This Week's Food

Back to FOOD!

Back to FOOD!

With September fully upon us, lots of people have been eying the Back to School duties, responsibilities and sales. At Family Dinner, we're all about Back to Food.

We spent the past few months indulging on great BBQ, fried seafood and cold beer. We jammed a heroic amount of cheeseburgers into our faces and loved every minute. But with summer winding down, we are ramping up our focus on cooking at home, packing lunches and planning snacks. Doing the sometimes dull, but always essential, work of planning meals to make sure we're eating food we care about and using everything that we have. We're miles from perfect. On a hot day we can still be found eating Cheez-its and Sancerre for dinner. (Hmmm. Cheeeeez-its.)

This week we're excited to have some new goodies; like these Italian Peppers from Busa Farm and mini Watermelons from Brookford Farm.We're excited to see what you make of these! Please share your creations with us: @sharefamilydinner on Facebook and IG. We love seeing what you come up with ! Thank you for letting us be a part of your Back to Food experience!

"C" is for... Carrot?

"C" is for... Carrot?

Carrots are in their full splendor at Busa Farms. We love getting them in the shares while they still have their tops (before the greens wither and they go topless for Fall. Carrots Gone Wild!!!!) They are at peak sugar content and the sweetness makes them a delight to enjoy raw as a snack or shaved into salads.  Here's a few facts on orange gems in your shares:

1. First Use
People first grew carrots as medicine, not food, for a variety of ailments.

2. They're How Old?
Carrots can be traced back about 5,000 years through historical documents and paintings. No one knows exactly when the first carrots appeared, because many people mistook them for parsnips, a close relative of the carrot

3. What's with the babies?
A baby carrot isn't exactly a baby. Baby carrots come from a large carrot that has been rolled over blades and thrown around in a metal cage to be rubbed down to a short, round-ended baby carrot.

4. Averages
Americans eat, on average, 10.6 lbs. of fresh carrots per person per year. At Family Dinner we are fighting the good fight to bring that number WAY up!

5. Eat up, People!
Orange carrots are a great source of beta-carotene. Carrots contain a group of plant pigments called carotenoids, and beta-carotene is a member of this group. These plant pigments were first identified in carrots and therefore their name was derived from the word carrot.

See? Not everything that is bright orange is terrible!

Hello, Ladies.

Hello, Ladies.

There is nothing more joyful than spending time at Brookford Farm. Its expansive beauty and flurries of activity are beyond invigorating. Everything we see and hear makes us think: this is it. This is how is all supposed to be done. This is how food should be grown, how animals should be raised with love and how respect for the Earth should sit at the center of everything we do. This is where we come to get drunk on the organic, family farm Kool-Aid.

In between visits we satiate our cravings for the place by secretly stalking their cows on Instagram. It just feels good.

The ladies that you see pictured (and who have our whole heart) are a part of the Mahoney's ~70 head milking herd from mixed breeds.  Each of these breeds have different characteristics but they are all usually very curious and gentle. At the farm, every one is given a name starting with the same first letter as her mother.

From May through November, after milking,  the cows are lead down the road (check out @sharefamilydinner on IG for the photo!) to their favorite pastures to graze all day and lead back in the evening.  The Mahoney's have four boys and they are known to lead the cows down the road themselves like bovine whisperers in training.

Brookford Farm is the antithesis of modern factory, industrial farming.  Here; knowledge, love and respect are at the root of everything they do. We are beyond proud to work with them and to bring you their products every week.

Magic from Mycoterra

Magic from Mycoterra

Shiitake mushrooms are gobbled up in cuisines around the world and are valued for their depth of flavor and versatility. 

In their natural environment; Shiitake grow in groups on the decaying wood of deciduous trees, such as chestnut, oak, maple, beech, Its natural distribution includes warm and moist climates in southeast Asia.

These 'shrooms come from Julie Coffey at Mycoterra Farm in Western Mass.  Julia travels the world learned about mushrooms and the most ecologically friendly and responsible ways to grow them. She once contacted us while on a truffle tour of Italy. Swoon. 

Julia has a deep respect and love for her product. You can catch a glimpse of her here.  There is also an abiding sense of responsibility to the planet engrained in her work. She says "We grow more than just mushrooms.  We strive to leave the planet better than we found it."

We love the mission, we love the mushrooms and we love sharing her love with you.

In Season Dinner with Forge!!

In Season Dinner with Forge!!

Second IN SEASON DINNER with Forge!

We will once again be partnering the wonderful folks at Forge Baking Co and the masterful brewers of Idle Hands for our second "In Season Dinner"! Join us for all you can eat pizza, beer, and ice cream on Thursday, August 16th! Doors open at 6:30 pm but food will be served throughout the night until 9 pm.

