Archive for September, 2009

CSA Share – Weeks 14, 15 and 16

Week 14 – A selection from: Carrots, Shallots, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Bok Choy, Tatsoi, Kale, Corn, Varieties of Eggplant, Lettuce, Peppers, Tomatoes. PYO: Perennial herbs and flowers, Parsley, Varieties of basil, Hot peppers, String Beans, Husk cherries, Tomatillos, Raspberries.

Week 15 – A selection from: Carrots, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Bok Choy, Kale, Lettuce, Peppers, Radishes. PYO: Perennial herbs and flowers, Parsley, Varieties of basil, Hot peppers, String Beans, Husk cherries, Tomatillos, Raspberries.

Week 16 – We got to chose 9 out of the following: Carrots, Leeks, Potatoes, Bok Choy, Kale, Lettuce, Peppers, Radishes, Arugula, Salad greens, Collards, Varieties of eggplant, Salad turnips, Swiss Chard, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Broccoli raab. PYO: Perennial herbs and flowers, Parsley, Hot peppers, Husk cherries, Tomatillos, Raspberries.

It was my turn to pick up the 2 shares yesterday and …wow…did we get a lot this week. We got to chose 9 items and many were very voluminous, like the swiss chard, lettuce and salad greens. I actually had to opt to get something more compact for our last item as my 2 bags were overflowing, and I already had two extra plastic bags full of salad greens and arugula that wouldn’t fit in.

All in all, it may have been the most perfect day to be there. It wasn’t too hot or crowded. It was abundantly clear that everyone there was happy and really wanted to be there. I spent a few minutes talking to one of the farmer’s about the fish CSA and how to deal with/avoid filleting fish. There were kids playing with each other in various spots but not going too crazy. In fact, I left Sofie with 2 little girls playing in the grass while I brought our veggies to the car, she was enthralled with them. We even had a very lovely serenade of classical music as we picked raspberries – one of the farmer’s sons was there with his cello. Sofie even took a break from demanding husk cherries and raspberries to pick some flowers to put in her pint container. The whole experience yesterday was actually kind of magical.

I just popped a pot of Guinness beef stew in the oven. It is full of farm fresh goodness – carrots, parsnips, onion, potatos, parsley, thyme. I only needed the beef, some celery, mushrooms from the store…well, and the Guinness. I’m excited to taste it later tonight. Hopefully I will pause long enough to remember to take a photo to post here. I also plan to have some with the Irish Brown Bread I baked yesterday. Yum.

Our farm: Waltham Fields Community Farm in Waltham, MA

September 23, 2009 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

Amazing Smoked Fish

I have discovered the most amazing smoked fish I have ever had. Before leaving the Newton farmer’s market last Tuesday I decided to stop at a new stand, one that appeared to offer smoked fishes, I assumed salmon. They had a number of different smoked fish offerings, along side an assortment of smoked fish spreads, crackers and Iwhat looked like homemade bread.

I overheard the woman telling someone else that all of the spreads on display were available for tasting, along with their smoked sablefish (black cod). I had never heard of smoked sablefish and jumped at the opportunity to try it. She carefully put on a pair of plastic gloves and extract a piece of fish, laying it on a piece of cracker for me to try.

I first took a nibble of a little bit of fish that was hanging off the cracker so I could taste it alone…it was like butter, clean and smooth and melted in my mouth. I then popped the rest of the fish and cracker in my mouth and had a moment of gastronomical heaven. The delicate fish combined with the crunchy, crisp texture of the mild cracker was incredible. Really incredible. Once I came out of my daze of delight I immediately said I would take a pack of the remarkable sablefish. I also asked if the bread was Irish bread and she confirmed that it was indeed Irish Brown Bread. Score! I love Irish Brown Bread and don’t come across it too too often here. I attempted to make it once and it came out just ok, I have to try again soon though, and keep trying until I perfect it. Well, I digress. I told her I would take a loaf of the bread and then noticed she was set up to take credit cards. Jackpot, since I was running low on cash. I added a package of the delicious crackers to my order, but stopped there. I resisted buying up more varieties of smoked fish. I convinced myself it would be better to share the sablefish with my husband this week and then come back to discover a new variety another week.

That night my husband and I enjoyed the fish and crackers along side big salads. He was an instant fan as well. Though I will say, the fish in package we got was slightly more chewy than the one I sampled, but it was only noticeable when eaten alone, versus on a cracker. And honestly, it is the pairing of the fish and the cracker that really makes the bite spectacular with the flavor and texture contrast.

