Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - March 25, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
A Mix of Nicola, Adirondack Red & Adirondack Purple Potatoes; Celeriac; Orange Storage Carrots; Yellow Storage Onions; Valentine Radishes; Baby Spinach*; Shoot and Mesclun Mix*; Red Hen Whole-Wheat Bread; Champlain Orchards Empire Apples; 2 lb. Jar of Champlain Valley Apiaries Honey; and...

1 Piece: Ben Nevis Cheese -or- Blue Brebis (Adams Court Only) from Bonnieview Farm

1 Container: Squash Puree -or- Tomato Puree with Red Pepper (Sweet Clover Only)
*Spinach will be in the same bag as the mesclun mix, but will not be mixed.

Storage and Use Tips
Squash Puree/Tomato Puree - We are coming to the last of our frozen bounty from last year's growing season. In order to cover everyone today, we ended up with a mix of squash and tomato purees. The squash puree is a mix from our fields, as well as High Mowing. If you see any teeny green flecks, that is just some acorn squash skin that squeezed through the food mill. It's entirely edible and shouldn't harm the consistency. The tomato puree with red pepper will go to Sweet Clover share members and would make an excellent pasta sauce, sprinkled with grated Bonnieview Ben Nevis cheese. Try sauteing some minced onion and garlic, adding the puree with some dried basil, marjoram, salt, pepper, red wine and honey, and then simmer for about an hour. Both of these should go right in the freezer, if you don't plan to cook with them in the next few days. Thaw in the refrigerator over night.
Valentine Radishes - These Asian radishes are also known as Beauty Heart or Watermelon. They have a distinctive bright pink interior with a white, green and pink skin. Sweet, with just a hint of a radish bite, valentines are great in salads, slaw, or as crudités. You can also add to soups, or sauté thinly sliced or shredded radish in butter with a pinch of salt. Cook lightly without browning. A stunning bright pink addition to any meal! Store valentine radishes loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Empire Apples - Empire apples, a cross between Macintosh and red delicious, were bred at the Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell University and introduced to the world in 1966. Cornell is also responsible for developing Cortland, Jonagold, Macoun and Jonamac varieties. With sweet and tart flavor and a crunchy texture, Empires are an all around apple. Eat them out of hand, or use them to make a salad, sauce, cake or crisp. Keep them in a bag in your fridge, away from other fruits and veggies.

Pete's Musings
It's not the best part about being a farmer, but it's close -- buying equipment, tractors specifically. It's especially fun when it's a necessary purchase, as I feel less guilty about how much I enjoy it. Our largest tractor is a John Deere 2955. It's 85 h.p. and a real strong pulling machine. Unfortunately, I bought it from someone who freely admitted that he had not maintained it well and we have seen the results of that the past couple years. A tractor that big is expensive to fix and after a couple major repairs we decided it was time it hit the road.

Of course, I put this off until a few weeks ago, even though the 2955 is currently broken down and we need a large tractor by April 1st. Sometimes it's better to have less time for a major purchase, as it causes you to focus your energies and not endlessly consider options. I'd noticed in the past a tractor dealer online in Alabama who seemed to have consistently lower prices than everyone else. He had a couple of good options, so I flew down for a day at the end of last week.

Wow, different culture in Alabama. It's all church, football, and fried catfish (and really nice, inexpensive, green tractors). In fact, the tractors are so nice and so cheap that we are buying two. This will help us with several field preparation projects, allowing more to be done in a smaller amount of time in the spring, so there are fewer late nights. Also, both tractors have cabs. Steve is particularly happy about this, as he is the one who has had to endure hours of plowing snow in the cold and wind the past couple of winters. I had a great time hanging out with the tractor dealers for the day and learned that the secret to their low pricing is volume. They sell 400 tractors per year all over the country and aim to profit just a grand or two per tractor.

The tractors will be arriving this weekend or early next week, just in time for our first field work. The best part is they are taking our 2955 in trade and paying us very fairly for it, even considering it's problems. -Pete

Last Chance: Free T-Shirt When You Sign-Up for a Summer Share by April 1st
In addition to ensuring that you will receive a weekly selection of fresh, organic produce through out the summer, there's one more good reason to sign up for our Summer Share now: This is the last week to receive a free Pete's Greens t-shirt when you enroll! We have put a lot of planning into the vegetable mix for the upcoming share period and are very excited about the expected selection in each and every summer bag. Lots of center of the plate veggies, like broccoli, kale, chard, beans, peas, head lettuce, summer squash and tomatoes will make frequent appearances, along with onions, garlic and herbs for great flavor combinations. Check out our Vegetable Availability Chart for a more complete selection.

This summer we will be offering three different shares:
Vegetable/Localvore - $748 (avg. $44 a week)
Vegetable Only - $493 (avg. $29 a week)
Meat Share - $199 (avg. $50 a month)
Visit the Summer Share page to find out more or to sign-up.

Looking for Somebody to Split a Summer Share With?
As the seasons change, sometimes so do share partners. If your current partner is going on vacation for the summer, or perhaps you've decided to supplement the CSA share with your own garden and would like someone to split with during the growing season, we can help hook you up. We maintain a Members Seeking page on our website to help those looking for a share partner. If you don't have a neighbor, coworker, family member or friend interested in sharing in the summer bounty, check out the Members Seeking page. We have several people currently look for a summer partner. Or, if you don't see your pick-up site listed, let me know and I would be happy to post your information.

Potential Loss of State Food Safety Inspectors
Rep. Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham, chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee, wrote an op-ed in the Brattleboro Reformer about the proposed cuts at the Agency of Agriculture. She makes a well-reasoned argument about why these cuts would be bad news for slaughterhouses, dairy farmers and consumers. I urge everyone to read her article, and if you feel so inclined, to let your opinions be known to Governor Douglas (802 828.3333) and the Agency of Agriculture (802 828.2430). Thanks!

Localvore Lore
We are beefing up the localvore portion of the share starting this week in order to augment our dwindling vegetable supplies from last season. For the next few weeks, expect to receive a share that is heavy on localvore items, with a decreased emphasis on roots. In this timeframe, you will also start to see more freshly harvested items from our greenhouse.

All of the localvore items in the share this week go very nicely together, whether you are simply serving the Bonnieview cheese with freshly sliced bread and sliced radishes, or making a green salad with whole-wheat croutons, apples, radishes, cheese and a honey vinaigrette.

Champlain Valley Apiaries honey is always a hit whenever we include it in the share, so we've taken to slipping it one once every period. They have been producing high quality honey since 1931. Gathered by bees from the blossoms of clover and alfalfa, the honey is light in color with a delicious and delicate flavor. We like that they provide their honey in its raw, or crystallized, form. The honey has not been heated or filtered, thus retaining its original flavor, vitamins and other nutrients. According to their website:
"Raw honey contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. The vitamins found in honey may include (depending on floral variety) niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid; minerals present include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Just as the color and flavor of honey varies by floral source, so does the vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and amino acid content.....

.....Honey has a phytochemical profile which includes polyphenols that can act as antioxidants. Antioxidants perform the role of eliminating free radicals, which are reactive compounds in the body. Free radicals are created through the normal process of metabolism and contribute to many serious diseases. Researchers at the University of Illinois, led by Nicki J. Engeseth, Ph.D. and May R. Berenbaum, Ph.D., are studying the antioxidant capacity of common honey varieties."
You can scoop, measure and spread the honey in its crystallized form. If you need it in liquid form, just gently bring the temperature up in warm water.

