Tag: recipe

President’s Blog – The Joy of Shopping!

By Pete Woltz, IFC Board President

A big THANKS to all who shopped and provided product at the Coop in January.  It appears we are on track, once again, to meet our projections!  Sometimes I ask myself, how is this modest success possible in this world of ever increasing competition for our member’s food dollar?

Here is why we shop.  Each weekday morning my wife, Cindy, and I wake up to news reports describing chaos in the world.  We hear warnings, criticisms, and insults from local news shows, CNN, MSNBC , and the like.  On Saturday mornings, however, we wake up to a different view of the world.  We watch Bob Ross reruns of “The Joy of Painting” on PBS.

Bob passed away in 1995 but his unique style of painting and “therapy for the weary” lives on through reruns.   He describes the world he creates on canvas while he paints:

  • “You can do anything you want to do. This is your world”
  • “We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents”
  • “You can put as many or as few as you want in your world”
  • “There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend”
  • “Talk to the tree, make friends with it”
  • “Maybe in our world there lives a happy little tree over there”


Why is this relevant?  It is because “The Joy of Painting” reruns give Cindy and I the same sensation that we get from shopping at the Coop.  In this world of breaking news, convenience stores, and 140 word tweets, shopping the Coop is our food gathering therapy.  Shopping the Coop allows us to calmly plan our meals, on our own time, from the hundreds of listed Coop products.  We enjoy reading about the “happy worlds” of those who produced our meals.  In our world, this sure beats grabbing a quick meal from the deli! 

The Coop is “Slow Shopping” at its best.    What are your reasons for shopping the Coop?   

Now we all have the opportunity to share our “Coop” experience with more kindred souls in our community.   Kelly Tagtow, Lisa Bean,  Loulou Dickey, and Gary Huber have developed a program which offers free 90 day trial memberships to people belonging to selected clubs, businesses, or organizations.  We could use your assistance by helping us to identify qualifying groups then distributing our literature.   Help us spread “The Joy of Shopping”.  Comment on this blog or email Gary at gary@iowafood.coop with your ideas for Trial Membership groups.

Curry-Spiced Lemon Marinated Lamb Chop Recipe

– Courtesy of Steve Wedel, Windy Knoll Lambs

Here is a recipe we often use to prepare our lamb chops, which are on sale right now. It’s become one of our favorites; the marinade really compliments the characteristics of lamb meat. Recently we served it to a group of friends as part of the evening meal. Everyone enjoyed it…even those eating lamb for the 1st time!

Curry-Spiced Lemon Marinated Lamb Chops
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. grated onion
1 Tbsp. chile powder
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground ginger

To make the marinade, combine the marinade ingredients (which will make enough for 6-8 chops) and marinade the chops at least 2-3 hours or overnight. We like to do ours on the grill. Grill over medium heat until desired degree of doneness. Or try baking them at 300* on a rack (such as a cookie cooling rack) placed over a cookie sheet pan. This allows the fat to drip off. If you like to pan-fry be sure to remove as much excess fat as possible as the fat gives an unwanted flavor.

IFC President’s Blog – Holy Rutabagas!

By Pete Woltz, IFC Board President

On behalf of the Board and all of the IFC producers, I would like to THANK everyone who purchased products during our December cycles.  Give yourselves a hearty round of applause.  Your coop exceeded its budgeted revenue by nearly 20% and realized one of the IFC’s best months ever!  

Contributing to the surge was a large listing of nearly 1100 products.   Producers, please take a bow for providing a remarkably wide range of products for a winter month.   In addition to our staple of delicious baked goods, home grown meats, eggs, and cheese, we continued to see fall favorites like Swiss chard, kale, spinach, potatoes, carrots, apples, and rutabagas.   New products included pasta and artisan bacon.  Really, IFC producers are the greatest! 

Board News

The Board met December 17th and was introduced to our new IFC home page.  Slideshow graphics and bulleted features are designed to more clearly demonstrate the IFC experience to first time visitors.  This is important because Kelly Tagtow and the Marketing committee are launching a ‘Trial Membership’ campaign in select locations such as health clubs, restaurants, and churches.  We anticipate many new visitors to our site in the near future.

