Monday, December 20, 2010

Procuring a Christmas Ham

Two years ago, we drove over to Bostrom Farm a few days before Christmas, had a chat with Kyle Bostrom, and came home with a lovely ham for Christmas dinner. All more or less on a whim. Not so easy this year. Inquiring ahead found Bostrom's all out of pork until February. Likewise Wells Tavern Farm in Shelburne, where we got our Thanksgiving turkey. We finally lucked out at Hager's Farm Market on Route 2 in Shelburne, carrying home a 13 pound ham.

Hagers Farm Market is open 7 days a week, year-round. It carries an array of meat from the Hager Brothers Farm in Colrain, along with many other local products. In addition to the ham, we bought sausage (I found another source for chorizo!) and organic eggs. They also had many maple products, honey, ice cream, local preserves and even wine.

Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes, Bacon, and Rosemary

This was one of those serendipitous last minute inspirations that made me wish I had made two. The tomatoes, bacon, and rosemary do something really special together. If you need to roast the tomatoes, you can put run frozen whole tomatoes under warm water to skin them, then place straight into the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
4 oz. shredded mozzarella
1 large shallot, minced
4 strips cooked bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups roasted tomatoes, excess liquid drained off
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Paint the pizza crust lightly with olive oil.

Spread the mozzarella over the pizza crust, then sprinkle with shallots and bacon. Distribute the roasted tomatoes over the top, then sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Easy Slow Cooker Turkey Stew

Simple, easy, and in season. (And not that different from Slow Cooker Chicken Stew.) Assemble it in ten minutes in the morning, then enjoy at night after a busy day or when you want to spend time wrapping gifts or baking cookies instead of making dinner.

3 cups shredded cooked turkey (frozen is fine)
3 medium potatoes, cubed
3 medium carrots, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
1 large onion, finely chopped
Water and/or stock (turkey if you have it, otherwise chicken)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprig of sage or thyme (optional)

Place the turkey, potatoes, carrots, and onion in the slow cooker and add enough water or stock to cover. Add some salt and pepper, and the sage or thyme of using. Cook on Low for 7-9 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serves 4-6.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Beef Share Contents

Well, it has taken a few weeks, but I finally dug my way through all the beef in the freezer and took an inventory. I now have a much better idea of what's in there to work with (and a list to remind me). For anyone who's interested in what a share might contain, here's an example. Of course, the size of a share will vary depending on the size of the cow and how many people you share it with. And the cuts can vary quite a bit; if you're the organizer of the sharing, you get to tell the slaughterhouse what you want in the way of cuts. Here's what we got:

Total weight of share: about 62 lbs. We split a cow among 6 households.

Ground beef: 12 1-lb packages
Hamburger patties: 3 packages of 4 4-oz patties each
Stew meat (in chunks): 6 1-lb packages
Shanks (also called soup bones): 3
Eye round roast: 1
Standing rib roast: 1
London broil (shoulder): 2 (about 1 lb each)
Skirt steak: 1
Short ribs: 2 pkgs
Top round steak: 1 (about 1 lb)
Chuck steak, bone-in: 4 (huge; probably 2+ lbs each)
NY sirloin steak, bone-in: 2 (also huge, probably 2+ lbs each)
Porterhouse steak, bone-in: 3
Rib-eye steak, bone-in: 2
T-bone steak: 2

I think tomorrow I'm going to make Beef and Parsnip Stew.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Springfield Winter Fare Dec. 18

Save the date for Saturday, December 18, especially if you live in the southern part of the Valley. Springfield's first ever Winter Fare will be happening from 10-2 at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC).

See CISA's great roundup of additional Winter Fare markets, one-day winter markets, and regular weekly winter markets here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stir-Fried Beef and Onions with Tat Soi

After receiving our beef share (about 70 lbs) a couple weeks ago, my freezer is suddenly stuffed with beef. It just kind of got dumped in there in a hurry, though, without much organization, so it's been daunting to dig through to find good cuts to use. I need to actually take it all out and inventory it, then put it back in a more logical fashion. At some point.

