Archive for December, 2012

Winter Share Newsletter for December 18 – January 1 (Pasta with Baby Chard and Shrimp, Root Vegetable and Cabbage Soup with Kielbasa)

We’re giving out lots of potatoes and apples this week, along with some really delicious baby chard from Pete’s Greens. You have a choice between cabbage and beets, since I know we’ve given both of these out a lot! The share also includes carrots, sweet potatoes, and onions again.

As you know, we’re attempting to store our root vegetables in a cooler that has been turned off for the winter. The temperature stays around 50 degrees, and, since we stored most of the produce dirty, we haven’t had much loss. The only issue we’ve had is with the carrots, which aren’t holding up that well and which are very time consuming to clean and sort. Despite this we think we’ll be able to give them out for most of the rest of the CSA, although we may have to buy some for last week. If you have had any issues with the carrots not lasting long in your fridge, please let me know when you pick up and I’ll replace whatever you have lost.

This Week’s Produce:

1 bag sweet baby chard (Pete’s Greens) ($5)

1/2 peck (about 5 lbs.) Macintosh apples (Sunrise Orchard, Cornwall) ($7)

3 lbs. Canadian onions ($3.5)

8 lbs. white chef (very large) potatoes ($5)

3 lbs. sweet potatoes ($4)

3 lbs. carrots ($4)

1.5 lbs. beets OR 1 head cabbage ($2-$3)

Total retail value: $30.5 – $31.5

Apples

Because Douglas Orchard is done selling apples for the year, we got our apples this week from Sunrise Orchard in Cornwall. Sunrise is a large orchard, and they share a special atmosphere controlled storage facility with Champlain Orchard that keeps their apples fresh-tasting and crisp though the winter and spring. This allows them to sell high quality apples for much of the year. Their apples are great, but they are also much more expensive than the ones we normally get, especially this year since prices are higher due to the rough year many growers had. This is why I valued them at $7, not the usual $4. I felt bad about this valuation until I realized that at Hannaford this winter a 5 lb. bag of Vermont apples is $1.79/lb. — about $9!

Apple Recipes and Ideas

Macintosh are the best apple for homemade applesauce. I also believe they are the best baking apple; although they don’t hold their shape as some other apples, their fantastic flavor more than compensates.

Here are some ideas for using your apples:

Applesauce

https://paulmazzascsa.com/?s=applesauce

Apple Bread pudding (great make-ahead holiday breakfast)

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Apple-Bread-Pudding-5802

Skillet Apple Pie (easy and has a complex caramel flavor you don’t get in a regular apple pie! I would use macs and maybe a few granny smiths in this recipe) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/b.-smith/b-smiths-skillet-apple-pie-recipe/index.html

Baby Chard

Like the apples, the local baby chard cost much more than we expected. We felt that it was worth it, though, to have something green and fresh in the share! Baby chard is sweeter and milder than regular chard, and can be substituted for spinach in most recipes. Try it wilted and tossed with pasta, as in this recipe (from the Olivia’s Organic Website).

Pasta with Baby Chard and Shrimp

1 lb. pasta (ziti or cavatelli)

1 lb. large shrimp – peeled and deveined

with tail left on

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion – diced

2 cloves garlic – minced

2 tomatoes – seeded and chopped

1 bag baby chard, larger leaves chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup Parmesan cheese – freshly grated

Cook pasta as directed on package label; cook until al dente.

While pasta cooks, season shrimp with salt and pepper; set aside.

Add olive oil to large sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat.

Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.

Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add chopped tomatoes and baby swiss chard, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring, Add shrimp to pan and cook, stirring frequently, until pink on both sides.

Stir in broth, bring to barely a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Add cooked pasta, toss and remove from heat. Add Parmesan cheese and serve.

Root Vegetable and Cabbage Soup with Kielbasa

If you have any cabbage or rutabaga left in your fridge and you have no idea what to do with it, try this recipe. It is simple and delicious; I’ve probably made it 5 times already this winter! You could also make a vegetarian version by omitting the kielbasa and using vegetable stock instead of water.

2 tablespoons oil or butter

1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped

1 large or 2 medium rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (optional)

1 large or 2 medium red or white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

About 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 package Kielbasa (I use turkey), cut into 1-inch pieces.

