In The Box 9: Madison Delivery
Oh, we are having fun in this gorgeous weather, harvesting in the fields and getting the farm tidied up for our big party on Saturday. We DO hope you’ll join us for our Homestead Harvest Festival from 2 til 10pm – click “here”:http://220.127.116.11/~circlemf//lambs-and-lettuces-festival/ for a full schedule of events. In addition to our usual activities, we will also have chicken, beef, honey, jam and woolcraft kits here for sale. Our neighbors across the drive have just set out dozens of huge pumpkins to sell and our neighboring apple orchard is having a tremendous year with lots of varieties available. We think you’ll find it worth the drive out here this weekend! Even the drive itself will be beautiful.
Here’s what’s in the box, in order of what to eat first:
Circle M Autumn Salad Mix – Oh, this is our favorite lettuce of the year. Big, crunchy leaves where the character of each variety – red, curly, freckled, green, or frilled – is in full expression. We’ve given you an extra-big bag so you can enjoy it with the winter radishes, the salad turnips, the arugula and even a few red tomatoes!
Arugula – This is milder as the weather cools. If you typically cook arugula, I’d encourage you to try it raw this week in salad.
Swiss Chard – So pretty and so perky. Try adding to a breakfast omelet with gruyere cheese. Just put some olive oil and onions in the skillet, and then lightly saute the chopped chard, stems and all. Then add the eggs and cheese.
Red Tomato or two – We had a few red tomato we harvested between the last two frosts. Now the vines are truly done – and we thank them for a great year!
Eggplant – The final picking of the year. I’m using the little orange ones for decorations this weekend, and the rest for the Eggplant/Tomatillo recipe below.
Sweet Peppers and Jalapenos – This is it for peppers, too. We harvested everything, green or otherwise, before last week’s hard frost. Some are quite ripe and sweet, the rest are crunchy and full of that green pepper flavor.
Salad Turnips – Hoooooray! We LOVE the tender sweet turnips and we got great feedback from you when we packed them in the spring. Now we’ve got them again and they are buttery and delicious. Good raw or lightly cooked in butter. Don’t forget to eat the delicious and fabulously nutritious greens! Add them to whatever you do with the kale, chard or salads.
Kale – We were going to skip kale in the box this week, since we sent it along last time, but we’ve been getting so many good recipes from you all via facebook, we decided to put it in!
Tomatillos – This week was the only harvest we got off the vines. Most of these little tomato-like papery-covered nightshade fruits fell off before they ripened. Some years that happens. We have no idea why and though we’ve asked every market farmer we know, no one else has any ideas, either. Try these in a salsa verde or in the Sweet-N-Sour Eggplant recipe below from Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard, owner of Girl & The Goat in Chicago.
Parsley – A lovely, crisp bunch! May I suggest you munch on the stems while you mince up the leaves for your recipes? The stems are CRAZY sweet and my favorite part of the plant. We had lots of praise for our herbs in the mid-season survey, and requests for parsley – here it is! This is an amazingly nutritious anti-oxidant herb that can lower cholesterol, prevent constipation, remedy gum disease and help in Alzheimer’s. Store wrapped in the fridge. If you can’t use it all, hang it up and dry it in the kitchen and then rub it between your hands to season dishes.
Sage – We’ve put sprigs in a plastic bag. They should keep well in the fridge for a few days, but if you don’t get to them by then, just remove the leaves from the stems and spread out on a paper towel somewhere to dry. When they are crisp, simply crumble them into glass jars to use later.
Chinese Winter Radish – These long daikon-style radishes are only going to get bigger! We LOVE these for fall because they last a while and you can simply scrub the skin or peel and spend all week slicing them into salads. If you can get to the east side of Willy Street, run into Batch Bakehouse and get a baguette!!!!! I can’t emphasize enough how amazing a good baguette, sliced and buttered, can taste with a sliced radish.
Kennebec Potatoes – Chefs know this variety, but you won’t find it in grocery stores because its thin, smooth skin doesn’t travel well. Enjoy the rich flavor and fabulous texture of this terrific tuber in fried, baked or boiled recipes.
