Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 16: 2013 CSA Season Comes to a Close

Fall is here.

Note Scott's hunter orange cap. A sure sign of fall.
It's finally official because we had our first real frost last night. Just in time for the final fall harvest of the 2013 CSA season! The weather actually lined up with our activities for once this year :)

This final harvest is turning out to be a bit of a whirlwind for us. We've shifted the pick-up so that we will be able to attend a family wedding this Friday (thank you once again for letting us make this change!!), which means we need to have shares ready for all seventy five members this Wednesday, rather than spreading the harvest between Wednesday and Saturday pick-ups as we usually would. So, we've attempted to spread the harvest between three days.

We did take time out yesterday to catch this seventeen and a half inch brown trout though:

This was totally all Scott. I had nothing to do with catching this fish.
I was downstream, most likely disentangling my line from something.

Today we got started on the root vegetables.

We got through carrots (you each get three pounds this week)
And about half of the beets (you get one pound this week)

The beets gave us some trouble this year. Remember way back in the spring when it was very wet? That happened just after we planted the beets, in an ever so slightly low area of the garden. Long story short, we have smaller than normal beets this year. So a pound of beets is actually several beets, but they are little. We had hoped to have 2 or 3 pounds for everyone. Enough to make it worth breaking out the canner. If you are determined to have pickled beets, this is the recipe we use: At least you won't have to chop them up!

In addition to carrots and beets, everyone can expect to receive: Tomatoes, Scallions, Onion, Celeriac, Gold Ball Turnips or Winter Radishes, Daikon, Brussels Sprouts, Winter Squash, Rutabaga or Cabbage, Kale or Chard, Fall Salad Mix, and Parsley or Sorrel or Basil.

If you don't know or have forgotten, be sure to roast your Brussels Sprouts. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and chopped garlic (and balsamic vinegar if you are fancy) before roasting them in a single layer at 400 degrees until they are just starting to brown. Roasting makes Brussels Sprouts delicious. Boiling them does not.

You should also try mashing your root vegetables.

Root Vegetable Puree

A simple and delicious fall side dish. If you remove all of the greens and keep the veggies in your crisper (or another cold, high humidity environment), all of the items that go into this dish will easily keep until Thanksgiving, though this recipe only makes enough to serve four. Throw in some potatoes (boil them with the other veggies) or roasted squash if you want to bulk it up. Also, drink a bit of the cooking liquid. It's tasty. Seda tasted some from my glass and said "Mama, did you make a special vegetable tea?" before requesting a glass of her own.

  • One large or two small Rutabaga, peeled and chopped roughly
  • Two large Carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
  • Three very small (or one large) Celeriac, peeled and chopped roughly
  • Salt
  • Butter (about a tablespoon)
  • A handful of Celeriac leaves, if you still have them, chopped
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the vegetables (but not the celeriac leaves) and boil until they are all tender enough to easily pierce with a fork. Do not over boil or you will have a mushy, watery, mess. It shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the cooking water. Reserve the water for another use (special vegetable tea...soup stock). You will want a small amount of the cooking liquid for the next step.

Puree the vegetables with your favorite pureeing device (by now you all know how much I enjoy my immersion blender), adding a bit of the cooking liquid if needed to make a smooth puree.

While it is still hot, stir in butter and a handful of chopped celeriac leaves.

Before you stir, it will look like this. Assuming it is dark out and your
kitchen is not well lit.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 15: Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my birthday.

Seriously, right now. Earlier we celebrated by swimming at the AmericInn and hiking the Summit Peak Loop. The color in the Porkies is perfect today, by the way.

Actually, this photo shows the cakes I made for Seda's birthday
party a few weeks ago. But you get the idea.

As I type Scott and Seda are preparing a birthday "cake" for me. It's an apple-carrot-green tomato crisp. You'll find the recipe at the bottom of this post.

And now you know three items to expect in the share this week. If you recall, the last two shares of the season are extra big. This is the first of those shares. You can expect: Apples, Green Tomatoes, Carrots, Daikon Radishes, Tomatoes (ripe ones), Beets, Onions, Rutabaga or Kohlrabi, Winter Squash, Celeriac, a choice of Herbs, Gold Ball Turnips or Winter Radishes, and Kale or Chard or Dandelion Greens.

The only new thing this week is daikon, which I will get back to in a second. The celeriac may be a challenge for some of you - perhaps you still have some lurking from last week. If you need some ideas for using it, you are in luck. I just went crazy pinning celeriac recipes on pinterest, you can find those if you click here. You could also add some celeriac to the fall soup recipe below.

The daikon is another storable radish (like the winter radishes - incidentally, if you want to store any of your root veggies be sure to remove the greens first and store the roots in the crisper or some other cold, humid place) and can be used similarly. The daikons are nice, because they are full of flavor - like the other winter radishes - but have a crisp juicy texture, more like that of the french breakfast radishes. If you need some more specific ideas, I pinned a few recipes here

Now, I have two recipes for you, just to make sure you can use everything in your shares.

The first is a thick soup. Scott invented it the other day. It is a lovely combination of savory and sweet, and filling with with a hunk of whole grain bread.

The second is my birthday crisp. I invented this recipe, mostly because I still really want to come up with a tasty dessert that features green tomatoes, and Scott made it. I would say that it's pretty tasty, but maybe a bit too sweet for my taste. I understand that he had a four year old helper, and they may not have followed the recipe exactly...Still, next time I would probably only use a quarter of a cup of sugar in the filling. Proceed according to your tastes.

Fall Soup
  • 2 small or 1 large orange fleshed winter squash, halved and baked (Scott left the seeds in and it turned out great - he has a thing for squash seeds. You can take them out if you don't share his thing.)
  • 6 large carrots, chopped
  • One bunch (6-10) gold ball turnips, chopped
  • 1 medium beet, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups apple cider (or enough to cover the above ingredients)
  • Salt, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
Combine all of the ingredients, through the cider, in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the temperature to simmer and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Once tender, puree the soup. We use an immersion blender (you should get one if you don't have one) but you could also use a regular blender or a food processor.

After pureeing, reheat the soup if necessary, and season to taste. Add butter to finish the soup.

Birthday Crisp

Scott made my birthday crisp in his cast iron pan.
Because he loves his pan as much as he loves me.

For the filling:
  • 2 large or 4 medium carrots, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup water or apple cider
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (or much less than that if you are using freshly ground)
  • 2-3 apples, sliced thickly
  • 2-3 green tomatoes, sliced thickly
For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the carrots, water or cider, sugar, and spices in a large saucepan (or cast iron skillet if you are awesome like me husband). Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about five minutes. Then add the apples and green tomatoes. Continue to simmer until the apples are just tender.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the topping.

When the filling is ready, transfer it to a pie plate (or leave it in your kick ass skillet) and sprinkle the topping evenly over it.

Bake until the topping is golden, approximately 15 minutes.

Sing happy birthday to me :)