Notes from the Farm
Well, we’ve come to the end of our CSA season for 2014. This will be your last share of the season. Thank you so much for your support of Yourganic Farm. We hope you’ve enjoyed our produce as much as we’ve enjoyed growing it for you.
This Week’s CSA
Baby Pams are small, round, orange-skinned mini pie pumpkins. These small pumpkins can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, including pies, soups, ravioli filling, breads, muffins or even a puree for young children. Pie pumpkins are best stored and treated like winter squash.
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.
Black Forest produces dark green, flat-round Kabocha squash with deep orange flesh that is sweet, dry, flaky and flavorful. The 2–4 lb squash are uniform and a bit smaller than most kabochas, a perfect size to bake for dinner.
The flavor of the buttercup squash’s flesh is sweet and nutty, with a creamy consistency more in line with that of a baked sweet potato than a pumpkin, which tends to be more fibrous and watery by comparison. The flesh can tend toward dryness, a flaw that is easily compensated for by cooking method. Steaming and baking are preferred methods of preparation, as both will bring out the sweetness of and add moistness to the flesh.
Carrots are great both raw and cooked. If scrubbed well, you won’t even need to peel them. If cooking carrots, try to cut into even sized pieces so they cook at the same rate. Carrots pair well with thyme, chervil, dill, cumin, ginger, mint, sesame seeds, chili, mustard, honey, butter, olive oil, and sesame oils. Carrots are best stored in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Remove any tops before storage so the carrot stays crisp and sweet.
Keep fennel refrigerated in a plastic bag, but try to use it sooner than later, as it tends to dry out quickly and the outer layers will brown.
Small bulbs are best for salads since they are tender, while larger bulbs are best suited for braising and baking. Fennel pairs well with olive oil, butter, thyme, orange, lemon, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, garlic, Parmesan and Gruyere cheese.
Although Italian plums are most often designated for drying to prune state, they are well suited for fresh eating, using as a dessert ingredient, processing into jam and preserve form and simply adding to sweet and savory salads. Complimentary sweet flavors include vanilla, nutmeg, tropical fruits, chocolate, butter and cream. Savory pairings include mild fresh cheeses such as chevre and ricotta, herbs such as arugula, citrus, chiles, fennel and basil, bacon, lamb and grilled seafood such as shrimp and scallops. To store fresh Italian plums, refrigerate ripe fruit for up to one week. To store prunes, keep in an airtight container in cool, dry storage.
Red onions, sometimes called purple onions, are cultivars of the onion with purplish red skin and white flesh tinged with red. These onions tend to be medium to large in size and have a mild to sweet flavor. They are often consumed raw, grilled or lightly cooked with other foods, or added as color to salads. They tend to lose their redness when cooked. Red onions are available throughout the year. The red color comes from anthocyanidins such as cyanidin. Red onions are high in flavonoids. They can be stored 3 to 4 months at room temperature.
The trick to storing salad greens is to place them in a container (or plastic bag) with a paper towel in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. You can wash and spin dry the salad mix first for easy use. Change the paper towel regularly if needed.
In addition to traditional salads, greens can be roasted, used as a topping for pizza, or added to green smoothies!
Store tomatoes away from direct sunlight with the stem scar facing up to reduce softening and darkening of the fruit. For short term storage it is best to keep tomatoes in a paper bag at the coolest possible room temperature. Keep out of direct sunlight.
Add a pinch of sugar to tomatoes when cooking them. It enhances the flavor.
To keep baked or stuffed tomatoes from collapsing, bake in greased muffin tins. The tins will give them some support as they cook.
Yellow Onions are full-flavored and are a reliable standby for cooking almost anything. Yellow onions turn a rich, dark brown when cooked and give French Onion Soup its tangy sweet flavor.
Dry bulb onions should be kept in a cool, dry, well ventilated place. Do not store whole onions in plastic bags. Lack of air movement will reduce their storage life.
Ina Garten’s Italian Plum Tart
3/4 pound Italian prune plums, quartered and pitted
2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
2 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a sheet pan.
Place the plums, tapioca, creme de cassis, and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and remaining 1 cup of sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until it forms small, dry crumbs.
Add 1 tablespoon of cold water and continue to beat for about 30 seconds, until the mixture forms large, moist crumbs. Set aside 3/4 cup of the crumb mixture and pour the rest into the springform pan.
With floured hands, lightly pat the dough evenly in the bottom of the pan and 1 inch up the sides. Arrange the plums in concentric circles on the crust. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly on top.
Bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.
Source: Food Network
Richard Kuos Sautéed Kabocha Squash With Mascarpone and Maple Syrup
1 kabocha squash, about 3 pounds
2 tbs. butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tbs. maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper
4 fresh sage leaves, sliced into thin strips (or 8 leaves fried)
Preheat oven to 350.
Place the squash on a cutting board, and with a sharp knife, carefully cut off the stem or a slice from the bottom of the squash to create a sturdy base.
Trim away the skin by slicing downward toward the cutting board.
Cut the squash in half and remove the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Cut the halves into wedges and the wedges into cubes. In a large pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of butter, add the squash cubes, and sauté until the squash is soft to the touch, about 10 to 15 minutes. Allow squash to cool. Meanwhile, mix the mascarpone with the maple syrup in a small mixing bowl, and season with black pepper and a dash of salt. Toast the pumpkin seeds in the oven until crisp, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer pumpkin seeds to a small bowl, and season with salt and Aleppo pepper. Brown the remaining butter in a small sauté pan. Place the browned butter and half of the cubed squash in a blender or food processor, and process until you have a thick purée. To assemble, mix the puréed squash with the remaining cubes and return to the large pan over medium heat, and cook until the mixture is hot, about 5 minutes. Place the squash mixture in a bowl, and garnish with pumpkin seeds, a dollop of mascarpone mix, and the fresh or fried sage leaves.
*This article originally appeared in the December 9, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.
Source: Grub Street