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Posts Tagged ‘Norwich farm’

Thanks to the Seed Savers Exchange, Brandywine heirloom tomatoes are grown by many small farmers, and bought by many tomato lovers like me.  I spent a pretty penny on these green-shouldered beauties this morning at the Cedar Circle stand at the Norwich Farmers’ Market.

I bought two each of two varieties: Black and Pink Brandywine.  They are sweet and juicy, but touched with a delicate acidity, like a Provençal rosé.  I almost hate to dress them with anything but salt.

Adorned best by sun:

heirloom tomatoes

Or shade:

tomatoes

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One thing I love about summer around here is the bounty.  There are so many vegetables available, you can afford just to play with them.  In meals, I mean.

At Killdeer today, I bought bagsful of beans–green and yellow wax.  I had some purple potatoes from the other day, and we had parsley and arugula in the kitchen garden.

The result was a yummy, warm summer salad.

bean salad

Green Bean and Potato Salad

1 handful each of green and yellow wax beans, steamed until al dente
1/2 lb. purple potatoes
homemade mustardy vinaigrette
1 handful each chopped parsley and arugula

Let cooked vegetables sit until room temperature, then dress, mix, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

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We drove to Cedar Circle Farm, in Thetford, Vermont, this morning, to pick raspberries and blueberries.  The bushes were lush.

J picking

The best strategy for finding juicy berries, we found, was to mimic Jack’s height: crouch down, go in deep, and look up.

rasp. bush

Many of the blueberries were just getting blue.  The season is late this year, because of all the rain.  We picked three pints, though,

Cedar C. blues

and found a little nest in one of the bushes.

nest

Cedar Circle operates their self-service picking patch on the honor system.  There is a sign with the prices per pint, and a little money slot in the wall of the the shed, where pickers can deposit their bills or a check.  Jack loved watching the money disappear…

money slot

Jack's cousin, Jeremiah

Jack's cousin, Jeremiah

Now, it’s raining again, and I’ve been making buckle.  What is it that happens to blueberries when you warm them up?  They become gorgeous taste-bud luxuries.  I guess this is the season for this luxury, though, because I had blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and a piece of buckle for snack.  I’d better not start thinking about dessert…

buckle

Blueberry Buckle
from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Batter
¾ c. sugar
4 tbs. butter
1 lg. egg
½ c. milk
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. blueberries

Streusel
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. salt
5 1/3 tbs. soft butter

Grease and flour a 9-inch round (or square) pan and preheat the oven to 375°.

Cream together the sugar and butter, then add the egg and mix at medium speed for 1 minute.  Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Stir in the milk alternately with the dry ingredients and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon, and salt.  Add the butter, mixing to make medium-sized crumbs.  Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter.

Bake the buckle for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, and cool it (in the pan) on a rack.  Serve the buckle with coffee in the morning, or with whipped cream for dessert.

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Everything was burning yesterday evening.  For the most part, in the best way.

First, I roasted the two bunches of beets–chioggia and golden–and some of the juice oozed out of the foil onto the cookie sheet.  The whole house smelled of burned beet slime.  The result of roasting, however, was delicious: warm beet salad dressed lightly with vinaigrette, sprinkled with chives, salt, and pepper, and covered with crumbled local goat cheese.

My parents’ best friends, the Ashleys, came down the steep driveway from their house for dinner.  Dad mixed martinis and mojitos (for different people–we didn’t mix).  We sat in the sun on the deck.  The tiki torches were flaming.  We snacked on corn chips and hummus, and the tender, nutty Cobb Hill cheese named Ascutney Mountain (for the Green mountain just south of here).

Ascutney chs

Along with a colorful salad made from our farmers’ market haul, we had sweet corn on the cob from Killdeer Farm, and those sausages from Hogwash Farm–Beer Bratwurst and Chorizo–which promptly caught on fire when Dad put them on the grill.  We moved them around, and the flames gave chase (it always cracks me up when baseball announcers use that phrase!).  In the end, there were some spots of char, but not too many, and the sausages were succulent.

This pyromeal was followed by a campfire, up on the hillside behind the Ashleys’ house, at their well-used fire pit.  The grown-ups nursed our drinks and constructed perfectly melted s’mores, while the boys torched marshmallows, pinecones, leftover Christmas candles, anything that would burn.

IMG_0177

IMG_0185

A good time was had by all.

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Mmm…

Making a margherita pizza tonight with many scrumptious local ingredients.  It’s also sort of a Norwich Route 5 pizza, because Killdeer is just down the road from King Arthur Flour, and most of the ingredients were purchased at these favorite spots.  The fresh mozz is sold at Killdeer and made at Maplebrook Farm, in Bennington, VT–another of my old hometowns.  We lived on a straight-uphill narrow dead-end road preposterously, or optimistically, named Crescent Boulevard.

