Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week 9 Share, Scraggly Craggy Root Vegetables

So, I'm late getting the blog post up this week and the share is already inspiring a few questions.

Questions like "What are these little white turnip things?".

Those are turnips. Little ones. Sorry.

This week's share includes tomatoes, summer squash or wax beans or cucumbers, new potatoes, chard, beets, eggplant or peppers, herbs, onions, and turnips.

The turnips are a salad turnip variety that didn't grow as they have in the past. Perhaps it's the new garden soil (some other strange stuff is happening in the bed next to them too). Perhaps it's the weird weather this year (of course, the weather is always weird). Perhaps it's some problem we haven't considered. Whatever the reason, we know one thing for sure - we're going to have to baby our turnips next year.

We decided to share them with you because they are still nutty and good - even though they're small and ugly - and we put together a recipe that combines them with the other root vegetables in the share and makes a nice meal out of them.

So, peel them well. Chop the few big ones that we managed to harvest (you may have a slightly big one, you may not). Combine away and you'll have the beginning of something appetizing.

Turnips, chioggia beets, and new potatoes. The little just to the left of
center is a turnip. This is the first step of the recipe below.

The potatoes, on the other hand, are supposed to be little. We're including a little over a half a pound of mountain rose or purple majesty potatoes specifically because the turnips are not as nice as we would like them to be. Both varieties of potatoes are pretty small when mature, but these are not quite mature new potatoes so they are even smaller. Between the turnips and potatoes it's our hope that members can make something delicious. Future weeks will bring larger quantities and larger varieties of potatoes.

So, now that I have explained the not so great stuff, check out all the sungolds!

The sungolds outside of the hoophouse are really starting to produce.

And we have these ladies to thank:

Bumble bee pollinating a sungold in the field.
Tomatoes are pollinated through a process called sonication, which means that the bees have to vibrate their wings at a certain frequency to release the pollen. It is truly awesome to harvest tomatoes, surrounded by a chorus of buzzing bees as they stop to sing a low note on each blossom, ensuring more tomatoes to come.

And now, the promised recipe. 

Meatballs, Root Vegetables, and Potatoes

This can, and should, be served with some kind of noodle. I used a box of whole grain rotini pasta because that's what I had on hand. It gave the dish a bit of a hamburger helper feel and kept my (almost) two year old entertained. I like to cook meatballs with vegetables this way because it flavors both the meatballs and the vegetables and it keeps the meatballs moist as they cook.
  • One bunch beets, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound new potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch pieces or left whole if very small
  • turnips from the share, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces or left whole if very small
  • Two medium onions
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 6-8 sprigs thyme or rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste (I used 10 grinds)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  1. Chop one of the onions into 3/4 inch pieces and combine it with the root vegetables. Set these aside.
  2. Dice the other onion very finely.
  3. Remove the woody stem from the thyme or rosemary and mince half the leafy portion. Chop the other half roughly.
  4. Combine the ground beef, diced onion, minced herb, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Get a large frying pan heating over medium/high heat with the olive oil.
  6. Thoroughly mix the ground beef mixture, making sure the onion is well incorporated into the meat. This is best done by hand.
  7. Form walnut sized meatballs and drop them into the heating frying pan.
  8. Turn the meatballs so that they brown evenly.
  9. When the meatballs are just barely brown on all sides, add the root vegetables and roughly chopped herb to the pan.
  10. Turn the heat to simmer, make sure all of the vegetables are in contact with the bottom of the pan, and cover the pan.
  11. Allow to cook, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the root vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork. Stir 2 or 3 times as it cooks.
  12. If you are planning to serve this with noodles or pasta, combine the noodles with the meatballs in the frying pan if there is space. That way the noodles will be coated with the juices from the meat and vegetables. 

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