Water

2 bay leaves

½ head cabbage, core removed, cut into ½ inch strips.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Saute onions in oil or butter over medium heat until soft (about 10 minutes) Add kielbasa, carrots, potatoes, and rutabaga (if using). Cook, stirring often, for 2 or 3 minutes. Add bay leaves and enough water to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cabbage and continue to cook until all of the vegetables are tender, about 10 or 15 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove bay leaves.

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie

I found this recipe for a fluffier, tangy-er version of classic sweet potato pie on the great Smitten Kitchen blog: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/11/sweet-potato-buttermilk-pie/

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Winter Share Newsletter for December 4 – December 17 (Strawberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies, Borscht)

As I mentioned in the Sunday e-mail, the share this week would make some great soups and stews. You could try carrot-ginger, butternut squash and leek, potato and leek, sweet and sour  cabbage, or even curried sweet potato soup. Here’s a link to a recipe for beef stew with  Guinness that looks fantastic – you could sub cubed rutabaga for the parsnips and chopped onion for the pearl onions. There are pictures and step-by-step instructions, too, which is helpful if you’ve never made a crock-pot stew!

http://www.irishamericanmom.com/2011/11/04/irish-guinness-beef-stew-crockpot-recipe/

This Week’s Produce:

1 pint jam made with our own strawberries (great for holiday cookies!) ($5)

2 leeks (may be more if we have enough) ($2)

1 butternut squash (hopefully! We haven’t checked them in a few weeks, so they may have gone by. If we don’t have butternut we will sub something else) ($3)

2 lbs rutabagas ($2)

2 lbs carrots ($3)

4 lbs potatoes ($3.5)

3 lbs sweet potatoes ($3)

1 head cabbage ($2)

1.8 lbs beets ($4)

3 lbs onions ($3.5)

Total retail value: $31

Jam

The strawberry jam was made with our own berries by Patty Shortsleeves. Patty used to work at the farm every weekday morning, but now she just helps out one or two evenings a week and makes our delicious jam.

I love any sort of holiday cookie with jam, but I don’t have the patience for complicated sandwich cookies. The recipe below makes a cookie that’s just as good as the fanciest little linzer torte, but much easier. It’s also pretty kid-friendly; my 2-year old had a blast rolling each ball of dough in the sugar.

Strawberry Jam Tots

(Adapted from Joy of Cooking)

½ cup sugar, plus more for rolling

½ cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flower

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Strawberry jam

Pre-heat oven to 370. Grease 2 cookie sheets. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the vanilla, eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in sugar and then place about 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 5 minutes. Depress the center of each cookie with a thimble or your thumb. Continue baking until very lightly brown, about 8 minutes. Let stand briefly. When cool, fill the center of each cookie with strawberry jam (you’ll only need about half a teaspoon or so).

 

If you want to see what the cookies should look like while baking and when done, take a look at this blog post:

http://rabbitfoodrocks.blogspot.com/2012/12/jamtop-cookies-jam-thumbprint-cookies.html

Note: Joy of Cooking claims that this will make 42 cookies, but I usually get about 2 dozen. It’s an easy recipe to double, though!

Beets

I hope no one out there is getting tired of beets, because everyone’s getting more of them this week!

There are a million different ways to make borscht: it can be smooth or chucky, hot or cold, meat-free or full of beef or sausage. Different central and eastern European cuisines call for different vegetables, so some versions have cabbage, some tomatoes, some potatoes and carrots, etc. In the US it usually just means some sort of beet soup, often pureed and served cold and garnished with sour cream and fresh dill.

Below is a recipe for that kind of Borcht, which is pinkish and creamy and wonderful. I’ve also included a link to a recipe for a more traditional hot Russian Borscht, which looks fantastic, although very time-consuming!

Borscht

From The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

7 cups water

2 lbs beets, scrubbed

1 onion, peeled and halved

¼ cup white vinegar

¼ cup sugar

Salt

¾ cup heavy cream

¾ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (for serving)

Place water, beets, onion, vinegar, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer until beets are tender, about 45 minutes for medium beets.

Transfer the beets to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a large container. Remove beet skins (they will peel off easily). Chop half of the beets into large chunks and process with 1 cup of the broth in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir into the broth. Grate the remaining beets over the large holes of a box grater and stir into broth. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 ½ hours. Whisk the heavy cream and sour cream into the soup. Serve, garnishing the individual bowls with the dill.

Classic Russian Borscht: 

http://girlsguidetobutter.com/2011/10/classic-russian-borscht/

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