What in the world do I do with winter squash?

I apologize for this post in advance; I haven’t written anything for the past few weeks, so this is sort of a jumble of everything that has been on my mind…

I will let you in on a secret or two. I don’t really like Swiss Chard (yet). Or know what to do with winter squash (yet). It seems shameful, doesn’t it? I am a farmer (this is Kate by the way), and there are vegetables I don’t like or use frequently. I have to say, if I didn’t work here and belong to this CSA, I am pretty sure I would have stopped with Swiss Chard after my first time. However, it has been quite prolific this year AND I hate to waste food AND I paid for it, so I am going to eat it… I can report that I have turned a corner, because I really don’t dread it anymore, and have made several really delicious things out of it (see recipe below). As the CSA season is winding down, I am trying to use every last bit of everything before I have to return to the dreaded produce department for my weekly vegetables…

My squash is starting to pile up however, and I really do need to address the pile soon, but just haven’t had the chance. This blog post sounds promising, and I may even attempt something from it tonight: “10 Ways to Eat An Acorn Squash” . This link has some great info on just getting the squash “open” and how to go about cooking it.

I am so hoping our Tuscan kale will make it to harvest this year. We have had an awful time with Harlequin Beetles (a stink bug relative), which apparently LOVE kale and have been eating it faster than it has been growing. If you do end up with kale in your share, here is a great way to use it, kale chips. I have made these before and they are addictive.

frittataLast Thursday I was faced with a dilemma I am sure all of you have run into at some point—”crap, tomorrow is pickup day and my produce drawer is still full.” So I made a frittata (these, along with pizzas, are a great way to use a lot of vegetables at one time). I don’t always know what is going into my frittata until I open the fridge, but this one was a keeper, so I wrote it down (see below). First I sauteed some of the onions, garlic and sweet peppers from my share (a couple of hot ones would have been good too). Then I added some Swiss Chard, tomatoes, and kalamata olives. Gruyere and Parmesan cheese and some red pepper flakes got stirred into the eggs. Steamed broccoli rounded out the meal. By my count, that was six items from my share that made it into my meal, AND I had leftovers for lunch the next day AND room for new stuff in the fridge…SCORE!

Last Minute Swiss Chard Fritatta

6 eggs (preferably those from happy hens)
Salt and pepper to taste
A splash of hot sauce (optional)
1/2 cup Grated Gruyere cheese (or more, it is up to you) Swiss Cheese would also work
1 TB olive oil
1 or 2 small onions, diced
1 small red, green or yellow pepper, diced
A sprinkle of Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 bunch of Swiss Chard, rinsed, de-stemmed, and sliced into ribbons
1 or 2 small tomatoes, or a handful of cherry tomatoes (sliced in half, or chopped, depending on tomato choice)
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler. Break eggs into medium-sized bowl, add salt, pepper and hot sauce (if using) and Gruyere. Whisk to combine, then set aside.

Heat a medium-sized cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil; when shimmering, add onions, peppers and red pepper flakes (if using). Saute for a few minutes until just starting to brown. Add Swiss Chard, stir, then cover for a few minutes until the chard starts to wilt. Remove lid, add garlic and stir until it becomes fragrant. about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and olives. Let cook over medium heat for a few minutes until tomatoes soften.

Add egg mixture. Stir to combine, lower heat and let cook for several minutes until edges start to set. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and place under broiler. Broil for 2–3 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly puffy. Remove from oven and lit sit for about 5 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving. I also like this cold or at room temperature, though this does not appear to be a universal thing. Enjoy at whatever temp you like!

I also made horseradish the other day…did anyone else try? I followed the preparation advice I sent out in a previous post/email, but I think I added too much vinegar since my resulting sauce wasn’t very hot. If anyone else made it, send me an email or contact me on Facebook. I would be interested to hear about your results.horseradish 2 horseradish

Raspberries aren’t technically a share item, but I have had a lot of them this year, and I just keep freezing them (something to keep in mind for next year)—which came in handy last weekend. Raspberry scones!scones

Recipes from Our Members

I recently received several recipes from some of our members. They all sounded so good, I thought I would share.

Juliet used our peaches and raspberries to make a delicious crisp and peach muffins. I made the crisp as well, and it was indeed fantastic.  We still have a few peach seconds, which would be perfect for this!

Meghan, one of our Work Share members, shared this with me yesterday. It makes good use of a lot of your recent share items, including tomatillos. I have not yet made it, but it is going to be on our table sometime this week for sure.

Tracy, another Work Share member, sent me this recipe for Swiss Chard Olive Bread. Swiss Chard can be daunting for those of us still learning to love it—as well as for those who are ready for a new way to prepare it.

And finally, we are harvesting horseradish this week.  It will be a choice in the shares, since not everyone will be excited by this. For you diehards, fresh horseradish is fantastic! Here is a link to a brief article explaining how to prepare it.

