Around the Farm
Going to be a close one tonight. I have election jitters. This weekend I started dialing like crazy, calling voters in OH, WI, NV, trying to get out the vote. Today after a marathon last several weeks of huge root harvests, Isaac and Pete headed for NH to knock on doors. Fingers crossed.
Rainbow over the farm this morning.
Storage and Use Tips
Lettuce - These beautiful heads of lettuce are a variety called Panisse. They have the delicate leaves of greenhouse lettuce, grown safely under cover, right alongside the mesclun you're receiving this week.
Red Chard - A close relative to beets, chard greens look very similar to beet greens. Like other greens, chard is packed with the vitamins and minerals that are so hard to get in quantity in other foods. You can use it as a substitute for many recipes that call for spinach or other greens. For a quick side dish, try a simple sauté recipe. Put a little olive oil or butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic & half of a minced onion in a saute pan and allow the garlic to cook a bit and soften. Put in the chopped chard and cover tightly and let cook until wilted (if there's not enough moisture add a TB or so of water). Once chard has just wilted, sprinkle with rice vinegar and a few drops of toasted sesame oil and maybe a teeny bit of soy if you want stronger flavor. Yum.
Gold Beets - These beets have a vibrant gold color that doesn't bleed when they are cooked. They are good ones to test out on the beet-wary, as the flavor is just as sweet and yet more mild than other beet varieties.
Fennel - Fennel is a highly aromatic vegetable, indigenous to the mediterranean, with a flavor similar to anise. While fennel fronds and dried fennel seed are also used in cooking, your share contains two fennel bulbs (the stem of the fennel plant bulges into a bulb as the plant grows). Slice the bulbs vertically, into quarters, or chop them in half lengthwise, cut out the core, and slice into strips. Fennel bulbs can be eaten raw, chopped in salads, thinly sliced onto sandwiches, or sliced thick and topped with plain yogurt and mint. The sweet anise flavor intensifies when fennel is cooked, roasted whole, or cooked into soups. It is done when tender enough to pierce easily with a skewer.
Romanesco Cauliflower - This Italian heirloom cauliflower will go well with the cippollinis, fennel, and beets in a variety of Mediterranean dishes. Their shape is extraordinary, and the texture and flavor is more tender and less bitter than regular white cauliflower.
Cippollini Onions - Cipollini onions (pronounced chip-oh-lee-knee) were once a treat you'd find mostly at fancy restaurants and the occasional gourmet market, but now are more and more available and commonly used. Their name literally means “little onion” in Italian, and they are indeed smaller than yellow onions and have a flattened shape. They’re thin-skinned and have translucent white flesh with more residual sugar than your average yellow or white onion, which makes them incredible for roasting or caramelizing. Roasted whole in the oven or cooked in a little butter on the stove top, cipollinis become soft and ready to melt in your mouth. Those residual sugars caramelize and concentrate, leaving behind none of the astringent raw onion flavor.
In honor of the election today, my official endorsement for president comes to you in the
form of cheese! Lazy Lady Barick Obama cheese was created around the time of the 2008 primaries. Laini's new cheese was a classic "pave" cheese (French term for slab cheese reminiscent of paving stones). These cheeses were more commonly called brick cheese in the US, and, with politics on the brain and Obama at primaries, Laini named the cheese thus. Barick Obama is a dense, very herbal and aromatic aged cow’s milk washed rind cheese. If you like your cheese strong, let it warm to room temp. If you like milder, eat cold right out of fridge. This is a cut cheese and if you let it sit in fridge too long the mold in rind will creep over the edge of the top rind to the cheese paste. So eat it up!
Respectful of the democratic process, I have a cheese alternative for you too. Half the cheese at sites will be Lazy Lady Laroche, a decadent bell-shaped goat cheese with (from Saxelby's Cheesemongers review) "a paste that texturally evokes such wonders as whipped cream, freshly fallen snow, and light, creamy fresh chevre. These delicate rounds of cheese have a certain beguiling floral and goaty flavor that makes them utterly unique." PLEASE SELECT JUST ONE CHEESE!
Laini Fondillar makes small batches of some pretty fantastic cheese from her herd of Alpine goats at her Lazy Lady Farm in Westfield. The farm is named after her pampered herd, not Laini. Laini herself is a force to be reckoned with as she works her off-the-grid farm and cares for the goats and other animals, and makes all sorts of cheeses.
It's also a pizza week! We have Pizza Dough and pizza sauce made at the farm in our kitchen.
Our pizza dough is made with Aurora Farm's organic unbleached VT white flour, Gleason Grain Snake Mountain Sifted whole wheat flour, local Sunflower Oil, Maine sea salt and yeast. Use within four to five hours of thawing (ready to go the night you pick up share or store in freezer for later use). Coat a smooth surface with flour and cornmeal (just flour ok) so that the dough does not stick to the surface. Form dough into ball and flatten with heels of palms. Stretch dough with hands or use a rolling pin to form shape of baking pan (I use a cookie sheet so I form it into a square). Once dough is slightly stretched on surface you can stretch dough in the air with hands by making two fists held together with dough on top. Move each hand up, down and out turning the dough clockwise. Each dough can be stretched to a 16" round, for thicker crust make smaller. If you like light fluffy crust I put my baking sheet on the top of my oven while preheating and let rise. Otherwise set aside in neutral area till oven is ready at 425F. Cook 12-14 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese bubbles.