In the meantime, I dug out a steak the other night and made this stir fry with onions from the last farmers market and tat soi (a hardy Asian green) from our CSA share. Yum! Serve this over rice.

canola oil
1 1/2 lbs beef steak, thinly sliced
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp minced ginger root
4 medium onions, sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 lb tat soi (or substitute other greens)

Heat some canola oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the beef and cook until done. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside. Heat a little more oil, then add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onion and stir-fry an additional 3-4 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not completely soft.

Mix a little soy sauce into the cornstarch to form a thin paste. Add the beef back into the frying pan, then add the soy sauce and the paste and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens. Add the tat soi and cook just until wilted, 1-2 minutes.

Serve hot over rice.

Serve 4-6.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Catalan Pasta with Sausage, Arugula, and Romesco Sauce

Back in the summer I made up some romesco sauce, a traditional Catalan sauce made from roasted red peppers, garlic, and almonds, among other ingredients, and froze a few packets of it. This was the first time I pulled one out to use and it just knocked my socks off. If you find yourself with the opportunity (or as it had happened in my case, necessity) of using a lot of sweet red peppers at once, make this sauce. You won't regret it. With some in the freezer, you then have the option for an easy, quick, but remarkably sophisticated and flavorful meal, good enough to serve company.

1 lb cut pasta, such as penne rigate
olive oil
1 lb chorizo or Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 lb arugula, coarsely chopped
1 cup romesco sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a little salt and olive oil, and cook the pasta. Drain when done.

While you heat the water and cook the pasta, assembly the rest of the dish. Cook the sausage in a large skillet, breaking it up as you go. When it is done, drain off most of the fat, then add the arugula and saute briefly until just wilted (1 minute or less).

When the pasta is done and drained, add the sausage and arugula, then stir in the romesco sauce. The sauce is thick and you will have to mix well to coat everything.

Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gingery Edamame and Carrot Soup

We grew edamame in our garden this year, and basically froze the whole harvest after blanching and shelling. Last night I took out the first packet to make this soup. I've always liked edamame, but homegrown is definitely better than the frozen kind from the store - much more flavorful. Here I combined them with carrots, salad turnips, and some tat soi (a cold hardy Asian green) from our CSA share. If you want to give the soup some more substance, you can add the optional vermicelli and/or tofu.

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 Tbsp grated ginger root
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks (or rounds if you're in a hurry)
2-3 salad turnips, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 - 3/4 lb shelled edamame
Several cups water and/or vegetable stock
1/4 lb vermicelli, in 1-2" lengths (optional)
1 lb tofu, cubed (optional)
1/3 cup soy sauce
Salt to taste
1/4 lb tat soi (or other greens of your choice)

Heat the canola oil in a soup pot. Add the ginger and garlic and saute over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, turnips, and edamame and saute an additional minute or so, then add enough water and/or stock to generously cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the carrots and turnips are tender.

When the vegetables are tender, add the pasta and/or tofu if using and cook until the pasta is done, about 6-8 minutes. Add the soy sauce, salt to taste, and add the tat soi. Cook until the tat soi is tender, 2 minutes or so.

Serve hot. Serves 4-6.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pizza with Kale, Turkey, and Cheddar

Another use for some of that remaining turkey. We had enough left for me to put away a few packets of shredded turkey in the freezer for future use, a nice treat.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
3 cups chopped kale
2-3 oz. shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey
1 medium shallot, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 oz. shredded sharp cheddar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Heat some more olive oil in a medium skillet, then saute the kale until tender, about 5 minutes.

Spread the mozzarella over the pizza crust, then add the kale, turkey, and minced shallot. Top with cheddar. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and the cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pizza with Goat Cheese and Leeks

To my thinking, you really just can't go wrong with goat cheese. It combines nicely here with the mild flavor of sauteed leeks.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
3 medium leeks, thinly sliced
3 oz. shredded mozzarella
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Heat a little olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the leeks and saute over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until tender.

Spread the mozzarella over the pizza crust. Top with the leeks, then the goat cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (not much salt needed). Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and the cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.