On to sheep's milk cheese....I contacted Neil Urie at Bonnieview Farm several weeks ago to arrange for their Mossend Blue cheese in our share. This is a hard time of the year to find many sheep's milk cheeses from farmers who raise their sheep naturally. You see, most sheep will have their lambs in the spring and produce milk for cheese for some number of months after this. In the late winter and spring, the sheep are no longer milking and cheeses can be hard to come by.

At our request, Neil went into their cellars to see what he could provide to the share. Although he didn't have the Mossend Blue, he was quite sure that he had Ben Nevis for all. To provide the freshest cuts, Neil waited until this week to divide the wheel into wedges. Much to his surprise a couple of the Ben Nevis wheels had gone south on him. To make up for this shortage, Neil has provided the balance of the cheese in Blue Brebis.

This is a new variety Neil was experimenting with at the end of the season. The Blue Brebis recipe produces a much creamier cheese than the Mossend Blue. Adams Court will receive the Blue Brebis. Note, it does not have a name on the label. Here are Neil's descriptions of the 2 cheeses:
  • Ben Nevis is a sweet nutty cheese with a natural rind. The recipe comes from the Pyrenees in France.
  • Blue Brebis is a creamy blue cheese with a barny undertone. The recipe comes from Spain.
Whatever you get, we're sure you'll enjoy them!

We are delighted to have Red Hen Bread in the share again this week. Randy George, owner and Baker in Chief, has graciously provided some background on your loaves:
Last week, while I was contemplating what we should make for our CSA bread offering this time around, I happened to take home one of our whole wheat loaves. This bread is always one of my favorites, but last week, we began using a new lot of flour and I found myself particularly excited with this loaf of bread-- especially the flavor, which I found to have some subtle flavors that I hadn't detected in the past.

Among other things, I was catching a hint of cinnamon (even though this bread is made with simply whole wheat flour, water and salt). I was reminded of how my favorite breads-- the ones I return to again and again-- have a minimum of ingredients. As long as the grain is of the highest quality and we handle it properly, I find these simple breads to be the most satisfying and the most versatile in terms of the different types of foods they can be used with.

Amazingly, later in the week, I received an e-mail from the mill (La Meaunerie Milanaise in Quebec) saying that they have found that some of the flour that they are currently milling has a distinct aroma of cinnamon. They perceived this as an "off" flavor and did some investigation into its source. They determined that the wheat that they have been milling was grown in a field that was intercropped with a late-blooming clover (this fixes nitrogen and suppresses weeds). The timing was such that the clover was in bloom when the wheat was harvested. It appears that, although the combines harvest only the wheat berries, the aroma of the blooming clover permeated the wheat. They have asked their farmers to plant earlier-blooming varieties of clover in the future.

I quickly wrote back to them to say that I had detected the flavor, but didn't think it was at all objectionable. In fact, I quite liked it! Knowing that it may be linked to the "terroir" of the field in Quebec makes it even more alluring to me. Email me and let me know what you are tasting in your whole wheat bread this week so that I can pass it along to the millers!
Last but not least, we have the Empire apples from Champlain Orchards. Bill Suhr relayed that these apples have come out of a freshly opened locker, so should be crisp and delicious.


Cheese Souffle with Celeriac, Radish, Apple and Walnut Salad
I found this recipe on the Food Network site. I think it perfectly combines many of this week's ingredients. The recipe is from Mark Gregory, One Aldwych Hotel, London, England. Please note that the site warns the recipe, in these proportions, has not been tested, and I did not have time to test it either. But, at worst, you'll end up with a fallen souffle, but still delicious meal. Serves 4-6.

Souffle base:
1 tablespoon soft butter
1 tablespoon flour
6 ounces milk
9 egg yolks
2 ounces Ben Nevis or blue cheese, grated
1 teaspoon mild mustard
Salt and pepper
8 ounces egg whites
1 teaspoon corn starch
Pinch salt

2 cups celeriac, finely sliced into sticks
1/2 cup apple, finely sliced into sticks
1/2 cup valentine radish, finely sliced into sticks
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon mild mustard
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons + 1 tsp mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. To make the souffle base, mix together the flour, butter, milk, egg yolks, cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix until smooth and set aside. This maybe be prepared a day ahead of time.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites, corn starch, and salt until stiff but fluffy. Add a small amount of the egg whites to the souffle base and blend. Add the remaining egg whites to the mixture and fold gently. Gently spoon in the mixture into 6 buttered ramekins and place in the oven. Bake souffles for approximately 10 minutes until they have risen and are golden. Once you remove them from the oven, allow to rest for 1 minute before serving.

To prepare the salad, mix all of the ingredients together. To serve, place the salad on each plate on the side and remove the souffle from the ramekins and invert 1 onto each plate. Top the souffle with chopped walnuts.

Celery Root and Potato Puree
As I finish up the newsletter, I am sitting in the Waitsfield library waiting for my car to be finished at the mechanics. While perusing the cookbooks, I came across Alice Water's (relatively) new cookbook, The Art of Simple Food. She highly recommends the combination of celery root (celeriac) and potatoes. Who am I to argue with Alice Waters? Serves 4.

1 lb. potatoes
5 TB butter, divided
1 medium celery root, about 3/4 lb., peeled, halved, then sliced thin
salt and pepper to taste
milk, optional for thinning

Peel and cut potatoes into large pieces. Add to a medium pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and pass the potatoes through a ricer or food mill and return to the pot. Stir in 2 TB of the butter. While the potatoes cook, melt the rest of the butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium low heat. Add the celeriac and salt. Cover tightly and cook until soft, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower heat if the celeriac begins to brown. Pass through a food mill, or puree in a blender. Stir celeriac puree into the potatoes. Add milk if the puree is too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs with Carrots
Adapted from Epicurious.com. I think that this recipe would also be very good with tofu, though admittedly, not cooked as long as the chicken thighs. Serves 4-6.

8 small chicken thighs with skin and bone (2 1/2 to 2 3/4 lb total), trimmed of excess fat
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into1/4-inch-wide strips
1 lb carrots (6 medium), cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup water
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dried, crumbled parsley
1 tablespoon dried, crumbled cilantro

Pat chicken dry. Stir together 1 1/2 teaspoons salt with paprika, cinnamon, and pepper and rub onto chicken. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken in 2 batches, turning over once, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken as browned to a plate.

Discard all but 3 tablespoons fat from skillet, then add onion and carrots. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.

Return chicken, skin sides up, to skillet, nestling it into vegetables. Stir together water, vinegar, honey, parsley and cilantro until blended and add to skillet, then cook over moderately low heat, covered, until chicken is cooked through and carrots are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. If necessary, skim fat from sauce, then add salt to taste.

Honey, Apple Crisp
Incredibly easy to throw together, this crisp makes a lovely weeknight treat. Serve it with a dollop of last week's yogurt or a spoonful of whipped cream. Serves 6-8.

