Around the Farm
Bryn and Ben packing your arugula.
Emilie packing tomatoes
Niles packing oats
Phil packing the meat shares. This is a tough job as all the meat is frozen and stored in our deep freeze. He and Niles spend a good amount of time in there on meat weeks to get all your meat together. Thanks guys!
Storage and Use Tips
There are a lot of first of the season veggies this week!
Arugula is also known as Rocket or Roquette. It's a very popular and versatile green that can be eaten raw, but also stands up well in the sauté pan. It has a peppery mustardy flavor and is great on sandwiches to give them pep, and into salads to take it up a notch. It also does well with a quick wilt added to pastas, frittatas or calzones, or as a stand-in for lettuce on an Italian-inspired sub. It blends particularly well with goat cheese and balsamic and olive oil. It is delicious simply sautéed in a pan with olive oil with a sprinkle of coarse salt & pepper.
Reba potatoes have excellent flavor and are great for baking (not too dry, not too moist), potato salads, boiling, or mashing. Store in a paper bag in a cool, dry, dark place.
We have more scallions for you this week. These bunching oniones are a species of onion that don't form a bulb at the bottom. They are lightly onion flavored and well used in omelets, salads, stir fries, Asian soups and a numerous other dishes, both hot and cold. I made scallion pancakes last week and they were scrumptious! If you have a creation that looks boring, just throw some chopped scallions on top to perk it up!
I'm so happy to have new fresh carrots! These are bunched and have the tops attached. Make sure you save the tops - you can add them to salad alone (they're a tad bitter though), or consider softening the greens by blanching, sautéing them with olive oil, garlic and some of your other favorite greens, or cooking them into a soup or stock.
Redbor kale is in the super veggie club and is just about the healthiest vegetable you can eat. 1 cup packs 1300% of your daily requirements for Vita K, 200% of your Vita A, and nearly 100% of vita C, along with lots and lots more vitas and minerals. Over 45 different flavonoids have been identified in kale that combine to provide both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It is now believed that kale offers risk-lowering benefits for five types of cancer including bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancer. It also has the ability to lower cholesterol (and for this purpose steaming is best). It is also now recognized that kale provides much support for your body's own detox system. And what's more, it's tasty, so eat lots. Keep kale loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. Strip the leaves from the stems and wash them well before chopping and cooking.
Everyone will get some broccoli. There is nothing better than fresh organic broccoli! You may get a full head or some florets that will be loose in the bag.
For years you've been asking for more beans, and we have the first round going out today!These green beans have an impressive amount of antioxidants in them. They also have a good amount of the mineral silicon which is very important for bone health and for healthy formation of connective tissue. You can steam these beans, incorporate them into a stir fry, or make them into a featured dish.
If you have become accustomed to thinking about celery as a crunchy, low-cal vegetable but not a key part of your health support, it is time to think again. Recent research has greatly bolstered our knowledge about celery's anti-inflammatory health benefits, including its protection against inflammation in the digestive tract itself. It contains well-known antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids, and scientists have identified at least a dozen other types of antioxidant nutrients in celery. In order to maximize it's nutritional benefits it's best to eat your celery within 5-7 days.
Storing Fresh Produce without Plastic Bags
I know many of you are conscious about using plastic bags. I came across this great blog article and wanted to share it with you as it's got some great ideas for storing your produce without plastic bags. The blogger of Food in Jarsand author of 2 books, Marissa McClellan, is filled with great tips and tricks for things like this as well as canning and cooking. Her blog is filled with all sorts of interesting information!
- For lettuces that I want to prep for easy use but still keep in whole leaf form (in case I want to slip a leaf or two onto a sandwich), I pull the head apart, wash the leaves, and dry them. A salad spinner is nice for drying greens, but if you don’t have one, lay out a clean kitchen towel and lay the lettuce out in a single layer. Put another towel on top, pat it down, and then carefully roll it all up. Give the lettuce bundle a gentle shake over your sink and unroll again. The lettuce should be dry enough to store!