Keep an eye on the new products in the upcoming months.  The Producers committee chairwoman, Shanen Ebersole, is aggressively reaching out to area producers offering unique products.  Is there a product you would like to see listed?  Let us know at info@iowafood.coop.

The one thing we all have in common as members of the IFC is a passion for food.   We love to eat the area’s best locally grown foods and we love to COOK the area’s best locally grown foods.   It only stands to reason, then, that among our ranks are some really good chefs.  Lisa Bean is on a crusade, as chairwoman of the Consumers committee, to expose our membership’s culinary expertise in the form of a Chef’s Blog.  Do you have a favorite recipe?   Let us know at info@iowafood.coop.

What would a first board meeting be without a group picture?

From left to right are Lisa Bean, Carrie Cook, Dan Beougher, Shanen Ebersole, Pete Woltz and,  Joe Monahan.  Not shown are Kelly Tagtow and Carrie Williams

The new board officers include myself as President, Shanen Ebersole as VP of Producers, Lisa Bean as VP of Consumers, Carrie Cook as Treasurer, Carrie Williams as Secretary, and Kelly Tagtow as VP of Marketing.

Shop the IFC!

Let’s go for another record month in January.  Treat yourself to the best local food on the planet.  The cart is open.

Pete Woltz


IFC President’s Blog

Pete & Cindy Woltz

Pete and Cindy Woltz at the Farmer’s Market

Hi. Pete Woltz here with Timber Ridge Cattle Company. I want take this opportunity to thank the IFC board members for having the confidence in me to elect me as IFC President.  It is a great honor.

Part of what I want to do as your President is periodically write about important IFC topics.  I’ll start with a short story that is related to what our coop means to me.My sister-in-law’s family fled Cuba in the 60’s to take up residence here in the “land of the free”.  My sister in-law’s father, whose name was Pastor, soon began to miss the intimacy of his Cuban neighborhood.  To mitigate this emptiness, Pastor became a frequent visitor at his local Safeway where each day he was met with a smile and a “Hey Pastor!” greeting by the staff.  In his later years, Pastor’s daily visit to the Safeway was therapeutic to his loneliness as it served to replace the sense of “community” he so missed from his homeland.

I mention this topic because if we are to grow as a business, we must balance the importance of our community with sound financial decisions.  This balancing was clearly evident last week at the first IFC board meeting since electing five new board members at our annual meeting.

We started the meeting by having each of us describe what it meant to be an IFC member.  Overwhelmingly, they all agreed that we are more than a place to buy food; the coop represents a unique and rewarding community experience.  Just as for Pastor, the simple act of gathering food at the IFC opens an explosion of conversations, ideas, and relationships often missing from modern culture.

We went on from affirming the importance of our community to discuss how to grow sales, which have been flat for over a year.  The discussion focused on ways to better market our coop.  The enthusiasm and fresh ideas were invigorating, and the board is eager to undertake some new initiatives.  These include expanding our trial membership program, creating a chef’s blog with recipes and stories about our foods, and recruiting new producers with unique new products to expand and diversify our product selections.

The topic of adding new products led to a discussion of adjusting our standards on who can sell what products.  While pledging to maintain the integrity of our commitment to local products and producers, which we all agreed was a basic value of our community, the board agreed to consider granting variances in special situations to be able to offer popular products that have disappeared from our shopping cart.

We specifically addressed the lack of apples because of this year’s growing season.  The board agreed that in cases like this we would consider granting variances if 1) the variance was time limited and 2) the source of the product was identified. We’ve subsequently granted a variance to Iowa Orchard so they could sell apples between now and when next year’s crop arrives from an orchard they rent across the border near LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

I wanted to let you know about this change in our policies so you weren’t surprised.  We will continue to try to balance our commitment to the values that make us unique with the realities of running a sound business.  Indeed, we feel it can be done, and we believe this year has the potential to be a great one for the IFC.

What can you do?  Engage yourself in the most amazing, friendly, healthy community of local food gatherers in the “land of the free”.  Shop your IFC, tell your family and friends about us, and help with your time and talent!

Thanks for your time. Feel free to contact me at peter.woltz@timberridgecattle.com.

Its so Chard….Swiss Chard!

I am loving the abundance of swiss chard!  My favorite way to have it here lately, is for breakfast.  This is a hearty breakfast, and will take you well into lunchtime.

