In The Box 10: Final Local Box!
Hooray! We’ve completed another scrumptious garden year together! We can’t thank you enough for your kind support of our little farm.
We certainly hope this won’t be goodbye for good, however. Do join us again next year for Community Supported Agriculture. We’ll begin taking Memberships in January and delivering again the first week in June, a few weeks earlier than we did this year (now that we’ve got more floating rowcover and figured out better methods for extending our season).
The cold months on the farm are Wool Season for us. See the Wool Supply “page”:http://22.214.171.124/~circlemf//maidmarion-cottage-industries/wool-supply-prices-may-2007/ for lots of holiday gift ideas for your crafty loved ones and check back soon for the full schedule of WoolCraft and Fiber Art Classes we hold out here November thru March.
BOX RETURN: Do you have a whole stack of Circle M boxes sitting in your garage making you feel guilty? Don’t feel bad! We’re going to have a Broccoli for Boxes Day in a few weeks. We planted tons of broccoli for the final boxes, but they are still pottering along under the row cover and not headed up enough to cut yet. But they will soon! When the florets are ready, we’ll schedule a box return day so you can come out to the farm and give us armloads of boxes in exchange for armloads of broccoli.
In the meantime, here’s what’s in the box, from most to least perishable:
Swiss Chard – So good in salad or soup – but give this wonderful “Chard Squash Lasagne”:http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/best-healthy-casseroles/recipe-chard-mushroom-lasagna-with-butternut-bchamel-best-healthy-casseroles-contest-137482 a try! You can use any squash, and really any green, too. I had this last week, thanks to my wonderful friend Carole, and it was truly fantastic.
Napa Cabbage/Purple Bok Choy – You’ll each have one or more of these, based on the size of your box and the size of the cabbage. Some of these napa are quite small, and some of the bok choy have gotten quite big. But both are wonderful sauteed in Asian dishes.
Kale – Better than ever! We’ve gotten so many glowing comments about the kale this year, but trust us, this is the best it’s been all year. Try raw in the Massaged Kale Salad below.
Chives – Just the thing to snip over your Potato Leek Soup to add color and flavor. But put these in all of your next potato or egg dishes.
Salad Turnips – We had just a few of these left for everyone. Great with a Massaged Kale Salad.
Brussels Sprouts – We are a bit embarrassed by the little bags of these we packed for you this week – but we just barely got any sprouts off of the tall, beautiful stalks. We’re not sure what went wrong there, but that will be one of many things we’ll be researching this winter. In the meantime – enjoy this little snack sauteed in butter and cream. They’ll cook up in no time at this size!
Parsley – Great with potatoes, but also amazingly wonderful in smoothies! Save the stalks for stock.
Leeks – These should be the smell that greets you when you open the box this week – and I bet it will make you positively ravenous! Who can deny the powerful savory aroma of these onion relatives? They’ll elevate anything you make into something quite rich. One of my favorite food writers, David Lebovitz, has some great leek lore and a great Potato Leek Soup recipe on his blog. He also provides a great picture tutorial on how to cut and clean leeks. Check it out “here”:http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/03/how-to-prepare-leeks-1/. We’ve been enjoying them, very thinly sliced and sauteed, in omelets this week.
Unlike scallions, which these quite resemble, leeks are used only as whites. Don’t bother using the greens – too fibrous. BUT! Save them for stock. This is soup season and your every stew will be mightily enriched if you are able to make your own stock. This box has lots of nice greens and stems you can save up (in a plastic bag in the fridge) and then cook down as stock when you’ve got about 6 cups of scraps saved. Then simply cover with water and simmer for several hours. Strain, add salt and save for your next amazing soup.
Baby Beets – These little guys are tiny and tasty! Use the greens and roots together for a colorful, sweet treat of a side dish. These go just great with goat cheese crumbles. See our recipe below.
Celery – We got ours in the ground a bit late, so the stalks are pretty small. But the flavor â€“ yum! Use to make your soup something special. And save the leaves for stock!!!
Baby Celeriac – These little guys didn’t size up the way we’d hoped by this last box, but they are still a wonderful and unique addition to your soups. Wash and scrub as best you can, then chop the white parts of the root, threads included, and cook about as long as potatoes. Greens are fabulous in stock.