Then, layer the lettuce leaves in a container, separating the leaves every couple levels with a small cloth or paper towel. As far as the container goes, I like to use a bowl that is large enough for a whole heck of a lot of lettuce.
- For heartier things, like kohlrabi, kale, asparagus, green garlic, harukei turnips, and even celery or lovage, any sturdy glass container will do the job. These items don’t need a whole lot of absorbent padding or breaking down, so I simply grab any vessel that can hold the food and will fit in my fridge. As you can see, sometimes I double things up if I feel like it won’t impact the flavor or consistency. Kale and green garlic can hang out nicely without flavor transfer or texture degradation.
- For large bundles of spinach or mustard greens that I want to keep whole, I use the towel technique. I get a tea towel slightly damp and roll the greens up in it, tucking the ends in and trying to get at least two layers of material around the veg. It should be just damp, but not sopping.
Tucked into the crisper, this helps keep the greens fresh and perky, at least for a few days. I do make it a priority to use these tender greens in the first couple days after bringing them home, because they aren’t going to last an entire week (the kale will last much longer because it’s simply sturdier by nature).
Other tips for storing:
- If you’re going to use them promptly, cucumbers don’t need to be refrigerated. They actually do better above 50 degrees F and so can be kept on the counter for up to three days.
- When we get into tomato season, keep them away from the cold and store them stem end down for the best lifespan.
- Use that tea towel technique described earlier for asparagus as well as tender greens.
- Any time you store radishes, small turnips or beets that came with their greens, separate the roots from the leaves upon bringing them home. Wrap and store the greens separately to keep them crisp and useable.
- Leeks don’t need any special treatment at all. Just shake off the worst of the dirt from the roots and pop them into the crisper.
- Conventional wisdom used to be that you never washed berries before storing, but research has shown that washing them in a vinegar solution before storing actually extends their lifespan.
The organically grown White Lightning popcorn comes from Tullochgorum Farm in Ormstown, Quebec, situated in the beautiful Chateauguay Valley of South-western Quebec. Because popcorn requires a longer growing season than most types of corn, Steve and Loraine Lalonde consider their area to be at the northern limit of successfully producing this crop. To their knowledge, they are the only commercial producers of certified organic popcorn in Quebec. Once popped, White Lightning possesses a delicate, crispy texture, and a slightly nutty flavor, vastly different from the more common yellow popcorn varieties with which most people are familiar with, and a world away from microwave popcorn!
Golden Crops Organic Rolled Oats come from organic grower Michel Gaudreau of Golden Crops Mill, across the border in Quebec. Michel grows quite a few different grains on his farm and mills grains for organic growers in his area. He has a great operation in a beautiful setting surrounded by his fields. Michel's Golden Crops Mill makes many organic grains available locally that we might not otherwise have local access to and we are grateful for his commitment. These are beautiful, clean organic rolled oats ideal for oatmeal, granola, cookies, streusel toppings etc. See below for a solid granola recipe or one for oatmeal.
There's nothing better than farm fresh eggs! We get our CSA eggs from Tangletown Farm in West Glover. These are tasty and nutritious eggs because of the life the hens lead out on pasture.
In the meat share this month is a large Pete's Greens chicken, a ham steak from our own pigs, Maplewind Andouille sausage and McKnight burger.
Our chicken is wonderfully flavorful and very nutritious due to all the organic veggie scraps they are fed. These birds are large so you can make a few meals out of them. Roast it the first night, turn leftovers into chicken pot pie, burritos, or chicken salad, then boil the carcass down to make soup broth. Lately I have been cutting my whole chickens into 8 parts and then baking or grilling those. For a great easy basic baked chicken parts recipe, see below.
Now that we're into the warmer months of the year here's a refresher on chicken safety to ensure proper handling of your chicken.