You will need:

1  small Hubar family farm potatoes, diced small

1/4 small  Grinnel Family Farm cippolini onion, diced small

2-3 or more leaves Swiss Chard, sliced thin

2 eggs from the egg producer of your choice, cause their aren’t any bad eggs at IFC!

2 slices bacon, diced

1 clove Lo-Tech Acres garlic, finely diced (optional)

1 large La Tortilla Factory Wheat Tortilla (10 grams of fiber, you need this!)

Shredded Gouda, Cheddar or Goat Cheese crumbles – a few tablespoons

Cook the bacon about halfway, until it starts to let loose its lardy goodness, then toss in the onions and potatoes.  Stir and let this cook until the potatoes soften and begin to brown.  Toss in the garlic and swiss chard, stir and cook until the swiss chard is as soft as you like and the potatoes are browned.  Crack  in the two eggs.  For sunny side up, cover pan and turn off heat, let sit until eggs are to your liking.  For scrambled, make a well in the middle if the pan, crack in the eggs, stir and scramble until you are satisfied.

Place the tortilla on a plate, sprinkle on the cheese then place the potatoe mixture on the cheese.  Roll, or eat open face and enjoy!!

How to roast your brand new Heritage Turkey!

Many of you have ordered your Thanksgiving turkey, perhaps this is the first time you will roast a heritage turkey.  Here are a few tips and more than one opinion on the best way to prepare your bird.  I’ve included the links.

A tip from Local Harvest.org


Remember having to cover the breast with foil to keep it from drying out while the rest of the bird cooks — not with a heritage turkey. Their smaller breasts create a better balance between the dark meat and white meat, which means roasting a bird to perfection is much easier since white meat cooks quicker than the dark meat. If the breast is covered during roasting, it should be done with oiled parchment paper — not foil — which is then removed 30 minutes before the turkey is finished roasting.

Heritage turkeys are also much more lean and smaller than sedentary commercial birds. This means that fast cooking at high temperatures is a better method than slow roasting — another big plus since you won’t have to set your alarm to get the bird in the oven to be done in time for an early dinner. Heritage turkeys should be cooked at 425-450 degrees F until the internal temperature reaches 140-150 degrees F. Butter or oil can be added under the breast skin to add flavor and moisture during roasting.

Heritage Turkey recipe from Localharvest.org

Tips from Saveur  Magazine http://www.saveur.com/article/Techniques/Heritage-Turkey-Tips

What exactly is a heritage turkey? According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, it’s a naturally mating bird with a slow growth rate that spends most of its long life outdoors. (By contrast, industrially raised turkeys live in cages, are bred to grow quickly, and can reproduce only through artificial insemination.) In terms of flavor, a heritage bird is worlds away from the dry, tasteless turkeys most of us have grown up eating on Thanksgiving.

Unlike other turkeys, heritage birds live long enough to develop a layer of fat beneath the skin, which imparts a rich flavor to the meat. Mary Pitman, of Pitman Farms, says that they also “have larger thighs and legs because they still run and fly”; that produces especially dark, juicy meat from those parts. There’s no better time to switch to these sustainably raised animals; as farmer Frank Reese, a tireless advocate for heritage turkeys, says, “The best way to save these historic breeds is to eat them.” We couldn’t agree more.  Below are tips and sources.

Skip the brine. Mary Pitman points out that the “real, authentic taste of a turkey” comes through when the turkey hasn’t been brined.

Wrap it up. Heritage breed birds, unlike industrially raised turkeys, have breast meat proportionate to the rest of their bodies. Although that’s good news for authenticity and flavor, the more modest-size breasts can dry out quickly; to offset that effect, barding (wrapping the bird with bacon or pancetta), topping the breast or the whole turkey with oil-rubbed paper or cheesecloth, or rubbing butter under the skin will help keep the meat moist.

Experiment with different preparations. Roasting may be the traditional cooking method, but heritage turkeys, owing to their robust flavor, cook well when braised in turkey or chicken stock, white wine, or even beer. They’re also delicious when fried in peanut oil.

Shorten the cooking time. Because heritage turkeys are almost always smaller than industrially raised birds, they require less time in the oven. When a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165 degrees, remove the bird.

Cook carefully. SAVEUR kitchen director Hunter Lewis recommends crisping the bird at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, then roasting at 325 degrees. As white meat and dark meat cook at different rates, some people cook the breast and legs separately.