We also sampled the brown bread that evening. I think they might have wrapped it in saran wrap a little too soon as the exterior had a slight plastic taste. I promptly shaved off the outer layer and that fixed the issue. It wasn’t the best brown bread I’ve ever had but it was yummy, very hearty. It has inspired me to try my hand at making it again. I hope to find time this weekend to do so.

So, you must be wondering by now, who makes this amazing product? They are the “Nantucket Wild Gourmet & Smokehouse” located in Chatham, MA. They had just secured their spot at the Newton Farmer’s Market the day before I stopped by their booth. Lucky me. They use traditional Irish and Scottish methods for smoking and the package on the fish I purchase said they also know the names of all of the fisherman who caught their fish. Love it.

If you try any of their other products, let me know what you think. I meant to take a photo of the fish to post here but was too excited to eat it and the camera didn’t enter my mind till we were done. I need to get better at that.

September 19, 2009 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

We’re confirmed for a Winter CSA Share!

I am so excited! I got the confirmation email this morning. 3 more months of farm fresh produce will be coming our way carrying us through December and potentially longer if we a) don’t eat everything immediately and b) figure out how to store things so they last longer. We opted to split the share with some friends this time since it is our first winter csa.

We actually host Thanksgiving at our house every year for our family, it will be a special treat this year to use our CSA produce.

We are now part of the Shared Harvest Winter CSA, which used to be called the Belmont Winter CSA.

In addition to the veggies, Gretta is going to try to offer other local products to us at each pick up. Looks like we may have a chance to buy items like maple syrup, organic free-range eggs, cranberries, chocolate through the program!

I think there might still be spots open if you’re interested (as of 9/5)! You can visit the Local Harvest page for details or email Gretta Anderson (grettaanderson@earthlink.net) to ask for the subscription form.

September 5, 2009 at 9:19 am Leave a comment

Newton, MA 100

This page is dedicated to sharing great local products and companies I have found as I continue to try to be a better localvore (where the things we use come from within 100 miles of where we live). Now, I am by no means fanatic about being a localvore – there are so many things out there to enjoy from all over the world and sometimes there is no replacing that. But I’m going to try to at least keep increasing what we consume locally since it is simply a good thing. Plus, it is also an interesting experiment to see how much of what we consume can be from local sources.

Since it can take so much research and experimenting to find products you love, let alone products that are produced within 100 miles of where you live, I thought I would publish my findings here should you live in the Newton (Boston) area and have a similar interest. So stay tuned as I will keep adding to this as have more to share and I hope you’ll share your findings with me.

Milk
We usually use whole (my tea and for my toddler) and non-fat milk (cereal) in our house.

  • The Organic Cow
    My favorite milk right now. I had never tried it until this past July when we were in the Cape and it was the only organic milk option. I am not sure if it is the raw milk or the processing but the end result is milk that I find thicker and creamier than other whole milks. So much so that I compared the nutrition label to another brand to make sure there wasn’t more fat in The Organic Cow milk. And there isn’t, same nutritional info!  Now, I just wish they sold it at Whole Foods since I’m often there picking up other things and would to buy this milk there. The Shaws in Newtonville carries it, as does Russo’s in Watertown and the Roche Brothers in Wellesley.
  • Organic Valley – New England Pastures
    We’ve been drinking Organic Valley milk for years now and it is organic and sourced from New England Dairy farms. Hard to go wrong with that. Though, after my recent discovery of The Organic Cow, I do opt for that if I have the choice. I also use their Half and Half when we need it and get their cheese sticks for my daughter’s snacks.

September 5, 2009 at 9:08 am Leave a comment

Fried Green Tomatoes

Having never cooked with (or even seen in real life) green tomatoes, when we got some with our farm share I scoured my cookbooks, online recipe sites and even posted a request to my friends on Facebook looking for a great recipe to try. And I lucked out and fell in love with the first one I tried.

A couple notes on the recipe itself:

  •  
    • Don’t be shy with the garlic powder!
    • I found adding salt to the dry mixture adds a lot (they definitely needed more salt the first time with salt only in the buttermilk)
    • They are fantastic with a couple drops of tabasco
    • The recipe is very scalable for however many green tomatoes you have
    • Make a lot…they will go fast!
Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

Source: Tyler Florence, The Food Network

Prep Time: 10 min. Cook Time: 15 min. Level: Easy.

Serves: 4 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  •  
    • 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • Pinch cayenne
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 large unripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, ends removed
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • Hot pepper sauce, for serving
    • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together. Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels.

Serve with hot pepper sauce and lemon.

