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Local Food and Farm Products 
GOOD FOOD NEWS
Volume 7 Number 15    April 14, 2015

FIELD NOTES: MIRABELLE ORCHARD AND VINEYARD, Fiddletown

Spring is a time of awakening when somnolent trees and vines come back to life, not to mention grasses, weeds and wildflowers. It is also a treacherous time as we experienced last week. Pelting rain was accompanied by hail, fortunately not too heavy where we live. With the early spring this year, our stone fruit trees had already finished blooming and the delicate pink flowers of apple trees hung on.

April is moving like quicksilver while spring has taken hold of landscape's palette with so many hues of green. As we walk by each of the fruit trees, nubs of new fruit are visible, always a joy to behold. Despite the four year drought, the foliage of our fruit trees is more profuse than the previous year and the fruit crop so far seems to be ample.

Yesterday, taking into account recent warmer temperatures, we set out traps for coddling moths, always desperately hoping to prevent them from damaging pears and apples. This season we had just enough rain to encourage grasses to grow to all-time heights. Presently mowing is underway to tame those grasses, thereby diminishing water and nutrient competition for struggling trees and vines. Next steps will be disking the orchard and vineyard, and again laying out long irrigation lines as we do each year. Soon we shall all scurry around watering plants and nursing weak young seedlings.

Dimitri and Elaine

 

Golden Shallot Custards

Contributed by Ludovic Lefebvre for Food and Wine, Published October 2014

Ingredients

4 large shallots, peeled

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Kosher salt

White pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

Freshly grated nutmeg

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 275°. Using a sharp paring knife, very thinly slice the shallots lengthwise, leaving the slices attached at the root ends. Using your palm, gently flatten the shallots, fanning out the slices.

2. In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallots and season with salt and white pepper. Sprinkle the sugar and a pinch of nutmeg on top and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until nicely browned and very soft, about 15 minutes; let cool slightly.

3. Fan out the shallots in the center of four 10-ounce ramekins. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the cream, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and pour into the ramekins. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and set in a glass or ceramic baking dish.

4. Pour enough hot water into the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Transfer the baking dish to the middle of the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the custards comes out clean, 40 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and let the custards stand in the water for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Swiss Chard and Shallots

Contributed by Diana Sturgis for Food and Wine, Published February 1997

SERVINGS: 8

Ingredients

3 pounds Swiss chard or other braising greens, rinsed, leaves and stems separated

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 large shallots, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Coarsely chop the chard leaves. Peel any strings from the thick stems as you would celery, then cut the stems into 1-inch pieces.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a heavy medium skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

3. Add the chard stems to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Add the leaves to the pot and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain well in a colander and transfer to another bowl.

4. Rewarm the shallots. Stir half into the chard stems and half into the leaves and season both with salt and pepper. Make a ring of the stems on a large platter and pile the leaves in the center.

Make Ahead: The chard can be refrigerated for up to 1 day; keep the stems and leaves separate.

 

Fettuccine with Escarole and Brie

Contributed by Grace Parisi for Food and Wine, Published May 2007

Ingredients

3/4 pound fettuccine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, coarsely chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 pound escarole, cut into 1-inch ribbons

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound Brie (preferably a wedge), rind removed

1. In a large pot of generously salted boiling water, cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 1/4 cups of the cooking water.

2. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and shallot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the escarole, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, just until wilted.

3. Add the pasta to the skillet along with 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cut the Brie into 1-inch pieces and add to the skillet. Cook the pasta over moderate heat, tossing, until the Brie is melted and the sauce is thick and creamy, about 4 minutes; add more of the pasta cooking water if the sauce is dry. Season the pasta with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve immediately.

 

Smoky Escarole and Carrot Soup

Contributed by Marcia Kiesel for Food and Wine, Published February 1997

Ingredients

1/2 cup dried pinto beans (about 3 1/2 ounces)

1 bay leaf

2 fresh thyme sprigs

Salt

4 ounces smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 -inch dice

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

6 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

1 pound escarole, tough stems discarded, leaves cut into 2-inch pieces

Freshly ground pepper

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a medium bowl, cover the beans with cold water and let soak overnight. Drain and rinse the beans. Alternatively, cover the beans with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour, then drain and rinse the beans.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the beans with the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, cover with 4 cups of cold water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Discard the bay leaf and thyme, season the beans with salt and let them stand in their cooking liquid.

3. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the escarole, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the soup until the escarole is just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and their cooking liquid and season with salt and pepper. Cook the soup until the beans are heated through.

4. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, parsley and olive oil. Stir the mixture into the soup just before serving.

Make Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Rewarm gently before serving.

WHAT'S IN YOUR BOX

Single Boxes
Shallots-- Butte Mountain Farm
Lettuce-- Abbondanza
2 Meyer lemons-- Abbondanza
2 grapefruit-- Paloma Pollinators
Sunflower greens-- Butte Mountain Farm
Braising greens-- Casa de la Pradera

Family Boxes
Carrots-- Casa de la Pradera
Lettuce-- Abbondanza
4 Meyer lemon-- Abbondanza
4 grapefruit-- Paloma Pollinators
Walnuts-- Abbondanza
Escarole-- Casa de la Pradera
Chives-- Butte Mountain Farm

SHOPPING AT www.mlharvest.com

Mother Lode Harvest has local food and farm products available to order at www.mlharvest.com.

THE ORDERING WINDOW IS FRIDAY AT 9 AM THROUGH SUNDAY AT NOON.

Orders received during that time can be picked up on Tuesdays between 10:30 am and noon, or 4:30 to 6:00 pm, at 1235 Jackson Gate Road in Jackson, behind Teresa's Restaurant. Prepaid orders may also be picked up in Volcano or Plymouth. Payment may be made at pickup by cash or check made out to Mother Lode Harvest, or before pickup by PayPal.

New customers will need to register by using the "join" button on the website before they can shop. A signed customer agreement and membership dues may be mailed to MLH, or brought to the distribution center with your first pickup.

If you have any questions or problems with using the website, please contact our customer coordinator, Michelle, at motherlodeharvest@gmail.com, or 419-2503.

 

MLH Calendar of Events

April 25: The Great Sutter Creek Duck Race, Sutter Creek

May 2: Amador Four Fires, Plymouth

May 17: Spring Quarter Farm Tour-- Winterport Farm, Ione

 

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Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 534 Amador City, CA 95601
Mother Lode Harvest is a non-profit membership association.