Good Eats Newsletter - March 19, 2008

Important Share Information
Thank you to everyone for crossing your names off the list at pick-up! Please remember to bring back your empty plastic bags and egg cartons. We love to reuse them!

Blog and Website Update
As many of you may already know, we archive our previous newsletters at We usually post the newsletter here the same day as the share delivery. Going back to August of 2007, it's a great place to look for past recipes. There are also some interesting local food related articles posted there. As of this week, you can subscribe to the blog as an RSS feed. If you're using My Yahoo!, for example, you can set it up so that the newsletter feed automatically updates to your homepage.

Many of you have been asking for pictures to help you identify some of the veggies you get in your bags each week. So, last week I brought my digital camera into the washhouse with me and took photographs of many of the lesser-known varieties that we had on hand. Thanks go to Meg for helping me to pull and identify vegetables. The images are posted on our Website, reachable from the Vegetables & Recipes page.

Pete's Musings
I've been absent from the newsletter for a few weeks. We've been putting the finishing touches on our headhouse and starts greenhouse. The finishing touches take a lot of time! The saying that the devil is in the details is certainly true, especially when you are dealing with plumbing and electronic greenhouse control systems. It is turning out to be a great facility and today plants moved from our indoor grow room out into the greenhouse space for the first time.

We are heating with waste fryolator oil collected from restaurants on our delivery route, and it is working great with our new set up. I never like to get too confident about our waste oil burners, as they are fairly fickle and can sometimes develop problems that can be maddening to diagnose. Fortunately, we have been using them for 2 seasons, so I have become a good grease furnace mechanic and can usually figure the problem out.

The furnaces are designed and built to burn waste motor oil so we are stretching their capabilities to burn vegetable oil. The service personnel have little experience with using them to burn vegetable oil. Often times when I call for help, I'm teaching them more than they teach me. Fortunately, I have a buddy in southern Vermont who is using the same furnaces and we can usually help each other decipher problems. He and I often comment that keeping up with our grease furnaces adds a whole new element to our spring. It is very different than turning on the propane heater and walking away. But in the end, the cost savings do make it worth it. It is actually a stimulating mental challenge to troubleshoot the furnaces when there are problems, just not at 3 a.m., which is when problems usually happen.

Here's hoping this snow will melt soon. Most seasons we are driving tractors around our fields on April 4. That seems a little unlikely this year. -Pete

Summer Share Enrollment
Although it seems like we have just begun this share period, we are already looking ahead to summer. We've just posted the new share information and sign-up form on our Website. You can find out all about it on our Summer Share page. Those of you who like to get things done early can send your forms in now. We don't cash any checks until right before the share begins.

This Week's Share Contains
Kohlrabi; Celeriac; Shallots; Fermented Vegetable Medley; Radish, Pea, Sunflower & Cress Sprouts; Frozen Strawberries; Vermont Soy Co. Tofu; Butterworks Cream; Champlain Valley Creamery Cream Cheese; and Patchwork Farm Bread.

Bread ingredients: organic wheat flour, organic wheat flakes, organic malted barley flour, sourdough, salt, deep well water.

Vegetable Storage and Use Tips
Having trouble distinguishing the kohlrabi from the celeriac? Check out the vegetable identification chart.

Celeriac - Savor the celeriac this week, as it is the last of our reserves. It should be stored unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.
Kohlrabi - You will find purple and/or green kohlrabi in your bag this week. A descendant of wild cabbage, its cousins are the usual brassica suspects: broccoli, cabbage, kale, and the like. I find that they are best peeled before use, especially if they've been in storage awhile, like these have. They are very tasty raw and take well to steaming, roasting and sauteing. Store loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Shallots - A member of the allium family, shallots are sweeter and milder than onions. You can slice them thin and saute them in recipes that benefit from their sweet, mild onion flavor. When minced, they are fantastic in homemade vinaigrettes and pan sauces. Store them in a cool, dark place.
Sprouts - This week's mix contains radish, sunflower, cress, and pea sprouts. Keep them in your crisper drawer. They'll last several days. Try making a salad of the sprouts, thinly sliced kohlrabi matchsticks, chopped apple and cheddar, tossed with your favorite homemade vinaigrette.
Frozen Strawberries - A wonderful preview of summer to come, these berries were frozen at their peak. They're best frozen until you are ready to use them. Then, let them sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before using a spoon to scrape out their hulls. Don't let the berries thaw fully before de-hulling, or you'll have a mess. Gail Falk, one of our members, suggests letting them thaw a little, then throwing them in the blender with yogurt and a bit of honey for a refreshing smoothie.
Fermented Vegetable Medley - Also known as "colorful kraut," this is a delicious mix of green, savoy, and red cabbage; onions; carrots; black and daikon radishes; and a tiny amount of dried cayenne peppers. Kept refrigerated, the fermented veggies will last at least two months.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather

The "Not-Kimchee"
A couple of months ago, Meg, Melissa and Elena shredded up a huge vat of cabbage, radishes, onions and carrots, with a bit of dried hot chilies, to make the Fermented Vegetables. It would be kimchee, if it had ginger and were spicier. It took a couple days for them to put it together. I walked into the wash house one day to find them busily prepping vegetables to shred. As one put them through the food processor, another tossed them into the stainless steel washing tank. They mixed it all up in the tank, salted it, and then transferred the mix into the fermenting barrel. Meg had cut this great cedar pole last fall for compacting the vegetables in the barrel. A bag of water went on top to seal it. Then the whole ensemble was trucked up to the house. Last week, Meg declared it ready and Eden helped her pack it into containers. We had a few samples, too! The flavor is light, tangy and not at all overpowering. 'Hope you enjoy this as much as they enjoyed making it for you!

Also included this week is tofu from Vermont Soy, made with local soybeans. They have been refining production and this tofu is firmer than the last batch we had. Vermont Soy is located right down the road in Hardwick. Sofia sent us the following information about their company and products:

Our Mission: At Vermont Soy in Hardwick, we make high-quality soy products, while supporting sustainable agriculture and local economies. We believe that fresh, organic, and local products are the healthiest alternative for both the consumer and the planet.

Our Beans: Soybean agriculture is new to Vermont. With the help of the University of Vermont, we are pioneering a viable crop for Vermont farmers to grow and sell. This helps to diversify farming revenues, while keeping Vermont's beautiful agricultural lands in use. Our artisan tofu is made with 100% Vermont-grown, non-GMO, and organic soybeans. Check out the latest Edible Green Mountains to learn more about Vermont Soy!

The cream cheese from Champlain Valley Creamery is a whole different taste experience from the regular cream cheese brick! Carleton Yoder makes it at his creamery in Vergennes. Here's some of what Champlain Valley Creamery has to say about their cream cheese from their website

Our first product is Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese, made using traditional methods. Produced without stabilizers or preservatives from cultured fresh organic cow’s milk and cream, it’s very unlike that ubiquitous foil-wrapped gummy brick! Of course our Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese is not only great for breakfast on a bagel, but also on sandwiches or in your favorite baked goods.

The texture of Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese is similar to fresh goat cheese, but with more creaminess and without that distinct goat’s milk flavor. Because we don’t stabilize the cheese with any sort of gums (carob bean, xanthan, etc), the cheese may separate. The liquid is simply whey, just stir it up and enjoy! The cheese is best in the first week after it’s made, but it will last 4 weeks in your fridge. Check the “Best By” date on the bottom of the container.

Our milk comes from a certified organic producer in Bridport, Vermont, near the shores of Lake Champlain. Our Creamery is Certified Organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF). To learn more about organic agriculture, check out NOFA-VT’s website.

Creamy Kohlrabi and Celeriac Gratin
For a hearty and satisfying lunch, try frying up leftover wedges of this gratin with eggs on the side. Serves 8.

1 cup thinly sliced shallots
3 TB butter
1 lb. celeriac, peeled, quartered, then thinly sliced.
1 lb. kohlrabi, peeled, quartered, then thinly sliced
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp dried, crushed tarragon
dash cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a deep dish pie plate. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat and saute shallots until translucent, but not yet browned, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients, including the 2 tablespoons of butter, in a large pot. Cover and place over medium-high heat.

