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The Good Farm Delivery

We realize we’ve been pretty quiet over here lately, but we are back! This spring we launched our new company, The Good Farm Delivery, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the response. We deliver organic, “hyper” local produce, dairy, eggs, bread and sundries weekly to customers on the south fork of Long Island. We are beyond proud and thankful for the farms and artisans who have joined us in this endeavor for the 2013 season. The Good Bowl remains a true culinary roundtable, one always open to new and delicious ideas about food, where it comes from, and where it’s going. Pull up a chair and help stir the pot!

Natural Food Dyes for Easter Eggs

These beautiful orbs were created straight from the pantry. Experiment with anything you’ve got on hand, jarred or frozen produce also works well if you don’t have fresh in the frig. The basic recipe for each dye is:

Combine 1-2 cups chopped food material, 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon salt.

Boil each batch for 10 minutes.

Strain the dyeing liquids into jars and add 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar to each.

Gently place hardboiled eggs in the jars, cover and leave to sit in the refrigerator.

These eggs were left for 12 hours.

(Pictured from the top:)

Beets (I used 2 cooked beets. I wonder if using raw would have made them more pink?)

Red Cabbage (I used an inexpensive jarred variety.)

Blueberries (I used wild, frozen berries.)

Turmeric (I used 2 tablespoons.)

Coffee (I used 2 cups of strongly brewed coffee – no additional water added to the boil.)

SMILE … Spring has sprung!

Wild Organic Red Rice and Beet Salad by Tarryn Maynard

I live in New Bedford, Massachusetts—a place synonymous with factories and fishing, Melville and Moby Dick and…Sid Wainer & Sons.  Sid’s gourmet outlet of Jansal Valley products, and most importantly its test kitchen, is a little jewel tucked among old textile mills. I sampled a red rice and beet salad there and darted home to recreate. It’s packed with texture and taste and it’s the rice that gives this dish an amazing nutty, chewy flavor and the color that melds so beautifully with the beets.  Topped with crunch and craisins, this is a bowl of deep purple and fuchsia deliciousness. Plus, the rice has 7 grams of protein and beets are super healthy (and yummy).  Served over mixed greens (sometimes with left-over chicken or a couple of hardboiled eggs) and/or topped with some crumbled goat cheese, this is my lunch bag favorite.

WILD ORGANIC RED RICE AND BEET SALAD

1 cup Jansal Valley’s wild organic red rice, cooked and cooled*

3-4 medium beets, roasted, peeled and cut into small ½-inch cubes

Handful of Italian parsley, finely chopped

½ cup of craisins

½ cup of cashews, toasted and chopped

½ red onion, finely diced

Lemon juice from half of a lemon

Vinaigrette:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, blanched and finely minced**

Salt and pepper to taste

Red Rice

Fire up the oven to 350F and set your pasta pot with water to boil.

Combine cashews, craisins, red onion and lemon juice in a large bowl and set aside for beets and rice.

Make the vinaigrette.  Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a covered jar, shake well. I prefer white balsamic over red balsamic in this dish. If you have a favorite, go for it.

Once the beets are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off, and dice into ½ inch cubes and add to the large bowl.  Add the rice and vinaigrette to the bowl, mix well. Enjoy!

Serves 6

*The rice needs a lot of water to cook so fill the pot like you would cook a pound of pasta. Add rice to boiling water. It is done when there is still a bite to it but not crunchy. Rinse the rice in cold water to stop the cooking. Cooking time is approximately 40-45 minutes.

** I blanch the garlic clove by popping it in the rice water right before draining, I find this takes a bit of the raw garlic bite out.  Skip this step if you love the garlic bite!

Roasted Sunchokes

I don’t know about you, but as much as I try to embrace them, Sunchokes (or Jerusalem Artichokes), have never really seemed worth the effort – the scrubbing, the peeling and then… well, not much more flavor-wise. We have them occasionally in our CSA baskets and, truth be told, even some farmers have a tough time using them consistently in their own kitchens.

A new friend, Nadia Ernestus, who happens to be a Health Coach, recently told me she had purchased them, never having tried to prepare them herself. She also frowned at the endless scrubbing and peeling. She took an approach so simple I can’t believe I’ve never thought of it myself! She roasted them cleaned, but unpeeled, and simply squeezed out the centers once soft. Hello! And so delicious! I’ve stirred the roasted centers into soups and spread onto warm, garlic-rubbed baguette slices as appetizers with a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt. Never will I be at a loss with these babies in the basket again!

First Steps into Foraging Wild Edibles

This weekend I was lucky enough to have participated in a “Wild Edibles” foraging class. While the session took place on the property of an organic farm, we looked everywhere except within the neatly maintained beds of the identifiable veggies. To begin, our teacher made an incredibly simple, yet profound, point. “This row of lettuce was planted by someone who wanted it to grow here – someone who committed to care for it.” Wild vegetation chooses for itself, and it therefore must be that much more determined to support its own growth and survival. This hardiness almost always translates into a nutritional powerhouse of a plant. Our class was served a simple tea of white pine needles to begin the day. To prove our teacher’s point this gentle, simple preparation had 5x the amount of vitamin C when compared to an equal amount of orange juice. I was now paying very close attention!