Deb made the Pizza Sauce last week in our kitchen using our organic tomatoes (that we froze this summer), onions, sunflower oil, garlic, oregano, basil, fennel seed, salt, & black pepper. We hope you all love it. It's coming to you frozen for easy delivery. Defrost and put on your pizza or freeze it for later use). You can of course use this on pasta too.
Each month the meat share delivers our meat share members locally produced meats from farms we know well. The producers we work with all pasture their animals. Pastured is important, first and foremost for the animals who have the opportunity to live life the way their species should. But it's also important for us. Having access to sunlight, grass, insects and soil in combination with feed increases levels of Vitamin A, D, E and K in the meats and also results in higher levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids or “the good fat”. Grass fed meats are leaner, are very healthy for us as well as being delicious.
This month we'll start you off with a big Pete's Pastured Chicken. These birds will yield a roast chicken dinner with plenty of leftovers for salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, or other dishes (chicken noodle soup in my house). Our chickens are grown on the farm. They start off indoors, their diet supplemented with lots of shoots and greens leftover from our washhouse which they eat with gusto. Once they are feathered out at around 3 weeks of age, they move outside to the field where they spend the rest of their lives grazing and scratching in the dirt for insects and worms. They assimilate the vitamins in their green diet into their meat making this chicken vitamin packed, low fat and very healthy. Some people roast chickens all the time, some don't. If you are in the latter category, rejoice in this big to-be-roasted bird. I roast a big chicken each week. It makes a great meal on night one. Then there's loads of leftover chicken. You can make so many dishes with the leftovers, including my favorite Chicken curry with cashews. And then you can make broth. Don't skip this! This is such a valuable part of the bird - then you get soups and risottos and more.
North Hollow Farm Bacon - I love this bacon. Mike and Julie raise beef, pigs, lambs and goats on their farm in Rochester, VT. Their pigs are raised outdoors and the quality of their pork is consistently great. Pete Colman's Vermont Salumi Benito Sausages. Pete learned his trade through apprenticeships in Italy and is passionate about applying what he learned there in making his sausage and dry cured meats here in Vermont. Vermont Salumi only sources pork raised on pasture without hormones or antibiotics. Everything is made in small batches by hand without the use of nitrates or preservatives. This week we have Benito, a Mexican chorizo sausage that I think you will love. Though it has a little cayenne kick it's not really very spicy. Grill these and savor.
Also in the bag this week you will find a great high end Grass Fed Ribeye OR T-bone Steak from either Maple Wind Farm or McKnight Farm. Maple Wind has a delightful Huntington farm up in the foothills of the greens (the long trail goes right past) and they raise pastured and organic meats as well as veggies. McKnight Farm in East Montpelier is an organic dairy but they animals for beef as well. delicious grass fed Boneless Ribeye or Tbone Steaks. These are high end cuts so treat them well! Without all the additional fat in the meat, grass fed beef can dry out when cooked. For best results marinate it. If you are feeling too rushed to even do that, just put a little olive oil and lemon juice, some salt & pepper in a tupperware that will fit the meat, then put meat in cover and flip around to coat on all sides. Leave it for 1 minute or 24hrs. This little extra step will result in a much better steak than just throwing it naked onto pan or grill. If you have time to marinate, here are links to my favorite marinade and some additional cooking instructions for grass fed beef.
The Highfield Composting Team has a really cool kickstarter campaign going and they need people like you and me to step up and contribute and make their project a reality.
Highfields' project would develop local sources of renewable energy from compost. Compost Heat Recovery is an awesome opportunity to advance regenerative agriculture and renewable energy in one step. Compost reaches an internal temperature of up to 160F and the idea is to capture this heat for other uses such as heating greenhouses, truly closing the agricultural loop. Highfields and its partners are building a compost heat recovery R&D program and they need our help to do it. All information, designs and intel generated from this project will be open source and available for anyone to use, free. In the next 11 days they must raise $12,659 in order to reach the $40,000 kickstarter goal that will allow the project to move ahead. This is an all or nothing proposition.
What To Do If You Have a Problem at Pick Up?
Although 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 site to find that your name (or share partner's name) is not on the list, 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 email us (or call if you can't email) as soon as you discover the problem, we may be able to resolve it the same day or the following day. If you would like to receive an item that you missed at pick-up, you must contact us by Thursday morning.
If we have not heard from anyone, by Friday our site hosts are instructed to donate leftover food, ensuring that they do not end up with bad food on their hands.
