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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Potluck delights

By MARY MCCLINTOCK

Food doesn’t have to be elaborate to be delightful ... the Week of Winter Fare local food potlucks in Ashfield and Conway last weekend were proof of that. Purple top turnips mashed with butter, salt, and pepper, squash mashed with apple slices and butter, roast beef in mustard-enhanced sauce, cut-your-own micro-greens from Simple Gifts Farm and locally grown popcorn were just a few of the simply delightful dishes we enjoyed.

I followed my own “easy potluck recipe” advice and took applesauce and egg salad to both potlucks. I made applesauce with Cortland apples from Clarkdale and egg salad with Diemand Farm eggs. Both were simple and tasty!

Clarkdale will be open until at least the end of February, Fridays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They have LOTS of great eating and cooking apples as well as cider. I chatted with Clarkdale farm store staffer Laura Tupper when I bought big bags of Goldrush apples to dry for the months ahead. We discussed the “to peel or not to peel apples for drying” question. We agreed they’re fine with peels on, although Laura said some of their customers think they’re better peeled. Visit www.clarkdalefruitfarms.com or call 413-772-6797.

I really enjoyed the daikon dish that Vivian Leskes brought to Ashfield (see recipe below). Vivian stores the root vegetables she grows in Wendy and Richard Ray’s root cellar because she doesn’t have her own. She stores daikon, carrots, parsnips, beets, rutabaga and turnips in bushel baskets layered with slightly dampened wood chips. Every week or so, she dampens the top layer of chips.

Janet Clark of Steady Lane Farm in Ashfield brought VERY tasty roast beef and told us about managing her farm to enhance the soil, using rotational grazing and other practices that keep both the cows and soil healthy.

Thinking about Janet’s grass-fed beef reminded me to ask my friend, Diane Sievers, for her corned beef recipe. Planning ahead for St. Patrick’s Day? Now’s the time to start brining beef. See below for Diane’s recipe, learned from her mother while growing up on a farm in Iowa. Check with Janet at Steady Lane to see if she has any beef brisket available (www.steadylanefarm.com or 413-628-4689).

Other sources of local grass-fed beef include Hager’s Farm Market on Route 2 in Shelburne (www.hagersfarmmarket.net), Bostrom Farm in Greenfield (www.bostromfarm.com), Wheel-View Farm in Shelburne (www.wheelviewfarm.com), and Sidehill Farm in Hawley (www.sidehillfarm.net).

PSSSST! Valentine’s Day is this Friday! I know your sweetie would love freesias grown in LaSalle’s Florist’s heavenly scented greenhouses (off Routes 5 & 10 in Whately, www.lasalleflorists.com.) That scent and vivid color any time of year, but it’s especially delightful when it’s cold and snowy outside.

This Week We’re Preparing ...

Corned Beef

By Diane Sievers, South Deerfield

for brine:

Dissolve ½ tsp. saltpeter in ¼ C. lukewarm water

Add 2 T. brown sugar

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 T. mixed pickling spices

1 C. salt dissolved in 2 quarts warm water

Pour Brine over 5 to 6 pound brisket of beef in stone crock and cover meat with weighted plate to keep it under the brine. Store in cool place for about 3 weeks. Turn occasionally.

To cook:

Remove meat from brine. Cover with fresh cold water, bring to boil, simmer 1 hour. Drain, cover with fresh cold water, and ADD:

1 tsp. whole cloves

1 tsp. allspice

4 Bay leaves

Red pepper

Garlic salt

1 onion sliced

Bring liquid to a boil and simmer until meat is tender.

This Week We’re Eating ...

Sauteed Daikon

By Vivian Leskes, Ashfield

This is a modified version of a recipe I learned from a Japanese cook.

Saute grated daikon in sesame oil with lots of chopped garlic. When soft, stir in soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and nutritional yeast.

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