Good Eats Newsletter - November 23, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:

Adirondack Red Potatoes; Yellow Onions; Orange Carrots; Brussels Sprouts; 1 Bunch Celery; Head of Lettuce; Mescun Greens

Butternut Squash Puree

Localvore Offerings Include:

Butterworks Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Cellars at Jasper Hill Clothbound Cheddar
Honey Gardens Apiaries Honey
Butterworks Farm Buttermilk

Pete's Musings Happy Thanksgiving!
We are feeling gratitude for a bountiful harvest - root cellars and coolers groaning with the load of stored crops, greenhouse greens a little late but making up for lost time in this sunny November, a crew that is starting to gel and setting the stage for a great future. The roof of our new washhouse (attached to the barn) is coming together. Hopefully it will be completely covered in two days. Then we will be taking a break from that project and focusing on equipment maintenance and tightening up the farm for winter.

I'm going back to Europe in mid December (Iceland and Holland). Both countries have major heated greenhouse industries. We have a lot to learn about how to maximize heated greenhouse space to grow great crops of early tomatoes, peppers and cukes and no one is better at it than the Dutch. Consider that Holland is several degrees of latitude further north than Vermont (less winter daylight) and all winter you can buy huge, bright Dutch grown greenhouse peppers in your local grocery store.

Iceland greenhouses are heated geothermally. The country is awash in natural hot water to the point that they even grow bananas in greenhouses. This should be a really interesting visit and hard duty considering that I'll be soaking in natural hot springs hopefully several times a day. ~ Pete

We will be delivering TOMORROW Tues November 23rd
Delivery should happen at normal times, just a day earlier in the week.

Storage and Use Tips
Butternut Squash Puree - Several weeks ago we put up our year's worth of squash puree. This is a joint effort. High Mowing Seeds grows several super sweet varieties of winter squash in order to collect the seeds for their customers. They do the seed extraction at our farm and we take all the flesh of the squash and steam it to make the puree. This squash puree came from a small butternut variety and it has a very high sugar content. You can use the puree as a side dish, or in soup, or to make pumpkin pie. If using for a side dish, you may want to drain some of the water that separates from the squash when you thaw it. Your puree will then be a bit thicker.

Brussel Sprouts - Your Brussels will be attached to the stalk again this week. Store the whole stalk wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge and then remove the little heads just before you're going to cook them. They will stay fresher this way. Don't leave them too long though because they are better the fresher they are! Brussel sprouts can be cooked a variety of ways, and can be eaten raw as well (they can be shaved fine and tossed into a salad for example). They are really great roasted as it brings out their sweetness. This week I have given a recipe for a fancy brussels slaw.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all of you have a peaceful holiday with ample time to enjoy family and friends and good food. Everyone at the farm is very much looking forward to few days of down time. We got together for a moment today at lunch and took a photo of the crew - straight in from whatever jobs each was attending to. Pete, Paul, Isaac and Steve had been working on the addition, Pete, Isaac, and Paul up in the trusses and Steve on the ground. Deb was in the washhouse with Caroline and Annie washing potatoes, carrots and rutabagas. Ben and Santiago were out in the field harvesting kale. Tim was taking wholesale calls, Melissa making signage, and I had been writing to you all. It's a rumpled crew on a cold, damp November day but motivated and determined.

The Crew November 22, 2010
Back Row - Pete Johnson, Paul Lisai, Steve Perkins, Deb Rosewolf, Tim Fishburne, Ben Uris, Annie Myers
Front Row - Amy Skelton, Isaac Jacobs, Caroline Glover, and our neighbor's dog Zuda
Inset - Melissa Jacobs

Barn Addition

Our new washhouse addition has made much progress since pouring the walls last week. Our team hopes to get the trusses completed and roof on before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner!
Photos taken today.

Localvore Lore

This is an especally rich localvore share this week, a bit over value in fact, such that a couple other weeks this share period will be a bit less to make up. But it's Thanksgiving and I wanted you all to have some special ingredients to make a special meal.