If we can not resolve your issue right away, email us to arrange a replacement or substitution the following week.
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 I can stop your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.
Fall/Winter Shares Available
We have a terrific harvest and are able to extend the offer of a Fall/Winter CSA share to more members this year.
Please spread the word
and tell friends and neighbors about
If you would be willing
to post something to your front porch forum
I'll send you a little blurb that you can use or edit.
Romanesco Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Garlic
From the blog "Live to Eat" this is a perfect simple recipe that leaves this cauliflower looking as incredible as it does raw.
1 Romanesco Cauliflower
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp thinly sliced cippollinis or shallots
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tsp crushed red chilies
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp lemon juice
Remove the tough edges of the cauliflower and separate the florets taking care not to break the individual florets. Wash the florets and place in a sauce pan with 2 tbsp water. Bring this to a boil and close the pan with a tight lid. Let it cook for 2 minutes on medium heat, then remove and immediately plunge the florets in cold water to stop the cooking.
Heat a large pan and roast the pine nuts and keep aside.
Add the oil and sauté the onions until soft. Season with salt and the crushed chilies. Stir in the garlic and the drained florets and sauté gently on high heat for 2 minutes. Add the pine nuts and remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and mix well. Serve warm.
From Epicurious, January 2001
?2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil?
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
?3 medium potatoes, peeled, cooked, and thinly sliced into rounds?
1/2 cup ricotta or creme fraiche
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves?
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper??
Preheat the oven to 425°F.??
Roll out the dough and brush with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then sprinkle it with the garlic slices. Cover it with the potato slices, then drizzle those with the remaining olive oil and the cream. Sprinkle it with the fresh thyme leaves, crushing them as you sprinkle, and season it liberally with pepper, and lightly with salt.??Bake in the center of the oven until the dough is golden at the edges and the cream is bubbling gently, about 35 minutes. Remove, let sit for 5 minutes, then cut and serve.
Fresh Ricotta, Cippollini, and Fennel Pizza
The Italian flavors of cippollinis and fennel are a wonderful sweet combination for a homemade pizza.
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
?2 cups thinly sliced cippollini onions
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulbs?
1 1/2 teaspoons golden brown sugar?
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar?
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper?
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese?
6 to 8 thin slices prosciutto or a sprinkling of cooked bacon (optional)
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, fennel, and sugar. Cook until dark brown and tender, stirring frequently, about 16 minutes. Mix in vinegar and crushed pepper. Cook until mixture is thick, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Season generously to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500°F. Roll pizza dough out onto the back of a baking sheet, sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil; sprinkle with salt. Spread onion marmalade over the crust, dollop ricotta all over the onion layer and top with slices of prosciutto. Bake until caramelized and crusty, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Orecchiette with Sausage, Chard, and Romanesco Cauliflower
A hearty seasonal meal, this is the perfect dinner for a chilly November evening.
1 pound orecchiette (small pasta)
4 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
9 medium garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds Romanesco cauliflower, florets cut in 1-inch pieces and stalk peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 bunch chard, leaves sliced into thick strips
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Cook pasta in 4 quarts salted water until al dente. Drain and return to pot.
Cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking it into pieces while it browns, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Turn heat to high and add the Romanesco cauliflower and ½ cup water. Cook 1 to 2 minutes. Lower heat and continue to cook until the water evaporates and the cauliflower is tender, abut 3 to 5 minutes. Throw in the chard and cook just until the leaves wilt. Add the mixture to the pasta with the oil and cheese. Toss and serve.
Roasted Cauliflower with Onions and Fennel
1 medium head of cauliflower, cored, cut into 1-inch florets
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound cippollini onions, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into wedges
2 fresh fennel bulbs, halved lengthwise, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide wedges with some core still attached
8 small garlic cloves, unpeeled
15 fresh marjoram sprigs
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°F. Toss cauliflower and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to rimmed baking sheet.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add onion wedges. Cook until browned on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Using spatula, carefully transfer onions to baking sheet with cauliflower, arranging wedges browned side up. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add fennel; sauté until fennel softens slightly and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to same baking sheet. Scatter garlic and marjoram over vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are caramelized, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Oven Roasted Gold Beets
A beautiful side dish with any meat or fish, or perfect to scatter on top of a white pizza.
2-3 golden beets
2-3 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Peel and chop golden beets into cubes. Toss with vegetable oil and put in a baking sheet or tray, making sure the beets are in a single layer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until beets are soft and have golden brown edges.
Acorn Squash Puree
This simple recipe can be eaten as a delicious side dish or used in soups, sauces, or pies the same way you would use pumpkin.
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place whole acorn squash (about 2 pounds) on a rimmed baking sheet; bake, turning occasionally, until very tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, halve the squash lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds; scrape out flesh from squash halves, and transfer to a food processor (discard skin). Process until smooth.
In a medium saucepan, combine squash puree with 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Cook over medium heat until hot, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, and sprinkle lightly with ground nutmeg.