1.5 lbs apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup + 2TB honey, divided, or to taste
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
5 TB cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter an 8" square pan and set aside. Combine the apples, honey, vanilla and salt. Spread into the prepared pan. Whisk together the flour, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in the honey, and then cut in the butter until a coarse meal forms. Sprinkle over fruit topping. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the juices are bubbling, apples are tender and the top is golden brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - March 18, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
Red Norland Potatoes; Red Onions; Mixed Red and Chioggia Beets; Greenhouse Mix of Baby Greens & Shoots; Sprouted Beans; Tomato Puree; Butterworks Farm Soldier & Marfax Beans; Butterworks Farm Yogurt; Quebec Rolled Oats; Elmore Mountain Flaxseed Bread; and.....

Depending on the share you've signed up for (check the list at pick-up), you will also receive:

Non-Vegetarian - Pete's Chicken Stock
Vegetarian - Vermont Soy Tofu
Storage and Use Tips
Chioggia Beets - An Italian variety, chioggias have alternating white and pink rings of color on the inside. The outside is lighter and more pinkish than traditional red beets. With a sweet peppery flavor, they are smooth and mild tasting. To prevent chioggias from bleeding their color, roast them whole then slice crosswise to show off the beautiful rings. Roasted this way, they make a stunning addition to a salad made with the baby greens and shoots mix. Do roast and store cooked chioggia beets separately from your red beets to prevent the chioggias from being dyed red. Store raw beets loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Soldier & Marfax Beans - The brown beans in the mix are the marfax, the white speckled are the soldier. Rinse these beans in cold water before cooking. I poured my cup of beans into a bowl of water to let small leaves and pieces of dirt rise to the top. After picking through the beans for bad beans and pebbles, I rinsed them thoroughly. To get your dry beans ready for cooking, you can either soak them overnight, or try simmering them for 2 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 2 hours. Place your soaked beans in a pot with fresh, cold water, covering them by a couple of inches. Simmer them covered for approximately 1 hour, or until tender. To season beans while they cook, throw in a smashed piece of garlic and/or a bay leaf. Do not add salt at this stage. One cup of this dry bean mix will result in 2.5 cups cooked. Note, the marfax (brown) beans cook a little faster than the soldier. So, when cooked together, you'll most likely end up with very soft marfax when the soldiers are perfectly tender. Keep this in mind when selecting your recipe. Like the wheat berries, it can be more convenient to cook your beans all at once, and then freeze off what you don't want to eat right away. When you are ready to cook with beans again, all you need do is defrost the container.
Chicken Stock - Please note that the chicken stock will be going out cold but not frozen this week. If you aren't going to use it in the next day or two, pop it in your freezer for safe storage. Defrost in your fridge the day before you plan to use it.
Tomato Puree - Meg and Pete were very excited about the tomato puree this week. They had some red pepper puree in the freezer from this past summer and decided to mix it in with the tomato. They report that this batch has a wonderful taste and texture. Keep the puree in your freezer until ready to use. Defrost in the fridge the day before you plan to use it. You can also thaw it by placing the container in tepid water for a couple of hours before use.

Meg's Musings
A lot has been happening on the farm the past couple of weeks. We are working on making all areas of the farm very organized with set systems for each task and proper places for all tools. Each area of the farm including the washhouse, headhouse, barn, kitchen and office are all getting a thorough going through and hoeing out. Our goal is to start the season off in a very organized and efficient manner.

The headhouse has been cranking out many greens and shoots. Along with that, Pete and I have started all of our seedlings for transplant into the moveable greenhouses, and are working on the first batch of seedlings to be transplanted outside when the time is right. Our headhouse and heated slab inside the heated greenhouse are completely full of plants right now.

Steve has been working on re-constructing a greenhouse Pete and I deconstructed and brought over from Maine. This greenhouse will act as our hardening off greenhouse for transplants. They will go from there into the moveable greenhouses. The next batch of seedlings we are currently working on will spend some time on the heated slab, then be moved into the hardening off greenhouse, and eventually outside. Steve is almost finished with the structure and hopefully we can cover it by the end of the week. Then the hardening off process can begin.

The season is upon us as we move into twice a week wholesale of our shoots and greens mix. That means we are harvesting greens twice a week and more time is spent in the washhouse for the cleaning and packing of orders. Tim has been making more calls to customers and working hard at packing all those wholesale orders. Deborah and the crew have been busy keeping things running smoothly and efficiently in the washhouse. Nancy has been diligently interviewing applicants for the CSA Manager position while keeping up on everything currently going on with the CSA. Pete and I have been working together to keep products coming out of the kitchen for Good Eats, along with starting more seedlings, growing greens and shoots, planning for the upcoming season, and strategizing on ways to improve our organization. Our team here is doing a great job and really pulling together to tighten up the place. I'm excited we have such a fast start on things. The season looks promising with lots of yummy produce coming your way! -Meg

Favorite Cookbooks
It can be daunting at times to keep dinners creative week after week, especially when you are cooking to your CSA delivery. To keep our meals interesting, I find myself using a combination of websites and favorite cookbooks. You may have noticed some of the same cookbooks being credited in the newsletter recipe section. Some of my favorites, however, don't seem to make into the newsletter as often, even though for my home cooking they continue to inspire. I thought that it might be interesting for folks to see the books I regularly consult when putting together a meal, as well as share their own. I have posted this list on our facebook group, hoping that other CSA members will share their favorites as well.

A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, Easy Seasonal Dishes for Family and Friends by Jack Bishop. I very much appreciate the creativity in this book that includes meatless recipes that are by no means only for vegetarians.

Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni. This is the Indian cooking Bible, as far as I'm concerned. When I'm missing Western Avenue in Chicago (basically, a little India), I open this book and start cooking.

Cooking with Shelburne Farms by Melissa Pasanen and Rick Gencarelli. This is by far my most favorite local cookbook. The recipes are relatively easy, predictable and delicious. The authors also include tips for preparation and substitution, as well as interesting tidbits about local producers and Shelburne Farms itself.

Dishing up Vermont, 145 Authentic Recipes from the Green Mountain State by Tracey Medeiros. In another fine Vermont local cookbook, Tracey has compiled many wonderful recipes from Vermont's favorite food growers, producers and restaurants.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. I bought this book when I first started working for Pete. A carnivore at heart, I was a bit daunted about contributing so many vegetable-based recipes. This book provides an encyclopedia of information on all things vegetarian, including vegetables, grains, legumes and more. From sauces to casseroles, you could spend a year cooking your way through this book. Oh, and the idea for cooking extra grains and beans to freeze, is from this book.

Jamie at Home, Cook Your Way to the Good Life by Jamie Oliver. I have been watching the Jamie at Home series on the Food Network on and off for the past year. This book is the companion to the series. Jamie cooks from his garden a lot for this book. His recipes are generally bold in flavor, but straightforward to produce. His pork belly and rhubarb sauce is a standout.

Local Flavors, Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison. I bought this book for my sister-in-law as a birthday present several years ago, and finally got around to buying it for myself last year. Deborah's recipes in this book are fresh and creative.

Sultan's Kitchen, A Turkish Cookbook by Ozcan Ozan. This cookbook allows me to experience the pleasure of Turkish cooking at home. Save for a couple of spices, most of the ingredients are easy to find, even in Vermont. Many of the recipes can be made localvore with little to no substitutions, if you count lemons as a wildcard. ; - )

Localvore 'Lore
I just got off the phone with Blair Marvin. She and her husband, Andrew Heyn, are the owners and bakers of famed Elmore Mountain Bread. They are baking loaves today that are very much sourced from Quebec, with Milanaise flour and flax seed from Michel Gaudreau.