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New Recipes!

I realize I am falling behind in my posts. My excuse is that I have been farming. The weather, and the barrage of insect pests, has been crazy this summer! Things seem to be settling down somewhat, so I am hoping to find more time for the fun stuff—finding recipes and making samples for pickup days!

Today we harvested our first (ever), experimental celery crop. We learned a couple of things, and will apply these lessons when we grow it next year. While this celery does have good flavor, the texture is a little tough. This isn’t so much a crudité type of celery, but a gumbo, potato salad or soup celery.  It would definitely benefit from some cooking or spending some time in a marinade or dressing.  The leaves are also very flavorful and can be chopped and used in egg or tuna salad, or used as a garnish for a bloody Mary.  Or frozen and added to heartier soups this Fall.

Anyway, as I said, it was an experiment. One of the benefits of joining a CSA is that you often get to experiment right along with us. So please give us your feedback!

 

Summer is here!

early am at farmWe are slowly transitioning into summer here at the farm, and your shares are starting to reflect this. Today, July 9, marks the last day of lettuce until the fall.  Our Pick-Your-Own (PYO) Peas are also just about done. No more garlic scapes or pea tendrils either. But, this just opens the door for lots of other delicious things!

Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are still a few weeks off. But in the meantime, we have lots of zucchini and yellow squash, the ever prolific Swiss Chard, beans (green and yellow!), carrots and beets.  Potatoes and hopefully some corn will soon be joining your shares as well.

flash floodWe had just finished planting our PYO herbs and flowers right before that horrific downpour two weeks ago. We received almost 4″ of rain in about an hour here at the farm. Part of our field with the PYO stuff washed away (in addition to chunks of both driveways). What didn’t wash away is coming along, but that deluge set it back just a bit. (Notice the “stream” in the left hand side of the picture. That usually isn’t there.)

trransplant squash 2We are largely finished with our planting for the spring season–the last to go in was our winter squash—pumpkins, acorn squash etc. We got to use our handy dandy transplanting tool on the tractor, which made our job of planting hundreds of squash much easier…plus it was kind of fun to ride it…

Your shares this week will definitely include beets, Swiss Chard, zucchini and green beans, so here are some recipes to help you use all of those:

What do I do with that?

Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers Markets

One thing we do here at the farm is talk about food and how to cook it. A lot. We want to share this with you as much as possible to help you enjoy what you get each week, otherwise, what is the point of getting all this fresh produce? We realize that not everything in your share box may be familiar to you, but that is all part of the CSA adventure! Each week we try to make sure we have recipes available when you pick up your share, especially for some of the more challenging items, such as kohlrabi, pea tendrils, or Swiss Chard. We find these things to be quite delicious and hope that you will give them a try! Most weeks, I will have a set of recipes that you can take with you. I also will be posting these recipes weekly in our blog, in case you didn’t pick any up.

Many share members have been asking where we find our recipes. I (Kate) subscribe to several food blogs that always provide me with great ideas. Two of my favorites are Alexandra’s Kitchen and Smitten Kitchen. The photographs on both blogs are beautiful and will, at the very least, make you hungry, but will hopefully inspire you to try something new.  A couple of other great sites are  My Recipes (all skill levels, with lots of quick and easy recipes) or Epicurious, for the more experienced cook. Or, when in doubt, just Google it! If you are looking online, checking out the reviews of a recipe can really help weed out some poor choices, or give you ideas on how to tweak something. For instance, last night I was debating what to do with my Swiss Chard stems (which is new for me) and came across this recipe:

The photo is beautiful, so I had to try it. Several reviewers commented however that the brine was too sweet, so I greatly reduced the amount of sugar. I am awaiting the results, but as these are sitting in the cooler at the farm, I am sure there will be some sampling involved in the pickup tomorrow night…If my revised recipe is good, I will include it here.

A unique cookbook organized by plant part to help fresh food lovers make the most of their seasonal shares and purchases.

No one likes to waste food, and I know it can be disheartening to get your share and not know what to do with any of it. Even experienced cooks sometimes have no idea what to do with piles of produce ALL AT ONCE, or need inspiration. Do yourself a favor, and get a good cookbook or two. Check out a few out from library and give them a test run before committing to anything. Some of my favorite cookbook authors are Deborah Madison, Molly Katzen, Mark Bittman and Alice Waters. ALL of these people work miracles with vegetables, but Deborah Madison is one of the best. In fact, check out her book Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America’s Farmers’ Markets. Two other produce-centric cookbooks recommended by Local Harvest are From Asparagus to Zucchini, and Farm-Fresh and Fast. These focus on tasty ways to eat deliciously, healthfully and seasonally. Having great recipes at your fingertips takes a lot of the fear out of the unknown. Try something new this week!

Here are the recipes for the shares during the week of June 23rd:

Spring Recipes

not sure what to do with pea tendrils, broccoli raab or rhubarb? Here are a few recipes to start the season. Scroll to the bottom for printable versions.



