From Tracey Medeiros, author of Dishing Up Vermont and The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook comes a cookbook showcasing delicious non-GMO recipes from the Green Mountain state.
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Collected in The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook by Tracey Medeiros are profiles of over 70 local food folks and groups from all over the state: 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've contributed their delicious and unique recipes to this cookbook.
Here and in her other cookbooks Medeiros says she strives to "promote community wellness by showcasing foods that are grown in the healthiest, most responsible way."
Medeiros is the author of The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook and Dishing Up Vermont. This is a lovely and substantial cookbook filled with gorgeous photography to accompany the profiles and recipes. I really enjoyed reading about all of these local producers and how they came to be part of this network of committed Vermonters.
The Vermont businesses featured in this cookbook
All of the farms and food producers included in The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook are members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. I've been lucky enough to purchase goods from 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 are many in the book I learned about for the first time.
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.
What's the deal with GMOs?
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 speak of multiple moves for their families and businesses in order to find the perfect location for the work they're doing.
Getting a farm in Vermont to be certified organic is a process in itself: the land used for growing has to be free of prohibited substances for three years before the farm can label any food grown there as "organic", and has to be inspected annually. However, in all the stories it's clear that their work is a labor of love.
Now, on to the tasty recipes!
I whipped up three of the recipes in The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook. 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.
Farm Fresh Quiche with a Potato Crust
The first recipe I made was provided by Earthwise Farm and Forest, a draft animal-powered farm in Bethel producing organic, raw milk as well as vegetables, flowers, and poultry.
The 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.
Salted Caramel Dark Sipping Chocolate
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!
Carrot and Spinach Slaw
To go with lunch one Sunday, I made the 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 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!
Check out this book for yourself
Here's another Vermont cookbook you should check out: Maple by Katie Webster