This Week’s CSA
Local apples work well in most cooked dishes, and are an excellent accent for pies, apple tarts, and cobblers. They add zing to cider and real pucker power to apple sauce, and can be eaten fresh as well. Store in a cool place and eat them quickly, or use them in a cooked dish or dry them for a delightful winter treat.
Beets are a versatile root which can be eaten raw, roasted, steamed, grilled, or boiled. Their natural earthy sweetness pairs well with olive oil, sour cream, vinegars, citrus, mustard, horseradish, dill, tarragon, onions, apples, and goat cheese. Red beets bleed and tint everything they touch but leaving the skin, tail, and at least 1 inch of the stems intact while cooking will help keep all those juices locked inside. Once cool to touch, beets are very easy to peel.
Celeriac can be eaten both cooked and grated raw for salads. For cooking purposes, this root vegetable takes well to soups, purees, and gratins. The root needs to be scrubbed well and peeled. To peel the root, cut the top and bottom ends off to create a stable surface and then using your knife, cut away the peel in a downward motion. If you have a heavy duty peeler, you can try using that if the root is not to knobby. Cut pieces turn brown quickly, so place cut pieces in a bowl of water acidulated with lemon juice or vinegar. If you prefer to use the entire vegetable, any pairings from peeling can be put in a vegetable stock. Take time to remove and save the green ribs before storing, which can be added to stocks or soups.
A delicate member of the onion family, chives provide a discreet onion flavor that works well with egg dishes, mild cream based sauces, or as a garnish to salads or soups. Chives are best used fresh and added at the end of cooking. Snip them with scissors or cut with a sharp knife straight across. Store fresh chives in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Bartletts are much more than just a canning pear, and besides eating them fresh, you can also enjoy their wonderful flavor and smooth texture in a range of dishes. Try a sliced Bartlett atop a garden green salad with your favorite dressing. Or, simply serve freshly sliced Bartlett wedges with cheese for an appetizing snack. Always remember that any recipe calling for apples can be made using fresh pears as well. Leave firm, unripe pears at room temperature so that they can ripen. Check the neck for ripeness daily, by applying gentle pressure to the neck, or stem end, of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, then it’s ripe and ready to eat! Once the pear is ripe, it can be refrigerated to slow the ripening process and saved for use up to five days later.
Poblano Peppers are usually used in sauces, salsas, and stuffing mixes. The membranes and seeds of Poblano peppers is where most of the heat is found. So, if you don’t want it to be quite so spicy, be sure to take the veins and seeds out before using the pepper. Poblanos can be stored and even frozen in airtight containers for many months until you are ready to use them. You can also choose to dry the peppers out for later use. Dried Poblanos are also known as Ancho chiles, which means wide chile in the Spanish language. They are given this name because when Poblano peppers are dried they become very flat, wide, and heart-shaped.
Also known as Cos, this variety of head forming lettuce has deep green, long leaves with a crisp texture and deep taste. Romaine should be washed and dried before storing in the refrigerator to remove excess moisture. A salad spinner can be very helpful in the drying of lettuce (and other salad ingredients as well). Lettuce should be either stored in a plastic bag or wrapped in a damp cloth and stored in the refrigerator crisper.
To prepare spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon. Bake or boil it until tender, or wrap it in plastic wrap and microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes. Once squash is cooked, use a fork to rake out the stringy flesh (which spaghetti like) all the way to the rind and serve. Store squash in a cool, dry place (preferably 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit) up to 3 months. Refrigeration will make the squash spoil quickly, but squash can be stored in the refrigerator 1-2 weeks. Cut squash should be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated.
Sunshine squash is a variety of Kabocha squash that is orange-skinned and turban-shaped. Known for its naturally sweet flesh that is not stringy, sunshine squash are also high in vitamin C and beta carotene. Kabocha squash is a Japanese varietal of winter squash that is now grown around the world. The kabocha squash has the driest flesh and will store the longest. Keep whole squash in a cool, dry place that has plenty of ventilation. Cut squash can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Sweet onions tend to be lower in sulfur and higher in water content, giving them a mild flavor and perfect for eating fresh in salads and on sandwiches. These onions do not have a long storage life and will last best if stored in a cool dark spot. If the outside layers start to soften, peel and store in the refrigerator. In addition to soup, sweet onions also caramelize well for a sweet onion jam and make for some amazing onion rings.
Celery Root Soup
1 cup thinly sliced leek (about 1 medium), white and light green parts only
2 1/2 pounds celery root, also known as celeriac (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Heat oil in a large saucepan with a tightfitting lid over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add celery root, potatoes, apple, garlic, salt, and a pinch of pepper. Stir to coat vegetables with oil, add water and broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until vegetables just give way when pierced with a knife, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove 1 cup of liquid from the saucepan; set aside. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam from the hot soup to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off). Once blended, transfer the soup back to the saucepan and keep warm over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add the reserved liquid a little at a time until the soup reaches the desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. To serve, drizzle with olive oil.
Greek Spaghetti Squash
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through.
Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.
Source: All Recipes