As soon as the mixture boils, remove the pan from the heat and mix in sauteed shallots. Pour into prepared pie dish, smooth and cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for about 15 minutes more, until the veggies are tender, the top browns and the sauce bubbles thickly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tofu Kimchee Pancakes
This recipe was adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. Serves 4.

12 to 14 oz. firm tofu
2 tsp dried ginger, or 2 TB fresh chopped ginger
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
6 TB whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup, or more of soymilk or water
2 tsp dried crushed cilantro, or 2 TB fresh chopped
1 cup chopped Fermented Vegetable Medley
cayenne pepper to taste
2 TB sunflower oil
1 TB dark sesame oil

4 cups sprout mix

For Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 TB cider or rice vinegar
1 TB dark sesame oil
1 TB toasted sesame seeds
1 TB honey
1 large clove minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp peeled and grated ginger
2 TB minced shallots

Preheat oven to 200F. In a food processor, process the tofu, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, flour and soymilk or water, until smooth. Add more liquid if the batter is too thick. It should be easily spoonable. Mix in cilantro, chopped fermented vegetables and cayenne. Heat oils in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon batter into pan, about 3 TB of batter for each pancake. Cook until browned on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes. Then flip and repeat. Place cooked pancakes in a pan in preheated oven while you finish with the rest of the batter.

Mix all ingredients for dipping sauce in a small bowl. Toss the sprouts with 1/4 cup of the dipping sauce and arrange on platter. Place tofu pancakes atop the sprouts and serve with extra dipping sauce on the side.

Stir-fried Kohlrabi and Mushrooms
Serves 4 as a side.

1 TB cooking oil
1 small onion, or several shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced, stems removed
1 lb. kohlrabi, peeled and cut into thin, matchstick slices
1 TB water
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp dark sesame oil
2 tsp cider or rice vinegar
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp dried ginger or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped ginger

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add onion and garlic (and fresh ginger, if using) and cook stirring frequently for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms, continue cooking another minute or two. Add kohlrabi and cook for three minutes, stirring frequently. Add the water, soy, sesame oil, vinegar, pepper and dried ginger. Cover, reduce heat slightly and cook at a high simmer for about 5 minutes, until kohlrabi is crisp tender.

Thai Curry Tofu Sandwich
Makes 2 sandwiches

I love a good sandwich and am always looking for interesting combinations. I've eaten many with coleslaw this winter, and thought the fermented vegetables would be a yummy alternative. - Heather

4 Slices Patchwork Bread
Pete's Fermented Vegetables
4 Curried Tofu Slices (below)
thinly sliced onion
Mayo, optional

Curried Tofu
1 cake tofu
1 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 tsp red Thai curry paste, to taste
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Pat tofu dry and slice into 4 even slices along the wider side. Pat these dry again. Combine the garlic, curry paste, fish sauce and soy sauce. Coat the tofu slices with the spice mixture. Heat oil on a griddle and brown the tofu on both sides.

To assemble the sandwiches, toast the bread and spread with mayo, if you like. Then layer on the tofu, vegetables and top with another slice of bread. The tofu is good cold or warm. Enjoy!

Cabin Fever Strawberry Shortcakes
In the mood for spring food? Since we have these great frozen strawberries, this seems like a good antidote to too much snow! This recipe has a few steps, but don't worry, it goes together easily. While the scones are baking, cook the strawberry sauce. While those both cool, whip the cream. Assemble just before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Cream Scones
1 1/2 C ww pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C maple sugar or other sweetener
1 C Cream

Preheat oven to 400F. Blend dry ingredients in a bowl, then quickly stir in the cream. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and kneed very gently 8 times, just to bring it together. Pat out to an even thickness, and cut into 6 wedges, or rounds with a biscuit cutter. Carefully lift onto a baking sheet. Brush with a bit of cream. Bake 10 -12 minutes until just lightly golden.

Strawberry Sauce
3 C Frozen Strawberries, hulls removed
1/2 C maple syrup, or to taste

Thaw strawberries slightly and chop them up a bit. Cook strawberries and syrup about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently as they begin to bubble. Adjust sweetness with more syrup, to your taste.

Whip cream until fluffy. Butterworks cream whips up quickly, be careful not to make butter! Sweeten if you like.

In individual bowls, split a scone, top with berry sauce and cream. Dream of spring!


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