September 14 (Corn Chowder)

The rain we needed arrived last week, and not a moment too soon! It looks like all of the summer favorites (beans, peppers, zucchini) survived, although it might be a while before we can start harvesting lots of cucumbers again. We should have all of these vegetables until we get a hard frost, which usually happens in mid-October.

The dry, hot weather was great for a few items, including peppers and watermelon. This week we will have large melons for everyone (unless you want to skip it and take 2 extra options instead). We will have seedless yellow and seedless red melons, and they are both really sweet and delicious. I have heard from a few of you that some of the mini seeded yellow melons were a bit overripe, but that shouldn’t be an issue with the large ones. If anyone does get a melon that’s too ripe to eat please just let me know and we can replace it with something else or another melon. I’m optimistic that they won’t be, though, since the two I’ve had have been perfect!

Thyme

We are going to be giving out fresh cilantro or thyme this week. Thyme is really good in soups and stews, including corn chowder. It also goes really well with roasted root vegetables and poultry, and is often used along with rosemary or sage. Thyme has a strong flavor, so a little goes a long way. Unlike more delicate herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro, thyme should be added early on when making a dish. You want to just use the leaves and tender stems, removing any tough, woody stems (or you can just throw in the whole bunch and then fish it out at the end of cooking).

Grass Fed Beef

As I mentioned earlier, we will be buying a grass-fed steer in early October from Gerry and Cheryl Audet in Orwell and selling 20 lb shares. We haven’t yet set a final price, but it should be around $170 for the 20 lb share, give or take $10. We will also be selling 10 lb ground beef shares for $65. The beef is all grass-fed and cryovac packaged at a USDA-certified facility. The 20 lb share will be about half ground (in 1 lb packages) and about half steaks and roasts. If you buy a share and would like to request some of the liver, kidney, heart, oxtail, or suet that is fine; we will give it to you if we have it along with your share (it won’t count towards the 20 lbs).

Please email me ASAP if you would like me to reserve a share. The Audets have another half of an animal to sell in late October, so I can always buy more if there is a lot of interest!

Corn Chowder

The America’s Test Kitchen recipe for corn chowder is a great place to start if you’ve never made chowder before (or even if you have!). It’s also easy to adjust; you can make it vegetarian by skipping the bacon and using butter or oil to saute the onion and thyme. You can make it healthier by using half carrots and half potatoes, and also by subbing milk for the half and half. You can even skip the messiest steps: I sometimes cheat and skip scraping the pulp and just use prepared chicken stock instead of the water. You can also mash everything up with a potato masher a bit to make the chowder creamy rather than putting some of it in the blender. The recipe calls for 8 ears of corn, so be sure to take corn as 2 of your options if you plan to make it!

America’s Test Kitchen Corn Chowder

8 ears corn

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion

4 slices bacon

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

5 cups water

3/4-lb red potatoes

1 cup half-and-half

Up to 1 Tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  1. Remove husks and silk from corn. Cut kernels from the cob using a chef’s knife, being careful not to cut away too much of the pulp. Then over a large bowl lined with a kitchen towel, use the back of a stiff butter knife to scrape the pulp into the bowl (once you try it you will see how easy the pulp comes away from the cob). Remove towel with pulp and tightly wring the pulp allowing the juice to fall back into your large bowl.
  2. Finely chop your onion, stack your bacon slices and slice them lengthwise, then cut them into 1/4″ pieces.
  3. Put a Dutch oven over medium burner and melt your 3 tablespoons of butter. Saute onions, bacon, thyme, together with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, for 8 to 10 minutes until the onion has softened and the edges begin to brown. While that cooks, dice your potato into 1/2″ pieces
  4. Mix in 1/4-cup flour and stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk in 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add your corn kernels and diced potatoes. Bring back up to a simmer, then reduce the burner to medium-low and cook for 18 minutes until the potatoes are ready.
  5. Remove 2 cups of chowder to blender and process it for 1 minute until smooth. Return processed chowder to the pot, and add 1 cup of half-and-half, and continue to cook until the pot has again reached a simmer.
  6. Remove from burner, add corn juice, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and as much as 1 tablespoon sugar depending upon the inherent sweetness of your corn.
  7. Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle each bowl with 1 teaspoon minced basil.

This Week’s Produce

Single Share

1 bunch thyme OR cilantro OR 2/3 lbs carrots

1 large watermelon (or 2 extra options)

Choose 3 options:

5 ears corn

1 lb beans

3 lbs potatoes

2 small butternut squash

1 large or 2 small cabbages

1 lb colored peppers

1 lb poblano peppers

1 bunch chard

1.3 lbs carrots

Small Share

1 bunch thyme OR cilantro OR 2/3 lbs carrots

1 large watermelon (or 2 extra options)

Choose 5 options:

5 ears corn

1 lb beans

3 lbs potatoes

2 small butternut squash

1 large or 2 small cabbages

1 lb colored peppers

1 lb poblano peppers

1 bunch chard

1.3 lbs carrots

Large Share

2 bunches thyme OR cilantro OR 1.5 lbs carrots

2 large watermelon (you can replace a melon with 2 extra options)

Choose 6 options:

5 ears corn

1 lb beans

3 lbs potatoes

2 small butternut squash

1 large or 2 small cabbages

1 lb colored peppers

1 lb poblano peppers

1 bunch chard

1.3 lbs carrots

 

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