Archive for November, 2012

Winter Share Newsletter for November 20 – December 3 (Simple Cranberry Sauce, Kale Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts, Fluffy Mashed Potatoes)

I’m especially excited about our share this week, since you could make pretty much all of your Thanksgiving side-dishes and desserts with local produce! I plan on having squash pie, apple crisp, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, kale salad with cranberries and walnuts, spiced squash, roasted Brussels sprouts, and home-made cranberry sauce. You could also have maple glazed carrots, cranberry bread, buttered turnips, roasted or pickled beets. . . the list goes on and on. I’m hoping there will be enough produce so that everyone has some left over for meals in the weeks after the big day, too.

This Week’s Produce

1 bag VT cranberries (VT Cranberry Company in Fletcher) ($5)

3 lbs empire apples (Douglas Orchards in Shoreham) ($4)

3 lbs onions (Quebec) ($3.5)

5 lbs russet potatoes ($3.5)

3 lbs sweet potatoes ($4)

1 green cabbage or 1 bunch kale (your choice) ($2)

3 lbs carrots ($4)

1 dumpling or delicata squash (there may not be a choice) ($2)

2 lbs turnips ($2)

1.5 lbs beets ($3)

1 stalk brussels sprouts (hopefully!) ($3)

1 bunch parsley or 1 bunch thyme (your choice) ($1.5)

Total retail value: $37.5

Cranberries

We got the cranberries from VT Cranberry Company in Fletcher (about 30 miles north of Essex.) We were thrilled to find that cranberries can be grown in Vermont, and that we could buy the 100 lbs we needed without any trouble a few days before Thanksgiving. If you’ve never made home-made cranberry sauce before, you really should. It really is almost as easy as opening up a can, and it tastes 100 percent better.

Simple Cranberry Sauce

1 lb fresh cranberries

1 1/3 cup sugar (Can be all white or half brown half white)

1 1/3 cup orange juice

Put sugar and juice into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until cranberries start to pop, 10 to 15 minutes.

I like my cranberry sauce plain, but feel free to dress yours up with cinnamon, orange zest, walnuts, or candied ginger.

Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

This salad would make a great Thanksgiving side dish. The bitterness of the kale and the brightness of the lemon and cranberries makes for a delicious salad, and it’s nice to have something green and healthy on a plate that’s loaded up with rich, buttery food!

1 bunch kale, center rib removed, cut into thin strips

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or from a bottle is OK here)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup crumbled gorganzola cheese (optional)

In a large bowl mix the kale, oil, lemon, salt, and pepper until kale is coated. Massage the dressing into the kale for a few minutes. Toss with walnuts and cranberries and cheese if using. Serve at room temperature if possible.

Note: If you want to make the salad ahead of time, it’s fine to refrigerate it for a day or two. You want to add the nuts, fruit, and cheese at the last minute though.

Best Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen Radio. Their recipes aren’t always the quickest or simplest, but they’re always delicious!

This recipe works best with either a metal colander that sits easily in a Dutch oven or a large pasta pot with a steamer insert. To prevent excess evaporation, it is important for the lid to fit as snugly as possible over the colander or steamer. A steamer basket will work, but you will have to transfer the hot potatoes out of the basket to rinse them off halfway through cooking. For the lightest, fluffiest texture, use a ricer. A food mill is the next best alternative. Russets and white potatoes will work in this recipe, but avoid red-skinned potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes (4 to 6 medium), peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks, rinsed well, and drained
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • Table salt
  • 2/3 cup whole milk , warm
  • Ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Place metal colander or steamer insert in large pot or Dutch oven. Add enough water for it to barely reach bottom of colander. Turn heat to high and bring water to boil. Add potatoes, cover, and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook potatoes 10 minutes. Transfer colander to sink and rinse potatoes under cold water until no longer hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Return colander and potatoes to pot, cover, and continue to cook until potatoes are soft and tip of paring knife inserted into potato meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Pour off water from Dutch oven.

2. Set ricer or food mill over now-empty pot. Working in batches, transfer potatoes to hopper of ricer or food mill and process, removing any potatoes stuck to bottom. Using rubber spatula, stir in melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt until incorporated. Stir in warm milk until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

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Winter Share Newsletter for November 6 – November 19 (Hubbard Squash Pie, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad)

It’s looking like our first ever winter CSA pick-up will be suitable chilly! Since we turn off the coolers in the winter to save energy, the cold is good in terms of keeping all of the produce the right temp, but I won’t know until I head down to the farm this afternoon if it also means the end of the swiss chard. Hopefully it pulled through!

