Archive for October, 2014

Newsletter for October 7 (German Purple Potato Salad, Cream of Broccoli Soup with Potatoes)

As I mentioned in the Sunday night e-mail, this would be a great week to make a soup or stew. It’s also a good week to make a quick stir-fry, since we’re giving out peppers and broccoli (both great stir-fry vegetables). Everyone gets peppers and carrots this week, but if you want to skip either one and take an extra option instead, that is fine!

Bread and Cheese

The bread this week is Mad River Grain. As always, CSA members also get $1 off VT Cheese.

PYO

We still have pick-your-own apples in Essex, and PYO raspberries in both locations. The berry picking is slowing down a bit, but there are definitely still plenty of berries out there. If you pick up in Colchester and still have a PYO apple voucher you can bring it to Essex and use it, or you can bring it in on pick-up day and I will give you some sort of produce in exchange.

Soups

Here are some links to a few great fall soup recipes:

Carrot Ginger Soup from The Splendid Table (This soup has citrus and coconut milk — yum! It’s also vegan.)

Belgian Beef and Beer Stew from Cooking Light (This is an easy stew to make, and the beer and parsnips make it extra delicious! You could add potatoes too, or extra parsnips.)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage from Chow (I like this recipe because you don’t have to chop up the squash — you just roast it. You can also use any type of apple, although tart apples are best.)

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Potatoes

I was never a fan of “cream of” anything soups until I learned how to make them myself. It came as such a surprise to find out that it’s possible to make a creamy, flavorful soup with very little actual cream. Cream of broccoli soup is easy, too: Just saute a lot of chopped yellow onion over medium heat for 10 minutes or so (until soft). Then add 1 large potato (peeled and diced), a pound or so broccoli cut into pieces (stems included), and some stock or water (enough to cover everything). Bring to a boil then let simmer, covered, until everything is soft. Then puree with a hand-held or standing blender until smooth. After the soup has been pureed you can add cream (or milk), and salt and pepper to taste. Some people also like to add shredded cheddar cheese.

Purple Potatoes

The purple potatoes that we are giving out this week look odd, but they taste delicious. Due to their color (they are purple inside, too) they contain more antioxidants than other potatoes. Kids, especially, often get a kick out of their uncommon color. I like them roasted (they have a bit of a nutty flavor that comes out when roasted), but they also make a fun potato salad.

German Purple Potato Salad

(Adapted from Anne Burrell’s recipe from The Food Network)

2 pounds purple potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces

Kosher salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

8 bacon slices, cut into lardons

1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (plus more to taste)

3 scallions, finely chopped

Toss the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover generously with water and season generously with salt. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and reserve.

Coat a large straight-sided saute pan lightly with olive oil. Toss in the bacon and bring the pan to a medium heat. When the bacon is brown and crispy, toss in the onions and cook them until they are very soft and aromatic, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the stock and vinegar. Toss in the potatoes when they are still warm and cook until the liquid has absorbed into the potatoes. Taste and season with salt if needed. Toss in the scallions and serve warm or at room temperature.

This Week’s Produce

Single Share:

1 lb carrots

1 lb peppers (probably red bell)

1 cucumber

Fresh sage or 1 extra cucumber

Choose 3 options

1.3 lbs broccoli

1 butternut squash

3 lbs purple potatoes

1.3 lbs parsnips

1 bunch chard

1 lb tomatoes (might be roma or grape)

1 $2 PYO raspberry voucher

Possible: arugula, spring mix, poblano peppers, sweet potatoes

Small Share:

1.3 lbs carrots

1 lb peppers (probably red)

2 cucumbers

Fresh sage or 1 extra cucumber

Choose 4 options

1.3 lbs broccoli

1 butternut squash

3 lbs purple potatoes

1.3 lbs parsnips

1 bunch chard

1 lb tomatoes (might be roma or grape)

1 $3 PYO raspberry voucher

Possible: arugula, spring mix, poblano peppers, sweet potatoes

Large Share:

2 lbs carrots

1.5 lbs peppers

2 cucumbers

Fresh sage or 1 extra cucumber

1 pint grape tomatoes

Choose 5 options

1.3 lbs broccoli

1 butternut squash

3 lbs purple potatoes

1.3 lbs parsnips

1 bunch chard

1 lb tomatoes (might be roma or grape)

1 $3 PYO voucher

Possible: arugula, spring mix, poblano peppers, sweet potatoes

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Newsletter for September 30 (Alice Waters’ Ratatouille)

What a beautiful week it has been! We are so happy that the frost did less damage than we initially thought, and that we still have so much great produce. As I mentioned in the Sunday night e-mail, this would be a great week to make ratatouille, since we have tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini. It would also be a good week to make pasta with arugula and tomatoes, or pasta with broccoli and sausage. Since I’m thinking of pasta, this week’s share would also make a great, colorful pasta salad full of broccoli, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes.

The next week or so looks beautiful, so we should have plenty of produce next week as well. I think we will have sweet potatoes as part of the share, along with fresh thyme and chard.

Bread and Cheese

The bread this week is Cyrus Pringle. We also have all sorts of cheese for sale, and CSA members get $1 off. We have Maplebrook Mozzarella, Vermont Creamery Chevre, and Grafton Village Creamery Sage Cheddar and 1 Year Cheddar.

PYO

We still have plenty of raspberries at both locations, and the PYO apples are going strong as well. In Essex we have mac, cortlands, empires, and more. In Colchester we have cortlands and empires. We are hoping to put together a PYO potato day in Essex too, and if we do we will let you know all about it!

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is one of the most popular varieties of squash we grow. It’s less dry than a buttercup or ambercup squash, and pale yellow inside. The most common way to prepare an acorn squash is to cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and then roast the squash with some butter and maple syrup or brown sugar in the cavity. Want to try something different with your squash? This blogpost contains links to a wealth of different acorn squash recipes.

Ratatouille

I really like this Ratatouille recipe from Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food” (courtesy of Food52). Zucchini is a fine substitute for the summer squash. This hearty vegetable stew makes a great meal served hot or at room temperature with some crusty bread.

  • 1 medium or 2 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of basil, tied in a bouquet with kitchen twine + 6 basil leaves, chopped
  • pinch of dried chile flakes
  • 2 sweet peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 medium summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Salt to taste
  1. Toss the eggplant cubes with a teaspoon or so of salt. Set the cubes in a colander to drain for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Pat the eggplant dry, add to the pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden. Add a bit more oil if the eggplant absorbs all the oil and sticks to the bottom of the pan. Remove the eggplant when done and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, pour in 2 more tablespoons olive oil. Add onions and cook for about 7 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, basil bouquet, dried chile flakes, and a bit more salt.
  4. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in peppers. Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in summer squash. Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in tomatoes.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes longer, then stir in eggplant and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, until all the vegetables are soft. Remove the bouquet of basil, pressing on it to extract all its flavors, and adjust the seasoning with salt.
  6. Stir in the chopped basil leaves and more extra virgin olive oil, to taste. Serve warm or cold.

Single Share:

Choose 5 options:

1.3 lbs carrots

1.3 lbs broccoli

1 bunch arugula

1 bunch spring mix

1-1.5 peppers (may be green or colored)

1 large or 2 small acorn squash

4 cucumbers

1+ lb tomatoes

1.5 lbs zucchini

1.5 lbs eggplant

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples

4 decorative gourds

Possible: watermelon, baby white potatoes

Small Share:

Choose 7 options:

1.3 lbs carrots

1.5 lbs broccoli

1 bunch arugula

1 bunch spring mix

1-1.5 peppers (may be green or colored)

1 large or 2 small acorn squash

4 cucumbers

1 lb tomatoes

1.5 lbs zucchini

1.5 lbs eggplant

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples

4 decorative gourds

Possible: watermelon, baby white potatoes

Large Share:

Choose 10 options:

1.3 lbs carrots

1.5 lbs broccoli

1 bunch arugula

1 bunch spring mix

1-1.5 peppers (may be green or colored)

1 large or 2 small acorn squash

4 cucumbers

1 lb tomatoes

1.5 lbs zucchini

1.5 lbs eggplant

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples

4 decorative gourds

Possible: watermelon, baby white potatoes

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Newsletter for September 23 (Maple Ambercup Squash, Cucumber and Tomato Salad)

Now that it’s officially fall it feels right that the share is so heavy on squash, potatoes, parsnips, and gourds! We are giving everyone ambercup squash this week, so it would be a good week to make some mashed, spiced squash, or even squash soup. If you don’t want squash you are welcome to exchange it for an extra option. We also have corn and cukes for everyone, since these are coming to an end. We have tomatoes too, although these should be around for a while; we harvested a lot at different stages of ripeness before the frost.

PYO Raspberries and Apples

We still have great PYO raspberries at both locations, and will continue to have them until we get a hard frost in our lower Essex fields and in Colchester. We also have PYO apples at both locations, and you can get an apple voucher as an option if you’d like. The voucher allows you to pick ½ peck Macintosh apples in Essex or ½ peck Cortlands in Colchester. Macintosh apples are great for eating and sauce. They make wonderful pie apples too, as long as you don’t mind a more “saucy” filling. Cortands are very large and are generally considered to be one of the best baking apples.

Ambercup Squash

Ambercup is my favorite squash, and one of Paul’s favorites as well. It’s similar to a buttercup or kabocha, only bright orange. Like a buttercup squash or kabocha, ambercups are a sweet, dense, relatively dry squash. They’re hard to cut when they’re raw so I like to bake them whole (see recipe below).

A note on squash: Squash gets drier and sweeter in storage. The longer you (or the farmer) store a squash, generally, the tastier it will be. I have found that I often need to add some sweetener (maple syrup and/or brown sugar) to squash early in the season for this reason. So if you find your winter squash to be better in October and November, it’s not your imagination!

Maple Mashed Ambercup Squash:

Jab the squash with a knife a few times, then put it on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until tender (this can take up to 2 hours, depending on the size of the squash!) Cut the squash open and let it cool a bit. Using a dish towel to keep your hands from burning, remove the seeds and discard them. Then scoop the flesh out of the skin and into a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of butter, a few tablespoons of maple syrup, and salt, pepper, and cinnamon to taste. Mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

This is probably the last week CSA members will get cucumbers, and I can think of no better way to use them than to make this summery, delicious salad:

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped (you can remove the seeds if you want, too)

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 chopped scallions (white and green parts)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Crumbled feta cheese, chopped kalamata olives, fresh mint or parsley

Mix all ingredients together. Serve immediately.

This Week’s Produce

Single Share:

2 ears corn

1 lb. tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 small ambercup squash

Choose 3 option:

1.25 lbs. parsnips

3 lbs. potatoes

1.5 lbs. peppers

1 bunch kale

2 small butternut squash

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples (Macs in Essex, Cortlands in Colchester)

4 decorative gourds

Small Share:

4 ears corn

1 lb. tomatoes

2 cucumbers

1 ambercup squash

Choose 4 options:

1.25 lbs. parsnips

3 lbs potatoes

1.5 lbs peppers

1 bunch kale

2 small butternut squash

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples (Macs in Essex, Cortlands in Colchester)

4 decorative gourds

Large Share

6 ears corn

2 lbs. tomatoes

2 cucumbers

1 ambercup squash

1 pint grape tomatoes

Choose 5 options:

1.25 lbs. parsnips

3 lbs potatoes

1.5 lbs peppers

1 bunch kale

2 small butternut squash

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples (Macs in Essex, Cortlands in Colchester)