- Thaw in the refrigerator, not on the counter or in the microwave
- Make sure to cook all poultry thoroughly to avoid any food-borne illness. Cook until the juices run clear and the internal temperature gets to 165, or 180 to be even safer.
- Don't cross contaminate - make sure to thoroughly wash knives, cutting boards, and anything you touched while dealing with raw meats.
The burger comes to you from McKnight Farm, an organic dairy in East Montpelier. Our friend Seth Gardner is a long time organic dairy farmer and we have been working together to regularly include Seth's beef in the Good Eats meat share. This is some of the best burger I have ever tasted!
Our very own ham steaks are also in this months' share. This ham is cut from the hind leg of the pig. It is is leaner and a bit tougher than the meat from the shoulder of the pig (called the picnic ham or the boston butt). The ham steak you will receive is naturally cured with celery juice powder, maple syrup, and salt. Though ham steaks are partially cooked, they should be brought back up to 160F before serving. This ham is extremely popular with my kids!
Maple Wind Farm Andouille Sausage - this slightly spicy Cajun flavored sausage is made with Maplewind's pork and salt spices, dehydrated minced garlic, corn syrup solids, sugar, and parsley. It's a classic in jambalaya and in gumbo recipes, and as such I have included a Gumbo recipe that uses a small whole chicken and this sausage. But it is also a classic in Po' Boy Sausage sandwiches so just grill it and throw it in a bun for a quick tasty lunch.
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 Pantry, or you can skip your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.
Arugula salad with Strawberries
Thanks to Martha Stewart for this delicious recipe.
1/2 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 bunches arugula, washed, dried, and trimmed
1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
In a large bowl, toss strawberries with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; let sit 5 to 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining tablespoon balsamic vinegar with the olive oil and salt and pepper.
To the strawberries, add vinaigrette, arugula, and toasted pecan halves. Toss to combine, and serve.
Tangy Potato Salad with Scallions
This is a great basic potato salad recipe. If you have any fresh herbs on hand they would be amazing added in.
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed, halved, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup white-wine vinegar
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
Set a steamer basket in a large pot. Fill with enough salted water to come just below basket. Bring to a boil; place potatoes in basket, and reduce heat to medium. Cover, and steam, gently tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine vinegar and scallions in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. When potatoes are cooked, transfer to bowl with vinegar mixture. Toss to combine; let cool, tossing occasionally.
When potato mixture is cool, mix in oil; season potato salad with salt and pepper.
Grilled cheese with Carrot, Carrot Green Pesto, and Asiago Grilled Cheese
My friend recently posted a picture of carrots with carrot top pesto. YUM! I since found this recipe which is pretty darn amazing. If you don't feel like making a whole sandwich out of it try just cooking the carrots and adding the pesto on top.
1 bunch farmers carrots, greens attached
1/2 – 3/4 cup shaved asiago
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
salt/pepper to taste
4-6 1/2? slices of sourdough boule
Butter, ghee, or olive oil for the pan/bread
Preheat the oven for 450.’ Remove the greens from the carrots and reserve for later use. Place carrots on a heavy baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes until they just begin to brown and blister. For the carrot top pesto, place washed greens in the basin of a food processor with the blade attachment. Combine olive oil, garlic, and the juice of one lemon. Blitz until smooth, adding a little olive oil if it feels too “pulp-y.” Shave the cheese super thin, set aside.
Warm a shallow, heavy pan over medium heat while you prepare the sandwiches. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Lay flat and layer with cheese, then pesto, then 4-5 grilled carrots. It’s okay if the stems stick out. Finish with another layer of cheese, if desired, and the other slice of bread. Place in the pan and grill on each side for 2-4 minutes until browned as you prefer. Cut in half. Repeat. Enjoy.
Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast
Also from Martha Stewart this is a wonderfully warm and filling breakfast.
1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and thinly sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar, firmly packed
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups oats
1 tablespoon sour cream
In a small bowl, toss 1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and thinly sliced, with 1 to 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark-brown sugar. Let sit at least 5 minutes to bring out the juices.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 3/4 cups water, 1 3/4 cups milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in 2 cups oats; cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, 20 to 30 minutes.
