Good Eats Newsletter - April 9, 2008

Farm Update
We have mesclun! This week the long anticipated greens arrive in your share. We appreciate all of you for waiting so patiently.

Localvore Survey Results
Thank you to all of you who took the time to fill out our survey. Your feedback really helps us to include things in the share that the majority of you would like to see. As with anything, of course, there is not total agreement on all items. It is still helpful for us, however, to hear what everyone has to say. Thank you in advance for understanding that we will do our best to make as many members happy as possible with each item selection. There seems to be general consensus that even if there are one or two products that are not on your favorite's list, you are still happy with the overall make-up of the share.

That said, it is clear to us that sea salt and seaweed are desired by the vast majority of you, with only roughly 10% wishing to forgo the Maine products. Most of you really liked the pie. Almost half of you would take another pie this share period, with another 25% looking for it in the next. We will think carefully about the pie and the syrup. There were a full 75% of you would like to see syrup included in the share, especially if it's a good value. Many others of you prefer your local sources. Soymilk looks the least likely to appear in the share, with the greatest numbers in the "please don't" category.

We find these surveys really helpful for us. And we will probably do another mini-survey later in the share period. Please note that our survey is anonymous. So, if there is something that you want an answer from us on, please email me ( directly. If you think that these surveys with the results published in the newsletter are a good idea, or bad, please let me know.

Bulk Order Pick-Up
If you ordered chicken, lamb or frozen tomatoes, please look for a bag (or bags) with your name on them in a cooler at pick-up tomorrow.

This Week's Share Contains
A Mix of Mostly Gold Ball Turnips, Red Turnips and Rutabagas; Yellow Potatoes; Chantenay, Thumbelina and Sweet Storage Carrots; Mesclun Mix; Les Fermes Longpres Sunflower Oil; Champlain Orchards Apple Butter; Butterworks Farm King of the Early beans; and Elmore Mountain Country French Bread.

Bread Ingredients: Organic sifted wheat flour (Quebec), water, sourdough, sea salt.

Vegetable Storage and Use Tips
Turnips & Rutabagas - This week's assortment includes mostly gold ball turnips, with some red turnips and rutabagas mixed in. The turnips may need only a scrub before cooking, shredding or pickling. If you notice the outside getting tough from the months in storage, give the turnips a quick peel. Rutabagas should always be peeled.
Carrots - We have some nice heirlooms for you in the share today. The Chantenay is a small, sweet variety of carrot with crisp, orange flesh and a tender texture. Originating in the Chantenay region of France, its existence goes back to the 1830's. The roundish, sweet, squat carrots in the share are Thumbelinas. The shape makes them highly sought after by children. Store all varieties loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Mesclun Mix - Given that these are first substantial greens we've seen, I'm not sure how much will be left around tomorrow night to store. But, if you must keep it for another time, store it in your crisper drawer where it will stay for several days. Wash and spin dry before you use the mix. If you need to store it after washing, make sure it's really dry, wrap in a kitchen towel. Place in a plastic bag and keep in the crisper drawer.
King of the Early Beans - One cup of dry beans will yield approximately 2 1/2 cups of cooked beans. You will want to rinse and pick through these beauties before cooking. Like most dry beans, they also need to soak before cooking. You can cover them with water and leave out overnight. Or, you can cover them with plenty of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let sit 2-3 hours. Either way, the beans are now ready to be cooked. In Heather's chili recipe below, they are precooked for 30 minutes before going into the crockpot. Otherwise, you'll want to cover them with 2 inches of fresh water and simmer, testing for doneness after an hour. Many believe that draining and rinsing the beans after the soaking step reduces flatulence. Others believe that adding a bit of baking soda while they cook has the same effect.

Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Pete finally took the trip up to Quebec for the sunflower oil from Loic, the farmer at Les Fermes Longpres. Last fall when I talked to Loic about his sunflower oil, I thought I would have it for the fall share! Loic told me the sunflower seeds need to cure at a cold temperature in order to extract clear, fine oil. Otherwise, if pressed too soon, the oil will be cloudy. Packing the oil this morning, it looks like clarified butter, and has that nutty sunflower taste. He also told me that this seed crop was very high quality, with a higher level of oleic acid, making the quality of the oil closer to olive oil. I hope you all enjoy your quarts of liquid gold!

I got some of the last of the beans from Jack at Butterworks Farm. These are a Jacob's Cattle type called "King of the Early." They are beautiful, speckled pinkish red in the shape of a kidney bean. You'll get about 5 cups of dry beans out of the 2# bag. My first thought was baked beans; my husband's preference is chili. I started a pot of baked beans in my crock pot this morning; check out the Maple Baked Bean recipe below. This is a maple adaptation of the recipe my mom always makes, but she uses regular brown sugar. We'll probably cook up a pot of chili this weekend.

The apple butter from Champlain Orchards is unsweetened, but not too tart. It is well spiced with cinnamon and the apple flavor is intense. I think it would be delicious on buttered toast or blended with maple syrup for a pancake and waffle syrup. Or, use some to glaze a pork roast or roast chicken.

