Summer Newsletter
Week 5

Week 5 is a holiday week. While we would love to take Friday off, it is impossible for us to rearrange a schedule that is already based around farm fresh production.  So, in case you are wondering:

If you wanted to take the week off, but failed to put in for vacation, it is already too late. Your food is already ordered. If you can't make it on Friday, try another stop or send a friend to pick it up.

This seems like the perfect transition into special orders. Just like other weeks, special orders must be in by Tuesday at midnight. Your special order will be delivered to your primary pick up location. If for some reason, you need your order to go to a different pick up location you must change your primary pick up location in your account when you place your order. Otherwise, your order will go to your primary location. With a few hundred orders each week, it is impossible for us to shift your order to a different location based on a phone call or email. 

Have a happy Independence Day and be sure to share your Fresh Fork Market goodies with all your friends!
Trevor's Corner

Grilling Time

This week is the summer's biggest grilling weekend.  As a result, I am sharing with you some of our notes from last week's employee Meat and Sausage Training.  Yes, regardless of how hard we work, I try to make sure the staff has a good time and learns something.  So last Tuesday Adam Lambert and I cooked up a storm for 14 folks at my house and gave them a crash course on meats.  I'm very proud of some of the side dishes we made last week, so see below the recipes. 


Fresh Fork Market's Sausage Collection

As with all of our products, we start with the highest quality, pasture raised Berkshire pork, grassfed beef, and pasture raised chicken.  We never use MSG or sodium nitrate. 



Fresh:  a sausage that is raw meat.  It has not been smoked like a ham or bacon is.  Fresh sausages include Italian sausage, bratwursts, and chorizo.


Smoked:  Smoked sausages are sausages like hot dogs, kielbasa, and andouille that have been put in the smokehouse to slowly cook and add the smoked flavor.   Smoked sausages usually go through a "cure" or salt brine first. This helps the meat hold together and protects against dangerous bacteria formation when the product is being smoked and the meat slowly rises through the "danger zone," between 40 and 140 degrees.  This is usually where you will see sodium nitrate.  We do what is consider an "uncured product" with no added nitrates.


Uncured:  As you will notice on our bacon, kielbasa, and andouille, the products are labeled "uncured."  This means we use no added sodium nitrate.  Instead, the brine has natural nitrates occurring from celery powder and sea salt. 


The Sausages:

Italian Sausage Links:  This is our most versatile sausage.  Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes add a slight zing to this fresh sausage.  4 big links in a package, 1.25# per package.  $7.  Great roasted in oven, stuffed in peppers, or grilled.  If grilling, use slow, indirect heat.  See notes below about fresh sausage cooking.


Kielbasa:  A garlic forward, smoked link.  4 links per pack, 1.25# per package.  $8.  This sausage is great braised with cabbage or kraut, seared on a skillet and finished in the oven, or great grilled over indirect heat. 


Andouille:  A fine textured, smokey and slightly spicy Spanish sausage.  4 smoked links per package, 1.25# per package.  $8.  This is one of my favorite grillers.  It is hard to dry out, it bursts with flavor, and has a great crunch.


Green Onion Bratwursts:  4 big, fresh links per package.  1.25# per package. $7.  These mild brats have a slight onion flavor that is the prefect compliment to some mustard and a side of potato salad. 


Beer Bratwursts, made with Market Garden Brewery Wee Heavy Wallace Tavern Ale:  4 big links, 1.25# per package. $8.  This is juicy sausage features a heavy beer from Market Garden Brewery.  This adds a sweet, malty note to the sausage.   We are almost out of these sausages until our next batch later this summer. 


Chicken Italian Links:  4 sausages per pack, 1#. $7.  This fresh sausage is lean but bursting with flavor.  We added some more fennel and red pepper to make them pop.  If grilled, we do suggest poaching first or cooking slowly over indirect heat. 


Proper Sausage Cooking

Sausages are easily damaged.  There are several ways to get good results.  Here are some ideas:


Ideal World:  If you have a circulator and can poach your sausage sous-vide (under vacuum seal) to a perfect 160 degrees, then you'd be all set. But that's probably only applicable to restaurants.  At home, you can also poach your sausages before grilling.  If you have a vacuum sealer and can seal the sausages, you can poach them in almost simmering water until they "set up" to a firmer texture.  Then you are ready to grill.  If you don't want to do that, you can also poach softly in just gently simmering water until the sausages are setting up. 


