In The Box 9: Madison Delivery
It’s a post-freeze world here in the Circle M valley. The view is a bit apocalyptic in a few of the fields, but I can’t say I really miss those summer crops when we’ve got such cool-season bounty running amok on the rest of the farm. To my taste, fall is the most scrumptious season of all. Here’s what’s in the box:
Autumn Salad Mix – Oh, these greens are ever-so-robust in the cool seasons. These mixed lettuces were picked in the morning for you and should easily last in the fridge until you get some in the next box.
Cucumber – We lost our first planting of cucumbers to the heat wave and the beetles that came in to feast on our irrigated crops. This second planting made about one fruit per vine before succumbing to the freeze this weekend. Next year we’ll grow them in our brand new hoop house!
Green Tomatoes – Our goal for the CSA program is to provide you with the bounty of a good old-fashioned garden. That experience wouldn’t be complete without celebrating the first frost of the year with a traditional Fried Green Tomato meal. The morning after the vines freeze, we run out and pick off every firm and undamaged green tomato. Some folks wrap these unripe fruits in newspaper and let them ripen in the house. But why not enjoy this crispy Southern treat and move on joyfully to fall eating pleasures? You can also make a Green Tomato Pie by substituting tomatoes for apples in an apple pie recipe.
Death in the tomatoes. But I am not sad! Tomatoes are a ton of work over a long and productive season. I’m thankful for the thousands of pounds we harvested, but I’m happy to not be lugging tomatoes in from the field every day anymore.
Peppers – We grabbed what we could before the freeze, though we didn’t have many that were red yet. You’ve got round sweet peppers, green long very hot Anaheims, skinny sweet Jimmy Nardello frying peppers and chubby little hot jalapenos. This would be a good week to make Jalapeno Poppers. “This”:http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-ever-jalapeno-poppers/ is a great recipe. A bit time consuming, because the poppers are triple-coated with breading, but worth it. Or make the Hot Pepper Jelly with the Hot Wax and Anaheims.
Kale – This is the time of year when we start to crave kale. Enjoy baked into chips, or cut into ribbons and saute with stock from a ham bone. This is still of a small enough size that the leaves are perfectly tender for massaged salads, as well.
Savoy Cabbage (Full Shares Only) – These lovely wrinkled English cabbages are just the prettiest things. To fit them in the boxes, I had to pull off most of the outer leaves, but sitting in the garden they are open to their fullest glory – like giant 3-foot green roses! Use these just like a regular European cabbage, in slaw or cooked, or substitute for a Napa Chinese cabbage in stir fry or slaw. We’ve included our family’s absolute favorite dinner recipe for you below – Hungarian Cabbage and Noodles.
To make sure these made it to you, we ran sprinklers on them during the three nights it froze last week. Water on some tender veggies can protect them during a frost. Thank goodness it worked for these. Good morning, cabbage!
Bagged Herbs: Sage and Thyme – Both of these herbs are delicious with pumpkin and squash. There is enough in your boxes that you should be able to dry them (just leave out on your counter on paper towels until crisp) and save some for Thanksgiving turkey stuffing. Italians use sage in a quite a different manner, though, and you should also try the fettuccini recipe below.
Radishes – These taste like a bit of winter to me. Very crisp and refreshing on these still-hot harvest afternoons.
Onions – These mild Walla Wallas are just the thing to amp up your squash or pumpkin soup.
New England Sugar Pie Pumpkin (Full Shares) – PLEASE EAT! We don’t grow carving varieties of pumpkins for our CSA members. Our varieties of winter squash are all specifically selected for eating quality – and this is one of the best. The flesh is dry and stringless, making it ideal for pumpkin pies, but it is wonderful for soup, too. And don’t forget to use the seeds for roasting! In my opinion, the easiest way to prepare a pumpkin to eat is to wash the outside, then cut in half. Remove the seeds with an ice cream scoop and reserve. Quarter the pumpkin and roast in a 450-degree oven 45 minutes or until fork tender. Allow to cool, then squeeze the skin off, or cut off with a knife. Mash softened flesh with a potato masher or puree in the food processor. Then you can make this “Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.”:http://www.optimalbodybalance.com/2012/09/pumpkin-pie-smoothie/
Last Monday’s light frost killed the vines, but Sunday morning’s hard freeze would have damaged the tender skins on the ripening pumpkins and hard squash. Intrepid Work Share Members Allison and Jason worked a long day on Saturday pulling them all from the tangled field, while the steers waited patiently for the damaged squash to be thrown to them. Yum!
Carnival Squash (Shortie Shares) – These lovely little autumn jewels are sized just right for our Shortie Shares. Use just like pumpkin, or enjoy as little individual servings of squash and eat right out of the skins.
