Week 27 – last share of 2014!

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Congratulations!! You have made it through the CSA season! Except for this last hefty share. I made sure the quantities were big to make up for not doing one more week and also to help with your thanksgiving cooking. Here’s the list:

One butternut squash, one long pie pumpkin, shallots, Carola potatoes (up to 4 lbs!), parsnips, beets, leeks, collard greens, and 2 heads of radicchio.

The collards, leeks, and radicchio are the things that won’t keep as long as the rest if you are trying to figure out what to use up first. Butternut squash makes great soups and is also excellent roasted. In fact, roasting might be an easy thing to do with a lot of these items all together. I love making big trays of roasted vegetables this time of year. I cut parsnips beets potatoes winter squash onions and pretty much any other root veggie into similar sized chunks of about 3/4 inch, lay them on a baking sheet, toss with olive oil salt and pepper, and roast at 375-400 until all are tender; maybe checking and turning a few times along the way. This usually takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 minutes.

Thanks everyone for a great CSA season! Thanks for all the great feedback over the year and I look forward to more. If you are interested in a share next year, please do let me know! I’m excited for a winter break, but I’m also excited to get back into planning mode, salivate over seed catalogs, and dream about the next abundant season of fresh neighborhood grown produce. Have a hearty happy Thanksgiving and a cozy winter!

Your farmer, Matt

Week 26 – finally a frost!

IMG_3247.JPGThis warm fall has decided it is finally time for some cold temps.  What does that do to the veggies?  Those that are hardy enough to stick around in the ground get a bit sweeter as they make more sugars in their cells as a sort of anti-freeze.  Do you notice the difference in the greens and the carrots this week?  The storage veggies (winter squash, onions, garlic) don’t notice the cold because they are safe inside, except the potatoes which are still being dug from underground – but they are insulated by the soil.  The soil temperature is much more constant than the air temperature and takes a long time to cool down.  Around here I don’t think it usually gets much below 45 degrees  a few inches down even in the coldest part of winter.  This helps root crops like carrots and parsnips store in the ground through the cold season.  If their tops are exposed to the air though, you can expect some rot to eventually set in after some heavy freezes.  One way to avoid this is to hill up the tops with soil, or use a floating row cover.  OK enough farmer talk, what’s in the share?

Braising mustard mix (a mix of a few different kinds of mustard greens), fingerling potatoes, “candystick dessert” delicata winter squash (the sweetest winter squash ever – you can literally have it baked with nothing on it and it’s quite sweet), one other assorted winter squash of your choice, a green chicory (either escarole or “castlefranco” radicchio), carrots, cippolini onions, various other onions, garlic, and celeriac (celery root).

The Candystick Dessert delicata squash is a variety bred by Carol Deppe, a gardener, plant breeder, author, and homesteader who lives near Corvallis.  She likens the flavor to that of a Medjool date.  Let me know what you think.  Try cutting in half, scraping out the seed cavity, and baking face down with a little bit of water on the pan at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  They don’t take very long.  Delicata can also be cut into 1/2 wide U-shaped pieces and pan fried skin and all.  I understand the “delicata” name to be referencing the fact that the skin is delicate enough to eat.

One more CSA pickup this year!  Get ready for beets, butternut squash, leeks, collard greens, shallots, and more next week!  May you eat well until then. — Matt.

 

 

Week 25 – It’s pumpkin pie time

IMG_3223.JPGYes indeed it is most definitely time for a real honest-to-goodness pumpkin pie.  I haven’t made one yet this year so with this week’s share I’m definitely due.  If you haven’t made pumpkin pie with a real pumpkin, well here’s your chance.  I promise it’s not hard and you won’t be disappointed.  The Long Pie Pumpkin in this week’s share is a New England heirloom that many believe makes the best pumpkin pie.  It has a lovely super-smooth texture and a fairly neutral pumpkin flavor.  Check out the recipe at the end for one take on making pumpkin pie from scratch.  In my experience there is at least 2 pies worth of pumpkin mash in one of these long pie pumpkins.

Other players in the share this week: parsnips, leeks, potatoes, beets, savoy cabbage, lacinato kale, and big spicy arugula.  The arugula would be good on a sandwich, under a burger or a steak, or in a salad as a spicy addition.  Or you could make arugula pesto.  The parsnips are a new addition this week.  They are great cubed and roasted with other root veggies in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Or boiled/roasted and then mashed with garlic and butter like mashed potatoes.  In fact you can mix parsnips and potatoes in a root mash.

Until next week, eat your veggies!  -farmer Matt.