Blair said that they have given the flax seed a good overnight soak to make them softer and more digestible. What results, is a loaf with superior nutrition.

They did have a bit of a hiccup this morning when beginning to bake off the loaves. They had gotten their wood burning oven good and hot, but had not given it quite long enough to even off the heat. Apparently, there were some hotspots, and several loaves ended up getting singed. After waiting for the oven to settle in, they baked their next batch, which, Blair reports came out, "Beautiful!"

Depending on the final number of perfect loaves coming out of the oven today, Blair and Andrew may bake a few more loaves for us tomorrow. Any that are baked tomorrow, they will deliver to the CSA sites themselves, possibly at Concept2 and Laughing Moon, if necessary.

Michel Gaudreau's oats also appear in the share today. They are part of the Quebec grain run that Bob and I made a couple of weeks back. If you haven't tried these oats in the past, you'll be surprised how much better and fresher they taste than regular store-bought oats. And, I am not kidding. People have told me this from the share and in the localvore circles in which I travel. Being fresher, these oats do not do well being substituted in recipes calling for "quick oats."

We have two items from Butterworks farm today, their yogurt and their beans. We try to deliver a variety of quarts to each pick-up spot, so pick-up early for the best selection. The mixed beans from Jack, (Jack Lazor is the Farmer-in-Chief at Butterworks), are a rare treat this year.

Last summer, Jack planted what should have grown and dried to be about 7000 lbs. of a variety of beans. Although he planted the beans when it was warm and dry, the next 10 days were cold and rainy, stunting the new growth of his plants. After taking a hard look at the situation, Jack decided to plow much of his bean field under. What remained to grow was a mix of marfax, soldier and a few stray Jacob's Cattle. His total harvest to sell amounted to a mere 300lbs, of which we ended up with just under 250. Jack's black bean harvest faired better. He was able to harvest about 4000 lbs of those, some of which we included in the Fall/Winter share.

If you've listened to any bean farmers talk about last summer, Jack's story will sound familiar. Ben Gleason, the Bielders, Seth Johnson and others all had poor bean years. So, take pleasure in these local, and hard to come by, beans. They will be wonderful in a pasta, dip, soup, stew or classically New England baked.

Depending on whether you signed up as a vegetarian or not, you will either receive a cake of organic tofu from Vermont Soy or Pete's chicken stock made with our veggies and misty knoll chicken bones. Please remember to check the list to make sure you are taking the correct item. Thanks!

Sprouted Bean Quesadillas
One of our shareholders, Cheryl King-Fischer, shared her idea to lightly saute the sprouted beans in sunflower oil and add to pasta, scrambled eggs, quesadillas and salads. We tried out the method last night and were very pleased. For the quesadilla, we like to use the large flatbread wraps and cut it into wedges. You could use smaller tortillas, if you prefer. Serves 4-6.

2 tsp sunflower oil
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
2/3 cup sprouted beans
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp dried cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
2 flatbread wraps
3/4 pound grated jack or pepper jack cheese
salsa for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 400F. Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for two to three minutes, until translucent. Add sprouted beans, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne. Saute until beans begin to give off their fragrance, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cilantro. Continue to cook until the moisture from the puree has evaporated and you have more of a paste in the pan. Remove from heat. Place one wrap on a cookie sheet and spread with the bean sprout mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with the second wrap. Bake until the cheese is fully melted, about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges using a pizza cutter and serve with salsa, if desired.

Sauteed Sprouted Bean Salad
You can throw this easy salad together while your quesadilla bakes in the oven. I used the same frying pan to save on dishes. Serves 4.

6-8 cups mixed baby greens and shoots, loosely packed
2 TB sunflower oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/3 cup sprouted beans
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 TB apple cider vinegar

Place greens in a salad bowl. Heat oil in a small to medium sized fry pan over medium heat. Toss in the garlic clove, and cook for 30 seconds. Throw in the beans, salt, pepper and cumin, toss to coat with oil and saute until the beans give up their fragrance, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar. Pour over salad greens and toss to coat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Turkish Tomato and Bean Soup
Inspired by a recipe in The Sultan's Kitchen cookbook, this is normally made with red lentils. I think it would be great with the beans instead. With the addition of the cooked wheat berries, it makes for a satisfying supper. Serves 4-6.

2 TB sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB paprika
1/2 tsp Turkish or ground red pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 TB tomato paste
3 cups tomato puree
3 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup dried beans that have been soaked overnight, then cooked for 30 minutes and drained
1 cup cooked wheat berries
1 TB dried mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper
bread croutons (optional)
lemon wedges
dollop of plain yogurt

Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for about 2 minutes, or until they're softened but not brown. Stir in the paprika, red pepper, cumin and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add the tomato puree, stock (or water) and beans. Cover the saucepan and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft. Add the wheat berries and mint and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the soup is too thick, add a little water. Serve the soup in bowls with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dollop of yogurt.

Beet Crisps
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. Serves 4.

1 pound beets
3 to 4 TB sunflower or canola oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets or line them with parchment. Cut the beets in half and then crosswise into thin slices (1/8" or so). Toss them in the oil and spread the slices out on the baking sheets. (It's okay if they're close, but don't let them overlap.) Roast the beet slices until they're beginning to brown on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Flip them over and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep roasting until they're well browned, another 10 minutes or so. Serve immediately.

Beaver Pond Farm Granola
This granola was always available during breakfast time when I owned my bed and breakfast. It will go great with whatever flavor yogurt you pick up!

8 cups rolled oats
2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup vegetable or sunflower oil
1 cup grade B maple syrup
3 TB. Vanilla extract

2 cups dried cranberries or other dried fruit of your choice

Preheat oven to 285°. Line 2 large baking sheets (or one sheet pan) with parchment paper. Mix first five ingredients in large bowl. Combine oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour hot liquid over oats mixture; stir and toss until mixture is thoroughly coated. Spread granola on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, stirring every ten minutes. This should take approx. 30 minutes. Remove pans from oven. Stir in dried fruit. Place on racks and cool completely. Keeps for 4 weeks, stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Classic and Hearty Oatmeal
This is a staple in the Baron household, with 1 to 5 of us spooning it up just about every morning during the colder months. It's hard to judge a serving here, as I can eat as little as 1/3 to 1/2 cup (dry) and my kids each eat about a full cup dry. Serves 2 to 4.

2 cups dry rolled oats
2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 TB butter
handful of raisins or dried cranberries
drizzle of maple syrup or honey

Place oats, milk, water and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for five to 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and oats have softened to a porridge. Stir in butter. Divide into bowls and garnish with dried fruit and sweetener of your choice.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - March 11, 2009

This Week's Localvore Share Contains
Orange Storage Carrots; Yellow Storage Onions; Garlic Cloves; Mix of Shoots, Baby Arugula & Mustard Greens; Mixed Potatoes; Frozen Strawberries from Four Corners Farm; Gleason Grains Wheat Berries; Miso Damari (Tamari) from Les Aliments Massawippi; Oyster -or- Shitaki Mushrooms from Amir Habib.

First Meat Share
We are very excited to deliver our first meat share this week. Please note these items are only for those who paid for a separate meat share. Check to be sure that your name is on the meat list before taking any meat. Please see below for a complete description of this week's contents.