The first two recipes calling for carrots and turnips (or rutabagas) are from Cooking with Shelburne Farms, Food and Stories from Vermont, by Melissa Pasanen and Rick Gencarelli. This cookbook is possibly my favorite from 2007. The dishes can be assembled for the most part from locally sourced ingredients. The recipes include instructions that are easy to follow; provide hints and tips on techniques and ingredient substitutions; and best of all, come out as described. Something else very special about this book are the interesting stories about local food growers and producers that are interspersed between the recipes, as well as many historical anecdotes and facts about Shelburne Farms. Since the beginning of the share, I've wanted to include recipes from this book. I hope you enjoy these two recipes today and look forward to seeing a few more over the coming year. You can find out more about the cookbook on the Shelburne Farms Website.

Honey-Glazed Carrots and Turnips
"This is a classic way to cook carrots to accentuate their natural sweetness. We added turnips for a little variation and for the light bite they bring to the plate....You can use just carrots or just turnips...You could also substitute rutabagas for turnips if you like."

3 large carrots (about 3/4 pound), peeled & cut into pieces about 2" long by 1/2" wide
3 medium turnips (about 3/4 pound), peeled & cut roughly the same size as the carrots
2 TB honey
2 TB unsalted butter
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste

In a large skillet or saute pan that, ideally, fits the carrots and turnips in one layer, put the vegetables, honey, butter and water. Set the pan over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat the vegetables in the cooking liquid. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes until the carrots are starting to get tender.

Remove the cover, toss the vegetables again, and cook uncovered for another 12-14 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated to a glaze and the carrots and turnips are tender but not mushy. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Variation: If you're doing this carrots only, try adding 1 teaspoon of coarsely ground toasted cumin seeds--or 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin--in step 2.

Quick Pickled Carrots and Rutabaga
"The refreshing crunch of these pickles is a nice change from roasted, boiled and pureed root vegetables. Joneve Murphy, the market gardener at Shelburne Farms, is an enthusiastic canner. She would use a fresh cherry bomb pepper from the garden in place of the crushed red pepper. She also goes through the full canning process to keep pickles like these on her cupboard shelves for the whole winter; we went with a quicker refrigerator pickle version, but you could can them if you like....You can do this with just carrots, but the rutabaga adds variety and makes a nice pickle too. You could also use turnips, if you like their bite."

3 large carrots (about 3/4 lb.), peeled & cut into sticks about 3" long by 1/2" wide
1 lb. rutabaga, peeled & cut into sticks about 3" long by 1/2" wide
1 cup cider vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 TB coarse kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife
1 TB whole fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper to taste
Fresh dill sprigs and fresh fennel fronds (optional)

Prepare a large bowl full of ice water. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, add the carrots and rutabaga (or turnips), and boil for 1 minute. Drain immediately and plunge the vegetables into the ice water to stop cooking.

In the same pot, combine the cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, garlic, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns and crushed red pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes.

Drain the cooled vegetables and put them in a heat-resistant container along with the dill sprigs and fennel fronds, if using. Pour the hot pickling liquid over the vegetables and cool. When they are cool, cover them tightly and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before eating. The pickles can be stored in the refrigerator for about a month.

*Note, I tried this recipe out the other day and brought the pickles to the farm on Monday. They were a big hit with the crew.

Basic Vinaigrette
This version of my basic vinaigrette is made with sunflower oil. It will add a pleasant nutty taste to the dressing. I start with a 2-1 oil to vinegar ratio, then taste and adjust to personal preference. I also follow the advice of Alice Waters and let my salt, pepper and shallots sit in the vinegar for a bit before whisking in the oil. I believe that this gives the salt a chance to dissolve and the flavors to meld. Thus, I usually start my vinaigrette at the beginning of my meal preparation and add the oil at the end.

3 TB apple cider, or other good vinegar
1 good pinch kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 TB minced shallot
1/2 tsp mustard, such as Dijon
6 TB sunflower oil

Combine all ingredients save for the oil in a measuring cup or bowl. Pour in oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Taste and adjust for oil, acid and spice balance as desired.

Maple Baked Beans
"I use molasses here to achieve the color and flavor I remember from my mom's beans. She also uses salt pork, but I have replaced that with butter and salt. If you like, use salt pork or even bacon for a yummy alternative." -Heather

2 c dry beans
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c grade B maple syrup
2 tbsp molasses
1 onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter

Soak beans overnight. Drain soaking liquid, cover with fresh water, add baking soda and bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes, until getting tender but not falling apart. Drain off and reserve the cooking liquid. In an ovenproof casserole or a crockpot, combine the maple, molasses, onion and beans. Add enough bean liquid to cover. Bake in a slow 300F oven for about 6 hours or in the crockpot on low all day. In the last hour mix in the butter and salt. When ready, the beans will be melting tender and deep golden brown.


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