To start with we have a double header from the Lazor family at Butterworks Farm. We have freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour from this year's crop and in fact this one delivery represents about 1/3 of the harvest. I feel fortunate to be able to get it to you all. Use this flour for making your pie crusts this week, for making muffins, pancakes, cookies. It has a low gluten content so is not the right flour to use where you need a lot of dough elasticity like in bread making or for pizza dough. But for baking, it's beautiful. This is freshly ground, whole grain flour. As such, it will spoil if left unusued for a long period of time. Particularly in warm temps. If you will use in a month or so, your cupboard should be a fine place to keep it. But if you don't bake a lot, better to keep yours in the fridge or freezer. It will stay fresh for a long time that way.

Buttermilk is actually a low fat product. Traditionally, homemade buttermilk was the slightly sour liquid that remained after butter was churned and separated from milk. At Butterworks Farm, Jack and Annie make their buttermilk from the low fat or non fat milk from their jersey cows. They add lactic acid bacteria which thickens the milk and gives it a flavor reminiscent of yogurt. In baked goods, buttermilk adds its slight tang to the flavor profile, it promotes browning, is great for leavening, and improves texture.

The Cabot Clothbound Cheddar in the share this week is sure to provide your family or guests with a great appetizer while you await your Thanksgiving meal, or perhaps you will be cooking just the right dish to use it in. This is a multi award winning cheese with 5 world titles in cheddar classes, including a blue ribbon at both the 2010 American Cheese Society Awards and the 2010 World Championship Cheese Contest this year alone. The cheese starts out at the Cabot Creamery. Immediately after the wheels are unmolded from their cheddar hoops at Cabot, they are loaded into a truck and delivered to the Cellars at Jasper Hill. For the next 10-14 months they remain at Cellars, lovingly tended. During the aging process a bloomy rind is allowed to develop which flavors the cheese. The cave environment is carefully monitored to age the cheese perfectly. The result is a traditional English type cheddar, with a slightly craggly texture, and flavors that are sweet and nutty.

We have some wonderful raw honey this week from Honey Gardens Apiaries beekeeper Alex Cote who lives in Quebec and coincidentally keeps his bees quite near where our grains are grown. I asked Alex to write a little about himself and his beekeeping...

I'm 34 years old. I started beekeeping in 2000. I've worked in Saskatchewan and in New Zeland for others beekeepers. In 2001 I've buy my first 50 hives. From there I've grown to 1000 hives today. When I first start I was working for other beekeepers on weekdays and in my own beehives on evening and all weekend. I've start from zero. I didn't know beekeepers and beekeeping at that time. My mom and dad offer me a wonderful help from beginning. Even my grand-mother participated. She was painting my honey super that need a fresh-up with her old paint. Some times color was strange looking but sweet for my heart. Both of my brothers worked with me. I brought them into beekeeping. They love bees and can't stop talking of it. Producing food is for me wonderful. Every time I working in my beehives I'm always thinking that somebody will eat that honey and deserve the best quality. Thinking of my honey in a jar on someone's table make me feel so much special. My honey house is located in an region name Eastern Township which is just north of Vermont. Hives are mostly located around Compton. The honey produced in this area is made with a nice variety of flowers. ~ Alex

Raw honey has never been heated and so retains enzymes that heat treated honey has lost It also contains a variety of minerals, antioxidents too making it a much healthier alternative to sugar. Raw honey will begin to crystallize and thicken in your cupboard, but this only makes it better and easier to spread on your toast! If you need honey in a more liquid form you can always gently warm it in warm water. Your raw honey will keep in the cupboard for a very long time. There has been honey retrieved from tombs that are 2000 yrs old that was still edible!


Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
2 pound(s) potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon butter

3/4 cup(s) buttermilk

1.5 tsp salt

Place the potatoes and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium saucepan, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Return the potatoes to the pan and set over low heat, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the potatoes dry out a little (too much moisture will dilute their flavor). For the smoothest potatoes, pass them through a food mill. For a slightly coarser puree, mash them with a potato masher or fork or use a hand mixer. Beat the buttermilk into the potatoes with a wooden spoon until thoroughly incorporated. If you prefer even creamier potatoes, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid. Beat in the butter, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Serve at once, or keep the potatoes warm, covered, in a double boiler over hot water for up to 1 hour.

In Advance: You can make the potatoes up to 3 hours ahead. About 20 minutes before serving, warm them in a double boiler, stirring frequently, until hot.

Honey-Roasted Carrots

While your turkey is resting before carving, have these ready to go in the oven and pull them out just before serving. Steaming the carrots tenderizes them before baking. Check these once or twice during baking to be sufe the honey glaze isn't burning the carrots. This one comes from Parade magazine 2007.

2 lbs fresh carrots, peeled

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 450°:F.
Cut the carrots into thirds, crosswise on a sharp diagonal.
Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Let carrots steam until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl. Toss with the oil, honey, salt and pepper.
Place the carrots on an oiled baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 25 minutes. Loosen them from the baking sheet with a spatula. Adjust the seasonings and remove to a serving bowl.

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans

Here's a fancy Thanksgiving worthy brussels dish that you can make ahead. Bon Appétit November 2009. Serves 8.

Vegetable oil

1 cup large pecan halves

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (grade B is best)

1/2 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt plus additional for seasoning

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup whole grain Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Make the Candied Pecans:
Oil a large sheet of foil. Place pecans on small rimmed baking sheet. Whisk maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Add to nuts and toss to coat; spread in single layer. Bake nuts 5 minutes. Stir. Continue to bake nuts until toasted and glaze is bubbling thickly, about 6 minutes. Immediately transfer nuts to prepared foil and separate. Cool completely.

Make the Dressing:
Whisk mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar in small bowl; whisk in oil. Season with coarse salt and pepper.

Cook the Brussels:
Bring large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Add brussels sprouts. Cook until crisp-tender and still bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. Cool on paper towels. Using processor fitted with 1/8- to 1/4-inch slicing disk, slice brussels sprouts. Transfer to large bowl.

Toss brussels sprouts with enough dressing to coat. Let marinate 30 to 60 minutes. Mix in some pecans. Place slaw in serving bowl. Top with remaining pecans.

Cranberry Buttermilk Muffins
Here's a recipe from our archives that looked perfect for this week.

4-6 TB butter (or 1/3 C oil)

1/2 cup honey (or sugar)

2 Eggs

1 C Buttermilk

3 C WW Pastry Flour

1 TB baking powder

1/2 tsp salt
1 C Fresh Cranberries, whole or chopped up a bit

zest of 1/2 orange
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400F

In a bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, until light & foamy. Slowly pour in buttermilk and mix until well combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together by hand until just barely combined. Don not over mix so the muffins will be tender. Fill 12 greased muffin cups evenly. Bake at 400F for 15-20 mins.

Optional glaze: combine 1 c confectioners sugar with a bit of orange juice to make a smooth glaze. Spoon over muffins.

You could add 1 cup of any fruit, even banana or squash puree, or 1/2 cup of nuts or chocolate chips. You could add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla or almond extract. 

Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk pie, a tangy custard pie, is a classic in some parts of the south. A bit like creme brulee in a pie crust. The recipe below is for a basic buttermilk pie, but you can jazz it up to with the addition of fruit.

3 eggs

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C).
Beat eggs until frothy; add butter, sugar and flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice and nutmeg; pour into pie shell. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until center is firm.

Apple Pie
This is my favorite apple pie recipe. The pie is made with honey rather than sugar. The honey flavor comes through in the pie and gives the pie a rich, decadent flavor. I put this recipe and the pumpkin pie recipe below in last year but thought I'd share again.

