Week 13 ~ A Warm Winter Solstice

Week 13 Menu

12/15/2015

Basil

Various greens (whatever we could find left in the field)

Autumn Olive Jelly (Pvd, Quincy, JP)*

Raw honey (Revere)*

Goat*

*note: the jelly and goat meat are not officially part of the CSA…. instead they are gifts, my thanks for being part of my first year as a farmer.   The honey was made on my property last year by my landlord.

When you’re out in the fields and working 10- 14 hours a day, you’d think that time passes by slowly, that your daydreams as you weed turn splitting moments into full memories.  But the seasons past by faster than I could have imagined.  And here we are on our last week of the CSA, only 4 days away from the Winter Solstice, and it’s already time to start planning for next year.   Thank you for being part of this journey with me!   I will share some of my reflections in a later blog, and I hope to get your input on how the CSA program and the mission of Movement Ground Farm can improve.

I hope you enjoy your grass-fed, pasture-raised, antibiotic and hormone-free, local, home-slaughtered goat meat.  After all, 2016 is the Year of the Goat!    You should especially enjoy your meat if you were born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, or 2003.  All babies born this year, and I know three of them, are goats!  As am I.

Since I’ve been around goats, I’ve learned a few interesting facts about them.  Goat meat is lean.   It actually has half the proportional amount of fat as chicken meat!   Goat meat must be slow cooked, on low heat.  The meat has a lot of collagen and connective tissue which breaks down, creating a satisfying and rich stew.   In fact, I think it is THE best meat possible for a stew.  It doesn’t break down and disintegrate like chicken or beef will, instead it stays in tact on the bone, but is easily pulled off as you eat.  Goats have a higher ratio of bone to meat than say cows, pigs, or even sheep.   But with stews and stocks, that’s a good thing!

Now I turn it over to Michael Gross who is offering a reflection of his experience this year as well as some goat recipes.

 

Reflections by Michael Gross

Michael1After three escaped emus, one pet raccoon, countless days in the sun, and even more delicious meals, here I sit, in the twilight of my seven month stay on The Farm. Just seven months before this I sat in a classroom counting my days till the final bell rang. While most of my school mates were excited to venture into the world of debt and hangovers, I was loading up my old Toyota to take up working residence at a farm in Berkley Massachusetts, far from the seaside community I grew up in down in southern Rhode Island.

 

I didn’t know much about nothing, just wanted to farm and learn, and hopefully cook and eat some meals. And boy did I. Kohei was the man for the job.  He showed me the ropes. We had a summer and fall full of hard work, successes and blunders; all part of the journey that is life. Especially a life where the land is the ultimate provider and means of livelihood. One of the many things I experienced and learned, and will carry with me, is the seasonality of all things. It was the weeks we gorged ourselves with melons and Hen of the Woods mushrooms. It was watching animals, plants, fungi grow, reproduce, die. I saw it more subtly too… In how I felt physically or mentally, in how a hoe dulled or a chicken pen dirtied toward the end of a hot August, in the fleeting moments of life all around Kohei and I. Each season, month, day, moment, brought new and old things, I can’t just lump it all together. I know all our experiences, joys and hardships went into those CSA boxes, so it makes me proud and content knowing that Movement Ground Farm will continue to provide to you folks, only getting better over the years.

MandI

 

Recipes by Michael

Winter Goat Stew
This winter stew is a great way to cook with storage veggies and enjoy the meat of our beautiful goats. Great by a fire with some bread and this week’s jam or honey. Omit the dried chiles if need be.

  • Marinate goat meat in vinegar and soy sauce for at least a couple hours, or overnight.
  • Dry roast the dried chiles in a pan on the stove, and then transfer to hot water to soften em up for a half hour or so.
  • Rub your piece of goat with salt and pepper, and spices to your liking. Put your soup pot on high and add oil to cover bottom of pan. Sear your meat for ten to twenty minutes, until it is nice and brown, not golden, not charred, but in between. This is to make it extra succulent and all the more delicious.
  • Peel garlic and combine with spices and herbs. We like to use basil, cumin, ginger, thyme, cinnamon and whatever else is at hand. Take your reconstituted chiles and combine with mixture, add a cup or two of vinegar and/or wine and put all in food processor or pound with mortar and pestle.
  • Add mixture to soup pot and add some chopped onion. Sauté for a couple minutes and then add your stock. Use meat or veggie stock, and/ or red wine, adding 1 cup for each person eating.
  • Bring to a boil, then let this simmer for around an hour and a half.
  • Add chopped potatoes, winter squash, carrots, beets, parsnips… The more the merrier. Simmer for another hour and a half, or until goat is tender enough. Shred your goat meat into bite size pieces.
    Good eating.