The pizza is made from scratch with fresh ingredients sourced from Family Dinner.

Tickets include:

  • All you can eat pizza
  • All you can eat salad
  • 2 Beers from Idle Hands
  • Ice Cream Bar

Tickets are available here!

Excited to see you there!

Grazing with Fran.

Grazing with Fran.

I spent Monday of this week with Fran Busa at his beautiful farm in Lexington, MA. We wandered through the fields, grazing as we went. Eating the freshest cucumbers, beans, peppers and corn you can find. The corn came right off the stalk and we ate it raw; it was perfectly crisp and sweet. Of course, nothing beats an ear of corn that's been coated in a metric ton of melted butter, but this was amazing. The taste and the experience sang of summer. This photo of him was taken right before he said "Damn. That's good.

Fran and his family have been farming in Lexington since the 1920's. They grow just about everything New England has to offer an you have been seeing the beautiful bounty of their efforts in your shares this summer. They care for the land and for the products because as Fran says:
"We eat what we grow and we live where we grow it".  It was such a joy to be seeing the products we offer you at their source and the passion Fran and his family put into growing them. Thanks for the love, Fran. 

If you love Fran and his veggies, come enjoy them on some pizza and drink some local beers at the In Season Pizza and Beer night!
Join us for all you can eat pizza, beer, and ice cream on Thursday, August 16th! Doors open at 6:30 pm but food will be served throughout the night until 9 pm.

The pizza is made from scratch with fresh ingredients sourced from Family Dinner.

Tickets include:

  • All you can eat pizza
  • All you can eat salad
  • 2 Beers from Idle Hands
  • Ice Cream Bar

More info and tickets available here!

Schwag Bag

Schwag Bag

REUSABLE BAGS ARE IN!


Check out these beauties!!
At Family Dinner we are very conscious of the amount of packaging we use to prep the shares and try to keep it at a minimum. We have been wanting to invest in insulated bags and they finally arrived - we're really excited to deliver in them this weekend!

This is just a trial for now, testing it out to see if it works. We would love your feedback (as always!)

Please try to return these to us every week so that we can clean them and re-use. 

In between deliveries, feel free to carry them around town and spread the word!
Makes for a pretty fancy purse, if you ask us.

Have a great week and enjoy the weather!

Yelp us out!

Yelp us out!

American author Marjorie Liu said:
"Word of mouth is the saving grace of us all. If you love something and you think your friend will love it, just talk about it."

And this is 100% true. Word of Mouth referrals are a powerful, intangible resource for small businesses. So many of you have been kind enough to share your Family Dinner experiences with your friends and co-workers and invite them onto the local food bandwagon. We are incredibly grateful.

We have another favor to ask. If you have been enjoying Family Dinner - would you jot down a quick review for us on Yelp and/or Facebook?

Yelp is a great way to connect people with small businesses like ours and Food is the second most popular topic on the site. Many of our customers also find us on Facebook or Instagram, often through your posts. We would love to be able to share Family Dinner with folks who are exploring better ways to access local food and local farms. So if you had a moment to write us a review, it would mean a lot.

You can find and review us on Yelp here.
You can find and review us on Facebook here.

Now, onto more important news:

THERE ARE DONUTS THIS WEEK!!!

Enjoy. :)

Tad Talk.

Tad Talk.

Yesterday we got to take a pilgrimage to see Tad Largey at Feather Brook Farms in Raynham, MA. Feather Brook is the source of the beautiful poultry, beef and pork that make their way into your shares. Tad, pictured here with his main man Ollie, started Feather Brook Farms in 2013 after a long career in high-end cabinetry.  Before roaming the farm to check in on his new additions we sat at the kitchen table to talk about chicken, overalls and the meaning of life. Here are a few words from him on this mission of his work:

Whats the mission of the farm?: "The mission of Feather Brook Farms is to bring delicious, healthy products to market.”
 
Why does the local food movement matter to you?: "Local agriculture is an insurance policy for the longevity of our community. Instead of being reliant on proteins from 1,000 miles away we are able to grow and eat our own food.”

What do you want people to know about your products?: “I want them to be exceptionally delicious and good for you. The operative word on my farm, what makes everything tic and what makes everything taste good is respect. For everything. For the animal, the environment, for the consumer and community.”

We love Tad and can't get enough of his drive, passion and full-bellied laugh. And, of course, the incredible products he makes.  If you can't get enough either, you can hunt them down some of the Boston area's best restaurants:  The Farmer's Daughter (Easton), Township (Easton), Brassica (JP), Sorellina, MOO, Mistral (Boston) and Alden & Harlow, Parsnip and Waypoint (Cambridge). And of course, in your weekly Family Dinner share (Somerville, baby).

The Basics.

The Basics.