Onions – The round Australian bronze are dried and cured and should keep for a while if you don’t get to them right away. But the Red Torpedo onions, very strong, for some reason were still growing vigorously in our fields when we pulled them out ahead of the frost. So they haven’t cured in the field and should be used soon.
I have lots of favorite winter squash varieties, but this one, introduced to me by my friend and farm member Roberta, is really a ton of fun. Some folks call it the “Ghost Brain Squash.” We also had a few blue Jarrahdale Australians and red Rouge Vif D’Etemps mixed in the patch, both similarly sweet-fleshed squash with a hard skin and small cavity. More to eat!
Just getting into the flesh is an adventure. First, wait a week or two and let the starches in these just-picked squash turn to sugar. Then, don’t bother trying to cut it open unless you have a vegetable hacksaw. Just put it in a garbage bag and drop it on the floor. It’s the CSA pinata! Then clean out the seeds and strings, wash the skin and roast or steam the various chunks. You can store them in the fridge for a few weeks until you get around to roasting it all. Steaming goes the fastest – just put chunks in the steamer basket until the flesh is easy to pierce with a fork, for maybe 20 minutes, depending on the squash. Roasting takes longer, but definitely imparts a richer flavor. Set oven at 400, then put chunks of unpeeled squash on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes to an hour. The skin will come right off after cooking with both of these methods. Use in pie, soup, pudding, wherever you’d use pumpkin or sweet potato, and get ready for something special. We had the Circle M Squash Soup tonight and my husband said, “I could eat this every night.” Whatever you don’t eat right away can be steamed/roasted and then frozen to make your pumpkin pie in November!
We’ve included a wonderful house-warming Pumpkin Bread recipe for you to use your squash in, but please do see the previous two posts for more great recipes. We’ll be posting squash recipes a few times a week to help you eat up this terrific flesh! But we’d like you to share yours, too. Join us here or on “facebook”:https://www.facebook.com/circlemfarm.
2 cups of fresh cooked pumpkin or squash
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup raisons (also optional)
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and sugar. Add the eggs, water, oil and pumpkin. Stir until blended and add raisins and pecans if desired. Pour into two greased and floured 9 by 5 loaf pans. Bake approximately 1 hour at 350 F. Bread is finished when a clean knife can be stuck in and removed cleanly. Let cool on racks before cutting. This bread is even better if wrapped and left for a day before eating.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds Video
Farm member Carrie sent a facebook “link”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhfnmfVDG3Y&feature=youtu.be to a great youtube video on roasting pumpkin or squash seeds.
Pioneer Woman’s Kale and Potato Soup
Farm member Julie sent us this great “link”:http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/10/sausage-potato-and-kale-soup/ on facebook to the Pioneer Woman’s website. The soup is supposed to be a copy of an Olive Garden dish, but I’d be willing to bet just about anything that this recipe is better!
Kale and Apple Soup
I can’t think of a better way to eat in this gorgeous season! My great friend Ann in Chicago sent me this “link”:http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/healthy/recipe-kale-and-apple-soup-071332 to thekitchn.com. Fun website with great recipes.
Sweet-And-Sour Eggplant with Tomatillos
by Stephanie Izard, chef and co-owner of Girl and the Goat restaurant in Chicago, recent Top Chef winner, as published in Elle magazine
1 Japanese eggplant (probably 3 of the smaller ones we sent)
2 TbSP olive oil
1 c. finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 fresh poblano pepper, thinly sliced (use the jalapenos we sent along)
2 c. diced fresh tomatillos (you may not have enough in the box, but try it)
1 c. grape tomatoes, halved (or slice up the large one we sent)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
Cut the eggplant in 1/2 inch half moons. Heat a large saute pan over medium low. Add olive oil, onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is clear. About 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high, add hot pepper and cook until softened, 2 minutes. Add the eggplant, tomatillos and tomatoes and stir to thoroughly coat the vegetables with the oil. Cook until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Season lightly again and then add the sugar, wine, vinegar. Cook for 3 minutes, then reduce heat to medium low. Continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed by the vegetables and they have broken down and softened, 8 to 10 min. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cool and serve at room temp.