Howdy. They call me Stew.
Soup is a healing force—a cozy sweater, exuding comforting warmth. Stew, on the other hand, is like taking a steep hike where the sunrise view is waiting at the summit. Stew invigorates while it soothes, and things can get a little rugged out there. But that’s where the adventure begins.
As New England dips into the colder temperatures, the hearty proteins and root vegetables we’re receiving are ideal foundations for a rib-sticking roast, soup, or (yup) stew. Get in on a smoky gumbo. Toot your horn at a tagine. Corral your strength with chankonabe. Your one-pot wonder is out there. Share it with us @sharefamilydinner!
Did you know? The “traditional” carrot color is 🥕(orange), but did you know at one point carrots were commonly yellow, white, or purple instead? This food peculiarity (like almost always) has to do with politics and power—particularly with the Dutch House of Orange.
In the poetic words of Wyclef Jean, we are Gone 'til December. (Fine. Technically he says November. We improvised.)
You should have received some of this information from us in many ways but here it is again- we wanted to reiterate there are No Deliveries on Saturday, Nov 24. Our team will be spending time with family and taking the Saturday after Thanksgiving off. We imagine that you'll have plenty of leftovers to sustain you through the following week. We'll be back with a vengeance the following week (with anything but more turkey).
Ok! Onto the good stuff!
We have pizza dough from Forge this week. Get your quiet Homemade Pizza and Sweatpants Night on before you have to put up with your relatives for the next few days.
Here are some extremely detailed dough instructions from Jen, one of the owners of Forge:
Take dough out of the fridge an hour before you want to bake (move the dough from the freezer to the fridge the day before you want to bake). Keep it wrapped and let it expand in a warm spot for an hour.
If using a sheet pan:
Preheat the oven to 500*
Use your hands to coat a cookie sheet in lots of olive oil. Unwrap the dough onto the oiled pan and use your well-oiled hands to pat the dough into an oval. Gently push the edges of the dough outwards, following the shape of the pan until the dough reaches the size and shape you want. If you feel resistance, let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes and try again. Use lots of oil (it's delicious) and gentle pressure - don't tear the dough!
Top the dough with salt and pepper and then spread out the toppings of your choice. Lower the oven to 450*. Bake until the edges of the crust look brown and the cheese (if applicable) is melted. For a crispier crust, bake just the dough for 5 minutes before adding any toppings.
If using a pizza stone:
Preheat the oven and stone to 500*
Flour a counter or the peel very well and flour your hands. Unwrap the dough ball onto the floured surface and pat into a flat round. Add more flour if you feel stickiness. Shaping on the peel (or whatever surface you will slide the dough off of) use gentle outward pressure on the edges of the dough to reach the desired shape. If you feel any resistance, cover the dough and let it rest for 10-15 minutes and try again. Don't let the dough tear. Before adding any toppings check to make sure that the dough slides freely on the peel. Add more flour as necessary.
Brush off any excess flour and oil the entire top of the dough with olive oil. Add salt and pepper and any toppings. Slide the dough onto the hot pizza stone and lower the oven to 450*. Bake until crust is brown and cheese is melted. For a crispier crust, bake the dough for 5 minutes before adding any toppings beside oil and seasoning.
You should have received an email from us earlier this week but we wanted to repeat this here:
No Deliveries on Saturday, Nov 24. Our team will be spending time with family and taking the Saturday after Thanksgiving off. We imagine that you'll have plenty of leftovers to sustain you through the following week. We'll be back with a vengeance the following week (with anything but more turkey).
Ok! onto the good stuff! This week we have ramen noodles from Valicenti Pasta. Serious Eats has a comprehensive ramen overview that begins as a love letter:
"Hi, I'm ramen. You may remember me from such bowls as "First Dish I Learned to Cook On My Own," the ever-popular "Morning After Peach Schnapps-Fueled College Dorm Room Party," "Don't Tell Mom The Microwave Is Dead"
Despite its popularity among the cash-strapped and the sodium-starved, the world or ramen extends far beyond the instant variety we grew up on. Originating in China, alkaline noodles served in soupy broth have been in Japan for well over a century, but like pizza in America, only became widespread after World War II. Troops returning from overseas had developed a taste for the stretchy noodles, and the inexpensive ingredients—wheat flour, bones, and vegetables—made them an attractive dish for restaurants to serve."
Ramen can take a lot of forms. It can be an extremely intricate dish, taking 3 days to make a good broth, or we can dial it way back and just count con a delicious, salty bowl of happiness.
We are excited to have this and some spicy mustard greens, and earthy shiitake mushrooms to spike your creativity and fill your bowls (and tummies) with something warm and inviting as the temperatures drop.
We love bringing your fish from Red's Best not only because it is caught at the peak of freshness - but because Red's Best believes in supporting local fishermen and elevating their hard work. Its also insanely tasty. Red's takes the task of having you know your fisherman to heart because traceability is key. They even share a few portraits of the hundreds of men and women who are your fishermen.
We love Red's Best because we believe in what they do and they save us from eating a bowl of Halloween candy for dinner. (Again.)
Bird, Bird, Bird. Bird is the Word.
That 1963 Song by the (unfortunately named) surf rock band The Trashmen may no longer be gracing the Top 40 but it is still indelibly, and maybe, annoyingly lodged in people's brains. At least it is in ours when we think about Tad and his beautiful chickens. Each time we get the whole birds, we are so happy to share them with you. They are delivered fresh, not frozen. We don't want to get dark here, but those chickens were alive on Tuesday. They were processed lovingly, and with respect by Tad himself that same day. You will not find fresher, more delicious meat. And yes. We have use this photo of Tad before. What of it? We love the guy and what he does. His daughter Shannon has started working with Family Dinner and we couldn't be more thrilled.