Chinese Long Winter Radish – You can have radish on baguette appetizers all winter – trust me, these will keep in your fridge for months!
Carrots (large boxes only) – These little French Parmex Baby Ball carrots are just adorable. (some Scarlet Nantes straight carrots were mixed in the seed, so some of you have more typical-looking roots) Don’t toss those greens! Can we persuade you to wash them and store them in the fridge for the next time you make stock (along with your celery tops and leek greens)?
Potatoes – This is a mix of the different potatoes we’ve brought you this season. All have slightly different characteristic, but all should work well in baked or mashed applications.
Shallots – We sure do love shallots, these lovely red garlic-like cloves of very mellow onion flavor. Peel off the outer husks, and you’ll see there are individual cloves inside the bulb.
Sweet Dumpling or Carnival Squash – You got one or both of these, based on their size. Are you sick of squash yet? Hopefully not! Try these cut in half, baked with butter and sprinkled with some brown sugar. Eat straight out of the shell.
Don’t forget to check out the previous post for the Video Blog and recipes using these veggies.
Homemade stock is something that can take your daily recipes from good to great – trust me! – and visit this “site”:http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/making-stock/detail.aspx for detailed instructions. In this box you’ve got lots of scrap options: leek tops, shallot root ends, celery leaves, celeriac stalks and leaves, beet stems.
Simple Baby Beets
Baby beets with their greens
1 tablespoon butter
Dash of cider vinegar (or balsamic!)
Cut off tops to within a half-inch of their roots. Wash greens, chop and put aside. Clean beets under running water but do not peel. Boil beets 15 minutes or until fork can pierce the beets. Slip off skins under running water. Put greens in a pot with the butter. Add beets with a dash of vinegar. Stir up together and serve when greens are wilted. (If you really like the taste of this, add chopped swiss chard to the greens and butter – add another tablespoon of butter – and put a bit more vinegar.)
Baby Beet-Salad with Arugula, Goat Cheese & Hazelnuts
Adapted from a Wolfgang Puck recipe
Mixed baby beets, washed and trimmed, with their leaves
Citrus Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups organic baby arugula leaves, mixed baby lettuces and small beet greens (stems removed), torn into bite-size pieces
2 ounces fresh organic creamy goat cheese
1 ounces toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the beets in a small roasting pan and pour in enough cold water to reach about one-quarter of the way up the sides of the beets. Cover the pan with foil, place it in the oven, and roast until the beets are tender, about 1 hour. To check for doneness, carefully remove the foil from one side of the pan, opening it away from you to avoid the steam, and gently insert a bamboo skewer into a beet: The skewer should slide in easily. With a large spoon, transfer the beets to a heatproof dish and leave them at room temperature until cool enough to handle.
While the beets are cooking, prepare the Citrus Vinaigrette (recipe follows).
Cut larger beets into bite-sized wedges. Put the beets into a mixing bowl and lightly drizzle them with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the beets attractively around the edges of individual serving plates.
Put the greens in another mixing bowl, drizzle with about half of the Citrus Vinaigrette, and toss well. Mound the leaves in the center of each plate. Crumble the goat cheese over the leaves and beets and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Drizzle some of the remaining vinaigrette over the beets. Serve immediately.
1-1/2 cups fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or chives
1 shallot, minced
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer briskly until the juice has reduced to about 1/3 cup. Pour the juice into a medium-sized heatproof nonreactive bowl. Let the juice cool to room temperature. Whisk in the vinegar, thyme, and shallot. Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.
Circle M Massaged Kale Salad
8 kale leaves
10 dried cherries
5 dried apricots
2 large salad turnips
1/4 cup walnut pieces
Wash the kale and cut the ribs out. Discard or use for stock. Cut leaves into 2-inch pieces and place in a bowl. Pour Caesar dressing, in an amount just sufficient to coat the leaves – start small, then begin massaging the dressing into the leaves with your fingers and add more if it seems appropriate. Allow salad to sit in fridge for at least 15 minutes, or covered, up to a few days. When ready to serve, cut dried cherries into small pieces and sprinkle over the salad. Then cut apricots into quarters and do the same. Dice salad turnips and sprinkle atop dried fruit. Sprinkle all with walnuts. Season with pepper to taste.
Don’t forget to check out the previous post for more recipes using these veggies in Sheila’s Video Blog!