Good Eats Newsletter - July 23, 2008

CSA Pick-up Instructions
Please remember to read the pick-up instructions carefully each week. We have been having some shortages when we include fruit in the share from other producers. We know it is easy to assume that fruit should be included in the Vegetable Only share, but frequently this fruit is brought in from another farm for our Localvore Share. For example, the plums this week are for the Localvores and are paid for out of their extra fees. Our Localvore shareholders who arrive late can be very disappointed to find their fruit is no longer there for them. Thank you for taking according to instructions!
Missing or Damaged Items
Though we do our best to make sure that every delivery and pick-up goes smoothly, there are the occasional shortages and disappointments. Should you arrive at your pick-up spot to find that one or more of your items are missing or that some of your produce is in unsatisfactory condition, please let us know right away! Our goal is 100% satisfaction. If you can call or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Nancy as soon as you discover the problem, she may be able to resolve it the same day. Sometimes, a site host is able to find items a shareholder may have overlooked and the shareholder is able to go back Wednesday evening or Thursday morning to retrieve the items. I've also had shareholders who have mistakenly taken an item call me to see if they can deliver that item to the family who was shorted. If we can't resolve your issue right away, a quick call or email ensures that you will get on the picklist for the following week.
Packing Your CSA Shares
Last week in the newsletter we had promised to put together an article detailing what goes into packing, picking and delivering your CSA shares each week. For those of you interested in the nitty-gritty of what goes on here, you can read Putting Together a Weekly Summer CSA Delivery. My (Nancy's) intention was to include photographs of some of the various stages of the share process. I went out with Meg and got some great pics out in the field and in the washhouse. Unfortunately, I left my camera that same night at a pizza place, never to be seen again. I promise to take some pictures and post them with the article just as soon as I buy a new camera.
This Week's Share Contains
Head Napa Cabbage; Summer Squash; Bunch Beets; Bunch Basil; Mixed Green and Purple Peppers; Broccoli -or- Bunch Red Bor Kale; Red Tomatoes; Alisa Craig Sweet Onions; Pickling Cucumbers; Escarole; Mesclun -or- Japanese Eggplant -or- Fennel;
Localvore Share:
Champlain Valley Apiaries Honey; Vermont Milk Company Cheese Curds; and Champlain Orchards Plums.
Storage and Use Tips
Escarole: With broad, pale green leaves escarole is less bitter than other members of the chicory family. You can tear some and add it to your salad. It also benefits from cooking. Try sauteing the escarole and adding it to your pasta. Or chop it up and add it to a soup. You can store escarole, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer for up to a week.
Green and Purple Peppers: Store unwashed peppers in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer. Guard against any excess moisture that will cause your peppers to begin to go soft too quickly. As the purple peppers are fully ripe at picking, eat these first. You may find that they have a slightly sweeter flavor than the green as well.
Basil: If you can't find a use for this week's basil, you can freeze it for the winter. First pull, wash and dry the leaves, then give them a chop. Put them in a blender with just enough sunflower oil to allow the blades to spin and a puree to form. It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth. Scrape your puree into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once your cubes are solid, you can remove from the tray and keep them in a plastic bag in your freezer. If you don't have an ice cube tray, place your puree in a plastic bag. Seal it, making sure to squeeze out any extra air. Freeze the bag, flattened out on a cookie sheet. You can chip off the amount of basil flavoring you desire from the frozen sheet throughout the winter.
Localvore 'Lore from Heather
Champlain Valley Apiaries has been producing high quality honey since 1931. The crystallized raw honey tastes like the flowers the bees have collected from. Light in color, with a delicious and delicate flavor, its texture is smooth and creamy. Not at all like the chunky crystals you get when heated honey goes solid in the cupboard! This honey is collected early in the season, when the bees have been working clover and alfalfa fields and early wildflowers, but after the dandelions. They have approximately 1200 hives located in the Champlain Valley, from Orwell, VT to the Canadian border. Unlike large national honey producers, the Mraz's do not move their hives to follow the pollen blooms around the country. This is truly local honey.