Storage and Use Tips
Greens Mix - It might be white on your lawn, but there'll be greens in your kitchen this week! Hooray! This is the first week that we have new baby greens from the greenhouse to mix in with the sprouts. The greens are baby mustard and arugula. The shoots are pea, sunflower and radish. Mixed all together and tossed with some dressing, you can have your first proper salad of the season. Our washhouse crew typically does a thorough job of cleaning the greens and shoots, so you shouldn't have to rewash at home. If there is any excess moisture in your greens bag, throw in a dishtowel or paper towel before placing the bag in your crisper drawer.
Frozen Strawberries - These berries are from Four Corners Farm. We froze them for you at their peak of freshness. Though we would normally have our own berries for you in the winter, last summer's crop was nipped with frost killing many blossoms that would have otherwise matured into fruit. For best results, keep frozen until you are ready to use them. The green hull that is still attached is best removed by scraping off with a spoon while the berries are still frozen. If you allow them to thaw without removing the hull they end up being extremely messy to work with.
Wheat Berries - Wheat berries are the unprocessed seed (or kernel) of wheat. To make flour, dried wheat berries are ground in a mill. Unsifted, you will end up with whole wheat flour. White flour is ground wheat berries with the bran and germ (a.k.a. nutrition) removed. Instead of grinding these wheat berries, however, try cooking them. They make a great salad, pilaf, stuffing, casserole, salad garnish or substitute for rice.

Soaking your wheat berries overnight will speed cooking and save energy. Soak them in cold water for 8 to 12 hours, change the water, then simmer them for about an hour. I like to cook them in plenty of water (say 4-5 cups of water to 1 cup wheat berries), then just drain any extra water off at the end. You'll know they are finished cooking once they've puffed up and they are no longer firm to the tooth. I have read that salted cooking water will make the berries tougher. While I haven't tested this theory myself, I just salt them at the end to be sure.

One cup of dry wheat berries will make enough to serve a family of four. I like to make extra wheat berries when I cook them, say 2 dry cups, then use the extras for a second meal later in the week, or freeze half for later in the month.

Pete's Musings
We are delving into trying to find reasonably affordable health care for our employees. Most of us who work at Pete's Greens have been without insurance for years and it seems time to try to get us all covered. Vermont's Catamount plan has potential especially for single folks and couples, but gets pretty pricey for families. We're also investigating plans through our Chamber of Commerce. If any of you are savvy with health insurance and how it relates to a business like ours and would like to share your knowledge, please email me. Thanks. -Pete

Bulk Order Pick-up This Week
If you placed a bulk order with us, please look for it when you pick-up this week. Frozen strawberries will be in the cooler with your name on it.

Save the Date for a Localvore Community Potluck in Waitsfield!
Elizabeth Metraux, one of our shareholders and friend of the farm, asked me to pass along this announcement to our CSA members. She thought, and Pete and I agreed, that it is the type of event our members might be interested in attending.

Date: Sunday, July 12th (rain date: Sunday, July 19th)
Time: 1:00pm
Location: TBD

As a way to connect with fellow CSA members and enjoy some amazing, local food, PH International (Project Harmony) of Waitsfield, VT, is organizing a community potluck. PH will be hosting 30 student activists and filmmakers from across the U.S. and the Caucasus during the month of July, as they create films about issues that affect teens around the globe – from conflict to climate change. And what better way to give these young people a flavor of Vermont than to put on a quintessentially Vermont event. We’re asking CSA members to save the date, spread the word, whip up a favorite dish and join us for a celebration of local eating and global community. Because I’m still in the early planning stages of this, if you have any suggestions about a great (free!) venue, good musicians, etc., don’t hesitate to let me know! For more information, see our announcement, or contact me at elizabeth.metraux@ph-int.org.

A million thanks!
Upcoming Classes
Seed Ordering and Garden Planning Workshop & Fundraiser, Saturday March 14th, 2:00-4:00 pm, taking place at the Vermont Foodbank’s Manosh Branch in Wolcott and sponsored by High Mowing Organic Seeds. 10% off High Mowing Organic Seeds; 100% of the proceeds to benefit the Vermont Foodbank’s Salvation Farms Gleaning Network.

Seed Starting with High Mowing Seeds, Saturday March 28, 4-6pm at the HMS greenhouse,Wolcott. Think starting seeds is only for commercial growers? Want to brush up on or expand your seed starting skills? Then you should join Salvation Farms and High Mowing Seeds for some hands-on experience starting a variety of seeds for transplant! Many sizes and varieties of seeds will be covered. Help High Mowing Seeds start seeds for their trial garden, and take home some starts of your own! In-depth instruction provided.

Workshops are free and open to the public. Contact Rebecca Beidler for directions and registration at 802-472-8280.

Localvore 'Lore
As some of you already know, we typically make one road trip per share up to Quebec to get grains, miso, popcorn, or whatever other local specialties we can find to supplement what we grow and make down here in Vermont. Last Wednesday was the day to go "shopping" for the Spring Share and I convinced my husband to take a day off of work and make it a date-day.

It was a wicked cold morning when we pulled into Pete's to get the truck, our thermometer reading -9F. It took Pete and my husband, Bob, a good half hour to get the truck started. I had worn the wrong boots entirely, and luckily got the cake job of sitting in Pete's pick-up truck, (that was hooked up to the delivery truck with jumper cables), revving the engine whenever Pete tried to crank the truck. Bob stood outside and squirted a can of ether into the truck's air intake at the same time. Finally, the engine caught and we were on our way.

It's only about an hour and twenty minute ride to Michel Gaudreau's grain mill in Compton, which was our first stop. We picked up oats and mixed crack grains from Michel. I'll talk more about Michel's operation in an upcoming newsletter. After a quick cafe and croissant in Compton, we headed over to Les Aliments Massawippi to pick-up some miso and tamari.

Gilbert and Suzanne have a high-tech miso production facility in the basement of their home in North Hatley. They are both passionate about the quality of their miso and tamari and the health benefits that these living foods can bring to one's diet. They make a variety of misos, including those based on rice, soy, oats and barley. They have a local supply for all but the rice at this point. Bob and I joined Gilbert and Suzanne in a flavorful cup of miso, the kind that will be in your share later this period, and listened to them talk about miso and tamari.

During the fermentation process, the fermenting grains (or miso) will slowly exude liquid. This is the miso damari, or tamari. Gilbert and Suzanne capture the tamari at least a couple of times during the fermentation process. The height of the tamari in the miso vats actually rises and falls with the moon, much like a tide. We have tamari from a couple of different batches in the share today, some from soya and oats, and some from soya and barley.

If you have never tried fermented tamari before, you'll find that it is much like soy sauce, but with a fuller richer flavor. One of our vegetarian share members, who received the tamari last period, commented that she hoarded it, only using it a teaspoonful at a time. It really is that much better than soy sauce. You can use it to flavor stirfries, sauces, salad dressings, soups, grains and more.

It is important to note that like miso, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods, tamari is alive with lactobacilli. These microscopic bacteria are good for your digestive system, but can be easily killed with too much heat. If at all possible, try to use your tamari at the end of the cooking process, stirring it in at the very end, once the pan has come off of the heat.

Once we had the tamari and miso in the truck, Bob and I headed to Magog for lunch. Magog is a charming town with a main street filled with stores and restaurants. After buying proper winter boots and grabbing a quick bite to eat, Bob and headed back to the farm with our Quebec bounty.

