In The Box 10: Final Farm Pick Up and New Glarus Delivery!
Here at the end of our CSA season, our overwhelming emotion here is one of deep thankfulness. The days are lovely and temperate, the nights are cold enough to turn the veggies sweet, and the fields are still very much full of produce. We are thankful that this intense year of heat and drought is concluding with a bountiful harvest – quite miraculous in both quantity and quality. And we are thankful for you, Farm Members, for your support of this little farm! Here’s what’s in the box…
Another peaceful foggy fall morning on the farm.
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.
Arugula – Spicy and crisp. Delish.
Melon (Full Shares Only) – Last box the Shorties got their final melons, and this week it’s the Full Shares. Juicy red watermelon. This week a friend posted on facebook the irony that her kids spent the day swimming and then going to pick pumpkins. Crazy right? That’s what this year has been like and that’s why you’ve got watermelon and winter squash both in this box!
Cucumber – We lost our first planting of cucumbers to the heat wave and the beetles that came in to feast on our succulent irrigated vines. This second planting made about one fruit per vine before succumbing to the first freeze. So we hope you enjoy this small, but hard-one harvest! Next year we’ll grow them in our brand new hoop house!
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.
Peppers – We grabbed what we could before the freeze killed the plants and damaged the fruits, though we didn’t have many that were red yet. You’ve got round sweet peppers and green long very hot Anaheims. Try making The Hot Pepper Jelly with the Anaheims. Or stuff them. “Here’s”:http://jbugskitchenantics.typepad.com/jbugs-kitchen-antics/2011/08/italian-stuffed-anaheim-peppers.html a great sausage-filled recipe.
Broccoli (Full Shares Only) – Our first planting of broccoli perished in the heat wave in June, but this second round was worth the wait. All brassicas improve in cold weather, and this broccoli is sweet and tender. Use the stalk as well, sliced thinly.
Leeks – These savory stalks are unique in the garden cornucopia because they are one of the first plants started in our greenhouse in February, and one of the last plants to come out of the field. In fact, we will likely still be harvesting these in December. And what a tasty harvest they make – mild and creaming in texture, these are perfect in soups.
Kohlrabi – Oh, these are very much loved by the farm family and crew! These asteroid-shaped brassicas are like a cabbage/apple. You can find lots of recipes for baking with these on the web, but we highly, highly recommend that you simply peel, slice and eat. A bit of blue cheese dressing might be appropriate.
Kohlrabi in the wash tank. The leaves turn silver!
Radishes – These taste like a bit of winter to me. Very crisp and refreshing on these still-hot harvest afternoons.
Sweet Potatoes – My gosh, we did have a sweet potato bonanza! We grew them in the new hoop house so they could have a nice, warm, long season – just what they crave. These tubers are unrelated to typical “Irish” potatoes and should be treated differently. First of all, they get sweeter if they sit a bit. Don’t use them for another two weeks, since they were dug just about 10 days ago. Store in a cool-ish spot, but not in the fridge. “Here’s”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/dining/19mini.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink some Mark Bittman wisdom on sweet potato use.
Sugar Pie Pumpkins (Full Shares Only) – 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/
Carnival Hard Squash – These lovely little autumn jewels can be used just like pumpkin, or enjoy them as little individual servings of squash and eat right out of the skins.
Bagged Thyme – This herb is well worth the effort, but it can be a pain to get off the stem and into your dish. So I throw the whole stalk in, and once the dish is done cooking, pick them right off the top.
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.
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.
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.
1 garlic clove, minced
3-4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine or vegetable stock
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Cut off the ends of the leeks until you get to the shank; a little of the light green part is fine, but not too much of it. Save the unused portion for making stock later. Slice through the shank of the leek lengthwise until you get to the root endâ€”do not cut through the root just yet. Clean the leeks under cold running water, as leeks are usually dirty. Once the leeks are free of any dirt or grit, cut through the root to make two long pieces of leek. Get a sautÃ© pan large enough to hold the leeks in one layer and heat the butter in it over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and begins to foam, turn the heat down to medium and add the minced garlic and then the leeks, cut side down. Cook for 1-2 minutes, just to get them a little browned and to let the butter get into the leeks. Turn over and sprinkle with salt, then cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. Turn the leeks back over so the cut side is down, sprinkle the leeks with the sugar, the thyme leaves and a touch more salt. Add the white wine with the bay leaf and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook 35-45 minutes over medium-low heat. When the leeks are tender enough so that a knife blade pierces them easily, uncover the pot and bring the braising liquid to a rolling boil. Let this reduce by half, then turn off the heat. Add the parsley, swirl it around and serve.
Caramelized Leek Soup
2 pounds leeks (white and pale green parts only; save some dark green for garnish)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup vermouth
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
Halve leeks lengthwise and thinly slice crosswise. In a large bowl of cold water wash leeks well and lift from water into a large sieve to drain. In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook leeks in butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until some begin to turn golden, about 40 minutes. Stir in sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in vermouth and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated and most leeks are golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Deglaze kettle with 1/2 cup broth and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes more, until liquid is evaporated and leeks are deep golden. Add remaining 3 cups broth and bring soup just to a boil. Season soup with salt and pepper.
DON’T FORGET to come and see us for the Homestead Harvest Festival on October 13! 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. Saturday, October 13, 2pm til 10pm. See the Tentative Schedule “here.”:http://220.127.116.11/~circlemf//visit-us/lambs-and-lettuces-festival/