green beans - kissing the vegetables with a little smoky char.  Be sure not to skip the step of covering and letting the mixture stand; all steams to perfect doneness in that time.  If you don't have a grill basket, grill on a large piece of heavy-duy foil.  From Cooking Light, June 2014.

1/2 small red onion, vertically sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Place a grill basket on hot grill; preheat for 5 minutes.

Place onions, garlic, and green beans in a large bowl.  Drizzle with canola oil; toss well to coat.  Arrange mixture in hot grill basket; cover grill, and cook 7 minutes or until beans are lightly charred, tossing occasionally.  Place bean mixture in a large bowl; cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Add soy sauce and remaining ingredients; toss to combine.

Grilled Chicken: the Bittman Method

Mark's method for grilling chicken that's moist on the inside and crisp on the outside is to grill at two temps.  On a grill, you would have a hot side and a cooler side.  On a gas gill, turn one side on low (or even off) and the other on medium high.  The chicken starts out skin side up on the cooler side of the grill....

Put the chicken on the grill skin-side up on the cool side and, after some of the fat has been rendered, turn it; if flames flare up, move the chicken to an even cooler part of the fire (this is where gas is handy; it's so easily adjusted). Or turn it so the skin side is up again -- remember to keep the fat away from the flame.
When the skin has lost its raw look and most of the fat has been rendered, usually after 20 minutes or so of cooking, it's safe to move the chicken to the hot side of the grill. By then the meat will be mostly cooked through; what you do now is brown it nicely on both sides.

Bingo. If you have any doubts about the meat's doneness, cut into it alongside the bone. It will not make for the most attractive presentation, but it's more attractive than bloody chicken. With experience, you will be able to judge doneness by appearance and feel alone. This technique not only frees you from fear, at least in this little universe, but gives you dozens of options for flavoring.

Chicken Curry with Cashews
This is one of Amy's favorite chicken recipes. It calls for adding the chicken to the dish raw and cooking it, but she always have whole chickens. Try roasting the whole bird on the day prior, eat one meal from the bird, and the following day throw the rest into this dish. Honestly this dish is so good it's like dessert. You can't stop eating it.

1/4 c butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 TB finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 TB curry powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 chicken, cut into pieces
14-16 oz diced tomatoes
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro (this is nice but not essential)
3/4 c cashews (this I suppose is not essential but is what makes the dish dessert like)
3/4 c. whole milk plain yogurt

Heat butter over moderately low heat until foam subsided, then cook onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 mins. Add chicken and cook stirring to coat, 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice, and cilantro and bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

*If making with cooked chicken, add the tomatoes and cilantro after cooking the spices for 2 mins, and let simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Then add the cooked chicken and heat through. Then move to the steps below.

Just before serving (or heating up- the above can be cooked well in advance):
pulse cashews in a food processor until very finely ground, then add to curry along with yogurt and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.

Serve with basmati rice.

Fennel And Kale Pasta

Sweet fennel and greens work beautifully together.
1⁄2 c olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 medium fennel bulb fronds removed, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 lb spaghetti
up to 3 lb kale or other cooking green washed and chopped
1 c grated parmesan

Heat oil in a large braising pan or skillet with a cover. Add onion; sauté over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in fennel; sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until fennel is tender, about 8 minutes longer. Stir in vinegar; simmer to blend flavors, 1 minute longer. Adjust seasonings.

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; return to boil. Add kale; continue to cook until pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes.

Drain pasta and greens; toss with fennel mixture and cheese. Transfer portions to warm pasta bowls. Garnish with reserved minced fennel fronds. Serve immediately with more cheese passed separately.

Pan-Fried Fennel
Serve this simple and flavorful dish as an appetizer. For best results, use a heavy-bottomed saute pan.

2 medium fennel bulbs
1 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs, for dredging
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, just enough to yield about 1/4 inch in the pan
2 lemons, cut into wedges

Remove tops and fronds from fennel bulbs. Slice each bulb in half widthwise. Cut each half into slices about 1/8 inch thick.

Pour flour into a medium bowl and bread crumbs into another. Season with the salt and pepper. Crack eggs into a third bowl; whisk until frothy. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge fennel lightly in flour, then in egg, and then in bread crumbs, shaking off excess after each step.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Check to make sure the oil is hot enough by tossing a pinch of flour into the pan. If the flour sizzles, the oil is ready.

Fry fennel slices until golden brown on each side, about 30 seconds per side, working in batches so as not to crowd pan. Drain on paper towels; season with salt. Serve hot with lemon wedges.
   

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