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.

week 20 – winter squash!

IMG_3026.JPGI know the first thing you’re wondering is if any of these are hot peppers.  And yes, the ones on the far left are Hungarian Hot Wax — not too spicy except for the seeds.  The rest of the share is: a bunch of mustard greens for braising (try adding some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice or wine just near the end of braising), carrots, a head of lettuce, tomatoes galore, one cucumber, sweet jimmy nardello peppers (long thin and red), two walla walla sweet onions, 2 “Carnival” acorn winter squash, and EITHER a bunch of sweet peppers OR a bunch of eggplant.

Here’s one of the simplest ways to prepare acorn squash thanks to Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/336725/baked-acorn-squash-with-brown-sugar

Week 19 – salad mix & spuds

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So here’s the rundown for this week:

There’s a bunch of beet greens (use like swiss chard or spinach – these are thinnings from the last beet planting of the year), a bunch of hakurei salad turnips (remember these from spring? eat raw or cooked, their greens are delicious cooked as well), a bag of salad mix (various mustards, lettuce, and chicory), slicing cucumbers, sweet peppers including jimmy nardello’s (the long thin red ones that look hot but aren’t), a head of garlic, yellow potatoes, and of course the ubiquitous tomatoes.  Usually I save the potatoes until later in the fall because there is such an abundance of summery produce right now, but I’d heard a little clamoring for them and it seems we have had a decent harvest this year, so here they are at the beginning of fall.  There will be plenty more later as well.  The garlic is “Purple Italian Easy Peel,” a hardneck variety I’ve been growing and saving seed from for about 5 years now.  I like the big heads and the ease of peeling.  The other variety I grew is a softneck called “Mother of Pearl” and this year it produced very small bulbs (you’ve seen them once in the share already), but the flavor is nice.  I’ll be saving the largest of the bulbs for next year’s planting stock in order to increase their size in the future.  On the beet thinnings, you can eat the tiny beetlets on the root ends if you want – just cook them with the rest of the greens.  Or just cut them off.  Tomatoes were still pumping Monday but I’m sure they’ll slow down quite a bit with the cooling off and moisture we’re beginning to have this week.  Peppers in the field are a fall vegetable this year as usual — the peak pepper harvest seems to be just ahead.  The salad mix was fun to make today.  Everything is nice and small right now so good for a salad where you don’t have to chop or tear anything into smaller pieces.  I’ve been thinking about getting into a lot more salad mix next year, so this fall you may see some more forays this direction as I test it out on you.

In other farm news, we got the winter squash pulled in from the field just before the rains came last night – whew! (Big thanks to my mother-in-law Karin and wife Katy!)  They’ve been curing in the warm fields for the past 8 or so days.  Ran out of bins so we put the last of them straight into the hand cart.  The varieties shown here are Potimarron (orange), Carnival (multicolored acorn), and Blue Kuri.  Other varieties this year (not pictured) are Delicata, Long Pie Pumpkin, and Butternut.  The winter squash really doesn’t get into the shares much until about mid-October when I need to replace other crops that are finished for the year.IMG_3021.JPG

A view of some of the other fall crops at the new “farm annex” plot.  Lacinato kale, Champion & Cascade Glaze collards, cabbage, pink swiss chard, purple top turnips, and watermelon radish.  The potatoes also grew over here off to the left.IMG_3014.JPG

Now for the fun stuff: recipes! (today from: www.noshingconfessions.com/2010/06/roasted-turnips-and-potatoes.html)

Roasted Potatoes and Turnips
Adapted from “America’s Test Kitchen’s Family Cookbook”
 
Potatoes
Turnips
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
1. Place oven rack in middle position. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Wash and peel turnips and potatoes. Slice into half moons or wedges, about 1/3 inch think. Place on sheet pan and toss with a generous amount of olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Cover the sheet pan with foil. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove foil. Allow to continue to cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Turn over all wedges/pieces. Allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven, check seasoning and serve. If you wish, this is an ideal dish to toss with a clove of garlic crushed into a paste with salt, and chopped fresh herbs.
Sautéed Turnip Greens
 
2 T olive oil
1 garlic glove, minced
1 bunch turnip greens
2 T apple cider vinegar
 
1. Heat a 2 T olive oil in a sauté pan over medium to medium high heat. Wash greens thoroughly and dry.
2. Add garlic to pan, and stir for 15 seconds until fragrant. Add greens to pan. Stir, until their color brightens and the leaves are just beginning to wilt. Add vinegar, cover pan, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Week 18

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This week’s share:
- arugula! – for a great spicy salad or perhaps a pizza topping
- 3 lbs of tomatoes – pico de gallo, pasta sauce, salads, sandwiches, etc…
- various eggplant OR sweet peppers — moussaka, ratatouille, baba ghanoush, roasted peppers…
- bunch of carrots (you may need to cut out some bad spots from the rust fly damage)
- bunch of kale OR turnip greens (turnip greens are a delicious cooking green like kale – the little pricklies on the leaves disappear when cooked)
- LEEKS!
- slicing cucumbers

The stocky red roaster peppers from the field are just starting to ripen, so hopefully with some more nice weather we’ll get a lot of those.  There’s also a stocky golden roaster out there, which is a new variety trial for me.  The winter squash has all been clipped and is now curing in the field for a week or so before being put in storage.  You can see the rows of various types of squash in the field here.

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Next week you’ll probably see some hakurei salad turnips making their initial fall offering.  The summer squash and zucchini are done for the season, as are the cucumbers from the field.  But the cukes in the hoophouse are still going strong.  Expect a bit more lettuce here and there in the coming weeks – some cut, and some heads.  This may alternate a bit with arugula and the mesclun mix.  Then the salad will move into the chicory/radicchio/escarole direction.  In the coming month you’ll also see some potatoes and perhaps winter radishes as well.  We’ll probably do one more big basil harvest before the end of pesto season with some garlic to do it up.   There are some nice red mustard greens that you’ll see a time or two as well for some cooking green variety, as well as an all-pink-stemmed swiss chard.  Here’s a sunset I tried to capture the other evening at the farm.  The phone camera doesn’t really do it justice.IMG_2994.JPG