Good Eats Newsletter - October 8, 2008

This Week's Share Contains
Red Kuri Winter Squash; Bulb Fennel; Pint Tomatillos; Walla Walla Onions; Mixed Sweet Peppers; Spinach -or- Mesclun; Bolero Carrots; Tatsoi -or- Young Red Russian Kale.

Localvore Share:
Champlain Valley Creamery Cream Cheese; Elmore Mountain Apple Cinnamon Bread:
PLEASE DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR SHARE TYPE AND PICKUP INSTRUCTIONS SO EVERYONE GETS WHAT THEY ARE DUE!
Meat Eaters: One Pete's Chicken;

Vegetarians: Les Fermes Longpres Sunflower Oil;
Butternut Mountain Farm Maple Sugar;
Storage and Use Tips
Bolero Carrots: Here's what Kitchen Garden Seeds has to say about Boleros: "Prized for its exceptional sweetness and elegantly shaped, slender roots, Bolero is a vigorous hybrid created in France. This beautiful, Nantes-style carrot is gorgeous from its deep orange silky shoulders down to its rounded base. French cooks know what they like and consider it the best-tasting carrot around - slightly finer and more delicate than other large carrots, without a trace of bitterness." They also suggest making a "rack" for roasting chicken out of Bolero carrots and celery stalks upon which to place the roast. They will add flavor to pan drippings and help prevent the roast from sticking to the pan or burning. Store in the crisper drawer loosely wrapped in a plastic bag.
Red Kuri Squash: Originally from Japan and also known as "baby red hubbard," this squash has an orange-red skin and is round with a slight teardrop shape. The flesh texture is very smooth and creamy, with a savory chestnut-like flavor. Red Kuri can be baked, braised, pureed, or steamed to be served as a side dish or used as a base for soups. Store all winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation, like a porch or garage, but make sure they do not freeze. Under the best conditions, the red kuri's should last at least a month. Once cut, you can wrap the leftovers in plastic and store in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

Pickles, No Pickles
As you know, we had to unexpectedly hold back the pickles last week. In the note last Wednesday, I explained that they had gone bad and we would be making up for it in some way before the end of the share. Today, we are distributing larger chickens than we had planned to make up for the value of the pickles. The amount of oil and sugar we are giving has similarly been increased to compensate the vegetarians. Thank you for your understanding in these last minute changes.

Pete's Musings
Wow, was it cold here last night. For the 4 years that we have farmed in our low valley in Craftsbury, we have been able to count on fog to protect us from frost basically until the leaves fall off the deciduous trees. Apparently, the leaves emit moisture in the night that condenses and becomes fog. Last night fog developed in the valley both north and south of us, but not at all over our farm and I'm guessing it was in the mid 20's. Fortunately, we had harvested most of our baby greens the night before, as some of the remaining sustained short term damage. After another cold night tonight we have a string of nice days with warmer nights and minor damage on greens will heal.
We're making good progress on construction projects. Steve and the guys are erecting our 4th greenhouse of the year today and hopefully number 5 will be up by the end of the week. These are the 35 by 200 footers that we will be moving over hardy greens in a couple of weeks. We'll be harvesting out of these greenhouses all fall and next spring.

As you may remember, we are increasing our on-farm long-term freezer storage capacity by retrofitting a tractor-trailer. The freezer body is now nearly complete and we'll be able to have a crane come lift it into place in another week. We've insulated it to r-65 so it will be efficient to operate. We're excited to complete our construction projects by the end of November so that we can spend the winter improving small things on the farm, relaxing, and planning better for next year than we have in the past.

The real root harvesting slog begins this week; 180 beds in 3 weeks. We'll be tired when it is over. -Pete

Extra CSA Shares Added for the Fall/Winter
About the time that I was sorting through envelopes on the desk, wondering which of the last few to arrive would get to join the share and which we would have to turn down, Pete decided to re-think the maximum number for the share. We haven't yet decided what that ceiling number will be, but we will be accepting those enrollments that arrive at the farm at least through the end of this week/beginning of next, and possibly beyond.

So, if you've procrastinated but still want to join, now's the time. Also, if you have a friend or co-worker that might be interested, please pass along the information. All the details about the share can be found on our Good Eats page. Read through the pages to find the sign-up form.

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Eat?
NPR is doing a couple of segments on their Weekend Edition morning program profiling the candidates' favorite destination for a bite to eat. You can pretty much guess that neither spot is in Vermont. But, the Obama's favorite restaurant, Topolobampo, is a wonderful Mexican dining room in Chicago. I say, "Mexican" with reservation, only because most places billing themselves as "Mexican," serve Americanized versions of our neighbor's dishes. Rick Bayless's classic Chicago dining destination serves very authentic Mexican cuisine. I am not bringing this up to be partisan, nor because I used to live in Chicago. I bring this up only because the NPR website showcases a wonderful sounding steak taco recipe from Bayless that includes tomatillos and onions, two of the items in your share this week. I already bought my non-local avocados and will be trying the recipe out on the family Thursday or Friday.