I like this website for pumpkin pie instructions (there is lots of detail):  http://www.pickyourown.org/pumpkinpie.php

Or here’s a shorter version from Rebecca Wood:

Makes one 9-inch single-crust pie

For the crust:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted, cultured organic butter, well chilled
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

1 sugar pumpkin (note that your long pie pumpkin may be bigger than the average sugar pumpkin)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups organic cream
1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 1/4-inch cubes and add them to the flour mixture. With your fingertips, quickly and deftly rub the butter into the flour to make a dry, crumbly mixture. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the mixture. Using a fork, rapidly stir the dough until it gathers into clumps. If the mixture seems dry, add more water to hold the dough together. Gently form the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator to rest and chill for 15 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, place the pumpkin halves in a pan, shell side up, and bake for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is tender and exudes liquid and the shell starts to sag. Scrape the pulp from the shell and purée it with a fork or potato masher or in a blender. Measure 2 cups of the purée and set it aside. Reserve any additional pumpkin for another use.

Lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, starting from the center out, roll the dough to about 2 inches larger than the size of the pan. Loosen the pastry, fold it in half, lift it and unfold it into the pan. Press it into place, trim off the excess dough and crimp the edges.

Increase the temperature of the oven to 425°F.

In a large mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the purée and the remaining ingredients and stir to blend. Pour the mixture into the dough-lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake an additional 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

May you be well nourished,

Rebecca Wood

Week 24 – Spooky fall veggies

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Sorry for the late post this week.  It’s a bit of an odd share, with a few new veggie friends.  New to the share this week is celeriac, winter watermelon radishes, shallots, treviso radicchio, blue kuri winter squash.  And some more familiar items: swiss chard (although this is a new planting with scary HOT PINK stems!), garlic, turnips (Monday: hakurei, Thursday: hakurei & purple top), and parsley.

Celeriac (aka celery root) is sort of like a root veggie version of celery.  It’s crazy appearance seems appropriate for Halloween week.  The tops are similar to celery (though better in a cooked application).  Celeriac can be grated raw for a slaw, or cooked in soups and roasts.  The blue kuri squash is great for soups or roasting.  It’s a type of Japanese kabocha squash.  See the recipe below for kabocha squash/celeriac soup.  The radicchio is a great salad item.  A cold water soak will help remove some of the bitterness, as will a nice dressing.  The watermelon radishes got a bit eaten so I cut off bits of them to clean them up.  They can also be a bit Halloween looking with their surprise pink-ish blush on the interior.  After removing their outer skins, I like them sliced super thin on salads or sandwiches.  Their greens are edible as well – I’d throw them in with whatever you do with the chard.

Well the season is winding down but there are plenty more veggies for these last few weeks!  As always please let me know if you have any veggie or CSA related questions.  Thanks, Matt.

Kabocha Winter Squash & Celery Root Soup (from “Love Soup” by Anna Thomas)

Serves 6-7
1 kabocha squash (use your blue kuri)
3 medium turnips
1 medium celery root
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
2 leeks (could substitute shallots if you’ve used your leeks)
1 yellow onion
a few rosemary leaves
2-3 cups vegetable broth
2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, + more to taste
hot paprika or cayenne
3 tbsp maple syrup, + more to taste
3tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut the kabocha squash in half, scrape out the seeds and strings, and place the halves cut side down on a lightly oiled nonstick baking sheet.  Peel the turnips and cut them in wedges.  Peel the celery root and cut it into 1-inch pieces.  Toss the turnips and celery root with about half a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and spread them on another baking sheet.

Roast all the prepared vegetables in the hot oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the squash gives easily when poked with a wooden spoon and the turnips and celery root are tender and flecked with dark brown.  When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop it out of its shell.

While the veggies are roasting, cut the leeks in half lengthwise, wash them thoroughly, and slice thinly – you should have about 1.5 cups.  Chop the onion and saute it gently in the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, with a dash of salt and the rosemary, stirring now and then over medium heat until it is soft and golden brown.

In a large soup pot, combine the roasted squash, turnips, celery root, leeks, and sauteed onions with 4 cups water and a teaspoon of salt.  Simmer the vegetables, covered, about 20 minutes to let them get perfectly soft.  Add 2 cups veggie broth, 2tbsp fresh lemon juice, a pinch of hot paprika or cayenne, and the maple syrup.

