CSA October 2, 2012

I accidentally left out some information on a small bag of brown seeds. The bag is full of coriander seeds…the seeds from a cilantro plant. Once the cilantro plant flowers and goes to seed, they can be collected and used in cooking or planting. Coriander seeds are common in East Indian and Mexican cuisine and can also be used in pickling brines. Typically the seeds are toasted and crushed or ground into a powder before adding to a dish. If you use a lot of fresh cilantro in your cooking, the seeds can be planted and placed in a bright/warm windowsill and watch them grow.

Storage Notes

Onions and winter squash need to be stored in a cool dry place. The kabocha squash has the driest flesh and will store the longest.

Recipes

Shepherd’s Pie

(serves 6) Adapted from Saveur magazine

This take on the English classic makes a delicious meal on cold evenings. Serve with peas or sautéed greens.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ pound ground lamb, beef, or a mix of the two meats

2 ribs celery, small diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large carrot, small diced

1 large yellow onion, small diced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

½ cup red wine

½ cup beef stock

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

1 15-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand

Salt and black pepper

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled

½ cup heavy cream

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

Heat oil in a 6 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ground meat and cook, stirring, until browned all over, 10-12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl and set aside. Add celery, garlic, carrot, and onion to pan, and cook until soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring to scrape bottom of pan, until wine evaporates, about 8 minutes. Add stock, Worcestershire, bay leaves, and tomatoes and cook, stirring, until slightly reduced, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper. Transfer mix to a 9” deep-dish pie plate or baking dish, set aside.

Heat oven to 400°F. Place potatoes in a 4-quart saucepan, and cover with water by 1”, bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes, drain. Meanwhile, bring cream and butter to a simmer in a 1-quart saucepan; keep warm. Transfer potatoes to a food mill or potato ricer, and process into a bowl; add hot cream and butter, season with salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth and fluffy. Spoon potatoes over meat filling in dish, spreading to cover the edge. Drag tines of fork lightly over potatoes to create ridges all over. Bake until potatoes are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 45 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes.

Roasted Garlic and Squash Soup

(4-6 servings) Adapted from Splendid Soups by James Peterson

Roasting all the vegetables makes this soup simple and adds depth of flavor. Roasting the squash makes irregularly shaped varieties easier to peel; the pulp is just scooped out and the peels discarded. Save the squash seeds to roast and garnish the finished soup.

3 pounds acorn squash

4 heads of garlic

2 medium sized red onions, peeled and halved

3 medium sized carrots, peeled (or scrubbed well) and halved lengthwise

¼ cup olive oil

5 fresh thyme sprigs or 3 fresh sage leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

4 cups chicken stock or more as needed

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut the squash crosswise in half and scoop out the seeds. Break the garlic into cloves but don’t bother peeling the cloves. Toss the onions, carrots and garlic in the olive oil and put everything in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan with the squash halves flat side down. The pan should be large enough to hold the vegetables in a single layer. Roast for about 1 ½ hours, stirring the vegetables (except the squash) every 20 minutes so they brown and cook evenly. Near the end of cooking, after about 1 hour and 20 minutes, add the thyme to the roasting pan.

When the squash is soft (it’s easily penetrated with a knife or skewer), let it cool and scoop the pulp out into a mixing bowl and discard the peels. In a blender or food processor, combine the squash with the roasted vegetables, herbs (remove leaves from stems, discarding stems) and enough of the stock to get it to turn around. Working in batches, puree until smooth. Work the puree through a food mill or strainer (use a ladle to work it through a strainer) into a clean pot. Add the rest of the stock and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls. Garnish with roasted squash seeds.

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