Monday, September 8, 2008

Slow Food Nation

The Slow Food USA organization just concluded its three-day event in San Fransisco of workshops, tastings and food celebrations. With a wide range of both presenters and attendees from all over the country and other parts of the world, word is out that it stands out in sheer scale. Headliners included authors and chefs such as Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Alice Waters, and Eric Schlosser. The first “continental culinary congress” is considered a success. A delegation of Kentuckians including several artisian producers attended, so there should be some stories about locally soon. The local Slow Food Bluegrass chapter organizes happenings throughout the year in our region and maintains a calendar of food and farm related events. Visit the website to learn more and keep up-to-date.

As a member of the local Slow Food chapter, Elmwood has the opportunity to connect with consumers and chefs who are interested in choosing local foods, specialty items, and even heritage breeds of meat such as the turkeys we raise at the farm. Several years ago, Slow Food recognized the need to partner with the American Livestock Breeds Conservatory to further their mission of protecting genetic diversity in livestock species by protecting and promoting endangered breeds. It was recognized that to save the Bourbon Red, Royal Palm, and Slate turkey breeds from extinction, there needed to be a demand for farmers to continue to breed and raise them. The turkey breeds were added to the Slow Food Ark of Taste which is a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction.
In future news, we’ll share more about Elmwood’s heritage breed organic turkeys. Until then, visit the websites:

In Your Share
As share contents vary depending on your share size and day of the week your items are harvested, each share may not have each item listed below.

Brussels Sprouts – organic – new this week!
We agree with the author of the sprout recipe included below, forget boiling! Her golden-crusted version of sautéed sprouts will “turn around the most vigilant sprouts-hater.” Try not to overcook and eat soon after prepared. Store refrigerated until ready to prepare.

Hard Neck Garlic – organic

Okra - organic

Sweet Onion– organic

Pepper, Hot – organic
To save for later, you can air dry, or use a food dryer for the tiniest pepper. Others can be sliced and put into freezer bags raw.

Potatoes – organic
This week’s share includes the Cranberry All-Reds, a soft moist potato that can be all-purpose, but really shines when steamed, sautéed or au gratin. Look for streaks of pink color in the white interior. Store out of the light refrigerated.

Winter Squash – new this week!
You have Calabaza, known also as Cuban Squash or West Indian Pumpkin. It is edible, not decorative, and desired in Caribbean style cuisine. Store in your pantry up to 6-8 weeks. The flesh is bright orange and can be used in any recipe that calls for winter squash like butternut. Use care when slicing – use the largest butcher type knife that you have

Fresh Tarragon –in transition to organic
This fresh cut herb is wonderful with roasted chicken. Add to chicken salad for a tasty “mystery” ingredient. Find a new recipe below. Air dry for later use or refrigerate to use this week. Can be chopped and frozen as is.

Red or Heirloom Tomato – organic

Recipes to Enjoy

Fried Okra Salad
a Paula Deen recipe

1 ½ pounds fried okra (recipe below)

Oil for frying
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ green bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ C vegetable oil
¼ C sugar
¼ C distilled white vinegar

In a medium bowl, combine fried okra pieces, tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions and bacon. In a small saucepan, combine oil, sugar and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Pour over okra mixture, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Ingredients below will make a lot of fried okra, you can reduce the oil and breading to meet your quantity on hand. To fry okra:
6 C oil, for frying

½ C cornmeal
1 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp Paula’s seasoning, recipe follows
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (if desired)
2 pounds fresh okra, sliced ½ inch thick
½ C buttermilk

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet to 350 degrees F. (You may not need to use this much oil; do not fill the pan more than halfway up the sides with oil.) In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, Paula’ seasonings, and cayenne pepper. Dip okra in buttermilk and then dredge in cornmeal-flour mixture to coat well. Carefully add okra to the hot oil, in batches as needed, and cook until golden brown. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately.

for Paula’s seasoning:

1 C salt
¼ C black pepper

¼ C garlic powder
Yield: 1 ½ C; Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Golden Brussels Sprouts
recipe from; serves 4

24 small Brussels sprouts

1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ C grated cheese of your choice

Wash the sprouts well. Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves. Cut in half from stem to top and gently rub each half with olive oil, keeping it intact (or if you are lazy just toss them in a bowl with a glug of olive oil). Heat 1 T of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Don’t overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they’re tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.

Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side. Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a dusting of grated cheese. Parmesan is recommended for a light dish; try Gruyere or Gouda in colder weather. While you might be able to get away with keeping a platter of these warm in the oven for a few minutes, they are exponentially tastier if popped in your mouth immediately.

Mashed Calabaza Squash

the onion and cumin add a contrast to the sweetness of the squash

1 T vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves (minced
1/4 tsp cumin seed
2 C calabaza squash or butternut squash (chopped 1 inch pieces)
salt (to taste) (optional)

Heat oil in a saucepan and fry onions until translucent. Add garlic and fry until light golden brown. Add cumin seeds and fry until they begin to pop and release their aroma. (About 30 seconds). Mix in the pumpkin and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add ¼ C water. Cover and lower heat to med low. Cook for 10 - 20 minutes or until tender. Remove lid and mash squash with fork or potato masher until smooth. Add salt if using. If water is not yet absorbed, cover and simmer until water is absorbed. Remove pot from heat and serve as a side dish with rice or alone.

Braised Potatoes with Tarragon
adapted from July 2008 Gourmet, serves 4

1 ½ pound potatoes (peeled if desired)
1 ½ C water
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1-3 T chopped tarragon

Slice potatoes into long wedges. In a 10-inch skillet, bring potatoes, water, oil, garlic, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper to a simmer. Cover and briskly simmer, shaking skillet occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes. Remove lid and cook, stirring gently, until moist of water has evaporated and potatoes are glazed, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in herbs.