One of our rockstar members Mel has serious love for the whole chicken. She's been with Family Dinner since day 1 and sees the birds as a real benchmark of her learning as a talented home chef: " I would say the whole chickens are definitely a symbol for me of the growth I’ve made as a home cook since we started with family dinner. They used to intimidate me. I felt like I could never find a recipe that worked and then I didn’t know what to do with the leftovers and I felt guilty about how much I let go bad and had to throw out. Now, I get so excited when they come. I found an awesome recipe and I use the leftovers to make a kickass chicken salad." Kickass, just like you Mel.
Using the whole animal is hugely important to us. And a salient point this week, because these birds are huge! Consider it a practice round for Thanksgiving. And don't forget- you can still order your Thanksgiving Birds through Family Dinner!
Here is a link to the food section of the Podcast. It was so much fun to talk about the mission of Family Dinner and the wonderful farms and members who make it all possible. Thank you to all of you!
Also this week we have incredible pork chops from Heritage Pigs from Feather Brook Farms. Recipe directly from Tad below!
As you can see, the Graphics Department here at Family Dinner is deeply DIY. Hopefully you'll forgive our foul fowl drawings.
Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away! For this holiday we have two great options for you. We are partnering with Steve Hurd from Hurd Farm in Hampton, NH. The farm has been family owned and operated since 1923 and pasture raises their poultry without antibiotics or hormones. They sell out every year!
We also have amazing Chickens on sale from Tad at Feather Brook Farms. Many of our members have called this the tastiest chicken they've ever eaten!
Place your order by Sunday evening (Nov 18) and we will deliver right to your door on Tuesday, giving you plenty of time to prepare these beautiful birds.
Chickens range from 4-15 lbs. Turkeys range from 12-30 lbs. If you’re ordering a smaller bird, we recommend 2 lbs per person. If you’re ordering a big bird, we recommend ordering 1-½ lbs per person.
We recommend ordering early! These guys are limited!
NEWS FLASH! FRIDAY NIGHTS!
Did you know that we post this on Friday Nights on our blog?
You can find it under "This Week's Food" on our website!
Thursday we took a trip to Couët Farm and Fromagerie to get the fresh, delightful cheese you find in your shares this week. This little slice of heaven is located in Dudley, MA and is run by Marie-Laure Couët, her mom Marie-Christine Zolcinski Couët and their tight-knit and talented team.
Touring their sparkling clean, fastidiously organized (my favorite!) facility was a marvel. Watching Catrin do the affinage in the cave (pictured) with incredible efficiency and respect for the product was to watch an expert at her craft. It was exhilarating.
We also love the mission of this woman-owned business:
"At Couët Farm & Fromagerie, we create unique, award-winning cheese for your every meal; old-world heart meets new-world innovation.We believe that food should nourish your soul and that everything we do should support and empower our community. Our mission is to be a sustainable family business that creates beautiful, delicious, wholesome cheeses."
And speaking of those beautiful cheeses, this week we have Herbed Adelisca. From Marie-Laure:
"Adelisca is a fluffy, citrus, fresh cow's milk cheese, perfect for spreading on crusty, toasted bread and crackers. This cheese is named after my great grandmother from Québec, mother of thirteen children. As was the woman, Adelisca the cheese is versatile. It loves garlic and chives as a summer breakfast spread (...) Missing sour or heavy cream or ricotta? Adelisca wants to help! This cheese is made from pasteurized Holstein and Jersey milk from our neighbors at Walnut Lane Farm in Dudley. It is un-aged and offered at its peak brightness and freshness."
We are excited to feature this cheese for the first time and can't wait to hear what you think!
As much as the first changing leaves may fill some with existential dread, there is a bounty on the farms. Pears growing next to corn, eggplants hobnobbing with bright red peppers. Its a delightful mix to play with in the kitchen and pull yourselves away from the Nightly News. (speaking of existential dread...)
As always, we love to hear and see what you are making! Tag us in anything you share. We seeing what you make and festering in our own FOMOoF (Fear of Missing Out on Food).
We have had a few customers tell us about their love for certain products. Meg told us that she has a deep, personal connection to the pecan rolls from Iggy's Bread. We heard from Amy that wants to be in a committed, serious relationship with the Chorizo from Tad at Feather Brook Farms.
We hear you and we get it. We have similar food crushes and cravings. Can we get more Lion's Mane mushrooms in our lives? Can Red's always be pulling fresh scallops out of the ocean? We have started longing for certain ingredients the way we pine after dishes from our childhood. Dad's eggs and grits, Mom's chicken croquettes and beef stew. It's all becoming the Family in Family Dinner. We are giddy with delight. Thank you all for you love and support and for one year of Family Dinner.
It is an honor and a joy to be on this adventure with you.
It's official. Family Dinner is turning 1 and we couldn't be prouder.
Its been a long and exciting year of learning, growth and delicious, delicious food.
None of this would have been possible with out the patient support and forgiveness of our wonderful network of farmers, fisherman, bakers, makers, drivers and packers. They show up and bring their best in the 90 degree heat waves and the depths of a miserable New England winter.
We owe a huge thanks to our moms, to our friends and to anyone with two ears who has had to listen to us drone on and on about local agriculture and how its going to change the world.
More than anything, we owe a huge thank you to our members; who believe in the mission, who love good food and who put up with our terrible jokes.
We are elated to run this business and humbled to have all of you along for the ride.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Erin, Tim and Frank the Dog
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