We enjoyed the nice long fall but are glad for some cold, snow, and wind so that we feel like we live in the Northeast Kingdom and not New Jersey. Lots of winter projects going on these days. Steve is busy repairing, improving, and maintaining the vast fleet of older equipment that it takes to keep this place running. Isaac and Poli have finished building our new gutter connect greenhouse and are now rebuilding 4 of our older greenhouses. They are making them 2 ft taller, adding insulation around the perimeter, installing hot water pipes to heat the soil-generally making them more productive and efficient. We'll be installing above ground hot water pipes that have a double purpose of heating the greenhouses and also acting as a rail for greenhouse carts to ride on. This will allow tomato and cucumber pruning which happens 10 ft. in the air to move from unsteady ladders onto safe and stable elevated carts.
I've been shopping for a bunch of new equipment. Well, most of it not new, but new to us. Most of what I've found is in Canada or Holland, we'll be bringing 2 shipping containers of Dutch equipment here in the coming weeks. When you want to buy quality used vegetable equipment you have to go to places where there is a big concentration of veggie farms. We are also actively laying out our soil fertility plans. We now farm over 60 individual fields so this is a complicated and detailed process. And we've also been learning a lot about how to improve root crop harvest, storage, and washing in order to maximize quality, and to that end we may be replacing our washline with equipment that is gentler on the roots. The crew is cheerfully plugging away in the washhouse - it's a tough grind washing and packing storage crops all winter and their positive attitude is much appreciated. We're looking forward to the exciting coming season and putting our new and improved greenhouses and equipment to use to grow more and better veggies than ever.
Storage and Use Tips
Spinach - This larger leaf cooking spinach is great steamed, sauteed or in creamed preparations as well as in spinach tarts, frittatas and casseroles. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg to really bring out the flavor. Wash the leaves in a sink or large bowl full of water, letting any sandy residue sink to the bottom. Lift out of the water and drain. Throwing it into a pan with a few remaining water droplets will allow it to steam nicely. Store unwashed, bagged in the crisper drawer for several days.
Potatoes - Modoc potatoes have bright red skins and are white inside. They are a moderately waxy, all-purpose potato. One of our favorite ways to cook these is simply roasting until they are soft and creamy delicious. Chop and toss in sunflower oil, salt, pepper and other herbs of your choice. Set oven to 475F and roast for 30-40 minutes.
Carrots - The colorful nature of your carrots is based on varietal differences. Carrots have been cultivated for thousands of years, but it was not until a few centuries ago when orange carrots became the norm, when the Dutch developed and made orange varieties prolific. So to appreciate the history of these multi-colored roots, try shredding multiple colors in a salad, or cutting them crosswise into eye-catching irregular ovals. Carrots should be stored unwashed, loosely wrapped in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Napa Cabbage - Napa cabbage (in the full shares) is an Asian vegetable that resembles regular green cabbage, but is much more tender with large cruncy ribs and has a long, slender shape. Napa cabbage has slightly more protein and fewer calories than regular cabbage and a unique taste like a mild celery or bok choy. It is delicious raw or cooked, and can be substituted for regular cabbage in most recipes. It is also great in salads! Try it as a lettuce substitute your favorite green salad, or if you have daikon, make your own kimchi this week.
Green Cabbage (in the half shares) can be used in a variety of ways- shredded and added to coleslaw or on top of a salad, sauteed, roasted, or grilled. Refrigerate cabbage in a hydrator drawer. Do not remove the outer leaves before storage. Once the cabbage has been cut store in a plastic bag.
Onions- The onions in your share this week are from our friends at Riverside Farm in East Hardwick. Store them in a cool place, even in your fridge, if you don't intend to eat them quickly.
Daikon Radish - Daikon is a large, white, elongated radish that has a mild taste. It contains large amounts of enzymes that aid in fat and starch digestion as well as high levels of vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium. It also contains a plethora of other phyto-nutrients. Try adding cubed daikon to your next pan of roasted vegetables, shredding it on your salad, or eat as a snack with peanut butter. This radish is also a staple ingredient in classic kimchi.