It takes about 10 minutes or so to cross the border at Derby Line, if all of your paperwork is in order. The customs officer did ask us to open our trailer doors so they could confirm that we were indeed carrying grains and miso. But, other than that, it was an uneventful crossing.

We have two other localvore items that I think will go particularly well with the tamari this week: wheat berries and mushrooms. The wheat berries are from Ben Gleason's farm in Bridport, VT. We will be tapping Ben again later in the period to provide some flour for the share. The mushrooms are grown by Amir Habib in Colchester. We have oyster and shitaki in the share this week, the proportion of each is determined by Amir's weekly harvest. We are trying to mix the bags this week, with each site getting at least some oysters and some shitakis. Again, how many of each type will end up at any given location will depend on how much Amir was able to harvest of each type.

About the Meat Share
Well, finally, here it is, our first ever meat share from Pete's. I tried to put together a variety of meats that would be interesting, diverse and stretch the value of the share. As promised, I did my best to investigate all of the providers in this week's share. They may not all be organic, but they all appear to have their animals' interest at heart. If you have any feedback on the items, selection, value, etc., please email me. I would love to have your feedback! The items in this week's share are:

Country Style Ribs from North Hollow Farm - Located in Randolph, North Hollow farm raises its pigs with access to an outside area. They are working on their "humanely raised" certification. Country style ribs are one of our family's favorite cuts. You can marinate and slow cook them, finishing them off on the grill or under the broiler. You can also cut them up and use them to make chili, stews, or a rustic pasta sauce (see recipe below).
Sausage from Maple Wind Farm - Maple Wind does an exemplary job of raising their animals. I bought a half pig from Beth and Bruce this past summer and will admit it's some of the best pork I've ever cooked. And, since they pasture all of their animals, it's a purchasing decision I really feel good about. As they did not have 50 packages of any one variety, there is a mix going out. Please take only one of either, pork chorizo, mild pork breakfast, or sweet Italian lamb (very limited).
Veal Cutlets from Applecheek Farm - John and Rocio Clark are very proud of how they run their farm and raise their animals. Their meat is all certified organic. According to Rocio, "Our veal is raised the old fashioned way, with plenty of milk from their mothers. They nurse whenever they choose; with plenty of grass in our certified organic fields and with plenty of fresh air and sunshine. As a result, their meat is rosy pink with a robust flavor and great tenderness and is very high in nutrients. The calves are born in the spring and slaughter in the fall." Rocio wanted to let everyone know that the Royal Butcher incorrectly put their own labels on the veal instead of Applecheek labels. However, it is indeed organic, Applecheek veal in the packages. Pounded thin, coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter, these cutlets make awesome Wiener Schnitzel. Serve them with braised cabbage and German potato salad and you'll be in Alsatian heaven!
Stew Beef from Greenfield Highland Beef - Grass-fed and grass-finished, Janet and Ray's Highland cattle produce a more nutritious beef. With less fat and fewer calories, it's actually richer in vitamin E, Omega 3's, beta-carotene and more. Slow simmer this beef with some garlic, onions and root veggies to create a hearty winter stew.
Lamb - I had to cobble together a few different sources of lamb to complete this week's share. There is pastured ground lamb from Bonnieview Farm and Shuttleworth Farm. Some sites may receive Bonnieview kebab meat instead.

I've been holding on to this recipe from Culinate.com for a couple of months now, hoping for a share that would get close enough in spirit to be able to create a localvore version. I've subbed in the green/shoot mix for spinach and bean sprouts. If you don't want to sacrifice your fresh greens to the pan, try sauteing some thinly sliced cabbage as a stand-in. Serves 4.

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
4 Tbsp. soy sauce (or tamari)
2 Tbsp. rice wine, dry white vermouth, or 1.5 TB apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
~ Pinch of salt
~ Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Meat, mushrooms, and vegetables
12 oz. to 1 pound lean, tender beef, such as top sirloin or sirloin tip, try a country style rib here, or tempeh or tofu.
6 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms (stems removed) or oyster mushrooms, sliced
~ Vegetable oil for sautéing
2 carrots
1 lb. mix of baby greens and shoots

Wheat Berries and Eggs
3 cups cooked wheat berries, warm
4 eggs

Panchan (condiments)
These are recommended, but you can use whatever combination you have on hand.
~ Gochu-chang (Korean hot pepper paste)
~ Kimchi (Korean spicy fermented cabbage)
~ Sesame oil
~ Sesame seeds, toasted
~ Dried seaweed sheets, toasted and cut into strips

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine. Prep the meat and mushrooms: Trim fat from the meat and slice the meat across the grain into very thin slices (easier if meat is partially frozen). Stack the slices, cut them into thin strips, and set aside in a bowl. Put the sliced mushrooms into a separate bowl. Pour half the marinade over the meat and half over the mushrooms. Stir to coat.

Prep the carrots: Peel the carrots and cut them into julienne pieces about 3 inches long, or use a mandoline. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and stir-fry the carrots until they are crisp-tender. Set the carrots aside. In the same skillet used for the carrots, sauté the greens in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for a scant minute, only until wilted, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Make the meat: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Carefully lift the meat slices out of the bowl of marinade and place in the frying pan, leaving behind any remaining marinade and meat juices. (Reserve the marinade.) Spread out the meat into a single layer in the skillet. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until beef is cooked to medium, pork medium-well. (It may be necessary to do this in two batches.) Remove meat to a new bowl.

Make the mushrooms: Using the same skillet, sauté the mushrooms in 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil over medium heat until they absorb any excess liquid and begin to brown. Remove to a new bowl. Pour any reserved meat marinade back in the skillet and let bubble for 1 minute. Pour the cooked marinade back over the meat and mushrooms.

Make the eggs: If using eggs, fry them in vegetable oil sunny-side up, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

Assemble the bibimbap: Scoop warm wheat berries into individual bowls and top with slices of meat/tofu, mushrooms, carrots and greens, finishing by ladling some of the remaining cooked marinade over each bowl and topping with an egg (if using). Pass little bowls of the gochu-chang, kimchi, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and seaweed at the table.

Fiery Carrot Dip
A friend of ours served us this delicious dip last summer. I finally made it myself to take to a party last week, and it was a real hit. If you have any of last week's chevre left, you can sprinkle it on top in lieu of the feta. The dip truly does stand on its own; so if you don't have any cheese, don't sweat it. Pass pita chips on the side. Serves 8.

2 lbs. carrots, cut into 3 inch lengths
1/4 cup olive or sunflower oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB honey
1 TB tomato puree
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 TB olive or sunflower oil (optional)
1/4 lb. feta cheese crumbled
3 black olives, pitted, for garnish

Steam carrots until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain. Transfer to food processor. Add oil, vinegar, garlic, honey and spices. Process until smooth. Taste. Add additional oil, salt and pepper to taste. Process to combine. Scrape dip into a bowl. Garnish with cheese and olives. Dip can be refrigerated for 2 days. Serve at room temperature.

German Potato Salad
Adapted from Epicurious.com, this potato salad is rich and delicious. Make sure to serve it warm. Serves 8-10.

4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons flour
4 teaspoons chopped onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup honey
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon powdered dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon crumbled whole rosemary leaves
2 quarts cooked sliced potatoes, skins on*
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, drain and crumble. Add flour and onion to the bacon fat left in the pan. Stir in vinegar, water, honey, salt and spices. Cook only until mixture is of medium thickness. Add to potatoes, parsley and crumbled bacon. Mix carefully to prevent mashing the potatoes.