4 decorative gourds

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Newsletter for September 16th (Fall Slaw with Honeycrisp Apples)

Unless we get a frost this week (possible but not very likely!) we should have summer veggies like corn, peppers, and zucchini for a while. We also have lots of fall produce like apples, potatoes, pumpkins, and cabbage this week, and will continue to have these items off and on until the season is over. This would be a great week to try making a creamy pumpkin soup or a fall coleslaw with cabbage and honeycrisp apples. Since we’re giving out lots of sweet frying peppers, this would also be a great week to cook up a big pan of peppers (sweet and/or hot) and onions. Cooked for a while (until the onions are caramelized and the peppers are really soft), these are great with sausages (or kielbasa) and brown rice, in fajitas, in omelettes and frittatas, and even just as a topping for scrambled eggs.

Pick-Your-Own

We still have pick-your-own apples and berries at both locations. The apple picking is great, as is the raspberry picking. The blueberries are coming to an end, but there are still blueberries to pick — it will just take a bit longer than it would have a few weeks ago. Members with small and large shares can choose to pick a half peck of macs this week as part of their shares. If you’d like a $3 PYO berry voucher as one of your options just ask at pick-up!

Pumpkins

Pie pumpkins are an option this week. As the name suggests, these little pumpkins are sweet and much less stringy than Jack-O-Lantern  pumpkins, making them good for baking. You can use them for pies, custard, bread, muffins, or soups. (Check out this link to learn how to turn a whole pie pumpkin into pumpkin puree that you can use for baking). You can also just use them for decoration if you’d like!

Want to try something different and utterly delicious? Try out this gratin-like pumpkin soup recipe from Ruth Reichl.

Honeycrisp Apples

Honeycrisp apples are sweet and crunchy and great for eating out of hand. They’re also the perfect apple for a coleslaw, since, like Granny Smiths, they stay nice and crisp and have a wonderful sweet-tart flavor.

Fall Slaw with Honeycrisp Apples

1 small or ½ large green or red cabbage, finely chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled and grated

2 medium honeycrisp apples, cut into matchsticks

2 tbsp oil (canola or other neutral oil is best)

2 tbsp honey or maple syrup

3 tbs cider vinegar

salt and pepper

Add first 3 ingredients to a large bowl. Wisk oil, vinegar, and honey together. Add to coleslaw. Mix and season with salt and pepper, adding extra vinegar if needed.

You can add fresh parsley or cilantro, green onions, even thinly sliced sweet peppers to this fall slaw. I like a vinegar-based dressing, but it would also be good with a yogurt or mayo based dressing.

This Week’s Produce

Single Share

1 lb honeycrisp apples

1 lb sweet carmen or cubanelle peppers

fresh herbs (parsley or mint) or chili peppers or extra sweet carmen peppers

Choose 3 options:

1.5 lbs zucchini or summer squash

3 lbs red potatoes

1.25 lbs carrots

1 pie pumpkin

5 ears corn

1 large or 2 small cabbages

1.5 lbs eggplant

Small Share

2 lbs honeycrisp apples or voucher for 1/2 peck PYO macintosh apples

1.3 lb sweet carmen or cubanelle peppers

fresh herbs (parsley or mint) or  4 chili peppers or extra sweet carmen peppers

Choose 4 options:

1.5 lbs zucchini or summer squash

3 lbs red potatoes

1.25 lbs carrots

1 pie pumpkin

5 ears corn

1 large or 2 small cabbages

1.5 lbs eggplant

Large Share

4 lbs honeycrisp apples or 2 vouchers for 1/2 peck PYO macintosh apples

1.5 lbs sweet carmen or cubanelle peppers

1 lb tomatoes

2 bunches fresh herbs or 8 chili peppers

Choose 5 options

1.5 lbs zucchini or summer squash

3 lbs red potatoes

1.25 lbs carrots

1 pie pumpkin

5 ears corn

1 large or 2 small cabbages

1.5 lbs eggplant

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