The Reality:  You want to eat and eat soon.  You don't have time to get a pot of water boiling to poach a fresh sausage.  Instead, you want to grill.  It's summer time.  You can still get good results without poaching.  Start the grill high and sear the sausages to get some nice grill marks.  Then, lower the heat and just cook the sausages over indirect heat and cook them at medium heat (like 325 to 375).  When you remove them from the grill, let them rest, tented in foil, for 5 minutes.


A Great Burger

It has taken me years to cook a burger well - and I still fail regularly because I'm not paying attention.  Here are some tips to forming, seasoning, and grilling a great burger.


Forming a great burger

Chefs and meat heads everywhere argue about forming the best burger.  The argument stems from tenderness.  We all agree we want tenderness.  The problem is some consider tenderness the ability for the burger to break apart in your mouth.  I, on the other hand, believe tenderness is related to moisture retention and a slightly chewy burger can give a better mouth feel due to better moisture retention.


Chef Parker, Adam, Galen (the butcher), and I like to think of a burger as a ground beef sausage.  An important part of sausage making is the myosin extraction.  Myosin is a protein that will bind the fat and meat together and retain water between it.  The texture will be more "emulsified" but the final product is moister.


There are a couple ways to form myosin. The first is to take your ground beef, cold, and work it by hand in a cold bowl.  Literally knead it, pound it, roll it, squeeze get the picture.  This takes a few minutes depending on your strength.  You will know when the burger is done based on a tacky feeling it has on the outside. Think like a meatball.  Or you can form a ball, stretch it apart and let it dangle.  It should hold together.   Another way to do this is to put your meat in the kitchen-aid mixer until a film forms on the side of the bowl.  This is a tad faster but you have to get out the mixer. 


You can also chemically extract myosin with salt.  See below. 


An easy trick for forming a burger.  One method is to form a ball and throw it on the counter to flatten out.  Use the palm of your hand and push out from the middle.  Pick up and form the edges.


Another more civilized approach is to take a lid, like the lid from a peanut butter jar or a large mason jar lid. Line it with plastic wrap and press your meat into the lid with another piece of plastic wrap over top.  Pull the burger out by tugging on the bottom piece of plastic wrap.  You'll have consistent, perfect burgers. 


Seasoning a Burger

Traditional French culinary techniques suggest seasoning throughout.  There is a fine line with burgers.  You can work salt and pepper into the ground meat when you are working it, just like you would a sausage.  The salt will also help the myosin formation.  However, you risk overworking it and getting a burger that is spongy.  The proper amount of salt is about a teaspoon of kosher salt per lb of ground beef.  I then season the exterior of the burger as well. 


Grilling the Burger

Start your grill as hot as you can with the lid shut.  Open the grill, scrape and clean the grates.  Turn the heat down to medium or medium high (depending on your grill, you have to know your grill).  Season the grill by rubbing oil on the grill grates.


Add the burger to the grill.  The meat should be cold still, not room temperature.  Close the lid and let the burger start to cook.  The hot grates will sear the meat and keep it from sticking to the grate.  Cook the burger for approx 4 to 5 minutes until the meat releases easily from the grill grate.  You should not have to scrape it off.  Flip the burger and cook for another 3 or so minutes depending on the size of your burger, heat of your grill, etc.  Use common sense.  Remove the burger, cover in foil, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.  This is a great chance now to clean your grill and toast your buns. 


A Great Burger and Sausage Condiment.  Have you ever stared at the bright orange mason jars on the table at the back of the truck and wondered what it is?  That's pepper butter.  It's essentially the best homemade mustard you'll ever taste (without mustard).  It is emulsified hot Hungarian peppers, vinegar, honey, and spices.  It is a tolerable hot with a nice sweet note.  Add it to burgers and sausages, serve it with eggs, or simply dip cheese in it.  It is probably the most popular product among my employees. 


Pepper butter comes in pints at $7 and half pints at $5. 