Established by Charles Mraz (1905-1999), the firm is entering its third generation of proprietorship. Charles’ grandson Charles E. Mraz has moved back to Middlebury from New York City where he has been a senior project supervisor with Sciame Construction Co. Inc. for the past eight years. Find out more about their operation and read an article about them in the September 2007 New York Times at champlainvalleyhoney.com.
The plums from Champlain Orchards are sure to be sweet and juicy! If you want to make a trip to Shoreham and get more plums, they are holding a one day only "Pick Your Own" on July 27, from 1-3 pm. Their farmstand and bakery will also be open. Beautiful Lake Champlain views and delicious fresh fruit and pies, who could resist?! For directions and more details go to www.champlainorchards.com.
The Vermont Milk Company here in Hardwick VT is committed to producing excellent dairy products from local milk. It was started in September 2006 by a group of investors and farmers dedicated to creating a market for local milk at a fair price to the farmers. They recently went through a restructuring and are a stronger company as a result. They are currently making a variety of cheeses, yogurt and ice cream. We are glad to be partnering with them and hope you enjoy the cheese curds. They are fun to eat straight form the container, and are the key to making traditional Canadian Poutine - fries with gravy and cheese.
Recipes
Panzanella
The fastest and most delicious salad you can make out of day old bread and summer tomatoes! 6 servings.
6 cups bread cubes from a day old crusty, chewy loaf
1 lb. tomatoes cut into small chunks
3 little cucs, cut into 1/2 inch quarter rounds
1/2 cup thin slices sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup oil
3 TB vinegar
1 minced clove garlic
salt and pepper
2/3 cup fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
Combine bread with vegetables in a serving bowl. Whisk together the dressing and add to the bread mixture along with the basil. Let stand at room temp, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Chilaquile Casserole
Freely interpreted from the "Still Life With Menu" Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, Heather makes this often in the summer when she has lots of squash!
12 corn tortillas
1 medium hot pepper, minced, to taste!
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 moon slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh herbs: minced cilantro and/or basil and/or oregano
2 tsp oil
salt & pepper
3 cups grated cheese (cheddar or jack or chopped up cheese curds)
4 eggs
2 c buttermilk
Butter a 2 quart baking dish and preheat oven to 350. Saute vegetables in oil until just tender and releasing some juices. Combine with herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Layer 6 tortillas in baking dish, top with vegetables and 1/2 of cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, pierce all over with a knife. Pour the milk and eggs mixture over it. Bake uncovered 20 minutes, add remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes more. Delicious warm or at room temperature. Excellent with some homemade Pico de Gallo salsa!
White Bean and Escarole Soup
Paired with some fresh sliced bread and a side salad, it's the perfect light supper. Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serves 4.
1 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 purple pepper, cut into small dice
1 green pepper, cut into small dice
2 garlic scapes (or cloves), minced
3 cups (packed) 1-inch pieces escarole (about 1/2 large head)
4 cups (or more) vegetable or chicken broth
3 1/4 cups cooked white beans, such as Soldier or Jacob's Cattle
1 lb tomatoes, cut crosswise, seeds removed, then diced
2 tablespoons freshly grated local, sharp, hard cheese, or Parmesan
Heat oil in heavy large Dutch over medium-low heat. Add onion, pepper and garlic and sauté until onion is golden and tender, about 7 minutes. Add escarole; stir 3 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, beans and tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until escarole is tender and flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Thin with more broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Ladel soup into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Fruited Grain Salad
6 servings.
2 cups wheat berries
3 TB vinegar
1 TB lemon juice
1/4 cup oil
1 TB honey
1/2 cup minced sweet onion
7 large fresh mint leaves, minced
5 ripe plums, sliced into little wedges
Soak wheat berries for 30 minutes. Drain and place in a saucepan with about 5 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until tender, about an hour. Drain as needed and toss in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients, except for the plums. Cover and chill. Toss with plums just before serving.