CSA September 25, 2013

Notes from the Farm

We have been busy harvesting fun fall treats: apples from Laura Mae’s trees and pears from Mary’s.  Thanks to Donny and Brittany for sharing plums last week!  What an amazing year for fruit!

We are continuing to stock the CSA boxes with storage veggies, so if you feel overwhelmed, remember that a lot of this food can last for several months if stored properly.   As a reminder, there is only one more week of the CSA.

The farm received a light frost last Wednesday and there is more cold weather on the way.  We hope to be done harvesting in a week or two so we can start preparing the fields for fall and setting up wintering pens for the pigs.   It looks like we will have plenty of beets, carrots, winter squash, garlic, and red and yellow onions to sell as storage vegetables. We are starting to take orders, so if you or anyone you know needs more storage veggies give us a call.

This Week’s CSA

Folks will find lots of goodies in this week’s share!  Inside the veggie box, you will find shallots, leekspotatoes, carrots, radishes, Brussels sprouts, fennel, Swiss chard, salad mix, parsley, and Macintosh apples.  A small sample of sweet bell peppers is included along with some more spicy Anaheim and poblanos peppers.  The winter squash varieties are green kabocha and carnival.

Storage Notes

The carrots will be topless and bagged for long storage in the refrigerator.  The Brussels sprouts are on the stalk, which is fun for seeing how this mini cabbage look-a-like grows.  If you don’t have room in the fridge for the whole stalk, the sprouts can be easily popped off the stalk and stored in a plastic bag.  Due to the dry flesh of kabocha squash, this winter squash will store the longest.  Macintosh apples will do best in a cool place or in the refrigerator.  I know the entire fennel bulb can be hard to store, so feel free to cut off the stalks and store separately from the bulb.

Usage Notes

Cooler fall weather always makes me crave soup, and fortunately the share has lots to offer for inspiration.  The squash can be turned into roasted squash soup while the potatoes and leeks make a classic combination.  The peppers we have been receiving will also make a great addition to some homemade chili.  For a more complex flavor, try roasting the peppers before adding to chili.  This link to Saveur will also provide more inspiration on ways to use your vegetable share.

Brussels sprouts can last a long time but they are best when eaten sooner than later, as their flavor becomes more assertive over time.  Any food item that goes well with cabbage or cauliflower also makes a great pairing with Brussels sprouts, including butter, cream, blue cheese, mustard, capers, garlic, bacon, and vinegar.  Brussels take well to steaming, roasting, or braising.  If cooking whole, cutting an X in the bottom brings heat to their centers more quickly.  Generally the small round heads are cut in half or thinly sliced, allowing them to cook faster and better absorb more sauce or seasoning.

Recipe

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar

(serves 4)

This recipe was shared by one of my favorite foodie friends, Emily, and it is her favorite way to cook and eat Brussels sprouts.  Simple, quick, and delicious.  For those of you who need a bit of protein, bacon or pancetta would make a great addition to this dish.

1 pound of Brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly milled pepper

1/2 cup dried cherries, optional

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise and remove any yellow or wilted leaves.  Toss well with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cherries.  Roast on a sheet pan for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and gently toss halves with balsamic vinegar.  Continue roasting for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the balsamic vinegar does not over caramelize.  Serve while still warm.

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