Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Week Five: Christmas Time is Here Again

The snow came!!!

It's 6:30 at night in December, so it is too dark for me to take a picture of it, but I bet you've all seen it by now anyway.

We were enjoying the fall weather, but it felt wrong. I'm glad the world is right now. I really do like to have a white Christmas.

For your share this week you can expect the following:

Half share: 1 lb Onions, 2 lbs Carrots, One Acorn Squash, One Squash Choice, Cabbage, Dry Beans (a baking variety).

Full share: All the half share items plus more Carrots, One Long Pie Pumpkin, Kohlrabi, Kale Chips, and Daikon Radishes.

I've braided together some of the smaller red onions we harvested this year into one pound braids.We're distributing them with this week's share as a sort of Christmas decoration. You can hang them up if you'd like to, just cut onions from the top down so the braids hold together while you use them up.

The change in weather has not only put me in the mood for Christmas. It's also put me in the mood for stew, which is what I made for the share recipe this week.

I used lamb because we trade vegetables for meat with one of our neighbors (which is the sweetest deal ever!) and usually get a lot of lamb, but you can feel free to swap in beef or venison if that is what you have on hand. This is a super simple stew, in which the vegetables play the starring role, so put in your favorites. I've written the recipe with the vegetables I used (many of which are, of course, in this week's share) but you can change it however you like. Other ideas include potatoes, sweet potatoes, daikon radishes, rutabaga, turnip, or mushrooms.

Stew for a Snowy Day
  • 1 pound cubed stew meat (lamb, beef, or venison)
  • 4 small onions (such as those in your braid) peeled and halved
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 cups stock or water
  • 1 storage kohlrabi, peeled really well and cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled and cut into one inch cubes

Place the meat, onions, flour, salt and pepper into a large pot over medium heat. Stir to coat the meat with flour.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is lightly browned and the flour is toasted. Watch carefully, turning down the heat if needed, do that the flour doesn't burn.

When the meat is browned, add the stock and remaining chopped vegetables. Don't worry if your vegetables are not quite covered with liquid at this point, they will release a lot of liquid as they cook and cover themselves.

Bring the stew to a boil, turn down to low, cover, and simmer until everything is as tender as you'd like it to be. This will take at least an hour of simmering.

When the stew is done, put it in a bowl and pose with it.

Seda likes to be in the blog. She also likes to decorate the table
with tangerine stickers. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Winter Week 4: This is Fall

For those of you who are life long Yoopers. This is the kind of November and December weather that the rest of Michigan refers to as fall.

I'm used to wondering whether or not I'd have a white Christmas when I lived downstate, but it feels completely wrong up here.

Christmas lights look silly without snow around.

On the plus side, the unusual weather allowed Scott to get some fall projects done. 

Which meant that I could take this awesome
picture of him.
And it was the warmest ever weekend for Ontonagon's annual Hometown Christmas fireworks and parade.

Hometown Christmas  is always a wonderful time.

Turns out it's even more wonderful when no
one has to worry about cold noses or toes.
This weather also means the December fields look a lot different than we're used to and the most cold hardy vegetables we grow are actually still growing. So, even though it's December 8th, members will be getting some fresh greens in their shares this week.

Half Share Members can look forward to: Onions, Rutabaga, Cabbage, Buttercup Squash, Jester OR Carnival Squash, 3 pounds Daikon, Dried Tomatoes, and 
Baby Kale. 

Full Share Members will get all that good stuff as well as: Brussels Sprouts, Parsley, An additional Squash choice, and more baby kale. 

This week's recipe focuses on the daikon radishes. We have been growing them for some time now because they are a reliable crop for our area that store exceptionally well and are quite versatile. It's easy (for me at least) to look at them and automatically think stir fry or salad because of their Asian radishy-ness, but they're also great cooked in ways you might think more suited to a turnip or potato. As in this recipe.

Roasted Pork Shoulder with Daikon Radish and Balsamic Vinegar
  •  One 2-3 pound Pork Shoulder Roast
  • 1.5 lbs Daikon Radishes (about half of what is in the share this week) cut into 3/4 inch rounds
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • .5 ounce dried tomato (about a third of what is in the share this week) chopped finely
  • 1 or 2 small onions (red is best) chopped finely
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the sliced daikon radishes in the bottom of a roasting pan that is large enough to accommodate the pork roast. Set the roast on top of the radishes.

Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried tomato, chopped onion, salt and pepper.

Pour the olive oil mixture over the top of the roast.

It will look like this going into the oven. Though maybe your oven
 door is cleaner than mine.
Roast, uncovered, at 425 for 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350 and continue to roast, uncovered, until the meat is cooked through and tender, which took about 3 hours in total for me. The time it takes will depend on the size of your roast. Turn the meat every hour or so and spoon the liquid from the bottom of the pan over the roast as it cooks. The dried tomatoes will caramelize and soften as they cook and you will be able to spread them across the surface of the roast while it cooks. Do that, it's delicious.