The pick-ups for the winter CSA will be similar to the pick-ups for the summer CSA, with a few exceptions. I’m going to be marking people off the list this week, but in subsequent weeks you will just find your name on the list and put a check next to it to indicate that you picked up. Also, there isn’t a voucher system for if you miss a share, but if you ever do you can take extra produce (with a few exceptions) the pick-up before or after you miss.

Produce:

1 half gallon fresh cider from Douglas Orchard & Cider Mill in Shoreham ($4)

3 lbs. empire apples from Douglas Orchard ($5)

3 lbs. onions from Dauphinais Farm in Hemmingford, Quebec ($3.5)

2.5 lbs. beets (these will be sandy; we wanted to store and hand them out without washing them so that they will last longer) ($5)

1 head green cabbage or 1 bunch chard (unless we get a really hard frost in the next few nights, in which case everyone gets cabbage) ($2)

1 head cauliflower ($3)

3 lbs. sweet potatoes ($3)

1 large hubbard squash ($5-8)

Thanksgiving pick-up

To help with your holiday planning, here’s what we’re giving out on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving: 1 lb. fresh VT cranberries, 5 lbs. russet potatoes (the best for mashed!), kale, beets, sweet potatoes, apples, and onions. Leeks, squash, and rutabagas are also possibilities. It will be the largest share we give out this winter.

About the Onions

Although we had wanted to buy onions from a Vermont farm, we were unable to find the quantity of good quality, affordable onions that we needed. We ended up locating a farmer in Quebec who could fill our needs, and we were happy that we were able to buy directly from him (no middleman), and that he already comes to this area on a regular basis, so he didn’t even have to make a special trip to deliver our onions.

Apples and Cider

We were glad that we were able to get apples and cider from our friends at Douglas Orchard this week. Their cider is the best (although, since it’s unpasteurized, it doesn’t keep for a very long time), and their apples are great too! We got Empires since they are a late apple, and they also store well. Douglas only sells apples until early December, so after that our apples will come from Sunrise Orchard in Cornwall. Note: If you can’t drink all of your cider in the next week, I would freeze some. You can use later on the make hot mulled cider!

Potatoes

We decided to skip regular potatoes this week since we have so many other great items that won’t last as long, and since we gave out a lot to regular CSA members last week. If you would like potatoes instead of any of the items on the list, though, please just ask; we have plenty, so it wouldn’t be a problem at all!

Hubbard Squash

Hubbard squash is delicious, and stores well, but, due to its size, it’s also quite intimidating. The best way to open one is to put it in a plastic bag and drop it on a hard surface (like an asphalt driveway). Then you want to scrape out all of the seeds and cook the squash, freezing what you can’t use. You can rub the pieces with oil and then bake them until they’re soft, or you can pre-bake the squash and then peel and cube it, as described in this great examiner.com post:

http://www.examiner.com/article/hubbard-squash-recipes-creating-beauty-from-the-beast

As I mentioned earlier, mashed hubbard makes a great pie. Just substitute for pumpkin in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe. My only advice is to put your mashed squash in a pan and cook it down a little if it seems more watery than the pumpkin that comes out of a can. This has the added benefit of giving the squash a warm, caramelized flavor.

My favorite pumpkin pie recipe is from the Libby’s can; it tastes like Thanksgiving to me! Here it is, adapted for mashed squash:

Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 large eggs

1 ¾ cup mashed squash

1 can evaporated milk

1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Beets

Although our first few plantings of beets didn’t do so well, the last planting, which Paul picked a week or so ago, yielded nearly 25 bushels. This means that there will be plenty of beets for the winter CSA! We are storing them and handing them out unwashed, in hopes that this will make them last longer. I would advise people to store them like this in your fridge until you’re ready to use them. If you don’t like beets, you can always sub extra potatoes. Or you can make spiced pickled beets and hand them out at the holidays!

http://oldfashionedfamilies.com/sweet-and-spicy-pickled-beets/

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

I love the pairing of sweet, earthy beets and creamy goat cheese. Add some bitter greens and a good home-made vinaigrette and you have a perfect fall salad. Here’s one recipe, but really – with this combo in mind, you can’t go wrong!

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/02/serious-salads-roasted-beet-salad-with-goat-cheese-walnuts-vinaigrette.html

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