Monday, September 21, 2009

CSA News, Week 20

From the Farm

We started the fall potato harvest this week. A few years ago, we acquired an antiquated potato harvester that cuts underneath the soil and brings the potatoes up into the machine where we can pick out rocks; cull potatoes, and plant material from the good potatoes that then fall into a large bin. It was probably used for baking potatoes as smaller potatoes fall through; so we still walk the rows to hand gather all of the potatoes pulled up to the surface.

In Your Share . . .
Items in shares may vary depending on your share size and harvest day. Each share may not have every item listed.

Bean, Half Runner - organic
Find some beans this week, an unexpected harvest from the last planting. Refrigerate.

Beets – organic, new this week for all the shares!
This week’s beets may be white, red, golden, or a pinkish rose color. The rose skinned beet has a striped flesh inside: Chioggia variety. Each color has similar beet flavor and makes a striking dish when prepared. You can also enjoy the beet tops in any recipe that calls for spinach, kale or chard. Store your tops and beetroots separately and use your tops soon while they are fresh. The beetroots will keep for several weeks in the crisper area of your refrigerator.

It seems this late in the season that some items will never be ready to harvest (we’ve been watching these cucumbers for several weeks). But definitely worth the wait. Though late in the year, they have a crisp flavor and the skin is not yet bitter since this is the first harvest from the last planting. Refrigerate to prevent dehydration as cucumbers are mostly made up of water.

Herb, Fresh – Sweet Basil – organic

Peppers, Bell
This week find both a sweet red bell and the little more tart green bell pepper. We wrote before about the ripening process of the pepper plant. They have high levels of Vits. A, C, E and iron and potassium. Store refrigerated. You can also freeze peppers either whole, chopped, or cut into strips for use later on.

Potatoes – organic

Raspberries - organic

Squash, Acorn
No need to refrigerate, can be stored for a few weeks.

Squash, Yellow Summer

Garlic – organic

Lettuce – organic

Radishes, French Breakfast – organic
Radishes, Easter Egg - organic
Radishes, Black Spanish - organic
Radishes are well-liked in Europe and grown all over. Most popular are the sandwiches made with thinly sliced breakfast radishes and good butter with freshly baked bread.

You can enjoy many ways and know that radishes are interchangeable in most recipes. Have you seen something you want to try that calls for a Daikon radish? Substitute instead.

The greens are also edible and can by used in soups, stews, stir-fry, and more. They are a great source of Vits. A, C, and Bs and help to cleanse your blood.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Best Acorn Squash
Thanks to a CSA member who pulled this from The Joy of Cooking. She says, "Hands down, the best squash dish I've ever had.”

Preheat oven to 375°F. Scrub acorn squash and place on a rack. Bake until it can be pierced easily with a wooden pick (1 to 1.5 hours). Cut in halves; remove seeds. Peel the squash and mash the pulp.

For each cup of squash, add:
1 T butter
1 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp t salt
1/8 tsp ginger
enough orange juice mixed in to make a good consistency

Place in a serving dish. Sprinkle on top:
raisins or nutmeats
¼ C crushed pineapple

Squash Casserole
Thanks to a CSA member for this recipe. She says, “It is truly delicious and I was genuinely amazed at how well it turned out - pretty easy to prepare, and it doesn't last long once its on the table. A real winner.” Serves 6.

1 lb squash
1 large sweet onion
1 egg
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ to ¾ C mayonnaise
½ to ¾ C parmesan cheesebread crumbs or Ritz-style cracker crumbs for topping
1/3 C butter, melted

Slice squash into bite-sized pieces and dice onion. Boil or steam together until just soft (5-8 minutes). Meanwhile, mix egg, mayo, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl until well blended. Pour cooked onion and squash into a casserole dish and pour Parmesan mixture on top. Stir gently to cover vegetables. Sprinkle with enough bread or cracker crumbs to cover the mixture and then sprinkle all over with melted margarine. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens
Recipe from Bon Appetit magazine, makes 6 servings, beets can be roasted the day ahead and refrigerated

6 medium beets with beet greens attached
2 large oranges
1 small sweet onion, cut into thin wedges
For dressing:
1/3 C red wine vinegar
¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim greens from beets. Coarsely chop leaves and stems, reserve. Wrap each beet in foil. Place beets directly on oven rack and roast until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool. Peel beets, then cut each into 8 wedges. Place beets in medium bowl.

Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Cool. Squeeze greens to remove excess moisture. Add greens to bowl with beets. Cut peel and white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release segments. Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture. Whisk vinegar, oil, garlic, and orange peel in small bowl to blend; add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Flourless Chocolate Beet Cake

Though a little unusual to plan beets for dessert, we don’t bat en eye when thinking of carrot cake or zucchini bread. This recipe is absent any flour so will be dense and chocolaty = yummy! Thanks to a friend of the farm for suggesting this recipe she loves; found online at just braise (dot) com.

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 T butter
¼ C sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1 egg, separated plus 2 egg whites
1 ½ C grated (cooked) beets plus 2 T cooking juice
¼ C cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter an 8-inch cake pan, line it with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper. In a double boiler set over medium heat, melt the chocolate and butter. With an electric mixer, begin beating egg whites with a pinch of salt and the beet juice. As whites build, add the sugar, egg yolk and zest into the chocolate mixture, stirring to incorporate evenly. Add grated beets to the chocolate and incorporate. Gently fold in the egg whites and cocoa powder until just combined. Pour into the buttered cake pan and bake 25 minutes in the center of the oven. Cake is ready when a toothpick comes out clean on the sides, but slightly wet in the middle. Removefrom the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Invert the cake on a plate and refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.