Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 11: Nailed It

Remember last week when I told you our prediction for the first frost? We were right. The first frost struck on the 11th.

Squash leaf with frost damage.
Not to worry though, it was light. And we were ready. We harvested a lot of the frost sensitive crops, like Spaghetti Squash, before the 11th and we covered what wasn't yet ready for harvest.

See? Spaghetti Squash.
We expect more frost tonight or later this week so we have been more or less continuously harvesting tender crops all yesterday and today. That has meant picking a lot of cucumbers, summer squash, and...

dry beans.
We put in about 10 rows of dry beans this year as an experiment. We pulled the plants today to allow the pods to continue drying inside, away from potential frost damage. They are looking good so far. We may even have enough beans to give some to the winter members. Or maybe we'll just eat a lot of soup this winter.

So, though you won't see the dry beans in your share this week, you will see many of the other things we've been harvesting. The share will include: Tomatoes, Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Spaghetti Squash, Parsley, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, and Brussels Sprout Tops.

I know I said there would be Brussels Sprout Tops last week, but I really mean it this time. I promise :)

I feel the need to address the topic of parsley this week. We're aware you have been receiving it frequently this year and we know it can sometimes be a challenge to use it. I like fresh Italian parsley because it has a lot of flavor, but it's flavor is quiet. It's like perfect background music. It compliments anything that can use a bright green flavor (and what can't?) without ever really overpowering a dish. If you're having trouble figuring out when to add parsley to things, try some of these suggestions:
  • Any time you are eating pasta, add parsley.
  • Add parsley to mashed potatoes during the mashing or to sauteed potatoes right at the end of cooking.
  • Really add chopped parsley to any sauteed vegetables at the end of cooking.
  • Browning ground beef? Add chopped parsley.
  • Parsley leaves are also a great addition to salads. Not just the leafy kind. They're good in egg salad, potato salad, tuna salad...
I think you probably get the idea now. Parsley is very versatile and that's why we've been giving it to you so frequently. I realize I probably should have addressed this earlier in the season. Hopefully the ideas don't come too late.

You can also use your parsley in this week's recipe. Which is for basic Spaghetti Squash.

Spaghetti Squash

Of all the winter squash we grow, Spaghetti Squash is the one that members tend to feel most ambivalent towards. I think this tendency probably stems from attempts to substitute the squash for actual spaghetti. Sometimes that substitution works really well (I'm toying around with the idea of a Spaghetti Squash Alfredo for next week's recipe) but sometimes it doesn't. If you aren't sure you like it, don't forgo it just yet. Get to know Spaghetti Squash for it's own slightly sweet, nutty, squashy self and eat pasta when you want to eat pasta.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional: Butter and Chopped Parsley
Wash any dirt off of your Spaghetti Squash and halve it lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. If you compost the innards you will likely get some sort of mystery squash growing out of your pile next year :)

Compost Mystery Squash
of the Year.
Bake your squash until it is so soft that the sides begin to collapse (you might have to squeeze them with tongs before you really see the collapse happen), 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your squash.

Cool the squash for about ten minutes, or until it is cool enough to handle.

Use a large spoon to scrape the flesh out into a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Also chopped parsley and butter if you are into those things.

Then shovel it into your face.

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