Allow the soup to cool somewhat, then puree it in a blender, in batches, or in the pot with an immersion blender.  The various flavors in this soup are better when blended into one harmonious new flavor, but you can make the texture whatever you like.  I prefer this as a silky-smooth soup, but you can stop at a rougher puree if you like.  Add a little more vegetable broth if the soup is too thick to pour easily from a ladle.  Return the soup to a clean pot and bring it back to a simmer.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Lower the heat and keep cooking the butter for a few minutes, stirring with a whisk, until it is a light golden brown.  Stir the browned butter into the soup.  Taste the soup, and correct the seasoning, whisking in more salt, lemon juice, or maple syrup as needed.  This last step is essential, as kabocha squashes vary in sweetness and lemons certainly vary in acidity.  As always, when working on the sweet-sour balance you reach a point where only a good pinch of salt will make it right.  Sprinkle each serving of soup with a spoonful of toasted chopped pecans.

 

Week 23 – settling into fall

IMG_3094.JPGThe rains have really arrived now, and the sun is hanging low in the sky even at midday.  But the temperatures are still mild and the soil life is still active, so things are still growing, just more slowly.  We have a more fall-ish share this week, with a few summery holdouts.  Potatoes make a return with the fingerling variety “Laratte.”  New this week is a large purple top turnip.  Also in the root section this week we have carrots.  See the recipe below for a potato, turnip, and carrot dish.  These might be the last large carrots you see for the year.  I have one more planting in the field, but I planted it pretty late and so the carrots are pretty baby-sized and may not get much bigger.  Rounding out the fall veggies this week are collard greens and leeks.  Then we have a few summery holdouts: the cucumbers and tomatoes from inside the warm confines of the sealed up hoophouse, and the sweet peppers from the field (they hold up ok to these wet mild days).  Finally on the salad front Monday folks got a bag of mixed lettuce greens.  I think Thursday folks will get something different for a salad green instead, as this lettuce barely looked ok enough for Monday: lots of bugs, slugs, yellow leaves to pick out, etc etc.

The crimson clover cover crop is sprouting nicely, and at least in one spot where we got it in early has created a nice thin green blanket over the brown soil.  It gives me a lot of joy to see cover crops sprouting and growing in the fall.  Since it is a season mostly of seeing crops die or be turned under, it’s nice to have at least something getting a fresh start.  And it’s lovely to look at and know that it will help protect the soil from the heavy winter deluges.  Not to mention that it will potentially add a lot of nitrogen to the soil after it’s cut and tilled in just before full flowering in the spring.  There are still a few places to plant cover crops, but at this point it’s too late for crimson clover so I’ll plant a rye & vetch mix, which can germinate in colder temperatures.

Potato, Carrot, and Turnip Gratin
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ onion, sliced thinly (not diced) — [or substitute leeks]
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 turnip, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • chives (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium sized skillet. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the wine and cook until the liquid is mostly reduced, then add in the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Set aside.
  3. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes and turnip and peel and slice the carrots. Toss them with the heavy cream, ⅓ of your Parmesan cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper. Layer them in a pretty pattern in the greased (with Pam) baking dish, however it fits. I used a 9×9 casserole dish for mine. Pour the onion and garlic mixture over everything. Top with the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until browned and bubbly. Let sit for 5 minutes, top with chives, and serve. Sprinkle with chives or scallions, if you like. Serves 6 as a side.

Week 22 – green tomatoes & escarole

IMG_3079.JPGYes there are green tomatoes and red tomatoes in this week’s share.  You know what that means, right?  Yes it means the tomatoes in the field are not ripening up anymore so I picked all the green ones that were left.  Sorry there are so many small-ish ones, but that’s mostly what was left on the plants.  Green tomatoes you can batter and fry, or make chutney/jam/relish, or…???  There are still some actually ripe tomatoes coming out of the hoophouse, but limited quantities – that’s why you only have a few in the share.

Another newbie this week is escarole!  This salad green is related to chicory and radicchio.  I recommend soaking it in cold, cold water for 20 minutes before serving to take some of the bitter out of it.  It’s real nice with olive oil and lemon juice, or a simple vinaigrette.  Check out the recipe below for escarole, beet, goat cheese, & walnut salad.

Yes there are beets in the share this week – my oh my are there ever!  This planting of beets got huge-normous.  Hopefully you eat them before they eat you.  Remove the greens from the roots and store them separately for best longevity in the fridge.

On the winter squash arena we have a nice French pear-shaped bright orange beauty called “Potimarron.”  It’s name means “chestnut pumpkin” as it has a chestnutty flavor.   (By the way this squash is either the same or very similar to “red kuri” if you’re searching for recipes).  I’d recommend roasting it in wedges in the oven for a simple side dish or main.  One thing that’s nice about this variety is that you can eat the skin of it as well as the flesh.  Oh and if you don’t want to eat any of the winter squash in the week you receive it, don’t worry – they store for quite a while.  Just leave it on your counter or in a cool/dry-ish place in your house.  They should store for weeks if not months and months.