*Mix the potatoes and dressing when both are still warm for the best flavor absorption.

Rustic Pasta Sauce
My friend Robin turned me on to this recipe from Cook's Illustrated. She likes to serve it with rigatoni. It would also be delicious served over cooked wheat berries.

1 TB olive or sunflower oil
1 1/2 lbs. country-style ribs, trimmed of fat
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, drained, juice-reserved, tomatoes chopped fine (try using the tomato puree here, if you still have it)

Heat oil in 12-inch, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the ribs. Brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes. Transfer ribs to plate; pour off all but 1 tsp fat. Add onion and saute until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until wine reduces to a glaze, about 2 minutes.

Return ribs and accumulated juices to skillet; add tomatoes and reserved juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, turning ribs several times, until meat is very tender and falling off the bones, about 1.5 hours. Transfer ribs to a clean plate. When cool, remove meat from bones and shred with fingers, discarding fat and bones. Return shredded meat to sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium heat uncovered, until heated through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning. To serve, toss with pasta. This sauce freezes well.

Wheat Berries with Strawberry Sauce and Yogurt
So, you've made more wheat berries than you ate last night and are wondering what to do with the rest. Why not serve them for breakfast? Of course, this would also make an excellent mid-afternoon snack or evening dessert. Serves 2.

10 oz frozen strawberries
1 TB honey, optional
pinch salt
2 cups cooked wheat berries, warm
plain or flavored yogurt

Place strawberries, honey and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Turn down heat and keep at a simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until strawberries are thawed and heated through. Divide warm wheat berries between two bowls. Spoon strawberry sauce over the top and garnish with a generous dollop of yogurt. Yum!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good Eats Newsletter - March 4, 2009

Thank you for bringing back your plastic bags!

This Week's Share Contains
Adirondack Red Potatoes; Green Cabbage; Copra (Yellow Storage) Onions; Parsnips; Mix of Sunflower & Radish Shoots; Frozen Tomato Puree; Elmore Mountain Frozen Pizza Dough; Blue Ledge Chevre; State Line Farm Sunflower Oil; and Vermont Cranberry Company Apple Cider Vinegar.

Storage and Use Tips
Parsnips - Related to the carrot, the parsnip has grown wild in Europe for millennia and was considered a delicacy by the Roman aristocracy. Though parsnips are usually eaten cooked, they can also be eaten raw like carrots. They have a sweet nutty flavor and lend themselves well to cooking with honey, maple syrup and butter. They are a very flexible starch. Try them sauteed, baked, roasted and mashed, as well as in soups and stews. Store parsnips as you would carrots, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer.
Sunflower Oil - As you may have guessed, sunflower oil is pressed from the seeds of sunflowers. It has a pleasantly, mild nutty flavor and is great in salad dressings and dips. It has a relatively low smoke point, so while it is okay for sauteing, it is not recommended for higher heat stir-fries. The oil is being distributed in plastic containers. It is suggested that you transfer it into glass containers for long-term storage. Unless you plan on using your sunflower oil within the next few months, store the oil in the refrigerator for longer keeping. At the colder temperature, the oil will most likely turn a bit cloudy and perhaps even begin to solidify. This is okay. When brought back to room temperature, the oil will be clear and pourable again.
Copra Onions - A medium-sized, slightly sweet yellow onion, copras are great keepers. Add them to salads and sandwiches raw, or cook them in tarts, stews, soups, casseroles and stir-fries. Well, they're onions. Include them in just about everything! Keep onions in a cool dark place, away from potatoes. Once cut, keep remaining onion in a sealed plastic container in your fridge.
Tomato Puree - We pureed our organic summer tomatoes to make this lovely sauce. It makes a great base for soups, stews, pizza and pasta sauces, as well as a great addition to any dish calling for pureed tomatoes or tomato sauce. Unflavored and unsalted, store the puree in your freezer until you're ready to use it. Thaw in the fridge.

Meg's Musings
Two weeks ago, Pete and I took a trip to Tuscany, Italy, where we attended a small conference hosted by Spannocchia Foundation. We spent the 5 days of the conference at the Spannocchia castle in the heart of Tuscany, just 12 miles southwest of Sienna. The property is 1000+ acres and is covered by woodland, pasture, olive tree groves, vineyards, a couple of small vegetable gardens, and many out buildings.

The castle itself is beautiful, with big, solid wooden doors, stone floors and walls, narrow passageways, and fires going in all the gathering rooms. Local food was served to us each day and always consisted of homemade olive oil, white vinegar, and of course...red and white wine. I especially enjoyed the cured meats, known as salumi products. Not to be confused with salami, salumi includes a broad array of cured specialties, of which salami is only one. I sampled many delicious and different salumis made in house (at Spinnocchia) with each meal.

There are a variety of animals raised on the property, including cows for beef and milk, sheep, and pigs. The pigs raised at Spinnocchia are an heirloom breed, local to the area and have a considerable history. They are called Cinta Senese and are black and white. At Spinnocchia, they are working on breeding the Cinta Senese with Great White pigs, known to me as cute pink pigs. When mixed, the breeds create supposedly some of the best and most sought after meat for both fresh and cured consumption. A butcher shop and aging facility are attached to the castle where employees and interns cut and age the meat, learning how to utilize EVERY part of the animal. Spannocchia then serves its product to guests and sells at a local organic farmer's market.

After our time in Tuscany, Pete and I had a couple of days to ourselves. We hopped on a train in Florence and headed towards Cinque Terre, known for its 5 small towns all located inside of 10 kilometers and perched on the northern coast of Italy.

We hiked along terraced mountains covered in vineyards. These grapes are used to produce a rare white wine called Sciacchetra, a product Cinque Terre is well known for. Olive, clementine and lemon trees are also abundant on the hillsides and throughout the towns. We hiked between towns and enjoyed the breathtaking views. The trail is at many points only a foot wide with a straight drop 500 yards or more into the ocean. I loved the hike. We even saw a fox, which is one of my "be aware and in the moment" animals. It made it all extra special.

Eventually, it was time to leave and we made our way back to Florence and then home. It felt great to get home and be back on the farm. Pete and I traveled a lot this winter and one of the best things I acquired from our many journeys is a greater appreciation for our home and community. Vermont has it all, as far as I'm concerned. Great people, amazing food, beautiful landscape, awesome communities....... and this farm, where I experience different challenges each day. All of these push and allow me to experience a much fuller and felt life and I am thankful. Traveling is fun, but it's good to be home! -Meg

State of the Plate
Mia Moore, one of our shareholders, emailed me a link to a recent New York Times article that I thought you would all enjoy. Marian Borroughs covered a tour of the kitchen prior to the White House Governor's dinner a couple of weeks back. Michelle Obama, instead of focusing strictly on china and place settings, shared with reporters and local culinary students a view of kitchen preparation and ingredients, including her thoughts on local vegetables.

I have guarded hopes for this administration and the progress they might make in promoting local, sustainable agriculture. They have brought their personal chef, Sam Kass, from Chicago with them who has a commitment to local food. Though President Obama's Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, does not have a reformer track record, the newly appointed Deputy Secretary at the USDA, Kathleen Merrigan, has street cred. Ms. Merrigan is one of the "sustainable dozen" that Food Democracy Now was pushing to be included in the agency. She is being haled as a reformer and has the backing of many progressive voices.