Frozen Broccoli - Our frozen broccoli was blanched for a minute or two in our kitchen before cooling and freezing. It is not a substitute for fresh broccoli in salads or places where you really need the veggies to be crisp. But it is fantastic for pastas, burritos, casseroles, quiches, soup etc. To reheat, bring some water to a boil in a pot and put in all or a part of the bag of broccoli (you can saw off chunks of frozen if you don't want to use the whole thing). Heat for 2-5 minutes, testing each minute after 2 minutes to see if it has reached the tenderness you seek.
Frozen Roasted Peppers - Frozen roasted peppers are in the large share this week. These are whole peppers that have been washed and then roasted in a barrel flamer, cooled, bagged and frozen. We use Anaheim peppers, which had a little heat that is complemented by the roasted flavor. After thawing, remove seeds and toss them in a pan if you want to each them warmed up. These are great on burgers, in Mexican dishes, or in pasta recipes.
Veggie Storage and Use Tips are on our website too, so please bookmark the recipe and storage tip section. I am sure you will find it useful.
Changes to Your Delivery?
If you will be away some upcoming week, and need to make changes to your share delivery, let us know at least 1 week before the change. You can have your share donated to the Food Shelf, or you can skip your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.
This week's localvore share includes Elmore Mountain or Slowfire Bakery Bread, Tangeltown Eggs, and Pete's Greens Baba Ganoush.
Slowfire Bakery is making Country Bread with Cornmeal and Rye for this week's Thursday pickup sites. Based in Enosburg Falls, Slowfire prides themselves on using local flours (from just over the border in Quebec), as well as other ingredients sourced from their land and from neighboring farms.
Elmore Mountain Bread is baking Vermont Redeemer Bread for most Wednesday and some Thursday pickups, made with 100% organic wheat from Roger's Farmstead in Berlin that was fresh stone-milled in Elmore, and baked in their hot brick oven that is fueled by local hardwood.
We are grateful that Tangletown Farm can provide us with nutritious Local Eggs all winter long! At Tangletown Farm in West Glover, Lila and Dave raise pasture-based hens on their land, and feed them Vermont grains and vegetables. These chickens have mobile coops to keep their diets lush and healthy.
We are also sending you Baba Ganoush from our kitchen at Pete's Greens. Baba ganoush is a thick mediterranian spread made from eggplant, garlic, tahini, oil, lemon, and spices. It is great as a dip or on sandwiches. You can liven it up after thawing by draining any excess water, adding a splash of olive oil, and buzzing it in the food processor for a few seconds. Add a sprinkle of fresh green herbs, like parsley, as a garnish.
Ricki Heller writes of her great recipe:
"The two essential components, I’ve found, are the cabbage and the dressing; pretty much everything else can be adjusted or substituted. This is the type of salad that invites picking at it, right out of the salad bowl, once you’ve already finished what’s on your plate."
1 whole napa or green cabbage, washed, trimmed, and sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame (or snap peas)
1 carrot, grated, if desired
1/4-1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 drops stevia (or you can use sugar, about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 very small onion, grated on the finest holes of your grater (it should almost liquefy)
1 clove garlic, crushed
Toss the cabbage, edamame, carrot (if desired), pine nuts, and sesame seeds in a large salad bowl.
In a smaller bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk to mix well. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Makes about 6 servings.
Baechu (Cabbage) Kimchi
This recipe is from Sandor Katz's "Wild Fermentation." Sandor has revolutionized and revived the traditions of fermenting, and has strong connections to Vermont.
Makes 1 quart
1 pound chinese cabbage (napa or bak choi)
1 daikon radish or a few red radishes
1-2 onions, leeks, a few scallions, or shallots
3-4 cloves of garlic
3-4 hot red chilies, depending on how hot you like your food, or any form of hot pepper, fresh, dried, or
in a sauce
3 tablspn fresh grated gingerroot
Mix a brine of 4 cups water and 4 tablespoons of salt. The brine should taste good and salty.