Ladle oatmeal into bowls. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream and some of the strawberries; sprinkle with brown sugar.
Andouille Sausage and Greens
1 bunch kale
1/2 pound Andouille sausage, quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
Remove kale stems and midrib from leaf. Chop stems into 1/4 inch strips and coarsely chop remaining leaves. Cook sausage and kale stems and mid-ribs over moderate heat, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add kale leaves, water, and red-pepper flakes and simmer, partially covered, until kale stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and stir in sausage. Add potatoes, pasta or rice if desired.
Broccoli and Rocket Pasta
A quick and healthy pasta dinner made with arugula (aka rocket), broccoli, chillies & anchovies (or kalamata olives).
3 cloves garlic
2 long red chillies (or crushed red pepper 1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
4 anchovy fillets (or 12 kalamatas)
2 heads broccoli
2 oz extra virgin olive oil
1-2 oz pecorino or parmesan cheese
6-8 oz orecchiette or other short dried pasta
1 cup rocket (arugula, chopped)
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, thinly slice garlic widthwise. Halve chillies lengthwise and remove seeds. Finely chop chillies and anchovies (or olives), and set aside with garlic. Cut stalks from the broccoli, peel, then cut into 1cm pieces. Cut the broccoli heads into small florets.
Add florets to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes or until almost tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and keep water boiling. Place half the florets in a food processor with 2 tbs oil. Season with salt and pepper. Coarsely grate cheese and add half to the food processor, and process to a paste. Transfer to bowl with remaining florets.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Halfway through cooking, add the broccoli stalks. Drain pasta and broccoli stalks, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water and the pan.
Place remaining oil, garlic, chillies and anchovies in reserved pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant and anchovies have broken up. Add reserved cooking water, pasta, broccoli mixture, rocket and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, tossing, for 2 minutes or until rocket wilts.
Squeeze lemon over pasta, season and toss well to combine. Divide among bowls, scatter with remaining cheese.
Quick and Easy (and delicious) Baked Chicken
This is a Mark Bittman recipe and I make this all the time and it's a crowd pleaser.
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts, skin on: 2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 drum sticks, 2 thighs
(don't fret about how neat your cuts are or are not, it doesn't really matter in the end, it will be delicious)
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup fresh herbs (or 1-2 tsp dried)
salt and pepper (I use 1.5 tsp or so for a big whole chicken)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the oil or butter in a roasting pan and put the pan in the oven for a couple of minutes, until the oil is hot or the butter melts. Add the chicken and turn it couple of times in the fat, leaving it skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and return the pan to the oven.
After the chicken has cooked for 15 minutes, toss about 1/4 of the herb or herb mixture over it and turn the pieces. Sprinkle on another quarter of the herb and roast for another 10 minutes.
Turn the chicken over (now skin side up again), add another quarter of the herb, and cook until the chicken is done (180 F , or you'll see clear juices if you make a small cut in the meat near the bone) a total of 30-50 minutes at most. Garnish with the remaining herb and skim excess fat from the pan juices if necessary; serve, with some of the juices spooned over it.
*Add several cloves of garlic (20 wouldn't be too many).
*Add a cup or so of chopped onion, shallot, or leek.
*Add a cup or so of sliced fresh mushrooms, after the first 15 minutes of roasting.
*Add 2-3 lemons (or organges/limes). When the chicken is done, squeeze the hot lemon juice over it.
*Use Compound Butter, Flavored Oil, or a Vinaigrette from the beginning of the cooking or as a basting sauce during the cooking.
*Stir in a dollop of grainy French-style mustard when the chicken is done.
*Add a couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes and some black olives after turning the chicken skin side up again.
*Stir in a cup of any salsa in the last 10 minutes of cooking or spoon on top of the cooked chicken before serving.