The following are some of the photographs with the notes I took during our walk. I hope you will seek foraging experiences in your own communities. Here are a couple of strong, general recommendations our teacher made as well:

*Always consult at least two resource guides before you eat a plant you are unfamiliar with. Plants look different throughout the year and in various stages of development. When shopping for said guides, look for authors who speak from personal experience; “I ate this when…” “When I cook this…” These are much more trusted sources than someone just throwing together pictures and facts.

*Forage at least 50-100 feet from any roadside, railroad, etc. Toxins from exhaust, metals and other substances can fly into roadside areas and/or be carried even further with rain water.

*When trying a new food, start eating it in small quantities. It’s probably been a while since you introduced a completely new food into your body and everyone has different constitutions.

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Chevre, the Long Way: A Book Review of GOAT SONG by Brad Kessler

REVIEW BY JENNY MOORE

Cheese made from clean raw milk (i.e., unpasteurized milk) is so good, so local and immediate, that it’s likely to ruin the taste of standard grocery-store cheese for you forever. In the United States, where buying and selling this cheese is illegal without a proper license, only certain rural farmers, assorted monks and nuns, and true slow foodies know this already: making your own raw-milk goat cheese can change your life.

It definitely changed Brad Kessler’s, a novelist turned goat farmer whose 2009 memoir Goat Song is a remarkable rumination on cheesemaking, goat farming, and the foods that still bind all of us to the soil (even if we aren’t working it). “Every raw-milk cheese is an artifact of the land,” Kessler writes. “It carries the imprint of the earth from which it came. A cheese—even a fresh chèvre—is never just a thing to put in your mouth. It’s a living piece of geography. A sense of place.”

A lyrical and insightful writer, Kessler chronicles his first years of farming in rural Vermont (after moving north from New York City), where he and his wife began to raise goats and make their own cheese. The book also explores how deeply pastoralism is woven through our collective past. Humans and goats have been collaborating in their respective kitchens since humans domesticated goats in 10,000 BC.

Along with a step-by-step account of one couple’s cheesemaking efforts, Goat Song meanders through a broad pasture of goat-related particulars. I now more fully appreciate the efficient food storage enabled by the four-stomach model. Kessler’s hilarious and cringe-worthy account of goat mating rituals is, um, memorable. Did you know that the meningeal worm can cause mass destruction, that goats traveled to America on the Mayflower, and that they bond with humans much the way dogs do? Sidebars about the yodel and hay-making made me long for a less urban existence. Perhaps best of all, Goat Song provides plenty of mouth-watering descriptions of cheese fresher than many of us have ever tasted.

“Our chèvre had as much in common with store-bought as a sun-ripened tomato plucked from a vine in August resembles one grown under lights in February,” Kessler says. This from a man who, when he wanted to make hard aged cheese, traveled to the Pyrenees to learn technique from master cheesemakers. Though the book does not list specific recipes, making a farm-fresh raw-milk chèvre a la Goat Song would read something like this:

 

Buy farmhouse; build barn and fence.

Acquire female goats.

Determine when the does enter standing heat.

Locate a buck.

Shepherd the buck and doe(s) in the mating process, to ensure breeding.

Feed pregnant goats steady diet of protein-rich grass, herbs, & hay (self-harvest hay if possible to guarantee quality).

Assist does as they give birth to kids.

Milk the mothers and bottle-feed the newborns. Reserve unused raw milk and chill.

Slowly warm reserved milk to chèvre-making temperature (72-86 degrees).

Add starter culture (i.e., freeze-dried bacteria) to activate the lactose, stir, and wait.

Add rennet (i.e., coagulant) to bind the solids. Maintain temp of 72 degrees for at least 12 hours.

When the solids (curds) have set, spoon into plastic molds punched with holes.

Let excess liquid (whey) drain for several more hours.

Gently tip the cheese out of the molds. Sprinkle with kosher salt and roll in chopped fresh chives or coarse-ground pepper.

Serve on fresh-baked dark bread or with wilted dandelion greens, or add a dollop on top of fried eggs and asparagus, or grilled zucchini, or fresh fruit, or pasta, or anything else you want to taste sublime.

 

Total Prep Time: Approx. 1 year

Kohlrabi Fries

I’ve been a little kohlrabi-crazy lately, especially serving it raw. Tonight (a hot one!) I turned on the stove to serve our daughter the German “cabbage turnip,” reinterpreted as Kohlrabi Fries. Plate clean. Success.

KOHLRABI FRIES

1 medium kohlrabi, trimmed and peeled of any color (I find a sharp knife, as opposed to a veg peeler, is most effective for this as the outer layer is quite thick)

olive oil

minced garlic or garlic powder (to taste)

kosher salt and pepper

parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.