Consider game recipes. Before deciding how to prepare your heritage bird, check out recipes for such game birds as guinea hen and pheasant, which, like heritage turkeys, are naturally lean and pair well with earthy flavors like herbs and bacon.

Another recipe for your cooking your heritage bird from Local Sustainability

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Rinse your 10-15 lb turkey well with cold running water, both inside and out. Pat dry inside and out. Rub the inside of the turkey with mixture of 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of fresh ground pepper. Use skewers to pin the neck skin to the underside of the bird and fold the wings behind the back, and then tie drumsticks together to reduce cavity space.

Rub the entire turkey with butter. Sprinkle approx. 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper on the outside of the turkey. Place turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add 1-1/2 cups water to the bottom of the pan. Place open in oven for 30 min. Remove from oven, baste exterior with natural juices and melted butter from the pan. Cover tightly, return to oven. Continue to bake for 15-20 min per pound.

Add 1 medium diced onion to cavity. At this time you can add a small amount of herbs to the cavity. Rosemary, or sage impart a nice flavor. Return to oven in tightly sealed roasting pan. Bake according to time/weight ratio noted above.

To check doneness, the drumsticks will feel tender when pressed, and juices from the turkey will run clear. If using a meat thermometer, insert it into the inner thigh area, near the breast, but not touching the bone. It should reach 180 degrees.

30 mins before turkey is near completed baking time, remove cover, baste with the juice and butter mixture from the pan. Return to oven in open roasting pan to brown lightly.

Lastly, if none of those trip your trigger, here are a few more links with tips for cooking your turkey:  More Heritage Turkey Tips

I hope this helps and I sincerely wish each of you a happy, healthy and food stuffed Thanksgiving!

Happy Eating and Leftovers!


Easy as Pie…Pumpkin Pie!

I think I have finally found the perfect fresh pumpkin pie recipe. This might even pass the husband test. This was this best pumpkin pie I ever made, and it might even be the best I ever tasted!

My issue with fresh pumpkin pies has been that they taste blah. Not pumpkiny, but watery, pulpy, just not good at all. So I researched a few recipes and hit upon one that seemed good. This recipe also gave me tips on how to make the filling smooth etc., and a secret ingredient, molasses. Wouldn’t you know I didn’t have molasses? Well they don’t call me the queen of punt for nothing! I used dark karo syrup and brown sugar and it worked. Next time I will use molasses, in fact, next time I will try the recipe exactly as written. Sure, right, but there’s a first time for everything!

I am going to give you the recipe as I made it, also the original before I changed it. Make them both, you decide.

Be aware that sometimes your pumpkin may just not be a tasty pumpkin. I try to use sugar pie pumpkins. I try to choose ones that are small but heavy for their size.

Homemade Fresh Pumpkin Pie as I made it

Single, unbaked crust
2 large eggs
1/2 c fat free evaporated milk
1 1/2 c pumpkin puree (instructions below)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp dark Karo syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I use Penzey’s)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs until frothy, add milk. Whisk in pumpkin, sugar, syrup, butter, salt and spices. Whisk until well blended.
Pour filling into crust, bake until center is firm, 45-50 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie – original recipe

Unbaked single crust
2 large eggs
3/4 c milk
1 1/4 c pumpkin puree
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c sugar
1 tbsp dark molasses
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Heat milk in saucepan over medium heat until just starts to bubble around edges. Remove from heat.
Beat eggs until frothy, add milk stirring constantly. Stir in pumpkin, sugar, butter, molasses, salt and spices. Whisk until well blended.
Pour into prepared our crust, bake until center is firm 45 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

How to make pumpkin puree

Split pie pumpkin in half cross wise, remove seeds and fibers.
Place cut side down on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 325 until tender, about 1 hour.
Scrape pulp away from skin, discard skin.
Place pulp in blender or food processer, process in batches until smooth.
Push puree through a course sieve. Puree can be stored in freezer for up to 6 months.

My way of doing things

Cut pumpkin, remove stem. Place cut side down on greased baking sheet, seeds pulp and all.
Bake at 350 until tender, scrape away seeds and fibers, discard. Then scrape pumpkin pulp into bowl, discard shell. Blend until smooth with stick blender.