For the moment, I am glad to see that sustainable growing and eating is on the Obamas' radar, and am holding my breath to see how these beliefs will translate into change.

And the Search Goes On....
Three times I have thought we had located the new perfect pick-up spot in Richmond, only to have my hopes dashed. I will make a few more calls tomorrow, but am losing confidence that we will find a new home near the expressway. At this point, I think our best bet might be a persons' house right near the exit. If you know anybody, please email me their info. Thanks!

Bulk Order - March 11th Delivery
Final call for our March 11th bulk order, the final bulk order of the season. We have a few types of root vegetables on the list this time, along with frozen strawberries and t-shirts.

To place a bulk order:Link

  • Print & fill out our Order Form.
  • Mail your form and check to the farm to arrive no later than March 5th.
  • Pick-up your items on March 11th.
Find out more about our bulk orders here.

Upcoming Classes
Seed Ordering and Garden Planning Workshop & Fundraiser, Saturday March 14th, 2:00-4:00 pm, taking place at the Vermont Foodbank’s Manosh Branch in Wolcott and sponsored by High Mowing Organic Seeds. 10% off High Mowing Organic Seeds; 100% of the proceeds to benefit the Vermont Foodbank’s Salvation Farms Gleaning Network. Workshop is free and open to the public. Contact Rebecca Beidler for directions and registration at 802-472-8280.

Localvore 'Lore
I look at the share this week and think, calzones and salad--shoot salad, of course. Undoubtedly, the pizza dough from Elmore Mountain could be used for making pizza. (Read how in the January 21st newsletter). No matter what you use the dough for, you will want to thaw it before you roll/stretch it out (it's sent out in the morning frozen). If you aren't going to use it in the next couple of days, store it in the freezer. It should be thawed in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for 3-4 hours. Either way, it should be close to room temperature when you start to work with it.

The chevre this week is from Blue Ledge Farm, down in Salisbury, VT. Husband and wife team, Hannah and Gregory, run the farm with the help of their two small children and herd of 30 goats. They believe that contented animals produce the best milk, so they do their best to provide their goats with a pleasant life. This means the goats are out on pasture when at all possible, and that they are only seasonally milked, taking the early winter months off.

We have both oil and vinegar in the share today to make an excellent salad dressing. The apple cider vinegar from Vermont Cranberry Company is definitely one to save for dressings and other special preparations. Even though it's got a 5% acidity level, and is therefore safe for canning, I think you'll agree that it's way too tasty to be used for pickling.

Bob Lesnikoski, better known as "Cranberry Bob," spent some time on the phone with me last week to share a bit about how the vinegar is made. I could hear him bottling the vinegar while we spoke. According to Bob, the cider comes from wild apples that he collects in Franklin County. The apples are brought back to Vermont Cranberry Company and pressed for their juices.

In addition to owning Vermont Cranberry, Bob is also the head winemaker for Boyden Valley. It is this same skill and aesthetic that he brings to making vinegar. The cider from the apples is fermented in stainless steel vats. Bob believes in naturally acidifying the vinegar, meaning that he relies on airborne yeasts to ferment the vinegar, rather than introducing a mother. He believes that mothers can introduce off flavors to the vinegars.

Once fermented, the vinegar is aged in French oak barrels for 2 years. The result is a light apple cider vinegar, with fresh apple flavor and a background sweetness. Unfiltered and unpasteurized, it's also a very healthful product.

This is the first year Bob has his apple cider vinegar ready for distribution, and Pete's CSA is the first to have it in any quantity. We all hope that you enjoy it!

Finally, we have sunflower oil from State Line Farm in Shaftsbury, VT. We included a lengthy write-up about the great work that John and Betsey Williamson are doing to promote local oil production in our December 31st newsletter.

Usually, we give out oil towards the end of the share. This time we decided to give it out earlier, as it's used in so many of the recipes we include in the newsletter. If you just got a quart and are feeling overwhelmed, see the Storage and Use section above. You can keep this quart in your fridge while you finish up your first.

Parsnip, Shoot and Chevre Salad
There are so many excellent cooking blogs on the web these days. I find myself getting more and more ideas from these independent publishers. Today I found UK based Mostly Eating. It has a tasty sounding recipe for parsnip salad that I modified for today's newsletter. Serves 2.

2 small parsnips, peeled and julienned (or cut into very fine strips)
2 cups shoots
1 TB pine nuts
1.5 oz chevre

For the dressing:
2 TB sunflower oil
1 TB cider vinegar
1 tsp grain mustard
1 tsp minced shallot
2 tsp honey
pinch, dried crumbled thyme

Put the julienned parsnips and shoots together in a large bowl. Place a small pan over low heat. Put the pine nuts into a pan and toast over low heat until golden brown. Add the pine nuts to the other ingredients and finally add the crumbled goats cheese. Mix the dressing ingredients together with a fork. Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Chevre and Tomato Sauce Calzone
Start with this basic calzone recipe and liven it up with some fried local sausage, pepperoni, cooked frozen greens, roasted root vegetables, mushrooms or peppers. My family enjoyed a couple of these calzones last night, stuffed with local braising greens saved from this past summer. Serves 2-3.

2 tsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 cups tomato puree
3/4 tsp dried crumbled thyme
3/4 tsp dried crumbled oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 portion Elmore Mountain pizza dough, room temperature
flour for dusting
3.5 ounces crumbled chevre
optional stuffing (cooked frozen greens, squeezed dry; diced roasted roots; cooked crumbled bacon or sausage; sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms; or whatever you like).

Preheat oven to 450F. To make the sauce, place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add oil, then onion and garlic. Sweat until soft and translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add tomato puree, herbs and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens, about 25-30 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle counter generously with flour. Roll out pizza dough to an approx. 12" circle, using flour liberally to make sure the dough does not stick to counter or rolling pin. Transfer dough to baking stone or cookie sheet. Spread desired amount of sauce on half the dough, leaving a 1/2" border at edges. Distribute filling over sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Fold bare half of dough over filling, lining up edges. Fold edges over and crimp to seal. Poke top all over with a knife to allow heat to escape. Place in oven and bake until crust is firm and golden, about 20-30 minutes. Serve with extra sauce on the side.

Potato Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce
Part Eastern European, part Turkish, these stuffed rolls are a pleasant departure from cabbage slaws, braises and soups. The cooked ground lamb in the rolls is optional and can be omitted or easily replaced with crumbled tempeh or roasted roots. Serves 3-4.

6 cabbage leaves
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 lb. chevre
1/2 cup milk
1/2 lb. cooked, ground lamb (optional)
2 tsp sunflower oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup tomato puree
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Cook potatoes and garlic in salted, boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, saving the hot cooking water in a pan. Mash the potatoes with cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Mix in cooked, ground lamb (optional). Set aside.

In a large skillet saute onion in oil. Add tomato sauce and spices and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce comes together and thickens slightly. Set aside.

Dip a cabbage leaf into the hot potato water until softened, then drain. Spoon about 1/4 cup of potato mixture into the center of the leaf. Roll tightly and place in an oiled baking dish, making sure the seam side faces down. Repeat with remaining leaves. Pour tomato sauce on top of the rolls. Cover with foil and bake until rolls are cooked through and sauce is bubbling, about 25-35 minutes.