Localvore Lore
This week, we are happy to be including cream cheese from Champlain Valley Creamery in the share. Carleton Yoder is the Owner and Cheesemaker at the creamery. He has a graduate degree in Food Science and a background in winemaking, and moved to Vermont to make hard cider. His love for all things fermented and desire to run his own business brought him to the world of cheese. Small scale cheesemaking, with it’s connection to farming traditions, was a natural progression, particularly in a dairy state like Vermont. After a year of making farmstead Vermont cheddar at Shelburne Farms, he decided it was time to venture out on his own.

Here's how Carleton describes his cream cheese: "The Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese is made using traditional methods without stabilizers or preservatives from cultured fresh organic cow’s milk and cream; it’s very unlike that ubiquitous foil-wrapped gummy brick! Old Fashion Organic Cream Cheese has the perfect balance of creaminess and tanginess that is unlike any other cream cheese you’ve ever tasted. It’s great on a bagel, on sandwiches, baked in your favorite dessert or simply on its own." I think it will be great with the apple cinnamon bread we have from Elmore Mountain this week!

Andrew and Blair at Elmore do such a great job of including localvore ingredients in their loaves. This week features organic Quebec bread flour, Gleason's whole wheat, Vermont Cortland apples, Champlain Orchards cider and Butternut Mountain Farm maple sugar. Blair said that they cut-up the Cortland apples then dried them in the bread oven, before mixing them into the bread dough to bake. Yum!

We are so excited to finally be including chickens in your share this week. As I mentioned above, they are of good size so should make excellent roasting birds. We've raised several "generations" of chickens at the farm this spring and summer. About 200 baby chicks arrive at the farm at the beginning of each cycle and go immediately under red warming lights in the headhouse. When the chicks have grown large enough, we move them outside where they can hunt and peck for some of their own food near the greenhouses.

Vegetarians will be receiving the coveted sunflower oil from Les Fermes Longpres in Quebec, as well as 1 lb. plus of maple sugar from Butternut Mountain Farm for baking.
Recipes
Fennel and Spinach Soup
If you are unhappy with the texture after pureeing, you can strain the soup for a satiny smooth texture. Serves 4.

3 TB unsalted butter
3 cups chopped fennel
2 cups minced Walla Walla onions
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup (packed) fresh spinach leaves
1 TB dry sherry
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add fennel and onion. Sauté until just translucent, about 15 minutes. Add broth to cover veggies and the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Puree soup in small batches in blender until smooth, adding spinach to last batch before pureeing. Return soup to same pot. Stir in sherry and taste for seasoning. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream or cream cheese and a sprinkling of fennel fronds.

Hearty Greens, Squash and Pepper Stew with Beans and Olives
This one is adapted from an Epicurious.com recipe. Serves 4.

3 TB olive or sunflower oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 lb to 2 lb. winter squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 bunch kale or tatsoi, thick stems trimmed, leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch strips
1 tsp dried rubbed sage, or 2 tsp chopped fresh
6 cups cooked white beans, such as Jacobs cattle or soldier
2/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, halved
Freshly grated sharp, hard cheese, such as Crawford Family Farms Picante

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add squash and sauté. Add bell peppers and stir to coat with onion mixture. Add broth. Cover and simmer until squash is just tender, about 10 minutes. Mix greens and sage into stew. Cover and cook until greens wilt, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add beans and olives and stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer stew to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle generously with cheese.

Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos With Caramelized Onions
This NPR story and recipe is mentioned above in the newsletter.

Apple and Cream Cheese Bread Pudding
The apple cinnamon loaves this week are about 1.5 lbs. I would recommend using the middle 2/3 of the loaf to make this dish. Serves 6-8.

About 1 lb. of apple cinnamon loaf, cut in slices (not too thick)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup maple sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 lbs. tart apples
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup maple syrup
8 oz. cream cheese
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread bread slices thinly on 1 side with 1/2 stick butter. In a small bowl stir together 1/4 cup maple sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and sprinkle evenly over buttered sides of bread. Arrange bread, buttered sides up, on baking sheets and toast in batches in middle of oven about 10 minutes. Cool cinnamon toast on racks and cut into 1" pieces.
Peel, quarter, and core apples. Cut apples lengthwise into thin slices and in a bowl toss with lemon juice. In a large heavy skillet melt remaining 1/2 stick butter with maple sugar over moderately high heat, stirring, and add apples and water. Cook mixture, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook apples until just tender and most liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes more.
Butter a 13" by 9" baking dish. In a large bowl mix together toast pieces and apple mixture, pour into buttered baking dish and distribute evenly. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, syrup, cream cheese, milk and salt. Pour slowly and evenly over bread and apples. Chill pudding, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pudding in middle of oven 45 - 55 minutes, until bubbly and starting to brown on top.