Monday, April 14, 2014

Susie Middleton: a newly minted farm girl's inspired recipes

Formerly chief editor of Fine Cooking magazine, Susie Middleton ditched the desk job for growing things and raising chickens on Martha's Vineyard, as well as continuing to develop delicious recipes for all of her provender. (It's a nice switch on the old song "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?") Her previous cookbooks include Fast, Fresh & Green and The Fresh and Green Table; we're carrying her latest called Fresh from the Farm. Susie seems like a really fun, cool, and centered person. Here's her own introduction to the book.

Yummy-sounding (and looking) recipes in Fresh from the Farm include main dishes like Spicy Thai Shrimp and Baby Bok Choy Stir-Fry and Winter Green Market Meatloaf; Susie’s signature starters and sides include Grill-Roasted Fingerlings with Rosemary, Lemon, Sea Salt  & Fresh Corn Vinaigrette, and Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Farm Stand Veggies. It's a very personal cookbook, after reading which you'll feel like you've visited with a friend who is eager to share her hard-won knowledge about cultivating crops and her enthusiasm about thinking up delicious ways to serve them.
I can't wait to try the Winter Green Market Meatloaf, which she says is one of her favorites: "I named it that because I first made it with the goodies I got at our Winter Farmers’ Market—including onions, carrots, kale (yes, kale), local feta cheese, and local ground pork and beef. The meatloaf is terrifically moist and tasty, and the sauce on the outside has a great zing to it."
Winter Green Market Meatloaf Recipe. "Tossing the veggies and plenty of garlic into the food processor makes a finely minced mixture perfect for lightening up meatloaf. I always eat at least a nibble of this warm out of the oven, but resting for a few minutes is a good idea; it will be easier to slice. It’s also delicious leftover, reheated or even cold, pâté style." Serves: 4 to 6
¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs (about 1 English muffin)
3 tablespoons milk
½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 large carrot (about 3 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 small onion (about 4 ounces), coarsely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 small serrano pepper, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
2 cups (packed) coarsely chopped kale (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound 80 to 85% ground beef
½ pound ground pork
3 ounces crumbled good-quality feta cheese
1 large egg
Kosher salt; freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (lightly packed) chopped fresh oregano
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed heavy-duty baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl and mix. Let sit. In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire, brown sugar, soy sauce, and Dijon.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the carrots, onions, garlic, serranos, and kale. Pulse until very finely chopped, scraping down the sides as necessary to incorporate the kale.
In a medium (10-inch) nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the chopped veggies and ½ teaspoon salt. (The pan will be crowded.) Cook, stirring, until gently softened and very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool (about 10 minutes).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the veggies, beef, pork, feta, egg, several grinds of pepper, the oregano, ½ teaspoon salt, the breadcrumb mixture, and 3 tablespoons of the ketchup mixture (reserve the rest for brushing on the loaf). Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly without mashing too much. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and shape into a long, narrow loaf about 9 inches long and 4 inches wide. Spoon the rest of the ketchup mixture down the length of the top of the loaf and gently spread or brush it over the sides.
Bake the meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer registers 160° to 165°F, 55 to 60 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe copyright Susie Middleton, 2014, from Fresh from the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories (The Taunton Press, 2014).
Click here for Susie's template for a "Warm Salad of Roasted Root Veggies and Winter Greens." I am also enamored of her recipes for gazpacho, guacamole, ginger-peanut noodles, greens & noodles (tuscan kale),  carrots & shallots, and roasted beet jewels.
If you're interested in various aspects of choosing, growing, or preserving healthy, delicious food—and who isn't?—then have a look at the latest Daedalus Books Forum, called "The Simple Life: Ideas to Nourish and Sustain." We've curated books that highlight cooking with fresh ingredients, that inspire going local, that talk about protecting the environment, and that celebrate "homesteading" (growing, making, and preserving your own victuals!).

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