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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