Cut trimmed kohlrabi into 1/4-inch matchsticks. Toss with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and transfer to your lined baking sheet in a single layer.

Place in oven for a total of approximately 25-30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so. (Oven temps vary so use your best judgment.) The fries will be crisp and roasted when finished.

Drain briefly on a bed of paper towels, transfer to a plate(s) or a platter, adjust seasoning and top with parmesan cheese, if desired (we did!).

CSA Week 4 Recipe: Summer Corn and Kohlrabi Salad

Nothing marks the arrival of summer quite like terrific corn. Just sitting on the porch shucking ears brings back countless happy memories for myself and my family. This recipe is a go-to, versatile side dish that is equally comfortable on an elegant buffet or transformed into a picnic lunch with the addition of black beans or leftover grilled chicken. It’s also a wonderful way to use any of the vegetables in your local CSA basket – in this version I’ve incorporated half of the recent harvest.

CSA Week 4: kohlrabi, turnips, garlic scapes, carrots, bunching onions, garlic, parsley, summer squash

 

SUMMER CORN AND KOHLRABI SALAD

8 ears sweet corn, boiled for 4 minutes, cooled, and cut from the cob

1 medium kohlrabi, trimmed and cut into a 1/4-inch dice

2  small turnips, trimmed and cut into a 1/4-inch dice

1/3 cup mixture of finely chopped garlic scapes, scallions or bunching onions, any combination of the three works

handful flat parsley, chopped

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon cumin

salt and pepper to taste

dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl. If you have high-quality extra virgin olive oil on hand, drizzle a bit over the top and serve.

Serves 6-8

CSA Week 3 Recipe: Carrot, Fruit and Flax “Gram” Muffins

My mother’s quest for the ultimate bran muffin was launched with the publication of Jane Brody’s The Good Food Book back in the mid-1980′s. Using Brody’s recipe as a springboard, my mom has been tweaking and refining her recipe for decades. My daughter adores her grandmother’s creations and coined them “gram” muffins at an early age. Rather than waiting for my mom’s next visit, I recently set out to make a muffin of my own. These babies incorporate this week’s CSA share of carrots, an overripe banana, a couple of apples and flaxseed meal, the last of which really ups the nutritional ante – delivering awesome doses of fiber and key nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids. I’m happy to report that my daughter requested one of these for dessert last night.

CSA Week 3: carrots, radishes, lettuce mix, kale, peas, garlic scapes, zucchini, parsley.

CARROT, FRUIT AND FLAX “GRAM” MUFFINS

1+1/2 cups unbleached white or whole wheat flour

3/4 cup flaxseed meal

3/4 cup oat bran

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup carrots, roughly chopped

2 apples, peeled and roughly chopped

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup raisins

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

(Yes, this is, in fact, an egg-free recipe!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in a large bowl.

In a food processor pulse the carrots and apples until they have a finely-chopped consistency. Add the banana and pulse again until it’s well-distributed. In a medium bowl, combine the fruit/veg mixture with the raisins, milk and vanilla. Add these wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well-combined.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted knife tip comes out clean.

Makes 20 muffins.

CSA Week 1 Recipe: Garlic Scape and Pea Shoot Pesto Pasta Salad

Happy days are here again!

This past Saturday was the first official week of our annual CSA membership! To celebrate we used a portion of our share to create a pesto for a potluck celebration at our local dairy, Mecox Bay Farm. Garlic scapes are perfect for making pesto, their flavor is slightly spicy and bright. The peas shoots lend a hint of sweetness. Experiment with any combination of herbs, greens, cheese and nuts. It’s all good!

CSA Week 1: garlic scapes, pea shoots, asian greens, 3 different lettuce varieties, green garlic, rainbow chard, kale.

GARLIC SCAPE AND PEA SHOOT PESTO PASTA SALAD

2 cups assorted seasonal vegetables such as snow peas and asparagus, trimmed

1 pound pasta (I like a fun shape for this – we used Cavatappi.)

8 garlic scapes

extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

red pepper flakes (to taste)

small handful of fresh basil, chopped

1/4 pound fresh pea shoots (about 2 cups), roughly chopped

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

small handful of toasted pine nuts or walnuts (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Blanch the snow peas and asparagus for about 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water or shock in an ice water bath.

To the boiling water now add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Set vegetables and cooked pasta aside.

In the meantime, roughly chop the garlic scapes and place in a medium saute pan. Cover the scapes with the oil, add the oregano and red pepper flakes and cook, over medium-low heat, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let the scape oil cool slightly, then fold in your basil and pea shoots to wilt just a bit.

Transfer the entire content of the pan into a food processor, add the cheese and optional nuts, and blitz until well-combined into a pesto. If you need to add more oil to create a smooth texture, simply stream in a little at a time.

Toss together the vegetables, pasta and pesto in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. If you have some edible arugula or mustard flowers, scatter over the top for a pretty presentation!

Serves 4-6 as a main.

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