Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Chicken Foil Packs
One of our most frequently asked questions about cooking the meat in the share is "What should I do with the chicken?" I was having that conversation with a new member recently when another member offered a GREAT idea! Rachel very generously took the time to write her method up, so I can share it with all of you...enjoy!
This works well with a half chicken on the bone. If I only have a whole I'll cut it in half. I'll do up to three at a time and season them all differently. May need to cook a bit longer if oven is really full. I'll do this on a Sunday afternoon or evening since I'm generally puttering around the kitchen anyway.
Place chicken on large square of tinfoil. Season as desired then wrap the foil up around the chicken with a small vent at the top. As if it were a crab rangoon or purse dumpling. Bake in the oven at about 375 for 45mins to 1hr depending on size of chicken. I pierce with a knife at the joint and make sure juices run clear to check it's done. All the juice is staying in that foil pouch anyway so you're not loosing moisture. Allow chicken to cool in foil pouch. Close foil over top so it's sealed and store in fridge until you want to eat it. Shred off the bone and you're done. Great for pastas, stir fry or fry rice, salads, soup, tacos - anything in a South American vein works well.
Notes- You will never get crispy skin doing this. But you will get fat and moisture. I just peel the skin off before I shred the meat. Also, the juices and fat will congeal at the bottom of the foil packet. I'll heat that gel up in a pan and use that instead of oil or butter if I'm reheating the chicken. That gel adds yummy flavor to pasta sauces, too. You can leave seasoning large - whole garlic cloves, a whole chipotle pepper etc because they are in such cozy quarters with the chicken so the flavor will permeate and be lovely. A lot of those larger seasonings can be added to the end dish.
These are my favorite seasonings for the pouches...all plus salt, pepper and a little rub of oil.
Half a lemon, big sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme or a good TBSP of dry herbs, and whole, peeled garlic cloves.
Lots of grated ginger, sesame oil, Chinese 5 spice and a big squirt of Sriracha.
Packet of taco seasoning, a halved lime, and a TSP of adobo sauce.
Olives, sun dried tomatoes (fresh tomatoes do not do well!), and a TSP of dried tarragon. Reconstitute it all with some white wine and add the shredded chicken for a very yummy pasta sauce.
Hope you like it! I was finding myself putting off making the chicken because I didn't have time in the evenings. This makes life so much easier.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
CVSF 2013 Living, Learning, and Leading
What’s going on…on and off the farm?
In 2013, we are refocusing on our core – Family, Community, and CVSF.
As many of you know we are trying to purchase this farm…that process is ongoing. We’re finding that this entails MANY moving parts. To borrow a relationship term, it’s complicated. We’re persevering while staying open to other paths to securing our farming future. Long-term land tenure is a HUGE issue across agriculture and an area of common ground between conventional and sustainable producers. Through his position on the Illinois Local, Food, Farms, and Jobs Council, Jody hopes to influence policy that addresses the whole while learning ways to solve our very small piece. We’ll keep you posted.
On the 19th, CVSF will partner with our hosts at Wine Styles in Naperville for a tasting. We hope to have additional tasting events at our other sites throughout the year. On the 28th we’ll headline the North Center neighborhood CSA Night at Begyle Brewing – a new brewer that offers a beer CSA. March 2nd takes us back to the Hideout for a Farmer Talent Show and CSA Fair. On March 16th will be at UIC for the Good Food Festival. Along with Peasants Plot and Radical Root farms, we’ll staff the CSA Info – Ask a Farmer Booth.
We are working on our presentation materials for the education events we have next month, and we’re excited to be taking the whole family to the Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference at the end of February; and presenting there for the first time. It’s so nice to fill our heads with new ideas while connecting with so many friends who are working so hard to change the world. Plus, the boys get to hang out with friends and play in the indoor pool!
All this activity is to grow the farm and the CVSF business. To that end, we will add a delivery site in the NW Suburbs. Look for details in our February newsletter. We hope to have a site up and going by the time we do our March CSA events. Last fall we made the decision to either add a farmers market or a delivery site to grow. It seemed saner to add a site than another farmers market, so that’s what we’re doing. We’ll continue our June through October schedule at the Logan Square Farmers Market.