2 cups flour (ww pastry or unbleached white or a combo)

1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

1.5 sticks cold butter cut into 1/4" slices

Ice water

Pie filling:

7-8 Cortland apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4" thick

2/3 cup honey

3 TB flour

1 TB lemon juice

2 TB melted butter

1 tsp cinnamon

For the crust

Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and give it a quick pulse to mix. Toss in the slices of cold butter. Using the pulse button, pulse 7-8 times for 1 second each time until the flour butter mixture looks like very coarse cornmeal. Run a fork through it and look for butter chunks. The largest chunks should be pea sized or a bit larger (high bush blue berry sized?). Transfer to a mixing bowl. Pour in 1/3 cup of water and fold flour in from outer edges of bowl with a rubber spatula. The goal in mixing water into the dough is to do it with as few strokes as possible so use some strategy. You will need to add more water, depending on how cold your butter is, moisture content of flour etc. You may need as much nearly another 1/3 cup but probably not quite that much. As soon as it starts holding together, use your hands to gather the dry flakies that resist capture and form the dough into two equal sized balls. The dough wants to be just moist enough to come together, and not so dry that your balls want to crack apart again. Press your dough balls into flattened rounds and proceed to rolling it out if you are ready. If you aren't, wrap your flattened rounds in plastic and refrigerate (can be made a couple days ahead).

For the filling
Melt the butter and if your honey is thick and creamy, let it heat along with butter so that it is easier to blend with the apples. No need to heat it lots, just enough to make it pour easier. Pour the honey/butter mix over the apple slices in a large bowl and mix to coat. Add the flour, cinnamon, lemon juice.

 Assemble your pie and bake at 425°F in the middle of your oven for 30 mins. Then turn the temp down to 350°F and bake until lightly browned and bubbling - another 15-25 mins.

Pumpkin Pie

This one comes straight out of the Joy of Cooking. It's my favorite recipe for this classic pie and I have made this pie probably 50 times. It is that good. You really can use anything from heavy cream to milk, and even low fat works fine. Some cream content elevates this pie from real good to dreamy though. Withe the puree in the share this week, it couldn't be any easier.


Prepared pre-baked pie crust

2 to 3 large eggs (2 for more pumpkin flavor, 3 for more soft custardy pie)

2 cups pumpkin puree (or winter squash!)

1 1/2 cups light cream (or mix 3/4 cup heavy cream and 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar (or maple sugar!)

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves or allspice

1/2 tsp salt


Position rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 400°F.
Make pie crust and bake at 400°F for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown (see notes below on pre-baking your crust). Remove the pre-baked crust, paint the inside of the crust with egg yolk (I use my fingers for this) and bake for another 2 minutes to set the egg wash.

Turn oven down to 375.

Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together thoroughly until combined.
If the crust has cooled, warm it in the oven until it is hot to the touch.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust and bake until the center of the filling seems set but quivery - like jello - when you nudge the pan. Should take roughly 45 minutes but this varies by oven, depth of the pie plate etc. Could be 55 minutes.
Remove the pie and let cool completely on a wire rack. Leftover pie should be refrigerated!

Pre-baking your crust

The only thing a little tricky about making pumpkin pie is that you are supposed to pre-bake the crust first and paint it with egg yolk to help keep it from getting soggy. Follow the directions in the apple pie recipe above for making the crust, and roll it out and shape your crust in your pie plate. If you just stick the pie plate in the oven now to pre-bake, your crust will shrink and slip down the sides of the pie plate. You have to somehow hold it in place while it pre-bakes for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Press a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side down, into/on top of the crust you have shaped in your pie plate. You need the aluminum foil to be depressed into your pie plate enough so that you can fit a slightly smaller pie plate nested in/on top of your prepared crust. The weight of the smaller pie plate will hold your crust in place while it's baking. (Alternatively, you can use uncooked rice or beans poured into the aluminum foil to hold the pie crust in place.) Bake for 20 minutes to set the crust. Then remove from oven, remove the pie plate weight(s) and aluminum foil. Prick the crust with a fork if it has puffed up. Then return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes more until golden brown all over.


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