Coarsely chop the cabbage, slice the radish and carrots, and let the vegetables soak in the brine, covered by a plate or other weight to keep the vegetables submerged until soft. This can take a few hours or overnight is even better. Add other vegetables to the brine such as snow peas, seaweeds, Jerusalem artichokes, anything you like.
Prepare the spices: grate the ginger, chop the garlic and onion, remove seeds from the chilies and chop or crush, or throw them in whole. Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice. Mix spices into a paste. You can add fish sauce to the spice paste, just make sure it has no chemical preservatives which function to inhibit microorganisms.
Drain brine of vegetables after soaking. Reserve the brine. Taste the vegetables for saltiness. You want them salty but not unpleasantly so. If they are too salty, rinse them. If you cannot taste the salt, sprinkle a couple teaspoons in and mix.
Mix the vegetables with the ginger/chili/onion/garlic paste. Mix everything together and stuff it into a clean quart size jar. Pack it lightly, pressing down until brine rises. If necessary, add a little of the reserved, vegetable soaking brine to the sumberged vegetables. Weigh them down with a small jar, or a ziplock bag filled with some brine. If you remember, you can just push them down with your fingers.
Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste it every day. After about a week, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator or cool storage space like a root cellar or a hole in the ground.
Chicken Baked with Baba Ganoush
Try this quick and easy way to prepare chicken breasts, baked with flavorful baba ganoush. The fresh eggplant spread lends its slightly garlicky and smoky flavor to enhance chicken. Plus, the coating of babaganoush helps seal in juices, making for a more moist, flavorful chicken breast.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup baba ganoush
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, divided
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a large baking dish. Spoon babaganoush on top of each chicken breast, so the top of each breast is evenly covered with a thick layer of babaganoush. Sprinkle top with paprika and with some of the parsley.
Bake for about 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breast, until chicken is cooked through. Serve with additional chopped parsley as a garnish.
This breakfast recipe is easily adaptable with whatever vegetables or cheese you have on hand.
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons of coconut oil/ghee
3 tablespoons coconut flour (or flour of choice)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup of raw shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup thoroughly chopped broccoli (or veggie of choice)*
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cook up broccoli for a few minutes on stovetop in a bit of oil, just until cooked (not crunchy anymore, but not mushy). Take off heat, set aside.
Place eggs, coconut oil/ghee, and a dash of salt in medium size bowl and whisk together.
Add coconut flour (or other flour of your choice) and baking powder and mix until smooth.
Lastly, add cheese and broccoli, plus ground pepper and stir.
Pour into greased muffin tin cups. Cook 15-20 min or until tops of muffins spring back when poked. Allow to cool 10 min before eating.
Enjoy with a slice of avocado and some green tea for breakfast!
Note: Recipe can easily be doubled to make 12 muffins. Muffins can stored in the fridge (do not freeze) and popped in a toaster oven for re-heating as needed.
*Optional Additions: Feel free to add other veggies and cook accordingly before adding to egg mixture. Sweet potato, peppers, garlic, onion, and spinach all work well. You might also think of adding bacon pieces, chopped ham, olives, feta, etc. Whatever makes breakfast easy, healthy and delicious for you!
You can eat this as a side or serve it over rice. The balsamic vinegar adds a complex dimension of flavor that takes this a step beyond your average roasted vegetable dish. You can even use your frozen roasted peppers in this dish, if you have them.
1/2 lb daikon, scrubbed and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
4 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the daikon, carrots, red peppers, shallot and olive oil on a nonstick baking sheet. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice until tender.
Drizzle the veggies with balsamic vinegar and return to the oven. Roast for an additional 5 minutes. Toss well and then transfer to a serving bowl.