In the past few months, Beth has lost two cousins -men whom we wish we’d known better. We've decided that funerals should not be the sole event that reconnects a family. A reunion is being planned. In March, we’ll be sending Duncan to Texas to stay with Jody’s parents for a couple of weeks. Richard did this a couple of years ago, and it continues a tradition of a grandchild (Duncan will be the sixth of seven) getting to spend special time with them.
Richard continues to play club soccer for the Chicago Magic. He and Duncan are teaming up for an entry in the Destination Imagination competition this spring. Beth is their coach mentor. Jack starts basketball at the YMCA this week; and Jody is looking forward to coaching all three boys in a spring soccer league. Richard and Duncan will be on the same team for the first time!
The family is making good use of their winter Y membership and staying active. Jody is training for a half-marathon in April and will return to the Spartan Race in July. Several 5k races (in delivery neighborhoods) are planned as well.
In the office/at the computer Beth is working on redesign of our website and is creating our new blog site, Opinionated Peasants. Look for news of its debut next month. Jody is working hard at getting some great content written for that venture. Don’t be surprised if he sends out a request for a guest post now and again!
On the farm we’re increasing our pig herd, we may add a couple of cows, and we’ll be training a new set of livestock guardian dogs (to back fill our current pack) and adopt out a working pair to another farm. One of our females, Sasha, had pups a few weeks ago. Also, we’ll continue our regular chicken and egg production. That has, happily, has become routine – as long as we keep getting good help, of course.
Whew! Here’s to a productive 2013 for all of us!
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Throughout the year, an ongoing highlight was bringing great meat to you, our wonderful members. We could not do any of this without you and we want to say thanks, as always for making what we do possible. We didn't become farmers because we were activists, but we've become activists because we see the need for more farmers, more infrastructure and more consumers w
ho have access to good clean and fair food.
In January we added 3 new delivery locations, at the Lakeview and Edgewater locations of Uncommon Ground Restaurant and in south suburban Frankfort.
Jody and Duncan attended the MOSES conference in Feb. and had a great time hanging out with friends (and I think Jody went to some workshops too :-) Jody accepted a leadership position on the board of the IL Food Farms & Jobs Council.
The whole family had a great time at the InHome (homeschool) conference in March. And later that month Beth traveled to Memphis to speak at the National Women in Agriculture Education conference. While she was gone Jody & the boys went to Springfield to participate in Illinois Stewardship Council's annual Local Food Lobby Day.
In April our meat chickens began arriving, launching us into the annual busyness that is know here as "Chicken Season"
In May Jody helped select grant recipients for the first annual FACT Fund-a-Farmer grants. (Deciding among worthy projects to give money to is tough work, but fun!)
Then July - Inn Serendipity Reunion *YEAH*! Our annual 4th of July trip to spend a few days visiting friends, camping, and generally relaxing. Thanks to our FANTASTIC staffer Justin, we were able to be away and know that the animals were well cared for, even in the extreme heat. July was also notable for Richard's week in Chicago, interning at the Field Museum (made possible by members Barbara & Neal).
August saw Duncan go to his first sleep away camp (Mom was more worried about it then he was.), LOTS more heat, and very little rain. The drought's impact on our farm was mitigated by a great deal of extra work keeping chickens supplied with cool water. It was a tough summer, but overall we did OK.
September brought the VERY EXCITING news that Beth would get to attend Terra Madre as a delegate.
Then in October (while she was gone) Jody completed a grueling 9 mile mud and obstacle filled Spartan Race in a very respectable time (just under 3 hours).
In November the family spent a day at the Chicago Toy & Game Show, where Duncan participated in the Young Inventor's Challenge. We had a great time, and got a jump on Christmas shopping!
Finally, December found us presenting to the State-line Farm Beginnings class and participating in Illinois Stewardship Alliance's annual meeting.
As always, a busy, hectic, fun filled, fulfilling year!