From Tracey Medeiros, author of Dishing Up Vermont and The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook comes a new cookbook showcasing delicious recipes from our state. The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook is a collection of profiles of over 70 local food folks and groups from all over the state including chefs, food producers, and certified-organic farms who are committed to fresh, natural, locally sourced food free of GMOs. (For more information on GMOs – genetically modified organisms, click here.) They have contributed their delicious and unique recipes to this cookbook. Here and in her other cookbooks Medeiros say she strives to “promote community wellness by showcasing foods that are grown in the healthiest, most responsible way.”
This a lovely and substantial cookbook filled with gorgeous photography to accompany profiles and recipes. I really enjoyed reading about all of these local producers, of who they are and how they came to be part of this network of committed Vermonters. All of the farms and food producers included in this cookbook are members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. I’ve been lucky enough to visit several of the farms profiled in this book at the Burlington Farmer’s Market (like Bear Roots Farm, Adams Berry Farm, and Full Moon Farm) and there many in the book I did not know about.
In addition to farms, co-ops, and food producers like Lake Champlain Chocolates (so many delectable chocolates there!), Nitty Gritty Grain Company, and Mad River Distillers, there are snapshots of local chefs like Rhys Lewis, Executive Chef at the Woodstock Inn & Resort, and dining spots like Sweet Simone’s Bakery (one of the stops on our summertime VT Bakery Tour!) and the Juniper Bar & Restaurant at Hotel Vermont.
The Foreword and Introduction of the book share the history of Vermont’s pioneering efforts to bring awareness to the genetically modified organisms being introduced into our foods. The book cites estimates from the Grocery Manufacturers Association that “70 to 80 percent of the packaged foods you can buy on grocery store shelves today contain GMOs.” The presence of GMOs in foods can also be attributed to GMOs in animal feeds. Reading about this, about fights for legislation on food labeling laws, and the stories of these individuals in Vermont who are committed to providing and sourcing organic and non-GMO foods gave me a lot of respect for their dedication and work.
And the work is often not easy. Many of the stories from the farmers and food producers in the book cite long days working the land or in businesses, with friends and family members of all ages pitching in to help. Several talk of multiple moves for their families and businesses in order to find the perfect location for the work they’re doing. To have a farm be certified organic is a process in itself: the land used for growing has to be free of prohibited substances for three years before a farm can label any food grown on it as “organic” and the land is inspected annually. However in all the stories it is clear that their work is a labor of love.
I whipped up three of the recipes in The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook. The first recipe I made was the Farm Fresh Quiche with Potato Crust, a recipe provided by Earthwise Farm and Forest, a draft animal-powered farm in Bethel producing organic, raw milk as well as vegetables, flowers, and poultry.
This recipe is included in the Breakfast & Brunch section of the cookbook, but it was a perfectly filling supper for my family.
A shredded potato crust is first baked empty to crisp it up, then filled with sausage, egg, and cheese and baked again. It was so savory and rich and was the first time I had made a shredded potato crust. We all enjoyed the crunchy texture as the base of our quiche.
The next recipe I tried was the Salted Caramel Dark Sipping Chocolate in the Drinks section. (Me, drawn to a chocolate recipe? I know: shocker.) The was so addictively good, and a big step up from the old Swiss Miss hot chocolate packet.
This recipe comes courtesy of Farmhouse Chocolates & Ice Cream in Bristol. It is a simple mixture of ingredients like milk, cocoa, and vanilla, but it is thick and creamy and a wonderful chocolate indulgence. It’s served with Salted Caramel Sauce, another recipe in the book provided by this chocolate company!
And to go with lunch one Sunday, I made the vibrant Carrot and Spinach Slaw, a recipe from Mighty Food Farm in Shaftsbury. This farm is just a stone’s throw from my hometown of Bennington, and grows organic fruits and veggies, including heirloom varieties not available in stores. The body of this salad is carrot, spinach, and shallot: crunchy and fresh.
The vinaigrette really seals the deal on this slaw though: a sweet and tangy blend that includes soy sauce, Vermont maple syrup, turmeric, and sesame. I could feel my mouth begin to water as I tossed everything together and the aroma filled my kitchen! The recipe recommends refrigerating the slaw for a few hours before serving, but I confess to devouring my first bowl immediately. It’s a great, bright salad that I think will be particularly refreshing through the bleakest days of winter! (That and the Sipping Chocolate, of course.) I have many more pages and recipes dog-eared to try soon, including Coconut Banana French Toast with Strawberry Ginger Butter from Pingala Café & Eatery, Organic Shepherd’s Pie from Freighthouse Market & Café, and Blueberry -Almond Sour Cream Cake from Moonlight Farm.
The cookbook is organized by course and by main components, with the farm and food producer profiles accompanying their recipes. There are also “Sidebars”, which throw a spotlight on and offer tips for a variety of ingredients like goat meat, kohlrabi, delicata squash, and heirloom apples.
The book ends with a directory of all of the farms, businesses, organizations, restaurants, and producers mentioned in the book, so you can procure these delicious and organic foods for yourself!
Learn more about Tracey Medeiros at her website: www.TraceyMedeiros.com, and click on the Events tab to see her upcoming book signing events, including stops at The Vermont Bookshop in Middlebury, J.K. Adams Company & Kitchen Store in Dorset, and Bear Pond Books in Montpelier. She will also be sharing recipes from The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook on WCAX News Channel 3 the morning after Thanksgiving – for all your leftovers!