Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

Join the Campaign for Cooperation

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 @ 10:48 AM

The National Cooperative Development Act of 2011 introduced

On December 15, Congressman Chaka Fattah officially introduced the National Cooperative Development Act - H.R. 3677 on the floor of the House of Representatives.

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Tags: Announcements, Cooperative, Legislation

Fresh and Local! Chestnuts, Rapini and Shallots

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 @ 12:24 PM

Chestnuts from Mark Shepard of New Forest Farm

Ah roasted chestnuts: so evocative of Christmases of old…  If you’ve ever seen our buddy Mark Shepard with his Dickensesque top-hat and black tailed coat roasting his chestnuts for various special community events and smelled & tasted them, you know what I mean.  Yum!  And seasonal treat only are they - these chestnuts are fresh and don’t store long like other nuts.  You need to store them in the refrigerator, preferably in a ventilated plastic bag, & eat them up within a few weeks.  You can peel them & eat them raw, boiled, or sautéed, but they are just so special roasted.  Make sure to pierce through the skin before roasting them, or they may explode (seriously), & roast at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  To cook over an open fire, use a cast iron pan over medium heat.  To boil, cut them in half before dropping into boiling water for a couple minutes, then cool & pop off skins.  You can then use them in any recipe that calls for frozen shelled or canned chestnuts.

Rapini from Snow Goose Farm

Wow! these are some of the most beautiful greens we have ever seen. This variety looks a bit different than the rapini we commonly see out of CA, also called “broccoli raab”.  They look a lot like mustard greens, but don’t have the bite – instead they have the mild sweet brassica flavor of rapini.   Cook them as you would chard or spinach:  just barely, if you want to preserve optimum nutrition, color, & texture.  Store in plastic in the fridge (if you can find a bag big enough!) with a paper towel & use up within a week.  

Shallots from Ridgeland Harvest

Shallots are more than just expensive little onions that are annoying to peel.  Their intriguing mix of flavors (think sweet onion/fresh garlic/braised leeks) are more concentrated yet less harsh than storage onions, so a little bit often goes a long way, either raw or cooked.  They are extensively used in French as well as many Asian cuisines.  Store on the counter for a couple weeks or in a dark, cool place for months.

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Tags: Local, Farm, Produce, Organic

Bring a little Brie into your Holiday!

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Mon, Dec 12, 2011 @ 10:44 AM

Cole Meredith, Cheese Buyer

Legend has it that in the eighth century, French Emperor Charlemagne first tasted this soft cheese at a monastery. When Charlemagne began to cut away the rind of the cheese, a bishop promptly interceded, telling the Emperor  that he was setting aside the best part of the cheese. After trying the Brie - skin and all - Charlemagne apparently ordered that large quantities of Brie should be shipped to him annually. The favorites of kings eventually became favorites of the people, and Brie was no exception.
These days, people all over the world enjoy brie cheese, although the most authentic varieties are crafted meticulously in France. Brie has a very fragile curd that is easily broken and requires a special room built only for the use of making Brie and Triple Creme. It has to maintain just the right temperature or the maturation process will not work. Serving Brie cheese properly consists of allowing it to come to room temperature first. It’s always good served with some kind of wine – a bossy red usually does the trick. My favorite has always been the Cuma made with organic grapes, from the Michel Torino Estate – paired with the Reny Picot or Belletoile triple cream bries (as well as a bit of warm baguette), it is a combo that just can’t be beat.
French brie is a delicious, versatile, and elegant appetizer for any holiday gathering, but the best part is that it is extremely simple, as well! Below is a recipe I made as an appetizer for my family last year – I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Tags: Cheese, Recipes

The Perennial Plate Ep. 82: In the name of Queens

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Mon, Dec 05, 2011 @ 12:39 PM

The Perennial Plate Episode 82: In the name of Queens from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

This is the story of a halal slaughterhouse in Queens. It is a bit graphic at times, but the culture, history and passion behind the business is fascinating.

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Tags: The Perennial Plate