This week's haul of bodacious pork chops from Tad at Feather Brook Farms and  bok choy from Fran at Busa Farms had us pouring over our Asian cookbooks at the dining room table, hunting for ideas.  Cookbooks like Myers and Chang at Home, and David Chang's Momofuku offer delightful recipes that are big on flavor and approachable enough -if you have the right pantry items. Having them on hand broadens the horizon of possibilities for every day cooking and provides flavorful answers to the question: "What the hell do I do with these greens?"

A few things to have on hand:

Fish Sauce
Origin- fish coated in salt and left to ferment
Flavor- Umami all day
Oyster Sauce
Slow simmering oysters until the sauce caramelizes and becomes dark brown and thick. Modern sauces are made with cornstarch and sugar to enhance flavors. More umami. 
Mirin
A staple of Japanese cuisine, Mirin is like sake with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. Common in fish dishes and other sauces.
Soy Sauce
Created over 2,000 years ago is sauce is made of fermented soy beans and adds a rich saltiness to any dish.
Hoisin 
Though the word "hoisin" is Chinese for seafood, there is no fish in this sauce. Instead, it is made of soy beans, fennel, garlic and chilis. Perfect for pork.
Sriracha
A mash up of red chilis, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt- this makes its way to so many dishes in our house. As a topping for eggs, compliment to mayo or base of broths we go through about a bottle a month.

Stock up, and lets get cooking.

Nerd Alert!

Nerd Alert!

In thinking about what to do with these beautiful steaks from Tad, we asked our friend Christine from America's Test Kitchen about the fine art of marinading. She shared a few of Cook's Illustrated facts/hints/myths about this fine art. Get ready to nerd out over marinade.

"Over the years, we've encountered numerous marinade myths. Here are some of them—and why they're untrue.

MYTH: Marinades Penetrate Meat Deeply
FACT: Most Impact is Superficial
Contrary to popular belief, marinades do most of their work on the surface of meat or just below. Some ingredients in a marinade do penetrate the meat—but only by a few millimeters (and oil-soluble herbs and spices in the mix merely add flavor to the exterior). To prove the point, we soaked beef short ribs in red wine for intervals from one hour to 18, then measured the band of purple created by the wine. Our finding? Even after 18 hours of soaking, the wine penetrated less than 1 millimeter. Additional testing with marinated boneless chicken breasts confirmed that the flavors of other kinds of soaking liquids do not penetrate to the center of the meat.
MYTH: Acids Tenderize Meat
FACT: Acids Turn Meat Mushy
To tenderize meat, you have to break down muscle fiber and collagen, the connective tissue that makes meat tough, thus increasing the meat's ability to retain moisture. While acidic ingredients like citrus juice, vinegar, yogurt, buttermilk, and wine do weaken collagen, their impact is confined to the meat's surface. We find that if left too long, acids turn the outermost layer of meat mushy, not tender. To minimize mushiness, we use acidic components sparingly (or cut them out entirely) and only for short marinating times.
MYTH: The Longer the Soak, the Better
FACT: A Long Soak is Pointless—Even Detrimental
Because marinades don't penetrate deeply, a lengthy soak is pointless. Furthermore, too long a soak in an acidic (or enzymatic) marinade can weaken the protein bonds near the surface so that they turn mushy—or worse, can no longer hold moisture and dry out."

This is a great starter. For the full read, check out this article.

Alien Mushrooms

Alien Mushrooms

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ...sustainably-raised, weird-looking but incredibly delicious mushrooms!

We love getting the Lion's Manes from Mycoterra Farms. We have brought you shiitakes before but the Lion's Manes are just a tad harder to come by. We also love this farm and supporting another woman owned business. In their words:

"Mycoterra Farm was founded by Julia Coffey in the woodlands of Westhampton, MA bringing mushrooms to the table of Pioneer Valley’s robust local agricultural economy.  

Buying Mycoterra mushrooms keeps your dollar local and supports local farming and sustainability. Mycoterra mushrooms are handcrafted in small batches and picked fresh for delivery.  We strive to leave the planet better than we found it.  Using agricultural and forestry byproducts as our primary growing mediums, our natural methods of production accelerate decomposition, building soil and cycling nutrients – critical processes for healthy ecosystems.  We use our exhausted substrates as soil amendments on our farm to help restore an old gravel bank, prevent erosion and to build organic matter in our annual and perennial garden beds."

Did you catch all that? Science! Saving the planet one shroom at a time. Nerds with a mission! 
Eat up, friends!

Also, in this week's edition of "Don't Throw that Away I'll Eat it"- Salmon Collars. It's the first time we have brought these to you in the share and we are so excited for you to try them. Bon Appetit Magazine calls them the Spare Ribs of the ocean and they are glorious.