September 4, 2009 at 10:43 pm Leave a comment

Crispy and sticky chicken thighs with squashed new potatoes and tomatoes

I love love love this recipe. It is so easy to make, easy to scale up and is always a crowd pleaser because it is real comfort food. We serve it along side a salad with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, usually right on the same plate making it feel even more rustic.

Note the British measurements. I couldn’t wait for the US version of the cookbook to be published so I ordered the UK version 🙂 This recipe is so easy that it really isn’t an issue. As soon as you have made this once you’ll be eye-balling everything anyway.

Crispy and Sticky Chicken Thighs with Squashed New Potatoes and Tomatoes Recipe

Source: Jamie at Home Cookbook (Jamie Oliver’s)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

    • 800 g new potatoes, scrubbed
    • Sea salt and freshly ground back pepper
    • 12 boned chicken thighs, skin on
    • Olive oil
    • 600g cherry tomatoes, different shapes and colors if you can find them
    • A bunch of fresh oregano
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Red wine vinegar [Carriere: Balsamic vinegar makes a tasty substitution]

Directions

Put the potatoes into a large sauce pan of salted boiling and boil until cooked.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat your oven to 200oC/400oF. Cut each chicken thigh into three strips and place in bowl. Rub the meat all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss. Heat a large frying pan, big enough to hold all the chicken pieces snugly in one layer, and put the chicken into the pan, skin side down. If you don’t have a pan big enough, feel free to cook the chicken in two batches. Toss and fry over a high heat for 10 minutes or so, until almost cooked, then remove with a slotted to an ovenproof pan or dish.

Prick the tomatoes with a sharp knife. Place them in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for a minute or so [you can leave them longer and they will be fine]. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, pinch off their skins. You don’t have to, but by doing this they will become lovely and sweet when cooked, and their intense flavor will infuse the potatoes [Carriere: It is true, it is worth peeling them, they are a real highlight of the dish. We often add extra tomatoes]. By now the potatoes will be cooked. Drain them in a colander, then lightly crush them by pushing down on them with your thumb [Carriere: the back of a wooden spoon works well too, since they will be hot!].

Bash up most of the oregano leaves with a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a good splash of red wine vinegar and some pepper and give everything another bash. Add to the chicken with the potatoes, the tomatoes and the rest of the oregano leaves. Toss everything together carefully. Spread out and bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven until golden.

Lovely served with a rocket salad dressed with some lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, and a nice glass of white wine.

September 4, 2009 at 10:30 pm 2 comments

CSA Share – Weeks 10-13

Weeks 10-12, a selection from: Carrots, Ailsa Onions, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Fresh Garlic, Fresh Shallots (yum!), Kale, Collard, Swiss Chard, Corn, Varieties of eggplant, Green and purple peppers, Beets, Melon, Lettuce
PYO: Perennial herbs and flowers, Parsley, Varieties of basil, Dill, Cilantro, Hot peppers, String beans, Husk cherries, Tomatillos

Week 13, a selection from: Kale, Collards, Cucumbers, zucchini, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, a few tomatoes, okra, carrots, green peppers, lettuce
PYO: Herbs (including dill, cilantro, basil, thyme, mint), Husk cherries, Tomatillos, Hot peppers, Raspberries, String beans

It was our turn to pick up this week and my sister was kind enough to come with Sofie and I to help. I was really glad to have the help. There was a lot to pick this week. And Sofie made it extra challenging since she wanted to eat everything we picked. Her love of raspberries, combined with her love of eating anything right off the plant meant I could hardly pick them fast enough for her to eat, let alone for us to take home. Thank goodness my sister was there to double our picking ability. I think Sofie ate basically our entire portion, so most of what we took home when to the 2 families we split our 2 shares with. The same thing happened with husk cherries. It seems Sofie would eat as many as I’d let her. I had to cut her off when she was eating so many we were at risk of going over our portion, we only had a total of a pint between our 2 shares. As demanding as she was for the fruit, it was super cute to see how much she loved it all.

Let’s see, what else is there to share about our produce? I’m a few weeks behind in my CSA posts. The last month or so has been extremely busy and have kept me away from the computer (not necessarily a bad thing).

Both my husband and I have roasted potatoes before and been pleased. But the last few weeks our roasted potatoes have been out of this world. I’m not sure if it is the quality/freshness of potatoes we’re getting or our new method. But they rock. I’ll post the very simple recipe once I find another few minutes to write. I also have a really yummy Jamie Oliver chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, oregano recipe to post…so good. So look out for those!

Our farm: Waltham Fields Community Farm in Waltham, MA

September 3, 2009 at 5:23 pm Leave a comment

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