What's In The Bag?
Small Omnivore
1 pound ground beef
1 bunch kale
1 head cabbage
1 bunch beets with tops
2 cucumbers
1 head lettuce 
2 yellow squash  or zucchini
1 quart snow peas
1 candy onion
1 pint blueberries

Small Vegetarian
no beef, add:
1 head cauliflower
1 bunch basil
1 pound tomatoes

Small Vegan
same as vegetarian with addition of one bunch dill

Large Omnivore
small omnivore plus: 
1 head cauliflower
1 bunch chard
1 pack ribs spare ribs or baby back
1 jar Pope's BBQ Sauce

Large Vegetarian
small vegetarian plus:
1 extra head cauliflower
1 bunch chard
1 lb tomatoes
1 bunch basil
1 jar Pope's Heirloom Tomato Sauce
Beet Salad with Dill Dressing

2 TBS minced fresh dill

1 scallion 

1 TBS vinegar

3 TBS sunflower oil

salt and pepper


Remove the root end from the scallion.  Mince or chop fine the scallion using half of the green part.  Combine the dill, scallion, vinegar and oil.  Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste.


Toss sliced beets-roasted or boiled-with the dressing.


Optional:  Mix ½ cup crushed berries with ½ cup yogurt.  Toss the sliced beets with the yogurt sauce.

Optional:  Wash and dry the beet greens.  Slice the greens and use them as a garnish.

Optional:  For those who enjoy the textures and the health benefits of raw vegetables, shred peeled beets and tossed the shredded beets with either of these dressings.

Refreshing Summer Coleslaw

1/2 small head cabbage, shredded

1 Kohlrabi, shredded

1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced

1 cup radishes, thinly sliced

scallions or small onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped, toasted hazelnuts

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. In serving bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, snow peas, radishes, scallions, hazelnuts, parsley, and poppy seeds.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper; toss with slaw.

Waldorf Cole Slaw

3 cups shredded cabbage

3 cups diced Granny Smith apple

6 tablespoons raisins

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts

5 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine yogurt and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Pour over cabbage mixture; toss well. Cover and chill 2 hours.

Cuban Black Beans
Try this recipe instead of baked beans. You could add some barbecue sauce and bacon to make a black barbecue bean dish.

4 cups cooked black beans (1 cup of dry beans makes approx. 3 cups cooked) reserve liquid

1 med sweet onion diced

3 cloves garlic minced

1 bay leaf

1-2 t sugar

1/2 med green and red or yellow pepper diced

1-2 T olive oil

1/4 t salt and pepper

1 T oregano

1/3 sherry or marsala or cooking wine


Saute garlic onions and peppers in olive oil until soft (do not burn garlic). Add all remaining ingredients including liquid from cooked beans EXCEPT wine and simmer. The longer and lower the better because the sauce will get thick.

Remove from heat and add wine. Cover and let sit until ready to eat.  

You can use this basic recipe for a dip as well.


basic recipe add cilantro and sour cream to bean mixture if too thick add some chicken or veggie stock and puree in blender. Eat with veggies or corn chips.  

Veggie Lasagne

Last week during our meat training, I needed some light side dishes and some vegetarian entrees for my vegetarian employees.  Adam whipped up a swiss chard and egg yolk stuffed ravioli in a brown butter and garlic scape sauce.  Yeah, we'll save that recipe for later.  Photos will help understand that one.


I on the other hand made braised greens, a salad, and veggie lasagna.  I thought the veggie lasagna was worth writing about. 


Ingredients: (all measurements approximate)

2 zucchini

2 yellow squash

1 medium onion

About 2 lbs of tomatoes or some tomato sauce (2/3 cup)

Collard greens or kale or chard

About 8 oz cheese

¼ cup flour

¼ cup butter

1.5 cups milk

Seasonings like oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper flakes


I started first by slicing the zucchini to about a quarter inch.  I did this by hand but if you have a mandolin it will be more consistent.  Spread the zucchini out on baking racks on cookie sheets.  Salt them and let them rest for about an hour at room temperature.  You'll see the water drip out.  Flip them over and repeat.


At this point, bake the zucchini at 350 for about 20 minutes until they start to dry out some and concentrate the flavor. 


Repeat the process above for the summer squash.


While these were roasting, I washed my collards and removed the center vein.  In a sauce pan, I melted butter and brought it to a slight simmer (frothing up).  I add my flour slowly and whisk it in.  The measurements above are approximate.  I'm making a béchamel sauce, so I always just feel it out.  Once the butter and flour form a thick roux, add the milk.  You  now have a white sauce. 


As room permits in the oven, cook down your tomatoes.  I had frozen cherry tomatoes form last year so I tossed some oil on a cookie sheet, put the cherry tomatoes on, and roasted until they started to char and most of the water was removed.  I removed them, let them cool, and chopped them/pureed them. 


