Slow Food for Spring

Text  | Jen McGlashan

I don’t know about you, but I am so grateful for spring’s arrival that I still get a little weepy when I wake up and see green. And so, I thought it might be a lovely idea to have a little spring thanksgiving featuring delicious seasonal ingredients from our illustrious local farms.
So, my fellow members of Slow Food UpDeRiVa have put together a meal—from first course through dessert—worthy of the miracle of spring. Our local farms are wide and varied, so the possibilities for your own spring thanksgiving are endless. But here are a few of our favorites.

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Kale and Collard Salad
Stem the leaves, wash, and dry. (In early spring, you can also add some small tender dandelion leaves.)

Then stack and cut thin as confetti.
In a large bowl, throw in lots of good olive oil and lemon, tons of smashed raw garlic (maybe a head!), salt and black pepper.

Work the dressing into the greens vigorously.

This salad keeps for days in the fridge and can be added to soups and stews. You can add all kinds of things like potatoes, beans, toasted nuts and especially Linda Smith’s basket cheese. Tonjes’ Farm Dairy  mozzarella cheese and kale salad make an amazing sandwich on Lucky Dog Farm  crocodile bread.

You can get kale, collards, garlic, potatoes, and beans from River Brook Farm.

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Roasted Rosemary
Garlic Potatoes
6-8 cups potatoes (red, yukon gold  or fingerling), quartered with skins on
2 heads of garlic, whole cloves
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons rosemary
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a clean plastic bag and shake well so everything gets coated evenly.

Put in a roasting pan and bake at 350˚ for an hour or more until potatoes get browned, stirring occasionally.  Add oil to bottom of baking dish if they are sticking too much.

You can find all these ingredients at Willow Wisp
Organic Farm (www.willowwisporganic.com).

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Spinach Fritatta
1-2 pounds spinach, cleaned and  stemmed
4-6 potatoes with skins on, sliced as thinly as possible
4-6 eggs, depending on size (I have bantam eggs, so I use 6)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Coat the bottoms and sides of a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven with olive oil, then line with potato slices, slightly overlapping—you’re basically making a pie crust. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and olive oil. Bake at 350˚ until potatoes are cooked through (about 40 minutes).

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in a large pan until fragrant and soft. Add broth and spinach and cook down until most of the moisture is removed. Let it cool.

Combine eggs with salt and pepper, add cooled spinach mixture and pour into your potato pie crust.

Bake until firm, about 30-40 minutes.

This is a specialty of  Channery Hill Farm

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Roasted Brined Chicken
with Mushroom Gravy
Brine ingredients
½ cup salt
2 cups veggie broth
½ tablespoon black peppercorns
¼ teaspoon allspice berries
Thyme, rosemary, bay leaves
Ice water to cover

Combine brine and chicken in a large covered pot or, if it fits, a plastic Ziploc bag.  Let chicken soak in the brine for at least an hour (or even overnight—the longer it soaks, the more moisture it absorbs).
Once removed from brine, rinse and stuff cavity with:
1 quartered onion
4 smashed garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 apple, quartered
Rosemary, sage, bay leaf

Line the bottom of a large dutch oven or covered roasting pan with:
Quartered onions
Smashed garlic cloves
Thickly sliced Portobello mushrooms

Rest chicken on the vegetable bed, sprinkle with salt and olive oil, cover and place in a 400˚ oven. Roast until a meat thermometer registers 180˚ in the thigh, or 161˚ in the breast (about 1 hour for the first four pounds, adding 8 minutes for each additional pound).

Gravy base
Remove and rinse giblets and neck, brown in a sauce pan with oil or butter and cook until tender:
1 minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
Add:
½ cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup minced celery
½ cup chopped carrot
Bay leaf, rosemary, sage, thyme
Salt and pepper

Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain out the solids.

Once the bird is done, extract from the pan and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Remove onions and garlic from pan, and add strained gravy mixture. Cook mushrooms and gravy until thick and reduced.

You can find all the ingredients for this recipe at River Brook Farm, Heller Farm  and Campanelli’s Poultry Farm.

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Ricotta Cheesecake with Dutch Chocolate Cookie Crust

Filling
3 ¾ cups ricotta cheese
2 whole eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
Grated rind of 1 lime or ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
Cookie Crust
Combine:
1 ¾ cups dutch chocolate sugar  cookies, crushed
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 325˚ Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Press cookie crust in an even layer over bottom and side, and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove pan and cool. Increase oven temperature to 375˚

Combine ricotta, eggs, egg whites, buttermilk, sugar, vanilla, lime or lemon juice, grated rind and salt in electric blender or food processor. Puree until light and airy. Pour into prepared crust. Place a large pan of water in the bottom of the oven.

Bake cheesecake for 50-60 minutes or until set, checking pan of water occasionally to make sure it hasn’t evaporated. Cool.

Ricotta cheese can be found at Tonjes Farm Dairy and Flour Power Bakery  makes the best cookies around.

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Contributing cooks Wendy Townsend, Anne Willard, Tannic Kowalchuk, and Jen McGlashan are all members of Slow Food UpDeRiVa , email upderiva@gmail.com), a local not-for-profit organization that celebrates and teaches the value of food that is good, clean and fair. UpDeRiVa has a season full of events, classes, and potlucks lined up, so come join us!

Slow Food UpDeRiva Events

Slow Food UpDeRiVa
Forest Walk and Food Preparation/Meal
Nathanial Hawthorne
Saturday, May 14

Cheese Making Class
Linda Smith, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Thursday, June 9

Summer Solstice Celebration
Pot Luck & Bonfire
Trina Polinero, Silver Heights Farm
Tuesday, June 21

Meat Smoking Class
Sam Carroll, Channery Hill Farm
Sunday, June 16

Jam & Jelly Making Class
Jen McClashen, Cannery Hill Farm
Sunday, August 21

Lactofermentation Workshop
Maria Grimaldi, Callicoon Farmers Market
Sunday, August 28

Pot Luck Lunch
Channery Hill Farm
Tuesday, September 13

Fundraising Wine & Cheese Dinner
Saturday, October 1

Cider Making Demonstration
OctoberFest Potluck
Hans Kung
Saturday, October 15

Brazilian Cooking Class
Samba’s
Sunday, October 23

Beer Making Class
Sam Carroll, Channery Hill Farm
Sunday, November 5

Homemade Condiments
Jen McClashan, Channery Hill Farm
Wednesday, November 1

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