Lacinato kale makes its long-awaited return this week.  The fall planting of it looks SO much better than the early planting.  Some of these leaves are BIG!  There were some aphids but I did my best to spray them all off.  Rounding out the share are a few sweet peppers again, a head of the hardneck italian easy peel garlic, and the long red torpedo onions.  Whew!  That’s a bunch of stuff to enjoy!!!!

RECIPES:

ESCAROLE, BEET, GOAT CHEESE, & WALNUT SALAD

(http://www.cookthink.com/recipe/3850/Beet_Escarole_Walnut_And_Goat_Cheese_Salad_With_Orange_Vinaigrette)

4-6 medium beets
1 shallot, minced
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
1 bunch escarole, chopped
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut off and discard any beet stalks. Scrub and dry the beets. Put them on a baking sheet and roast until a sharp knife easily pierces them, 40-60 minutes. Set them aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, mince the shallot and put it in a bowl with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, the vinegar and the orange juice. Set aside and let the vinegar mellow the shallot’s flavor while the beets roast. Just before dressing the salad, whisk in the olive oil until the dressing emulsifies.

3. Roughy chop the walnuts and put them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Heat them, tossing often, until they darken and smell toasted, 4-6 minutes. Prep the escarole.

4. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them by rubbing their skins with a paper towel. (The skin should come off easily and the paper towel will help keep your hands from staining.) Cut the beets into 1/4-inch slices.

5. Put the beets, escarole and walnuts into a salad bowl and toss with a little of the vinaigrette at a time until the escarole tastes good. Crumble in the goat cheese and toss. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES (gluten-free)

 

  1. Place the cornmeal in a shallow bowl. Place the eggs in a small bowl and beat them with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Rinse, core, and, using a serrated knife, cut the tomatoes into ¼-inch slices. Dredge the tomato slices on both sides in the cornmeal. Using a fork, dunk the tomato slices in the egg mixture, then dredge them again in the cornmeal on both sides. Set the tomato slices aside on a cutting board or platter.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  4. Place the oil in a 12-inch cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat and heat until the oil registers 365°F on a candy thermometer. Slide 3 or 4 tomato slices into the hot oil and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn them and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the fried tomato slices to the paper towel–lined baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven to keep the tomatoes warm. Repeat with the remaining tomato slices. Serve warm in a towel–lined basket.

 

Braised Red Kuri Squash 

http://www.rachaelray.com/blogs/index.php/2011/11/08/organic-red-kuri-squash-you-can-even-eat-the-skin/

For a richer flavor, cook the squash in vegetable or chicken stock. Once the squash is cooked, you can leave it in chunks, or mash it with a potato masher. To give this dish an Indian flair, add a little ground cinnamon and curry powder in Step 2, when you add the garlic.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red kuri squash, any size
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Water
  • Salt

Instructions:

1. Scrub the squash well to remove any dirt. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the halves into 1-inch slices, and then cut the slices into chunks that are roughly 2 inches in size.

2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, followed by the squash, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, then add ¼ inch of water to the skillet and bring it to a boil.

3. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the squash is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt.

Week 21 – summer in the fall

IMG_3060.JPGYep a little bit of summer in the fall is what we’ve got in the weather and in the share this week.  Summer peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers sit alongside fall leeks, potatoes, hakurei salad turnips, spinach, and salad mix.  That pretty much sums it up…  I think leek and potato soup is on the menu this week.  Perhaps the fall soup cooking will help bring on the fall rains, which I could use to help germinate all the cover crop seed I’ve been spreading around the fields.

 Potato Leek Soup (from http://pinchmysalt.com/a-hearty-potato-leek-soup-recipe-for-the-last-days-of-winter/)

3 tablespoons butter
3 leeks, thinly sliced*
1 medium or large onion, chopped
6 – 8 russet potatoes, thinly sliced**
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or enough to barely cover potatoes)
1 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

1) Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat then add onions and leeks. Cook, stirring, until onions are limp and just slightly brown.

2) Add sliced potatoes to saucepan then pour in enough chicken broth to just barely cover the potatoes. Continue cooking over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Using a potato masher, mash and stir potatoes until desired consistency is reached. As you mash the potatoes and the soup thickens, turn down heat and stir frequently with a large spoon to prevent scorching on the bottom.

3) Add one cup of heavy cream (or more if you desire) and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook 15 minutes more over low heat, stirring frequently, then remove from heat and serve.

Notes: *Make sure to clean leeks thoroughly and slice only the white and light green part of the leeks. **You don’t need to peel the potatoes as the peels add to the rustic texture of the soup. But make sure to scrub them thoroughly and remove any obvious blemishes before slicing. Although we always make it with chicken broth, this can easily become a vegetarian soup by simply using vegetable broth instead.