Sautéed Pea Tendrils

Pea TendrilsPea tendrils have a fresh, delicate flavor—not much needs to be done to them. In fact, they are delicious raw too!

  • 1 bunch of pea tendrils—trim any tough ends
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2–4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • A sprinkle of sea salt
  • Chili flakes, if you like heat (optional)

Rinse and chop the pea tendrils. Add olive oil and garlic to a cold skillet. Heat over medium heat until garlic is fragrant (but not brown!). Remove garlic clove from the pan and save for later (optional).

Add the chopped tendrils and sauté for about 30 seconds. Cover and cook just until wilted 2–5 minutes, depending on their thickness—don’t overdo it—you want them barely wilted, but still flavorful and crunchy!

Serve with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt and/or chili flakes if you want a little bit of heat. You also can chop the garlic and add it back in if you’d like.

 Pea Tendril Pesto

This intensely flavored, neon green pesto recipe is inspired by one that appeared in the New York Times. Add up to a half-cup of additional fresh herbs such as chives, mint, arugula and parsley. Like most pestos, all amounts are approximate, so adjust according to your own taste. Recipe by Edible Portland

Try this pesto on a piece of toast with a sliced hard boiled egg; added to boiled potatoes with chopped green onions; or thinned with pasta water and tossed with wide-cut fresh noodles.

  • ½ cup walnuts, raw or toasted
  • 3 cups pea shoots, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/3 to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. To toast the walnuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts on baking sheet and roast until golden, about 10 minutes. Check by letting them cool and then breaking a walnut in half. The inside should be golden all the way through. (Optional. Tastes good with walnuts just out of the bag too).

2. In a food processor or blender, combine walnuts, pea shoots, Parmesan and garlic. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add salt to taste. With motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Blend until well-combined and you reach your desired thickness. Scrape pesto into a bowl and use immediately, or store in a jar with a thick covering of olive oil and use within three days. You can also freeze in ice cube trays.

Makes 2 to 2 ½ cups

Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

Garlicky Broccoli Rabe from Smitten Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.smittenkitchen.com

  • 1 lb pasta, whatever shape you like (but chunky ones will match up better with the rabe)
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, heavy stems removed, remaining stems and leaves cut into 1- to 2-inch sections (roughly the same size as the pasta you are using)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more or less to taste
  • About 1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt (or more to taste)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. Drain rabe and pasta together and pour into serving bowl.

In a small pot (or reuse the one you just emptied), heat the olive oil with the garlic, pepper flakes and Kosher salt over moderate heat, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes lightly golden. Pour mixture over pasta and toss to evenly coat. Shower with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and eat at once.

 Spinach Salad with Strawberries & Basil

Adapted from Rachel Ray

  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 ½ cups small strawberries
  • 2 – 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Chop the shallot and put it in a small bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar and lemon juice and set aside. Meanwhile, hull the strawberries and cut them in half. Transfer to a serving bowl along with the spinach and basil.

Whisk the extra virgin olive oil into the vinegar mixture and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad with the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with goat cheese if desired.

Vanilla Rhubarb Jam

rhubarb jam

www.AlexandrasKitchen.com

  • about a pound of rhubarb*, to yield about 3 1/2 to 4 cups once chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean

*If you start with a pound of rhubarb, by the time you trim the ends, you will have (shockingly) less than a pound of rhubarb, which will yield closer to 3 cups of chopped rhubarb. If you start with more like a pound and a half or a pound and a quarter of rhubarb, the yield once chopped will be closer to 4 cups. I have made the jam both ways and prefer it on the less sweet side — 1lb. 6 oz of rhubarb untrimmed left me with 4 cups of chopped rhubarb. You can always add more sugar about halfway through the cooking process if you find the jam to be too tart, but I doubt you will.

1. Wash rhubarb. Trim ends. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Place rhubarb in a saucepan with sugar. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the caviar with a paring knife. Place caviar and remaining pod in pan with rhubarb and sugar. Cover pan, place over medium heat and cook until the mixture is bubbling and the rhubarb has released a significant amount of its juices, about 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Uncover the pan, give the mixture a stir, and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick and jam-like in consistency, another 10 or 15 minutes. Stir frequently and use a spatula or spoon to breakdown any big pieces of rhubarb. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for at least a week.

Rhubarb Bars

rhubarb-crumb-bars

From “One United Harvest.”
Because of rhubarb’s tart flavor, these taste just like lemon bars.

  • Crust:
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 8 T powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • Filling:
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups diced fresh rhubarb

For the crust, stir together flour and sugar. Cut into butter. Pat this mixture in a greased 9 x 13” pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 min, until set, but not brown. Set aside.

Beat together eggs, sugar and flour. Stir in rhubarb. Pour this mixture over the hot crust and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until set.