Places like Lawton Family Farm are hard to find these days.
They are even harder to find in the shadow of an NFL stadium. (This is not the best picture. The brown building behind the first row of trees is the farm, and behind that you can see the top deck of Gillette Stadium. It is a lot closer than this picture makes it look, the cows can probably make out the play-by-play).
It seems impossible that this farm is churning out hormone and antibiotic free raw milk and cheese in a barn that was built in 1832.
This is the type of place you see driving through the tiny towns of Vermont, not suburban Boston. Their small store sells their own raw milk (by order only), cheese, meats and other Massachusetts products.
I discovered this little gem at local farmers markets. They always bring samples of their Asaigo and Fromage Blanc cheeses for all to taste, and they are good. If you are unfamiliar with Fromage Blanc, like I was, it’s a fresh cheese similar to cream cheese, but with less fat and cholesterol. It’s much more common in Europe and is frequently eaten sweetened for breakfast much in the way we eat yogurt. You can cook with Fromage Blanc too. I think it cooks up a little nicer than cream cheese. These turnovers are the perfect example of how good it is cooked; the cheese flavor is subtle compared to the other flavors, but still distinct.
I’m always annoyed when a food trend fades from style. Usually it’s a food trend because it tastes good (not always). Sun-dried tomatoes were the gem of every foodie’s eye forever it seemed. Now days they are usually only found stuffing bad banquet chicken at your cousin Selma’s wedding. It’s a shame too because they taste good and are a nice way to get your tomato kick in the dead of winter. That’s how I use them here. Mixed with just a touch of basil and a bunch of cheese and spinach, they are almost like an Italian take on spanokopita. The finished product is a turnover that is perfect for any occasion. They freeze very well. I made up several batches when developing this recipe and froze them after I formed the turnover but before baking them. I then bake them frozen and they turn out wonderful. Enjoy!
Oh, and if you are in the Foxboro, MA area and want to stop by Lawtons Family Farm, bring cash and don’t expect much in the way of interaction. You come, you buy, you leave.
Lawtons Family Farm
70 North St., Foxboro, Mass.
Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Turnovers
makes about 36 turnovers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced, about 1/4 cup
4 packed cups baby spinach (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup Fromage Blanc (or cream cheese) about 4 ounces
1 1/2 oz Asiago (or Parmesan), grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 recipe Savory Whole Wheat Pastry Dough (below)
1 egg for egg wash to brush over the top of the turnovers
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until translucent, about five minutes.
Add spinach and basil, and cook until the spinach is thoroughly wilted.
In a medium bowl combine spinach mixture, sun-dried tomatoes, Fromage Blanc, Asiago, salt and pepper. Taste the filling and adjust seasonings to taste. Let completely cool before filling turnovers.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll pastry dough out to 1/4″ thickness. To form the turnovers, you can cut circles out of the dough with a 3″ biscuit cutter or you can roll half of the dough into a long rectangle and use a ravioli mold. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) of filling into the center or each turnover.
If you are using the ravioli form, roll out the second half of the dough and place over the top using your fingers or a rolling pin (depending on how to use your ravioli form). If you are using the biscuit cutter, fold the dough over the top of the filling to form a half-moon. Use a fork to crimp the edges.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the turnovers are starting to brown. Serve warm.
Savory Whole Wheat Pastry Dough
This tasty crust is easy and does not need to chill before using. Olive oil and lots of pepper is the secret to a nicely flavored dough.
1 cup whole what pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoon olive oil
4-6 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
In the bowl of a food processor combine flour, sugar, salt, pepper and baking powder.
Pulse several times to combine. Add olive oil, ice water and vinegar and pulse again until small clumps form, about the size of peas.
Scrape the dough onto a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap and form into a solid disc and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Do not refrigerate or the dough will be too hard to work with. If you do make the dough ahead of time, refrigerate it but you will need to let it come up to room temp before working with it.