 

Roasted Goat Tacos
Combine a tablespoon of brown sugar and minced garlic, two bay leaves, a teaspoon of salt and pepper, some tomato, a strip of lemon peel, chile flakes and a half cup of soy sauce and vinegar mixed. Marinate your goat in it, overnight preferably.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sear both sides of goat in a pan with oil to cover bottom until brown. Slice goat into three inch long pieces and nestle in a oven pan. Cover pan tightly with foil. Roast your goat for two to three hours, until it’s fall off the bone tender.

Let cool in its own juices and then shred the meat off the bone. Pour the liquid through a sieve and discard fat if you like to. Separate juice and skim off more fat. Pour liquid over meat and keep cool till ready to serve. Best with warm tortillas and a wedge of lime, cilantro, onion, radish etc.
enjoy.

What ever you do with your goat meat, please share pictures!

 

 

 

Week # 12 ~ second to LAST week

Menu

Butternut squash

Yellow onions

Apples from Cooks Valley Farm

Braising mix of arugula, mizuna, and mustard

Shiitake mushrooms for PVD, Quincy, JP

Carrots & Parsnips for Revere

Farm Update

We harvested some male ducks, quails and roosters for personal consumption.  For the first time in my life I actually cooked duck, arguably my favorite land meat.  I was always perplexed (and angry) that I could never find any uncooked duck sold anywhere.  Google tells me that duck is difficult to cook and that’s why it’s never sold as uncooked meat.

It was so easy to cook!   And it was so delicious.   I followed a recipe for making the Chinese BBQ Peking duck, which did require a 2-day marinade.  The skin could have been a bit more crispy, but the taste and its moisture were on point.  The quails were brined for 6 hours to plump and moisten them up, marinated for 2 hours in oyster sauce, charred on a grill, and then roasted in a covered pan with water in the oven.   Then we had all this valuable duck fat left over.   So I battered some boiled quail eggs and deep-fried them in the duck fat.   Hey, why not?   Then made some papaya salad and sticky rice to go with it.   Amazing!

The biggest first for me, though, was less that I finally cooked my favorite meal, but that when we blessed the food, I really meant it.   And when I ate the meat I didn’t feel bad, only extremely grateful to be so deeply connected to this natural and important human connection to our land and our food.

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Shiitake mushrooms

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Shiitake logs stacked into towers and placed below a canopy of evergreens

I started working on these babies in the Winter of 2014 when I cut down young Oak trees, and sawed them into lengths of three feet.   In the Spring, I soaked them in water, drilled thousands of holes, and pounded in wooden plugs that contained the Shiitake spawn.

 

20151014_150044The last step was to seal the holes with wax, and then wait… a year or two.  Finally they started popping up this Fall but not enough to give everyone fresh mushrooms at the same time.  So these babies are dried – and ready for you to rehydrate them!  Store bought mushrooms are produced indoors using plastic bags of sterilized saw dust, grain or straw.  Lighting, ventilation, and a humidifier keep conditions right to encourage the fungi’s growth.  My shiitakes were produced the old school, natural way, on untreated oak logs and their growth only dependent on the rain and the sun.

 

Recipes

Re-hydrating Shiitake mushroom, tips from Viet World Kitchen

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Best way: plop in room temperature water for 8-hours, or over night.   Express way: cut your shiitake in half and immerse them in hot water until soft and plump.  Reconstituted shiitakes can be put in a zip-locked bag in the refrigerator and last for several days.

 

butternut

 

 

 

 

 

Cambodian Pork and Butternut Squash Stir Fry recipe by Khatiya Korner

 

 

 

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Stir-fried Red Cabbage, Tofu, and Butternut Squash from the NY Times

 

 

shiitake-rutabaga-butternut-squash

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Shiitake and Roasted Butternut by Christopher Clark

 

parnsip

Pan-roasted Carrots and Parsnips from the Salted Kitchen

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Parsnip & Carrot Latkes by Food.com

 

Below are a few pictures of what our members have been doing with their spicy microgreens.

