Another recipe for butternut squash, and 1 for tomatillos!

On Friday during pickup, I felt bad for one of our butternut squashes. No one was picking it. Maybe it was because of its size and people were intimidated. I don’t know, but I felt bad, and decided I would choose it and bring it home it so it could fulfill its destiny as a squash.big squash  This photo doesn’t do it justice–that cutting board is at least 15″ wide.

Anyway, I know about roasting, but wanted to do something a little different. Then I remembered a recipe I had found in Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food a few years ago. Perfect! First you roast the squash with some garlic, EVOO, and sage, and then you puree it with half-and-half to make a delicious pasta sauce. AND, with the size of this thing, I would certainly have enough sauce leftover to freeze and serve later in the season. Click here for printable version.

chopped squash

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Serves 8
This recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce; enough for 3 lbs of ravioli, or 1.5 lbs of short pasta. For 4 servings, use half the sauce (about 2 cups). Freeze the rest for later (see below)

  • 1 medium (1.5 lb) butternut squash
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • ½ TB dried rubbed sage (or 1 TB fresh, minced sage)
  • Course salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 5 garlic cloves, peel on
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Pasta (such as cheese ravioli, or any short pasta) for serving

Preheat oven to 375°. Using a large sharp knife, trim ends then halve squash crosswise to separate the bulb from the neck. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut both pieces in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds. Discard.

Cut squash into 2-inch chunks; transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and sage; season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter garlic around squash. Roast until squash is very tender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove and discard skin from garlic.

Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor or blender; purée. With motor running, add half-and-half through the feed tube; process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups water; continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary. Season again with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta, toss to coat. Add pasta water to thin sauce if necessary.

To Freeze: Cool sauce to room temperature. Transfer to airtight containers, leaving 1 inch of space. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to use, place plastic containers upside down under hot tap water to help release frozen blocks of sauce. Place blocks in large saucepan; cover and reheat over medium low, adding water to thin if necessary.

I am sure for that some of you the “tomatillo season” may have dragged on just a little too long…I mean salsa verde is delicious, but really, how much can one family eat? I am sorry it took me so long to try this recipe, because now that tomatillos are officially gone, I have found another great way to use them. Or, like me, maybe you have few still tucked away in your fridge…just waiting… . If so, you are in luck. This is delicious and hearty and EASY. It could be eaten as a stew, as a dip, or as I served it—as slightly messy tacos. Give it a shot, it may change the way you look at tomatillos! Click here for printable version.

Tomatillo Chicken

Serves 8
Serve hot with tortilla chips, guacamole or avocado slices. Also makes a great filling for tacos. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

  • 6 free-range skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 – 3 dried hot peppers (to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lb. whole tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream for garnish

In a large Dutch oven bring chicken, broth, onion, peppers, garlic, and bay leaf to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 15 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, add tomatillos to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil uncovered for 10 minutes, or until soft. With a slotted spoon, transfer tomatillos, peppers, and garlic to a blender; add cilantro and purée.

Pour the mixture back into the stock and mix will. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pull chicken breasts apart into large chunks and add back into tomatillo mixture. Simmer until slightly thick, about 10 minutes.

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.

Don’t forget to find us on Facebook!

 

 

 

Changing Seasons, Changing Produce

dewey leafThe days are bright and sunny, and the nights are getting cooler. So far so good—this is Fall, just the way we like it. These are perfect growing conditions for all of the greens we have in the ground right now, and hopefully they are helping to ripen our apples as well!

We have spent quite a bit of time this season talking about what hasn’t grown well, so today I am going to point out a few things that did grow well. But I think you may already know what they are, as you have continued to get them in your shares all summer.

  • Swiss Chard. Nothing seems to stop it. If you don’t like it, now is the time to try, as it shows no signs of slowing down.
  • Tomatillos. Since this was sort of a poor year for tomatoes, I thought these wouldn’t do well, but I was wrong. Salsa Verde was last month; time to try them in a stew.
  • Potatoes. Other than the occasional nut sedge root infiltrating the tubers (see photo below), these just keep going and going…

…which, depending on your point of view, may or may not be a good thing. It is entirely possible that you are up to your eyeballs in potatoes. But just think of all the lovely, organic spuds you could have this winter if you start storing them. I know potatoes are readily available all year, but do you know how commercial growers harvest potatoes? While the vines are still green, they apply a broad range herbicide to kill the plant down to the roots, which makes them easier to harvest. Once the plants are dead and gone, they dig up the spuds and everything around them, which all gets transported to a factory somewhere to get sorted; first by machines, then by actual humans. At some point, they make it to the store.  Sounds tasty doesn’t it?

So how do we do it? We wait for the plants to die back naturally, then Farmer Karen drives the tractor down the row, digging a trench behind her. We, or Chester County Food Bank volunteers, follow along and pick the taters up out of the soil, put them gently into harvest baskets and bring them inside to store in a cool dark spot until we give them to you.

Which brings me to, How To Store Potatoes. They should not be refrigerated! Ideally, they should be kept in the dark, with minimal humidity and cool temperatures. I keep mine in a closed paper bag in the basement. If exposed to light, they will turn green and sprout. Or rot. But properly stored, they will last for months.

Recipes

sedge tater

If you see a little brown hole in your potato, chances are, it was left by a nut sedge root, not a varmint.

 

Make Salsa While the Sun Shines!

Salsa IngredientsWe finally have tomatoes. That is the good news. The bad news is, we also have a killer crop of blight. Literally. So yes, we have beautiful tomatoes, but sadly, the season may not last as long as it usually would. These year we have been plagued by plagues. It would be funny if it weren’t so awful.  What next? I really am curious—we have had pretty much every bad weather, pest, and disease event known to man and farmer.  I am personally betting on a killer snow storm in September, because really, that is all that is left to happen.

For those of you who were members last year, I am sure you are wondering why your share box isn’t overflowing with produce like it was in 2012. In a nutshell: Last year the growing conditions were near perfect. This year? Not so much.  I do feel that the produce we have been sharing with you has been beautiful and tasty, but I wish there were more of it. Needless to say, we are already thinking to next year and how to avoid, minimize or protect ourselves from some of these issues. However, some are just unavoidable; there really is no good way to protect yourself from 7 inches of rain all at once.

But in the meantime, stock up now, and take advantage of these lovely gems while we have them! Below are a few recipes for salsa using several items from your share box: tomatillos, tomatoes, corn and hot peppers. Enjoy!