Baked Carnival Squash
2 carnival or acorn squash
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large tart apples
Â¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Heat the oven to 375Â°. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush squash with a little of the butter and season with a little salt. Place a thyme sprig in each half and bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the apples, the remaining melted butter, the sugar and the cinnamon. Remove the squash from the oven. Fill each squash with the apple mixture. Put them back in the oven for 15-20 minutes more, or until the squash and the apples are soft and caramelized.
Hungarian Cabbage and Noodles
This is a favorite family heritage recipe at our house.
1 head cabbage
1/2 stick butter
1/2 lb egg noodles
1 lb smoked polish sausage
salt and pepper
Start water boiling in a deep stockpot. Quarter and core cabbage. Shred or thinly slice quarters. Melt butter in deep skillet and add cabbage. Salt and pepper liberally and saute until cabbage is soft, with a few browned bits. Cook noodles in boiling water, al dente. Don’t over cook! While noodles are cooking, slice sausage in 1/2 rounds and fry in shallow skillet until browned. When noodles finish, drain. Add cabbage and stir. Salt and pepper again to taste. Serve with sausage on the side.
Cajun Toasted Pumpkin/Squash Seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
a little salt, depending on saltiness of the seasoning
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon melted butter or vegetable oil
Rinse seeds well and get as much of the pumpkin pulp off of them as possible. Small pieces won’t hurt the seeds at all, and might even add a little more flavor. Pat dry with paper towels. Toss pumpkin seeds with seasonings in a medium bowl. Combine butter and Worcestershire sauce; stir into seeds until well blended and coated. Heat oven to 300Â°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread seeds in a single layer and roast for about 45 to 60 minutes, , turning from time to time, until browned and crunchy.
Fried Green Tomatoes
from Southern Living Magazine
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
Salt to taste
Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside. Combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan. Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture. Pour oil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in a large cast-iron skillet; heat to 375Â°. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.
Fettuccine With Sausage And Fried Sage Leaves
from the New York Times
1 pound fettuccine
4 hot Italian sausages
About 24 sage leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
About 1 cup heavy cream
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan
Bring four quarts of water to a boil for the fettuccine. Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, simmer the sausages in water to cover for 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan and allow them to cool. Fry the sage leaves in the olive oil in a skillet until they are crisp. Drain them on paper towels, leaving the oil in the skillet. Chop the sausages in chunks and saute them in the oil until the pieces are browned, adding the garlic toward the end so that it gets golden but not burned. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Meanwhile, cook fettuccine until al dente. Pour off the fat from the skillet and add the cream. Bring it to a boil, scrape up cooking juices and return the sausage to heat through. Correct seasoning. Drain the pasta and put it in a heated serving bowl. Pour the sauce on top. Toss and sprinkle with sage leaves. Serve with Parmesan passed separately at the table.
Hot Pepper Jelly
Yield: 3 8-ounce jars
1/3 cup finely sliced dried apricots
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped hot peppers
3 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin
In a large deep saucepan, combine apricots and vinegar. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight. Add red onion and hot peppers to apricots. Stir in sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam. Either can (process for 10 minutes) or refrigerate for up to 1 month. For a milder jelly, you can substitute up to 1/4 cup of the hot peppers with finely chopped sweet red pepper. Serve on crackers or chips with cream cheese.
Circle M Squash Soup
use with your pie pumpkin or any other winter squash
4 Tbsp butter
2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves garlic
5 cups squash, cut into 2-inch slices and peeled
3 c chicken stock
Ginger slab, big enough to find before you puree (I used to use fresh, but lately Iâ€™ve been using the dried slices from Community Pharmacyâ€™s bulk shelf)
1 teaspoon nutmeg, or to taste
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp honey
1 cup sour cream, yogurt, heavy cream or cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a heavy saucepot, sautÃ© the onions in butter until clear, then add garlic until slightly browned. Add squash, stock, nutmeg, ginger, bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about Â½ hour or until the squash is tender. If you are using previously cooked, or frozen squash, simmer for just about 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Remove bay and ginger, but save. Add honey and sour cream and remove from heat. Blend with a stick blender until smooth. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt in the middle and swirl. Add ginger and bay back in if you have enough for leftovers. Another variation is to add an additional 2 tsp. curry or garam marsala for a flavor twist.
SAVE THE DATE!
Our annual Homestead Harvest Festival is just a few weeks away. We hope you’ll all come and bring friends to relax by the fire, play lawn games, mess around with woolcrafts and celebrate the conclusion of a wonderful season of fresh eating. Tours, crafts, stuff for sale and a potluck dinner with live bluegrass music at 6. October 13, 2pm til 10pm. See the Tentative Schedule “here.”:http://188.8.131.52/~circlemf//visit-us/lambs-and-lettuces-festival/