Traditionally, the only toppings on Margherita are sliced tomato and mozzarella, fresh basil, and olive oil.  I may jazz it up a bit, though.  It’s been a long rainy day.

I also want to avoid a scuffle with the carabinieri.  I think it’s illegal to call my pizza “Margherita,” which is a designation protected by the E.U.–like “Champagne” or “Manchego.”

Jazzed-Up Margherita Pizza

for the crust:
1 c. warm water
1 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. olive oil
3 c. unbleached flour

fresh, local tomatoes
fresh, local basil (or homemade pesto)
fresh, local mozzarella
(And… stepping out of the locavore range by a long shot… kalamata olives or anchovies for kick)

Mix the dough, let rise for an hour.  Flatten and stretch on a semolina-dusted pan.  Pre-heat oven to 425.  Let the crust rise up a bit more, and then strew with the toppings.   Bake until the cheese is golden and sizzling.

za

Oops… I overloaded it.

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Another vegetable with architectural pretensions!

cauli

Like the costata romanesca, this one has classical roots, but its look is more minaret than column.  It’s a green brassica that tastes a bit like broccoli, looks a bit like its white cousin, and is a whole lot more fun than either.

cauli 2

I bought this one today at Killdeer on my way home from the mechanic’s.  Scott, the Farm Stand manager and a wonderful food photographer, suggested roasting or sauteeing the little spirals.  If it weren’t in the upper-80s today, I might roast it with some butter and garlic and a crust of breadcrumbs.  To beat the heat, I’ll just cook it quickly on the stove-top, until al dente.  I’ve also been marinating bone-in pork chops all day.  Mmm… it’s going to be a good meal.

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Roving is a romantic way of saying moving from place to place.  At one time, the word contained more layers of significance than it does now, including something like “lookin’ for love.”  This sense finds its beautiful epitome in Byron’s love lyric, “We’ll go no more a-roving.” More than a poem of love, this is a poem of eros.  The short, simple poem, which Byron wrote while in Venice, speaks of the sweetness of longing and nostalgia as it relishes ironic double entendre.

Today, I’ve had a decidedly more banal, and boring, experience of roving: I drove all around this spread-out rural center of civilization in the northeast—seemingly just to keep the car capable of more driving.  It was a day of logistics: dropping the boys at camp; driving to White River Junction with my sister to get her tire repaired for $13, which took all day; driving to drop off my sister at my dad’s office so that she could use his car; driving to the library for two hours of 1794 literary journals on microfilm; driving to pick up my boy; driving to CVS and the Hanover Food Co-op; driving back to the back roads of Norwich to drop off the cold food; driving to my dad’s office to pick up my sister; driving to the mechanic’s to pick up her car.  On the way out of there, my automatic transmission problem alert signal came on.  It’s an orange-lighted gear with an exclamation point in the center.  Whoa!  So, then we drove, in caravan, to another mechanic’s, who directed us to another, farther south along route 5 in Vermont.  This will probably cost me quite a bit more than $13.

And then we drove back up route 5, which, happily, leads to Killdeer Farm Stand.  I dropped off my sister and the boys at the UPS warehouse to see the trucks (my nephew’s current obsession) and drove to Killdeer.  After a day of aggravation, this was bliss.

The vegetable baskets are more bountiful every day.  I wanted to make a pasta dish with a classic combination of vegetables.  I bought an eggplant, sweet green pepper, sweet onion, costata romanesca.  I looked at everything, admired everything, knew I’d be back tomorrow.

spring veg

I left, reluctantly, to do more driving.

For dinner we had farfalle with all of the above, and some sweet Italian sausage, flavored with fennel seeds, from Cloudland Farm, which we’d had in the freezer.  It was warm, green, springy, delicious.

Spring Pasta

Get the water boiling for pasta.  Meanwhile, break a half-pound of sweet Italian sausage into chunks, and slice half of a sweet onion, one or two Japanese eggplants (their skin is more tender), one sweet green pepper, and one costata romanesca.  Sauté the sausage until mid-rare and let drain in a bowl lined with paper towel.  Sauté the vegetables, beginning with the onion, followed by the eggplant, pepper, and eggplant.  Cook the pasta.  When the vegetables are lightly caramelized, spoon in a couple of big spoonfuls of pasta-cooking water, and cover for a minute or less.  Put the sausage back in the pan, and then combine pasta and vegetables in a big bowl or pot and toss with grated parmgiano  reggiano.  Serve with extra cheese at the table.

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