Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 16: First Frost of Fall and Last Share of Summer

As is usual, it's been an unusual year as far as the weather is concerned. Planting season was slow to get going (really, really slow if you recall) but, once the weather started to cooperate, we plodded along and planted everything as planned--even if it was later than we'd like.

And we're so glad we did! This has been the warmest fall we've ever seen, and the latest first frost--allowing the crops a little bonus time to ripen up. In fact, we haven't even had our first frost yet this fall. Though, we're pretty sure it will happen tonight.

Which is why the main activity on the farm over the last few days has been bringing in squash. It won't keep if it gets frosted.

And we have far more than we can eat in the next few days :)
Even with help from the members, who'll be getting plenty of squash in the shares this week. This week's share will include: Spaghetti Squash, Honey Bear Acorn Squash, Pie Pumpkins, Celeriac, Cabbage, Rutabaga, Kale, Tomatoes, Winter Radishes, Carrots or Beets, and Leeks or Scallions.

This is the second week that we're giving out these lovely flowering kale:

We hope you are enjoying last week's kale. They are a bit different than the more familiar, broader leafed kales like winterbor or lacinato. I've found that they don't make good chips or salads because they're more stem than leaf. Happily, these  particular kales have some of the sweetest stems we've ever tasted and they are especially good in soup. Like the Pumpkin Apple Soup I made for this week's recipe.

Pumpkin Apple Soup
  • One Pie Pumpkin
  • One Leek
  • Three small (or one normal sized) Celeriac
  • Two tart Apples
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ginger
  • Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Milk or Cream
  • 12 stems Kale
Halve the pumpkin and cook it at 350 degrees until soft, about one hour.

Meanwhile, chop the leeks, celeriac and apples into 1/4 inch pieces. Combine them with the chicken stock and seasonings in a medium saucepan. Bring them to a simmer and simmer until the celeriac are tender, about twenty minutes.

Chop the kale, stem and all, into bite sized pieces.

When the pumpkin has finished cooking, remove the seeds and discard. Then scoop out the flesh and puree it with the milk or cream until it is very smooth. 

Stir the pumpkin puree into the chicken stock, apples, celeriac and leeks. Then stir in the chopped kale.

Return the soup to low/medium heat and cook until it just barely begins to simmer, then serve.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 15: Dinosaur Egg Buritos

It's squash time! We are beginning the process of pulling in all the winter squash we grew. As usual, we're starting with spaghetti and acorn squash because they are ready the earliest and don't require time in storage to become delicious.

The spaghetti squash were particularly fun to harvest. We plant our squash in black plastic because the plastic heats the soil to allow for earlier planting and keeps weeds down. The plants grow out of holes we poke in the plastic but, because spaghetti squash make big rambling vines, most of the fruits form in the paths between the plastic.

Like this.
And because the ground on which our squash grew this year was newly turned from hayfield into vegetable field this spring (and so is extra weedy), there is a dense mat of wild carrot in those paths.

Finding the squash that lurks beneath the carrot fronds is like hunting for Easter eggs. 

Laid by dinosaurs.
This week each member will receive: Spaghetti Squash, 2 Honey Bear Acorn Squash, Kale, Kohlrabi, Celery, Tomatoes, Red Cabbage or Kraut Cabbage, Beets or Carrots, Leeks or Scallions, and Basil or Parsley.

If you'd like to make sauerkraut but aren't sure how to go about it, this website has an excellent tutorial. 

If you'd like to make Dinosaur Egg Burritos, do this:

Spaghetti Squash Burritos

The quantities of seasonings (salt, cumin, garlic, cayenne) in this recipe are approximate because the size of a spaghetti squash can vary widely. My squash was on the big end of medium. Taste as you go and use the amount of seasoning that suits your taste buds.

For the filling:
  • One Spaghetti Squash
  • Two teaspoons butter
  • Two medium or one large Tomato, diced
  • One or more sweet or hot Peppers, diced (optional)
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon garlic powder
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • One can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
For serving:
  • Flour or Corn Tortillas
  • Diced fresh tomato
  • Sliced scallions
Halve the spaghetti squash, scoop out the seeds, and bake in a 350 degree oven until it is very soft, about one hour.

