February 2012 CSA Newsletter

Posted on February 01, 2012  /   Posted in Newsletter

WHAT’S IN YOUR SHARE THIS MONTH?

GENOVESE BASIL  Pasta & Pizza Sauce: We craft our Genovese Basil Pasta & Pizza Sauce from 2 tomatoes:  Amish Paste and Costoluto Genovese.  It is made in the traditional Italian style of simmering the tomatoes with onions and herbs until thick.  We like the Amish Paste tomato for its rich, sweet flavor and meaty texture.  Slow Food USA, whose mission is to save cherished foods, agrees that this tomato is worth preserving, and Amish Paste has boarded their Ark of Taste.  The tomatoes for this sauce are certified organic and were grown on Green Garden Farm in St. Albans.  Allen and Jose’s farm is a work-of-art, and they also produce seed garlic, pumpkins, sunflowers, and other flowers for the wholesale floral market.  Genovese Basil is a powerful, aromatic variety of basil; very traditional in Italian sauces.  Crystal Spring Community Farm in Brunswick grew this batch of basil.  We puree the leaves with water and olive oil, and freeze the puree for use in the winter to simmer in the sauce.  The kitchen smells heavenly when this is in the kettle!  Enjoy Genovese Basil Pasta & Pizza sauce over fresh pasta, on your favorite pizza (We like it on a Maine Lobster Pizza), and in Broccoli Calzones.        

RUTGERS TOMATO PUREE: This tomato is the original strain of the famous New Jersey Rutgers tomato.  Developed in 1928 for the Campbell Soup Company, it is a cross between Marglobe and JTD. Crystal Spring Community Farm in Brunswick grew this certified organic, extremely prolific tomato. The fruit is medium-sized, about 5 ounces, with a rich red interior and pleasing texture.  It cooks up into a great tomato puree.  We add nothing to this elegant tomato sauce.  I recommend using Rutgers Tomato Puree in all your favorite recipes that use canned tomatoes.  Plus it makes a wicked good cream of tomato soup!  This variety was a star for us this year, and we’ve asked Seth to grow even more in the coming season.

TOLMAN SWEET APPLESAUCE: The Tolman Sweet apple is one first American apples, and one of the few to remain popular for centuries.  Called a “sweet” because it has practically no acid in it, the Tolman is a rugged and long-lived apple, and still common in old Maine farms.  Your Tolman sweet was grown by Howard Wulf, a fruit artist, who learned his craft in Germany and owns an organic pear and apple orchard in Unity, Maine.  Tolman Sweet apples are an all-purpose fruit used for baking and cooking…some consider it the best sauce apple.  The sauce is incredibly creamy and sweet.  We enjoy it straight from the jar…sometimes with a little cinnamon or maple syrup.  I use the sauce in baking and cooking…it is especially good when made into a French Acadian Chocolate Cake.

FIESTA PICKLES: Hold on to your hats!  These spicy treats are also known as  Maple Mexican pickles.  We start with cauliflower, pole beans, carrots, sweet bell peppers and red onion and cook them in a brine made with cider vinegar, maple syrup, chopped jalapeños, spices and seeds.  When filling the jars, we add a piece of garlic and another hot pepper.  The heat of the peppers blends deliciously with the sweetness of the maple, but they still pack a kick!  These pickles are not for the faint hearted…Enjoy them with your favorite root vegetables, or as part of a Mexican meal.  Ole!

RABBIT HILL DILL PICKLES: Tasty Jade is the cucumber variety we used to make these addictive dill pickles.  I grow the cucumbers on Rabbit Hill, our organic farm in Stonington.  We are slowly beating back the forest and planting crops.  The garden beds are terraced up the hill, nestled between the granite boulders.  The soil is wonderfully fertile from lots of composted rabbit manure, and the rocks absorb the daytime heat and keep the plants warm at night, when the foghorn lulls us all to sleep. These pickles are a small run…so enjoy!

EMILY’S TACO SALSA: Created for our middle daughter, Emily, this salsa is a fresh-pack, hot pack sauce.  We start with a base of Amish paste tomatoes, and add fresh, chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and jalapeños.  Seasoned with lime juice, cumin and oregano, enjoy this premium, fresh-tasting salsa straight from the jar, with tacos and nachos, or try my favorite, Spicy Beans and Beef.

DOWNEASTER  MAPLE MUSTARD MARINADE:  Organic Maine maple syrup and Raye’s Mustard team up to create our signature marinade.  The lush, sweet flavors of this marinade are perfect for grilled chicken, pork or shrimp.  Mix it with olive oil for a delicious dressing…my favorite salad is chopped apples, toasted nuts, goat cheese and baby greens, topped with the Downeaster.  Share your favorites with us!

CRANBERRY APPLE JUICE: Surprise from the Chef   Strictly speaking, we are not in the juice business.  But because we don’t enjoy juices from away (like pesticide – laced orange juice from Brazil), we are always experimenting with certified organic Maine fruits for our own table, and would like your feed-back.  To prepare our Cranberry Apple Juice, we first cooked a large batch of certified organic cranberries from Sparrow Farm in the kettle.  Then we extracted the fruit from the seeds and skins, leaving a dense, rich cranberry puree.  This puree was returned to the kettle, where we added organic apple juice from Barbour Farm (our orchard in Stonington), water and a touch of sugar.  The ruby colored juice is a bit tart, and a little thick.  Enjoy it straight from the bottle, or mixed with your favorite libation and tell us what you think!

WILD BLUEBERRY RHUBARB JAM: So many products…so little time.  Ever since we thought about this company, I’ve been dreaming about this jam.  Now I finally put in a bottle.   Maine organic wild blueberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals…they are a super fruit!  Our wild blueberries come from the Blue Hill Berry Company.  Owners Nicolas Lindholm and his wife Ruth Fiske also grow certified organic vegetables on  Hackmatack Farm in Penobscot.  In this jam,  very ripe, intense “jam” blueberries are first cooked in the kettle, and then run through the extractor.  The puree is returned to the kettle, and we add whole blueberries, rhubarb puree from Rabbit Hill, our farm in Stonington, and organic cane sugar.  This mixture is slowly simmered, allowing the jam to develop its full flavor and thicken.   Wild Blueberry Rhubarb Jam is low in sugar, and delicious on toast, as part of a PB and jam sandwich, or baked into Danish.

FRENCH ACADIAN CHOCOLATE CAKE MIX: Did you know that during the Civil War Maine was known as the bread basket of the Northeast?  The “county”, Aroostook County, has hundreds of acres of agricultural fields, and is home to some wonderful people, and potatoes, root crops and grains.  I’ve always been fascinated with these grains, buying them in 50 pound bags and experimenting in the kitchen.  Our French Acadian Chocolate Cake Mix is made with buckwheat.  Buckwheat is really not a grain, but an herb or fruit closely related to the wild rhubarb.   Thus buckwheat flour is gluten free while containing twice the amount of B vitamin as wheat flour.  The recipe for this cake, and the buckwheat, comes to me from the Bouchard family, six generations farming in the county!  The cake is easy to make, just add applesauce, melted butter and egg.  And it is gluten free!  Enjoy French Acadian Chocolate Cake with a dusting of powdered sugar, whipped heavy cream or ice cream.

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