Roasted daikon with black sesame seed on a bed of radish microgreens

Roasted daikon with black sesame seed on a bed of radish microgreens

Khmer Pickled Lemon Chicken Soup with spicy brassica microgreens

Khmer Pickled Lemon Chicken Soup with spicy brassica microgreens

Roasted purple daikon with radish microgreens

Roasted purple daikon with radish microgreens

 

Week 11 ~ 12.2.2015

Menu

Week # 11, December 2, 2015

Dried hot chili peppers
Red onions
Cilantro
Spaghetti, Shiro (white) kabocha, or Delicata squash
Microgreens (either arugula, hakerei radish, or a spicy brassica mix)

 

Wishing safe travel to our CSA members from Grassroots International and Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island who will be attending and representing our communities and issues at the World Climate Change Conference in Paris.   And congrats to my sister and Mateal.   Their baby was born at 3:47 this morning, despite the city lock down (and bomb threat at the hospital) in San Bernandino.  They are safe and so is their new daughter, Harumi.

Farm update:

Yesterday an Emu escaped.   I walked outside to do chores and an Emu was walking on my driveway.   I noticed the front gate was open, and as I dashed to the front gate the Emu seemed to try to race me, or just follow me swiftly. I made it to the gate first and slammed it shut.  I’m not sure how she got out.  I’m hoping that she slipped through two panels that had a gap and were connected poorly, and not that she had developed the ability and knowledge of how to jump the fence.

Over the summer, a police-like vehicle pulled into my driveway as I was eating dinner.   The vehicle said “Animal Control” !!  An energetic and buff woman stepped out of the car and came pacing towards me.

 

Animal control officer: You got Emu’s?

Me:   Well, yeah.

Officer: Where are they?

Me: Back there in their pen.

Officer: No they’re not!

Me: Yes they are.

Officer: Show me

I took her to the back to show her the pen.  She was pacing again, and come to think of it, I figured, that yeah, now is the time to pace, or even run.  And sure enough, the Emu’s were not there!   My heart felt like it sank into my stomach.   They were last spotted a quarter of a mile down the street and up a hill.  They were somewhere in Berkley, amongst the civilian population.

Michael and I rushed out of the house and down the street to where the animal control vehicle was now parked, along side a neighbors house.   She called for back up, and a second animal control officer arrived.  The sun was going down.   I was walking through a creek that was getting a little bit swampy, cursing my flashlight that was running out of batteries.   We had to give up.   Emu’s sleep at night, so it was no use looking for them.

We got up at 430am the next morning to beat the sunlight.   Within 10 minutes we found some tracks.   There were raccoon tracks and deer tracks, and then yeah, LARGE BIRD TRACKS.   But as the search went on, images of my three Emu’s running alongside a car on a road or walking next to a kid at a public playground flashed in my head.  I told Michael that I was going to get in my car and just drive around the town.

Ok, I was right and justified in my fear and sense of alarm to go driving around the town.  But I was just flat out wrong.   Michael had walked deep into the woods where he found more tracks and tried as best as he could to find more tracks and to ascertain their direction, and eventually their GPS coordinates.  Michael was wandering through the woods and came across an opening of a bed of ferns underneath an evergreen canopy.  A giant bird came running across the patch of ferns.  Another followed.  He found them!  They had found a pre-historic like setting, as well as patches of blueberries that they delightfully foraged through.

Sigh.   But we were out over a mile into the woods, so how were we supposed to bring them back?  Herding them back wasn’t a solution since every time lighting struck and thunder roared, they would scatter and later regroup.   We had to tackle one, tie up its legs, and then I carried the Emu back toward the house while Michael stayed with the two remaining.  I threw the Emu in my car, drove home, and put the Emu back in her pen.   Then, I had to go find Michael and the other two Emu’s, all of whom had not been stationary and were now in an entirely new part of the woods. One by one, we got the Emu’s back on our property and in their pen.

When they grow to their full size and weight, I don’t think carrying them will be possible.  Time to focus on their fencing.

 

Recipe Ideas

thaichilli

 

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce by Shesimmers.com

(only 20 minutes to make your winter supply!)

 

 

 

 

khmer_sauce

 

 

Khmer Sweet Fish Sauce by Khmerkromrecipes.com

(15 minutes to make)

 

 

 

driedchilli

 

Chili pepper flakes by perfectpantry.com

(Less than 10 minutes)

 

 

3 Microgreen ideas and recipes from Logro Farms

 

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Roasted Squash, Microgreens, and Quinoa Salad

 

 

 

 

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Mushroom Omelette with Microgreens by Dan from Plattertalk

 

 

 

 

And for some reason, microgreens pair well with seared scallops… or is it that anything pairs well with scallops?