Add half of the tomatoes and some salt to the béchamel sauce. 


Oil a baking dish, line the bottom with zucchini and squash, add some sauce and cheese, add collards, and repeat until you fill up the pan.  Season each layer with a little bit of crushed red pepper, basil , and oregano to taste. 


 I poured the remaining sauce over the top.  I didn't want it soupy so I didn't put a lot of sauce in the bottom.  Add strips of cheese on top.  Bake at 350 for about a half hour until the edges start to crisp.  Remove and let cool to a serving temp.  Cut pieces with a sharp knife. 


PS  You can add other veggies too.  I added thinly sliced radishes just to use some up.  You could also add eggplant if you have it or peppers (but those won't be from Fresh Fork yet).   

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Ingredient Spotlight
Weeks when we have cabbage in the bag are exciting to us. While you may feel daunted by this large head of green in your bag, fear not, we have you covered.  One good plan is to cut your head of cabbage in half, then shred one half.  Take this half and put it into freezer bags with the amount for a stir fry. ( I do this with a lot of veggies.) Later when you want to make a quick dinner, you have the base for a dish already prepped.

Cabbage is great a lot of ways. Raw, use it for both creamy and vinegar based slaw. Make a colorful slaw by adding shredded cabbage to beet slaw. Try using individual leaves and making wraps from them.  Chopped cabbage is delicious fried, sauteed, boiled, and roasted.  Try cutting into wedges, drizzling with olive oil and grilling.  This versatile vegetable is a great addition to your holiday picnic.
 Cabbage recipes

So kale is a versatile vegetable. Most folks fall into the love it or hate it column on this green. We already talked about the benefits of kale, but if you still are not into it, try give your kale a rub down. Cut out the fibrous center stem, then massage the leaves.  Massaging kale makes it wilt, breaking down the leaves making them soft and supple. It also releases the sugars, making it ideal for a summer salad. try rubbing it down with a little olive oil and your salad is halfway dressed.  You can get similar results by tossing with olive oil and leaving in the fridge overnight..

Give the cucumber a little more respect.  Often this neglected vegetable appears as an afterthought-a couple of uninteresting slices on
the salad. With just a little attention you can "upgrade" the cucumber.  Use it peeled or unpeeled.  Slice the cucumber lengthwise.  Use a small spoon to remove the seeds.  Place the halves on the cutting board skin side up.  Slice across to create half circles.
Blanch the cucumber slices in boiling salted water for a minute.  Refresh in ice water. You can now proceed to use the cucumber in a variety of ways.
Heat in butter with salt and pepper.  Add some minced parsley or any combination of fresh herbs. Serve as a hot vegetable with most any poultry or fish.
Use the blanched cucumber to make a salad with
yogurt or sour cream, some fresh mint, salt and pepper.
Consider using cucumber slices with water melon.
They have a similar texture.  In this combination,
with fresh mint, it would be best to peel and blanch the cucumber slices.  A few drops of Balsamic vinegar would add some interest to this combination. Peeled, seeded tomatoes combined with cucumber slices would be a good combination for
a picnic salad.

Try a classic American preparation. Slice the cucumbers pealed or unpeeled. Add a little vinegar to a bowl with the slices and add some very thin slices of onion. Add salt and pepper. After an hour fold in some sour cream or yogurt.

Parker on Deviled Eggs

I use the Julia Child method when making hard cooked eggs. Place the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Choose a pan that has a tight fitting lid. Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and place the lid on the pan. Allow the eggs to sit for 18 minutes. Remove the eggs to a bowl of ice water. When the eggs are completely cooled remove the shells. Slice the eggs in half.

Try some variations of deviled eggs.  Separate your yolks so that you may make multiple "batches" of filling. Try to mix the yolks with olive oil, salt, pepper and minced fresh rosemary or thyme. Fill the cavities of the of the whites with this mixture.Another possibility is to use cream or a

combination of olive oil and cream to mix with the yolks. You might consider a couple of drops of hot oil or Tabasco if you like a little heat.

When you can't eat any more deviled eggs, chop the hard cooked eggs and mix with a small amount of mayonnaise, some fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper for a good egg salad sandwich.

Trevor's variations:  add shredded cheese, chopped raw onion, bacon, and/or mustard.  Top with chopped tomatoes.

Fresh Fork Market | 800-861-8582 | |
PO Box 609612
Cleveland, OH 44109