When the squash is cooked and cool enough to touch, scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Add chopped tomato and pepper (if using) as well as salt, garlic. cumin seeds, and cayenne.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the seasoned spaghetti squash. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato and pepper is just tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and add the sour cream and pinto beans. Stir until the beans and sour cream are well mixed with the spaghetti squash and everything is heated through.

Serve with tortillas and fresh tomatoes and scallions.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 13: Farmer Food

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

We did! Mostly we labored, but we enjoyed it :) There is a lot to harvest this time of year.

And this year has kept us extra busy, as we balance the increased production of Wintergreen Foods products with our usual CSA activities. 

Products like Kale Chips!
(I'm especially enthusiastic about these.)
Not surprisingly, we have found that with new endeavors come new challenges and new heights of busyness, but, while we certainly haven't achieved perfection (there's always next year...) the fields are in good shape as we transition into fall.

The dry beans are drying, the winter radishes are maturing, the acorn squash are ripening and the late planted (remember when June rains kept chasing us out of the fields?) fall crops are heading up nicely.  

Like the cauliflower :)
This week's share will include: Cauliflower, Rutabaga, Kale or Chard, Potatoes, Leeks, Tomatoes, Cucumbers and/or Summer Squash, and Fresh Herbs.

Now, we know that we're not the only family that is extra busy this time of year. Harvest time is also back to school time. So this week's recipe could not be simpler, and it makes use of the sometimes-challenging-to-cook rutabaga in a kid friendly way.

I called this post Farmer Food because I used some extra weird looking cauliflower and rutabaga when I made the recipe. We always feast on the funny looking stuff :)

Curly cauliflower and a rutabaga light bulb.

Maple Roasted Rutabaga and Cauliflower

1 Rutabaga, cut into one inch pieces
1 Cauliflower, separated into large curds
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Toss chopped rutabaga and cauliflower curds together in a bowl. Stir together the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt until they are well mixed.

Stir the maple oil mixture into the cauliflower and rutabaga to coat. Spread the coated vegetables onto a baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring after about 10 minutes.

When it's ready, the rutabaga will be toasty and golden.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Week 12: Happy September

With the beginning of September has come a grey sky over yellow fields of goldenrod...

At least that's what today looks like at our place.
...and a share packed with fall vegetables.

Just like early September, this week's share is a lovely mix of summer and fall. It includes: Kale, Potatoes, Leeks, Rutabaga, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Broccoli, and Fresh Herbs.

The rutabagas are our usual variety, a lumpier than average heirloom called gilfeather's turnip (though they are true 'bagas and not turnips). I know some members find rutabagas especially challenging. Check out our rutabaga pinterest board for several ideas if you need some inspiration. My favorite is the baked rutabaga fries. I made some seasoned with oregano a while back, they were heavenly.

Or you can make some soup with your 'baga, like this:

Potato and Rutabaga Soup with Kale and Bacon Crumbles 

For the soup:
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Leek, well cleaned, white and light green parts only, chopped small
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 rutabaga, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 5-6 Kale Leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 4-6 (or possibly even more) cups of milk
For the kale crumbles:
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 5-6 kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into bite sized pieces
In a large pot over medium heat, cook the first three strips of chopped bacon, the chopped leek, garlic and nutmeg until the bacon is cooked but not crisp and the leek is softened.

If you weren't sure, the leek should look like this
before cooking.
Add the chopped potato, rutabaga, and first six leaves of kale to the soup pot, then add milk to cover. For me that was just over four cups of milk. Bring the milk to a simmer, turn the heat to low and simmer until the rutabaga and potato are very soft, about 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make kale crumbles. In a small saute pan over medium heat, cook the second three strips of bacon and the second six kale leaves until both are crisp.

Once the rutabaga and potato are tender, blend until the soup is smooth. Add milk as you blend until the soup is as thin as you like it, this took about two cups of milk for me. Taste and add salt if needed.

Sprinkle a bit of kale and bacon crumbles over each serving of soup, along with some grated cheese if you like. We used smoked Gruyere on ours, Parmesan would be good too.